Category: ERE340 2014


Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects engineering hydrology and hydraulics global, economic, environmental, and societal issues. Our student Genna Wislocki makes this connection here…
The article titled “UCONN Picks Connecticut Water To Solve Its Water Woes” was reported by the Peter Marteka in Hartford Courant on August 5, 2013. The news accounted in the Hartford Courant relates to the WRE field of hydrology. The primary issue here is the movement and distribution of water. To summarize the article UCONN is in need of about 2 million gallons of water a day more than it is currently receiving to account for its 3,100 acre campus supporting over 125 buildings. Proposals went out from multiple companies to UCONN including plans from the Metropolitan District Commission involving a 20 mile pipeline drawing water from a popular recreation point. The chosen plan was minimally invasive to the environment with a 5 mile pipe network and significantly less expensive. Based on my engineering education I believe UCONN made the correct decision in choosing the less invasive pipe structure as I show in the following research citations. The Alberta Energy Regulator corporation, with headquarters in Canada held a conference in 2002 to discuss the massive implications and environmental impacts of constructing pipelines. A publication “Best Management Practices for Pipeline Construction in Native Prairie Environments “ has a sub section of 17 pages worth of improvements which should be accomplished in order to mitigate the issues which arise in construction zones. One such issue was stated within the publication where, “Alteration of these sustainable grasslands, through improperly planned petroleum development activities, can delay the recovery time and alter the productivity of these valuable grassland” (2003). Huckbody Environmental is project management company for major infrastructure including pipeline construction. Here they discuss the implications of pipeline construction, “…occasionally mistakes are made or unforeseen events occur which lead to pollution incidents…including bentonite spillage to rivers and silt pollution of valuable river habitat” (Huckbody). Based on critical thinking on the news story I think this article was missing information on how they have gone about daily actives without the necessary water and management practices which can be exercised on campus in order to conserve the water they have.

Figure 1: Water propaganda via Historum

Figure 1: Water propaganda via Historum

Both on a macro and micro scale the study of hydrology and hydraulics is highly dependent on other disciplines and carries with it high value as it deals with many users, water resources management influences global, economic, environmental, and societal context areas. I have identified the broader WRE context areas of economic impacts by this pipeline construction issue. This economic context area is defined as the transfer, movement, production and consumption of wealth. This directly relates to the article because the cost of the pipeline is of great importance to those who will be funding the project. If a less environmentally healthy option is cheaper it is possible that this option will be chosen. I think it is important to ensure that healthy environmental options are made affordable enabling us to move towards a more sustainable society. I found that water shortages affect one fifth of the worlds population according to an article by the United Nations. According to the article water scarcity is among the main issues the 21st century is dealing with, with population increasing at twice the rate as the last century. The cause effect relationship between water shortages and economics are as follows – as society continues to use water in unsustainable manners such as drawing from river basins at a rate too fast for the river to recover it will become increasingly more expensive to obtain clean, potable water.

Figure 2: Some water shortage statistics via seametrics

Figure 2: Some water shortage statistics via seametrics

Works Cited

“Alberta Energy Regulator.” Best Management Practices for Pipeline Construction in Native Prairie Environments. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Apr. 2014. <http://www.aer.ca/documents/applications/BestManagementPracticesPipeline.pdf>

“Huckbody Environmental Ltd.” Pipeline Practice Guide. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2014. <http://huckbody.com/?page_id=1088>.

“International Decade for Action ‘Water for Life’ 2005-2015.” Water Quality. United Nations, n.d. Web. 23 Apr. 2014. <http://www.un.org/waterforlifedecade/scarcity.shtml> “Storrs, Mansfield: Connecticut Water Co.’s $21 million proposal wins backing.” UConn Picks Connecticut Water To Solve Its Water Woes. Hartford Courant, 5 Aug. 2013. Web. 23 Apr. 2014. <http://articles.courant.com/2013-08-05/news/hc-uconn-water-solution-0806- 20130805_1_water-treatment-plant-pipe-water-windham-water-works>.

 

Water resources engineering connects engineering hydrology and hydraulics with global, environmental and societal issues. Our student Zpikin makes this connection here with the pollution problems in the State of Florida’s springs and groundwater which provide much of their drinking water and the policy behind fixing this problem.

Figure 1. The springs are clear, beautiful and commonly used for recreation

Figure 1. The springs are clear, beautiful and commonly used for recreation

The article published by the New York Times on April 14, 2014 titled “Florida Lawmakers Proposing a Salve for Ailing Springs” was written by Lizette Alvarez and went in depth about the issues faced by these freshwater areas and what is currently being done to save them. This is a pertinent hydrology issue because of the groundwater infiltration of pollutants is having a negative effect on the states drinking water supply and overall ecosystem health. The problem is due to dairy farming and the nutrient rich runoff which is ending up in groundwater and adjacent lagoons and springs causing algal blooms and wildlife deaths including fish, oysters and even manatees. Different solutions that have been pondered but it has proven difficult to decide the best plan of action because of cost and property rights but even residents had enough and sued the State for not doing enough to clean up the water. Finally, a decision was reached despite all the back and forth and a timetable has been put into place.

Figure 2. A resident living near the Springs sees the algae blooming from nutrient overloads

Figure 2. A resident living near the Springs sees the algae blooming from nutrient overloads

There has been a lot of hesitance when trying to come up with a plan to save these springs. Political clashes could potentially be the source in addition to the people that live around the park whose property would likely be affected as well. Finally everyone realized that the problem is real, not only having an effect on the springs but the locale economy as well. There has been a huge decline of once-popular clear bottom boat tours due to poor clarity in the water negatively impacting the tourism industry. Groundwater flows just as many other bodies of water do. There is agricultural waste inundating these groundwater systems that feed the springs resulting in nutrient rich water which creates the perfect environment for algal blooms. This has not only been seen in Florida but similarly so in Spain where non-point agricultural pollution is a concern to groundwater management and the springs the water feeds. As seen in the cross-section schematic (Fig. 3), showing groundwater flow and the resulting nutrient (NO3) load fluctuations in the springs over time. As anyone can see, there is a clear connection between groundwater and bodies of water it may feed (lakes, sprints etc.); anything entering these groundwaters, whether pharmaceuticals, agricultural waste or detergents will end up in the receiving bodies.

Figure 3. Schematic of groundwater flow off of an agricultural site

Figure 3. Schematic of groundwater flow off of an agricultural site

References

Alvarez, Lizette. “Florida Lawmakers Proposing a Salve for Ailing Springs.” The New York Times. The New  York Times, 14 Apr. 2014. Web. 16 Apr. 2014.

Boy-Roura, Mercè, Anna Menció, and Josep Mas-Pla. “Temporal Analysis of Spring Water Data to Assess Nitrate Inputs to Groundwater in an Agricultural Area (Osona, NE Spain).” Science of the Total Environment 452-453 (May 2013): 433-45. Science Direct. Web. 18 Apr. 2014. <http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0048969713002507>.

The news entitled, “China admits problems with Three Gorges Dam” was reported by Nature.com in their May 25th 2011 online news. The news relates to the WRE domain of hydrology and the specific issue of the occurrence and magnitude of droughts. In brief, this news article reports Three Gorges Dam (TGD) might has caused several drought in provinces at the downstream. According to the Xinhua News Agency, between January and April in 2011, rainfall in the Yangtze River Basin was 40% below average. The drought has been widely considered the worst drought in 50 years. This problem has devastated 3 million hectares of farmland, left millions of people and livestock short of drinking water, and threatened wildlife and ecosystems in many rivers and lakes, including the endangered Yangtze finless porpoise. Based on what I know about WRE the news story is accurately reporting on an important WRE issue. Drought occurrence and magnitude is difficult to predict and unlike floods or other natural disasters, the beginning and the end of drought are not necessarily obvious. Kent (2011) said more than one thousand hectares of wetlands have dried up entirely at one of the downstream lake called Dongting Lake. “…the millions living downstream who know that their water shortages began when the Three Gorges reservoir began to fill and that this year’s drop in precipitation was a mere aggravation of what has become a man-made problem” (Adams, 2011). After critical reflection on this article, I think although I don’t know if the present droughts are being driven by the TGD, but a fact is that since the operation of the TGD, extreme weather
events became much more frequent and severe in the recent years. We still don’t have enough scientific evidence to claim that the TGD has caused the series of weather disasters, but it is undoubted that the benefits resulting from the TGD are not as expected or designed before.
Water resources engineering is considered an interdisciplinary field involving the management of hydrologic and hydraulic systems to reduce any adverse impacts and maximize beneficial impacts. The hydrology drought issue in this news story impacts the broader WRE context areas of society and economics. The societal context can relates to human relationships, such as those between people and their government, between community members, etc, and they can relate to other issues such as economics, environment, human health, and national security.
The article relates that drought impacts society, and there is still no effective to predict to decrease drought risk to communities. I found that the relationship between the WRE issue of droughts and the context area of society is also wrote by Wurbs & James (2002). They wrote 40 million people reportedly suffered due to droughts of the early to mid-1980’s in sub-Sahara, Africa. The cause-effect between drought and society impact is as follows- a river and lake runs out of water the fisher will die and fisherman’s income will goes down.in addition, The drought will also stranded numerous ships. People ‘s live will be tougher than the other time.

References:

Adams, P. (2011, November 25). Patricia Adams: Did The Three Gorges Dam Create China’s Devastating Drought?. Huffington Post Canada Canadian News Stories, Breaking News, Opinion. Retrieved May 2, 2013, from http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/patriciaadams/chinadrought_b_1108478.html

Kent, J. L. (2011, June 3). Has the Three Gorges Dam created Chinese drought zone? CNN.com. CNN.com Breaking News, U.S., World, Weather, Entertainment & Video News. Retrieved May 2, 2013, from http://www.cnn.com/2011/WORLD/asiapcf/06/03/china.dam.drought/index.html

Qiu, J. (2011, May 25). China admits problems with Three Gorges Dam : Nature News. Nature Publishing Group : science journals, jobs, and information. Retrieved May 2, 2013, from http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110525/full/news.2011.315.html

Wurbs, R. A., & James, W. P. (2002). Water resources engineering. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects engineering hydrology and hydraulics with global, economic, environmental , and societal issues. Our student Cambria Ziemer makes this connection here. . .
The journal article entitled, “Response of Rainfall and Vegetation to ENSO Events during 2001-2011 in Upper Wardha Watershed, Maharashtra, India” was reported by the American Society of Civil Engineers Journal of Hydrologic Engineering in March 2014. This article relates to the WRE domain of hydrology and the specific issue of the distribution of rainfall during the El Nino Southern Oscillation. This study looked at daily precipitation data and the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and correlated anomalies with El Nino or La Nina years. It was concluded that El Nino years produce dry conditions while La Nina years produce wet conditions with prolonged rainfall, as seen in Figure 1. In addition, NDVI anomalies revealed similar patterns with low values during El Nino years and high values during La Nina years. Based on my engineering education my opinion is that the WRE facts in the news are accurate, as supported by the following research citations. Researched in Kenya and Tanzania have also analyzed the effect of ENSO events on rainfall and NDVI and concluded that the occurrence of droughts and floods coincided with the occurrence of ENSO events (Ogutu et al., 2008). Many researchers have conducted studies in India relating ENSO events to other parameters, such as the occurrence of monsoons (Krishna Kumar et al., 2006). Krishna Kumar found that severe droughts in India coincide with El Nino events. Based on critical thinking on this journal article, I think the article is missing information regarding the change in growing season length. The article mentions this as an application of the study, but it does not state how the length of the growing season changes between normal, El Nino, and La Nina years.
The results of this study relate to the broader context of economics, which relates the behavior of individuals as well as organizations as they manage and use limited resources to provide needs and meet goals. Rainfall patterns affect economics because it affects how much water is available for irrigation and for crop use, which in turn affects crop yields over a season. Predicting precipitation patterns, as revealed in this study, allows farmers to change management practices to accommodate for climatic factors year to year. Researchers found that there was a decrease in the agricultural economy during El Nino years as a result of the dry conditions (Gadgil et al., 1999). The cause effect relationship between ENSO and the economy is that ENSO induces dry conditions that are not suitable for agriculture and many crops fail during these years, which reduces the supply of food in a demanding market.

Figure 1. Rainfall anomaly maps: top row represents El Nino years and bottom row represents La Nina.

Figure 1. Rainfall anomaly maps: top row represents El Nino years and bottom row represents La Nina.

References

Gadgil, S., Abrol, Y. P., and Seshagiri Rao, P. R., “On growth and fluctuation of Indian food grain production.” Curr. Sci., 1999, 76, 557-569.

Krishna Kumar, K., Rajagopalan, B., Hoerling, M., Bates, G., and Cane, M. Unraveling the mystery of Indian monsoon failture during El Nino. Science, 2006, 314(5796), 115-119.

Ogutu, J. O., Piepho, H. -., Dublin, H. T., Bhola, N., & Reid, R. S. El niño-southern oscillation, rainfall, temperature and normalized difference vegetation index fluctuations in the mara-serengeti ecosystem. African Journal of Ecology, 46(2), 2008, 132-143.

Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects engineering hydrology and hydraulics with global, economic, environmental, and societal issues. Our student Nick Valinski makes this connection here…
Libelium has made advancements in their smart sensor line of Waspmote products, documented in their February 24th, 2014 article entitled “Smart Water Sensors to monitor water quality in rivers, lakes and the sea.” The article describes the release of this new sensor base model that can affect both hydraulic and hydrologic systems, aimed at better distributed real time monitoring of water parameters [1]. While the sensing technology itself isn’t exactly new, the Libelium package offers a cost effective solution that is able to connect to the cloud to publish data in real time to online services. The new Smart Water Sensors are able to measure pH, dissolved oxygen, oxidation-reduction potential, salinity, temperature, and dissolved ion concentrations. Parameter measurements seem to be consistent with other monitoring devices such as water quality sondes and ISCO autosamplers used in both large estuarine zones and smaller catchment areas to monitor stream quality after snowmelt [2][ 3].
Though our wastewater treatment processes and understanding of natural water systems have greatly improved over the past 100 years, we still have not progressed to a point where we can quickly relay information in real time about a water contamination outbreak. Outbreaks in contamination have occurred as recently as January, with the contamination of a river water source in West Virginia. Despite having advanced techniques available, the contamination was not found until residents complained that the water tasted and smelled differently [4]. Large scale monitoring networks have previously been cost prohibitive, but the introduction of the Smart Water system means that these networks can be built out to protect water consumers from contamination before it gets to the tap. Water network engineers should be aware of these sensors and plan to build them into a modern day system to ensure the safety of the public.

Figure 1: Waspmote Plus & Sense Smart Water model from Libelium

Figure 1: Waspmote Plus & Sense Smart Water model from Libelium

Reference

1. Smart Water Sensors to monitor water quality in rivers, lakes and the sea. Libelium. February 24, 2014. Available at: http://www.libelium.com/smart-water-sensors-monitor-water-quality-leakages-wastes-in-rivers-lakes-sea/?utm_source=banner_home&utm_medium=banner. Accessed April 7, 2014.

2. Fucik P, Kaplicka M, Kvitek T, Peterkova J. Dynamics of Stream Water Quality during Snowmelt and Rainfall – Runoff Events in a Small Agricultural Catchment. Clean-Soil Air Water. February 2012;40(2):154-163.

3. Dong Z, Gu Y, Wang S, Shi Y, Li R, Xiong L. Monitoring and Assessment of Water Quality in Fuchunjiang and Hangzhou Reaches of Qiantangjiang Estuarine Zone. Energy Engineering and Environmental Engineering. Vol 316-317; 2013.

4. Gabriel T. Thousands Without Water After Spill in West Virginia. New York Times. January 10, 2014. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/11/us/west-virginia-chemical-spill.html. Accessed April 7, 2014.

Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects engineering hydrology and hydraulics with global, economic, environmental, and societal issues. Our student Ethan Washburn makes this connection here…
The article Understanding Uncertainties In Future Colorado River Streamflow, by Julie Vano et al. was published in the January 2014 Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. This article relates to the WRE domain of hydrology and the specific issue of streamflow predictions for the Colorado River. Predictions have been made which estimate decreases in runoff values ranging from 6% to 45%. The authors of this article explored the uncertainties in the methodologies and models upon which the predictions were based. The study compared the following factors used to generate streamflow predictions: number of Global Climate Models (GCMs), number of Regional Climate Models (RCMs), emission scenarios, total number of projections, spatial resolution, downscaling techniques, and Land Surface Models (LSMs). Table 1 from the article summarizes these details for studies used determine Colorado River streamflow estimates (Vano et al., 2014). Figure 1 from the article shows the flow of different approaches used to generate streamflow projections (Vano et al., 2014). The authors identified four sources for the uncertainties of the future predictions of streamflow for the Colorado River. In order of greatest to least importance they are: GCM and emission scenario selection; spatial scale and topographic dependence of the projections; representations of land surface processes; and statistical downscaling methods. Based on this article, there are several factors that go into predicting streamflow and even small changes can result in large differences in predicted values. According to James Jacob’s article, The Sustainability of Water Resources in the Colorado River Basin, there is no significant trend in precipitation in the area for the last 110 years. However, there is an increasing trend in surface temperatures with the most recent 11-year average exceeding previous recorded values (James, 2011). James concludes that models strongly suggest that warmer temperatures will result in a decrease in Colorado River streamflow.
In a broader context, the WRE issue related to the hydrology around the Colorado River has economic and environmental impacts. The Colorado River has two large reservoirs (Lake Mead and Lake Powell) and several small reservoirs which provide water for more than 30 million people in arid regions of the United States and Mexico. The ongoing drought in the area is outside of normal 20th century climate variability, and many fear that a permanent shift to a drier climate is underway (Vano et al., 2014). A reduction in streamflow would result in less water available for the people serviced by the Colorado River Basin. It relates to economics because, a reduction in the water supply could lead to increased water supply costs. There are also significant environmental impacts related to the uncertainties of our models. As our climate becomes increasingly different the historical models become increasingly inaccurate. One area for research is improving these models.

Table 1

 

Figure 1: Approaches to Developing Streamflow Projections

Figure 1: Approaches to Developing Streamflow Projections

References:

Jacobs, J. 2011. The Sustainability of Water Resources in the Colorado River Basin. Winter Issue of The Bridge on Sustainable Water Resources, 41 (4), pp. 6-12. Available at: https://www.nae.edu/File.aspx?id=55285 [Accessed: 8 Apr 2014].

Vano, J. A., Udall, B., Cayan, D. R., Overpeck, J. T., Brekke, L. D., Das, T., Hartmann, H. C., Hidalgo, H. G., Hoerling, M., Mccabe, G. J. and Others. 2014. Understanding Uncertainties In Future Colorado River Streamflow. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.

Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects engineering hydrology and hydraulics with global, economic, environmental, and societal issues. Our student Kayla Hanczyk makes this connection with the drought crisis that is currently happening in California.
The WRE news article, “Epic California Drought and Groundwater: Where Do We Go From Here? “ from National Geographic on February 4, 2014 reported in the hydrology domain. The issue that was being reported in was the diminishing groundwater in California. In summary this news article discussed how The UC Center for Hydrologic Modeling recently released a report on the California drought. This recent report describes the NASA GRACE satellite mission and how it is able to see the amount of groundwater that is available within the area. It also discusses ways to try and solve this problem. This is a very accurate source as Biology News Net and The New York Times report the same very detailed information about the GRACE mission.
The UC Center for Hydrologic Modeling has been working on this type of research for over 2 decades and the GRACE satellite mission was launched in 2002. The goal of this mission is to quantify the global freshwater availability and to monitor he rate at which it is decreasing. In doing this they hope to be able to restrict use and restore the groundwater levels to a sustainable amount. So far this mission has been very successful, the satellite is able to see how the water supply is changing each month, but not only groundwater is being monitored. The snow, surface water, soil moisture, and groundwater make up seemingly the total water storage and are all able to be monitored by GRACE. It is seen that all of these values are decreasing at a very rapid rate, and with fresh groundwater being a finite resource something needs to be done and fast. One specific event that happened was the major drought between 2006 and 2010. During this time of little to no rain the agricultural business was in great danger. In order for the crops to grow farmers had to majorly tap into groundwater reservoirs resulting in a ground water depletion so great that it was registered at satellite “scale” that orbits about 400km above the Earth’s surface. The big question we now are asking is what we are going to do in attempt to solve this problem.

Figure 1

Figure 1

Reference:
Famiglietti, Jay. Epic California Drought and Groundwater: Where Do We Go From Here?. February 4, 2014. Available at:
http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2014/02/04/epic-california-drought-and-groundwater-where-do-we-go-from-here/. Accessed on 13February 2014.
Satellites show “total” California water storage at neardecadelow. brazilc@uci.edu. Biology News Net. February 3, 2014. Avalible at:
http://www.biologynews.net/archives/2014/02/03/satellites_show_total_california_water_storage_at_neardecade_low.html. Accessed February 14, 2014
Devenport,Coral. Obama to Announce Aid for Drought-Racked California. The New York Times. February 14,2014.

Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects engineering hydrology and hydraulics with global, economic, environmental, and societal issues. Our student, Karl Wilhelmsen, makes this connection here by discussing the potential privatization of Detroit’s water supply.
An article providing an in-depth look into this multi-faceted issue was published by the Detroit Free Press on 25 March 2014. The article is titled “Detroit Seeking Offers for Private Management of Water and Sewerage Department”. The issue at hand is hydrology-based with strong economic and political impacts stimulated by the bankruptcy filed by Detroit in July 2013. An emergency manager named Kevyn Orr has been tasked since the bankruptcy to assist Detroit in managing its assets and reorganizing public services in order to ultimately help Detroit recover from this dismal economic situation. Along with this reorganization comes the question of what to do with the management of Detroit’s public water and sewage system. Detroit’s water system is quite extensive, bringing water to 40% of Michigan’s population including 125 suburban communities. This further complicates the issue because the counties where these suburbs are located feel that they are being pressured or even squeezed out of political discussions involving the currently public water supply. The main driver for privatization is the potential for a private company to run the water system more efficiently, cover infrastructure costs that can be overwhelming, and generate an annual revenue stream for the city of Detroit. It is estimated that maintenance costs on the water infrastructure currently supplied by Detroit’s public supply will be in excess of $696 million within the next five years so there are obvious benefits in having a private company pick up the tab in addition to the annual lease payment of $47 million to go to Detroit as revenue. The primary concern is that water will start to be considered a consumer product that will result in rate hikes in the coming years. The current provisions being proposed include a 10-year rate cap of 4% price increases per year, but the lease contract being considered by the city is 40 years long. Other options being considered is breaking up the network currently supplied into two or more regional authorities in order to better manage the system and recover costs. According to Deputy Executive Robert Daddow of Oakland County, the next county North of Detroit, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department has accrued a $1.5 billion deficit during the last seven years of operation. To put the magnitude of what the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department does in terms of water distribution for the people, an average of 610 million gallons of drinking water is pumped per day across a pipe network spanning 3,438 miles. Their wastewater treatment plant is also one of the largest in the country treating an average of 710 million gallons per day. The fact is that whether the water is run by a public or private entity, the looming infrastructure repair costs required in the near future along with mounting debts are going to have to result in increased rates in the near future in order to meet the water needs of the public in an economically sustainable way.
The privatization of municipal water supplies is primarily an economic and societal issue. 85% of water supplies in the United States are publically operated, but a recent transition has begun in the past 20 years towards water privatization. This switch stems mainly from economical origins, but our beliefs as a society is what makes this transition such a hotly-debated topic. Water is viewed by the public as a natural right to be provided by the government at a low cost. The main fear in privatization is that rate hikes will make water more expensive and out of reach for the portion of the population living in poverty. Public outrage has been the main reason many cities that talk of privatization remain public. There are situations in which privatization of public works coexists over the long term with the public. For instance, Baton Rouge, LA has had their water system privately operated since 1887. In developing countries, the issue of water quality can be addressed and, in some cases, significantly improved by water privatization. A study published in the Journal of Political Economy titled “Water for Life: The Impact of the Privatization of Water Services on Child Mortality” showed that after privatizing 30% of the country’s municipalities, child mortality decreased 8% in those regions and up to 26% in the poorest regions supplied. There have been beneficial and negative results pertaining to the privatization of water and each situation must be judged individually and carefully to properly assess the needs of the public in that specific area along with the economic, societal, and health consequences of such a privatization.

Figure 1 – The logo for the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

Figure 1 – The logo for the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department.

References
Detroit Water And Sewerage Department. City of Detroit, 4 Feb. 2014. Web. 10 Apr. 2014.
Galiani, Sebastian, Paul Gertler, and Ernesto Schargrodsky. “Water for Life: The Impact of the Privatization of Water Services on Child Mortality.” Journal of Political Economy 113.1 (2005): 83-120. Web. 10 Apr. 2014.
Snavely, Brent. “Detroit seeking offers for private management of water and sewerage department.” Detroit Free Press [Detroit, MI]. Gannett, 25 Mar. 2014. Web. 10 Apr.2014.

 Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects engineering hydrology and hydraulics with global, economic, environmental, and societal issues. Our student Casey Ganley connects WRE to the growing concern of coral health and longevity with respect to increasing levels of pollutants found in sewage discharge.

This article is taken from ScienceDaily.com, entitled “Large study shows pollution impact on coral reefs, and offers solution“, published on November 26, 2013. The WRE issue in this article is the increasing levels of pollution being released in our oceans are having drastic impacts on coral health. The article details a study conducted by Oregon State University between 2009 and 2012 in which they exposed 1200 acres of shallow water reefs in the Florida Keys to commonly found levels of pollutants in human waste and sewage runoff. They found that the coral has a negative reaction to the pollutants (Nitrogen and Phosphorus mainly), and diseases like black-spot syndrome and coral bleaching occur prolifically. However, the study yielded some surprisingly positive results as well. The researchers found that the coral communities will re-populate the reefs and return to health within a 10 month period if the pollutant levels are decreased. While natural reefs are influenced by numerous other factors including ocean acidification, temperature fluctuation, and photosynthetic activity, the test reefs reacted strongly to reduced pollution levels. This is a sign that reduced levels of pollution levels will help restore the loss of coral reefs worldwide. It is not a single solution, but proves that coral are sensitive to sewage runoff fluctuations. From personal experience, this study and it’s published results are credible. The article was supported by the National Science Foundation and Florida International University, as well as being published in Global Change Biology, a journal on environmental diversity and conservation. Some information that could have been included that was not is what individual types of coral were effected positively/negatively and what methods were used to artificially subject the reefs to nutrient loading. These pieces of information would help boost credibility, but more important, result replication and setup duplication.

Before and After photos of healthy vs. bleached coral

Before and After photos of healthy vs. bleached coral

This WRE issue is a global environmental issue. While the individual test was conducted in the US, coral reefs are found all over the world. The Great Barrier Reef located in Queensland, Australia, is the largest reef in the world. Coral reefs provide habitat and shelter to thousands of micro-organisms and marine life. They are the most diversity rich ecosystems on Earth, and are under fierce stress worldwide. The global issue applies to all coastal coral reef systems on Earth. As sated previously, this article and its findings were published in a journal called Global Change Biology. This publication, “Exists to promote understanding of the interface between all aspects of current environmental change that affects a substantial part of the globe and biological systems” (GCB, 2014). In terms of cause and effect relationships between the WRE issue and the global environmental impact it has, coral reef health has a direct relationship to environmental health around the globe. Reefs serve as homes for the base of the marine food chain, and the hierarchical food chain relies 100% on having a solid base level. Coral reef health is indicative of overall oceanic conditions, and without a solid marine base, oceans are susceptible to further degradation.

 

Works Cited

-Long, Steve. “Global Change Biology.” 20. 2014.

Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects engineering hydrology and hydraulics with global, economic, environmental, and societal issues. Our student Keshav Sauba makes this connection here…

The article entitled “Safe storage of water? Go underground”, was published in The New York Times on May 1st 2013 and the author was Kate Galbraith. The news relates to the WRE domain of hydrology and the specific issue is storage of water. In summary, this news article extolls the benefits of the technique called aquifer storage and recovery (ASR) whereby water can be stored in specific aquifers and recovered when required. The benefits reported are that this is less expensive, there is no need to build dams and submerge land which can be used for other purposes with water as the volume available underground is bigger. The act of using the aquifers can even improve water quality in some cases. This technique also greatly decreases evaporation which causes major water losses in arid areas. However there are some disadvantages of using aquifers for water storage, one such case is the state of Florida which had problems in the arsenic content of the water stored in the aquifer, sometimes clogging can also occur or in some states anybody owning land which contains the aquifer could potentially use the water. Based on my engineering education the article makes sense and is supported by the report of Rusell Martin and Peter Dillon for the Department of Water, Land and Biodiversity conservation (2002) where they state that aquifer storage and recovery has considerable potential to improve quality and availability of water resources. Another paper states that preliminary modelling of ASR has shown it to be technically and environmentally viable (Dillon et al., 2005). Based on critical thinking about this article, it could have been better if the author had given a case study whereby the ASR was compared to the usual way of storing water in terms of cost to implement project and the quantity of water which could be stored.

Being an interdisciplinary discipline, water resources engineering has a broad impact on factors such as the society, economy and environment to name but a few. From the article, I have identified that the ASR can impact the economy, environment and society. The economy refers to the costs and viability of the project, environment refers to the quality of water to which people have access and society is the interpersonal relationships between people and all of them are affected by availability of water. According to a paper by Sheng (2005), demand for water is ever growing because of the increase in population whereas the water resources are declining due to mismanagement, increase in pollution and climate change. ASR can be used to store reclaimed wastewater and the water can then be recovered and used for irrigation thus alleviating the burden on other water resources.

Generalized cross section area of aquifer storage and recovery.

Generalized cross section area of aquifer storage and recovery.

References:

Martin Russell and Dillion Peter. Aquifer Storage and Recovery future directions for South Australia, Water, Land and Biodiversity Conservation. 2002. Report DWLBC 2002/04.

Sheng Zhuping. An aquifer storage and recovery system with reclaimed wastewater to preserve native groundwater resources in El Paso, Texas, Journal of Environmental Management, Volume 75, Issue 4, June 2005, Pages 367-377, ISSN 0301-4797, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvman.2004.10.007.

Dillon Peter, Pavelic Paul, Toze Simon, Rinck-Pfeiffer Stephanie, Martin Russell, Knapton Anthony, Pidsley Don. Role of aquifer storage in water reuse, Desalination, Volume 188, Issues 1–3, 5 February 2006, Pages 123-134, ISSN 0011-9164, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.desal.2005.04.109.