TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 4 – 10 April 2015

April 10, 2015 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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Lots of news on the California drought, with everyone Caweighing in. If you’re tired of reading about it, think of the Californians, who are living through it.

skiThese images  - including Tom Toles’ cartoon – speak volumes.

Click on them to enlarge them.

Click here to access the water summary!

Enjoy!

“In my view, this prolonged drought challenges not only Californians but every one of us to reconsider the ends to which we use our water resources.”- Larry Swatuk, University of Waterloo

JAWRA Seeks Associate Editor, Water Quality

April 6, 2015 | Posted by cmccrehin
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The Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA) is seeking a new associate editor (AE) in water quality. The successful candidate for this position should have expertise in one or more of the following areas:

  • processes and interactions controlling water quality,
  • monitoring of water quality, or
  • prediction of water quality.

JAWRA water quality papers commonly deal with, but are not limited to, nonpoint sources of nutrients, evaluation of best management practices for water quality improvements, and water temperature issues. Water quality manuscripts submitted to JAWRA span a wide range of spatial scales and often focus on reporting large-scale research.

AEs serve as primary advisors to the editor-in-chief and their responsibilities fall into two primary areas: supervising reviews of manuscripts and recruitment of journal articles.

The new AE can expect to handle 8 to 15 manuscripts per year. All manuscripts are processed online using the ScholarOne Manuscripts™ system, with the AE selecting reviewers and, when reviews return, making a recommendation to the editor-in-chief. AEs are encouraged to seek out qualified authors in their subject areas and encourage them to submit journal articles to JAWRA. These could be individual submittals or featured collections of topically related articles.

Associate editors are volunteers who earn our heartfelt thanks and are invited to our annual AE luncheon. Serving as an AE also offers the opportunity for an individual to make a difference in advancing the publication of cutting-edge multidisciplinary water resources research. The term of an AE is three years, which may be extended by mutual agreement.

Interested individuals should e-mail a statement-of-interest and a CV to Dr. Parker (Jim) Wigington, JAWRA editor-in-chief, at JAWRA-editor@awra.org.

The position will remain open for applications until at least April 30, 2015.

Dumping Seawater in the Desert – Solving Iran’s Water Shortage?

April 5, 2015 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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Many of you know that I am fond of featuring ‘water transfer mega-projects’ involving the transportation of huge amounts of water across large distances. I have posted a number of times about NAWAPA and NARAThe subject has even produced some April Fool’s Day posts.

Iran_topo_enThat’s why I jumped at the chance to examine another mega-project, this one sent to me by Mahmoud Shahbodaghi, an Iranian-American structural engineer in New York. He proposed the work back in 2009 in this online article.

In his brief article, Shahbodaghi speculated upon increasing Iran’s water supply by pumping seawater into Iran’s Lute and Namak (also known as Kavir, I believe) Deserts to create two huge lakes covering about 161,000 square kilometers (10% of Iran’s area) or about 62,000 square miles (a bit bigger than the US state of Georgia) that could store as much as 31 trillion cubic meters (about 25 billion acre-feet) of water. That’s about 1,000 fullLake Meads!

Below is the photo Shahbodaghi sent with his email. There are three lakes instead of two – the top two are the Kavir and Lute Deserts. The body of the water on the lower left is the Persian Gulf. The mountains to the right of the  Persian Gulf are the Zagros Mountains, which create a rain shadow effect. Not shown are the Alborz Mountains, between the Caspian Sea and Tehran and regions south. Those mountains create a barrier to moisture-laden air blowing south from the Caspian Sea, forcing it upward and producing a rain shadow on the leeward side.

For the proposed project the rain shadows are a plus. After the atmosphere dumps its liquid cargo on the mountains, the air blowing down the leeward slopes has a high evaporative demand, culminating in high evaporation from the saltwater lakes and potentially increased precipitation. Think Nevada, the driest state in the USA, bordered on the west by the Sierra Nevada. Too bad it has no mega-lakes to produce enhanced precipitation.

Zoom_pic

Shahbodaghi realizes that he is proposing a daunting engineering feat that would likely have serious environmental and other consequences. I cannot comment on the piping and pumps – that’s not my forte.  The energy to move the water is available, but at what cost in terms of GHGs and money that could have been spent on other works?

He notes that earthquakes from the water’s load on the land and flooding are potential hazards. In my view the former is a real concern, since this region is tectonically active.

I won’t address the social and environmental problems that the scheme will produce. Reducing your country’s land area by 10% might be a non-starter.

Shahbodaghi wanted to know a few things from me:

Is there a chance that there will not be increased rainfall?  Will there be so much evaporation that salt content will rise rapidly?  Is there a chance to contaminate existing underground waters with saltwater? Can a Regional Climate Model be built to evaluate such future conditions?

Always a chance that the rainfall will not increase. You need more than atmospheric water. The air has to be cooled and condensation nuclei must also be present. Clouds, anyone?

My concern with the precipitation (rainfall) is not whether it will be increased, but where will it go? It might not fall where it is supposed to fall. It may fall outside the boundaries of Iran or evaporate before it hits the ground. Or maybe fall back on one of the lakes or the sea.

My other issue with the rainfall is will it be water usable to humans? In other words, will it become runoff (streamflow) or groundwater recharge? This gets to my issue with some proponents of precipitation enhancement: they are often content to trumpet increased precipitation but neglect the disposition of it. Does it translate into increased streamflow or groundwater recharge? My former cloud-seeding colleagues (1970s – 1980s) at the Desert Research Institute often had trouble demonstrating whether their cloud seeding really paid off.

The lakes will likely leak and introduce a lot of saltwater into the subsurface. Much of this could migrate to aquifers, rendering them useless for human consumption. A lot of salt could be deposited in the vadose zone, rendering it useless for crops should the land ever be reclaimed for agriculture.

The evaporation can be calculated given hydrometeorological conditions. Obviously a land-atmosphere-climate model should be constructed to predict what could happen (with uncertainties quantified). That task is above my pay grade.

My gut feeling tells me that this challenging, fascinating project won’t produce the desired results. But it would make for a number of interesting theses/dissertations in diverse fields.

Iran really needs to learn to live with what it has, and consider better management – water pricing, etc. Or call David Zetland.

Turkmenistan proposed something like this years ago, but not on this scale. They were going to use irrigation return flow to create a lake in the Karakum Desert. For what reason, I’m not sure. Because they could, probably. Then Turkmenbashi died and all was forgotten.

Enjoy!

Comments are welcome.

“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.” - Voltaire 

TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 28 March – 3 April 2015

April 3, 2015 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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Another April Fool’s Day has passed so for another year, we are all safe from the likes of me and others who make feeble attempts at humor.

I did learn of an age-old Canadian custom that reveals itself each 1 April: iconic Lake Louise is drained and the bottom repainted so that a new crop of tourists will enjoy that beautiful turquoise water. O, Canada!

Lake Louise

Oh, boy – baseball is upon us!

Now click here to enjoy the weekly water news summary!

“Water is the driving force of all nature” — Leonardo da Vinci (tnx @HelenaOnline)

BILLY BOB COUNTY, TX (UPI). In a lavish 1 April 2015 press conference at hislickens Billy Bob County ranch, Texas corporate raider-turned water entrepreneur-humanitarian T. Bone Lickens (shown here drying wet money, his favorite pastime) announced the biggest deal of his storied career: he and partners Bush Family Development (BFD) and Mexican billionaire Carlos Gordo have succeeded in gaining control of the freshwater resources of South America’s Guaraní aquifer, which underlies parts of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay (see blue area on map).

mapThe aquifer system represents the greatest stock of liquid freshwater in the world. According to a recent World Bank report, Draining the Guaraní Aquifer: Saving the World’s Sorry-Ass Parched Butt, there is ‘more damned water there than you can shake a stick at.’ That’s a direct quote from economist Hugh Jeego.

Lickens’ spokesperson Phil Dert announced that the consortium, known as GASP (Guaraní Aquifer Security Project), would protect the aquifer from ‘water profiteers’ who would ‘seek to enrich themselves while destroying the world’s greatest freshwater resource.’ Dert also noted that Nestlé WatersSuez Environnement, and Veolia Water were ‘minor partners’ in GASP.

When asked who died and made him water king and protector of the aquifer, Lickens replied, “No one, son, it’s because I’ve got the cojones and the dinero.

CheneyDert also said that former Vice President Dick Cheney will be Chair of GASP’s Water Board and have overall responsibility for the project along with prime contractor Halliburton. Operations Director is former USACE engineer Alberto ‘Al’ Muerzo, who was responsible for the Corps’ Colorado River Access Project (CRAP)He will be assisted by Dr. Desmond ‘Des’ Ayuno. Matt Pulroy, formerly of the Southern Nevada Waste Authority, will be responsible for GASP’s community and public relations.

BFD’s interests will be managed by Neil Bush, whose financial skills are said to rival the peacemaking and diplomatic Neil%20bush-thumbskills of his brother, former President George W. Bush. Spokesperson Robin Banks Bush phonestated: “Neil Bush is rightly credited with providing the Federal government with the experience it needed to cope with the recent financial meltdown. Neil Bush is honored to be a part of BFD and GASP.”

Gordo, arguably the world’s richest man, was not present but his spokeswoman, Ima Perra, told the assembled dignitaries and journalists that Mr. Gordo was proud to be part of GASP. His recently-acquired engineering firm, ABRIL-TONTO, headed by former Universidad de Taco Grande engineering dean Dr. Ricardo ‘Dick’ Cabeza, will have a major GASP role.

JabbaWhen asked if Gordo’s (shown here) presence was simply to add a ‘brown face’ to the project, Perra became visibly agitated and barked, “WTF? Mr. Gordo is involved because he has more goddamned money than all those toothless Texas crackers combined!”

Rumors of gringos taking control of the aquifer’s water have swirled about for years; now, the piñata’s been smashed and the goodies have been spilled. It has been known that the Bush family has purchased huge tracts there, ostensibly to raise cattle and build gated communities for disaffected upscale (are there other kinds?) Republicans, but others have alleged more nefarious purposes, such as allowing Democrats to live in the communities.

Images“This is just another example of water imperialism by the private sector, eh?” alleged Anita Fixx, head of the Frostback Follies Forum, a group of disgruntled Canadians who feast on rumors, misinformation, Molson’s, and back bacon. Fixx, shown here (left) with two of FFF’s hosers (board members) (below),hosers added, “It’s even more despicable that the Americans are involved, eh? Since they couldn’t steal our precious Canadian water they have resorted to bamboozling the poor and downtrodden of Latin America, eh? Take off!”

When asked how the water would be marketed, Lickens said that most of the water would be shipped north via a mammoth tunnel, drilled by huge boring machines currently being made Tunneling machinein China. He noted this will be the world’s largest engineering project and take years to complete. Energy will be generated by local geothermal resources and wind. Lickens chuckled, “Everyone knows that South America blows.” Lickens proudly noted, “The project will put most of Latin America to work, so there will be no more illegal immigration to the USA. Furthermore, through Gordo’s political connections, the Mexican drug cartels will  have exclusive contracts to supply drugs to the workers.” Lickens added: “They will all make plenty of money and have too much work to be fighting amongst themselves. So now the little woman and I can once again visit our favorite Mexican city, Ciudad Juárez, without packing AK-47s.”

Dert added that Nestlé Waters will bottle a small amount each year, and market it under the name Guaraní Gold. The Nestlé rep, Rob N. Steele, said that, in keeping with Nestlé’s  humanitarian focus, it has paid the Guaraní Indians a lifetime annual royalty amounting to 5 USD per person and a case of one-liter bottles, which the Indians will be allowed to fill once per year from a designated spring. He declined to detail the roles of Veolia and Suez, although he did mention that they would have ‘oversight’ and ‘sustainability’ roles.

Journalists have noted that there has been nary a peep from Latin American leaders about this, save The-three-stooges-2
for Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro (shown here between two of his ministers), who commented through a spokesman: “As leader of the Bolivarian Revolution, I have far more important things to worry about, like a country that is going down the tubes and getting my bus driver’s job back.” Paraguayanhitler President Heinrich Himmler, Jr., (left) was questioned about the deal upon leaving church, commented, “Grundwasser? Was ist das?”

This decidedly muted response suggests that large amounts of money may have changed hands, a charge vigorously denied by both the Lickens and Gordo camps, although a smile was noted on Ms. Perra’s face.

6a00d8341bf80a53ef00e54fee0ac08833-800wiLickens said that the project would begin once long-delayed World  Bank funds of $100B are received. Additional financial backing is by AIG, Shitibank NA, Banco de Brasil, and Goldman Suchs. No mention was made of the total amount of money involved, nor how the water was acquired. One wag noted that former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio ‘Little’ Lula (shown above) is driving ajugs new Bentley and Argentinian President  Cristina ‘Jugs’ Fernández de Kirchner (shown here) is sporting some new ‘assets.’

[Disclosure notice: this is fictitious. See some previous April Fools’ Day posts: 1 April 20071 April 20081 April 2009.]

Happy April Fools’ Day!     ¡Feliz el día de tontos de abril!

“You can take the boy out of the Catholic high school but you can’t take the Catholic high school out of the boy.” –my long-suffering spouse

TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 21 – 27 March 2015

March 27, 2015 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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Tarantula_1955I saw this sign (looks like it’s from the UK) on Eric Fitch’s Facebook page and it immediately conjured images of a 1950s horror film, which I turned into a blog post. 

If the sign is Photoshopped, that’s okay with me. Pretty imaginative.

Click here for the weekly water news.

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“A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning how to grow in rows.” - Doug Larson (thanks to Cyndi Gilbert, who said, ‘Be a weed!’)

TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 14 – 20 March 2015

March 20, 2015 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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Wwd2015-logo
First day of Spring or Autumn. Whichever it is, enjoy! SWP-Banners-with-image

Sunday,22 March, is World Water Day!

Congrats to Rajendra Singh of India, winner of the 2015 Stockholm Water Prize.

Click here to see the weekly summary of water news.

We don’t have a technology problem with water, we have a governance problem.” - Bob Rae at 

 

TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 7 -13 March 2015

March 13, 2015 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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CWR_2015Running late today after an early morning (2 AM 13 March) return from Ottawa where I attended the Canadian Water Network’s biennial meeting, Connecting Water Resources 2015. Every bit as exceptional as I thought it would be.

Many of the posts below have the hashtag #CWR2015 where you will see the archive of the huge number of Tweets that occurred during the conference – far more than at the 2013 conference (#CWR2013). The volume and quality of the Tweets CWR2015-2enhanced the conference meeting experience for the attendees and those who could not attend.

Speaking of Tweets, the picture at the top shows three wayward Tweeps - Clinton Tonge, some old guy, and Eramosa Engineering - at the informal ‘Tweetup’ event that was held on 12 March before the banquet.

It takes all kinds, including the two shown just above - Katherine Balpataky and Bernadette Conant, Consortium Program Analyst and Executive Director, respectively, of the CWN.

Click here to access the weekly water news and jobs!

“Subsidies are like barnacles; once they attach onto a boat, they are very difficult to remove.” - Margaret Catley-Carson #CWR2015

TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 28 February – 6 March 2015

March 6, 2015 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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CWRI am headed to Ottawa for the Canadian Water Network’s biennial meeting, Connecting Water Resources 2015. I attended the 2013 meeting and it was one of the best conferences I’d ever attended. It had an excellent mix of high-profile international speakers, oral presentations, posters, networking, Canadian hospitality, and friendliness. I expect #CWR2015 to be more of the same.

Surprise! Pat Mulroy, on the current cover of the High Country News, will be a Mulroyspeaker. I am anxious to hear her speak at an international venue without the burden of being the head of a major Western US water agency.

I will be Tweeting – the hashtag is #CWR2015My poor multi-tasking skills – Tweeting and listening – will be evident.

Click here to access the summary!

Human beings were created by water to transport it uphill.’ - A. Nonnimus

Four-Day Expert on Iran’s Water Issues: My Radio Farda Interview

March 5, 2015 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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Four days in Iran. Yes, I am now an expert on the Islamic Republic of Iran’swater issues, especially in Iran-flagEsfahan. So none other than Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Persian language outlet Radio Farda interviewed me on that same topic. So here is my interview, a mixture of Persian and English. It’s a little under 11 minutes: click here.

But I must be an expert – I stayed at the Commercially Important Persons (CIP) Lounge at the Tehran Airport!

Enjoy!

“Always listen to experts. They’ll tell you what can’t be done, and why. Then do it.” - Robert A. Heinlein, Time Enough for Love


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