November 4, 2014 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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Groundwater depletion the world over poses a far greater threat to global water security than is currently acknowledged.
Anyone even remotely interested in the world’s water predicament has to read this paper. It’s not long. Jay lays it out, pure and simple, and it ain’t very pretty. He makes the important point that estimates of the stocks (amount in storage) of groundwater are not well-known in many aquifers. So we don’t know how much recoverable water is left. It’s like withdrawing money from a checking account in excess of the deposits, but not knowing the total amount of money actually in the account. So you can withdraw more than you deposit, but you won’t know when the money will run out until is actually does. Not good!
Read my piece, written a few months ago, about stocks and flows and estimates of the the amount of groundwater in storage.
I will refer to Jay’s work this afternoon in Session 25 at the AWRA Annual Conference. See you there!
Enjoy – or not!
“The irony of groundwater is that despite its critical importance to global water supplies, it attracts insufficient management attention relative to more visible surface water supplies in rivers and reservoirs. In many regions around the world, groundwater is often poorly monitored and managed. In the developing world, oversight is often non-existent.” - Jay Famiglietti, The Global Groundwater Crisis, p. 946
November 1, 2014 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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I am a day late posting this – hope you had a Happy Halloween! A scary picture of me from Gayle Leonard.
Today I’m off to the AWRA Annual Conference in the DC area. It’s AWRA’s 50th anniversary. Great organization made possible by great, engaged people. Talk about WaterWonks!
Click here for the weekly water news summary. Enjoy!
“Keep calm and have a cupcake.” - Sign on the stove, Funny Dolphin Hostel, Sevastopol, Crimea, Russia
October 31, 2014 | Posted by cmccrehin
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Jim Wigington was recently chosen by a selection committee and the AWRA Board of Directors to be the new Editor-in-Chief (EIC) of JAWRA, effective January 1, 2015. He will follow Ken Lanfear, JAWRA EIC for the past nine years, who will retire in late December 2014.
Wigington has an extensive publication record dealing with the influence on human activities and natural processes on watersheds and associated aquatic ecosystems. During his 28 year career with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Research and Development, Wigington led a wide range of interdisciplinary research efforts ranging from the effects of acidic deposition on aquatic ecosystems to connectivity within stream and river systems. He is currently a research and consulting hydrologist residing in Redding, CA. He is also a courtesy faculty member in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University.
Recently, Wigington took some time to participate in an interview for this blog.
How does it feel to be selected as EIC of JAWRA? Remarkable. JAWRA has been a very important part of my water resources career. I published my first paper and one of my most recent papers in JAWRA. I am honored to be entrusted with the responsibility of leading JAWRA into the future.
What are the issues or goals that you plan to address during your tenure as JAWRA EIC? As I assume the role of editor-in-chief, JAWRA is very healthy. The articles published are highly relevant to the water resources community, and JAWRA’s impact factor has been steadily rising. My goal for JAWRA is for it to be the preeminent scholarly publication on multidisciplinary water resources issues, and as such, to have a major influence on water-related science, management, and decision-making. This will require myself and the entire editorial team to keep JAWRA on its current trajectory improving the rigor and relevancy of the journal articles published.
What will you do over the next few years to ensure your goals can be achieved? Journal article authors are the life blood of any journal. To be the preeminent multidisciplinary water resources journal, JAWRA must proactively attract top authors who are conducting important research in a wide range of water resources disciplines. A key role of the editor-in-chief and associate editors (AEs) is to recruit authors and high profile journal articles in a wide range of venues. AWRA annual and speciality conferences are excellent opportunities for this strategic recruitment. I envision special collections of journal articles arising from JAWRA conferences to remain a strong feature of JAWRA. In addition, the EIC and AEs must be connected to organizations, agencies, and conferences outside of AWRA where they can identify the most relevant topics and recruit potential authors for JAWRA. In addition, I plan to institute a regularly scheduled series of invited critical reviews and commentaries. These would deal with cutting-edge issues in a way that is not possible in traditional journal articles. Finally, the overall stature of JAWRA cannot be overlooked as a factor in attracting prominent authors. Impact factor is important to authors because they want to see their work cited in future publications and because organizations for whom authors work use publication in journals with high impact factors as an evaluation criterion for advancement. I will continually strive to improve JAWRA’s impact factor as a means to make JAWRA increasingly attractive to top authors.
Where would you like to see JAWRA in three years? I would like for the scope and depth of JAWRA’s influence within the water resources community to be greater, and I would like JAWRA to be the first choice for authors seeking to publish journal articles that can reach a multidisciplinary audience.
Anything you would like to add? Publication of JAWRA is the result of an editorial team effort that includes the EIC, AEs, and managing editor. We are blessed to have a very strong team with whom I am looking forward to working.
See official AWRA Press Release: Wigington to Head Journal of the American Water Resources Association
October 24, 2014 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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I love this photo, Tweeted by zenrainman, with the ominous caption, ‘Peering into the future?’ We’ll see.
New category this week – ‘Featured Five’ – just five Tweets that piqued my curiosity or were otherwise noteworthy/bizarre.
Click here to see the entire weekly water news summary.
“It is more rewarding to watch money chnge the world than to watch it accumulate.” - Gloria Steinem
October 17, 2014 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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You can download the program and other information here.
Dr. Peter Wampler (Oregon State MS & PhD) of Grand Valley State University, Dr. Peter Knappett (University of Waterloo and University of Tennessee) of Texas A&M and I will be convening an oral Topical Session (T116) titled, Water Contamination and Treatment in Developing Countries.It will be Tuesday, 1 – 5 PM, Room 204 in the Vancouver Convention Centre. I speak at 4:25 PM. Drop by!
Ready for the Weekly Water News? Click here, and enjoy!
“I’d rather be upstream with a shovel and a ditch than downstream with a decree.” – Western USA water saying (‘wet’ v. ‘paper’ water)
October 14, 2014 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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‘It’s like déjà vu all over again.’ That’s what the renowned English scholar Yogi Berra might say had he read the following story in the 6 October 2014 edition of the Jackson (MS) Clarion-Ledger:
Is Memphis Stealing Water from Mississippi?
Mississippi officials are renewing allegations that Memphis is stealing water from the state.
The U.S. Supreme Court refused in 2010 to consider a similar claim.
The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal reports that Mississippi is seeking at least $615 million in damages. That’s less than half the previous claim of $1.3 billion.
Mississippi alleges that Memphis’ wells have created “cones of depression” in the water table that suck water from Mississippi into Tennessee. It estimates that Memphis has “forcibly” taken 252 billion gallons of water since 1985.
Memphis, its city-owned utility system and the state of Tennessee filed responses last month. They say Mississippi’s claims contradict science and legal precedent. They also say the aquifer is an interstate resource to which no state can claim ownership without formal apportionment.
The aforementioned story was taken from the one written by Tom Charlier, the Commercial-Appeal reporter who’s been covering this story from the beginning. It was he who called me a number of years ago and told me of this story. He wanted some professional input since many of the local hydrogeologists were reluctant to comment. My interest was whetted. Why? It was a:
1) Transboundary groundwater dispute between two US states;
2) Water quantity fight, something more akin to the Western US (apologies to the ACF Basin);
3) Dispute involving groundwater occurring in an area with plenty of surface water (c. 50 inches of annual precipitation, bordering one of the largest rivers in the world);
4) Situation I expect to see more of in the future (fighting over groundwater); and
5) Remarkable opportunity to be proactive by devising a compact (first groundwater-only compact in the US!) and establishing an interstate regional commission to govern, manage, and protect an exceptional groundwater resource.
In fairness, the three riparians (Arkansas is the third party) were in talks to allocate water in the Memphis Sand aquifer, but then Mississippi withdrew and decided to sue. Disputes between US states involving groundwater have occurred but have revolved around groundwater – surface water interactions, such as ‘stealing’ streamflow.
I’ve posted about this story a number of times on my WaterWired blog, the last one being 6 November 2013. Here are a few other recent posts: 26 April 2012 and 17 April 2012 and a post from 26 January 2010 that contains the Supreme Court action and links to previous posts.
By the way, my water lawyer friends tell me that the lack of a Supreme Court decision was disappointing, as many (in the USA and elsewhere) were awaiting a landmark ruling on groundwater.
In a nutshell: the water from the Memphis Sand aquifer (the water surce in question) had never been allocated among the states of Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas so how could Mississippi claim that its groundwater had been stolen by Memphis? And how did they come up with the value of the water lost?
In an intereesting development, University of Memphis faculty members Brian Waldron and Daniel Larsen, claimed that the situation could be reversed – that pumping in Mississippi could have reduced the flow of groundwater into Tennessee. Here is Tom Charlier’s story about their work.
I met Brian last November at the AWRA Annual meeting in Portland and he told me that their paper was to be published soon in JAWRA. Well, it’s here!
‘Pre-Development Groundwater Conditions Surrounding Memphis, Tennessee: Controversy and Unexpected Outcomes’, by Brian Waldron and Daniel Larsen, Journal of the American Water Resources Association(JAWRA) 1-21. DOI: 10.1111/jawr.12240 (2014)
Reliance on groundwater resources by differing governing bodies can create transboundary disputes raising questions of ownership and apportionment as the resource becomes strained through overuse or threatened by contamination. Transboundary disputes exist at varying scales, from conflicts between countries to smaller disputes between intrastate jurisdictions. In 2005 within the United States, the State of Mississippi filed a lawsuit against its political neighbor and their utility, the City of Memphis and Memphis Light, Gas, and Water, for groundwater deemed owned by the State of Mississippi to be wrongfully diverted across the state line and into Tennessee by the defendants. The basis of the lawsuit was potentiometric maps of groundwater levels for the Memphis aquifer that showed under suggested pre-development conditions no flow occurring across the Mississippi-Tennessee state line, but subsequent historic potentiometric maps show a cone of depression under the City of Memphis with a clear northwesterly gradient from Mississippi into Tennessee. The suggested pre-development conditions were derived from limited groundwater level observations between 41 and 74 years post-development. A new pre-development map is constructed using historic records that range 0-17 years post-development that shows the natural flow is northwesterly from Mississippi into Tennessee and transboundary groundwater quantities have actually decreased since pre-development conditions.
Below are maps that Waldron provided me a few years ago. The first one shows pre-development conditions and the second shows 2007 (development) conditions. Flow to the northwest from Misssissippi into the Memphis area and Tennessee occurred prior to development.
The flow into the Memphis area and Tennessee appears to have been reduced by the development.
Waldron and Larsen concluded that the flow in the Memphis area had been reduced by about 40,000 cubic meters per day or 12,000 acre-feet per year. See the paper for more information.
Maybe we will get that desired Supreme Court decision, and/or see something along the lines of (5) above.
Perhaps it’s time to call Tom Charlier.
“It’s like déjà vu all over again.” - attributed to Yogi Berra
October 10, 2014 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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Great news about the Nobel Peace Prize – nothing like good news on a Friday! It was awarded to (from The Verge):
Kailash Satyarthi and 17-year-old Malala Yousafzay have won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize “for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education.” The Norwegian Nobel Committee announced the decision at a press conference today in Oslo. Satyarthi, an Indian, and Yousafzay, from Pakistan, will share an award of 8 million Swedish kronor ($1.1 million). With today’s award, Yousafzay — widely referred to simply as Malala — becomes the youngest to ever win the Peace Prize.
And now here is the weekly water news!
“He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire.” – Winston Churchill
October 3, 2014 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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This week’s featured visual is Ogallala Water, a bottled water from the mind of Gayle Leonard. The business model is unusual: with each passing year, the amount of water in the bottle declines. It’s already hitting the shelves with 30% less! Wait’ll 2030!
I bet it goes well with Circle of Blue journalist Brett Walton’s last pie of the summer, a blueberry-pecan-buttermilk concoction that had those of us on his Twitter salivating. Wonder if he has tried marionberry?
Click here for the weekly news summary.
“It’s not true that you never learn from history. You do, but then you forget.” – Martin Wolf on The Diane Rehm Show
JAWRA HIGHLIGHTS – October 2014
Caruso analyzes stream characteristics in a mountain watershed in southwestern Colorado and develops a three-level hierarchical classification scheme using national datasets to demonstrate jurisdictional evaluation as “waters of the United States” under U.S. Clean Water Act Section 404 at the watershed scale.
Daraio et al., in two companion papers, use available downscaled climate projections and land use change simulations to simulate the potential effects on average daily stream temperature. They then develop a stochastic hourly stream temperature model to estimate probability of exceeding given threshold temperature to assess potential impacts on freshwater mussels in the upper Tar River, North Carolina.
Zegre et al. present a multiscale evaluation to establish the nature of hydrologic impacts associated with mountaintop removal mining.
Wolaver et al. estimate potential economic impacts of environmental flows for five freshwater unionid mussels in three Central Texas basins (Brazos, Colorado, and Guadalupe-San Antonio Rivers) that encompass 36% of Texas.
Sarlak presents nonparametric to reconstruct streamflow ensembles from tree-ring data in Filyos River region, Turkey.
Sood and Smakhtin show how, globally, desalination with renewable energy can become a viable option to replace domestic and industrial water demand in the 100-km coastal belt by 2050.
Kenner et al. present data showing the atmosphere is a potential consistent source of acetone, benzene, and MTBE to urban streams.
Li et al. develop a recourse-based interval fuzzy programming (RIFP) model for tackling uncertainties in an effluent trading program.
Salman et al. address an ongoing challenge in water governance by examining how profitability at both the farm and basin levels is affected by various water appropriation systems in the Tigris-Euphrates Basin.
Dile and Srinivasan assess the applicability of the National Centers for Environmental Prediction’s Climate Forecast System Reanalysis (CFSR) climate data in modeling the hydrology of the Upper Blue Nile basin.
Pierre Glynn and Kristine Stepenuck Answer Questions from Recent AWRA Webinar on Citizen Science
Pierre: Before we start, I want to repeat my definition of “Citizen Science” because I think it is important to my answers below. Although targeted to improving the management of natural resources and environments, my definition is probably broader than that of other folks in the “Citizen Science” community. From my perspective, Citizen Science represents “an engagement from members of the public, often, but not always, in collaboration with credentialed technical experts, to observe, analyze, and/or understand natural resources and environments for the benefit of science and society. The participating members of the public are usually volunteers. The engagement must have a scientific basis, meaning that it must seek honest pursuit of greater knowledge.”
Q: Do you know of any legal challenges to data collected by citizen scientists? Outcomes?
Kris: Although I am not aware of any lawsuits, some states have taken a proactive stance on this by establishing credible data laws. Ohio is the most prominent state with such a law. My understanding is that it has severely limited data collection by non-agency individuals due to there being quite a few requirements for having certification at higher levels. I believe Iowa also has such a law. There is also a new white paper on the liability of citizen science data that might be of interest. It’s available here.
Pierre: I haven’t heard of legal challenges to data collected by Citizen Scientists. My impression is that challenges to using Citizen Science data are made more informally, before the data are actually put to use. That does not mean that there aren’t legal barriers to Citizen Science data, at a minimum to ensure appropriate quality control, to protect privacy and so forth. During the webinar, I mentioned that members of the U.S. Congress in 1994 were upset about the Breeding Bird Survey (now a USGS program) and the fact that the data were collected by volunteers. They compared the effort to that of “an environmental gestapo” that was going to trample on people’s private lands. I provide a pdf of a short letter on the issue by Root and Alpert.
Q: How effective are the programs funded less than $125,000?
Kris: I didn’t run the analyses using results from programs with budgets less than that, but, as I used budget in its entirety in the regressions, what I do know is that there is some evidence that budget doesn’t matter for achieving outcomes related to waterbody protection and restoration. Specifically, this includes having volunteer data be used to help a waterbody gain protected status, to alter land uses, to protect undeveloped land and/or to obtain funding for restoration or protection of a waterbody. The regression explains only 22% of the variance in the model, but it is significant at p<0.05.
Pierre: The answer probably depends on the expectations for the “program.” If the expectations are limited in time and space and otherwise, “effectiveness” could be extremely high. For example, $125,000 could fund lots of projects of the “bucket brigade” type that take samples of suspected atmospheric contamination caused by industrial or other sources in given neighborhoods and send them to certified labs and/or agencies for analysis. It could also fund a lot of “watershed walks” to identify potential water pollution sources and provide samples to appropriate agencies. However, $125,000 might not go very far in supporting a long-term, regional-scale, well and fully characterized and QA/QC’d, water-quality monitoring program with consistent sampling and analysis that also has complete archiving and accessibility of data and metadata. But even then, $125,000 might still provide very significant value especially if the funded effort or program was well coordinated with other entities.
Q: Can you give specific examples on how citizen scientists can be involved with the modeling aspects of a program? Citizen scientists may not have access to software, or may not have the expertise.
Pierre: It’s true that Citizen Scientists may not personally have access to “modeling software” and/or may not have the expertise to conduct numerical modeling on their own. But that does not mean that they can’t be involved or contribute to “modeling”. There are many members of the public that could potentially, usefully, participate in “modeling”: (1) raising questions and critiquing study designs; (2) analyzing modeling results, scenarios, and assumptions; (3) helping develop or critique conceptual models by providing local/historical knowledge; (4) provoking new information syntheses and assessments; (5) encouraging collection of additional data; (6) converting numerical models into simulation games or (7) adding user-friendly interfaces to improve public understanding and engagement.
There is an increasing realization that the improved management of natural resources and environments, including the management of water resources, often extends beyond the capabilities of any single set of experts or single professional organization with a narrow disciplinary focus. The issues are complex, and expert “solutions” often have a high degree of uncertainty. Structured public engagement, such as done through Citizen Science and “participatory modeling,” can help gain public understanding of the issues, adoption of science-informed solutions and follow-through to policy and management actions. “Participatory modeling” and “Modeling with stakeholders” are becoming an increasingly important part of “Integrated Environmental Modeling” (IEM). This can be seen in the agenda of the recent IEMSs conference and in the recent “IEM roadmap” article by Laniak et. al.
I attach a number of reprints that may be of interest: Voinov and Bousquet (2010); Voinov et al (2008); Cockerill et al. (JAWRA; 2006; the paper I mentioned during the webinar), and two recent papers by Carmona et al (2013).
Q: How many of the programs evaluated both the participant’s perceptions (pre and post) as well as the success of the programs?
Kris: This is not something I have studied in the research I presented. In general, I would say very few carry out this level of evaluation.
Pierre: I believe there are increasing efforts to formally evaluate Citizen Science programs, as well as the perceptions and knowledge of participants both before and after their participation. See for example, the Carmona et al (2013) and Cockerill et al. (2006) papers.
Q. Should evaluation plans be important elements of citizen science programs?
Kris: Absolutely! All too often we develop monitoring programs to evaluate health of the environment, but we fail to evaluate the program itself. The Extension Volunteer Monitoring Network has developed a series of online learning modules designed to help volunteer water monitoring programs grow and develop over time. We have a module about carrying out effective program evaluation. There is also a series of learning modules in this “Guide for Growing Programs.”
Pierre: I agree with Kris, and am glad to see her link to the Extension Volunteering Monitoring Network. The web site has lots of useful and interesting information. I would also add that AWRA members interested in Citizen Science and Volunteer Watershed Monitoring should consider attending the conferences sponsored by the National Water Quality Council, such as the one that was held this year in Cincinnati. It had lots of sessions and presentations on Volunteer Watershed Monitoring.
Q: Is there a publicly available list for the programs that Kristine studied?
Kris: Yes, the National Water Quality Monitoring Council has the list (and more).
Q: Is there any data available that addresses if social media or apps enhance the volunteer experience or willingness to participate?
Kris: In regard to peer-reviewed literature on citizen science/volunteer monitoring, I am not familiar with any articles about this. A quick article search on Google Scholar revealed there may be literature on this across the broader field of volunteering, however. There is a list of apps for volunteer water quality monitoring available here (see discussion #6 especially)
Pierre: The Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology is a leader in the development of Citizen Science and has developed a number of apps.
Q: Pierre…what’s a good journal to get published citizen science projects and Kris have you published any of your results in a Journal? If yes, which one?
Kris: My results are not yet published in a peer-reviewed journal. I am working on the manuscript this fall and hope to have the results published in the next year or so.
Pierre: I was a co-author on the Laniak et al. (2013) “IEM roadmap” paper published in the journal “Environmental Modelling and Software” (EMS), as well as on an earlier EPA workshop report (Moore et al, 2012) that led to the roadmap article. I also recently published a proceedings paper (Glynn, 2014) for the recent IEMSs conference that examines human cognitive biases and heuristics and their potential role in Integrated Environmental Modeling, and in science in general: participatory modeling is discussed as one of the elements needed to address human biases.
Works in progress: I have a draft paper that I’ve written (together with USGS co-authors Harry Jenter, Carl Shapiro and David Govoni) that describes the conceptual framework for Citizen Science (and its benefits and challenges) that I presented during the AWRA webinar. We expect to submit it to a journal in the next few weeks. I am also currently contributing to a position paper on “Modeling with Stakeholders” destined led by Alexey Voinov of the Netherlands. Lastly, I am leading a review of the USA National Phenology Network (a network that records the timing of biological events, and that has a significant “Citizen Science” component) that may end up published as a USGS report.
Journals for Citizen Science: Articles on “Citizen Science” are being published in a very wide range of journals, including JAWRA (e.g. Cockerill et al, 2006). Many articles are in journals that have either an ecological or an environmental perspective (e.g. Ecology and Society, Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, Journal of Environmental Management).
Q: Will this presentation be archived so that we can reference back to it at a later date?
Kris and Pierre: Yes, the presentation will be archived for access by AWRA members and for folks who attended the Sept 16, 2014 webinar.
Note: AWRA members can access the webinar archive by logging in to the AWRA website and then clicking on AWRA webinars. Non-members can email email@example.com to request access.
Q: Can we get Kristine’s email address to contact her at a later date with additional questions?
Pierre: And here’s mine firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: Thanks SO much to everyone for presenting and putting on this wonderful webinar – very exciting!!!
Kris and Pierre: You’re most welcome. We appreciated the opportunity to give the webinar.
Possible Citizen-Science related session at November 2015 AWRA meeting: Lisa Beutler and Pierre Glynn have just started discussing this possibility and would welcome suggestions and indications of interest.
AWRA’s next webinar, titled “Flood Risk and Aging Inland Waterway Infrastructure” will be presented on October 9, 2014 at 1pm ET. These webinars are complimentary for all AWRA members. For more information and to register click here.