Category Archives: Educational

Canada in need of a national water policy?

1-BLOG WATER ACT

The following article, “Should Canada have a National Water Policy, by Stephen Braun, appeared in the July/Aug 2014 issue of watercanada.

Despite the best efforts of many people who care so much about our national water resources, Canada has no national water policy or strategy. 

hydrologic_cycle

Canada’s creeks, rivers, lakes, and groundwater are governed by a patchwork of laws and regulations, though they cross provincial or territorial boundaries without restriction.
One thing is certain: coming up with a better definition of a national water policy is not going to make it spontaneously materialize. We have defined this issue well and have a good point of reference. What is required now is political will and recognition that such a policy is essential to Canada’s self-interest – and nothing less.
CWRAFor example, the Canadian Water Resources Association took the issue on in 2008 with the release of Toward a Canadian National Water Strategy, authored by well-Rob-de-Loeknown water policy expert Rob de Loe. Yet implementation remains elusive on this subject despite this and other high profile efforts.
More recently, Ralph Pentland and Chris Wood’s 2013 down the drainbook, Down the Drain: How We are Failing to Protect Our Water Resources, explained the unimplemented but ambitious 1987 Federal Water Policy,and that little progress has been seen since federally. Their arguments and facts that our water resources are an issue of national importance and cannot be left to the provinces are compelling. Pentland and Wood stated: “Legislation currently in force and Confederation’s founding documents empower Canada’s federal Crown to take robust action to defend water, waterways, and the life that inhabits them.”
Canada’s past approach to the contrary, the federal government absolutely does have the power to ensure our national water resources are kept healthy and sound. Canada
Canadians might believe this country is advanced in its environmental policy, but we are lagging behind other Image result for environmental protection agency (epa)jurisdictions. Even Republican U.S. President Richard Nixon recognized the importance of a national water policy. He founded
the  Environmental Protection Agency  (EPA), which subsequently led to the Clean Water and Safe DrinkingSAFE WATER ACT Water acts.  Nixon facilitated some pretty ambitious national water protection in a country not known for its love of federal regulation.
Canada’s more recent approach Of discontinuing environmental round-tables, restricting scientists from speaking publicly, and shuttering cottages on certain lakes might seem like the time isn’t ripe for a national water policy. Perhaps the time will never be right exactly, but as water professionals we must continue to advocate for it.

DESMOND TUTUDesmond Tutu visited some of Canada’s northern watersheds this spring. His famous quote, “I am not an optimist, I am a prisoner of hope,” seemed to capture the mood up there. But he said something else.
ch7_11If we apply this insight to a national water policy, it can be seen that the pillars of the bridge are largely in place. They are there as the result of excellent past work of many in this country and within other parts of the world. The reasonableness is in those pillars; it is up to us to build the rest of the bridge—hopefully with more magnanimity than realpolitik—but it must get built. 

 STEPHEN BRAUNStephen Braun is a principal
and water resources engineer
with GeoProcess Research
Associates.

RAINGRID LOGOHe is a founding
partner of RainGrid Inc.

CWRAand is currently the Ontario branch president of
the 
Canadian Water Resources Association.

Related link

http://www.canadians.org/waterpolicy-info 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=er3pJzAmouw

Adaptation Strategies Needed for The Great Lakes

FIRST IMAGE

The following article, “The Great Lakes Need Adaptation Experiments”, by Gail Krantzberg and Sommer Abdel-Fattah, appeared in watercanada’s July/August publication.

3RD PARATo mitigate the negative impacts of climate change on the Great
Lakes basin ecosystem, it is essential to plan for and adapt current programs and policies. Adaptive strategies need to be specific enough to address the driver of degradation. In the Great Lakes, temperature increases will be particularly important in shallow areas, so adaptation strategies are needed to protect, for example, wetland habitats and biodiversity.

WATER DROPLET1_FOR BLOG ICONI found an excellent youtube video, ” Municipal Adaptation and Resiliency Service”, posted Jan. 16, 2014, that will clarify and /or add to many points in this article. (The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative is launching a Municipal Adaptation and Resiliency Service (MARS) for its member municipalities, to help them accelerate and expand their adaptation activities, to be ready for the next storm.  Visit glslcities.org/mars.cfm for more information.)

2ND LAST PARAWith more intense precipitation events, adaptation strategies that address non-point source pollution are prudent. Precautionary actions should include measures to reduce soil erosion, address land and water quality degradation, anticipate infrastructure to avoid flooding, and avert infrastructure failure. RIPARIAN BUFFER3Measures include the creation of riparian buffer strips, the manipulation of stormwater pathways, the increase of permeable surfaces, and erosion control on steep slopes. Further, attention should be paid to infrastructural changes to ensure the integrity of harbours, marinas, and piers as well as improvement of navigational aids and hydrographic charting. 

CLIMATE CHANGE MONITORWhile recent efforts have focused on the capacity of practitioners to understand how the changing climate impacts water quality and quantity, there are limited examples of adaptation being implemented. Challenges that explain why implementation is limited include:
1 A lack of funding to test and implement innovative technologies;
2 A lack of institutional capacity for adaptation planning and implementation;
3 Cuts to federal science in support of technical modelling of climate projections to reduce uncertaintyin results;
4 Complexities of multi-sector coordination;
5 Fragmentation across agencies;
6 A lack of social and community involvement, with trends to an increasing lack of public concern or confidence in climate science;
7 A lack of adaptation policy and enforced policy; and
8 Few examples of adaptive studies that have demonstrated effective solutions.
At present, most Great Lakes states and provinces have adopted climate action plans that provide greenhouse-gas emission inventory data and make emission reduction recommendations. While there is a general emphasis on the environmental risks and the value of reducing emissions, much less attention has been given to adaptation. Where plans do exist, most of the focus has been placed on responses to changes in water availability and demand, and how to manage increases in demand for water, much less so to water quality and ecosystem integrity.

PARA2BUFFER

On the positive side, the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative launched the Municipal Adaptation and Resiliency Service (MARS) in January 2014 to help municipalities accelerate and expand their adaptation activities. This initiative will provide a portal for municipal members to access climate and adaptation information and resources that will also serve as an interactive forum for information sharing.
EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGEThe push for adaptation interventions comes from understanding the ramifications of climate-related changes to plausible ecosystem impacts through preventative action. Adaptation efforts must include capacity building, policy innovation, natural resource management actions, and engaging the Great Lakes community in the implementation and evaluation of those efforts. 
GAIL

 Gail Krantzberg is the director of the Centre
for Engineering and Public Policy at McMaster
University.

SOMMER TO CROP

Sommer Abdel-Fattah is an NSERC
post-doctoral government fellow and lecturer
in the bachelor of engineering and technology
program at McMaster University.

 

Oil and Gas Versus Nature

SASK OIL AND GAS

Water Under Pressure ~ Navigating competing demands between agriculture and natural resource development, by Chad Eggerman appeared in watercanada’s July/Aug, 2014 issue.

SASK AGRICULTURE LOGOSaskatchewan’s economy has been growing at a feverish pace the past few years on the pillars of agriculture, mining, and oil-and-gas SASK ECONOMYdevelopment. Although growth has recently settled at more
sustainable levels, recent discussion in the province has centered around how to
best use water resources in future development. This is an ongoing discussion in jurisdictions in Canada where both agriculture and natural resource development coexist, most prominently British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec. The agriculture sector is traditionally the largest user of water in Saskatchewan, particularly for irrigation in the West Central region of DIEF LAKEthe province around Lake Diefenbaker. By some estimates, there is the potential to expand as much as 500,000 additional acres of land to irrigation around the lake. The Government of Saskatchewan views this expansion as a major opportunity for economic growth and to attract investment. There are a number SASK IRRIGATION LOGOof irrigation districts in Saskatchewan that are administered by the Ministry of Agriculture under The Irrigation Act, 1996. Saskatchewan has been mining natural resources for many years but recent multibillion-dollar expansions and greenfield projects have raised Wollaston Lake uranium minesthe profile of mining in the province. The most established resources are uranium in the north and potash in the south. The potash-producing region in Saskatchewan directly overlaps prime agricultural land as well as considerable oil-and-gas reserves. SASK MININGThere are two methods to mine potash: solution mining and conventional shaft mining.

The solution-mining process involves the construction of a well field composed of at least two drill holes—one to send hot water down to the potash-bearing zones of rock, and another to bring the potash-laden brine up to the surface after percolating in an underground katepwa_lakecavern. Solution mining uses vast quantities of water. Currently, Vale proposes to build a 70-kilometre water pipeline to Katepwa Lake in the Qu’Appelle Valley to pump more than 40 million litres per day for their Kronau project (the equivalent of 15 KRONAU PROJECTOlympic-sized swimming pools). K+S Potash Canada is currently building a new solution potash mine and is planning on using up to 60 K S POTASHmillion litres of water per day. Different regulations in Saskatchewan apply depending on whether the water comes from the surface or the ground, the type of mining (for potash, solution or conventional), and the location (uranium in the north is regulated differently than potash in the south). The oil-and-gas industry in Saskatchewan OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAhas experienced rapid growth recently due largely to continued expansion of the use of hydraulic fracturing (or fracking), which involves pumping pressurized
water underground to fracture rock to extract oil or gas. There were 3,200 horizontally fracked wells sunk in Saskatchewan from 1990 to 2013. On average, there are about 3,000 new oil HORIZONTAL VERSUS FRACTUREwells (both vertical and horizontal) drilled in Saskatchewan each year. Any fresh water to be used in Saskatchewan for fracking is subject to appropriate approvals from various provincial water agencies.  Residual fracking fluids are recycled and disposed of at provincially approved waste processing facilities or stored. The discharge or storage of used fluids into the surface environment is prohibited in Saskatchewan. The risk of water availability for farmers, miners, and oil-and-gas companies is becoming evident. Water supply agreements between miners and water suppliers, like SaskWater or a SASK WATERmunicipality, are becoming increasingly difficult to negotiate. The water supply agreement is a critical agreement to provide a certain amount of water at a set price. There are very significant risks for potash solution mines, which use water to operate if water supply is curtailed or discontinued. Oil companies are having to travel further and pay more for water for fracking. Intensive livestock and increased spraying (which uses fresh water) in Saskatchewan are also putting pressure on water supplies. There are a number of innovative projects in the province to mitigate these risks. Oil-and-gas companies are starting to use treated wastewater for their fracking operations. SELLING WASTEWATERMunicipalities in Alberta and Saskatchewan are now selling treated wastewater to oil companies. The treated wastewater can come from lagoons or from grey water discharge. This is a new revenue stream for municipalities and increases WESTERN POTASH LOGOthe certainty of water supply for oil-and-gas companies. Western Potash Corp.’s new potash mine in Milestone, Saskatchewan recently received environmental REGINAassessment approval for the facility, including the use of City of Regina treated effluent as the industrial water source for its solution mining process. The water is purified to prevent foaming or scaling. This is the first potash mine in the world to use treated water. CANADA MAPIt is expected the discussion between farmers and extractors of natural resources will continue in Saskatchewan and across Canada, with innovative technologies and agreements providing a way forward.

CHAD EGGERMANChad Eggerman is a partner in the Saskatoon office of Miller Thomson LLP and assists owners and contractors to develop projects in the natural resource industry

 

Largest Sea Creatures ~ Wow!

The following excerpt is from “Introduction to the Largest Living Sea Creatures”, By Marine Life Expert  

BLUE WHALE
The blue whale is not only the largest creature in the ocean, it’s the largest creature on Earth. The largest blue whale ever measured was 110 feet long. Their average length is about 70-90 feet.
Just to give you a better perspective, a large blue whale is about the same length as a Boeing 737 airplane, and its tongue alone weighs about 4 tons (about 8,000 pounds, or about the weight of an African elephant)…
Blue whales live throughout the world’s oceans. During warmer months, they are generally found in cooler waters, where their main activity is feeding. During cooler months, they migrate to warmer waters to mate and give birth. If you live in the U.S., one of the most common whale watching destinations for blue whales is off the coast of California.

FIN WHALE 
The second-largest sea creature – and second-largest creature on Earth – is the fin whale. Fin whales are a very slender, graceful whale species.  Fin whales can reach lengths up to 88 feet and weigh up to 80 tons.
These animals have been nicknamed “the greyhounds of the sea” because of their fast swimming speed, which is up to 23 mph…
Although these animals are very large, their movements are not well understood. Fin whales live throughout the world’s oceans and are thought to live in cold waters during the summer feeding season and warmer, subtropical waters during the winter breeding season.

WHALE SHARK 
The trophy for world’s biggest fish isn’t exactly a “trophy fish”… but it’s a big one. It’s the whale shark. The whale shark’s name comes from its size, rather than any characteristics resembling a whale. These fish max out at about 65 feet and can weigh up to 75,000 pounds, making their size rival some of the largest whales on Earth.
Similar to large whales, whale sharks eat small creatures. They filter-feed, by gulping in water, plankton, small  fish, and  crustaceans and forcing the water through their gills, where their prey gets trapped. During this process, they can filter over 1,500 gallons of water in an hour…
Whale sharks live in warmer temperate and tropical waters around the world. One place to see whale sharks close to the U.S. is Mexico.

LION'S MANE JELLY 
If you include its tentacles, the  is one of the longest creatures on Earth. These jellies have 8 groups of tentacles, with 70-150 in each group. Their tentacles are estimated to be able to grow to 120 feet in length.  This is not a web you’d want to get tangled in!  While some jellies are harmless to humans, the lion’s mane jelly can inflict a painful sting…
Lion’s mane jellies are found in cooler waters of the the North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans…
Perhaps to the chagrin of swimmers, lion’s mane jellies have a healthy population size and haven’t been evaluated due to any conservation concerns.

GIANT MANTA RAY
Giant manta rays are the world’s largest ray species. With their large pectoral fins, they can reach a span of up to 30 feet across, but average-sized manta rays are about 22 feet across.
Giant manta rays feed on zooplankton, and sometimes swim in slow, graceful loops as they consume their prey. The prominent cephalic lobes extending from their head help funnel water and plankton into their mouth…
Giant manta rays live in waters between the latitudes of 35 degrees North and 35 degrees South. In the U.S., they are primarily found in the Atlantic Ocean from South Carolina south, but have been spotted as far north as New Jersey. They may also be seen in the Pacific Ocean off Southern California and Hawaii…
Giant manta rays are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List. Threats include harvesting for their meat, skin, liver and gill rakers, entanglement in fishing gear, pollution, habitat degradation, collisions with ships, and climate change. 

Portuguese Man o' War
The Portuguese man o’ war is another animal that is very large based on the size of its tentacles. These animals can be identified by their purplish-blue float, which is only about 6 inches across. But they have long, slender tentacles that can be more than 50 feet long. 
Portuguese man o’ wars feed using their tentacles. They have tentacles used to capture the prey, and then stinging tentacles that paralyse the prey.
Although it resembles a jellyfish, the Portuguese man o’ war is actually a siphonophore..
Although they are occasionally pushed by currents into cooler regions, Portuguese man o’ wars prefer warm tropical and subtropical waters. In the U.S., they are found in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans off the south-eastern portions of the U.S. and in the Gulf of Mexico…
Portuguese man o’ wars are common. 

Giant Siphonophore
Giant siphonophores (Praya dubia) can be even longer than a blue whale.  Granted, these aren’t really a single organism, but they bear mentioning in a list of the ocean’s largest creatures.
These fragile, gelatinous animals are cnidarians, which means they are related to corals, sea anemones and jellyfish.  Like corals, siphonophores are colonial organisms, so rather than one whole being (like a blue whale), they are formed by many bodies called zooids. These organisms are specialized for certain functions like feeding, movement and reproduction – and all strung together on a stem called a stolon so together, they act like one organism.
The Portuguese man o’war is a siphonophore that lives at the ocean surface, but many siphonophores, like the giant siphonophore are pelagic, spending their time floating in the open ocean. These animals can be bioluminescent.
So, how big can they get? Giant siphonophores measuring more than 130 feet have been found….
Giant siphonophores are found throughout the world’s oceans. In the United States, they are found in the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and Pacific Ocean…
The giant siphonophore has not been evaluated for conservation status.

Giant Squid 
Giant squid (Architeuthis dux) are animals of legend – have you ever seen an image of a giant squid wrestling with a ship or a sperm whale? Despite their prevalence in ocean images and lore, these animals prefer the deep sea and are rarely seen in the wild. In fact, most of what we know about giant squid comes from dead specimens found by fishermen, and it wasn’t until 2006 that a live giant squid was filmed.
Measurements of the largest giant squid vary. Measuring these creatures can be complicated since tentacles may be stretched or even lost. The largest squid measurements vary from 43 feet to over 60 feet, and the largest are thought to weigh about a ton. The giant squid is estimated to have an average length of 33 feet.
In addition to being one of the largest animals in the world, giant squid also have the largest eyes of any animal – their eyes alone are about the size of a dinner plate (about 10 inches in diameter…
Not much is known about giant squid habitat, since they are rarely observed in the wild. But they are thought to frequent most of the world’s oceans, and tend to be found in temperate or subtropical waters…
The population size of giant squid is unknown, but researchers determined in 2013 that all giant squid that they sampled had very similar DNA, which led them to presume that there is one species of giant squid rather than different species in different locations.

WHITE SHARK

A list of the largest creatures in the ocean wouldn’t be complete without the ocean’s largest apex predator – the white shark, commonly called the great white shark (Carcharodon carcharias). There are conflicting reports as to the largest white shark, but it it thought to be about 20 feet. While white sharks in the 20-foot range have been measured, lengths of 10-15 feet are more common…
White sharks are found throughout the world’s oceans in mostly temperate waters in the pelagic zone. Places white sharks can be seen in the United States include off California and the East Coast (where they spend the winters south of the Carolinas and the summers in more northerly locales.

http://marinelife.about.com/od/marinelife101/ss/Largest-Living-Sea-Creatures.htm

 

Warka Water ~ capture safe drinking water from the air

It remains to be seen whether a full-size unit will draw as much water as the company esti...

Warka Water promises to harness safe drinking water from the air: 

As water shortage is a serious issue in many parts of the world, a means of efficiently harnessing safe drinking water from thin air without the need of expensive infrastructure could be a real lifesaver. Italy’s Architecture and Vision is developing an off-grid bamboo tower called Warka Water that promises just that: the firm says it could collect an annual average of up to 100 liters (26.4 US gallons) of water per day.

IMAGE1
The tower is rated as lasting up to 10 years and will require that locals are trained in order to maintain it successfully       

The current stage of the work-in-progress Warka Water prototype, by Italian firm Architect...
The current stage of the work-in-progress Warka Water prototype, by Italian firm Architecture and Vision

The basic concept behind Warka Water seems fairly sound, however the success of Warka Wate...

Once completed, Warka Water will rise to a height of 10 m (33 ft), weigh 60 kg (132 lb), and be secured to the ground with eight guide ropes. The tower consists of a lightweight woven bamboo structure, while an inner plastic mesh retains water droplets from passing fog, which fall into a collector and a large tank. Any rainwater and overnight dew also collects in the tank.

The video below shows a little more information on the project.

Warka Water will sport a canopy that offers shade to people drawing the collected water, and a series of rotating mirrors which Architecture and Vision says will be sufficient to keep birds away. No electricity is required for any part of the passive water-harnessing process, and the firm says the bamboo structure will take six people four days to construct. On-site assembly should take four people just three hours, without the need for cranes or any other building machinery.

If you'd like to take a punt on the Warka Water vision, as of writing the Kickstarter camp...

It’s going to be a long road until that point, though. The essential idea behind Warka Water appears sound, but its success will hinge on overcoming a long list of other concerns, including the quantity and quality of water drawn, the structure’s durability, and cost. Though rated as lasting up to 10 years, it will require locals to be trained and made responsible for maintenance, and while the estimated cost of under US$1,000 may seem relatively cheap compared to standard water supply infrastructure, it’s still a lot of dough for an impoverished area.

IMAGE7

It also remains to be seen if it could harness as much water as the company estimates – and on this note we’d encourage all-due skepticism. Indeed, though Architecture and Vision has produced a small working prototype, the first full-scale field test won’t take place until the necessary funds have been raised by a recently-launched Kickstarter campaign, and it won’t be suitable for all areas.

“It is first and foremost an architecture project. WW should not be considered as the solution to all water problems in developing countries but rather as a tool that can provide clean water in selected areas,” says the firm. “Particularly in mountainous regions where conventional pipelines will never reach and where water is not available from wells.”

It remains to be seen whether a full-size unit will draw as much water as the company esti...

If you’d like to try and help the team overcome these hurdles, as of writing its Kickstarter campaign still has 18 days to go. Raised funds will go toward developing a working unit, and promised rewards include Warka Water-related apparel, and a scale model. If all goes well, Architecture and Vision will eventually seek further donations for Warka Water units to be installed in select locations in Ethiopia, before potentially rolling out the system worldwide.

 

Canadian humour ~ laugh along with us, eh?

Canadian Eh!

 

Funny Canadians

I AM CANADIAN

Hey!

 

I’m not a lumberjack
or a fur trader

 

And I don’t live in an igloo

Or eat blubber or own a dog sled

I have a Prime Minister,
not a President

I speak English and French,
not American

I can proudly sew my country’s
flag on my backpack.

 

I believe in peacekeeping, not policing
Diversity, not assimilation

 

And that the beaver is a
truly proud and noble animal.

 

A toque is a hat.

 

Canada is the second largest landmass
in the world.

 

The first nation of hockey

 

 And the best part of North America!

 

My name is [insert your name here]
And I AM CANADIAN!

 

The following humour describes Canada and Canadians alike in a most apt fashion…

Someone in a Home Depot offers you assistance… and they don’t work there.
You’ve worn shorts and a parka at the same time.
You’ve had a lengthy telephone conversation with someone who dialed the wrong number.
You measure distance in hours.
You know several people who have hit a deer more than once.
You have switched from “heat” to “A/C” in the same day and back again.
You can drive 90 km/hr through 2 feet of snow during a raging blizzard without flinching.
You install security lights on your house and garage, but leave both unlocked.
You carry jumpers in your car and your wife knows how to use them.
You design your kid’s Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit.
The speed limit on the highway is 80 km and you’re going 90 and everybody is passing you.
Driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow.
You know all 4 seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter and road construction.
You have more miles on your snow blower than your car.
You find 2 degrees “a little” chilly.
                                  If you actually understand these Canadian jokes,

                                        Canada-Flag  you definitely live in Canada!  Canada-Flag

WATER DROPLET HAPPY ICON GIMPCROPPEDAnd ………
we’re great enough to make and take these jokes about ourselves and about some of the quirky aspects of our lives.

Laugh along with us and have a great weekend ‘y’all’. (yeah, I know – not Canadian)

Floating gardens prevent climate change damage

The Floating Gardens of Bangladesh MAIN ICON Farming on Water to Prevent the Effects of Climate Change
By Amy Yee, Nov. 18, 2014 of the New York TimesTENDING GARDEN BEST

CHARBHANGURA, Bangladesh — Each year the brown waters of the Gumani river swell during the summer monsoon, creeping over the surrounding fields to flood Charbhangura, a village of 2,500 people in the Pabna district of northwest Bangladesh.

From July to October the waters can rise at least 10 feet. The trunks of trees more than 30 feet away from the dry season riverbed show watermarks waist high. When the fields flood, the village’s farmers have no work.

“There is water all around,” said Hafiza Khatun, 25, a mother of two whose family income used to vanish for six months of the year when her farm laborer husband had nothing to do. “There was no happiness.”

But three years ago, Ms. Khatun was trained by Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha, a Bangladeshi nonprofit organization, to tend an unusual source of food and income: a floating farm with a duck coop, fish enclosures and vegetable garden moored by rope to the riverbank. Five to 10 women can share the structure, splitting about 130,000 taka, or about $1,700, a year. Shidhulai supplies seeds, fish and duck feed and other materials that cost about 10,000 taka. This money goes a long way in rural Bangladesh, especially for villagers struggling to survive. Ms. Khatun, who has no education and bore the first of her two children when she was 15, previously earned nothing. DUCK COOPDucks quacked loudly as Ms. Khatun gathered eggs in the coop, ushering some of them outside to the “duck run,” a stretch of water between fish enclosures. She had never raised ducks or fish before the training, Ms. Khatun said, but “nothing has been very difficult.” The duck coop, originally built on a bamboo platform, now rests atop more-buoyant plastic oil drums — recycled and found materials are enthusiastically used alongside locally grown bamboo. Villagers can now build the entire structure for the equivalent of $260, which is covered by Shidhulai, Mr. Rezwan said.

This documentary, uploaded on Feb 26, 2008, shows an adaptation technique used to deal with flood and water-logging in the South Central part of Bangladesh. Copyright CLACC / BCAS Mohamed Ali, Abdul Shakoor Sindhu, Mariam Rashid and MD Abdul Alim

Climate change threatens to worsen the severity and duration of floods in low-lying Bangladesh.  

  IMAGE2   OPEN FURROW

Floating farms — and produce that can flourish in flood conditions — are a way to help Bangladeshis live with rising waters. “There is big demand for solutions for climate change-affected areas,” said Mohammed Rezwan, the founder and executive director of Shidhulai. With the extra income from selling eggs, fish and vegetables, Ms. Khatun started saving money in a bank for the first time, bought a bed to keep her and her family off wet ground in their dirt-floored home, and helps her husband support the family.

  IMAGE3  IMAGE5    

IMAGE6IMAGE8

TENDING GARDEN BEST

In northern Bangladesh, agricultural land is regularly flooded as rivers are engorged by the annual Himalayan snow melt and monsoon rains. In one of the world’s most densely populated countries, where 156 million people live in an area the size of Iowa, thousands are left with no way to earn a living. Many migrate to already overcrowded cities, contributing to urban blight.

Mr. Rezwan founded Shidhulai as a 22-year-old architecture graduate in 1998. That year, disastrous flooding in Bangladesh killed 700 people and left 21 million homeless. 
Initially, Mr. Rezwan focused on building schools on boats, and worked to ensure that thousands of children would not fall behind when roads were blocked by floodwaters.

To date, the nonprofit’s fleet, which now numbers 22 schools, five health clinics and 10 libraries, has provided continuity of education and other services for more than 70,000 children in villages isolated by seasonal floods. Four years ago it started to also build floating farms for villagers, and particularly the landless poor, to help them eke out a living during the months of floods.

So far there are 40 floating IMAGE4farms that are worked by about 300 women: Mr. Rezwan has ambitious plans to create 400, to serve 3,000 women and their families in the next few years. He also argues that the floating farm concept could help other riverine developing countries, as has been the case with floating schools. “They have the potential to be replicated around the world,” he said.

IMAGE7Shidhulai’s school boats have been copied in several other countries, including the Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam, Nigeria and Zambia. A floating farm measures about 56 feet long and 16 feet wide. The coop can house 100 ducks and is equipped with a small solar panel to power lights inside. It floats on empty oil drums, plastic containers and a bamboo platform.

Mr. Rezwan took his initial concept for the farms from floating gardens that had been used in southern Bangladesh for hundreds of years. 

Those gardens layered water hyacinths — a type of weed — over bamboo structures and topped the resulting artificial island with soil to grow vegetables.

The design had to be modified however, to suit local conditions. The southern model didn’t work in the north, where heavier rains waterlogged the vegetable beds and it was difficult to create drainage. Water hyacinth was also less plentiful in the north.

Related links:

Youtube video, published on Feb 6, 2013, gives background information (in English subtitles) and step by step instructions for creating these gardens.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AK_qTm2pUsw