water matters

Water Matters, the blog of the Columbia Water Center, focuses on the assessment, understanding and resolution of the potentially global crisis of freshwater scarcity.

Severe flooding occurred during the 2011 monsoon season in Thailand, resulting in more than 800 deaths and 14 million people affected, mostly in the northern region and the greater Bangkok metro area.

Project Uses Satellites for Rapid Assessment of Flood Response Costs

Overall global losses from natural disasters such as floods, landslides or earthquakes amount to about $300 billion annually. A rapid and early response is key to immediately address the loss of human life, property, infrastructure and business activity.

by |May 22, 2017
The Waggonwaybreen glacier in Svalbard. Photo: Andreas Weith

The Glaciers Are Going

Glaciers around the world have retreated at unprecedented rates and some have disappeared altogether. The melting of glaciers will affect drinking water supplies, water needed to grow food and supply energy, as well as global sea levels.

by |May 5, 2017
With 9 million residents, Mexico City has a huge water demand but many problems providing enough for all of its citizens. Photo: tourist-destinations.com

To Ease Mexico City’s Water Woes, Look up, Study Suggests

For Mexico City’s biggest businesses and its poorest neighborhoods, rainwater harvesting could help address an enormous water crisis plaguing the city, a recent Columbia Water Center study found.

by |May 1, 2017
M Ho snip

Michelle Ho: In a Land of Plenty, Big Water Problems

Michelle Ho grew up in Australia, the driest inhabited continent, with an appreciation for the value of having a clean glass of water to drink. Now, she conducts research for the Columbia Water Center on America’s water systems.

by |May 1, 2017
A domestic rainwater harvesting system from Atlantis, an international company that engineers systems to capture rainfall and runoff, and other “green” infrastructure.

An Ancient Tool Holds Promise for Modern Water Problems

The potential effectiveness of harvesting rainwater to bolster water supply and reduce potentially polluting runoff varies greatly from place to place, even within a particular city or neighborhood. Now researchers at the Columbia Water Center have developed a tool to assess the potential of rainwater harvesting throughout the United States.

by |March 22, 2017
Oglala National Grassland, Nebraska. Photo: Brian Kell

Grasslands More Sensitive to Dryness than Rainfall, Study Says

A new study shows that dryness of the atmosphere affects U.S. grassland productivity more than rainfall does. The findings could have important implications for predicting how plants will respond to warming climate conditions.

by |March 9, 2017
A worker walks down the damaged roadway near the Oroville Dam emergency spillway. The California Department of Water Resources continues to examine and repair the erosion with more than 125 construction crews working around the clock. Photo: Brian Baer/ California Department of Water Resources

Oroville Dam Crisis is a Call to Action on U.S. Water Infrastructure

Columbia Water Center director Upmanu Lall suggests that we see the Oroville crisis as a call to action to evaluate and address the challenges facing the nation’s dam infrastructure.

by |February 20, 2017
Photo: Grempz

Tapping into Ocean Power

The oceans of the world are a vast unexploited source of clean, reliable and predictable renewable energy. Could this energy help replace fossil fuels and be a solution to climate change?

by |February 14, 2017
Chris and Dan discussing notes on locations to visit based on recent satellite images and entering them into the GPS.

Sampling on the Ganges and Brahmaputra Rivers

The final phase of our revolves around visiting chars, sandy river islands, on the Ganges and Brahmaputra River. Chris and Dan are making measurements of soil salinity and moisture and spectra of the soil reflectance, while Liz and I collected samples for OSL dating and understanding the OSL properties of the river sediments here. This entails a mixture of driving around the country and spending time on small country boats and walking around the chars.

by |February 4, 2017
The M.B. Mowali, our home for the next two days for the run to Hiron Point and back.

Side Trip to Hiron Point, Sundarbans

After helping Chris an Dan with soil salinity and reflectance measurement, Humayun, Liz and I moved onto the smaller M.B. Mewl to sail through the Sundarban Mangrove Forest to service our GPS station at Hiron Point.

by |January 31, 2017