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.

The Normalized Deļ¬cit Cumulated (NDC) shows cumulative, multi-year water deficits.

U.S. Drought Risk Wider than Previously Thought

New research from the Columbia Water Center suggests that many more places in the United States are at risk of drought-induced water stress than is commonly thought, including dense metropolitan regions such as New York City and Washington, D.C.

by |May 4, 2015
The liberal use of water for irrigation by farmers cultivating rice is contributing to a rapid drop in groundwater levels In the northern Indian state of Haryana.

Overuse of Water by Indian Farmers Threatens Supply

Convincing farmers that it’s worth it to reduce their water consumption will rest on our ability to help develop local groups to manage aquifers at the community-level.

by |April 14, 2015
Overhanging rooks and slumps reveal the much larger amount of erosion and land loss in the Indian Sundarban

Indian Sundarban

We arrived in Kolkata, and filmed by the Hooghly River. While it is no longer the main channel of the Ganges, it is still the Holy Ganges and we saw a funeral procession spreading ashes of a loved one while filming there. Then a 5 hour trip by car, ferry, rickshaw and boat to the Indian Sundarbans. The mangrove forest here is undergoing more erosion and land loss than in Bangladesh, where more river sediments can replenish it. The water here is more saline and the trees are small. A tiger was spotted by another boat, but was gone when we got there.

by |March 30, 2015
As the sun sets, we climb into the launch to leave the island and return to the Kokilmoni

Salt Kilns and Landscape Change in the Sundarbans

Leaving Hiron Point, we headed east through the Sundarbans to Kotka. At Kotka the students had walks through the forest seeing deer, wild boar and monkeys, while a smaller group also sampled near a set of 300 year old salt making kilns for OSL dating. We managed to finish while the tide inundated the site. We ended our day with a visit to an island that has recently emerged from the slain which the succession from bare sand to mangrove is visible.

by |March 21, 2015
Group photo at Hiron Point in the Sundarbans Mangrove Forest - a world heritage site.

Polder 32 and Hiron Point

We visited Polder 32, an embanked island in the delta that was flooded for almost two years when the embankment failed in several places during Cyclone Aila. In addition to the problem of increased subsidence due to the embankment, the area struggles for fresh water. Then we sailed to Hiron Point, a forest station in the Sundarbans, the world’s largest mangrove forest. We serviced equipment we have here while our armed guards watch for tigers.

by |March 20, 2015
Tanner and Yassamin in a discussion at sunset.

Working in the Bangladeshi Countryside

After traveling by boat for two days, including crossing the Sundarban Mangrove Forest, we finally arrived in Khulna. We drove to the site of our compaction meter and separated into teams servicing the instruments, investigating agricultural practices, measuring arsenic in the well water and taking sediment samples for dating. We had finally started our work in rural Bangladesh.

by |March 20, 2015
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Waking up to America’s Water Challenges

“Will it take another Dustbowl for Americans to start paying attention to water issues?” asked Water Center Director Upmanu Lall. Or will it be the chance to create the “iPhone technology” of water? Whether the impetus is crisis or opportunity, according to Lall, the time to act is now.

by |March 19, 2015
The M/V Kokilmoni, our home for the next 8 days. This tourist boat for the Sundarbans Mangrove Forest came all the way to Dhaka to pick us up.

Sailing Around Political Unrest in Bangladesh

With the roads in Bangladesh hazardous to drive because of the ongoing political unrest, our undergraduate sustainable development class managed to proceed with our class trip over Spring Break by doing all travel by boat.

by |March 15, 2015
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How to Make Good on the Promise of Water as a Human Right

Is the creation of a National Water Framework Law or other stronger national legislation the right approach to creating a more sustainable water regime in India? To answer that question, one has to look at the current constitutional status of water rights in the country.

by |December 22, 2014
Cabinet Secretariat of India. Image Source: Wikipedia.

Indian Government Takes Steps on Agriculture, Water, Climate

In terms of the urgent need to reform agriculture, address climate change and promote sustainable watershed development, the Indian government’s new budget provides for a number of promising initiatives.

by |July 23, 2014