As you may know, I’m intrigued by new films about water. An upcoming documentary, The Guarani Project, looks to provide a balanced perspective of water-management challenges surrounding the Guarani Aquifer in South America. The Guarani Aquifer is one of the largest sources of underground water worldwide. It is shared by Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. A proposed plan to allocate this groundwater has seemed to fail. Why? How are the people who rely on this water supply affected?
My professor from OSU – Dr. Michael Campana (a hydrogeologist with considerable global experience) – shares his insights in the film. He recently wrote a post about the film on his blog WaterWired. The full documentary is forthcoming. The film-makers are seeking YOUR support in making this happen. Visit their website, Facebook, and Twitter for information. In the meantime, here are two clips from the film.
An estimated three hundred and four million of them across the globe, and yet researchers are noticing many inland lakes are beginning to dry. In Siberia, Central Asia, East Africa, and North America – the results are the same – lakes simply cannot compete with man-made alterations to the environment. These are not just small lakes, some of the lakes with dropping water levels are gigantic in size.
There are 122 large lakes in the world each over 1000 square kilometers (386 square miles). Lake Victoria, in Africa, is the largest tropical lake in the world at 68,800 square kilometers (26,560 square miles). Mounting water-level decline in this lake is slowly eroding the livelihood of local fisherman and ranchers, agricultural producers, and industrial water users near the lake. A lack of suitable drinking water or dependable power supply is also becoming more common in the region.
Sometimes occasional fluctuations of water levels in lakes are natural, but the current rate that many lakes are beginning to go dry throughout the world is not. Humans alter the natural environment near lakes and water levels decline. We build dams, over-pump rivers, over-use groundwater, put roads and parking lots in natural recharge areas, build industries in locations without enough water, over-irrigate our crops, and, often, we use too much water in our homes. Not to mention the effect of a changing climate on water supply sources.
But, some things that could help ‘decline’ at least some of this water-level decline include: conservation, conservation, conservation – grow crops in regions they are acclimated (low-water crops) – alternative water supply sources such as rainwater harvesting systems – pursue green “water conservative” development techniques – reduce the pavement – rethink industrial production – low impact living – conservation, conservation, conservation.
A few other lakes around the world with dropping water levels–
The people of San Rafael de la Laguna, an indigenous community of 4,700, constructed a water treatment facility along the edge of Lake Imbakucha to offset polluted discharge from local tourist facilities and agricultural practices.
The water treatment facility removes up to 90% of the contamination, and the clean water is then used for irrigation of reeds. Local artisans create furniture, crafts, and paper from the reeds, and sell the products through the Totora Sisa Cooperative.
Photo above is Lake San Pablo (Imbakucha) in Ecuador.