Category: Water Resources Engineering


Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects to economic, environmental, and societal issues. Our student Michael Sollecito makes this connection in Bangalore, India. This current event was reported in The Indian Express on February 26, 2018, under the title, Is Bengaluru about to run dry?, by Johnson T.A. Bangalore’s current water crisis is well reported and the urgency for reliable supply is on the forefront of Karnataka’s political agenda. There is hope for the State of Karnataka and its capital Bangalore, with action being taken to help mitigate the lack of water sources. Some articles that provide reassurance and support the validity of Bangalore’s water crisis and the State’s efforts to address this issue include, 68 water tankers to ease summer crisis, and BWSSB promises regular supply of water this summer due to heavy precipitation from the past summer‘s monsoon.

Figure 1 – Water Tanker supplying water to citizens of Bangalore

Bangalore’s water shortage stems from an aggregation of circumstances, including but not limited to massive population growth, urban development, outdated infrastructure and municipalities, and absence of clean and available water sources due to exploitation and lack of resources. According to the British Broadcasting Corporation, Bangalore ranks as the second of eleven megacities “most likely to run out of drinking water.” 1 There are many contributing factors to this prediction, the main being Bangalore’s ever growing population. The city is home to approximately 10 million people and at the standard of 150 liters per capita per day (lpcd) this requires nearly 24 thousand million cubic feet (tmc) per year. With Bangalore’s growing dynamics water supply is projected to reach 30 tmc in 2025. The Bengaluru Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) is currently enacting the next stage of its Cauvery Water Supply Scheme to provide water to 110 villages that had recently joined Bangalore’s municipal limits. There are no funds to supply sanitary lines to these villages as the nation faces crippling economic inefficiencies. This growth in population entails urban development and this has led to the depletion of many water supplies such as lakes (previously over 200), groundwater, and reservoirs/tanks from the Arkavathi river basin. The “depletion of catchment areas in the wake of uncontrolled infrastructure expansion” has virtually halted these water sources viability, which is why the majority of Bangalore’s water is transported from the Cauvery River nearly 100km away.1 The long distance travel requires a pumping system to move the water as does Bangalore’s elevation of over 900m above sea level, the highest of India’s major cities. This is not the most feasible water supply but Bangalore is left no choice due to its desperate need for a reliable water source. Bangalore’s outdated infrastructure and lack of funds also contributes to the cities current crisis. The previously mentioned BBC report stated, “more than half of Bangalore’s drinking water is wasted due to antiquated plumbing, 85% of the city’s lakes had water that could only be used for irrigation and industrial cooling, and not a single lake had suitable water for drinking or bathing.”1 The sewage systems and piping were implemented in the 1920s and can not handle the load of the current population. Water resources engineering is a substantial component of Bangalore, India’s current epidemic. There are many pertinent WRE disciplines mentioned in this article including rainfall and runoff, designs of water distribution systems, and primarily water demand. Water demand is embedded throughout the article and with proper action and analysis the amount of water Bangalore truly needs to provide its citizens can be calculated and new methods can be designed and implemented to fulfill these requirements. Proper allocation of water resources is necessary to provide Bangalore and its subsidiaries with adequate levels and quality of drinking water. Runoff is also mentioned and this knowledge could provide Bangalore another alternative to increase its water sustainability.

Figure 2 – Cauvery River

Figure 3 – Twitter Post of Bangalore’s water crisis

Economic, environmental and societal issues are all integral components of Bangalore’s current water crisis because most societal, governmental, and environmental functions and operations are effected. The economy of the city is effected tremendously by this event and funds must decisively be allocated to where officials and citizens deem essential. An earlier point mentioned in this blog was how Bangalore’s BWSSB had made it a point to supply villages in the municipalities limits with water but not sanitary systems. The cities economy is also effected negatively because tourists and other forms of commerce will not likely visit/invest in a location with such an epidemic. Environmental issues are also at stake here because degradation and depletion of water sources are a primary reason for the emergence of this epidemic. Careful consideration must be taken in supplying the city with water to not further exploit rivers and other water supplies. Societal issues are of the most important as people may begin to suffer. A news articles, Cauvery water row: Tamil outfits plan to bowl out Chennai vs Kolkata IPL match, posted by the Economic Times shows the societal upheaval and disappointment of Karnataka’s citizens due to government negligence. Bangalore will hopefully recover from this unfortunate predicament.

References:
Johnson TA. Is Bengaluru about to run dry? The Indian Express. http://indianexpress.com/article/explained/bengaluru-drinking-water-problem-cauvery-dispute-supreme-court-5078111/. Published February 26, 2018.

Arpita TNN. 68 water tankers to ease summer crisis – Times of India. The Times of India. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/68-water-tankers-to-ease-summer-crisis/articleshow/63195727.cms. Published March 7, 2018.

Arpita TNN. BWSSB promises regular supply of water this summer – Times of India. The Times of India. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/bwssb-promises-regular-supply-of-water-this-summer/articleshow/63824302.cms. Published April 19, 2018.

Vaitheesvaran B. Cauvery water row: Tamil outfits plan to bowl out Chennai vs Kolkata IPL match. The Economic Times. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/cauvery-water-row-tamil-outfits-plan-to-bowl-out-chennai-vs-kolkata-ipl-match/articleshow/63692296.cms. Published April 10, 2018.

Advertisements

Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects to economic, environmental, and societal issues. Our student Edward Shao, makes this connection in Hangzhou, China. This current event was reported in China Dialogue, on October 1, 2012, under the title “China’s thirst for water transfer,” by Gong Jing and Cui Zheng. This news source is reliable and trustworthy. ChinaDialogue is not a periodical news source, but rather an independent, non-profit organization located in London and Beijing. The organization focuses on environmental issues occurring in China and sourced this article from two on-the ground reporters, one working at Caixin New Century Weekly, and one at Caixin. ChinaDialogue Editorial Advisory Board consists of professors located in both China and the U.S. and caters to both English-speaking and Mandarin-speaking readers.

Figure 1. Hangzhou West Lake

Figure 2. River running from the Hangzhou River runs red from pollution, 2014

This article explores the process of urban water diversion projects developing in China and specifically, Hangzhou. The ongoing urbanization occurring across the country of 1.4 billion is requiring water resources projects on a massive scale. Hangzhou is widely known as a cultural gem of China, with its West Lake and the hills surrounding its three sides on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. When announced in 2012, the Qiandao Lake project had a budget of 20-billion yuan and was initiated to divert water from Qiandao Lake to a reservoir Xianlin county, which is closer to downtown Hangzhou. This was a welcome relief for eight-million Hangzhou residents at the time, who previously relied on the Qiangtang River for most of its drinking water. Due to industrial development along the river, water quality was increasingly becoming threatened. Similar water transfer projects are desperately needed across China’s other cities. WRE information that was not found from this news source includes numbers and details about the Qiandao Lake Project, like dimensions of the project, diversion techniques used, and materials used in the endeavor.

With wide-scale urban development and industrialization having transformed China in the last two decades, rivers and bodies of water have come under threat from industrial pollution. This has paralleled the period of industrialization the U.S. underwent in the mid-1800s that introduced environmental degradation as well. In the middle of this urban development, water resources engineering increasingly became a top priority for Chinese bureaucrats, and the former Paramount Leader of China, Hu Jintao, was initially a water resources engineer (Economist, 2013). Investing in the development of green infrastructure and wastewater treatment is now a top priority for the current Communist Party Administration under Xi Jinping, and the government acknowledges this will require substantial funding (Ping, 2017). In the past 32 years, China’s average annual GDP growth has been a whopping 15.8%, and its population has increased by 700-800 million in the past 10 years (Jing, Zheng). With this rapid economic development inevitably appeared environmental degradation as a byproduct of industrial processes. For the Chinese government today, ensuring the harmony and happiness of its citizens will require balancing economic development with stewardship of the country’s water resources. Since March 2013, local residents have repeatedly complained of a “strange taste in the tap water” multiple times when Hangzhou was dependent on only the Qiangtang River. This news coming from a second source only serves to underscore the sheer importance of water resource diversification and development for Hangzhou.

 

References:

Hangzhou Weekly (2013). Hangzhou to invest US $1.7bn in Qiandao lake water diversion project. Hangzhou Weekly. Retrieved April 19th, from http://hangzhouweekly.com/society/hangzhou-to-invest-us1-7bn-in-qiandao-lake-water-diversion-project

Jing, G., Zheng, C. (2012). China’s Thirst for Water Transfer. China Dialogue. Retrieved April 17th, 2018, from https://www.chinadialogue.net/article/show/single/en/4722

Ping, C.K. (2017). 19th Party Congress: Xi Jinping affirms China’s commitment on green development. StratisTimes. Retrieved April 18th, 2018 from http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/19th-party-congress-xi-jinping-says-china-must-cooperate-with-other-nations-on

The Economist. (2013). Water in China-Desperate measures. The Economist. Retrieved April 18th, 2018, from https://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21587789-desperate-measures

Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects to economic, environmental and societal issues. Our student Julianna Seddio makes this connection in Xi’an, China. This current event was reported on chinadaily.com, on March 11th, 2010, under the title “City governments fined for Yellow River pollution”, by Xinhua. This is likely real news as it is reported here as well as in this World Uyghur Congress news article.

Xi’an was recently fined 400,000 Yuan ($64,000) for polluting a tributary of the Yellow River. The Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) concentration was surpassing the upper limit by 4 mg/L. This was likely a result of dumping from paper mills and other polluting plants. The Yellow River, which is a 5,500 km river and flows through nine provinces in China including Shaanxi, which is where Xi’an is located. It is named the Yellow River due to its yellow coloring caused by high silt concentration. The river frequently floods making the soils of its shoreline abundant in silt and the perfect conditions for farming. The floods however, have been devastating to human life (WWF, n.d.). This event relates to WRE because of its relevance to water resources management, specifically the implementation of dumping laws and minimum permissible doses of toxic substances. This event is of importance to water resources engineering because it focuses on protecting water quality and a major water tributary. The article focuses on the concentration of COD in the river, it may be nice to add what the total load of COD was comparatively to other tributaries.

Figure 1. This figure shows the yellow coloring of the river due to high silt concentrations, when the river floods it makes the surrounding soil rich in nutrients.

Economic, environmental, and societal issues drive the incentives for this fine. The economic effects of the fine will not be huge on Xi’an, who contributes 50% of the gross domestic product of the Shaanxi province, and will not greatly impact the local governments economy, but it is meant to prompt the province to do their part in keeping the water clean. The penalty will be allocated towards an environmental preservation fund for the province. The environmental issues that dictate this event are water pollution in the Yellow River, which is caused by dumping from paper mills and other plants. The environmental issues are being remediated by enforcing fines for polluting the water which will enforce the government to keep the river clean. The Province also has set up 62 water treatment plants in order to minimize pollution. As mentioned previously, the Yellow River frequently floods providing nutrient rich soil for the agricultural industry of Xi’an (Figure 1).  If the river is highly polluted, it is most likely not safe to consume the products of this soil. Therefore, society is benefiting from implementing fines, the safety of the public’s health and welfare is being protected. A journal article published in Advances in Meteorology also states that the increase in COD has not only effected agriculture, but has also had an impact on fish populations in the Weihe tributary (Song, 2015). The fine mentioned in the article can be boiled down to a cause and effect relationship, where the cause is the pollution of the Yellow River, specifically in regards to COD concentration, and the effect being the fine which has given the government incentive to remediate the pollution in the river.

References:

Daily Mail News. China, Norway Hold Dialogue on Human Rights, Rule of Law. 2010.

Song, J., Cheng, D., Li, Q., He, X., Long, Y., & Zhang, B. (2015). An evaluation of river health for the Weihe River in Shaanxi Province. China. Adv. Meteorol, 2015, 1-13.

Yellow River (Huang He); The Cradle of Chinese Civilization. World Wild Life Fund. N.d.

Xinhua. City Governments Fined for Yellow River Pollution. Chinadaily.com. 2010.

Xinhua. Environment watchdog sinks teeth into local governments to curb river pollution. CSR-CHINA. 2010.

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

Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects to economic, environmental, and societal issues. Our student Benjamin Schmidt makes this connection in Hyderabad, India. This current event was reported in “The times of India”, on February 25, 2018, under the title, “Hyderabad may face water shortage in summer”, by Krishna Prasadi. A published study conducted by Biju A. George in 2008 covers similar material stating the need for new water supply strategies for urban areas in Hyderabad due to water-related issues.

For most cities in the world, population is growing at an exponential rate, and Hyderabad India is no exception. With major water-related issues, such as depletion of surface water surfaces as well as overutilization of groundwater, Hyderabad is troubled with a restricted water supply problem. In the article that this blog is based upon, Hyderabad must “find” up to 10 thousand million cubic feet of water in order to ensure water security over the next four months, which is the area’s peak season for water distribution. Water levels have reportedly fell from 590 feet to 520.5 feet in the Nagarjunasagar reservoir, which feeds a portion of the cities drinking water supply. According to officials at the reservoir, if the levels fall another 10 feet, water will have to be pumped with large pumps that may not be able to meet the growing cities water need. Hyderabad requires an average of 430 MGD, mostly supplied by Himayatsagar, Singanoor, Akkampally, Osmansagar, and Manjira reservoirs (Figure 1). This peak season is of particular interest to policy makers because the reservoirs were not filled to the appropriate levels during their last monsoon season which makes the city depend on other sources such as Krishna. This post relates directly to water resources engineering because careful consideration must be taken into account for the allocation of water resources, looking into aspects of water loss and the power and time required in transferring water. Subjects like this are important to expose to the WRE community to look into and discuss possible solutions to this water problem, especially because with global and urban population on the rise, water crises are likely to affect many other cities in the near future. One key aspect that this article glanced over was the plan of the city policy makers to ensure that water will be available to Hyderabad’s citizens. The study mentioned earlier in the post by B. George demonstrate the possible water conservation measures that the city officials may have to take to increase transfer efficiency and capture and process urban runoff.

Figure 1. Hyderabad water reservoir sources

Hyderabad’s economy is largely based around the service economy, but the tourism sector contributes a decent amount to the city’s total income. Voted the third best city to visit in the world in 2013, the city is used to the influx of tourists over the peak travel seasons. But this year may be different. The water crisis in the city buts the tourism businesses as well as the service industry at risk with more strict water policies and regulations. This could hurt the local economy and put the locals at risk of water limitations. With this crisis also brings up the possible effects of the water shortage on the agricultural industries on the outskirts of the city that supplies Hyderabad’s local food stock. The quality of the drinking water will also be of high concern as the city may have to draw water from other sources that it usually would not have to. This event may not have a direct impact on the environment but more so indirectly. As the city allocates their water resources to the city taking form other reservoirs, the local habitats may have to face the consequences of decreased water supply. The impact of water shortages on urban areas was also addressed by Hefa Cheng (Cheng,2009) discussing China’s water crisis and the steps need to conserve the nations drinking water security. Hefa Cheng elaborates on the social and economic effect of a water shortage in the world’s most populated country. The current challenges and practices of the area are mentioned as well.

References:

Prasad, K. (2018, February 25). Hyderabad may face water shortage in summer – Times of India.    Retrieved April 11, 2018, from https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/hyderabad/hyderabad-may-face-water-shortage-in-summer/articleshow/63063473.cms?

George, B., Malano, H., Khan, A., Gaur, A., & Davidson, B. (2009). Urban Water Supply             Strategies for Hyderabad, India – Future Scenarios. Environmental Modeling &             Assessment14(6), 691-704. doi:10.1007/s10666-008-9170-6

Cheng, H., Hu, Y., & Zhao, J. (2009). Meeting China’s Water Shortage Crisis: Current Practices          and Challenges. Retrieved April 11, 2018, from                    https://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/es801934a

Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects to economic, environmental, and societal issues. Our Student James Rooney makes this connection in Paris, France. This current event was reported in The Economist, on January 31st under the title, “Why Paris is all wet again”, by The Economist Explains. The River Seine runs through the heart of the capital of France, and in recent years has seen its banks burst by increasingly frequent flooding events. In 2016, the Seine swelled 6.1 meters in accordance with heavy rainfall across northern France. This event pales in comparison to the flood of 1910, where the Seine swelled to 8.1 meters above its normal depth and flooded the streets of Paris for nearly two months. While the flooding seen in Paris is not unheard of, Parisians are weary of an event that could mimic the effects of the flood of 1910 and impose billions of dollars of damage on one of the most important cities on the European Continent. Measures to mitigate a catastrophic flooding event have been explored by the French Government and will be implemented in the coming years. The plans to mitigate flooding effects in Paris is validated by Sebastien Maire, the new Chief Resilience Officer in Paris, as cited in an article by The Guardian, titled “It’s when, not if: but will Paris be ready for the flood of the century” written by Kim Willsher. Maire explains that recent flooding in Paris is indicative of the fact that Paris is not prepared to handle a flooding event similar to that of 1910 but lays out a three-step plan as to how Paris can further their efforts in preparation.

In January of 2018, 1,500 people were evacuated from their homes in Paris due to rising flood waters when the River Seine reached 5.8 meters above its normal flow depth. For some residents, it is the eighth evacuation in twenty years. As the city of Paris has grown, more and more impervious surfaces have been emplaced, leading to increasing volumes of runoff into sewer systems. With nowhere for the water to go in a highly impervious urban landscape, high intensity rainfall events pose serious issues for flood mitigation in the city. Maire states that to help combat flooding effects, areas surrounding the River Seine should be refurbished to include more greenery and permeable surfaces to help soak up flood waters. Maire also states that the current flood monitoring system emplaced in the Seine should be upgraded to give the city more time to react to a historic flooding event. In this case, flood mitigation falls under the WRE sub discipline of hydrology. This article is important news for WRE because other cities across the world will likely look to Paris as an example for the mitigation of flooding events via the implementation of urban greenery and a limitation of impervious surfaces in urban areas. I do believe that while The Economist has done a good job explaining the issue of flooding events in Paris, The Economist Explains could provide a more comprehensive set of suggestions for Paris and how it can further mitigate flooding risks along the River Seine.

Figure 1. In 2016, the Seine Rose 6.1 meters, flooding the streets of Paris. The Eiffel Tower can be seen in the background.

Paris is the capital of France, and one of the most popular cities in the world. A flooding disaster would be catastrophic to this city and poses enormous potential economic consequences. As a major tourist attraction, flooding could also destroy parts of a historic city, leading to a cultural and societal loss for the world. Estimates from the OECD, a forum for High Level Risk events in Europe, say that a major flooding event similar to that of 1910 could cost the French government over 30 billion Euros to recover from, neglecting the effects on local businesses and tourist attractions. While this event does have damage implications for the city of Paris, it does also have environmental implications for the flood plains south of the capital, as a century flood could pose huge issues for sediment deposition in farm lands south of Paris, leading to crop failures and economic downturn for the area.

Reference:

The Economist Explains. Why Paris is all wet again. The Economist. Published January 31, 2018.

Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects to economic, environmental, and societal issues. Our student Natalie Orbesen makes this connection in Harbin, China. This current event was reported in The New York Times, on November 26th, 2005 under the title, Spill in China Brings Danger, and Cover-Up, by Jim Yardley. The details of this incident are also discussed between Sheilah Kast and Rolf Halden (Environmental Health Sciences professor at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health) on National Public Radio as well as by various other sources including Berkeley School of Public Health’s online website. The quantity of sources that discuss this incident lead me to believe that it is not fake news.

When a chemical factory exploded in November of 2005, in Jilin China, chemicals spilled into the Songhua river. Water resource engineers design different systems to manage human water. Since this event polluted the neighboring Songhua river, waste water engineering techniques could have been used to help treat the polluted water. Also, water resource engineers could have aided in a solution to help provide water to the public while the current supply was contaminated. This is an important event in water engineering, because systems created by water resource engineers ensure that people have clean water. When tragedies like these arise, water resource engineers are key components to managing and controlling the damage. The news report of the spill by The New York Times explains the social and environmental aspects of the event well, but it should have included more information about the methodology that would be used to repair the situation. It is important for the public to know that they will have safe water returned to them, and how it is going to be done.

Figure 1. A woman must use a public water tap to fill her teapot after the chemical spill.

In events where water sources are polluted, social, economic and environmental aspects are heavily impacted. In this specific event, over 100 tons of chemicals were spilled into the river that provided water for Harbin, and other cities in China. When the event first occurred, the economic impacts began. This event caused the water system in the city of Harbin to be shut down, leaving many people without any running water. When this happened the demand for bottled water skyrocketed, and in a response to this, stores made their bottled water prices unreasonably high. The government responded to this by putting a freeze on water prices. This spill also contaminated the Songhua River causing damages that would cost millions of dollars to repair or improve. The contaminates also had lasting effects on the environment. These chemicals could be ingested by marine organisms or leech into the soil. Benzene is a volatile compound that is found in gasoline. Exposure to this chemical can also have long term and short-term effects on humans. These effects include nervous systems disorders, immune system suppression, anima, chromosome aberrations and cancer. This is a human health risk that should be taken very seriously. Unfortunately, many times in situations like this, the government is not primarily concerned with public health. When this disaster happened, a local newspaper was more concerned to report about an earth quake that didn’t happen to distract the public from the spill. The city even tried to convince the people in Harbin that the water was shut down to conduct repairs on the pipes. The people who were residents of Harbin China dealt with many different social injustices because of the spill. There were some positive aspects of this spill though. According to EJOLT team at School of Geography and China Centre, after the spill there was revisions done to the Water Pollution Control Act (2018). This revision focused on emergency response, and how future disasters could be handled. The cause of these different environmental, social, and economic issues is a result of an explosion in a government owned chemical factory. This explosion caused chemicals to flow into a body of water, which was then polluted by the chemicals. This pollution will have everlasting effects on the ecosystem that was contaminated.

References:

EJOLT team at School of Geography and China Centre, University of Oxford. The Jilin chemical plant explosions and Songhua River Pollution Incident, China | EJAtlas. Environmental Justice Atlas. https://ejatlas.org/conflict/the-jilin-chemical-plant-explosions-songhua-river-pollution-incident. Published February 27, 2018. Accessed April 10, 2018.

Kirschner LA, Grandy EB. Media Center. Parsons Behle & Latimer. https://parsonsbehle.com/publications/the-songhua-river-spill-china-s-pollution-crisis. Published 2006. Accessed April 10, 2018.

Water Restored to Chinese City After Toxic Spill. NPR. https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5028494. Published November 27, 2005. Accessed April 10, 2018.

NPR Interviews Martyn T. Smith about the toxic effects of the Harbin, China spill. Graduate Program in Environmental Health Sciences at UC Berkeley. http://ehs.sph.berkeley.edu/newsbefore2014/2015/1/27/npr-interviews-martyn-t-smith-about-the-toxic-effects-of-the-harbin-china-spill. Published November 25, 2005. Accessed April 10, 2018.

Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects to economic, environmental, and societal issues. Our student Xavier Sardoni makes this connection in Moscow, Russia. This current event was reported on the Moscow Mayor official website, on October 23, 2017 under the title” Moscow is advancing their standards of drinking water quality” by Alexei Babayev. Since the mayor of Moscow has a vested interest in saying the drinking water of his city is improving in quality, the news within the article was looked at with scrutiny. However, the details check out as found on the WATEC Israel blog for 2017 at here.

The news about improvement in drinking water relates to water resource engineering in the specific area of drinking water treatment and distribution. The main highlight of this article is the discussion of how the implementation of ozone treatment assisted in bringing the Moscow drinking water to the same quality of London and Paris. This is important because generally the living conditions in Russia are considered to be sub-par, and this is a good sign for the people in Russia as the government is giving more consideration to the health and welfare of its citizens. Now, the water is treated at four different treatment plants around Moscow. The system us 13000 kilometers long and has various reservoirs, pumping stations, and regulatory nodes all connected by various diameter pipelines. About 64% of the water is now benefitting from ozone filtration, ozone-sorption, and membrane filtration as supplemental treatment causing the water to be clean, odorless, and most importantly, safe. Figure 1 shows how an ozone filtration system works. The photo was obtained from here. Unfortunately, this article fails to go into many of the specifics about the actual treatment and does not provide any scientific data. This is because it is an interview with the mayor, who unlikely knows those types of specifics off-hand as he is not a water resource engineer.

Figure 1. This demonstrates the way an ozone filtration system works in a water treatment plant.

Due to the necessity of clean drinking water, this news has many implications both socially and economically. As a resource, the environmental issues are also key in understanding the value of the information from a global perspective. Economically, the quality of water directly affects the quality of life. This gives life in Moscow higher value, and thus makes Moscow a more sought-after city to live in. This brings the value of the area up. According to a study done by Guy Hutton and Laurence Haller, they found areas that improve their water sanitation efforts end up saving massive amounts of money based primarily on the medical savings from a decrease in water born illnesses (2004). This is a net benefit for the city itself and will likely prove to be a valuable economic investment. From a societal standpoint, there are a variety of benefits. The cleaner the water, the healthier the citizens. Life spans will increase, and less people will get sick and thus improves the efficiency of the citizens. As the area’s value increases, so will the prices of living. This could be both beneficial and negative. On the one hand, decreasing the affordability of the city could lead to lower crime rate and force improvement of other places in Russia and increase the quality of living across the country. On the other hand, it may displace people who cannot afford to live in such a nice city. This news relates to environmental issues in several ways. An interesting fact brought up in the article is that about 99% of drinking water comes from surface water. This includes various reservoirs and the Moskva River. This information is important because Moscow benefits by not polluting its surface water directly. Many places rely on groundwater if not totally often more than Moscow does. For this reason, many companies will simply dump waste into surface water, but this would be devastating to Moscow as almost all of their water would be extra contaminated, and the cost to clean the water would increase. Hopefully this acts as a deterrent to companies in Moscow from committing such acts, and help conservation of the world’s water supply.

References:

Hutton, G., & Haller, L. (2004). Evaluation of the Costs and Benefits of Water and Sanitation. Water, Sanitation and Health Protection of the Human Environment World Health Organization.

Water resources engineering (WRE) connects to economic, environmental and societal issues. Our student, Nicholas Manzione, makes this connection in Los Angeles, California on April 4th, 2018. This current event was reported by News Deeplys “Water Deeply” section, on March 26th, 2018 under the title “How Los Angeles Could Source its Water Locally” by Tara Lohan. Although not a traditional mass media source, Water Deeply, according to their about section, is a, “independent digital media project dedicated to covering the water crises in California and the American West. Our team, a mix of journalists and technologists, aims to build a better user experience of the story by providing news and analysis in an easily accessible platform. Our hope is to add greater clarity, deeper understanding and more sustained public engagement at a critical moment in water policy.” (Water Deeply, 2018). This particular report is based on findings from a study from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) that was written by Katie Mika and her team on February 2nd, 2018 (Mika, 2018).

This specific event relates to WRE from a different standpoint, as the brainstorming and research process often plays a factor in what specific infrastructure gets approved by any government, whether it is local government (ex: The City of Los Angeles) state and or federal government levels. Based on the research conducted by Mika and her team, there is a potential that the City could source its water 100 percent locally. The management plan calls for implementing watershed-scale best management practices to meet stormwater permit requirements (Mika, 2018). More specifically, Mika dives into looking at existing infrastructure that helps reclaim stormwater and the processes that accompany Los Angeles currently and Groundwater basins, as her team has researched ways that the groundwater basins the city of Los Angeles currently has access too, based on water laws within the western portion of the United States. These sources, more specifically the groundwater basins, cover the remediation aspect of WRE, as the research team also identified potential funding opportunities for the City of Los Angeles to be able to clean polluted groundwater basins and be able to use the recycled water for future use. Since this is more of a plan and therefore hypothetical until the City of Los Angeles acts on their growing water concerns, this plan could change drastically. However, the research team as well as the reporter covering this story include that in both of their pieces, giving a disclaimer that this is only merely a very educated suggestion.

Figure 1. Picture of Los Angeles City Council with a raindrop mascot over a rain garden designed in a homeowners backyard (Cohen, 2018)

This research encapsulates economic, environmental and societal issues all at once, as potable water is the most important thing for a city. This setting for the city of Los Angeles water needs and the need for proper infrastructure to be able to recycle and clean stormwater can be best described as a general concern for the western part of the United States through work done by Mark Anderson of the USGS as the laws of appropriation, climate and an ever changing climate by humans have created a unique problem of finding water in the Western portion of the United States (Anderson, 2005). Economically this research affects Los Angeles, as if the Mayor decides to follow the research closely, not only will they have to commit to “25 to 30 years (Cohen, 2018)” to this project, but also the economic issues that can come from a long project, such as lack of funding, inflation and a raise in local, county and states taxes. Environmentally, this event is part of an ongoing issue within the Western portion in the United States, as the law of appropriation causes issues when it comes to water rights. Although the City of Los Angeles does have water sources within the San Joaquin valley, and from the Rocky Mountain Snowmelt (Cohen, 2018), due to climate change, which is also another ongoing environmental issue, these sources could potentially be no more if the temperature and climate keep increasing. Also, if these sources face man made pollution or indirect pollution (ex: lead pipes, other toxics that have leached into these sources) not only would an environmental crisis, which would most likely trigger CERCLA, would occur, but we could be looking at a much larger crisis. From a societal standpoint, water is our most important resource; not only does it fuel our lives, it fuels most of the processes we take for granted today. Without potable water, cities like Los Angeles would fail to exist. This is why the City of Los Angeles is looking to finding different ways to recycle water (Figure 1). Syracuse, New York, although an eastern United States city, has been at the forefront of water resource related issues, as they have implemented a wide variety of green infrastructure projects, such as green roofs and constructed wetlands to save stormwater (Save The Rain, 2016). This particular poster detailing these infrastructure projects was presented at the 2016 New York State Fair. These practices could serve as a good model to the mayor and city council of Los Angeles, as these practices took a lot of time to implement, required an overhaul in how storm water was looked at and eventually how successful these projects could be if the city committed to them.

References:

Water Deeply (2018).  About Us, Retrieved from https://www.newsdeeply.com/water/about

Mika, K., Gallo, E., Porse, E., Hogue, T., Pincetl, S., & Gold, M. (2018). LA Sustainable Water Project: Los Angeles City-Wide Overview. UCLA: Sustainable LA Grand Challenge. Retrieved from https://escholarship.org/uc/item/4tp3x8g4

Anderson, Mark T., and Woosley, Lloyd H., Jr., 2005, Water availability for the Western United States— Key scientific challenges: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1261, 85 p.

Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects to economic, environmental, and societal issues. Our student, Andrea Machamer, makes this connection in Mumbai, India. This current event was reported in The Times of India on February 16, 2018, under the title “BMC Pipeline Damaged, Water Scarcity in South Mumbai” by Richa Pintol. For accuracy purposes, the Hindustan Times also reported on this event on February 12, 2018.

These pipeline network and water distribution system issues relate to WRE. Problems such as the one in south Mumbai are important news for WRE in understanding how to better supply water to the serving population. Information on the percentage of water loss and the required water demand were missing in this report. In Mumbai, contamination of the water supply caused by leaks has become a common problem. For the last 5 years, minister Ranjit Patil reported 40,000 complaints of leakages. Another issue is theft, wherein 900 MLD is lost daily to both leakage and theft – about 25% of the total Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) water supply. Locals like a shopkeeper in Navi Mumbai say water officials are reluctant to fix the leaking pipes since residents have yet to intimidate them. RTI activists say any wastage of water for even the duration of seven minutes is a criminal waste of public money and resources. Officials should also regularly check stretches of water lines instead of relying on public outcry.

Figure 1. Leakages causing contamination of water has become common in Mumbai

Economic, environmental, and societal issues are important in water distribution systems of Mumbai. The south parts of Mumbai – Dadar, Parel, Sion, King Circle, and Wadala – where the BMC pipeline was found to be damaged was immediately worked on and repaired the Friday morning residents experienced water scarcities. South Mumbai is the city’s main business district as well as the richest urban area in India where property prices are amongst the highest in the world. Yet in other locales, water scarcities and pipe leakages gone on for days, even months, before being resolved. For most residents, their daily water is delivered for a few hours every day, forcing urban people to store water in iron, plastic drums, or large earthenware. Wealthy people have different arrangements for drinking water supply, but the poor living in slums don’t have such agreements and pay extravagant prices for water. Lower income families are spending large proportion of their income for a few liters of water every day. A major problem caused by the leakages is the pollution of the groundwater. Groundwater is vulnerable to contamination from leakage of sewage pipelines. The amount of unaccounted water in Mumbai is almost 20%, but the acceptable maximum amount is 15% to be considered cost effective.

References

Gupta S. Ground Water Information Greater Mumbai District Maharshtra. 2013.

Gurlhosur G. Mumbai civic body replaces only 50% of the promised water pipelines in 2017. Hindustan Times. Published February 12, 2018.

Pintol R. BMC pipeline damaged, water scarcity in parts of south Mumbai. The Times of India. Published February 16, 2018.

Rode S. Public Private Partnership in Drinking Water Supply of Greater Mumbai. Published 2008.