Category Archives: Water Resources

Has Himalayan glacier melting doubled?

“A newly comprehensive study shows that melting of Himalayan glaciers caused by rising temperatures has accelerated dramatically since the start of the 21st century,” claims a Ph.D. candidate at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. Willis Eschenbach shares his thoughtsclick here

Lake Oroville (California) on track to overflow

“After heavy winter storms, the water level stands just two feet below the new spillway gates – will it work?” click here

World’s largest solar panel farm requires 200,000 liters of good quality water each day.

“It takes as much as 2 lakh litres of good quality water to keep its 25 lakh solar modules clean each day. That water is sourced from borewells 5 km away without permission from the district authorities, the villagers allege.” click here

Border wall is common sense. Water security will not happen without it.

“At the request of Democrats, it will be a steel barrier rather than a concrete wall. This barrier is absolutely critical to border security. It’s also what our professionals at the border want and need. This is just common sense.” click here

Water demand framework case study, China

Yahua Wang, Tingting Wan, Cecilia Tortajada. Water Demand Framework and Water Development: The Case of China Water 2018, 10 (12), 1860 https://doi.org/10.3390/w10121860

Water resources management is increasingly important for sustainable economic and social development. A coherent division of the development stages is of primary importance for selecting and implementing related water resource management strategies. Using evolving supply–demand relationships, this paper proposes a framework that considers water development stages to present a series of dynamic relationships between water demand changes and overall economic development. The framework is applied to China to advance the understanding of how demand evolves at different stages of water resources development under specific socioeconomic circumstances, and of strategic choices in general. The case of China explains how water resources management has gradually improved during distinct socioeconomic development stages. It illustrates the varieties and effectiveness of water policies made to adapt to changing demand over the course of socioeconomic development. The framework can be potentially applied to other countries or regions to identify the development stage in order to select proper water management strategies.

Majority of European Alpine glacier melt occurred prior to 1875

Sigl, M., Abram, N. J., Gabrieli, J., Jenk, T. M., Osmont, D., and Schwikowski, M.: 19th century glacier retreat in the Alps preceded the emergence of industrial black carbon deposition on high-alpine glaciers, The Cryosphere, 12, 3311-3331, https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-12-3311-2018, 2018.

“Starting around AD1860, many glaciers in the European Alps began to retreat from their maximum mid-19th century terminus positions, thereby visualizing the end of the Little Ice Age in Europe. Radiative forcing by increasing deposition of industrial black carbon to snow has been suggested as the main driver of the abrupt glacier retreats in the Alps. The basis for this hypothesis was model simulations using elemental carbon concentrations at low temporal resolution from two ice cores in the Alps.”

“Our study reveals that in AD1875, the time when rBC ice-core concentrations started to significantly increase, the majority of Alpine glaciers had already experienced more than 80% of their total 19th century length reduction, casting doubt on a leading role for soot in terminating of the Little Ice Age.”

Does watershed protection lower the cost of drinking water treatment?

Price JI, Heberling MT. The Effects of Source Water Quality on Drinking Water Treatment Costs: A Review and Synthesis of Empirical Literature. Ecological Economics 2018 Sep 3;151:195-209. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2018.04.014.

Watershed protection, and associated in situ water quality improvements, has received considerable attention as a means for mitigating health risks and avoiding expenditures at drinking water treatment plants (DWTPs). This study reviews the literature linking source water quality to DWTP expenditures. For each study, we report information on the modeling approach, data structure, definition of treatment costs and water quality, and statistical methods. We then extract elasticities indicating the percentage change in drinking water treatment costs resulting from a 1% change in water quality. Forty-six elasticities are obtained for various water quality parameters, such as turbidity, total organic carbon (TOC), nitrogen, sediment loading, and phosphorus loading. An additional 29 elasticities are obtained for land use classification (e.g., forest, agricultural, urban), which often proxy source water quality. Findings indicate relatively large ranges in the estimated elasticities of most parameters and land use classifications. However, average elasticities are smaller and ranges typically narrower for studies that incorporated control variables consistent with economic theory in their models. We discuss the implications of these findings for a DWTP’s incentive to engage in source water protection and highlight gaps in the literature.