What a difference a day makes! We’ve said goodbye to the sprawling metropolis of Lima and now are happily settled in Arequipa – the White City. This name refers to the white sillar rock used in the construction of the old colonial city and which is in fact a pyroclastic deposit from the volcanoes towering above us. From our hotel room I can see the massive bell-shaped peak of El Misti (5800 m), the only active volcano of the group, and it’s looking particularly snowy this year.
18th June 2011 Lima, Peru Our 2011 field season is underway. After a full day’s travel from New York, we arrived in Lima, the capital of Peru. This sprawling city perched on the edge of the Pacific Ocean is home to more than nine million people and, after Cairo, is the largest desert city in [...]
High above the tropical lowlands, the Andes form a formidable topographic barrier separating the coastal deserts in the west from the Amazon rainforest to the east. The Peruvian Andes are the highest peaks in all the tropics and, despite their proximity to the equator, are mantled with snow and ice. However, the glaciers clinging to [...]
In the semi-arid Andes, glaciers store water and control the runoff of mountain rivers. They feed water to big cities such as Lima and Arequipa and irrigate the surrounding lowlands. But as the planet warms, mountain glaciers in the tropics are receding steadily. Despite their paramount importance, we don’t know the scale and the rate [...]
There is increasing evidence that forests – and subsequently, deforestation – may have impacts on global water cycles.
On September 17, one man was killed and 18 others injured when police attempted to break up demonstrators protesting an irrigation project recently approved by the Peruvian government.
It’s the last day of my visit to Brazil, where I’ve been getting to know the staff of the Columbia Water Center Brazilian office, and learning about the projects here. The projects are a fascinating mixture of down-to-earth (literally down in the earth) sustainable water access, and high level climate modeling to support water management [...]
As temperatures in the Northeast finally begin to ease, we can assess the first heat wave of summer 2010. Here in New York, there was remarkably little drama. Through Herculean efforts, ConEd was able to avoid any serious blackouts or brownouts, and thankfully, there were no health emergencies. Neither were there any major heat-induced public safety disasters.
One thing there was plenty of though, was bottled water.
I recently took a trip to the Gowanus neighborhood in Brooklyn to visit its infamously polluted (and smelly) canal. After decades of controversy, the Environmental Protection Agency recently named the canal as a Superfund site—one of the few such designations in an inner-urban area. In its report, the EPA found that the Gowanus Canal “has become one of the nation’s most extensively contaminated water bodies,” with contaminants including “PCBs, coal tar wastes, heavy metals and volatile organics.”
Water Safety and Sustainability: Resilient System Design under Climate Stress
The Columbia Water Center program in Ceará, Brazil, working in partnership with the Universidade Federal do Ceará, and with local and regional governments, develops appropriate drinking water infrastructure in rural communities. (Learn more in this blog piece) The following photos are from a progress report by local program staff, about the engineering and technical activities taking place around the installation of a supply system in the communities of Ingá and Pedra Fina, during the first two weeks of May, 2010.