Damned Dam

BBC News – Burma dam: Work halted on divisive Myitsone project.

Burma’s president has suspended construction of a controversial Chinese-backed hydroelectric dam.

Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who recently joined the anti-dam campaign, welcomed the move, seen as a rare victory for social activists.

The dam, mostly paid for by the Chinese government, would export most of it’s hydroelectric power to China.  It would also inundate an area rich in biodiversity.

Opposition to the dam by the Kachin ethnic group had grown violent over the past year, since many of their villages would be displace by the flooding behind the dam.

The campaign against the project brought together conservationists, environmentalists, Kachin activists and the political opposition.

Their objections ranged from the lack of public consultation to the potential environmental impact of the project.

The dam would create a reservoir of some 766 sq km (300 sq miles) – about the size of Singapore – and displace thousands of ethnic Kachin villagers, our correspondent says.

The halt of construction was a surprise to observers; China has not yet weighed in with their reaction to the news.

The vast majority of the power produced on the dam was to be exported to China, and correspondents say the dam had served to inflame growing anti-Chinese sentiment in Burma.

Beijing is investing vast sums in a series of big infrastructure projects aimed at exploiting Burma’s rich natural resources and geographic position in the region.

Running on Empty

via Draft Water Plan Says Texas “Will Not Have Enough” — Water Supply | The Texas Tribune.

“The primary message of the 2012 state water plan is a simple one,” the introduction states. “In serious drought conditions, Texas does not and will not have enough water to meet the needs of its people, and its businesses, and its agricultural enterprises.”

As population rises, demand will increase, although the increases are predicted to be slower than growth.  The lower predictions result from a decrease in demand from agriculture – we won’t be growing as many crops.

“In Texas, temperatures are likely to rise; however, future precipitation trends are difficult to project. If temperatures rise and precipitation decreases, as projected by climate models, Texas would begin seeing droughts in the middle of the 21st century that are as bad or worse as those in the beginning or middle of the 20th century.”

How will Texas citizens’ cope with the declining water supply?  More reservoirs, transferring water from one basin to another, and auditing water loss from public utilities (broken lines, etc.).

Of course, conservation should be the number one topic that results from this study – doing more with less.  Do you really need a green yard full of St. Augustine grass?


Chicken Little

Satellite meets its doom; NASA looks for traces – TODAY Tech – TODAY.com.

The Sky is Falling!

via NASA: Huge Defunct Satellite Will Fall to Earth This Week | Falling NASA Satellite, Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite | Space Junk & Orbital Debris | Space.com.

A dead climate satellite that has been circling Earth for 20 years will make a fiery death plunge this week, with some pieces of the 6 1/2 ton spacecraft expected to reach the surface of the planet, NASA officials say.

The dead satellite orbits at an inclination of 57degrees, which means it crosses every continent except Antarctica.  But since oceans cover most of the planet, experts say that’s probable where it will land.

The bus-size Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite, or UARS, will likely plummet down to Earth sometime around Friday (Sept. 23), according to NASA’s latest projections. There is a 1-in-3,200 chance that UARS debris could hit a person, though NASA considers that scenario extremely remote.


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