Water News

Not-so-new Water News can still be useful. Some of our links are only promoted on the sidebar for a short time, so this is where you can browse through past links that we considered to be news-worthy.

Green or Gray Infrastructure? Preserving Water Quality in Portland, Maine

Even with the most pessimistic assumptions green infrastructure is economically superior to gray infrastructure when considering the full range of ancillary benefits over a 20 year time frame. This shouldn’t be too surprising but it is nice to see some substantiation to the basic idea that persuasion is better than coercion even when you are dealing with water.

Hydrodynamics of Steep Streams with Planar Coarse-Grainedbeds: Turbulence, Flow Resistance, and Implications for Sediment Transport

This is of interest to anyone who needs to measure steep gradient streams. “Experimental flows have a nearly logarithmic velocity profile far above the bed; flow velocity decreases less than logarithmically toward the bed and is nonzero at the bed surface.” ; “Near-bed turbulent fluctuations decrease for shallow, rough flows and scale with the depth-averaged flow velocity rather than bed shear velocity.” This improved understanding of factors affecting vertical velocity profiles is important for extrapolating flow into the unmeasured zones for ADCP measurements and will become increasingly important for newly emerging surface velocity measurement techniques.

Trump’s Border Wall Could Have Lasting Effect on Rivers, Water Supply

There is, and always has been, a nexus of politics and water. At times this nexus resembles the irresistible force paradox when an unstoppable force meets and immovable object. In this case, a campaign slogan has become a political imperative that will meet the force of nature along the many water crossings of the Mexico-USA border. In fact, the Texas-Mexico border is defined as the mid-line of the Rio Grande River. Essentially three choices exist – build the wall down the mid-line, build it on the Mexican Side and ask the Mexicans to cede access to the river, or build it on the US side and voluntarily cede access to the river. My imagination isn’t flexible enough to stretch around any viable scenario where this will end well for anyone involved.

Canadian Water: Get Ready for a Free-Trade Deal with China

China has an action plan of USD 320b for the water and sanitation infrastructure development needed over the next 14 years. After Trump took the US out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership China is negotiating to get in. The water technology and expertise export opportunity is enormous for countries and companies with an understanding of Chinese business culture.

Developing Criteria to Establish Trusted Digital Repositories

The very nature of data is changing at a rapid pace. Data curation in hydrology has to be resilient to change so that data collected 100 years ago can be put into meaningful context alongside the data collected 100 years from now. There are too few people taking the long view of data management. Daily pressures for data production overwhelm our capacity to consider the future value of data produced today. This means that we need to pay close attention to the guidance offered by those who take the time to develop best practice approaches for hydrological data curation.

Why I’m Running a Thousand Miles for Water Awareness

Mina Guli explains why she is running 40 marathons in 40 days, along six rivers on six different continents to raise awareness about the global water crisis. “Clean, safe, accessible water for all is the most pressing issue our world faces today.”; “This isn’t the first time I’m running for water. Last year I wore out eight running shoes across seven deserts, doing 40 marathons in seven weeks.”; “This test of endurance, this thousand miles is all about pushing government and the private sector to unite and find innovative solutions to the world’s water crisis.”


“Countries are not increasing spending fast enough to meet the water and sanitation targets under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”; “countries have increased their budgets for water, sanitation and hygiene at an annual average rate of 4.9% over the last three years.”; “the World Bank estimates investments in infrastructure need to triple to US $114 billion per year – a figure which does not include operating and maintenance costs.”; “Increased investments in water and sanitation can yield substantial benefits for human health and development, generate employment and make sure that we leave no one behind.”


“We may be citizens of a community, and a state, and a country, but we are also citizens of a basin”. The Colorado River basin isn’t what it used to be. We take water in Wyoming and move it to Cheyenne. We move it across the Continental Divide, from the West Slope to the Front Range, into the Kansas-Nebraska basin. We move it across the Utah dessert to the Wasatch Front, to Salt Lake, Provo, Orem, and all those agricultural districts. In New Mexico, we move it to Albuquerque, which straddles the Rio Grande. In Arizona, we move it across three hundred and sixty miles of desert, to Phoenix and Tucson and still more agricultural districts. And in California we move it over hundreds of miles of aqueduct, from Lake Havasu to the coastal cities. How sustainable can any water management scheme be when disperse citizenship means that authority, responsibility and accountability of water are as fragmented as the basin is.

Technical Note: Monitoring of Unsteady Open Channel Flows Using the Continuous Slope-Area Method

The prospect of practical continuous monitoring of open channel slope is nearing reality with modern monitoring technology. This study examines the use of continuous slope information in Manning’s equation for derivation of discharge at sites where unsteady flow hysteresis make stage-discharge curves unreliable. The results indicate that further research is needed to resolve problems arising from the assumption of a channel bed slope that is conceptually equal to the water surface slope.

The Quantification and Correction of Wind-Induced Precipitation Measurement Errors

Precipitation gauge data is often in an as-is, where-is state. End-users beware. There are many sources of precipitation error but none produce as much bias as under-catch from wind effects. Correction functions have been developed, and in this case only require wind speed and air temperature as inputs. Tests in the US showed bias removal from -12 to 0% and in Norway showed bias removal from -27 to 4%.

Climate’s Watermark in the Geometry of Stream Networks

In arid landscapes, which are thought to be dominated by surface runoff erosion, junction angles average roughly 45° in the driest places. Branching angles are systematically wider in humid regions, averaging roughly 72°, which is the theoretically predicted angle for network growth in a diffusive field such as groundwater seepage.