ground- water, geo- statistics, environmental- engineering, earth- science

Happy New Year 2010 and Thoughs on Past (AGU, Water News)

without comments

Folks, I wish you all the best for 2010! I hope you guys had a wonderful holiday season and a wonderful New Year’s party — I found out on our New Year’s party that Tocotronic are going to release a new album called “Schall & Wahn” on January 22nd accompanied with a tour!

I hope my New Year’s picture (via TheBigPicutre) isn’t all too indicative of what this new year and the further future will hold!

Fireworks go off over a flooded Venice

New Year's in Venice

I am going to use this post to pick on some water-related news that accumulated on my desk over the last few weeks.

  • The New York Times

    I can’t claim by any means that I am a regular times reader. And I have read only once a saturday edition cover to cover. However, during my online voyages, it seemed like they increased the frequency with which they report on environmental issues, especially water-related issues. Here are a few recent examples:

    • Millions in U.S. Drink Dirty Water, Records Show” is a well written article by Charles Duhigg that shows how frequently water quality criteria in public water supply in the U.S. are not met and how little is done against that. Charles Duhigg is also the author of a story I’ve recently linked to on (twitter) that explains how water-officials in California put black plastic spheres on a drinking water reservoir in an attempt to prevent sunlight to reach the water in the reservoir. If sunlight comes in contact with water some cancer-causing compounds could be produced.

    • Environmental Refugees Unable to Return Home” describes how natural disasters cause refugees to migrate to slums in big cities where they work hard, earn too little to save anything, can’t return to their home villages either because they have no money, or because the villages are destroyed, or both, and become hopeless. Environmental change can be seemingly small but with huge consequences, as described by that scene from the village Chawlakathi in southern Bangladesh:

      “My father could cross the river just by jumping across,” said Mr. Uddin, who finished high school and ran a small school in his village. “Even when I was a youngster in the 1960s, we could swim across. Now it’s so big.” Interestingly, the same article appeared at

  • “WaterWired” by Michael Campana offers regular science oriented water-related news. Here is a blog-post on “Groundwater Mining: The American Experience“. In this post is a link to an article by T.N. Narasimhan in The Hindu on this issue. This is what it is all about:

    In September, Virendra Tiwari of the National Geophysical Research Institute, Hyderabad, reported in Geophysical Research Letters that approximately 54 cubic km of water is being mined annually from a 2.7-million area extending from Delhi in the west to Bangladesh in the east. Using similar satellite-borne gravimetry, a research group from NASA reported an annual groundwater depletion of about 18 cubic km from Rajasthan, Punjab, and Haryana. For a number of years, alarming declines in water levels due to groundwater overdraft have been reported from many parts of peninsular India. Clearly, groundwater over-exploitation poses a threat to India’s economic future.

  • Wired has been another great source for environmental online journalism. Here is their christmas-list of “7 Tipping Points That Could Transform Earth

Written by Claus

January 5th, 2010 at 9:00 am

Posted in

Leave a Reply