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Environment Canterbury Groundwater Publications

18 Feb 2010

One of the reasons given to justify the recent imposition of ‘state of the environment water charging’ by Environment Canterbury [ECan] is that “the demand for irrigation in Canterbury and declining water quality from rural and urban land use in recent years are driving additional scientific investigations and monitoring work” [ECan website news 11 Feb. 2010].  Much of ECan’s scientific work is documented in their own technical reports, usually publicly available, but not always easy to find [notwithstanding the ‘Publications’ tab at top right of their ‘Home’ page].  ECan’s Customer Services will respond to requests.  Many of their groundwater technical reports are available as downloadable files from the web page noted below [‘source’].

DPC Ltd Website

16 Feb 2010

The DPC Ltd website goes ‘live’ today. The main purpose of the website is to allow others to know what DPC Ltd is and does.  The main focus of the site is water: water resources; water management; water engineering; water science; water research. A secondary purpose of the site is to provide news, comments and information, mainly related to water.  A secondary focus of the site is sustainability: sustainable water management; sustainable technology; sustainable energy; sustainable living. Some pages are not yet prepared or released, but the general layout and content is as intended.  Comments are welcome.

The Gift of High Water

11 Feb 2010

Even a gift freely given sometimes comes at a cost.  So it is with hydro-power, New Zealand’s pre-eminent renewable energy generation.  The country is blessed with water-bearing westerly winds, high ground to catch some of the water and short steep distances to sea level allowing gravitational energy to be converted to oh-so-convenient electricity.  Hardly anyone now laments Hora Hora Power Station, built in 1910-13 and drowned under Lake Karapiro in 1947, as they enjoy the fruits of the contribution Karapiro power station makes to the national grid and enjoy the lake itself, as a landscape feature and rowing venue.  Many people over the age of about 50 remember well the controversy surrounding raising Lake Manapouri that raged through the 1960s.  The best way of matching demand for electricity to supply is reducing demand!  Profligate use and avoidable losses need to be eliminated.  Where new electricity generation is justified, hydro-power is still a good, renewable option.  The downsides, including flooded land and ecosystem effects in rivers upstream and downstream of a dam, lead to a need for careful balancing.  I addressed this balance in part in a presentation to U3A in 2004.  Now the balancing act is requiring attention for hydro projects on the West Coast of South Island, and in Canterbury and Hawkes Bay in relation to water storage for irrigation.  The Opuha Dam in Canterbury provides an example where there has been, arguably, a hydro-electric, irrigation and fishing win, win, win.
Source [Opuha Dam]:

Haiti Earthquake

8 Feb 2010

The 12 January Richter 7.2 earthquake in Haiti  dominated international news through much of January.  News coverage has diminished, but the disastrous food, water, medical, infrastructural and security situation which has followed it continues.  The UN, USA and other governments and agencies eventually got resources flowing in through the airport and damaged port.  How can individuals far from Haiti continue to assist?  Notwithstanding a painfully slow-starting international aid effort, some NGOs were already on the ground and more now have significant activity; their major need is monetary donations.  Red Cross, Oxfam, UNICEF, MSF, SCF and many others come in to this category.

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