10 June 2014

Speed blogging

  1. Just to clarify: GHG emissions force "global warming" which changes "weather" which modifies "climate" -- in that order. On a related note, Canada may not "win" from global warming (weather disruptions will be VERY costly), but nobody will know because the Harper government is cutting science spending left and right.* In the meantime, Canada's "tradition" of placing no limits on use of "safe" water is threatened by stress on quantity and quality

  2. On a positive note, Calgary's CAWST (Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology) provides training, materials, etc. to local communities, worldwide, to improve their conditions

  3. The Indian government's next five year plan [pdf] includes an expansion of the successful move to reduce energy (pumping) subsidies to farmers, i.e.,
    5.16 There is a great need for significant changes in the way we price both water and electric power required to pump up groundwater. It may not be possible to levy a charge on the use of ground water for agriculture but the power used for pumping ground water can and should be economically priced. At the very least, State governments should levy a cess on all power for agricultural use and earmark the excess to fund ground water recharge programmes in the same aquifer.
    5.17 Another step that helps improve both the power situation and revive groundwater is the separation of agricultural feeders, which enables villages to get 24 X 7 three-phased power for domestic uses, schools, hospitals and village industries while farm pump-sets, which require much more power, obtain eight hours or more of quality power on a pre-announced schedule. The programme of feeder separation has to be carried through across the country. Gujarat has achieved very good results...
    The rest of that chapter (Sustainable Management of Natural Resources) is interesting, if aspirational. Read this report [pdf] on some groundwater governance victories

  4. Watch 12 archived guest lectures from Sri Vedachelam's Cornell course on "Water Resource Infrastructure: Assessment, Management, & Planning" here!

* This is no joke. Read this article on barriers to information from the Canadian government. Then consider these answers from a survey of government scientists:
  • 90% feel that they cannot speak freely to the media about their work.
  • 48% had seen information withheld, causing the public or government to be misled or misinformed.
  • 86 % could not report actions that might harm the public without fear of censure.
  • 43% had been asked to exclude or alter information in government documents for non-scientific reasons.
  • 50% had seen public health or safety compromised by political interference in science.
  • 37% had been blocked from answering media requests in the past 5 years.

H/Ts to KD, DL, CM and MV

1 comment:

  1. There has been a reference to the reduction of electricity subsidy for pumping groundwater for irrigation in India. Offering carrots as well as using sticks are necessary in policy formulation. However in a developing country like India, sticks do not work, while carrots work better than sticks. The carrots in the case of groundwater development are two fold:
    1. Supply side policy: Offer carrots to farmers who undertake groundwater recharge of their borewell/s which works better than reducing electricity subsidy.
    2. Demand side policy: continue to expand drip irrigation, install water level indicators to find out volume of water pumped. Also creating awareness among farmers is much more an important policy than just cutting the electricity subsidy as the Govt will be unpopular. It is better to educate farmers on both demand and supply sides of groundwater. A PhD student of mine has found out that out of 30 irrigation wells which were recharged, all the wells are functioning yielding groundwater and the farmers have benefited economically to the maximum in central dry zone of Karnataka. His name is Mr Kiran Kumar R Patil, who has submitted his PhD thesis for evaluation.


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