Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects to economic, environmental, and societal issues. Our student Albert Park makes this connection in Seoul, Korea. This current event was reported in the Korea Expose, on July 4, 2017, under the title, “It’s Just Plain Weir-ed: The Plan to Liberate Seoul’s Han River”, by Ben Jackson. The WRE current event is likely accurate and not fake news, because previous articles have been published by City Lab,”Seoul’s Fight For a Better River”, detailing plans to restore the Han River. The independent report on this event can be seen in here.

This current event is related to water resources engineering, because to restore the Han River engineers would have to look into the removal of the submerged weir at Singok Province. This falls into the WRE sub-discipline of Hydrology taking a look into submerged weirs in rivers. The restoration of the Han River is also important news for WRE because restoring the Han River would lower the water levels in the river, lowering the risk of floods and mudslides. This removal would also be beneficial to the aquatic ecosystem in the river, because by removing the dam, issues with Algae blooms would be mitigated. Some important WRE information that was missed by the article includes the effects weirs have on flow, further research should be done on discharge estimations based on conservation equations and power law relationships.

Figure 1. Algae Bloom in the Han River

The restoration of the Han River will face numerous economic, environmental, and societal issues, throughout its design. These issues are important for the area because it is only through these challenges that the water quality and beneficial uses of the river will improve. This current event relates to the economic issues in Seoul because with the restored river banks, ecotourism could become plausible in the area, boosting the economy of Seoul (Cha, 2011). The event also relates to environmental issues, because as previously mentioned, the removal of the Singok Province weir would mitigate the algae blooms in many of the local urban rivers, which would restore the aquatic ecosystems within the rivers, the algae bloom within the rivers can be seen in Figure 1 (Cha, 2011). The current event also relates to societal issues, because by restoring the natural river, many people in the local communities around the river could use the river for recreational uses. The river becoming a staple part of the local communities. A journal I found published by Yoon Jung Cha, explains the various steps that the Four Major Rivers Restoration Project took in restoring the rivers in Korea. Toxic contamination from domestic and industrial use of the rivers had caused habitat degradation, and forced displacement of riverine residents as seen in Figure 1. The restoration was also said to have boosted the local communities around the river. The cause-effect between the restoration of the Han River and economic impacts to the local communities would be a sustainable source of food, water, and income for the surrounding people to benefit.

References:

Jackson, B. (2017, July 04). It’s Just Plain Weir-ed: The Plan to Liberate Seoul’s Han River | ké radar. Retrieved April 11, 2018, from https://www.koreaexpose.com/singok-weir-plan-liberate-han-river/

Kim, M. K. (2016, September 29). Seoul’s Fight For The Riverfront It Wants. Retrieved April 11, 2018, from https://www.citylab.com/equity/2016/09/seouls-fight-for-a-better-river/502001/

Cha, Y., Shim, M., & Kim, S. (2011, October 3). The Four Major Rivers Restoration Project. Retrieved April 4, 2018, from http://www.un.org/waterforlifedecade/green_economy_2011/pdf/session_8_water_planning_cases_korea.pdf

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