news in brief

Empowering Farmers and Implementing Modern Irrigation Helps China Reduce Water Consumption

China Farmland Sprinkler SystemChina Farmland Sprinkler SystemChina is a water-stressed country: per capita water resources are about a quarter of the global average, or 2,100 cubic meters. This scarcity is more severe when the spatial distribution of water sources, the total population and arable land, are taken into account, and the increasing impact of climate change compounds the problem. Irrigated agriculture, as an essential source of rural employment and livelihoods for over half of the population, uses over 60% of the nation’s total water resources; more than any other activity. To ensure sustainable use of the limited water resources, making more efficient use of water in agriculture is critical for China.

Between 2012 and 2016, the World Bank worked with China to implement the Water Conservation Project II in Hebei, Shanxi and Ningxia, the three most water-scarce provinces in the Northern region.

Sewage Sludge May Soon Fuel Airplanes

By Sara Jerome

Image credit: “jet,” rok1966 © 2008Image credit: “jet,” rok1966 © 2008New technology may make it possible for sewage sludge to fuel airplanes, a development that’s part of a growing fleet of innovations impacting where waste plant managers send the sludge that is a byproduct of their daily operations. The latest innovation comes out of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), a U.S. Energy Department government research lab based Richland, WA.

Here’s what’s new about PNNL’s breakthrough, per the lab: “Sewage, or more specifically sewage sludge, has long been viewed as a poor ingredient for producing biofuel because it’s too wet. The approach being studied by PNNL eliminates the need for drying required in a majority of current thermal technologies which historically has made wastewater to fuel conversion too energy intensive and expensive.”

The world’s wet regions are getting wetter; the dry regions are getting drier

Earth’s wet regions are getting wetter and dry regions are getting drier, but it is happening at a slower rate than previously thought, research shows. Credit: © RJPhotography / FotoliaEarth’s wet regions are getting wetter and dry regions are getting drier, but it is happening at a slower rate than previously thought, research shows. Credit: © RJPhotography / FotoliaResearch from the University of Southampton has provided robust evidence that wet regions of Earth are getting wetter and dry regions are getting drier but it is happening at a slower rate than previously thought. More rain and outflow from rivers in a region of an ocean means sea water gets diluted and therefore becomes less salty. More evaporation in another region takes away fresh water and leaves salt behind making that region more saline.

The researchers used measurements of salinity throughout the global and deep oceans over the last 60 years to estimate how much global rainfall is changing. The researchers found that the regions, which are relatively wet, like Northern Europe are getting wetter and dry regions are getting drier both by about 2 per cent over the last 60 years. This process is called amplification of the water cycle.

Wastewater Use on California Crops Raises Questions

Image credit: “Crops, June 2008” Parker Knight © 2010Image credit: “Crops, June 2008” Parker Knight © 2010By Peak Johnson

Known as “produced water,” wastewater from oil production is being used to irrigate crops across 95,000 acres of California’s Central Valley, where many of the country’s fruits and vegetables are grown. 95,000 is not as much as it sounds, according to reports, when compared to the 9.6 million acres of farmland California irrigates every year.

“Some hail it as an innovative way to recycle the massive amounts of oil industry wastewater, while others have decried the practice, saying the human health effects have not yet been studied enough in depth.”

World Biogas Association Poised to Take a Bite Out of Climate Change

The recently launched World Biogas Association plans to help organizations across the globe promote anaerobic digestion and biogas technologies—and harness them to fight climate change.The recently launched World Biogas Association plans to help organizations across the globe promote anaerobic digestion and biogas technologies—and harness them to fight climate change.Anaerobic digestion and biogas technologies have immense potential to help meet the United Nations sustainable development goals, according to the founders of the World Biogas Association, launched at the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP 22 at Marrakesh, Morocco, last November. WBA will facilitate the adoption of anaerobic digestion and biogas technologies on a global scale.

Anaerobic digestion involves microbes digesting plant material in sealed containers, which produces biogas that can be used for heating, electricity, and other uses. The process also produces a biofertilizer (called digestate) that can be applied to land.

At the UNFCC COP 21 in Paris in 2015, 195 national governments adopted the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate agreement. It calls for reducing greenhouse gas emissions to keep global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius, but with a target of less than 1.5 degrees.

 

                           


            

Current Issue: Africa Water & Sanitation & Hygiene December 2018 Vol.13 No.6