TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 28 June – 4 July 2014

July 4, 2014 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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DECRunning a little late this week but not because it is the Fourth of July holiday in the USA: I’m ‘recovering’ (pleasantly so!) from the AWRA IWRM Conference and the 500-mile drive home from Reno yesterday.

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Happy July 4th to my USA friends and colleagues! Take a moment to reflect upon the Declaration of Independence.

Click here for a summary of the week’s water news.


“No shit, Sherlock.” - What a California water manager thought of saying to a state legislator who remarked on the inefficiency of a community’s water distribution system 

TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 21 – 27 June 2014

June 27, 2014 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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6a00d8341bf80a53ef01a511d5ce4d970c-200wiI am spending the night in Lakeview, OR, the self-styled ‘Tallest Town in Oregon’ since its elevation is 4,800 feet (c. 1,500 m) above MSL.

Pretty impressive, eh?

I am en route to Reno and the AWRA IWRM Conference. I am taking the long way simply because I wanted to see this part of Oregon. Very pretty, especially the last part through the Sprague River Valley. 

And the drive from Lakeview to Reno on US Highway 395 was wonderful.

Click here to enjoy the weekly water news summary.

“Fasten your seat belts; it’s going to be a bumpy night.” - Margo Channing (played by Bette Davis), in All About Eve (thanks to Eric Fitch)

UnknownWith the Dutch shredding their group in the 2014 FIFA World Cup (3 wins, no losses/draws, a blowout 5-1 win over defending champion Spain, and 10 total goals scored) I thought it would be appropriate to honor their expertise in water resources as well.

Friend and colleague Michael van der Valk of the Dutch Portal to International Hydrology sent this information my way. This portal is an excellent site for water resources information so check it often. It frequently has free downloads that cost money elsewhere. The title of each post is hot, so click to access downloads (if there are any).

Vanishing Water Landscapes in the Middle East
On 11 June 2014 Francesca de Châtel successfully defended her PhD thesis 2014.06.11_De_Chatel
on water in Syria. The Jordan River has been reduced to 2% of its historic size and is heavily polluted. Across Syria, rivers are shrinking, springs have dried up, and the desert is spreading. The water crisis in the Middle East, the most water-scarce region in the world, is rapidly worsening, yet decision-makers appear unwilling to acknowledge its severity and water remains low on the political agenda. How can this gap between the reality of growing scarcity on the ground and the continued illusion of plenty be explained?

Water, Drought, Climate Change, and Conflict in Syria
In May 2013, a year ago, Thomas Friedman, writing for the International Herald Tribune and New York Times, was one of the first to acknowledge the importance of drought, the lack of water and possibly climate change in the Syrian revolution. »Kids without books, teachers or classes for a long time ­ that’s trouble. Big trouble.«, he wrote. And »the drought and unemployment were important in pushing people toward revolution«, a Syrian lady was quoted. Building on this and on other information, Peter Gleick, in his paper “Water, Drought, Climate Change, and Conflict in Syria”, to be published in July 2014, also concludes that drought, water and agricultural management, and climatic conditions are factors in the Syrian conflict.

United Nations Watercourses Convention enters into force
On 19 May 2014 Viet Nam acceded to the UN Watercourses Convention, making it the 35th country to join this global instrument. The accession by Viet Nam to the United Nations Watercourses Convention triggered its entry into force by bringing the number of Parties to the required total of 35. The 1997 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses (United Nations Watercourses Convention) will enter into force on 17 August 2014.

UN-Water’s technical advice on a possible Water Goal: Securing Sustainable Water for All
What should be to role of water in the Post-2015 Development Agenda? This was one of the questions in the expert consultation process that UN-Water undertook all year during 2013 to help UN Member States in their forthcoming intergovernmental negotiations. The outcome – an evidence-based paper and an Executive Summary – recommends a prioritization of water through a dedicated goal with five interlinked targets, that builds on and extends existing commitments such as the Millennium Development Goals and the priorities agreed at Rio+20. But what is the goal? Securing sustainable water for all!

Improving food security in the Sahel is difficult, but achievable
Africa’s Sahel suffers from degraded soils, erratic rainfall, and an exploding population – all of which hold huge implications for the region’s food security. This year the situation is especially dire. Valerie Amos, the United Nations coordinator for emergency relief, estimated that 20 million people in the Sahel will face hunger this year, requiring $2 billion in food aid. WRI’s Chris Reij writes about it.

Knowledge and capacity development in the water sector: special issue of Water Policy
Water management is particularly dependent on strong capacity, a solid knowledge base and awareness at all levels, including those of the individual, the organization, the sector institutions and the ‘enabling 2014.02.15_Water_Policyenvironment’. Yet getting all levels to operate in a coherent manner is challenging, and requires vision and leadership. A special issue of Water Policy seeks to further the understanding of leadership in knowledge and capacity development in the water sector. However, its theoretical and methodological insights will be of interest beyond that arena. The special issue resulted from selected papers presented at the 5th Delft Symposium on Water Sector Capacity Development held in Delft, The Netherlands. The best thing: they are free to download!

Collectively, the contributions examine knowledge and capacity development in both the water services and water resources sub-sectors. In order to be linked well to current local realities, the papers rely on both academic analyses based on empirical research as well as practitioners’ accounts based on their professional experience. They present an overview of the current state of the art in knowledge and capacity development in the water sector.

Living with Water Scarcity – new book
Do you worry that there is not enough water for people, the economy and environment? Do you wonder if the water in our taps and rivers is safe or polluted? Do you want to know if farmers waste water, utilities charge too much, or bottled water destroys ecosystems? You are not alone in asking questions. The headlines say “drought, pollution, conflict and insecurity,” but the stories offer few solutions. Living with Water Scarcity [by David Zetland] clarifies the connections among personal and social water flows in an accessible style.

‘Al draagt een aap een gouden ring, het is en blijft een lelijk ding.’ - Dutch proverb  ["Although a monkey wears a golden ring, it remains an ugly thing."]

TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 14 – 20 June 2014

June 20, 2014 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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Nice map of water rights in the USA (click to enlarge). It is Figure 4.3 on page 56 (via BqbshopCIAAtaiY
Christian-Smith and Gleick, 2012
) from the recently-releasedDepartment of Energyreport, The Water-Energy Nexus: Challenges and Opportunities.

And here is an infographic.

And click here to access the weekly water news!


“There has always been, in America, a thread of anti-intellectualism.” - Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ)

Seminal Groundwater Book (Shill alert!)

Friend and colleague Todd Jarvis and I spent yesterday at a retreat for Todd_jarvis_0_0semi-recalcitrant (speaking only for myself) geographers. As we departed I asked him, “When’s the book coming out?’ He looked surprised and then produced a copy of Contesting Hidden Waters: Conflict Resolution for Groundwater & Aquifers from his backpack.

Here is what I wrote about Todd and his book on 31 July 2013:

What about Todd Jarvis? A luminary? Better believe it! Unbeknownst to many, he is on the verge of finishing the first draft of his book, Contesting Hidden Waters: Conflict Resolution for Groundwater and Aquifers.

The big deal? I cannot think of a book on water conflict that does anything more than pay lip service (if that) to groundwater, which comprises far more of Earth’s unfrozen freshwater – 95 to 98% or so – than surface or atmospheric water. But it gets the ’Rodney Dangerfield’ treatment: no respect! 

Not so with Todd’s book - all groundwater all the time!

The blurb from the book’s site:

The world increasingly relies on groundwater resources for drinking water and the provision of food for a growing population. Todd_bookThe utilization of aquifer systems also extends beyond freshwater supply to include other resources such as heat extraction and the storage and disposal of substances.

Unlike other books about conflict resolution and negotiations over water resources, this volume is unique in focusing exclusively on conflicts over groundwater and aquifers. The author explores the specific challenges presented by these “hidden” resources, which are shown to be very different from those posed by surface water resources. Whereas surface watersheds are static, groundwater boundaries are value-laden and constantly changing during development.

The book describes the various issues surrounding the governance and management of these resources and the various parties involved in conflicts and negotiations over them. Through first-hand accounts from a pracademic skilled in both process and substance as a groundwater professional and professional mediator, the book offers options for addressing the challenges and issues through a transdisciplinary approach.

No, I’ve not read the book (it’s en route). No, this is not a review. But it is a recommendation. Todd Jarvis is a smart guy when it comes to hydrogeology – one of the smartest I’ve met. He’s thorough, meticulous, perceptive, experienced, calm, and thoughtful. When it comes to conflict and groundwater, he IS the world’s expert (the cognoscenti know this). You don’t hear as much about him as you do others because he is humble and doesn’t indulge in self-promotion; he just gets the job done without all the Sturm und Drang. But the recognition due him will change now that his book is out. Trust me – long after I am gone from this Earth people will be citing this text.

The subject matter will become increasingly important as global warming desiccates surface water supplies in certain areas, placing groundwater at the center of conflict in such areas.

Upshot: read the book – even if you are one of those who think that groundwater is not accessible and drinkable.

I love this quote about the book:

“A refreshingly unique and long awaited approach to understanding the most neglected part of the hydrologic cycle and how we interact with it.” – Mark GiordanoProfessor, Georgetown Universitycommenting on the book

Friday the 13th. This is the only such day this year. But in 2015 there will Friday 13th be three, just as in 2012. In any event, it’s not a good day for those who suffer from paraskevidekatriaphobia —fear of Friday the 13th.

But don’t think of that – think of this gorgeous sunset on the Great Salt Lake! Thanks to Sheila R. McCann.


Click here to access the weekly news summary.

Good luck!

“Luck has a peculiar habit of favoring those who don’t depend on it” – Unknown

TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 31 May – 6 June 2014

June 6, 2014 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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600px-Into_the_Jaws_of_Death_23-0455M_editToday we’re honoring those who served and those who died 70 years ago on D-Day and the entire Normandy Invasion. Special thanks to the Allied troops – American, Canadian, British, Australian, New Zealand, Free French, Free Dutch, et al. – who made it happen and rescued Europe and the world.

Thanks to the French people, for being so welcoming and appreciative, lo these 70 years.

Thank you, all!

Now click here to enjoy the week’s water news. Be sure to check out the jobs under ‘Positions Wanted’.


“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.” ? G.K. Chesterton

UntitledGroundwater is not simple, but the folks at the Texas Water Resources Institute at Texas A & M have certainly made it simpler. The TWRI’s Summer 2014 issue of TxH2O is devoted to groundwater. Not bad for a resource some consider ’inaccessible and undrinkable’. After all, as we learn from the publication, groundwater comprises 60% of the state’s water supply.

You can read the publication online or download it:

Download Txh2o-v9n1

It’s well-written; whether you are a water professional or an intelligent layperson, you will find it useful. It naturally focuses on Texas groundwater, which strikes many as ‘secret and occult’.

I especially enjoyed the articles about Texas groundwater administration (great for my course on US Water Reosurces Management), the Edwards aquifer (part of PhD dissertation work in 1975!), ASR, brackish groundwater, and Texas Ag Water blog maven Tiffany Dowell’s Q & A.

Texas A & M is a land-grant university, and items like this issue are what land-grant universities should be doing. Keep it up, TxWRI!

Online there are more TxH2O issues for your reading pleasure.


“Why is that the way it is, where it is, when it is?” - Unknown (what geographers need to ask)

TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 24 – 30 May 2014

May 30, 2014 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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UnknownTalk about a ‘blast from the past’ that is not a ‘golden oldie’! Earlier this week I heard a reference to the venerable Kaypro II ’portable’ (in your dreams) computer from the early 1980s. I never owned one – I had a desktop Leading Edge Model D - but used one. I did have a Star 13-pin dot matrix printer.

Oh, that MS-DOS! The nightmares return…

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“The problem with communication…is the illusion that it has been accomplished.” – George Bernard Shaw


May 28, 2014 | Posted by admin
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Featured Collection: Riparian Ecosystems and Buffers II

Paul Mayer, Kate Dwire, Judy Okay, and Philippe Vidon are the guest associate editors for this collection of eleven papers originating from the AWRA 2012 Summer Specialty Conference, “Riparian Ecosystems IV: Advancing Science, Economics, and Policy” This follows an earlier collection published in April 2010. Themes include:

  • Riparian vegetation management;
  • Restoration and nutrient management; and
  • Ecosystem services and modeling.

Other Technical Papers:

Wright et al.  look at high-resolution Radar rainfall fields for urban hydrology.

Olmanson et al. use Landsat to look at clarity in Minnesota lakes.

Patil et al. examine landscape classification and streamflow predictability.

Zhao et al. report on an innovative approach to managing an interjurisdictional lake basin in China.

And … a Book Review!


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