23 May 2014

Speed blogging

  1. I gave a talk last week "Squaring the circle: Saving money and water for residential customers in Riyadh" (PDF slides and 66 min MP3). I should have spent more time on the idea of paying people to NOT use water priced at SAR 0.10/m3 ($ 0.03/m3 or $0.08/CCF) that costs $3/m3 to produce, but that discussion implies water rights that have not been formalized. Perhaps they should be, when the situation is so lopsided. Related: Remove subsidies (that often go to the rich) to help the poor

  2. There will be a forum on May 22, 2014 on local ground water monitoring, surface water supplies, and the challenges and opportunities to sustain our water resources in Butte County, California. These should be happening EVERYWHERE in the US and world. On a related note, Water Values has added blogging (local leadership and infrastructure) to its podcasts

  3. Amazing photos of an (interrupted) trip down the Grand Canyon. Related: How to remove California dams without decreasing system performance by Sarah Null, who no longer says O'Shaughnessy (Hetch Hetchy) should go. Also see this paper on "trading dams" as a means of improving ecosystem flows without reducing hydropower production.

  4. Greenhouse innovations in dry dry dry Spain

  5. A typical post on investment opportunities in water (technology) that will make money... as long as we refuse to reform the outdated institutions driving waste and inefficiency today (hint: read my book :)

  6. A retired nuclear engineer writes:
    Your comments on the use of water by Thermoelectric power plants should note that post-1972 EPA regs state that all cooling water discharged to lakes or rivers must be cooled close to ambient temperatures
    So why do people talk about thermal pollution in the US? Is it only water behind dams that comes at the wrong temperature?


  1. re: thermal pollution, and "close to ambient temperatures."

    From an aquatic ecology point of view, depending on the temperature regime of the receiving waters, "close to ambient temperatures" could cause a negligible impact to habitat conditions or it could cause a complete alteration of habitat conditions. Let's look at two hypotheticals from Michigan:

    Stream A is a trout stream, whose ambient summer temperatures range from 18-20 C. After an outlet pipe from a thermoelectric power plant is placed in the stream, ambient summer temperatures range from 20-22 C. Although this is just an increase of 2C, it pushes the stream beyond the point in which brook trout and brown trout (native and introduced species found in Michigan cold-water rivers) can survive. The river becomes one characterized by "cool water" species (such as chubs, minnows, and suckers), and the communities downstream of the outlet lose all the revenues from the fly fishing tourism that characterizes Michigan's Octobers and Novembers.

    Stream B is habitat for bass, and its ambient summer water temperature ranges from 24-26C. A thermoelectric plant's outlet is placed into this stream, and the water temperature shifts to 26-28C. Even with the 2C rise, the bass continue to thrive during the summer months.

    I'm leaving out the comparative differences to water temperature that would happen during winter months or about the ecological impacts of removing diurnal temperature variability. However, it is quite possible that - even with water being discharged "close to ambient temperatures" - fundamental alterations in aquatic ecology can happen in some places and - even in the same state - not in others.

    Like thermoelectric power plants, the water temperature behind dams could be benign to the temperature regime downstream, or it could be highly altering. It all depends on the "natural" condition of the river in which the dam was constructed. (Of course, the change in sediment transport, nutrient transport, hydrologic regime, diurnal water temperature variation, and alterations in fish passage are present *in addition to* the concerns of ambient water temperature.)

    ... but I'm also not really well-versed in the talk about thermal pollution in the US; just the impacts that constant additions of water "close to ambient temperature" can have on aquatic ecosystems.

  2. Yes, great photos of the ditch. My first trip was an end of season trip with Hatch guides using leftover permit days. A buddy of mine was a Hatch guide on the 22-ft J-rigs. For this trip we had our own smaller rafts. One of the better trips was the 22-day trip where we floated all the way to Pierce Ferry on Lake Mead and arrived to the buffet line in Boulder City best I recall. That was the day the Berlin Wall came down. Another trip, three of us put on with our kayaks and one raft on the day before Thanksgiving. Everything was fine until on day 2 when it snowed 2.5 feet on the north rim. Daytime temperatures shifted from an enjoyable 65-75 to a more chilly 45-60. Burrrrrr. It was a great trip but not as much sunshine gets to the canyon bottom. And then there was my stumble and subsequent double hand plant onto a couple of pear cactus. That was the end of my kayaking and I was relegated to rowing the raft.

    Another fine trip was when I rowed the garbage + human waste boat for an outfitter, Wilderness World. The boat was a slug, but I was able to plunge into the ‘more splashy’ parts of the river!

    If you want a private trip, first step is to get on the permit list and then call in for a cancellation (i.e. the burr trip).

    Alternatively, you can book a commercial trip. Choices are to ride a big rig (J-rig w/ outboard motor) or to book a trip in a dory or smaller raft (blog example

  3. @umlaud -- thanks for the good examples :)


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