Eco Links For October 2014

Inspired by this and more, tongue firmly in cheek...

Tokyo, Japan -- Power was restored in most of Japan on Sunday, a day after the impoverished, energy-starved nation was plunged into a nationwide blackout when a transmission line from well, nowhere, failed, officials said.
The blackout was the country's worst since a 2007 cyclone knocked out the national grid for several hours, and again exposed inefficient and dated infrastructure that has held back development in the North East Asian nation.
Electricity was cut across Japan at around noon Saturday after the transmission line experienced a "technical glitch" that led to a cascade of failures throughout the national power grid, with power plants and substations shutting down.
After an evening spent in the dark, most of the residents of Tokyo, the capital of more than 10 million people, got electricity back on by 1 a.m. Sunday. Power was restored in other major cities too, but it was not clear how many people were still without electricity.

Tokyo's hospitals and the international airport continued to operate after the blackout Saturday with emergency generators. But many offices normally open had to send their employees home.
"This is terrible," said Mohammad Hasan, a resident of Tokyo's upscale Shibuya neighborhood. "We had some confidence in the government over last few years that the power sector was improving slowly. But what is this?"
Japan is considered one of the most energy-poor nations, with one of the lowest per capita electricity consumption rates in the world. 

OK, ok, that was a stretch. But you get the picture. I made that up, from The Mainichi's article, Power restored as Bangladesh struggles to fix grid

And then there was this:

Japanese households could face dimmed lights and flickering TV sets in three years' time because authorities are putting Japan’s last coal-fired power plant at risk of closure.
The company’s power station provides electricity for 2m homes and plays a crucial role in balancing electricity supply and demand to prevent shortages in Japan.
But rising green taxes and high network charges set by regulator could make it unprofitable by winter 2016-17 and could force its closure.
If the plant is shut and no replacement built Japanese consumers will be at risk of interrupted electricity supplies.
Closure would also be likely to heighten the risk of blackouts across Japan and force the National Grid to extend the use of emergency measures to keep the lights on, experts said. 

Again, I made that up. Cut & paste from The Telegraph, Scotland power shortage warning as coal plant faces closure

This, however, I did not make up. If you live in Los Angeles, you know your water supply is in deep trouble:

LA Times: Amid drought, mayor directs L.A. to cut water use 20% by 2017

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti issued an executive directive on Tuesday requiring Los Angeles to reduce its fresh water use 20% by 2017 as a response to the prolonged drought.
Garcetti also asked L.A. departments to dramatically cut the amount of water used by replacing lawns and other city landscaping, including street medians, with less thirsty plants.

"Our relationship with water must evolve," Garcetti said. "We cannot afford the water policies of the past. We must conserve, recycle and rethink how we use our water to save money and make sure that we have enough water to keep L.A. growing."The mayor also directed that the city's Department of Water and Power reduce its purchases of costlier imported water by 50% by the year 2024.

Flanked by city and environmental leaders at a news conference held at the DWP headquarters, Garcetti said it was important to address outdoor water use -- which makes up half of residential water consumption.

There were no new mandatory restrictions announced Tuesday for residents. But Garcetti asked them to voluntarily reduce their outdoor watering to two days a week. The mayor asked them to use DWP rebates to install landscaping that is drought-resistant, and to install more efficient plumbing fixtures and appliances.
The mayor said that if water reduction targets are not met by a combination of mandatory city actions and voluntary steps by residents, then residential restrictions will be mandated -- including restrictions on watering and washing cars.

"Keep in mind that reducing water use is not just good for the environment, it lowers water bills," Garcetti said. "Reaching our target and reducing per capita water use by 20% would save our ratepayers up to $120 million" a year. Water use in California has generally been going down.

After a slow start, the State Water Resources Control Board reported that Southern California sharply cut its urban water production in August, down 7.8% from the same month in 2013. Locally, DWP cut its use by 8.8% compared to the previous year. But both numbers fell short of the statewide 11.5% water-use reduction and were far below Gov. Jerry Brown’s goal of a 20% reduction.After the release of the state data, Garcetti said he was "grateful that Angelenos are stepping up" but cautioned “we must do more to further reduce our reliance on expensive imported water.”
The move comes as the DWP has stepped up enforcement of its water conservation ordinance, which places restrictions on behaviors such as outdoor watering, washing down sidewalks and allowing runoff into streets. The water agency quadruped the size of its response unit, sending more staff to crack down on residential water waste.

Japan does have  a lot of rain, and water, a resource often overlooked as everyone seems so focused on oil and fossil fuels. CIA The World Factbook clocks Japan at 430 cu km (2011). South Korea is just 69.7 and China, 2,840.  I was surprised to see Sweden at only 174 cu km.

Nevertheless, there have been a number of water shortages here in Japan too, as outlined by MLIT: Water resources in Japan

Previously, Japan repeatedly experienced major water shortages; for example, 1939 in Lake Biwa, 1964 in the year of Tok yo Olympics, 1967 in Nagasaki, 1973 in Takamatsu, 1978 in Fukuoka, and so on. Though occurrence of water shortages has become rare in recent years the shortage in 1994 covered almost all Japan, when approximately 16 million people were affected at least once by suspended or reduced water supply, and agriculture suffered production losses of 140 billion yen.

Tokyo's Bureau of Waterworks has a lot of information about its recent activities.

Tokyo Water Professionals

Message from Director General of Tokyo Waterworks
U.N. sponsored conference on Climate Change points out that global warming continues to progress. Thus there is a growing need for countermeasures.
Energy and environmental issues are common critical challenges for waterworks utilities. We, therefore, need to make further efforts in introducing of renewable energy source, promoting efficiency of pumps and facilities improvement considering energy efficiency.
This page is currently used to introduce the efforts by Tokyo Waterworks, and we are planning to add up-to-date information of other cities soon, as well as the case reports. What we have in our mind is its use as a forum for discussion.
Submissions of reference cases and updated information are welcome. We are looking forward to your active participations.

The twenty-first century is called "Water Century."
Water is indispensable for our daily life. However, it is said that more than a billion people in the world, mainly in Asia and Africa, are devoid of access to safe drinking water.
Water supply in Tokyo boasts a history of over 400 years. More than 100 years have already passed since Tokyo Water-works started its business as a modern waterworks in 1898. Today Tokyo Waterworks is one of the world’s top waterworks, supplying water to 13 million people.
Tokyo Metropolitan Waterworks Bureau has succeeded in securing water resources and reinforcing facilities to ensure steady supply of clean water. Consequently, not only from the standpoint of scale, but also from the quality point of view we are supplying the highest level of water in the world. In recent years we have introduced sophisticated technologies in order to respond to the increasing demand for high-quality water and to meet the measures against disaster and environmental requirements. We are thus offering high-quality services.
As a "World-class Water Supplier" we are determined to make greater international contributions in the future. We take them on as our mission to provide our advanced technologies and know-how to the waterworks corporations in Asia through accepting trainees and dispatching our engineers, and to make contribution to the improvement of world waterworks. Tokyo Waterworks Bureau will continue to make all efforts on the sustainable development of waterworks all over the world.

Ei Yoshida
Director General
Bureau of Waterworks
Tokyo Metropolitan Government

Shooting at the Hinohara in Jun 2014
*Hinohara (檜原村 or 桧原村 Hinohara-mura) is a municipality in Nishitama District, Tokyo Metropolis, Japan. It is the only administrative unit left in the non-insular area of Tokyo that is still classified as a village. Hinohara has population of 3,043 (as of January 1, 2006), an area of 105.42 km², and a population density of 28.9/km².


Pandabonium said…
No shortage of Spam anywhere I see by the first comment. ;)

Beautiful video. Thanks.

I grew up in the LA area. California has a long convoluted water rights history that makes for difficult management in these times.

As for how bad it has gotten, in the town of Montecito, next to Santa Barbara, where many rich celebrities now own multimillion dollar landscaped estates, the lack of water is creating big problems. Lake Cachuma, the reservoir which supplies most of the Santa Barbara area, is drying up. So, some Montecito home owners are ripping out their million dollar semi-tropical landscaping and replacing it with desert plants and other drought resistant vegetation.

Others however are BUYING extra water that is trucked in! From where? you might ask. From other parts of California where people have wells and are actually selling their well water to make a profit. Free market insanity at its most egregious.

Closer to home, China is buying up Japanese land to get the water rights. Yipes. Time to review the local rules to keep from losing our water. Bloomberg:
Martin J Frid said…
Thanks for the comment, glad you enjoyed the video. Water - we take it for granted and then of course someone else will buy it, at our peril.

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