Using Storm Water Harvesting as a Water Management Tool in Saudi Arabia

by Chloe Soltis

The natural landscape of Saudi Arabia is quite dry and has few natural freshwater resources. Currently, the main freshwater source is desalinated seawater, a product that is expensive because it uses electricity generated from fossil fuels. In addition, a large portion of Saudi Arabia’s population has moved from rural to urban areas, which has changed the landscape’s inherent hydrology, causing large urban floods to plague the city once a year. Guizani (2016) believed that rain water harvesting could be a green solution to both of these issues. Continue reading

Using Scenario Planning as a Wildlife and Water Management Resource in the Florida Everglades

by Chloe Soltis

Water is one of the most important environmental resources in the Florida Everglades since the area’s landscape primarily consists of freshwater wetlands. In recent years, economic and agricultural development have reshaped and redirected headwaters to flow into the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico instead of the Everglades. This lack of water has left the area at risk of salt water intrusion and drought in addition to threatening its native wildlife populations. Catano et al. (2015) decided to create a model that predicts how climate change will affect the area’s different hydrologic factors and impact wildlife populations. Continue reading

Using a Freshwater Provisioning Index as a Water Management Tool

by Chloe Soltis

The majority of the world uses upstream water as its main resource for freshwater. Yet, pollution issues that result primarily from economic development continuously threaten these freshwater sources. Industrialized countries have the financial capital to engineer and build infrastructure such as dams and water treatment facilities to alleviate these issues. Developing countries do not have the means to build the same traditional infrastructure and therefore can struggle with proper water management. Green et al. (2015) realized the need for an integrated water management approach that accounted for different levels of social and economic development and decided to develop the freshwater provisioning index (FPIh). This index measures the amount of upstream freshwater resources available to the human populations living downstream while also taking into account global water source threats. Continue reading

Forest Restoration May Only Have Short-term Positive Effects on Ground Water Storage in Semi-arid Aquifers

by Zoe Dilles

The already scarce water resources of the semi-arid western United States will become increasingly precarious with the progression of warming and drying climate change. When compounded with growing demand for water, this issue mandates a balanced management practice incorporating sustainable water budgets and land use. Forest restoration efforts are currently slated for an area of some 600,000 acres of National Forest in north-central Arizona, comprising nearly 1% of the state’s footprint. These treatments, anticipated to last the duration of the coming decade, will consist of selective thinning and burning of high-density conifer forest to mitigate wildfire potential and increase the health of regional forested watersheds. The impact of tree removal on surface water has been the subject of previous study but is rarely quantified in regards to groundwater resources. Especially in such a dry region, the future of water availability lies in the relationship between rainfall and recharge of deep aquifers, reservoirs that are permanently diminished through over-pumping. Continue reading

Sediment Ecotoxicological Stats for the Evaluation of Surface Water Quality: the Ebro River Basin

by Rebecca Herrera

Roig et al. (2014) assess various sites along the Ebro river basin and collect information on each site’s ecotoxicological status. The data are then used to complement traditional means of evaluating surface water quality. The researchers compare the effectiveness and viability of different ecotoxicicty tests, otherwise known as bioassays, performed with freshwater sediments, and evaluated the relationship between ecological status, pollutant concentrations and pore water and sediment ecotoxicity to make recommendations to the European Water Framework Directive (WFD). Their findings showed a high correspondence of the ecotoxicological measurements to prior measurements of ecological status, especially when ecosystem disruption due to numerous stressors was observed. Continue reading

Comprehensive and Sustainable Water Management in the Netherlands

by Lazaros M. K. Chalkias

The Netherlands has been harvesting the benefits of major European rivers (Rhine, Meuse), of accessibility to the sea and high precipitation at the cost of a constant struggle for safety and survival from the elements themselves. These conditions have bestowed great responsibility to the government to plan and prepare for disasters of drought and flood. Following the 1976 drought, the idea of an integrated water management tool was conceived for use in research and policy making. De Lange et al. (2014) review the outcomes of this integrated water system analysis, as accounted for in the most recent updated of the Netherlands Hydrological Instrument (NHI). According to the outcomes of the research, surface water is managed based on surpluses or shortage, its salt content, and its temperature in an attempt to maximize efficiency for agriculture and consumer uses, preservation of natural resources, and other uses. Continue reading

Implications of Land-Cover Changes and Fragmentation For Biodiversity Conservation

by Maithili Joshi

Deforestation can have substantial impacts on the vast biodiversity within tropical rainforests. In Hainan, China, importance is placed on trying to protect the habitat and biodiversity in the natural forests, specifically in the Changhua watershed. The Changhua watershed is an important area for China because it has been identified as the “center of endemism for plants and birds”, so conserving this area is particularly important for maintaining biodiversity. In the last few years, biodiversity has been threatened by new rubber and pulp plantations causing forest fragmentation and larger patch distances. In this study, Zhai et al. (2014) looked at the implications of deforestation on biodiversity, especially of endemic species and the ecosystems surrounding using land cover data. Continue reading