All things freshwater: news, analysis, humor, reviews, and commentary from Michael E. 'Aquadoc' Campana, hydrogeologist, hydrophilanthropist, Professor of Hydrogeology and Water Resources Management in the Geography Program of the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences (CEOAS) at Oregon State University, Emeritus Professor of Hydrogeology at the University of New Mexico, Past President of the American Water Resources Association and Past Chair of the Scientists & Engineers Division of the National Ground Water Association. He is founder and president of the nonprofit Ann Campana Judge Foundation, an organization involved with WaSH (Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene) in Central America. CYA statement: the opinions expressed herein are solely those of Michael E. Campana and not those of CEOAS, Oregon State University, ACJF, AWRA, NGWA, my spouse Mary Frances, or any other person or organization.
Texas Agriculture Law Blog Don't let the name fool you - there are lots of water issues in agriculture and Tiffany Dowell of Texas A&M University does a fabulous job with this important Internet resource. Give it a read - I do every day!
The Way of Water Oregon State University Geography PhD Student, Jennifer Veilleux, records her fieldwork, research, and thoughts about transboundary water resources development in the Nile River and Mekong River basins. Particular attention is given to Ethiopia's Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and Laos' Xayaburi Dam projects.
Thirsty in Suburbia Gayle Leonard documents things from the world of water that make us smile: particularly funny, amusing and weird items on bottled water, water towers, water marketing, recycling, the art-water nexus and working.
This Day in Water History Michael J. 'Mike' McGuire, engineer extraordinaire, NAE member, and author of 'The Chlorine Revolution', blogs about historical happenings in the fields of drinking water and wastewater keyed to calendar dates.
WaSH Resources New publications, web sites and multi-media on water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH).
Water 50/50 From Jay Famiglietti at UC-Irvine. Fifty lectures in fifty weeks: The 2012 Birdsall-Dreiss Distinguished Lectureship. A global lecture tour delivering the message about our changing water cycle, groundwater depletion, and the future of freshwater availability.
Water For The Ages Abby, another PNWer, writes about global water issues with passion and concern.
Watering the Desert Aptly-titled blog by CJ Brooks, a lawyer-hydrologist-geologist from Tucson, AZ.
Watershed Moments: Thoughts from the Hydrosphere From Sarah Boon - rediscovering her writing and editing roots after 13 years, primarily as an environmental scientist. Her writing centres around creative non-fiction, specifically memoir and nature writing. The landscapes of western Canada are her main inspiration.
WaterWired All things fresh water: news, comment, and analysis from hydrogeologist Michael E. Campana, Professor at Oregon State University.
Watery Foundation Tom Swihart, formerly of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, tells all about water management in the Sunshine State.
Western Water Blog The 'mystery blog' about Western USA water issues. What more can I say?
Wisdom in Water, Please... Kate Wilkins-Wells , who manages the Northwest Kansas Groundwater Management District No. 4, provides her wisdom on water issues.
xAnalytical Doug Walker's xAnalytical blog:Turning Data and Information into Knowledge
I do not have the entire talk but here is the abstract:
Predicting changes in precipitation in the Southwestern U.S. under continuously warming climate is an uncertain proposition, but predicting change in the water balance is not. As climate warms, the water balance becomes less favorable and the renewable water supply decreases. New Mexico has fully allocated its water resources under the present climate, but as the 21st century progresses, the water supply will dwindle while the population increases. Something has to give. The laws governing water management in New Mexico were placed in the State Constitution in 1907. The principle of those laws is that water in its natural state belongs to the people of the state, but they reflect the zeitgeist of that period, which was to encourage rapid expansion of irrigated agriculture and to make sure that the rights to water withdrawal thus established would be firmly protected. As the intervening 106 years have passed, the public’s perception of what they want to accomplish with New Mexico’s limited supply of water has changed, but the fundamental laws have not. There is no longer any unappropriated renewable water, and thus putting water to any new use, such as growth in urban population, necessarily involves taking it away from existing users, or from the environment. Equitable reapportionment that is responsive to the interests of the 21st century public requires a system of water management that is flexible and responsive to a changing environment, but the state is operating within the straightjacket of a 19th century water code whose principal objective is to prevent change. Australia and South Africa offer examples of nations who have radically changed their water codes. New Mexico should look to them for inspiration in solving its ongoing water crisis.
Phillips has long been an outstanding hydrogeologist-hydrogeochemist. I am interested (but glad) to see him venture into this contentious area. I'm sure it's not lost on him that South Africa and Australia are different from the US, but it is still worthwhile to broach the topic. The title of his presentation is spot-on.
Abstract The timing and severity of drought may severely impact water availability, especially in semi-arid climates like the American Southwest. We develop a dynamic optimization model to show an adverse impact of drought on aquifer volume. We further construct a System Dynamics model that simultaneously considers the physical hydrology in the Middle Rio Grande, the engineered water management system (Roach 2008), and a behavioral model of residential water demand, we consider the residential water use for the cities of Albuquerque, Rio Rancho and Santa Fe, New Mexico over a 50 year time horizon. We find that droughts that occur in later periods when we have larger populations have larger impacts and the duration of the drought is important. This impacts not only human
consumption, but also the aquifer level. While alternative policies can provide some relief, the type of policy, the severity of that policy, and the timing of drought are important—as may be the form of economic growth in an area. We estimate economic impacts of the alternative scenarios. Given some of the forecasts of severe and multiple drought in the SW in the coming years, management tools that consider a longer-term time horizon may provide adequate time to develop more robust policies.
Abstract Many areas around the world are experiencing increased stress on their water resources. Much of this stress is concentrated in arid and semi-arid regions, which are particularly ill-suited to deal with this difficulty. In both the developing and the developed world alike; shortages and poor water quality, along with growing populations and increased demand for agricultural production, create areas susceptible to water-related crises. Much of this crisis stems from the depletion of aquifers in water stressed areas. Many of these aquifers are being depleted due to mismanagement and common-pool resource problems. This paper provides a theoretical framework for the optimal management of a transboundary aquifer. This framework observes the problem as a dynamic game of two agents while allowing for asymmetry in benefit and cost functions of groundwater use. We find that groundwater savings will likely result from a cooperative scenario. A case study is examined in the Middle Rio Grande basin in northcentral New Mexico. Systems dynamics modeling is used to simulate coordinated management of aquifer pumping between two cities. It is found that coordinated price increase between the cities of Rio Rancho and Albuquerque can conserve between 600,000–1 million acre-feet of groundwater over the next 30 years. It is also found that coordinated strategies can reduce aquifer drawdown by over 70 feet in some areas of the basin.
Looks like it was a very informative meeting.
My answer to question in the title if this post? Probably not, but we need to try.
Thanks to Bob Wessely for sending this my way.
"The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them." - Albert Einstein (thanks to Faruck Morcos)
For some strange reason, March reminds me of resilience. I guess it's because the transition from winter to spring is beginning in the northern hemisphere so the weather is thought to be subject to great variation. But I think it's really because I just got an email from a student asking me to write a reference for him so he can attend Resilience 2014, an upcoming meeting in France. In his case, this is no junket; he's a terribly smart guy and is working on resilience in water resources.
Miriah Russo-Kelly is an environmental communication scholar interested in the human dimensions of natural resource management. We are PhD students together at OSU and I had the opportunity to hear about how her work as a dual Speech Communications and Environmental Sciences student has evolved. She studies interdisciplinary and timely topics related to climate change, at-risk communities along the coast, stakeholder participation, and collaboration. Although her work is oceans, rather than freshwater, she is still dealing with water issues in relation to change - some of which has been exacerbated by coastal engineering responses for decades, allowing communities to grow in areas where they are essentially at risk. Miriah was recently interviewedby OSU's Marketing online publication,Terraabout her involvement in the UN's Climate Change Meetings in Cancun in 2010. This interview is about her current research in US coastal communities. She also works for Oregon Sea Grant on education, outreach and engagement projects. She is a trained mediator and facilitator, as well as an educator who enjoys working with local community members, non-profit and governmental organizations, as well as undergraduate and graduate students. With her field work recently completed, she is now working toward completing her degree requirements. I asked if she'd take a minute to share her experiences in the field with me.
JCV: Your work is climate change adaptation in the Coos Bay region of Oregon and the Saco Bay region of Maine. Some of what you look at relates to water resources. Can you please tell me a bit about what you are researching and what aspect of water resources you are working with?
MRK: My work is focused on understanding the nature of community-based collaboration in the context of climate change adaptation. Water resource issues are at the forefront of concern in two of the four climate change adaptation case studies I am documenting in my research. One group is focused on addressing their storm water management issues at the municipal level and the other is focused more on water quality management at a larger more watershed scale level. Both projects are predicated on science that indicates that environmental change is happening and will continue to happen, thus exacerbating the issues they already face. In my research am focused on understanding the ways in which stakeholders are working together to address these complex scientific problems in the face of environmental change.
In each community I studied a multi-stakeholder project that was addressing some impact related to climate change. They are : Coastal erosion, storm water management, changing watershed conditions, and coastal flooding/sea level rise.
JCV: The fieldwork component of your research has taken you to different field destinations. Can you please share a bit about the logistics of how you reach and stay in your field site?
My field sites are in rural Maine and Oregon. I reached out to the community through gatekeepers. I contacted the leaders, and did a lot of discussing/relationship building before I submitted a research prospectus to them and asked for their permission to conduct my research. I also made preliminary visits to each site to get to know participants before returning a few months later to conduct interviews. I think it was helpful for them to have met me prior to them sitting down for an hour to talk about these (somewhat) sensitive issues.
I would say that the biggest challenge “getting” to these places physically really arose out of my inability to secure consistent funding for my project. I ended up piecing together funds and self-funding to be able to get to the places I needed to go to investigate my research interests. The other challenge was “getting there” mentally. I first had to identify case studies that fit my criteria and then get them to agree to let me research them. This was very time consuming and required a long-term commitment to building relationships with participants.
JCV: Has anything interesting come up with your equipment or support team? After doing 40 interviews in two states I was in the last interview on the last day. I was using a digital voice recorder for all of the interviews and had not erased any of them up until that point. So toward the end of the interview I ask my participant if they had any other thoughts before I end the interview and just then the recorder shut off and read FULL. It would not let me record any more. The participant said they had nothing to add anyway, but I thought it was funny that the recorder was full at the exact point that I didn’t need it to record any more. Thank goodness. I took from this that I should always know how much space is left on the recorder before starting an interview.
JCV:That is timely, and pretty typical of field work - things either go remarkably well, or horribly wrong... What have been the biggest challenges with your fieldwork? Funding, time, and consistency. All of which can be overcome. Qualitative research can be very time consuming because it requires interpersonal interaction and is therefore often costly. At the same time, funding can be difficult to acquire, especially for qualitative researchers. Mixed methods and quantitative approached seem to be more appealing to funding agencies. Qualitative research can also be difficult to standardize. I found it a challenge to develop a set of interview questions that related to all of participants in each of the four case study sites. That said, I feel that even given these barriers I was able to complete my fieldwork in a timely, cost-effective, and consistent manner.
JCV: What is the best thing that happened?
All in all it was a great experience. The best thing that happened was that I met a number of interesting and amazing people who are intelligent, outgoing, and committed to their communities. I undertook this type of research because I really wanted to do something that was meaningful to people. It has been an amazing experience getting out of the university and getting to places where people are affected by and use science generated by academic institutions.
JCV: What is the funniest thing that happened? While in rural upstate Maine conducting one hour interviews with research participants I was trying very hard to find a time to meet with one key participant who is a very busy person. I almost left town to head back home when I received an e-mail that said that he could meet, but it would have to be immediately. So I hopped in my car and made it to the location and was able to interview him. We had a great exchange and at the end he gave me a t-shirt that read “I am meSSI. The three capital letters standing for the organization that he belongs to. I laughed when he gave it to me because I am messy, and this is known amongst all of my friends and family. I love to cook, but no one wants to clean up after I have been in the kitchen. My brother won’t sit next to me at family meals because he claims I get my food on his plate. And, I accidently flung a bagel at one of the guests at the rehearsal dinner for my wedding. Just a few examples. So I laughed because it was the most appropriate gift he could have given me. When I got back to my brother’s house I told him about the shirt. So I went to the car to get it and when I opened it up it already had a huge stain on the front….only five hours later and I hadn’t even worn it yet. So, not related to my research necessarily, but we had a good laugh about it.
JCV: Did being a woman have any impact on your research in these rural communities in Oregon and Maine? I am not sure how the fact that I am a younger female affected my study. If anything I would say that I have been called "affable" by some and I think having a warm and open demeanor helped me, which may be a result of my femininity. Otherwise I think it didn't really affect the project overall. I think my being a social scientist affected the project more than my being a woman.
JCV: Have you experienced a moment of enlightenment or realization while in the field? How did that happen and did it lead to changes in your research design? I wouldn’t say enlightenment, but I would say that I had many moments of realization. I think that at the point where you start seeing themes in what people are saying, and being able to connect those themes back to theories, your research starts to become real. I had a few aha moments where I thought to myself, wow this is really interesting and important stuff! I wouldn’t say these moments made me change my research design as much as they called me to reconsider the ways in which I was thinking about the research questions I posed.
Miriah, thanks so much for taking the time to share your field work & research experience. I wish you heaps of luck with the next phase of analyzing and writing. I look forward to hearing more about what you do with your work and what are your next plans. Your work is timely and relevant with a practical application - something OSU highlights about the research that we do here.
Trends in streamflow timing and volume in the Pacific Northwest United States have been attributed to increased temperatures, because trends in precipitation at lower-elevation stations were negligible. We demonstrate that observed streamflow declines are probably associated with declines in mountain precipitation, revealing previously unexplored differential trends. Lower-troposphere winter (November to March) westerlies are strongly correlated with high-elevation precipitation but weakly correlated with low-elevation precipitation. Decreases in lower-tropospheric winter westerlies across the region from 1950 to 2012 are hypothesized to have reduced orographic precipitation enhancement, yielding differential trends in precipitation across elevations and contributing to the decline in annual streamflow. Climate projections show weakened lower-troposphere zonal flow across the region under enhanced greenhouse forcing, highlighting an additional stressor that is relevant for climate change impacts on hydrology.
Although the consequences of increased temperature for mountain snow are relatively well understood and severe, poor information about both historical and projected changes in mountain precipitation may lead to substantial misjudgment of risks and maladaptation. In particular, ecosystems and water supplies may be more sensitive to declines in precipitation than to increases in temperature. (Luce et al., p. 1360)
'Maladaptation' - I like that word.
Enjoy! Or not.
"The analysis of disparate streamflow and precipitation records in this region, encompassing much of the headwaters of the Snake and Columbia River basins, highlights a change of substantial magnitude with considerable ecological and economic consequences that has heretofore been ignored or dismissed. At the same time, we note new utility for streamflow data and a potential approach for the assessment of orographic precipitation changes related to in- creased radiative forcing using macroscale wind information." -C. Luce et al., (from the paper, p. 1363)
Circle of Blue Circle of Blue uses journalism, scientific research, and conversations from around the world to bring the story of the global freshwater crisis to life. Here you’ll find new water reports, news headlines, and hear from leading scientists.
Drink Water For Life The idea is simple. Drink water or other cheap beverages instead of expensive lattes, sodas, and bottled water for a set period of time. A day, a week, a month, Lent, Ramadan, Passover, or some other holiday period.
eFlowNet Newsletter From the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) this newsletter has lots of information about environmental flows and related issues.
Sustainable Water Resources Roundtable Since 2002, the Sustainable Water Resources Roundtable (SWRR) has brought together federal, state, corporate, non-profit and academic sectors to advance our understanding of the nation’s water resources and to develop tools for their sustainable management.