November 20, 2015 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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AWRA was very productive. Even had our version of the recent UFC Rousey-Holm fracas. But we had two winners – Tom Tebb and Jonathan Yoder – and no blood was spilled (thanks to Wayne Wright for catching the two victors and the referee).
See you next week!
‘Water is a wicked problem – not evil, but complex.’ - Will Sarni
November 13, 2015 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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Third and last Friday the 13th of 2015. Triskaidekaphobes, beware!
OMG? LMAO! What’s this?
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“From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggettie beasties and things that go bump in the night, Good Lord deliver us.” - Scottish prayer
November 6, 2015 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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Had a great time at the GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore and am now looking forward to the AWRA Annual Water Resources Conference in Denver, 16-19 November. Looks like we will have a record attendance. Here is the final program:
See you there!
If you have a nominee for the best water-smart city in the developing world, let Guardian reporter Katherine Purvis know. She would like to write an article on the ten best such cities. Her piece will have a format similar to this article. You can email her at Katherine.Purvis@theguardian.com.
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It’s not that we need new ideas, but we need to stop having old ideas.’ - Edwin Land (tnx @LifelongAttempt)
October 30, 2015 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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Big weekend here in the USA. It’s Halloween tomorrow and on 1 November @ 2 AM many of us will have to switch from daylight saving time to standard time. So we’ll ‘gain’ an hour of sleep Saturday night.
If you don’t turn your clock back you’ll be an hour early (right?) for your Sunday meeting, or in my case, my Sunday flight to Baltimore for the Geological Society of America meeting.
And speaking of geology, here are a few ‘Halloween-themed’ maps from the USGS. You might have to enlarge them (click on the image) to see what I mean.
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“Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius.” - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
November 2015 President’s Column, Water Resources IMPACT
I can’t believe my year as President of AWRA has gone by so quickly. One of the benefits of being President of AWRA is that I have been made more aware of national water resource issues, rather than focusing only on issues that directly affect the community or region that I live and work in. This awareness was enhanced by being able to spend most of the last year working and living in the Washington, D.C., area, which also helped me learn more about water resource issues that affected communities across the United States (U.S.).
I am not sure if the last year was any more unusual than previous years, but from my perspective, it seems like it has been quite an eventful year for water resources, and not just because AWRA is starting its second half-century. The main headline for almost the entire year has been the continuing drought in California, which has now reached critical stages. Entire communities have had their wells go dry, losing the ability to provide any water to homes in their service area. For several decades we have been hearing about the need to repair and improve our water resource infrastructure, and now we are seeing the impacts. While there are questions surrounding the resiliency and robustness of some our nation¹s water infrastructure, it is clear that many of the communities relying on community well systems in California¹s Central Valley water infrastructure have clearly failed. However, the communities themselves are demonstrating a tremendous resiliency by providing a subsistence level water supply by setting up alternative methods to meet their most basic water needs.
While the California drought seems to have caught all of the headlines, as the latest maps have shown, there have been growing drought conditions across much of the west. Parts of Texas went from drought, to significant flooding in the late spring, with many areas returning to drought conditions by the end of the summer. Most of the water supply reservoirs in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado are at levels where they will not be able to carry over much water into the next irrigation season. If precipitation levels and snow pack are below normal this winter, almost the entire western U.S. could experience severe water shortages in the coming year. However, recent climatological reports indicate that the current El Niño condition is one of the strongest on record. This could mean higher than normal precipitation this winter for the entire southern U.S., which in turn could trigger significant flooding events, similar to those that occurred in the winters of 1982-1983 and 1997-1998 in the southwestern U.S. On the other side of the country I was able to experience first-hand some of the record breaking weather this winter in the Northern Atlantic states. While Washington, D.C., did not receive record snow fall, Boston did, with snow piles not completely melting until almost July. The extreme weather conditions did not seem to slow down as we headed into fall, with record rainfall (over 20 inches in a day in some places) leading to unprecedented flooding in South Carolina in October. These types of weather extremes seem to be becoming the norm, rather than the exception, and water managers now have the unenviable task of needing to prepare for severe drought and flooding simultaneously throughout the west, and in many other areas of the country.
To complicate matters for water managers along the Animas River in southern Colorado, an accident at a retired mine site managed to turn a clear mountain river orange, when contaminated water spilled into the river from a gold mine treatment pond. This spill affected both municipal and agricultural water supplies for many miles downstream in Colorado and New Mexico. The accident that led to the spill highlights the need to address not only cleanup efforts on the hundreds of thousands of abandoned mine tailing sites across the west, but also how agricultural, municipal, industrial, and ecological water managers need to incorporate man made hazards when developing resilient and robust water management plans.
I am sure I have missed some good water resource stories, but just from these events it seems clear that there is more to talk about water than ever before, from water supply to flood hazard management, managing the quality of our nation¹s rivers and lakes to developing more robust and resilient water infrastructure. Thus, more than ever I find that AWRA provides a valuable forum for learning about these issues, discussing their impacts, and working towards developing solutions. The AWRA Annual Conference in Denver, Colorado, November 16-19, will be a great opportunity to learn about all of these issues, and join in the conversation on how to address them (Registration Form for this conference can be found online at www.awra.org).
I want to thank everyone for giving me the chance to serve as President. It has been great working with the AWRA staff, the AWRA Board, and everyone that contributes to making AWRA the effective organization that it is. I look forward to seeing you all at the conference in a few weeks, and continuing to work with you in the coming years.
John C. Tracy
October 23, 2015 | Posted by cmccrehin
AWRA is pleased to announce that the Integrated Water Resources Strategy of the Oregon Water Resources Department is the 2015 winner of the Association’s prestigious Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) Award. AWRA is also excited to announce its first ever IWRM Special Recognition Award winner ONE DROP’s Project Burkina Faso.
Both awards will be presented during the Annual Awards Luncheon at the Association’s Annual Water Resources Conference, November 18, 2015, Grand Hyatt Denver, in Denver, CO.
“Oregon is honored to receive the 2015 IWRM Award and greatly appreciates the Association’s commitment to and recognition of Integrated Water Resources Management,” Tom Byler, Director of the Oregon Water Resources Department remarked. “The state’s first water strategy was developed collaboratively, resulting in a long-term blueprint for meeting Oregon’s water quantity, water quality, and ecosystem needs. The Water Resources Department and its partners are gearing up for the 2017 Update to Oregon’s Integrated Water Resources Strategy. Receiving this award is a positive reminder to continue fostering collaborative planning across different sectors and institutions.”
Oregon’s Integrated Water Resources Strategy was adopted by Oregon’s Water Resources Commission in August 2012. The Strategy provides a roadmap for meeting the state’s instream and out-of-stream water needs, including water quantity, water quality, and ecosystem needs. The 2013 Oregon Legislature strongly supported implementation of the state’s first water strategy, providing more than $30 million in funding across agencies, leading to greater collaboration between Oregon’s natural resources agencies. The 2015 Oregon Legislature continued its support, investing an additional $54 million for water infrastructure projects.
“We at ONE DROP are both proud and humbled to accept this award,” said Catherine B. Bachand, CEO, One Drop. “It is extremely encouraging to know that our unique approach to sustainable water access – which was on full display in Burkina Faso – has been recognized at the highest level by a leading technical organization in the field. If we are to solve the water crisis permanently, making universal and sustainable access to water and sanitation services a reality, it will require from all stakeholders at every level to factor-in behavioral insight into infrastructure-related policies and programs and we are happy that through this award, this is being recognized.”
ONE DROP started Project Burkina Faso in 2012 in the region of Cascades and Hauts-Bassins. Developed using a systematic approach called The ABCs for Sustainability; the project uses three complementary components: access to safe drinking water and sanitation (“A”), behavior change using social art (“B”), and access to capital/entrepreneurship (“C”). Deployed over five years, this project will improve the living conditions of 100, 000 people.
AWRA will also present several other awards during the November 18th Luncheon, including:
Outstanding AWRA State Section Award
Washington State Section
Outstanding AWRA Student Chapter Award
DE AWRA Student Chapter
JAWRA W. R. Boggess Award
William P. Anderson, Jr. and Kristan Cockerill
Paper Title: “Creating False Images: Stream Restoration in an Urban Setting”
C. Mark Dunning
Richard A. Engberg
Sandor C. Csallany Institutional Award for Exemplary Contributions to Water Resources
Sacramento Water Forum
David R. Maidment Award for Exemplary Contributions to Water Resources Data and Information Systems
Anne J. Castle
Each year, AWRA gives several awards and scholarships. Nominations for 2016 will open in the new year. For more information visit the AWRA Annual Awards page, IWRM Award page, or the AWRA Scholarships page on our website.
October 23, 2015 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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To the Cubs’ faithful, wait’ll next year really means something these days. But the Cubbies couldn’t overtake the New York Mets, who will face the Kansas City Royals for North American baseball supremacy. Go Mets!
While you’re waiting for the World Series to start, click here to read the weekly water news.
“Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.” - Edgar Allan Poe
October 16, 2015 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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The AWRA 2017 Annual Water Resources Conference will return to Portland, OR.
I will NOT be donning my emperor’s outfit. Promise!
The 2015 Annual Water Resources Conference is in downtown Denver at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, 16-19 November.
The 2016 AWRA Annual Water Resources Conference will be in Orlando at the Florida Hotel and Conference Center, 14-17 November.
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“We live on an island surrounded by a sea of ignorance. As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance.” - John Archibald Wheeler
October 15, 2015 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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Disclosure notice: I received a review copy of this book from the publisher, Fulcrum Publishing.
Cutting to the Chase:
Read it! Well-written, unique perspective in a single book, great for all ages.
This review may seem a little different from my normal attempts because the book is different from most I review. Water Runs Through This Book by author, educator, and psychologist Nancy Bo Flood (with beautiful photos by Jan Sonnenmair) is ostensibly aimed at children ages 7 -12 (grades 2 - 7) – at least that what it says on the Amazon.com WWW site. I would take that advice with a kilogram or two of salt, because I am long past those age and grade ranges yet I enjoyed and learned from this remarkable little book.
Here is the blurb from the WWW site:
This book and the photographic images presents a sense of wonder and mystery about water, presenting unusual information – regional, global and astronomical – and then describes ways to conserve this resource that is essential to life – from birth to death. Water Runs Through This Book is written for readers, young and old, “green or not yet green” who are interested in participating through art or action to increase water awareness and water conservation. Through photographs, verse, and narration, this book celebrates the most essential ingredient to life: water. Author and educator Nancy Bo Flood and award-winning photographer Jan Sonnenmair combine imagination and information to explore this ever-changing yet essential element. Water Runs Through This Book is much more than an exploration of how water impacts life on Earth. It is a guide for how readers of all ages can become conservationists and protectors of this endangered resource.
The description is spot-on; it’s a book for readers of all ages, geared towards those with a ‘green’ or ‘near-green’ perspective. I doubt the Koch brothers have the book on their ‘must-read’ lists or will give it to their grandchildren. But they should.
The writing is fluid (no pun intended) and lyrical. Flood sprinkles her poems (and those of others) throughout the text. She includes quotes (Yes!) and perspectives from religion, indigenous peoples (she lives on the Navajo reservation) and those from the developing world. The role of, and impact on, women and girls in collecting water are highlighted.
She encourages her readers to take action to protect water but she does so without being preachy.
Flood discusses water in the human body and some of the things it does in our bodies and those of other creatures. She also presents the unique vantage point: our body as a watershed. Think about it; I still am. And she acknowledges groundwater (page 50) as being far more abundant than surface freshwater. Way to go, Dr. Flood!
Several boo-boos/omissions (no showstoppers):
1) The photo on page 4 is of Glen Canyon Dam, not Hoover Dam.
2) On page 8 there is the statement: ‘There is a theory that says too much manganese in our bodies affects our moods’. I checked the University of Maryland Medical Center and found no such support for that statement, although it said that manganese can interact with certain drugs to produce hallucinations – certainly mood-altering.
3) Figure on page 14: limestone is not a good example of an impermeable rock. Some of the world’s most productive aquifers are limestones - think of the Edwards aquifer in Texas. You want ‘impermeable rock’? Try shale or, better still, granite.
4) Figure on page 28: ‘Run off’ and ‘ground water’ are each one word. Elsewhere she does use ‘groundwater’ as one word.
5) Page 30: ‘in underground lakes’. I don’t think so.
7) No mention of the role of dams in producing electricity.
8) No mention of dam removal to renaturalize (aka ‘restore’) ecosystems.
The book has good references, a brief glossary and index.
Water Runs Through This Book is a beautiful little (small format, 64 pages) book. It has science, poetry, philosophy, anthropology, sociology, physiology, water rights, history, conservation, etc.
This is not a book for children; it’s for all of us. I am toying with using it in my undergraduate course, Introduction to Water Science and Policy. Its perspective is like that of no other water book I’ve read.
Kudos to the author and photographer!
Crackle of ice skin as I step, step, step
Snow melts, freezes, melts
I spy a lost mitten
- ‘Ice Skin, Winter Memory’ by Nancy Bo Flood (page 16)
October 9, 2015 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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Latin 101: The graphic below was sent around on Twitter:
RT @groundwaterfdn Friday Fun Fact: “Aquifer” comes from 2 Latin words: Aqua (water) and ferre (to bear or carry).
I am wrote another Tweet explaining the etymology of ‘groundwater’ – you know, ‘ground’ = ‘on the ground’ and ‘water’ = ‘water’. So ‘groundwater’ is ‘water on the ground’.
Friday Facetious Fact: ‘Groundwater’ comes from 2 English words: ‘ground’ (ground) & ‘water’ (water) = ‘water on the ground’ @groundwaterfdn
That’s one of the many things I remember from my PhD advisor, the late Gene Simpson, who was also an English scholar.
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“Minutes that feed on simple pleasures … Reading comics on the patio,
Cool breeze, warm sun, I weep with delight.
My wife, my brother, here with love and comfort. My pipe … a simple pleasure.”
- Eugene S. Simpson (1917 – 1995)