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. He serves on the Steering Committee of the Global Water Partnership (GWP). CYA statement: the opinions expressed herein are solely those of Michael E. Campana and not those of CEOAS, Oregon State University, ACJF, AWRA, NGWA, GWP, 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.
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 am not as involved with handpumps as I was 15 or so years ago when I briefly served as a handpump repair instructor for Living Water Internationalat its Quantum Lakesfacility in Cleveland, TX. Since then I have been a lurker on many discussions involving handpumps but not directly involved. So I'm a little behind on the state-of-the-art.
It's no secret that when it comes to village-level potable water supply in developing countries the 'handpump problem' is a daunting one. Progress has been made, but the consensus seems to be that we have not yet solved the problem. High-quality, durable handpumps are available for a price, but the following characteristics are desired: inexpensive, durable, mechanically simple, easy to use, easy to repair with readily-available parts, and 'contamination-proof'. Tall order, I know, but a worthwhile objective.
So where am I going with all this? Always a good question. Back in time, actually.
Five years ago Francis T. Mandanici, an attorney and a former Peace Corps volunteer (45 years ago in northeast Thailand) in Bridgeport, CT, sent me an unsolicited report on The Village Well Project. It provided a brief, well-documented overview of handpump issues, recounted his effort to improve on a design (The 101 Well' - see below and page 27 of the report) while in Thailand, and mostly a call to action, specifically directed to universities.
I replied to Mandanici but never heard back. I didn't do much with the report except to send it to some colleagues who knew more about hand pumps than I. I don't recall hearing much from anyone. But I found it the other day and after reading it through several times I thought I would post it and see what happens.
Given that his design is 45 years old I question whether it can help much in 2015. I don't think Mandanici is proposing that his 101 Well (as depicted below) is the ultimate solution, but the basis for one. I await your comments.
James E. Nickum,who is Vice President of IWRA and Editor-in-Chief of its journal, Water International,penned an article, 'Revsiting Water Paradigms', for the current copy of the IWRA newsletter (download below). I have taken the liberty of posting the article below. The title is a subtheme of the upcoming IWRA XVth World Water Congress in Edinburgh, 25-29 May 2015.
Water scarcity, water governance, water security, water productivity, virtual water, water footprints, green water, IWRM, hydrocentricity, hydrocracy, hydro-hegemony, hydrosolidarity, water grabs, resilience, river basin trajectories, water poverty, the water-food-energy nexus, water justice, adaptive management....It would be tempting to say that the water world is being inundated with a flood of concepts, frames, even paradigms, except that eventually floods recede. With new terms, there is no sign of aba- tement.
Hence it is timely for ‘revisiting water paradigms’ to be designated a subtheme of the XVth World Water Congress. In order to keep from being swamped, we need not only to be aware of the strengths and limitations of the words we use, but also to consider how and why we use them.
The stakes are high. Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahneman (2011: 277) has warned that “once you have accepted a theory and used it as a tool in your thinking, it is extraordinarily difficult to notice its flaws. If you come upon an observation that does not seem to fit the model, you assume that there must be a perfectly good explanation that you are somehow missing. You give the theory the benefit of the doubt, trusting the community of experts who have accepted it.”
Once in a great while there has been a challenge to the hegemony of terms, such as the critical analyses of IWRM written by Biswas (2004) [the second most cited article in Water International] and Molle (2008), or of water crisis by Rogers et al. (2006). More often there have been attempts to give them some practi- cal content and coherence, for example, Grigg’s well-reasoned 2008 overview of IWRM, which is still the most read article online in Water International. Despite their popularity, these efforts have done little to deter the continued, profligate, and unreflective use of terms new and no longer so new.
Hence it is a pleasure to read the recently published marvellous little volume edited by Lautze (2014) on key concepts in water resource management (note: this is an unsolicited plug). According to Lautze, the insights generated by the flow of neologisms are “often encumbered by ambiguity, confusion and even fatigue”. Looking at the most commonly used terms, he and his colleagues find that:
1) Water scarcity is often conflated with water stress, and lumps together high quantity uses such as agriculture that have low economic and human security value with the more modest but critical requirements of drinking water. Also, when prices are set at anything below market clearing levels, there is always economic water scarcity; and even then there are likely to be unmet needs by the poor, socially or physically defined.
2) Water governance, which should be about process, including that of defining goals, “is frequently inflated to include issues that go well beyond governance,” adopting a priori goals that are “often derived from the tenets of IWRM” and including institutions as well as processes.
3) Water security, "has come to infiltrate prominent minent discourse in the international water and development community ... [but] understandings of the term are murky” and rarely quantified. Indeed, attempts at quan- tification highlight the difficulty of bringing disparate risk-based issues into one termino- logical rainbow.
4) Water productivity, "holds value when employed together with other indicators [but] does not add value when applied in isolation in a particular location”; in those cases, related extant concepts such as water efficiency or agricultural productivity can do a better job.
5) Virtual water and water footprints may help raise awareness but “do not contain sufficient information to determine smart public policies or to guide discussions regarding international trade” ; in fact, their use in those ways could inflict unnecessary harm on producers and households in areas where the opportunity cost of water is relatively low.
6) Green, blue, and otherwise coored water do not add scientific value to existing concepts and “can also prove dangerously misleading.”
So much for the big ones. In an appendix, Hanjra and Lautze touch base on 25 more trendy terms, including all the ones this essay began with aside from the last two, which they missed somehow. Some of these terms may help in bridging the science-policy interface, by framing problems in attention grabbing metaphors, but that can lead to a policy environment that is actually divorced all the more from a sound scientific understanding. In the end, to bring us back to the topic at hand, Lautze et al. suggest that we begin by setting out the critical challenges to the water sector, then adopt those concepts that can tackle those challenges. Those terms can then be elevated to “’paradigmatic’ status” .
But wait! These are concepts – or perhaps terms. How can we call them paradigms? Alas, that is another word on the loose that seems to have taken a number of concepts with it. Lautze associates “paradigm” with concept. That may work to give them a pseudo-scientific cachet in a media-dominated policy world, but we must acknowledge that it is not exactly the use of the term as Thomas Kuhn (1962) brought it into current usage, as a framework for organizing and interpreting scientific observations, not rebundling policy domains or aspirations. The hydrological cycle is a paradigm in this sense; IWRM or water security are not. Perhaps they are discourses or frames? Pandora has more than one box of terms, or, to stay in metaphor, floods come from many directions.
We have much to discuss in the halls of Edinburgh.
- Biswas, A. (2004). Integrated water resources management: a reassessment. Water International 29(2): 248-256.
- Grigg, N.S. (2008). Integrated water resources management: balancing views and improving practice. Water International 33(3): 279-292.
- Kahneman, D. (2011). Thinking, Fast and Slow. Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
- Kuhn, T (1962). The Structure of Scientific Revolution (2d Edition). University of Chicago Press.
-Lautze, J. ed. (2014). Key Concepts in Water Resource Management: A review and critical evaluation. Routledge (Earthscan).
- Rogers, P., M.R, Llamas, and L. Martínez-Cortina, ed. (2006). Water Crisis: Myth or Reality?. Taylor and Francis/Balkema.
Curious to see how much discussion this generates in Edinburgh. Is this a big deal? Or is this just 'hydroparadigmgate'?
On behalf of the Universities WASH Network (UWASH) Advisory Committee, I would like to invite you to consider submitting an abstract for the upcoming Universities Council on Water Resources (UCOWR)/National Institutes for Water Resources (NIWR)/Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science, Inc. (CUAHSI) conference, to be held 16-18 June 2015, in Las Vegas, Nevada. UWASH is co-sponsoring the conference and organizing a session on WASH(Water, Sanitation & Hygiene) and Hydrophilanthropy. Details about the conferenceand on how to submit an abstract can be found here. Given your strong engagement in international WASH, we would encourage you to submit an abstract by the 30 January deadline as part of the UWASH session. Depending on the number and quality of abstracts we receive, we may put together a theme issue in UCOWR's Journal of Contemporary Water Research and Education (JCWRE) based on this UWASH session,
Information about UWASH: The UWASH Network’s mission is to increase human resource capacity for WASH in developing countries through integrated education and research programs. Recognizing the impact U.S. universities could have in addressing human resource challenges in the developing world, the Universities WASH Network (formerly U.S. Universities WASH Consortium) was established in 2009 to promote and expanded coordination of WASH activities in institutions of higher education and strengthen linkages to international sector stakeholders. Please see attached brochure for additional details, including membership information. As we continue to expand UWASH’s involvement in the sector we are very happy to be hosting a session on international WASH as part of the UCOWR conference.
If you have additional questions about UWASH or the UCOWR conference, or would like to discuss in further detail please feel free contact me or Amy Macaux [Amy.Macaux@dri.edu], UWASH Network Program Associate.
1) CONSTRUCTING SAFE AND SUSTAINABLE GROUNDWATER WELLS - 2, 3 and 4 February 2015 (3 days)– English (Chichewa translator available). This is an interactive workshop. The focus will be a discussion of the requirements for basic protection of the groundwater resource and for the health and safety of those that develop and use the resource. Guidelines identifying the components, techniques and benefits of properly constructed wells will be provided and discussed. Facilitators include Steve Schneider, MGWCand Bob DiFilippo, P.G. along with specialists from WATSAN at Mzuzu University. Maximum of 25 participants; registration fee is complimentary to qualified, invited individuals. See the notes below. Target audience: This course is specifically for drillers. If you are a driller and interested in this course, please promptly express your interest and background, and request an invitation, to: email@example.com.
2) CONSTRUCTING SAFE AND SUSTAINABLE GROUNDWATER WELLS - 5 and 6 February 2015 (2 full days) - English Water well construction is not for amateurs. The focus of the workshop will be on the minimum requirements for basic protection of the groundwater resource and for the health and safety of those that develop and use the resource. Guidelines will be provided that will address the components and benefits of properly constructed water supply wells. The training course will be facilitated by internationally recognized experts in groundwater management and water supply well construction, Mr. Steve Schneider, MGWC (USA) and Mr. Bob DiFilippo, P.G. (USA). The training will also be co-facilitated by water specialists and academics from the Department of Water (WRMD) and WATSAN at Mzuzu University. The course will cover practical and theoretical skills and concepts. Maximum of 100 participants in this short course. Fee per participant is MK150,000. There will be a limited number of complimentary registrations available for those with documentable financial hardship or high travel costs.
Target audience: WASH Entrepreneurs and Consultants; Government Departments (Water, Health, Irrigation); WASH trainers, Health and Sanitation Officers; NGOs focusing on water supply, sanitation and hygiene needs of Malawi; and University/College Water/Engineers/Science graduates etc.
The venue for the short courses will be Mzuzu University, Mzuzu, Malawi.
Registration fees cover course fees, handouts, materials for practicals, morning andafternoon break, and lunch.
Participants are responsible for their transportation and making accommodation arrangements.
Successful participants will receive a certificate of attendance/recognition and handout materials.
Participants should come prepared for both theory and practical/field exercises.
Register early! Closing date for receiving expressions of interest and for registration is Monday, 26th January, 2015. For enquiries and to register for either course please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.