I keep a weblog like it's still the 90s. For commentary and dissent please visit jontaylor.ca, or various other purveyors of thought online.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Fighting Climate Change: Put up your dukes.

I read on the New Scientist, that Sand Dams are weapons against climate change. I like to point out something that sand dams may be a better weapon against: Thirst.
Sand dams, which are in fact made of concrete, are low walls placed across small rivers that cease to flow in the dry season. During the first two wet seasons of their existence, the space behind them fills up with sand, dragged down from the banks by erosion.

The sand retains 40% of its volume in water, protecting that water from evaporation. Wells are then dug into it, supplying local villagers during the subsequent dry season.

The idea of the dams goes back more than 2000 years, to the Babylonian era, Aerts explains. It was later picked up by the English who built sand dams in India and Kenya.

I'm not entire sure how this is actually a weapon against climate change. Would changing the natural flow pattern in a river not also eventually change the climate? The idea of a sand dam is brilliant from a thirst reduction point of view. It addresses part of one of the most important problems facing humanity, thirst. It's sad to see a scientifically minded magazine focus on the far less applicable aspect of this retro technology.