Category: ERE340 2018

Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects to economic, environmental, and societal issues. Our student Sarah Wohlfahrt makes this connection in Chennai, India. This current event was reported in The Times of India, on March 5, 2017, under the title, “Southern India reels under drought, Tamil Nadu worst hit”, by Yogesh Kabirdossi. This story is likely not fake news because of another article reporting on the same issue in livemint.

This issue relates to water distribution discipline of water resources engineering because it is a problem with the Chennai water resource supply and the reservoir retention. With the intense drought that has occurred in India, reservoirs have been majorly depleted, causing many other city-wide issues. This is important news for water resources engineering because it demonstrates the significance of the political side of water resources. State water resource departments help to regulate the use of the water collected in reservoirs. Some WRE that could be added to the article would be how the engineers plan on preventing a situation like this one from happening in the future. Kabirdossi seemed to focus more on the societal effects rather than the engineering side of the drought.

Figure 1. Drought continues to affect Chennai, India, by depleting its drinking water source. (2018)

Figure 2. Twitter response to the Chennai water crisis. (2018)

In Chennai, India economic, environmental, and societal issues are faced every day. Slums make up a significant part of the culture of Chennai. It was found that the number of slums in Chennai increased by about 50% between 2001 and 2014 (2018). One of main causes of this is the major floods that regularly occur in the region.4 These floods can wipe away residents’ belongings and leave them in devastation.4 Another environmental issue that they face is the drought. Droughts bring about a lack of drinking water and increased chance of summer fires.  Over a period of 20 days, 100 thousand million cubic feet was depleted from 27 of the Chennai reservoirs. The reservoirs that typically supply Chennai with its drinking water dried up to less than 80% of normal in 2017, cutting off the water supply to the city (2018). This is an economic burden because there are many facilities and industries that rely on water and would hurt if the supply is depleted. The water resources engineering event described by Kabirdossi does not directly have an effect on societal issues but is indirectly affected by the environmental and economic issues that come with it. There is a direct cause-effect between the depleted 27 reservoirs and the Chennai drought. This problem may have been avoided if the reservoirs were able to handle large floods as well as prepare for droughts by keeping an emergency storage unit always available.


(2018). Chennai faces acute water crisis – Times of India. [online] The Times of India. Available at: [Accessed 28 Apr. 2018].

Anon, (n.d.). Lessons for Mumbai from the Chennai floods – …. [online] Available at: [Accessed 2018].

Kabirdoss, Y. (2018). Southern India reels under drought, Tamil Nadu worst hit – Times of India . [online] The Times of India. Available at: [Accessed 28 Apr. 2018].

Kumar, P. (2018). Is economic samathuvapuram key to ridding state of slums? – Times of India. [online] The Times of India. Available at: [Accessed 28 Apr. 2018].

Murtugudde, R. (2018). To better prepare for drought and flood, India needs an integrated system to map water, air, climate. [online] Available at: [Accessed 28 Apr. 2018].

Philip, C. (2018). Slums in Chennai increase by 50% in a single decade – Times of India. [online] The Times of India. Available at: [Accessed 28 Apr. 2018].

Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects to economic, environmental, and societal issues. Our student Evan Williams makes this connection in Jinan, China. This current event was reported in the South China Morning Post, on May 15th, 2014, under the title, “China’s South-North Water Diversion Project threatens fish farmers’ livelihoods,” by Li Jing. The issues reported in this story are also verified at the academic level in a peer-reviewed article published in Sustainability, available here.

Once deemed the “Spring City” for its abundance of natural fresh-water springs, Jinan, China now faces drought conditions due to the impacts of urbanization and high, concentrated population. The Chinese government is in the process of implementing a roughly 80 billion USD project to pump water from the wetter southern regions 1467 km (932 mi) to the arid north, in order to serve mega-cities such as Beijing, Tianjin, and Jinan with much needed water. The design involves three separate pumping routes, with the eastern route directly serving Jinan and its surrounding territories. This route relies on 13 groups of pumping stations to raise water through a series of four lakes, requiring water levels to be increased by 65 meters and expending 3.8 to 5.8 billion kWh in the process. This large of a project is an application of hydrology at its largest scale, but certainly involves aspect of water treatment and conservation, among others, at the smaller scope. The ambitions of China’s “South-North Water Diversion Project” has immense significance for WRE as a whole due to the unprecedented scale of such an undertaking. The innumerable environmental, social, and economic complications that have arose as a result are valuable as well. Potentially useful information that the news coverage is missing is how such an enormous system is accounting for water losses and infiltration.

Figure 1. The layout and features of the proposed system

Figure 2. Inside one of the pumping stations, the largest in Asia.

While Jinan was once rich in environmental resources, it is now heavily polluted due to industrial waste and agricultural pollution. This pollution is present in virtually every water resource in the city, often killing fish populations and plaguing the local fishing economy. This At the same time, the government has begun blaming fisherman for their contribution to pollution in the waterways as they start to advocate better environmental preservation. Among other reasons, the remediation of the Jinan lakes and streams is necessary if the diversion project is to supply them with clean water. The project relates to economic issues because it is destroying fish farms with raising water levels, and requires significant costs for remediation, operation, and maintenance. It relates to environmental issues because it is significantly altering the current ecosystems and environmental processes at work in the Jinan region, offering various pathways for environmental harm. In fact, a study published by Liu et al. found a higher likelihood of plant invasions due to the Diversion Project (2017). The physical connection of so many water resources and essentially reversing their flow will allow invasive species to be carried into new territory more easily. The Diversion Project also relates to societal issues because the class of fishermen that are losing their homes and livelihoods are not receiving adequate compensation from the government, and do not possess the skills to enter the workforce in a different trade.


Jing, L. (2014, May 14). China’s South-North Water Diversion Project threatens fish farmers’ livelihoods. Retrieved April 27, 2018, from

Liu, D., Wang, R., Gordon, D. R., Sun, X., Chen, L., & Wang, Y. (2017). Predicting Plant Invasions Following China’s Water Diversion Project. Environmental Science & Technology,51(3), 1450-1457. doi:10.1021/acs.est.6b05577

Wang, C., Shi, G., Wei, Y., Western, A., Zheng, H., & Zhao, Y. (2017). Balancing Rural Household Livelihood and Regional Ecological Footprint in Water Source Areas of the South-to-North Water Diversion Project. Sustainability,9(8). doi:10.3390/su9081393

Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects economic, environmental, and societal issues. Our student Connor Terry makes this connection in Shantou China. This current event was reported in “MyShantou”, on April 21, 2009, under the title, “Clean Water Shortage in Shantou”, by Ye Xiao. This is likely real news, based on an independent study provided by Qiao et. al in 2013, at here.

This ongoing problem relates to water resources engineering, in the specific areas of wastewater treatment, water pollution abatement, and sediment transport, among other issues. The key message in this article is the development of new wastewater treatment plants to combat nutrient and heavy metal loading in Shantou’s waterways. The citizens of Shantou have been dealing with a shortage of water, not based on a lack of quantity, but on a lack of clean water. Pollution, mainly electronic waste pollution, is a big issue for this city. Garbage, invasive species, and dangerous chemicals fill the rivers, marshes, and bays of Shantou, making it too dangerous for human consumption. There was only one wastewater treatment plant in a city of 5 million people until 2007. As a result, the city had to build eight more wastewater treatment plants to better clean the noxious water. In my critique of this story, I think the article has missed important information on electronic waste. Based on the independent study by Qiao et. al, it is clear that one of Shantou’s greatest problems is electronic waste leaching heavy metals into the water. Industry makes up 47% of Shantou’s GDP as of 2015 and these industries, along with residents, have been producing a lot of electronic waste that has been carelessly littered in the city’s waterways.

Figure 1: Electronic waste, among other solid waste, is dumped right into Shantou’s rivers (

Figure 2: New wastewater treament plants were implemented to better filter wastewater (

Economic, environmental, and societal issues are the three key factors that are used by the Shantou, China Water Pollution Control Act created in 2007. Water pollution relates to economic issues because polluted water costs more to clean. The city may also lose economic activity from residents or businesses that leave due to water shortages. Water pollution relates to environmental issues directly because heavy metal loading is toxic to wildlife. The solid waste also reroutes rivers and harms sensitive plant life. This issue also takes a toll on society because water scarcity is dangerous to humans. With a city of 5.5 million people as of 2015, there are a lot of people who are relying on receiving clean water daily. Even without water scarcity, the polluted water is toxic to humans (Figure 1). Lead, copper, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and Cadmium (as reported by Qiao et. al, 2013) are all found in local rivers and can bioaccumulate in the citizens’ bodies as well as the food they eat. The effect of implementing water resources engineering solutions to this issue is that new wastewater treatment plants remove more nutrients and heavy metals from water and wastewater, which gives more clean water to the citizens of Shantou. Water resources engineering cannot address the source of solid waste pollution, but it can address liquid pollution such as nutrient loading from ill-equipped treatment plants.


Qiao, Y. Yang, Y. Zhao, J., Tao, R., & Xu, R. (2013). “Influence of Urbanization and Industrialization on Metal Enrichment of Sediment Cores from Shantou Bay, South China”. ScienceDirect. Retrieved  24 Apr, 2018 from

Xiao, Y. (2009). “Clean Water Shortage in Shantou”. MyShantou. Retrieved 24 Apr, 2018 from

Water Resources Engineering (WRE) connects to economic, environmental, and societal issues. Our student, Hannah Talos, makes this connection in Bangkok, Thailand. This current event was reported in Bangkok Post on February 20, 2018, under the title, “Water Banks Set to Ease CIty Flooding,” by Supoj Wancharoen. Flooding in Bangkok due to heavy rains has always been an issue of concern in the city. Reports earlier in the rainy season by the Straits Times raise concerns about flooding occurring in low-lying areas of the city. According to the Royal Irrigation Department, the maximum rainfall the city’s system can handle is 60mm. On one day on October, citizens woke up to 214 mm of rainfall overnight, causing roads and houses to flood, and creating chaotic traffic in the streets.

In February, heavy rainfall took to the streets of the city again, causing flooding and uproar from local citizens who called on city hall to solve the chronic issue. The solution proposed was the construction of water banks and water retention areas, falling into the WRE discipline of hydrology and stormwater management. Inspired by similar projects in Japan, Bangkok Governor Aswin Kwanmuang designed 5 water bank wells with 27,030 cubic feet of storage to be implemented underground. The problem of stormwater management stems from the aging sewers of the city and the lack of naturally occurring aquifers, which have been replaced by non-permeable concrete surfaces. The issue of flooding due to a changing climate and aging infrastructure is not uncommon, and is a problem faced by many water resource engineers today. New of new solutions such as these wells in Bangkok are important to report on, as engineers across the world are searching through trial and error for solutions to these water issues. This article does a good job reporting on the issue, but lacks information on the specifications of these wells, such as how they will combat soil type, drainage issues, and the overall design of the proposed retention areas.

Figure 1: Cars drive through the flooded streets of Bangkok

In WRE, flooding is an issue that is impacted by economic, environmental, and societal issues. Economically, flooding causes many issues involving lots of money, whether that be in flood insurance, infrastructure, construction, maintenance, or damage control. Environmentally, flooding can wipe out ecosystems on land and in water, and so it is important to consider the impacts on habitats and wildlife. It is also important to consider the social impacts of flooding, as floods can fragment cities and create and isolate people. The total cost of this solution is estimated to be $9 Million USD, which is a tight budget for a small country. Although a problem as large as chronic flooding needs to be combated, this economic issue is no small feat. Environmentally, the impacts of flooding affect wildlife across all ecosystems, involving water species, land animals, and plant life. In a study done by Foulds et al. in 2014, flood waters containing pesticides and toxins from industrial sites propose a huge threat to wildlife, poisoning animals and severely damaging plant life. Socially, this issue affects those living in the low parts of the city, areas with a typically lower income. Those with a higher income living high up in the city are not as directly affected by this issue. Socio-economic issues like this often play into environmental issues such as flooding. Poorer areas are often hit harder due to location, and are often less likely to receive aid due to lack of funding or lack of media coverage. Flint, Michigan, an area of lower income, still does not have clean water. In the case of Bangkok, although the direct effects of the flood like the loss of shelter are more tied in to the socio-enviro-economic trifecta, the floods are indirectly affecting all inhabitants of the city, and so with correct funding, the issue will likely be solved and will overcome the social/economic divide. WRE is responsible for preventing flooding by understanding how water moves through an environment and controlling the movement to protect humans and the world around us. As we try to control water to benefit the world, the world will begin to push back when we change too much. Flooding is a natural event, but as we suppress it more and more, the threat and level of damage the impose begin to grow. Shaping the natural world to suit our needs can help and harm the environment.


Bangkok could see floods in some areas as heavy downpours expected. (2017, October 17). The

Straits Times. Retrieved April 20, 2018, from

Foulds, S. A., Brewer, P. A., Macklin, M. G., Haresign, W., Betson, R. E., & Rassner, S. M.

(2014). Floods could have devastating environmental impact – as animals drown or die from lack of food. Science of Total Environment,476, 165-180. Retrieved April 20, 2018, from

WANCHAROEN, S. (2018, February 20). Water banks set to ease city. Bangkok Post. Retrieved

April 20, 2018, from

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.

Johnson TA. Is Bengaluru about to run dry? The Indian Express. Published February 26, 2018.

Arpita TNN. 68 water tankers to ease summer crisis – Times of India. The Times of India. Published March 7, 2018.

Arpita TNN. BWSSB promises regular supply of water this summer – Times of India. The Times of India. Published April 19, 2018.

Vaitheesvaran B. Cauvery water row: Tamil outfits plan to bowl out Chennai vs Kolkata IPL match. The Economic Times. Published April 10, 2018.

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.



Hangzhou Weekly (2013). Hangzhou to invest US $1.7bn in Qiandao lake water diversion project. Hangzhou Weekly. Retrieved April 19th, from

Jing, G., Zheng, C. (2012). China’s Thirst for Water Transfer. China Dialogue. Retrieved April 17th, 2018, from

Ping, C.K. (2017). 19th Party Congress: Xi Jinping affirms China’s commitment on green development. StratisTimes. Retrieved April 18th, 2018 from

The Economist. (2013). Water in China-Desperate measures. The Economist. Retrieved April 18th, 2018, from

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, 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.


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. 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.


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

Kim, M. K. (2016, September 29). Seoul’s Fight For The Riverfront It Wants. Retrieved April 11, 2018, from

Cha, Y., Shim, M., & Kim, S. (2011, October 3). The Four Major Rivers Restoration Project. Retrieved April 4, 2018, from

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.


Prasad, K. (2018, February 25). Hyderabad may face water shortage in summer – Times of India.    Retrieved April 11, 2018, from

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          

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.


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