World Water edie+ articles



Electrification plan for Cuban irrigation

Much of the antiquated irrigation equipment in use in Cuba is rusty, very inefficient and environmentally damaging. Linda Cechura of the OPEC Fund for International Development describes how the Government's 10-year plan to electrify the nation's irrigation systems has already benefited farmers in Ciego de Avila province.

Tilting dam could save UK homes

An award-winning tilting barrier developed by UK company Tilt-Dam promises to avert the risk of flooding near to homes adjacent to rivers that are prone to bursting their banks. Journalist Mike Walter reports on the permanent barrier that can be raised in minutes, on behalf of Tilt-Dam and UK groundwork specialist Roger Bullivant Limited.

Dutch lead post-tsunami reconstruction in Indonesia

A Dutch consortium led by DHV is supporting the Indonesian government in the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the areas of Aceh and Nias in Indonesia affected by the catastrophic tsunami of December 2004. Strategic planner at DHV, Jeroen Alberts, explains how the company is supporting the recovery process by providing expertise in sea defence, flood protection, refuge and early-warning systems.

Modelling aids Malaysian flood control

River system modelling and flood forecasting are growing in importance in Asian water management. Abd Jalil Hassan and Md Nassir Md Noh of the Department of Irrigation and Drainage at the National Hydraulic Research Institute in Malaysia describe a recent project in the Selangor basin.

Wallonia leads Europe in water management

Drinking water and wastewater provision in the Belgian region of Wallonia is managed with model efficiency by the public sector. Jean-Marie Wauthier, head of environmental desk in Walloon, explains how social responsibility has been combined with effective private partnerships to deliver integrated management of the water cycle.

Australia ramps up desalination deployment

The Water Corporation of Western Australia (WCWA) is on schedule to commission the southern hemisphere's largest desalination plant, in Perth, early next year. Gary Crisp of WCWA reports on how the plant has addressed the challenges of environmental sustainability and technological feasibility and heralds increased uptake of reverse osmosis technology in Australia.

Affordable desalination deemed success

The Affordable Desalination Demonstration Project was launched two years ago, and set out to demonstrate that seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) desalination could produce a cubic metre of product water for an energy cost of 1.7kWh. It also sought to establish the relationships between RO reject rate, membrane salt rejection, permeate quality, boron levels, feed pressure and energy consumption. Thomas F Seacord of Carollo Engineers, Steven D Coker of FilmTec Corporation and John MacHarg of the Affordable Desalination Collaboration demonstrated a very successful outcome in a paper presented to the American Membrane Technology Association Conference in August. The following article is adapted from the paper presented at Anaheim.

Visible benefit from zoo's conditioning system

A fully automatic water conditioning system recently installed at the polar bear enclosure at Nuremburg Zoo in Germany has improved visibility for visitors, and safety for staff. Thilo Sporbert of German technology group Siemens' Automation and Drives division, explains how this complex system is likely to be extended.

Mekong modelling project benefits SE Asia

Finnish environmental experts have teamed up with the Mekong River Commission's Water Utilisation Programme in a project that combines modelling technology with social research and training to improve knowledge and management of one of the world's largest river basins. As Ilona Suojanen of WUP-FIN explains, this knowledge can be used in future projects in the region.

PPP project provides for Cartegena's poor

Water and sanitation has been a contentious subject in the Colombian city of Cartegena since the 19th century, as Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez has documented. Paul Constance, managing editor at the Inter-American Development Bank reveals how a successful public-private partnership (PPP) has brought water and sanitation services to some of Colombia's poorest communities.

Aerobic granular system wins award for Croatia

Croatian company EcoEngineering was winner of the 2006 Eureka Lynx Award for outstanding technological achievement in May. Vice Soljan, director, and Veljko Matic, senior project manager, of EcoEngineering, and Professor Margareta Glancer from the Faculty of Food Technology and Biotechnology at the University of Zagreb describe a new system which uses specially designed mixtures of different bacteria, in granular form, to break down even the most toxic wastes.

No-dig solution for Colombo's colonial sewers

As roads collapsed in Sri Lanka's capital, Colombo, it became clear that deteriorating sewerage pipes, dating from the colonial period, were the cause. Martin Rye Andersen, project manager for Danish contractor Per Aarsleff, describes how two trenchless techniques were employed to rehabilitate the network.

Chambers transforming decentralised treatment

The need for onsite wastewater treatment (WWT) in North America has been driven by high land prices and environmental regulation. Dennis F Hallahan, technical director of US WWT specialist Infiltrator Systems explains how innovations in the technology make it suitable for a wide range of applications.

Sino-Dutch team develops Yellow River plan

Conflicting demands on water resources for urban and agricultural uses, combined with a variable rainfall pattern, is seriously impacting on livelihoods and the environment in the central part of the Yellow River basin in north-east China. Robert Smit and Koen Roest of Wageningen University & Research Centre (WUR), in The Netherlands, report on a Dutch-Chinese partnership project that is investigating options for groundwater and surface water management in the region.

Self-help improves supplies in rural Uganda

A recently completed study into rural water self-help initiatives in Uganda has identified considerable household- and community-level improvements to rural water supplies, and significant potential for encouraging further implementation of self-supply initiatives. Professor Richard Carter of the UK's Cranfield University, team leader for the project, and Aaron Kabirizi, the Ugandan government's assistant commissioner for rural water, outline the study team's findings.

Australian reservoir managers take up ARMS

A decision-support system developed at the Centre for Water Research (CWR) at the University of Western Australia provides an automated tool for managers of surface waters to monitor and forecast the quality and condition of resources. The researchers, José R Romero, Jörg Imberger, Jason P Antenucci, Chris Dallimore, Matt Hipsey, Sheree Feaver and Farhad Fozdar, explain the technology.

RCC arch dam technique tested in Brazil

The advent of roller-compacted concrete (RCC) in the construction of gravity dams has made them more time and cost-effective and a viable alternative to arch dams, and therefore the arch dam market tends to suffer from the competition of the RCC gravity dam. Since the beginning of 2002, Swiss consultant Stucky and Brazilian company Construtora Norberto Odebrecht with the support of international RCC expert Francisco Rodrigues Andriolo have collaborated on the development and testing of an innovative technique to apply RCC to double curvature arch dam construction, thus to make the arch dam more competitive.

France extends Europe's largest WWTP

Europe's largest and oldest wastewater treatment plant, the Seine Aval near Paris, was failing to meet new European discharge standards. Natasha Wiseman reports on the construction of a new nitrification-denitrification unit, using Biostyr technology from French engineering group OTV France (Veolia Water), which will remove the nitrogen contained in the effluent passing through the plant and improve the quality of water returned to the river Seine

Macedonia develops distribution master plan

In a project financed by the Czech government, Macedonia has prepared a master plan for water supply and distribution for the Macedonian city of Kocani and surrounding area. Vladimir Havlik and Jarmil Vycital from Czech consultancy Hydro Projekt explain the modelling process that was undertaken.

Saudis test RWH and storage techniques

A two-part project to test and implement rainwater harvesting (RWH) and storage techniques in Saudi Arabia was motivated by the need to maximise the retention of resources in this dry environment. Abdul Malek A Al Sheikh of the Prince Sultan Research Center for Environment, Water and Desert (PSRCEWD) at King Saud University in Saudi Arabia explains the project's design and execution.

Australia adopts sensitive stormwater reuse

Suburban expansion in Melbourne is putting added pressure on water supplies and watercourses. Phil Charlton, technical director of UK consultancy Hyder in Australia, reports on an environmentally sensitive stormwater reuse project, born of a joint effort between the public and private sectors, that has even managed to preserve the habitat of a rare species of butterfly.

Flowmetering key to conservation in Middle East

The Middle East is facing massive pressure to manage and conserve its water supplies to meet rapidly escalating demand. Tim Door, flow product manager with Swiss technology company ABB, explains the role that flowmetering technology can play in meeting these challenges and highlights how it is already helping some parts of the Middle East to transform water network efficiency.

Coca-Cola opts for oxygen-based WWT

The soft drinks manufacturer Coca-Cola needed to review the wastewater treatment (WWT) system at its development and quality control laboratory in Anderlecht, Belgium. An increase in wastewater produced at the site meant that the existing plant was struggling to meet demand. European water business manager at Air Products, Peter Barratt, explains how an innovative oxygen system was developed to meet the plant's requirements.

Media remedy range of contamination issues

An innovative media developed by UK industrial remediation specialist, Virotec, is ideal for applications requiring removal of metals and other pollutants from contaminated water and soil. Simon Tillotson, general manager at Virotec Europe, describes how the media permanently binds metals and phosphates to a high-capacity solid surface in a technique that can be used effectively to treat industrial and municipal wastewater and large volume contaminated water such as acid mine drainage.

Pressurised irrigation cuts consumption in Andalucía

The mild wet winters and extremely dry summers of Andalucía in southern Spain, combined with irrigation, allow farmers to grow summer crops that would otherwise be impossible. Juan Rodriguez-Diaz and Keith Weatherhead, from IFAPA in Spain and Cranfield University in the UK, describe the importance and use of benchmarking for maximising the benefit of limited water supplies for irrigation.

Aral Sea Project I reaching completion

Images of fishing boats stranded on the desertified, salt-encrusted bed of what was formerly the Aral Sea, the world's fourth largest inland lake, caused widespread shock when they came to public attention in 1997. Michael Haigh, divisional director in Mott MacDonald's Water and Environmental Management division, reports exclusively for World Water on the first phase of the Aral Sea Basin Project, which is designed to secure the existence of the North Aral Sea, sustain and increase agriculture and fishing, and improve human health.

A new monitoring well design in Urumqi, China

China gets to grips with groundwater

The knowledge and technology that China requires to manage its groundwater more effectively is being provided by experts from the Dutch environmental consultancy and research organisation, TNO Environment and Geosciences. Jos de Sonneville, manager of business development - subsurface and water, at TNO, explains how experience gained in South Africa and elsewhere is being applied in China.

Engineer Anders Dahslberg and a trainee drill crew in Ghana. Image: Dando.

Rig training goes well in Ghana

Like much of sub-Saharan Africa, many parts of rural Ghana do not have a safe, reliable water supply. Anders Dahlsberg, an engineer with UK drilling specialist Dando, reports on a trip to the north-east of the country where he commissioned and set to work a waterwell drill rig and, just as importantly, trained the crew.

The tank under construction - simultaneously pouring the floor, walls, column and roof sections.

San Diego's mega-tank reaches completion

Increasing demands on both quality and capacity at the Alvarado Water Filtration Plant in the US city of San Diego, California, meant constructing the world's largest circular, prestressed concrete storage tank. Judy Horning of US tank manufacturer, DYK, describes the challenge of meeting not only the highest standards for potable water storage but also of making the tank earthquake resistant.

The Valenton sludge processing plant in Paris, France, which consists of three DDS 70 drum dryers with heat recovery by thermal oil, opened in 2005. Image: Andritz

Thermal dried sludge meets EU standards

Efficient sludge management is facing the twin challenges of more stringent land disposal regulations and an increase in the quanity of wastewater. Doris Thamer, senior sales manager, and Werner Jenewein, senior process manager, of Austrian sludge specialist Andritz claim that drying technologies can meet both these demands.

The HWJS precipitation measurement station. Image Logotronic

Hydrometeorological measuring network for Vienna

Optimisation of Vienna's sewage management system necessitates collection of accurate and detailed meteorological information on precipitation. Carolin Melischek of Austrian instrumentation specialist Logotronic explains how the company is supplying measurement stations based on its most advanced datalogger.

An artistic impression of the planned new facility at Henriksdal WWTP. Image: Sweco.

Rebuild for world's largest underground WWTP

Plans to expand residential, commercial and business faciliites near to the world's largest underground wastewater treatment plant in Stockholm, Sweden, necessitated rebuilding the plant. Johnny Stohne, senior engineer for SWECO, reports on the £30 million project, which includes new mechanical treatment, transportation and ventilation facilities.

UK celebrates reservoir management success

The UK's first reservoir management system, designed by US-based Severn Trent Services (STS), marked its second year of successful operation in September 2005. Matthew Sears, STS's business development manager for disinfection solutions, reports on a system that eliminates reservoir water quality problems associated with thermal stratification, stagnation and blending of different water qualities within water storage systems.

Sensor protects Cheddar Gorge

Sensors from a UK instrumentation specialist, Gems Sensors, are helping to protect the ecology of the River Yeo as it flows from the historic Cheddar Gorge in south-west England. Colin Lussenden, product manager at Gems explains the importance of accuracy and reliability in this environmentally sensitive region.

Design deviations to blame at Tampa

The operational difficulties encountered with the pretreatment system for the Tampa Bay Desalination Plant, following its completion in January 2003, threw doubt into the minds of many who were about to embark on seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO). However, as since shown by SWRO successes elsewhere, Tampa's pretreatment was a unique case. Brett Boyd and Dominic Janssen of Parkson Corporation explain why.

NATO demonstrate portable RO plant potential

NATO's Allied Command Transformation (ACT) recognised the need for a portable water generation and purification equipment capability to reduce the impact of attacks on convoys in Iraq and limit the cost in manpower, vehicles and fuel used for water transport. In cooperation with Radian of the USA and German purification specialist Kärcher Futuretech, a subsidiary of Alfred Kärcher, NATO conducted an experiment to test transportable equipment for generation, purification and bottling.

Water efficiency is key in California

The USA's independent environmental think-tank, the Pacific Institute, has just released a report that claims that efficiency measures could reduce statewide water use in 2030 by 20%, despite economic and population growth. Research associate, Heather Cooley, and president of the Institute, Peter H Gleick, explain how efficiency, conservation and technology could create a sustainable future.

Education counters contamination in Bangladesh

Rainwater harvesting projects in Bangladesh, combined with education programmes, may be key to addressing the critical water supply issues facing the country. Freelance journalist Rachel King recently toured numerous projects with Mohammed Azahar Ali, executive director and founder of the non-governmental Society for People's Actions in Change and Equity (SPACE). In an exclusive for World Water, she reports on the progress being made.

Winter weather threatens London's leakage targets

The prospect of a colder than average winter has fuelled Thames Water's research into understanding the effects of cold water on its water distribution network in south-east England. Andrew Boyd of RWE Thames Water reports on the range of strategies under consideration.

First dedicated seawater pre-treatment membrane

Seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) is fast becoming the most popular technology for producing potable water from seawater. However, to date, SWRO plants have not always met expectations for factors such as capacity, recovery and downtime. Frans Knops, product manager for Norit's Dutch subsidiary X-Flow, explains how the development of a new dedicated ultrafiltration (UF) membrane for seawater has achieved the lowest total costs of ownership (TCO) on the market.

Brazilian city adopts Canadian solution

Engineers for the city of São Bernardo do Campo in Brazil found that the fluctuating demand for water at different times of the day was impacting on the main water supply pipelines, which would often leak or break. Mark Gimson, regional sales manager for Canadian manufacturer Singer Valve, explains how pressure-regulating valves have reduced water loss and cut maintenance costs.

Privatisation and renamed ministry emphasise Ghana's priority

In November 2005, Ghana's Works & Housing Ministry added 'Water Resources' to its title and the Minister outlined the water and sanitation work in progress and coming up. Managing editor Robin Wiseman reports.

Condominial sanitation could achieve MDG

The Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for sanitation means bringing an extra 1.9 billion people on-stream by 2015, globally. Duncan Mara, Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Leeds in the UK, argues that this can only be achieved by abandoning conventional approaches to sewerage and adopting a condominial approach to provision, across social classes.

A wake-up call for MDG challenges

The importance of water as a driver of economic growth and elimination of poverty will be the central topic when some 130 government ministers and more than 25,000 delegates gather in Mexico for the 4th World Water Forum in March. Toni Sittoni, communications specialist of the World Bank's Water and Sanitation Programme (WSP) in Africa, calls on governments to act with investment and reform, especially in sanitation.

Co-operation is key to resource management

In the run-up to WWF4, the Head of the Secretariat, César Herrera, is calling for solidarity from the global community in meeting development challenges, managing transboundary river basins and countering the effects of climate change.

Estuary reservoir will boost Singapore supplies

A 300m long tidal barrier is under construction in the estuary of Singapore's main river. When completed, the Marina Barrage will create a unique freshwater reservoir in downtown Singapore, as Yap Kheng Guan of PUB explains.

Award nomination for thermal treatment

An innovative gasification process from German manufacturer, Kopf, has won a nomination for the European Environmental Press (EEP) Awards for technology at Pollutec in Paris in November. Kopf executive Eberhard Kipp describes how sewage sludge is converted into energy, pollutants are eliminated and a reusable by-product produced at a pilot plant at Balingen, Germany.

Innovative belt drier for fermented residues

Belt drying is a well-known, established process for biomass. However, as Armin Vonplon and Werner Jenewein of the Austrian manufacturer Andritz report, the challenge was to find ways of developing proven sludge drying components in a newly adapted belt drying system.

Bespoke pipes benefit Czech plant

The capacity and technology of the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) for the city of Brno had long been inadequate for the 400,000 inhabitants of the Czech Republic's second largest city. Austrian pipe manufacturer Hobas's local sales representative, Jií Vajdík, reports on the reconstruction and extension of the 1960s plant that was first planned in 1990.

TIGER space hunt for Africa's water

The ambitious TIGER project was initiated to utilise European Space Agency (ESA) satellite data to improve the availability and management of African water resources, as reported in World Water Jan/Feb. Natasha Wiseman reports on a workshop and training event, that took place in Italy in October, assessing progress and revealing how the new knowledge can be applied to sustainable planning.

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