Friday 30 June 2017

A hidden crisis: The search for water sources in Wellington

I have written about our local problems with water. From plenty to potental shortage.

I is not only the effects of last year's earthquake but of shortage through abrupt climate change, something that, up to now has gone completely unacknowledged, except by a few people with plenty of commonsense.

The Hutt river in the climate change-induced drought

'Urgent' freshwater search under way in Wellington

Wellington's fragile freshwater supply is set to become less of a worry, with hydrogeologists looking for emergency supplies under the city.

Wellington Harbour. After a big earthquake, it could take up to 100 days to reconnect water supplies to central and eastern parts of Wellington - unless new sources can be found. Photo: CORBIS

November's 7.8 magnitude Kaikōura earthquake exposed Wellington and Porirua's reliance on feeder pipes to deliver fresh water from other centres, with the pipes crossing over fault lines in multiple places.

That fragility means central and eastern parts of the capital could wait up to 100 days for water supplies to be reconnected after a big quake.

To ease the pressure, Wellington Water is investigating 11 possible sites for emergency water bores in Porirua and Wellington, and 11 stream catchments.
Later this week, it will also start drilling into the Waiwhetu Aquifer under the harbour, off the northern tip of the Miramar peninsula.

No captionPhoto: Supplied: Wellington Water

Wellington Water chief executive Colin Crampton said the projects would improve the city's resilience.
"After a major earthquake, the water supply will stop. Even though it's a great source, our early settlers built a lot of that infrastructure over known fault lines," he said.

"One of our critical jobs... is to address the 100 days in the eastern side of Wellington.

"This morning we sent a drill rig out into the harbour, and the idea there is if the aquifer does indeed go all the way out through the harbour and to the entrance, we should be able to drill down and find water. It should be of the right quality and quantity to provide an alternative source."

The 11 bores around the city would be completed within the next 18 months.

In an emergency, utes will fill bladders with water for people to access.

In an emergency, utes will fill bladders with water for people to access. Photo: RNZ / Michael Cropp 

In an emergency, utes would fill 1000L water bladders from the bores, and carry that water to 300 sites across the region.

That would ensure no one had to walk further than 1km, or 500m in hilly areas, to collect 20L of water a day.
The project is expected to cost about $12 million, $6m of which is coming from the government.

Local Government Minister Anne Tolley said the recent earthquakes showed the heightened risk, and said the 100-day figure was pretty scary.

"This part of [Wellington Water's] project was quite urgent, and we felt that, as central government, it was something we could actually partner with them. We're always worried about setting a precedent, we don't want to be working with all local government around New Zealand, but these two cities - Porirua and Wellington - had no local water supply.

"It made sense that we went in partnership with them to provide these community based supplies," Mrs Tolley said.

Civil Defence Minister Nathan Guy and Local Government Minister Anne Tolley said it made sense for central government to contribute to the project.Civil Defence Minister Nathan Guy and Local Government Minister Anne Tolley said it made sense for central government to contribute to the project. Photo: RNZ / Michael Cropp

Despite the planned bores, Civil Defence Minister Nathan Guy said everyone needed to make sure they had enough water stored at their houses for the first seven days.

"This is important, but it's not the be-all and end-all. Ultimately it's down to personal responsibility," he said.

Wellington Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Milford said the effects of the capital losing water would bring the community to a halt and stop many businesses from operating.

"We've got to ensure supply, and furthermore that we can get back to 'business as usual' as quickly as possible.

"We commend both central and local government for working together to secure, strengthen and safeguard our region's resilience," he said.

Australia looking at record dry after last years record June rain

A winter drought in New Zealand is not so obvious as it is in Australia. However, I have noted that here where I live n Wellington we have never really recovered from previous droughts.

This is confirmed by the fact that people in Ohariu Valley, near Wellington are having to get in water trucks in early-winter. I have also received a comment that the water table is worryingly low in Nelson.

You’d be lucky to find any official conformation of this – but anecdote in this is invaluable.

Wet to dry in 12 months: After record June rain last year, worried farmers look to skies for more

29 June, 2017

A year ago, Australia experienced its second-wettest June on record, but 12 months on, farmers in parts of inland New South Wales are worried they will not have enough.

Mixed farmer Andrew Holmes, from Canowindra in the state's central-west, said this time last year the rain deluge had begun that eventually saw the Belubula River flood 15 times in three months.

But compared to the more than 100 millimetres of rain he received last June, this year he has had less than 5mm, and is now looking upwards rather than downwards.

"Last year we were looking down making sure we didn't get bogged or washed away," he said.

"This year we're just looking at the sky and watching the weather forecasts, hoping for a bit of rain really in the next 10 days or so."

Two images side by side of a creek, one full of water, the other mostly emptyPHOTO: A comparison of Boree Creek, west of Orange, in June 2016 and June 2017. (ABC 
Central West: Melanie Pearce)

More rainfall urgently needed

Last year, June rainfall in NSW was very much above average, except for the far west and Hunter Valley.
Paddocks with green crops in themPHOTO: Wheat and canola trials at Department of Primary Industries, Tamworth Agricultural Institute are among the winter crops that urgently need rain. (Supplied: NSW DPI)

Official figures from the Bureau of Meteorology included 219mm for the Orange Agricultural Institute, which was its highest-ever June rainfall in more than 50 years of weather records for the site.

However, the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries said falls across the state for this month were generally 60 to 80 per cent lower than normal.

"A lot of it was very variable, very stormy, patchy rainfall, and unfortunately there are areas that missed out, primarily areas of the north-west and the central and northern central-west," seasonal conditions coordinator Ian McGowen said.
He said more rainfall was urgently needed across most areas of the state to help primary producers with winter production.

Two sheetsPHOTO: Records of rain in Orange, NSW, showing the huge totals of 2016 compared to the much drier 2017.(ABC Central West: Melanie Pearce)

A lot of nervous growers

In the state's north-west, some farms have not sown crops because of insufficient soil moisture and others, particularly the later-sown ones, are struggling.

Some livestock producers are grazing stock on crops or waiting to do so, and Parkes-based stock and station agent Geoff Rice said people were starting to get nervous.
"Definitely a few nerves. If we don't see a fairly decent rainfall event in the near future things will definitely change," he said.
DPI beef cattle officer based in Glen Innes, Todd Andrews, said the situation in the New England and north-west was a little less dire than in other parts of inland NSW, but producers were hoping for up to 50mm of rain soon to secure crops and pastures for spring.

No wet sheep this year

Tom Matthews, who farms near Grenfell in the central-west, said at this stage he was not concerned and was enjoying the dry days after difficulties shearing this time last year.
"No dramas with wet sheep, it's fantastic. [We had] 163mm last year compared to five this year, so it's a big difference," Mr Matthews said.
Another central-west business operator, Ian Rogan, who runs a commercial nursery at Millthorpe near Orange, has received about 27 millimetres in May-June this year compared to 261mm for the same period in 2016.
"It was much, much wetter, I'd probably say even too wet in June last year, but this year it's just been extremely dry," he said.

This year Mr Rogan is having to water his 10,000 potted plants every few days, and he said he was looking for some rain to fall to encourage gardeners to get out into their gardens.

For an inland NSW mine, the wet to dry turnaround between last winter and this one has its pros and cons.

Alkane Resources director Ian Chalmers said he did not think he had seen it quite this dry for a long time at the Tomingley mine, and if there was not enough rainfall there could be concerns about water supply and dust control.

However, he said he did not want the mine to get "washed away" like it did in the last half of last year, when May and June rains led to July flooding.

"I guess we're like any primary industry, it's nice to have something in between," Mr Chalmers said.

A dry July?

As farmers and others look to the skies, what are they likely to hold?
The Bureau of Meteorology's rainfall outlook for June to August indicates drier than normal conditions are likely across NSW.

Meteorologist and lecturer with Newcastle University, Martin Babakhan, said in the first few days of July there could be the chance of light rain in the state's inland, and then from the 5th until the end of the month, none at all.

He said the Indian Ocean played the most important role in winter and spring, and it was in a "positive state" now, meaning there was going to be below average rainfall in those seasons for central and south-east Australia and NSW.
"The winter is not a wet season for Australia. So still conditions are going to be dry at this stage," Mr Babakhan said.

Calving of Larsen C is imminent

Larsen C iceberg accelerates ahead of calving

28 June, 2017

In another sign that the iceberg calving is imminent, the soon-to-be-iceberg part of Larsen C Ice Shelf has tripled in speed to more than ten meters per day between 24th and 27th June 2017. The iceberg remains attached to the ice shelf, but its outer end is moving at the highest speed ever recorded on this ice shelf

We still can’t tell when calving will occur - it could be hours, days or weeks - but this is a notable departure from previous observations.

Comparison of speeds between Sentinel-1 image mosaics in early and late June 2017. The early mosaic combines displacements on the inner shelf measured between 6th and 12th June with similar ones on the outer shelf measured between 3rd and 15th June. The recent mosaic combines inner shelf displacements up to 24th June with outer shelf displacements only 3 days later highlighting a significant acceleration over those three days.

The most recent observations on 27th June do not cover the rift tip, but a low resolution Sentinel-1 image of just after midnight on 28th June shows clearly that the iceberg remains attached to the ice shelf at its western end - for now.
When it calves, the Larsen C Ice Shelf will lose more than 10% of its area to leave the ice front at its most retreated position ever recorded; this event will fundamentally change the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula. We have previously shown that the new configuration will be less stable than it was prior to the rift, and that Larsen C may eventually follow the example of its neighbour Larsen B, which disintegrated in 2002 following a similar rift-induced calving event.
The MIDAS Project will continue to monitor the development of the rift and assess its ongoing impact on the ice shelf. Further updates will be available on this blog, and on our Twitter feed.

3 years to fix climate change - 30 years ago we had 10.

Nothing quite like optimsm and hopium even if there is no evidence to support it!

In 1989 the UN warned that 1C could not be exceeded and we had 10 years to fix things.

Now, 30 years later we are quite possibly at 1.8C higher than pre-industrial average termperatures (less than that if you believe the false figures) and we still have three years to get cliamte change under control.

I wonder how they prepose to do that with a melting Arctic and dozens  of self-reinforcing feedbacks.

These experts say we have three years to get climate change under control. And they’re the optimists.
Chris Mooney

26 November, 2014

A group of prominent scientists, policymakers, and corporate leaders released a statement Wednesday warning that if the world doesn’t set greenhouse gas emissions on a downward path by 2020, it could become impossible to contain climate change within safe limits.

The group, led by Christiana Figueres, who oversaw the United Nations negotiations that produced the Paris climate agreement, base their case on simple math. The world, they calculate, probably has a maximum of 600 billion remaining tons of carbon dioxide that can be emitted if we want a good chance of holding the rise in planetary temperatures within the Paris limit of 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius (2.7 to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit).

With 41 billion tons emitted every year from energy consumption and other sources, such as deforestation, there are only about 15 years before that budget is exhausted.

Emissions can’t suddenly go to zero after 15 years — the world economy would grind to a halt if they did. Therefore, they must be put on a downward path almost immediately.

When it comes to climate, timing is everything,” write Figueres and her co-authors, including scientists Hans Joachim Schellnhuber and Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, in a commentary in the journal Nature. The commentary has six authors and was endorsed by dozens of co-signers from the climate science and policy world as well as from industry.

The paper by Figueres, who now leads an initiative called Mission 2020, was directly aimed at influencing the upcoming G-20 meetings in Germany. It also notes President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris accord.

The whole purpose of this comment … is to wake up the intentionality and the ingenuity that we must bring to this effort, because of the urgency,” Figueres said during a call with reporters.

Fortunately, global emissions have been flattening lately. Not going down — but not rising, either. The past three years have instead shown a leveling-off thanks to a decline of coal burning by the United States and China.

Yet to achieve their objectives, extremely rapid carbon cuts would be required on a tremendous scale.

By 2020, among other objectives, all of the world’s coal plants would have to be on the path to retirement (and no new ones can be built), and electric vehicles would have to explode in popularity, moving from 1 percent of global sales to 15 percent in just three years, an extraordinarily rapid rate of growth.

Deforestation would have to decline sharply and then end entirely. By 2030, global forests would actually have to start pulling carbon dioxide out of the air. That is an enormous lift, given the entrenched nature of deforestation and the economic pressures in the developing world to convert forested land to agriculture and ranching.

But if emissions are not on a significant downward path by 2020, the logic is inevitable — it gets increasingly difficult to control global warming. The reason is simple. The later emissions reach their peak, the more rapidly they would have to decline following that peak. At some point it becomes impossible to cut emissions as fast as would be necessary to avoid busting the limited carbon “budget.”

These kinds of considerations are why a number of researchers have expressed skepticism about global temperatures increasing less than two degrees Celsius. Keeping the temperature change below 1.5 Celsius is even harder and, increasingly, being considered unachievable by scientists. (It has already increased about one degree Celsius.)

I have said for quite a while now that I don’t think 2C is possible,” said Glen Peters, an expert on carbon budgets and climate change at the Center for International Climate Research in Oslo, in response to the new missive by Figueres and her colleagues. “I would like to be wrong, and I am happy to aim for 2C or lower. But, I can’t look people in the eye and give them false hope.”

Peters did acknowledge that there was a purpose to maintaining optimism, though he said that “personally, I don’t see that as my role.”

Such is where we are. There’s a narrowing window of time to fix the climate problem before crossing new thresholds — but since we’re still not actually at them yet, there’s still room for both optimists and pessimists.


Jun. 29, 1989

UNITED NATIONS (AP) _ A senior U.N. environmental official says entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000.

Coastal flooding and crop failures would create an exodus of ''eco- refugees,' ' threatening political chaos, said Noel Brown, director of the New York office of the U.N. Environment Program, or UNEP.

He said governments have a 10-year window of opportunity to solve the greenhouse effect before it goes beyond human control.

As the warming melts polar icecaps, ocean levels will rise by up to three feet, enough to cover the Maldives and other flat island nations, Brown told The Associated Press in an interview on Wednesday.

Coastal regions will be inundated; one-sixth of Bangladesh could be flooded, displacing a fourth of its 90 million people. A fifth of Egypt's arable land in the Nile Delta would be flooded, cutting off its food supply, according to a joint UNEP and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency study.

''Ecological refugees will become a major concern, and what's worse is you may find that people can move to drier ground, but the soils and the natural resources may not support life. Africa doesn't have to worry about land, but would you want to live in the Sahara?'' he said.

UNEP estimates it would cost the United States at least $100 billion to protect its east coast alone.

Shifting climate patterns would bring back 1930s Dust Bowl conditions to Canadian and U.S. wheatlands, while the Soviet Union could reap bumper crops if it adapts its agriculture in time, according to a study by UNEP and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.

Excess carbon dioxide is pouring into the atmosphere because of humanity's use of fossil fuels and burning of rain forests, the study says. The atmosphere is retaining more heat than it radiates, much like a greenhouse.

The most conservative scientific estimate that the Earth's temperature will rise 1 to 7 degrees in the next 30 years, said Brown.

The difference may seem slight, he said, but the planet is only 9 degrees warmer now than during the 8,000-year Ice Age that ended 10,000 years ago.

Brown said if the warming trend continues, ''the question is will we be able to reverse the process in time? We say that within the next 10 years, given the present loads that the atmosphere has to bear, we have an opportunity to start the stabilizing process.''

He said even the most conservative scientists ''already tell us there's nothing we can do now to stop a ... change'' of about 3 degrees.

''Anything beyond that, and we have to start thinking about the significant rise of the sea levels ... we can expect more ferocious storms, hurricanes, wind shear, dust erosion.''

He said there is time to act, but there is no time to waste.

UNEP is working toward forming a scientific plan of action by the end of 1990, and the adoption of a global climate treaty by 1992. In May, delegates from 103 nations met in Nairobi, Kenya - where UNEP is based - and decided to open negotiations on the treaty next year.

Nations will be asked to reduce the use of fossil fuels, cut the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases such as methane and fluorocarbons, and preserve the rain forests.

''We have no clear idea about the ecological minimum of green space that the planet needs to function effectively. What we do know is that we are destroying the tropical rain forest at the rate of 50 acres a minute, about one football field per second,'' said Brown.

Each acre of rain forest can store 100 tons of carbon dioxide and reprocess it into oxygen.

Brown suggested that compensating Brazil, Indonesia and Kenya for preserving rain forests may be necessary.

The European Community istalking about a half-cent levy on each kilowatt- hour of fossil fuels to raise $55 million a year to protect the rain forests, and other direct subsidies may be possible, he said.

The treaty could also call for improved energy efficiency, increasing conservation, and for developed nations to transfer technology to Third World nations to help them save energy and cut greenhouse gas emissions, said Brown.

Some very well-known people can get very angry if you try to burst their hopium bubble, especially if you back it up with evidence.

Just yesterday Mr. Hockey Stick, Michael Mann, posted an attack on Guy McPherson with this article from our very own James Renwick.  

Guy McPherson and the end of humanity (not)

Hot Topic
Is climate change going to wipe out humanity over the next 10 years? Prof Jim Renwick doesn’t think so…

I addressed this at the time

News from the UK - 06/29/2017

UK Column News - 29th June 2017

Survivors of Grenfell fire barred from Kensington council meeting, ‘risk disruption’

Survivors of Grenfell fire barred from Kensington council meeting, ‘risk disruption’
© Hannah McKay / Reuters

29 June, 2017

Grenfell Tower fire survivors have been banned from attending the first meeting of senior local councillors since the tragedy – because there is a “risk of disruption.”

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea cabinet is meeting privately on Thursday, where its controversial Conservative leader, Nicholas Paget-Brown, will lead the council’s business.

Residents were told the meeting was held behind closed doors because of “security and public safety concerns” following the storming of the Town Hall a fortnight ago. Protesters occupied the council building on the Friday following the tragedy in anger at the council’s response.

According to the local authority’s website, councillors will discuss the fire with support officers and “invited guests (if any).”

The press is also not allowed in the meeting.

There will be no written reports other than minutes for the meeting, which is described as an “oral item.”

As an official document, the minutes might only be made available to the public much later.

The Labour group believe it is a grave mistake to exclude representatives of the Grenfell survivors, others who have been affected by the fire and also the media. We believe this will only give credence to the view that there is a cover-up in progress and we do not accept the excuse that there may be violence,” Labour councillor Judith Blakeman said.

The Labour group have already called for the resignation of the entire cabinet,” Blakeman, who also sits on the Tenant Management Organization, which runs the borough’s housing provisions, dded.

A council spokesperson told the Guardian that all third parties were barred from the meeting because of “recent real threats and assaults on council staff and damage to one of the office buildings.”

Such risks remain and we have had to take the decision to hold the meeting in private as to do otherwise would likely result in disorder,” they dded.

Kensington and Chelsea really don’t get it, do they?” Guardian columnist Dawn Foster tweeted.

There should be protests tonight about this really,” ‘i’ newspaper editor Barbara Speed wrote over an image of the meeting’s notice.

The Grenfell Massacre: Burning & Looting