27 Apr 2015

Nepal's earthquake, groundwater and damage

The producer asked me to look at this documentary on Kathmandu's evolving water crisis a few months ago. I finally got 'round to it a few days ago, just before the earthquake hit, killing thousands and damaging many buildings. The documentary is interesting in its own right (government monopoly and corruption are driving the crisis), but the part that I immediately remembered was how local experts predicted (at 19:09) terrible damage in the event of an earthquake. Why? Groundwater overdrafting destabilizes subsurface soils.

Bottom Line: Groundwater abuse doesn't just deplete the water that you (or your neighbors) may want later -- it increases risk in ways that may be very costly.