Wednesday, August 29, 2007

CO2 -> flooding. New variable

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Climate flooding risk 'misjudged'

Apparently, leaves reduce the stomata size with increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere - and hence release less water into the air. Lesser groundwater gets pumped into the air this way, and with a severe rain - this can cause more flooding since the ground's closer to saturation already.

But is this an isolated cause-effect relationship ? Aren't there so many more factors in play ?

  • there just are fewer trees
  • groundwater's getting pumped out pretty fast on most of the planet
  • the rains themselves are more severe (and if the trees releasing less water is a major enough amount, won't the rains reduce too?)
  • This is likely to be a localized cause-effect, depending on soil composition, tree cover. Is this significant enough relative to the concreting/paving of large urban spaces ?
Of course, this may have an impact, but one gets the sense that this may be a little bit of barking up the wrong tree :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Think before you dump

Daily Dump - Compost at Home

Am not clear what happens to the compost yet - but sounds like a plan. If the garbage output of the city reduced by even 50%, it would solve a huge problem! Also, as a byproduct very rich topsoil might really improve yield. How does it get to those who need great topsoil, without being infinitely expensive ? No clue. Or is it sold in "retail size" packets ? Lotsa questions....

Friday, August 17, 2007

Recycled by BWSSB!

Deccan Herald - Thirsty Bangalore to get recycled water

This is both very encouraging, as well as a little scary. After all, BWSSB does only a just-about-ok job of treating relatively cleaner river water. Recycling is a great idea - especially at only 5% wastage - but running it efficiently is way more critical now, and way bigger a challenge for a governmental org.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Thinking outside the bottle

Kick The Bottled-Water HabitIt’s Not Just Daft, It’s Decadent. And Tap is Often Better. -

Wow. Of course, the comparison doesn't really hold in a place like India, where tap water is by and large unpotable. Of course, the ready availability of bottled/canned water may be a reason there's not enough of an outcry for improving tapwater quality.

Greener computing

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Oh Well

The Daily Independent - News

Indiscriminate sinking of borewells has depleted the water table all over India too. As the article hint, the well owners must be encouraged to keep the wells recharged. Here's a few ideas:

  • Have well ? Get disconnected from the grid, and get massive breaks on property taxes etc

  • Have well AND are on the grid ? Pay higher unit rates for water, or have it rationed

Of course, nothing works better than an aware audience, but a few sticks and carrots go a long way in encouraging that awarenes.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Conservation and the State

But whats the better route - local level micro-projects, or State sponsored mega ones ? I have little to back this up, but my intuition would go with the former. Yes some of the latter is needed since there are areas where there isn't any water to be conserved or harvested, and the state can help at that scale. But usually, the issues are local, and scale only adds cost, feasibility and management problems to what have, and should have been, grassroots level skills.

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Saturday, August 4, 2007

WaterBattle - everywhere

The Daily Independent - News

The focus, somehow, has to be on use less, not get more . If most of Karnataka and TN had been using water optimally for agriculture, and especially in the cities, the Cauvery might've sufficed. There's lots of rains, even flooding, at least once a year. And we keep looking at that one river, essentially fed by some of that rain in Kodagu, for all of our water.

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