Water Colours

In my world, people frequently talk about different types of water, in colours. If you ever hear or read the terms, this is what they mean:

Blue water is freshwater found on the earth’s surface (rivers, lakes, swamps and streams), in aquifers (groundwater) and in glaciers. Of all the water in the world, blue water accounts for approximately 3%, however only less than 1% of the 3% is easily accessible.

Water Distribution (BluePlanet)
Source: BluePlanet

 

Green water is found in the soil’s pores after precipitation (rain) or irrigation. Yes, soil has pores.:)… The water helps in dissolving nutrients for the plant’s uptake.

Green water final
Source: Floodsite

Grey water is the wastewater found after domestic use (bathing, laundry and even washing dishes) or agricultural use because of pesticides and/or the nutrients from fertilizers. Grey water can be recycled and reused for domestic use and irrigation.

The final and least exciting is,

Black water AKA Sewage is wastewater that contains feaces (that sounds disgusting, huh? especially since I’m thinking of it in Swahili)…wastewater that contains feacal matter (sounds better).

Have a colourful week! 😀

For more check out The Water Network and  Water Footprint Network.

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So Will I

This song has been on repeat since I first heard it a few months ago. It’s part of an album by Hillsong United called Wonder. I absolutely love the lyrics.

Enjoy! 🙂

Wonder Woman

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Source: cultjer.com

Mekatilili wa Menza, Wangari Maathai and Harriet Tubman are some of the women I consider heroes. Women who stood up for a cause and were willing to take risks to ensure that their voices were heard and their causes triumphed.

Mekatilili led the Giriama of Kenya, in a revolt against British colonialists. She was arrested twice and was jailed over 1000 kilometres away from her home. Both times she escaped and walked! SHE WALKED back home. I can’t even imagine… the distance, the wilderness… Yet she did it. She believed in her cause.

Wangari Maathai began Green advocacy in Kenya. She not only stood up for nature but also for nurturers (women). She had her hair pulled out, she was harassed, she was publicly humiliated however, she was resilient and stood her ground. Examples of the fruits of her resilience are spaces that I thoroughly enjoy include Karura Forest and Uhuru Park. She had a vision.

Harriet Tubman aka Moses was an African American born into slavery. She escaped from her masters and didn’t stop there. She went back  quite a number of times, risking her safety and freedom to lead other enslaved family and friends to freedom. She believed they had a right to enjoy freedom like she was. She says she would have freed more slaves if they knew that they were slaves. She had courage.

Another woman, albeit fictional, who stands out for me is Princess Diana of Themyscira, Daughter of Hippolyta aka Wonder Woman. When I watched this movie, I was particularly impressed by the character of the Princess.

First, she was a warrior. She trained hard, worked hard, she was ready to learn and was willing to fight for her people.

Second, after finding out about the ongoing war, she was willing to leave her paradise of a home, her mother and everything that she knew to save man from war. She did everything she could so that she could find the King of War, kill him and stop the war. Because according to her, ‘It is our sacred duty to defend the world’. She was not going to be held back in her cause. She was not going to sit pretty …

 movie woman trailer from wonder woman GIF

However, what stood out for me most was that she had compassion. Even when she saw the evil and desolation amongst men, she was still willing to fight for them. The King of War more than once tried to make her see that man did not deserve her good deeds. But…in her words, ‘It’s not about deserve… it is about what you believe. And I believe in love’ because, ‘Only love can truly save the world’…

Moral of this story:

You and I can be heroes too. We don’t have stop a war… It’s in the little things as Wangari Maathai said. Hers was planting trees, what’s yours?

Harriet Tubman said, Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.

 

Same Script Different Cast

Remember that Whitney Houston song featuring Deborah Cox? Well, this post has nothing to do with love and heartbreak…:D

In an effort to revive the music skills I had almost ten years ago I went through old documents to find my Grade One music lesson books. As I pulled the books out, a CAT paper fell out.

It was interesting to how I thought and answered questions almost ten years ago. My 3b answer… really really off. That lecturer must have been shaking his head as he marked that. However, I think No.4 is almost valid…

This CAT and a recent online course I took on ‘Indigenous People and Integrated Water Resource Management’ made me think about various projects set up by various institutions in an effort to develop communities.

Most African communities have for a long time been considered ‘backward’ and in need of ‘modern systems or development’. For a long time in Kenya and the world over, blanket plans would be made for development projects and the conservation of various elements of the environment. Meaning that different regions would have the same project or plan being implemented without putting much thought on the differences in location, climate, geography, culture and the existing systems that are already in place.

Many don’t seem to understand that before colonialism, there were systems that worked. For example in Kenya, the Pokot have had a water distribution system that was developed more than 300 years ago and the Mijikenda have conserved forests through setting them apart as sacred places of worship… Getting into a community without considering the systems already in place would be madharau and therefore more and more managers are incorporating traditional/indigenous practices to modern solutions for sustainability of the projects that are being put in place.

Managers of any resource have a responsibility to first understand the environment in which they are operating. Who are the people? What do they do? How do they do it? Why do they do it? As a manager, I think that x and y are the problems in this community but what does the community say their problems are… you could be correct and find that x and y indeed are their problems. However, more often than not, you’ll find that their main issues are a and b…x and y may be an issue but not a core issue to the subject community. A manager must seek to understand the target community to ensure that solutions provided are sustainable.

We must always remember that just because a solution worked in one location, it will not necessarily work in all other locations. People are different with different needs and therefore require different solutions. In environmental management, different script different cast would be most likely to work because, one size does NOT fit all.

More reasons why projects fail:

10 reasons why your WASH project is going to fail

Failed Projects in Africa

 

 

 

Anti-Groundwater Extraction?

A few Friday’s ago, I saw an advertisement in the local dailies that I thought was ridiculous. I would have loved to share the image but I’ll just tell you about it. It was a drilling company that offered to end all ‘my water issues’ by drilling boreholes.

 

Let me start by saying that, my friend Po thinks that I’m anti-groundwater use but I completely disagree. What I am however is, anti-reckless-use-of-natural resources-whose-quantities-we-are-not-sure-of-and-lack-clear-means-and-methods-of-monitoring-their-extraction-and-use. A mouthful… I know…

Allow me to explain why with a background  from groundwater.org

Groundwater is found underground in the cracks and spaces in soil, sand and rock. It is stored in and moves slowly through geologic formations of soil, sand and rocks called aquifers.

Aquifers are typically made up of gravel, sand, sandstone, or fractured rock, like limestone. Water can move through these materials because they have large connected spaces that make them permeable. The speed at which groundwater flows depends on the size of the spaces in the soil or rock and how well the spaces are connected.

Groundwater can be found almost everywhere. The water table may be deep or shallow; and may rise or fall depending on many factors. Heavy rains or melting snow may cause the water table to rise, or heavy pumping of groundwater supplies may cause the water table to fall.

Groundwater supplies are replenished, or recharged, by rain and snow melt that seeps down into the cracks and crevices beneath the land’s surface. In some areas of the world, people face serious water shortages because groundwater is used faster than it is naturally replenished. In other areas groundwater is polluted by human activities.

 

Surface water on the other hand, is water that you can see such as lakes and streams. It is found above the earth’s surface.

So, instead of quickly turning to other options such as ground water and making it our main alternative, we need to keep the responsible authorities  on their toes for the proper management of the available surface water. Case in point, the river below…

20170122_123556

I don’t understand why it had all these watermelons during a drought.

See, when you have sufficient surface water. By that I mean, surface water of good quality and quantity, then there is barely need to extract groundwater. If you harvest rainwater in addition to the good quality surface water, then there’s no need to even think about groundwater.

Because, if we head in the groundwater direction and let our rivers turn into sewers, let the rainwater go to waste… we just may have research titles similar to the ones below in a few years…

Excessive Use of Groundwater Resources in Saudi Arabia: Impacts and Policy Options by Abdulla Ali Al-Ibrahim

or news articles such as

NASA Data Reveals Most Major Aquifers Depleting Faster Than They Recharge by Linnea Bennett

and

Beijing has fallen: China’s capital sinking by 11cm a year, satellite study warns

I understand that in some countries it is the only option. However, it is important that as the extraction is taking place, the amount being withdrawn is less or equal to the amount of groundwater recharge, for posterity.