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Paris should prepare for risk of a costly Seine flood, says OECD

A major flooding of the Seine River similar to the flood disaster of 1910 could affect up to 5 million residents in the greater Paris area and cause up to 30 billion euros worth of damage, according to a new OECD report. Economic growth, jobs and public finances could also be significantly affected. The OECD Review on Flood Risk Management of the Seine River – commissioned by the Basin Organisation Seine Grands Lacs with the French Ministry of Ecology and Ile-de-France regional council – recommends that city officials work to raise risk awareness among citizens and businesses and improve the resilience of the metropolitan area to flood risks.

 
Herders fight farmers over Tanzania water

Tanzanian authorities are finding it increasingly difficult to deal with ongoing conflicts between farmers and pastoralists as they fight over limited land and water resources in this East African nation. From Tanzania’s Coast Region to Kilimanjaro, violent and sometimes deadly clashes have been raging for decades as farmers and pastoralists scramble for resources.

 
Human and climate impacts on global water resources

Over past decades, terrestrial water fluxes have been affected by humans at an unprecedented scale and the fingerprints that humans have left on Earth’s water resources are turning up in a diverse range of records. In his PhD thesis, Yoshihide Wada developed a state-of-the-art global hydrological model (GHM) and global water demand model. These were eventually coupled to quantify and distinguish human and climate impacts on surface freshwater and groundwater resources. Yoshihide Wada’s thesis is composed of three major parts: Part 1. Human and climate impacts on surface freshwater resources; Part 2. Global assessment of groundwater resources; Part 3. Integrated modeling and indicators of global water resources. Yoshihide Wada was promoted cum laude!

 
Extensive liquid meltwater storage in firn within the Greenland ice sheet

Mass loss from the Greenland ice sheet contributes significantly to present sea level rise. High meltwater runoff is responsible for half of Greenland’s mass loss. Surface melt has been spreading and intensifying in Greenland, with the highest ever surface area melt and runoff recorded in 2012. However, how surface melt water reaches the ocean, and how fast it does so, is poorly understood. Firn – partially compacted snow from previous years – potentially has the capacity to store significant amounts of melt water in liquid or frozen form, and thus delay its contribution to sea level. A paper in Nature Geoscience presents direct observations from ground and airborne radar, as well as ice cores, of liquid water within firn in the southern Greenland ice sheet: a firn aquifer.

 
Dutch-Palestinian academic cooperation programme to increase water security in Palestine

As part of the first Dutch-Palestinian cooperation forum, 5 Dutch and 5 Palestinian universities signed a Memorandum of Understanding for an academic cooperation programme on joint education, research and training to improve the capacity in the Palestinian water sector.

 
Israel, Jordan, Palestinians to sign water agreement

In a rare example of cooperation Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians agreed on a water-supply arrangement to slake rising cross-border demand, a step toward economic integration despite persistent political rancor holding up progress on a Middle East peace accord. The deal also aims to slow the steady decline in the Dead Sea water level through a pipeline that will be built from the Red Sea. It is one of the few regional cooperation projects surviving from the heyday of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process in the 1990s, when many envisioned a Middle East remade by economic interdependence.

 
Environmental flows in the Anthropocene

LeRoy Poff and John Matthews have just published an interesting paper on «Environmental flows in the Anthropocence (sic!): past progress and future prospects». Human modification of the global hydrologic cycle through the building and operation of hundreds of thousands of dams and diversions has significantly altered fluvial processes, leading to impairment of river ecosystem function and biodiversity loss worldwide. The concept of environmental flows (e-flows) emerged to mitigate the undesirable hydrological impacts of dams and water diversions, in order to strengthen ecologically informed water management. In their paper, the authors outline the scientific foundations and progressive development of the current e-flows framework over the last 25 years, identifying three discrete periods in its history: emergence and synthesis, consolidation and expansion, and globalization.

 
Offshore fresh groundwater reserves as a global phenomenon

The flow of terrestrial groundwater to the sea is an important natural component of the hydrological cycle. This process, however, does not explain the large volumes of low-salinity groundwater that are found below continental shelves. There is mounting evidence for the global occurrence of offshore fresh and brackish groundwater reserves. The potential use of these non-renewable reserves as a freshwater resource provides a clear incentive for future research. But the scope for continental shelf hydrogeology is broader and is is envisaged that it can contribute to the advancement of other scientific disciplines, in particular sedimentology and marine geochemistry. A new article in Nature by Vincent E.A. Post, Jacobus Groen, Henk Kooi, Mark Person, Shemin Ge and W. Mike Edmunds. 

 
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