Despite recent heavy rains, California's water woes persist (as do the world's)
For the last few weeks, California has been pummeled with heavy rainstorms — a rare, and (for some) appreciated relief from the dry conditions that have plagued the state for the past few years. But those of us who were hoping the storms might have signified an end to the state’s serious... View full entry
Santa Monica's 'impossibly green' building dreams: the challenging path to Living Building certification
On a small and skinny lot wedged behind its historic city hall, Santa Monica is trying to accomplish something that has never been done before in California. By 2020, the city hopes to construct a 50,000-square-foot city services building that will meet the requirements of the International Living Future Institute’s “Living Building Challenge” — the most stringent environmental building standard in the world.
"Should the city succeed it will prove that net-zero water is possible in our arid climate, even in a drought — and that if we’re serious about staving off the effects of drought and climate change, we should settle for no less. It will also familiarize code officials with new innovations... View full entry
What would happen if LA replaced all its lawns with drought-tolerant landscaping?
A new study by researchers at the University of Southern California found that replacing all lawns with drought-tolerant vegetation would have a net cooling effect of 0.2°C — but the science is less obvious than you might think. In fact, converting lawns has resulted in daytime warming of up... View full entry
Huge groundwater reserves discovered deep below California's Central Valley
In a surprising new study, Stanford researchers have found that drought-ravaged California is sitting on top of a vast and previously unrecognized water resource, in the form of deep groundwater, residing at depths between 1,000 and nearly 10,000 feet below the surface of the state’s always thirsty Central Valley.
[...] new research could prove controversial among scientists trying to interpret what it means for a state that has battled over water, and its distribution, going back many decades.
Other drought-related stories in the Archinect news:California eases some drought restrictions but makes others permanentHow is water used in California?"Grassroots Cactivism," 1st place winner in Dry Futures Speculative category"Liquifying Aquifer", 1st place winner in Dry Futures Pragmatic... View full entry
What California's 30 million dead trees mean for its future landscape
CALIFORNIA WON’T BE throwing much shade this summer. It would need trees to do that. Last year almost 30 million trees died in the Golden State—and that number is expected to double or triple by the end of 2016. The high mortality rates come at a time when the state needs healthy forests most, with climate change looming always and a La Niña—El Niño’s dry hermana—on the way.
"The likely outcome? California’s landscape will radically transform, starting with a surge of wildfires that will trigger mudslides, diminished water quality, and the rise of new vegetation."For more news from the dried out Golden State, check out these links:California eases some... View full entry
California eases some drought restrictions but makes others permanent
Gov. Jerry Brown [...] laid out a revised game plan for dealing with California’s persistent drought, making some conservation rules permanent while also moving to give communities more of a say in deciding how much water they must save.
Brown issued an executive order enshrining a conservation ethic in state regulations — banning permanently some wasteful water practices and ordering regulators to develop new water-efficiency standards designed to drive down long-term urban use.
Previous Archinect stories covering the drought crisis in California and the Southwest U.S.:Have these heavy rains alleviated the California drought?Gov. Brown issues order to reduce California's greenhouse gas emissionsHow is water used in California?"Grassroots Cactivism," 1st place winner in... View full entry
One CEO's plan to supply water to drought-stricken CA cities, and obviously profit from it
Scott Slater has a plan. It is not a popular plan, but he wants to pump 814bn gallons of water from under the Mojave desert to Los Angeles and other drought-stricken communities in southern California, and make more than $2bn doing so...In addition to environmental concerns, others object to a private company being able to make billions from water. Slater says they do not understand the law, which in California states no entity can own water but they can buy, sell and trade the right to use it.
— The Guardian
America: The land where nothing is free, indeed.h/t New RepublicMore on Archinect:Have these heavy rains alleviated the California drought?Thirst-quenching as Los Angeles heats up: Next Wave @ UCLAIn face of drought, San Diego's desalination efforts won't stop thereMeet the architects behind the... View full entry
Have these heavy rains alleviated the California drought?
...this week's higher temperatures and sunny skies serve as a reminder that one watery week doesn't erase the years of hardcore drought that have dragged on in SoCal and all of California.
The record-breaking rains are a reason to be excited, certainly, but "Although this is a favorable start to the year, there are still 3-4 more critical months that will determine how much rain/snow will fall and accumulate during the wet season," [says] David Miskus, a meteorologist ...
Relevant:Drought reveals 16th century church beneath Mexican reservoirIn face of drought, San Diego's desalination efforts won't stop thereThirst-quenching as Los Angeles heats up: Next Wave @ UCLAFatal shores? Sea snakes wash up on Southern California beaches View full entry
Thirst-quenching as Los Angeles heats up: Next Wave @ UCLA
Last week, UCLA’s Hammer Museum hosted the final iteration of its 2015 program "Next Wave: Quality, Quantity, and Accessibility of Water in the 21st Century," a robust discussion series that has gathered experts in various fields to explicate and consider the most pressing issues surrounding... View full entry
Scientists create first detailed map of Earth's hidden groundwater
A new study has, for the first time, estimated the total volume of groundwater present on the Earth. The results show that we're using up the water supply quicker than it can be naturally replaced, while future research will seek to determine exactly how long it will be until modern groundwater runs dry.
Groundwater is an extremely precious resource, being a key source of sustenance for humanity and the ecosystems we inhabit.
(Ground)water-related articles on Archinect:And the winners of Archinect's Dry Futures competition, "Pragmatic" category, are...And the winners of Archinect's Dry Futures competition, "Speculative" category, are...How is water used in California?World Faces Water Crisis in Less Than... View full entry
Drought reveals 16th century church beneath Mexican reservoir
The ruins of a 16th century church have emerged from the waters of a reservoir in Mexico.
The water level in the Nezahualcóyotl reservoir in Chiapas state has dropped by 25m (82ft) because of a drought in the area. The church, known as the Temple of Santiago or the Temple of Quechula, has been under nearly 100ft of water since 1966.
The church, which is believed to have been built by Spanish colonists, is 183ft long and 42ft wide, with a bell tower that rises 48ft above the ground.
— the Guardian
"Lagoonous Assemblage : Antifragile Urbanism for a dry Los Angeles," an honorable mention in Dry Futures Speculative category
Among the many writers of disasters and crisis – from Barthes to Blanchot to Ballard – there is a strain of thinking that rejects the normative and reductive assumption that a disaster must be met with an austere temper or melancholic pragmatism. Rather, disasters can breed their own wild... View full entry
"SEEDING MICRO-CLOUDS. Power Transmission Lines & WaterTransmission Surfaces," an honorable mention in Dry Futures Pragmatic category
In the lead-up to the Beijing Olympics, there was a flurry of news about the Chinese government's attempt to seed clouds in order to engineer the weather. In fact, the technology – while largely considered imperfect – both exists and has been implemented. The SEEDING MICRO-CLOUDS. Power... View full entry
"The Ocean Above Us," an honorable mention in Dry Futures Speculative category
In the face of events that exceed our capacity for comprehension, humans tend to invent myths and stories that render things palatable. The passage of the sun across the firmament, the surge of the oceans in a storm, the crash of thunder that follows the flash of lightning – these all have been... View full entry
"Playing with Fire: Golf takes a new Course of action," an honorable mention in Dry Futures Pragmatic category
Consuming disproportionately-vast quantities of water for the recreational pleasure of a small (typically elite) group of people, golf courses often become a first line of attack during droughts. But what if they could be appropriated in order to help mitigate the effects of a water shortage?... View full entry