Saturday, January 06, 2007

Drought Threat Casts Shadow On Agriculture

The one thing you can see from reading all of these entries, is that it doesn't matter in what part of the world you live in, people are the same when it comes to wasting natural resources. Countries are going to have to begin practicing more responsible water conservation if they are to survive. I do not believe this is just a fluke. This will be our way of life now, as we have allowed our greed and our dismissal of this problem to now escalate to a global crisis.

Drought Threat Casts Shadow On Agriculture

The water level of the Hong (Red River) has reduced to such an extent that local people can walk across the river bed. — VNA/VNS Photo Doan Tung

HA NOI — Relevant sectors and localities nationwide have begun implementing measures to fight droughts, forecast to occur on a large scale this year.

Nguyen Dinh Ninh, Deputy Director of the Water Resource Department, said El Nino would affect the whole country, but the southern-central area, Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) and southern regions would be the worst hit with droughts predicted to get more serious than last year.

Water flow in the northern rivers was expected to come down by 15-50 per cent from the average rate, and in the lower part of Red River by as much as 30-50 per cent due to diverting water to the two major hydro-power plants of Hoa Binh and Thac Ba.

While rains, expected around this time in the central-southern area and western Truong Son mountain, have kept away, the drought could stretch to August if it doesn’t rain till April.
With the dry season having started last month, and expected to continue till May, 2007, water in the rivers in central, Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) and southern regions was expected to come down by 20-40 per cent, increasing drought and salinity.

The many factors causing droughts include the increasing demand for water, shorter rainy season and longer dry season, and shortage of water for irrigation.

With about 200,000ha of winter-spring rice crop in the northern area facing water shortage, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has urged localities to check the volume of available water, and asked them to carry out rice transplant only in areas having enough water.
Localities have also been urged to closely manage water resources, prevent loss of water, especially in reservoirs, monitor salinity and store water from tides for the winter-spring rice crop.
More at the link.

Also see:

Severe Drought Persists Throughout Vietnam

Southeast Asia Drought/Maps

A farmer in Pleiku City examines her drought-plagued rice field.— VNA/VNS Photo Sy Huynh

Tens of hectares of rice in Ia Bang Commune in Gia Lai Province �s Dak Doa District have been damaged by severe drought. � VNA/VNS Photo Sy Huynh

Monday, January 01, 2007

A Century Later, Los Angeles Atones For Water Sins

Collusion and deception have been common practice regarding water resources for centuries. Hopefully, this will atone for the damage caused to Owens Valley.

A Century Later, Los Angeles Atones For Water Sins

Published: January 1, 2007

INDEPENDENCE, Calif. — It may fall short of a feel-good sequel to “Chinatown,” the movie based on the notorious, somewhat shady water grab by Los Angeles that allowed the city to bloom from a semi-arid desert.
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Mike Prather, an environmental advocate, walked a dry part of Owens Lake, which emptied when the Owens River was diverted to Los Angeles.
J. Emilio Flores for The New York Times

As part of a project to restore water to the Owens Valley, a dam redirects water going to Los Angeles, causing it to flow into the Owens River.

But in one of the largest river restoration efforts in the West, water is again flowing along a 62-mile stretch of the Owens River after a dry spell of nearly a century.

That part of the river had been left mostly drained when upstream water, fed by snowmelt from the towering Sierra Nevada, was channeled 233 miles south to fill swimming pools and bathtubs throughout Los Angeles.

The restored flow is among several long-awaited steps the city is taking to help make amends for the environmental consequences of its water maneuvering, most notably the drying up of Owens Lake, an area more than three times the size of Manhattan, here in the Owens Valley.
Los Angeles agreed in December to expand efforts to control toxic dust storms that erupt from what is left of the lake, a 110-square-mile body that emptied when the river was diverted to Los Angeles through an aqueduct opened in 1913.

The lake’s salty, mineral-laced basin has been the largest single source of particulate pollution in the country. It looks so otherworldly that it doubled as a desolate planet in the movie “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.”

To restore the river, Los Angeles built automated gates at the point where the river veers into the aqueduct. The gates steer some water into the original riverbed, setting the stage for the growth of cottonwood trees and other plants and the return of waterfowl and other animals.
Much of the water eventually returns to the aqueduct, though some of it is being used for lake irrigation and other projects.

Environmentalists here say they are keeping an eye on Los Angeles for backsliding, but they acknowledge that the new efforts will make a significant difference.

More at the link.
More resources:

The Owens Valley Land Grab

Images of Owens Valley
You must look at these images to see the full extent of the damage done to this region.

Another World Water Day Gone

We see another World Water Day pass us by. The theme, Water For All, signifies that though some progress has been made we are woefully behin...