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…

Click here to access the weekly water news summary.


“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!

TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 17 – 23 May 2014

May 23, 2014 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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PowellHere is a NASA picture of Lake Powell. It’s one thing to hear that the lake is about 42% of capacity (or 58% empty), but quite another to see it. Wow!

It is World Turtle Day! Celebrate our friends!

In the USA we celebrate the Memorial Day Weekend, the first big three- Memorial dayday weekend of the summer. Enjoy, travel safely, and remember why we celebrate Memorial Day.

I took this amazing photograph from Ken Reid’s FB page. It’s from the Minneapolis Star Tribune and was taken by amateur photographer Frank Glick at the Fort Snelling National Cemetery in Minneapolis, MN. Here is the story.

Click here to access the weekly water news summary.


“The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.” - Bertrand Russell

TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 10 – 16 May 2014

May 16, 2014 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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grandma An interesting fracking image: anti-fracking grandma from New Orleans.

Speaking of stories, discover the backstory of the ’0.03% drinkable and accessible water’ claim by The Nature Conservancy. So is that all there is? Nope!

Click here for the weekly water news!


We live in a Newtonian world of Einsteinian physics ruled by Frankenstein logic.” - David Russell (thanks to Faruck Morcos

TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 3 – 9 May 2014

May 9, 2014 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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Curmudgeon alert: I spotted this graphic from WaterBudget on Twitter this morning. Yeah, you’ll have to click on it to enlarge; it’s just the first line  you’ll need to read.


I doubt Canada has 7% of the world’s drinkable water. According to Environment Canada it does have about 7% of the world’s renewable freshwater, but that is not synonymous with drinkable water. There is a lot of drinkable water from nonrenewable sources.

C’mon guys – remember groundwater!

Enjoy the weekly water news – click here!

Water is the driver of nature” - Leonardo da Vinci (thanks to Emily Simmons)

Book Review: ‘The Emerald Mile’

May 7, 2014 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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Have you ever received a book you thought you’d dislike, only to discover that once you started reading it, you could scarcely put it down?

Such was my experience with Kevin Fedarko’s amazing The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon

Yes, it’s about my favorite river, the Colorado, and a breakneck (‘suicidal’9781439159859_p0_v5_s260x420might be a better word) trip by three men in a fragile wooden dory (named the Emerald Mile) trying to set a record during the height of the El Niño-fueled runoff during the spring and early summer of 1983. I recall that time – I was still working at the Desert Research Institute before moving to Atlanta. En route I took a detour to see Lake Powell in August 1983. It was still full – a far cry from what it is now.

Although I have rafted a few times on rivers not nearly as challenging as the Colorado I am hardly a rafting enthusiast. So when friend and colleague Todd Jarvis placed this book in my mailbox as a gift I flipped through it and thought, ’400 pages about a raft trip? Really!’ So there it sat on a corner of my office desk, quickly buried by assorted papers, for six weeks or so. Then, about to embark on a trip and looking for something other than a ‘WaterWonk book’ to read, I grabbed this and soon started my journey.

Wow! Although some liken the book to Sebastian Junger’s The Perfect Stormmy analogy is like a John McPhee book on steroids – or better still, amphetamines.

Throughout the book, Fedarko provides graphic lessons on geology, fluvial geomorphology, open-channel hydraulics, dams, and related topics. His discussions of the river’s hydraulics are so spellbinding and graphic that they even conjured a problem involving Lava Rapids that I had given my graduate students 20 years ago. I doubt I could solve it now. Notes are meticulous, as are references. The index is excellent. The only factual error I noted was the few times he referred to Lake Powell’s maximum capacity of nine billion gallons. It’s actually closer to nine trillion gallons (roughly 27 MAF), a figure he does use once. No big deal – you’re more than forgiven, Kevin. Probably a typo anyway.

Fedarko is a great raconteur. We get the history of the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River. We’ve all heard about John Wesley Powell (boy, what a character!) but it was a young Spanish captain – Don García López de Cárdenas – who was the first white person to view the chasm in 1540. Fedarko masterfully cajoles us into joining Powell’s 1869 expedition and we’re glad to be going along – vicariously, thankfully.

We’re told of the construction of Hoover Dam, and its significance and importance to a Depression-wearied nation. We learn about the battles between environmentalists and development interests over other dams on the Colorado River. Fedarko then escorts us to the upstream end of the Grand Canyon and the massive Glen Canyon Dama structure that figures prominently in the book’s central theme.

A part-time river guide himself, Fedarko introduces us to the Grand Canyon river guide community – the men (mostly) and women who escort greenhorns downstream on breathtaking runs on the river that has both captured and captivated them. I was reminded of the ski bums I encountered in my younger days in the Lake Tahoe basin: ‘Live to ski. Ski to live’ except that it in the canyon the mantra was ‘Live to raft. Raft to live.’

The story gravitates to Martin Litton, who became infatuated with dories while recreating Powell’s 1869 expedition. Litton founded Grand Canyon Dories, and soon attracted a cadre of ‘true believers’ even though his wages were lower than those of the other companies, which used rubber rafts or pontoon boats. Litton was sort of a ‘Pied Piper’ when it came to dories and their virtues. Three people he attracted were Kenton ‘The Factor’ Grua, Steve ‘Wren’ Reynolds, and Rudi Petschek. Grua, by far the most intense and charismatic of the three, would lead the charge to set a record through the canyon in the Emerald Mile, accompanied by the other two.

What prompted the run for the record? Adrenalin for sure, but nature kicked in with the allure of the tremendous runoff produced by the snowfall during the legendary 1983 El Niño event. Lake Powellthe USA’s second-largest reservoir after Lake Mead, filled to the brim during the runoff season – so much so that jury-rigged plywood panels had to be installed so the lake would not overtop the dam.

But that overtopping was the least of the Bureau of Reclamation’s worries. Reclamation engineers were releasing torrents of water through Glen Canyon Dam’s emergency tunnels. But cavitation was eating through one of the tunnels, thus potentially triggering a catastropic event (a euphemism, for sure). Fedarko details the effort by a handful of Reclamation engineers to control the cavitation. His description was absoutely riveting and spot-on. You will be amazed when you learn what actually initiated the cavitation. Would you believe a small knob on the ceiling? Unbelievable! Oh, yeah, and then there is that 90-degree bend in the tunnel…   

With this hydraulic havoc as backdrop, three intrepid (crazy?) men set off in a flimsy wooden boat on the morning of 25 June 1983 to fly through the Canyon. They had no Park Service permit, but that was not going to thwart them. Fedarko’s skillful storytelling ensures we are in that puny dory (or dumped in the river) with them. It’s quite a ride.

You would be well advised to take that ride. You need not be a river guide or a WaterWonk to appreciate it. Upshot: read the book!

Can’t wait for Kevin Fedarko’s next offering.

Thanks, Todd. You know my reading tastes better than I.

“No matter how full the river, it still wants to grow.” - African proverb (from The Emerald Mile, p. 202)

TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 26 April 2014 – 2 May 2014

May 2, 2014 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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I am headed to Denver later today for the 10th Annual Groundwater Summit. I remember the very first one in San Antonio and the planning Screen%20Shot%202014-05-01%20at%201.58.20%20PM

and effort that went into creating a new event.

It’s amazing that so many have attended conferences that deal exclusively with a
resource that is ‘inaccessible’ and ‘undrinkable’! Go figure! [Yes, I am being sarcastic here.]

Enjoy! I will.

Click here for the weekly water news summary.

“The important work of moving the world forward does not wait to be done by perfect men.” - George Eliot (thanks to Faruck Morcos

Position Open: JAWRA Editor-in-Chief

May 1, 2014 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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We here at AWRA are searching for a new editor-in-chief for JAWRA, our flagship journal. Current Editor-in-Chief Ken Lanfear has done an outstanding job and has the proverbial big shoes to fill.

Applications are due 31 July 2014 for a three-year term beginning 1 January 2015. The position carries an honorarium.

Download JAWRA-Search-Announcement

Go for it!

“Scientists have odious manners, except when you prop up their theories; then you can borrow money from them.” – Mark Twain


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