Water Movement In Soils

A good little video showing different aspects that affect how well a soil manages the water that falls on it,  will it run off or move down into the soil. Will it have a negative impact with run off and flooding or will it have a positive impact on plants and aquifers.

Altough only an introduction it touches on things such as soil compaction, drainage, leaching, capillary action in unsaturated soils, gravity as the dominant force that moves water downward in saturated soils. The soils texture and structure, platy, prismatic, columnar, granular, and blocky soils. Percolation rates and pore sizes etc

LINK: http://www.rienvirothon.org/Soils/Water_Movement_V2.wmv

Why Fresh Water Shortages Will Cause The Next Great Global Crisis

A-resident-walks

Last week drought in São Paulo was so bad, residents tried drilling through basement floors for groundwater. As reservoirs dry up across the world, a billion people have no access to safe drinking water. Rationing and a battle to control supplies will follow

Water is the driving force of all nature, Leonardo da Vinci claimed. Unfortunately for our planet, supplies are now running dry – at an alarming rate. The world’s population continues to soar but that rise in numbers has not been matched by an accompanying increase in supplies of fresh water.

The consequences are proving to be profound. Across the globe, reports reveal huge areas in crisis today as reservoirs and aquifers dry up. More than a billion individuals – one in seven people on the planet – now lack access to safe drinking water.

Last week in the Brazilian city of São Paulo, home to 20 million people, and once known as the City of Drizzle, drought got so bad that residents began drilling through basement floors and car parks to try to reach groundwater. City officials warned last week that rationing of supplies was likely soon. Citizens might have access to water for only two days a week, they added.

In California, officials have revealed that the state has entered its fourth year of drought with January this year becoming the driest since meteorological records began. At the same time, per capita water use has continued to rise.

In the Middle East, swaths of countryside have been reduced to desert because of overuse of water. Iran is one of the most severely affected. Heavy overconsumption, coupled with poor rainfall, have ravaged its water resources and devastated its agricultural output. Similarly, the United Arab Emirates is now investing in desalination plants and waste water treatment units because it lacks fresh water. As crown prince General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan admitted: “For us, water is [now] more important than oil.”

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Benifical Fungi Reduces Need For Plant Irrigation By 40%

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Strawberry growers could reduce irrigation inputs by up to 40 per cent while still maintaining yields, by inoculating their plants with naturally-occurring beneficial soil-dwelling fungi, researchers at Kent’s East Malling Research (EMR) have found.

Two different species of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, or the two in combination, gave similar beneficial results over the control plants in trials by a team that was led by University of Kent PhD student Louisa Robinson-Boyer.

“While it has been long-known that these beneficial fungi can have positive effects on plant nutrient uptake, protect plants from infection by pathogens and buffer them against adverse environmental stresses, this work provides an opportunity to reduce irrigation by 40 per cent and still retain required growth and yield outputs,” she said.

“Working with these fascinating fungi has great potential to address some of the future food security challenges being raised by climate change. This work will greatly assist with future sustainable food production – maintaining yields while reducing inputs.”

The results are published in the Mycorrhiza journal. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi occur in most ecosystems, but their levels are much decreased across intensive agricultural systems, mainly due to soil tillage and the use of fertilisers.

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Iran Spends $500 Million To Save Lake Urmia

Lake Urmia boat

Iran will spend half a billion dollars just in the first year in a bid to revive the once-enormous Lake Urmia, which has shrunk almost to nothing in the last two decades.

The money will mostly go to water management, reducing farmers’ water use, and restoring the local environment, says Naser Agh of Urmia University, who is a member of the steering committee of the Lake Urmia restoration programme.

In March, Iran’s Department of Environment and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) issued a plan to save the lake and the nearby wetland.

Now a recovery plan has been approved at a special meeting headed by Iran’s president Hassan Rouhani. “President Rouhani accepted the programmes and ordered immediate action plans,” says Agh. The budget approved for the first year is 14 trillion Iranian rials – over $500 million. That goes well beyond an earlier Iran-UNDP plan, which called for spending $225 million in the first year of a $1.3 billion restoration.

Draining away

Lake Urmia was one of the largest lakes in the Middle East, and is a UNESCO biosphere reserve. But in just 14 years it has almost vanished. Once covering 5000 square kilometres, by October last year it covered just 20 per cent of that. Its volume has shrunk nearly 95 per cent from its original 32 cubic kilometres.

Lake Urmia shrink

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