Solar and wind energy preserve groundwater for drought, agriculture

Solar and wind energy preserve groundwater for drought, agriculture

Using drought-prone California as a case study, a research team shows that increased solar and wind energy can reduce the reliance on hydropower, especially during drought. Credit: Egan Jimenez, Princeton University

Solar and wind farms are popping up around the country to lower carbon emissions, and these renewables also have another important effect: keeping more water in the ground.

A new Princeton University-led study in Nature Communications is among the … [more…]

The business case for green buildings

The business case for green buildings

It is simpler to incorporate sustainability into a building’s design, construction and operations before its development, rather than retrofitting existing features. FILE PHOTO

The adoption of energy and water reducing initiatives translates into cost savings.

GREEN buildings. Efficient in the use of energy, water and materials – all while providing quality air supply. Sounds very Al Gore, right? Green buildings, are, in fact, becoming more and more commonplace in commercial … [more…]

Mapping your water supply

Cross-section graphic: Mapping your water supply

Excerpt of the ‘Ecological Design Dimension’ of Gaia Education’s online course in ‘Design for Sustainability’

Water is used by agriculture, industry and municipalities. Unsustainable extraction from aquifers lowers the groundwater level.

Within a bioregion it is good to assess the water budget — inflows and outflows. Sustainable communities can then ensure they are using water from sustainable sources and conserving wherever possible (see picture Conceptual Water Budget).

Do you know [more…]

California Groundwater Law Means Big Changes Above Ground, Too

photo: housing construction in the Central Valley. California Groundwater Law Means Big Changes Above Ground, Too

The state’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act is likely to result in fallowing thousands of acres of farmland. Local governments are just waking up to the big opportunities, and risks, in how that land gets reused.

New housing construction in California’s San Joaquin Valley poses a threat to some of the best groundwater recharge lands.

California’s new groundwater management law is not a sports car. It moves more like a wagon … [more…]

Nature is teaching … are we learning?

photo: landscape. Nature is teaching … are we learning?

The three major challenges in the water sector can be summed up as too little, too much or too dirty.

Water use over the last century has been growing by more than twice the rate of population increase. A central challenge for sustainable development is how to balance the competing uses of water; ensure that the needs of all are met – especially the poor and marginalised – and that … [more…]