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Magazine of the European Geography Association for students and young geographers

The European Geographer

Water 8th issue June 2012

25 ISSN: 1605-6566

The European Geographer, 8th Issue

Colophon The EGEA Magazine is a publication from the European Geography Association for Geography students and young Geographers. The EGEA Magazine is published twice a year. The magazine is produced for the EGEA community, EGEA partners and all others interested in EGEA, geography and Europe. Postal address: EGEA Faculty of Geosciences - Utrecht University P.O.Box 80.115 NL-3508 TC Utrecht Telephone: +31-30-2539708 E-mail: egea@egea.eu E-mail EGEA magazine: egea.magazine@egea.eu Website: www.egea.eu Editors of the eighth issue: Inge Wiekenkamp (Chief Editor), Tobias Michl (Chief Editor), Ciprian Caraba, Colette Caruana, Cosmin Ceuca, Olga Chernopitskaya, Nicu Ciobotaru, Amanda Finger, Franziska Hübner, Annika Palomäki, Jakub Ondruch, Cristina Onet, Laura Helene Rasmussen, Julian Thesen Graphic Design: Cosmin Ceuca, Nicu Ciobotaru, Inge Wiekenkamp Contributing authors: Olga Chernopitskaya, Sergio Cuevas, Daria Golub, Franziska Häring, Aino Kirillova Ruben Maes, Tobias Michl, Sille Marie Myreng, Jakub Ondruch, Svetlana Samsonova, Sandra Teuber, Inge Wiekenkamp Photos: CENIA, Olga Chernopitskaya, Sergio Cuevas, Google Earth, Stefan Esch, Aino Kirillova, Andreas Christoffer Lundegaard, Ruben Maes, Tobias Michl, Svetlana Samsonova, Sandra Teuber, J. Wenzel, Inge Wiekenkamp Coverphoto: Daniel Metzke All authors are completely responsible for the content of their articles and references made by them. The editors would like to thank: Sanne Heijt – EGEA BoE Secretariat Director 11/12 Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University All authors EGEA is supported by: ESRI EUROGEO Faculty of Geosciences, Utrecht University




Svetlana Samsonova


Jakub Ondruch


Franziska Häring and Tobias Michl


Jakub Ondruch


Inge Wiekenkamp


Aino Kirillova


Daria Golub


Olga Chernopitskaya


Olga Chernopitskaya


Ruben Maes


Sille Marie Myreng


Sergio Cuevas Pérez


Sandra Teuber


Svetlana Samsonova

25 years of EGEA

Editorial: The European Geographer - 8th edition - Water The role of water in urban development Development of a cut-off meander in the lowland reaches of the Morava river after spring floods in 2006 How sustainable are water facilities in Bogotá? Water use and abuse in Bogotá-city, Colombia

The role of water objects in the area of the Udmurt Republic Virtual water trade Water consumption in figures and ways to reduce it Interesting facts about water

Drought, Dams, Development and Degradation: a 4D approach to sustainable water management in tropical highlands Notes from a newbie The Sunny Weekend 2011 The Western Regional Congress 2011 The Altai Adventure: Unique culture and virgin nature

Water - June 2012

25 Years of EGEA The year 2012 is a very mysterious and special year. You could tell me many prophecies and beliefs about 2012: the end of the world, the Earth’s collision with a black hole, the Mayan Calendar etc. For me this is all worth nothing because in 2012, we celebrate EGEA’s Silver birthday – and that is an occasion of the highest importance for all of us! 25 Years ago students from Utrecht, Warsaw and Barcelona organized a European network for geography students and young geographers – EGEA. Now we are silver! From the initial 3 founding entities, we reached an amazing number of 87 entities, coming from 29 countries. EGEA got the status of legal youth association, its own website and budget; it has its own board and working committees. It is hard to count how many events on local, national and international level were organized in the past 25 years – there must have been thousands of events. In these 25 years, many EGEAns found new friends, participated in a number of EGEA activities, improved their scientific and soft-skills and traveled across Europe.

For 25 years, we created a solid base for future development. But many goals still lie ahead. I sometimes dream that all European Universities with a Geography department will be represented in EGEA in the future. EGEA needs more people involved in the Association. We have to improve our human recourses, to increase the number and quality of EGEA publications and events, to get new funds for EGEA and to show EGEA to external world. The more professional we get, the more prosperous EGEA is.

Always remember: “Individually, we are one waterdrop. Together, we are an ocean” (Ryunosuke Satoro). Thank you for believing in EGEA! Yours Svetlana Samsonova EGEA President 2011/2012

EGEAns are young and enthusiastic students who are ready to work and put efforts for their own future, to broaden their horizons and to experience the world. It is hard to list all achievements that EGEA reached over the past 25 years. However, one of the things that is worth most, is that we have a united community, which we call our EGEA family. EGEA changes our lives.

Wherever in Europe you will go, you will always know that, because of EGEA, you can find friends, support and a good piece of advice. You will never be alone! Year by year we face new challenges, This is one of the big treasures of EGEA, overcome obstacles and exceed our that we should keep and pass to future expectations. generations.

Board of EGEA 2011-2012


The European Geographer, 8th Issue

Editorial - The European Geographer - 8th issue - Water Jakub Ondruch, EGEA Brno Editor of the European Geographer Water,

for chemical engineers it is just a molecule, a compound of hydrogen and oxygen, for our planet as a living organism an essential substance for its existence. Vast surfaces of water in our planet are such a significant feature that Earth even was given the name “the Blue Planet”. The blue liquid is like a magician, who can conjure the presence of organisms up by life-giving rain as easily as take the life away by lethal floods. As a patient sculptor it shapes the surface into various landscapes and landforms. Many of them are admired by mankind thanks to their sophistication, perfection and inconceivability. Just imagine standing at the bank of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon or at the margin of the Salto Ángel waterfall and try

to enquire yourself “How is that possible?” In the terrestrial wildlife many organisms have to struggle for a sufficient amount of water to survive. Animals do not hesitate to undergo a very long journey just to satisfy their throat. Plants had to adjust their morphology, physiology to be able to face the lack of the vital liquid. Besides that, water belongs to one of the most important factors determining the diversity and presence of a particular species in general. One species markedly differs from the rest - human. Through its evolution many ways of water use have been developed. We learnt how to employ water as our helper, how to utilize its power and how to suppress our dependency on the water distribution. We have created business with this fluid. Our society reached a certain stage of development in which new important water issues have arisen, e.g. availability, contamination. For us, geographers, the theme of water offers numbers of possibili-

ties to be concerned with. It opens the door to pure environmental themed articles as well as to socio-economical ones. EGEA involves various people from every corner of Europe, who have different experience, opinions, ideas, interests obtained thanks to the dissimilar conditions predominating in a particular region. The contribution of such a diverse group of authors, writing articles from many different points of view, helps us to form our own opinion based on more information, which could be considerably divergent in comparison to those relevant in our home country. I entered the running train recently when I joined the editorial board and have already had the opportunity to observe the whole process of creating the magazine. The results you are holding in hands. All editors have done a great job and deserve appreciation. But any editor is useless without articles, and thus my thanks belongs also to all authors who sacrificed time to share their experience with us.

Figure : Editorial Board of the European Geographer at the Annual Congress 2011 in Ebermannstadt (Germany)


Water - June 2012

The role of water in urban development

The example of the historical and current development of Augsburg, Germany Franziska Häring, Tobias Michl EGEA Augsburg Augsburg University Introduction Water is one of the most important factors for the founding and the development of a city because it is essential in many aspects of urban life. Many bigger as well as smaller cities in Europe and all over the world are located near water: London is situated on the riverbanks of the Thames, the Danube flows through Vienna, Stockholm is located between Lake Mälaren and the Baltic Sea, Istanbul lies at the shores of the Black Sea and the Bosporus. Why is water so important for urban development? In this article we want to show some aspects of how water has influenced and will maybe further influence the development of the city of Augsburg (see figure 1).





Augsburg, the third largest city of the German federal state Bavaria, is situated in the northern part of the Alpine foreland, about 80 km north of the Alps. The landscape is characterized by fluvial terraces, which are the results of fluvioglacial processes during the Pleistocene. Two of the rivers that were part of the drainage system in the last ice age are the Lech and the Wertach, both nowadays rising in the Alps and flowing together in the north of Augsburg. The space between the two river valleys has not been affected by erosion. Therefore older gravel sediments are preserved and they now builds up a ridge overlooking the surroundings. This makes the location a strategically favourable position. Due to traditional trade routes passing through this locality, it is also supposed to have attracted settlers throughout all times whereas the oldest artefacts only date from the early Bronze Age (Bakker, 1985b). When the Romans conquered the Alpine foreland around 15 B.C., a castrum was established in the

Wertach valley but was abandoned in 17 A.D. Instead, the urban settlement Augusta Vindelicum was founded on the previously mentioned ridge. The Municipum Aelium Augustum was the capital of the Roman province Raethia from the 1st or 2nd until the 5th century A.D. A settlement like this needs water supply, which was ensured by two independent systems. The drinking water was delivered from several wells. Service water, e.g. for baths, toilets and production purposes, came to the city via a 35 km long canal which originates from the little river Singold, which transported 86 million litres per day for about 300 years (Augsburger Allgemeine 2011).

Figure 2: “Brunnenmeisterhaus” (house of the foreman of the water works) and water towers near the “Rotes Tor” town gate, both part of the historical water works Source: Pfister, F., 1989

As there are no clear historical testimonies on the decades that followed, there also is a lack of information on water management of that time. The beginning of the technically advanced water supply can be dated back to 1412, when the first water works were built in the southeast of the city. The difficulty was to lift up the water from the river valley to the higher fluvial terrace, which was solved by using Archimedean screws and building water towers (see figure 2).

Figure 1: Water in Augsburg

In the following one hundred years some other water works were built which altogether ensured the water supply of the city for several centuries (Stadtwerke Augsburg 1979). Augsburg was a very wealthy city in those days. To show this, three fountains were built between 1588 and 1602 with statues by the famous Dutch sculptor Adriaen de Vries. The Augustus-fountain (see figure 3) on the town hall square shows the importance of the rivers around the city: Lech, Wertach, Singold and Brunnenbach (which was used for centuries


The European Geographer, 8th Issue

be compared with the history of Geography, where nature was first seen as the determining factor for mankind and was later replaced by a possibilistic attitude that assumed all natural resources as being adaptable to any human needs or wishes. The importance of water in a city of the 21st century

Figure 3: Statue of the Wertach, Augustus fountain

for the water supply). The rivers are represented by four fountain figures that are grouped around the Roman emperor Augustus, the founder of the city. Water was not only important for households but also for the economy. Many canals were built since the 11th century from the river Lech to the inner city, where craftspeople used it as a power source, to process water and for waste disposal. This direct access to water was the source of the wealth of the city. These canals still exist today and preserve the remaining structures of the medieval craftsmen district (Schaffer 1989). Many of the small streets in the historical city centre have names related to either the canals, e.g. “Vorderer Lech”, “Am Brunnenlech” or the professions of the craftspeople who were working there, e.g. “Schlossermauer” (metal worker), “Schmiedgasse” (blacksmith), “Bäckergasse” (baker). The Lech, which is the biggest river of the three, also has played an important role for the development of Augsburg from the Middle Ages until today. It has been a cultural and language border, determining the development both on the east and on the west side. Augsburg has been under the influence of the Swabian Alemanni for most of the time, whereas the land east of the river was ruled by the Bavarian Baiuvarii (Oblinger 2001). The meandering river relocated its riverbed, which meant that also the border moved. To use this to their own advantage, both sides tried to push the river to the opponents’ side to gain more land, which is shown by several trials that were held on these issues (Oblinger 2001). Even a “war on water” broke out between


Augsburg and Bavaria in 1596 when the Bavarians built a dam to cut off the water supply of Augsburg (Kluger 2011). Bigger change did not occur until the beginning of the 19th century when Augsburg was made a province of their ‘enemy’ Bavaria after the Napoleonic Wars and authorities began to regulate the river using hydraulic-engineering technology (Stadt Augsburg et al 1991). From the beginning of the 20th century, the river could be used to generate electricity. History shows the change of the role of water in urban development from a formerly determining factor to a resource that is modified and intentionally used according to people’s needs. This can

The previously mentioned canals from the Lech were concealed with concrete panels between the 1930s and the 1950s to create more road space in the narrow streets of the historical city centre. Due to the decay in this district and for the 2000-yearanniversary of Augsburg in 1985, a comprehensive revitalization and redevelopment programme was initiated by the municipal authorities in the middle of the 1970s. An important aspect was to uncover the canals to make water a part of the city again (see figure 4), re-establish its historical importance and put it in a modern context (Sajons 1989). “Especially on hot summer days, the abidance near these creeks makes people feel comfortable as they reduce the heat in the narrow streets” (Sajons 1989, p. 108). This example shows one of the main functions of water in today’s cities: Water can be essential in providing a good quality of living and also health-related quality of life. The Lech canals have lost their direct economical importance, but the attractiveness of the city is increased both for local population and tourists who increase sales of shops, restaurants and cafés. Water is not only important in the city centre but can have the same effects on the living quality in surrounding quarters

Figure 4: Lech canal in the historical city centre

Water - June 2012 References Augsburger Allgemeine 2011. Der Durst nach Wasser. In Augsburger Allgemeine 23.04.2011. Augsburg. Bakker, L. 1985a. Die Anfänge der Zivilsiedlung Augusta Vindelicum. In Geschichte der Stadt Augsburg von der Römerzeit bis zur Gegenwart, 2nd edition, ed. Gottlieb, G. Baer, W. Becker, J. Bellot, J. Filser, K. Fried, P. Reinhard, W. Schimmelpfennig, B., 34- 41. Stuttgart: Konrad Theiss Verlag. Bakker, L. 1985b. Zur Topographie der Provinzhauptstadt Augusta Vindelicum. In Geschichte der Stadt Augsburg von der Römerzeit bis zur Gegenwart, 2nd edition, ed. Gottlieb, G. Baer, W. Becker, J. Bellot, J. Filser, K. Fried, P. Reinhard, W. Schimmelpfennig, B., 41- 50. Stuttgart: Konrad Theiss Verlag.

Figure 5: View on the Wertach before the project “Wertach vital”

and suburbs. We will show this with the example of the Wertach, where some major changes occurred in the past ten years. The river was straightened since the 1860s to gain new farmland and to improve flood protection by an increased discharge (Uffinger 2011, see figure 5). This second aspect was not too successful as shown by two floods that occurred in 1965 and 1999, which both caused big damage in the surrounding quarters. After the Whitsun flood of 1999 the authorities put more effort in the project “Wertach vital”, of which the planning process had already started before this event. The goals of this project are flood prevention, reduction of erosion at the riverbed, renaturation of the ecosystem and creation of a local recreation area in the city (Wasserwirtschaftsamt Donauwörth & Stadt Augsburg 2007). The project is realized by the Free State of Bavaria and supported by the municipality of Augsburg as well as the European Union. The measures taken are: building ramps to slow down the flow velocity, constructing new dams

for flood protection and creating floodplains. Therefore, the riverbanks have been widened, which eases the access to the river. The more natural environment makes the area more attractive to people. This is shown by an increasing number of people who use the riverbanks for promenading, cycling, relaxing, sunbathing, barbecuing and as a playground for children (see figure 6). The flood prevention works quite well as a high water in August 2005 resulted in no damage. However, the Wertach remains a not completely controllable natural force, which is something that has to be taken into account for further development. Conclusion The role of water as a locational factor in urban development has changed over time from a determining criterion to an aspect that provides risk as well as potential, which both are not completely manageable. Nevertheless, water still plays a very important role concerning the quality of life, aesthetics and some economic sectors.

Uffinger, B. 2011. Wertach vital – Auszüge aus einem Bericht des Wasserwirtschaftamt Donauwörth. Available from: http://www.bnaugsburg.de/content.php?id=120 (Accessed 30 May 2011) Kluger, M. ed. Lechwerke AG 2011. Der Lech. Augsburg: context verlag. Oblinger, H. 2001. Das Nördliche Lechtal in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart. In Der nördliche Lech, ed. Naturwissenschaftlicher Verein für Schwaben e.V.. Augsburg: Wißner-Verlag. pp. 11-44. Pfister, F. 1989. Ansichten der Wohnumgebung in der Altstadt. In Altstadtsanierung in Augsburg, ed. Schaffer, F. Thieme, K.. Augsburg: Lehrstuhl für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeographie. pp. 121-130. Sajons, R. 1989. Praxis der Altstadtsanierung in Augsburg. In Altstadtsanierung in Augsburg, ed. Schaffer, F. Thieme, K.. Augsburg: Lehrstuhl für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeographie. pp. 109-113. Schaffer, F. 1989. Praxisbegleitende Untersuchungen zur Altstadtsanierung in Augsburg. In Altstadtsanierung in Augsburg, ed. Schaffer, F. Thieme, K., Augsburg: Lehrstuhl für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeographie. pp. 131.146. Stadt Augsburg, Referat Umwelt und Kommunales, Amt für Grünordnung und Naturschutz 1991. Augsburger ökologische Schriften 2, Der Lech, Wandel einer Wildflußlandschaft. Augsburg. ed. Stadtwerke Augsburg 1979. Wasser für Augsburg. Augsburg. Wasserwirtschaftsamt Donauwörth, Stadt Augsburg 2007. Wertach vital… …natürlich für Augsburg. Donauwörth.

Figure 6 : Results of the renaturation of the Wertach with widened riverbanks and the possibility for local recreation


The European Geographer, 8th Issue

Development of a cut-off meander in the lowland reach of the Morava river after spring floods in 2006 Jakub Ondruch, Masarykova Univerzita, Brno EGEA Brno Introduction Meandering belongs to the basic mechanism of large rivers as well as tiny streams evolution which forms characteristic landscapes. By virtue of lateral erosion and overbank sedimentation over the sufficient time period floodplain is developed. Unconsolidated floodplain sediment is favourable for subsequent lateral erosion, supporting meander development. Occasionally, two meanders are drawn to each other narrowing their neck, which could lead to a breakthrough and an abandoned meander genesis.

(Constantine et al., 2010). On the other hand, cut-off channels with a small diversion angle are supplied with a large amount of both fine-grained and coarsegrained material, leading to fast aggradation inside a whole reach (Dunne et al., 2010). Methods In situ measurements were conducted from August, 2010 to March, 2011 when data about river bed, plugs, banks morphology and vegetation cover of newly formed surface was acquired (Fig. 1). Relative elevations of alluvial plugs were obtained applying a level instrument.

lizing a clinometer and of water depth by employing fishing sonar. Afterwards, they were investigated in the inflection points, bends and meander apex. Data was compared with similar of two reference meanders in order to roughly determine the thickness of the sediment layer accumulated in abandoned channel after cut-off. Comparison of the slopes of active and abandoned concave banks was enabled by collecting data from 21 segments of both concaves which were subsequently divided into five parts. For each part of the segment the average slope was estimated.

Cut-off meanders have a positive effect on water quality, flood mitigation, and represent a valuable habitat increasing floodplain biodiversity (Gliňska-Lewczuk, 2009). In the Czech Republic, there are only two significant reaches of larger lowland rivers that form meander belts. One of them is located in the Natural Park Strážnické Pomoraví where the Morava river has undergone substantial development since spring flood in 2006, when the neck cut-off occurred. Neck cut-off is a process of river narrowing where the meander neck width is smaller than the water course width (Gay et al., 1998). Such a type of cut-off is more common on rivers with a low gradient (Hooke, 1995). Fundamental mechanism of cut-off meanders Sedimentation processes inside cut-off meanders are in general conditioned by three groups of factors: (1) the concentration of overbank sediments, (2) the hydraulic connectivity with an active channel, and (3) the sediment restrain ability, given by geometrical characteristics of cut-off channels (Cittero & Piégay, 2009). The diversion angle (i.e. angle between the active and abandoned channel) belongs to the most important variables affecting the dynamics and the character of sedimentation processes. In abandoned channels, carved under high angle, alluvial plugs are developed within a short time, leading to an isolation of an oxbow lake and a decrease of coarse-grained material supply


Figure 1: Field measurement settings in the reach of the Morava river in the Stážnické Pomoraví. 1-Longitudinal profile, 2-Cross-sections, 3-Points of concave bank morphology measurements, 4-Sites of vegetation age measurements, 5-Sites of brest-height diameter measurements Ortofoto: CENIA, 2009

The morphology of the river bed was investigated with a measuring rod from an inflatable boat. Every spot of depth determination was recorded with a touristic GPS device with an accuracy of first orders of meters. Because of the latter, imperfection flaws have been made. The use of a precise GPS apparatus with an accuracy of tens of millimetres was tested but due to various impediments, such as a rapid increase of inaccuracy inside homogeneous willow cover or impassable ice layer covering significant part of residual lake when measurement was conducted, obtained data could not be used. Cross section profiles were constructed from measurements of bank slopes by uti-

Stand density, breast-height diameter and age of vegetation cover was measured in squares sized 5x5 m in order to determinate the beginning of plant succession. Number of cut down trees and their spatial distribution was counted and observed. Results Spring flood, which caused the breakthrough, ran over the Natural Park Strážnické Pomoraví from 27th of March to 10th of April 2006. Within the first three months after incision an upstream alluvial plug was formed obstructing material inflow (Fig. 2). Material transport into the meander proceeded mainly through

Water - June 2012

a downstream arm. Diverted water flow entering the downstream part of the meander lowered the ability to sediment transport as penetrated into the abandoned channel resulting downstream sedimentation of material and point bar aggradation. Two months later, another alluvial plug was developed and rapid morphological changes stopped. Since then, sedimentation rate in the cut-off meander has slowed down significantly and taken place only at higher water levels. As mentioned above, diversion angle affects sedimentation processes inside the cut-off meander. The meander of the Morava river has a diversion angle of 24°. Despite the small angle both alluvial plugs are developed and the abandoned channel has undergone similar evolution to meander with a high diversion angle.

Figure 2: Abandoned channel development since cut-off in lowland reach of Morava river. Source: Google Earth 2006, 2009 and Wenzel, J. 2006.

This has been researched by other authors (e.g. Constantine et. al, 2010), who suggested that more variables and regional dissimilarities have to be taken into account when studying cut-off meander evolution. Neck incision changes the river flow pattern resulting into alteration of erosion-accumulation processes in the active channel (Fig. 3). In a place, where lateral erosion had predominated before cutoff point bar has been formed afterwards. The opposite has taken place at the left bank where erosion has started. The length of the reach was shortened by approximately 800 m. Shortening such a significant part of the river course has impact on decrease of sinuosity, defined as a ratio between real stream distance and straight distance of two inflexion points (Micheli & Larsen, 2010),

Figure 3: Erosion-accumulation processes alteration in the active channel of Morava river after cutoff. 1-Newly induced accumulation, 2-Newly induced erosion Ortofoto: CENIA, 2009.

Fig. 4: Longitudinal and cross-section profiles of the cut-off meander and two reference meanders. (Longitudinal profile: An elevation of 0 m corresponds with a water level in a height of 240 m.)

and increase of gradient at local level. The longitudinal profile (Fig. 4) delineates clearly alluvial plugs. State, when plugs are able to prevent material input at regular water levels, is developed within a period of few months up to ten years (Gagliano & Howard, 1984; Hooke, 1995). Thickness of the sedimented layer of alluvial plugs is estimated to 3 m – 4.7 m. Behind the upstream alluvial plug the deepest pool inside the abandoned channel is found. Cross-section in the same spot suggests thickness of sediments accumulated after spring 2006 from 0.75 m – 2 m but, in fact, a lower value would be more probable. The comparison with reference meander no. 2, which has the same geometry (i.e. straight section in the meander apex leads to the assumption that the pool situated in downstream bend has been originally deeper. The considerable change is


The European Geographer, 8th Issue

Fig. 5: Frequency histogram of slopes of concave banks in active (A) and cut-off (B) meanders in Morava river.

apparent in the apex of the meander, where point bar has grown substantially. It has already reached an opposite bank and its thickness is comparable to alluvial plugs. Research on concave banks was conducted in order to find out whether the slopes of cut-off meander differ from those of active channel. Mills & Mills (2001) determined significant lower slope angles of cut-off meanders even within a short time after incision. Statistic testing was employed in order to determine significant difference of slopes in Morava river meanders. Results approve latter statements. Almost 70 % of slopes of the concave bank in the abandoned channel vary between 20° and 40°, subvertical faces are negligible, and overhanging surface is not present (Fig. 5, A). In contrast, slopes of active channel concave are more diverse, subvertical faces form substantial part (approximately 15 %) and overhanging surfaces are present with 6 % (Fig. 5, B). Patterns of vegetative succession have not been studied in Natural Park Strážnické Pomoraví, and thus we can only reckon with respect to another study taken place in far upstream reach of Morava river. Newly formed surfaces are initially colonised by invasive hydrophytic or hydrotolerant species (e.g. Solidago gigantea, Impatiens glandulifera, Salix triandra,Alnus glutinosa) (Kovář et al., 2002). Dendrometric measurements were employed in order to determine the beginning of the vegetative succession of newly formed areas. The age of the oldest trees was up to four and half years signifying that vegetative colonization started in the same year as cut-off occurred. Woody plants leading the succession are willows (Salix). Since 2007 poplar´s (Populus) cover on the upstream alluvial plug has grown. Willows form a dense homogenic


cover which vegetates on the most substantial part of newly originated areas. Stand density varies between 25 pieces per 25 m2 on the highest part of downstream alluvial plug to approximately 65 pieces per 25 m2 on upstream alluvial plug and point bar. Median of breast-height diameter reaches 10 mm – 15 mm in more dense cover and 25 mm in less dense stand. Conclusion The abandoned meander has undergone significant development since spring flood in 2006 when neck cut-off occurred. The most rapid changes happened in the same year as abandonment. Development under low diversion angle has not corresponded to general rules stated in literature, suggesting regional specifics must be taken into account. Processes of oxbow lakes and abandoned channels development are very rare phenomena studied in Czech Republic and optimal methods for the comprehensive assessment remain to be developed. For latter reasons, topics, concerned with cut-off meanders, are challenging and vital for understanding of floodplain dynamics. Acknowledgments I would like to thank Mgr. Zdeněk Máčka, Ph.D. for his time spent on helping while field research was conducted as well as for advices and critique. Additionally, I would like to mention valuable advices and help in field provided by Mgr. Monika Michálková, Ph.D, Ing. Andrej Škrinár and Mgr. Libuše Vodová.

References Cittero, A. and Piégay, H., 2009. Overbank sedimentation rates in former channel lakes: characterization and control factors. Sedimentology., 56, 2, p. 461-482. Constantine, J. A., Dunne, T., Piégay, H. and Mathias Kondolf, G., 2010. Controls on the alluviation of oxbow lakes by bedmaterial load along the Sacramento River, California. Sedimentology. 57, 2, pp. 389–407. Dunne, T., Constantine, J.A, Singer, M.B., 2010. The role of sediment transport and sediment supply in the evolution of river channel and floodplain complexity. Transactions, Japanese Geomorphological Union. 2010, 31, 2, pp. 155-170. Gagliano, S.M., Howard, P.C., 1984. The neck cutoff oxbow lake cycle along the Lower Mississippi River. River Meandering, pp. 147-158. Gay. G.R., Gay, H.H., Gay, W.H., Martinson, H.A., Meade, R.H., Moody, J.A., 1998. Evolution of cutoffs across meander necks in Powder River, Montana, USA. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. 23, 7, pp. 651-662. Glinska-Lewczuk, K., 2009. Water quality dynamics of oxbow lakes in young glacial landscape of NE Poland in relation to their hydrological connectivity. Ecological Engineering. 35, 1, pp. 25-37. Hooke, J. M., 1995. River channel adjustment to meander cutoffs on the River Bollin and River Dane, northwest England. Geomorphology. 14, 3, pp. 235-253. Kovář, P., Janoušková, P., Koppová, J., Köppl, P., Křivánek, M., 2002. Vegetační sukcese v nivě řeky pět let po záplavě. Ţiva. 88, 6, pp. 253–257. Micheli, E. R.., Larsen, E. W., 2010. River channel cutoff dynamics, Sacramento River, California, USA. River Research and Application. 27, 3, pp. 328-344. Mills, H.H., Mills, R.T., 2001. Evolution of undercut slopes on abandoned incised meanders in the Eastern Highland Rim of Tennessee, USA. Geomorphology. 38, 3-4, pp. 317-336.

Water - June 2012

How sustainable are water facilities in Bogotá? Water use and abuse in Bogotá-city, Colombia Inge Wiekenkamp, MSc. Student Earth Sciences, University of Amsterdam Erasmus Student Freie Universität Berlin

3.) Which (environmental/ economical) problems concerning water are currently found in Bogotá city and the Sabana de Bogotá? Afterwards, possible solutions for these problems will be discussed. Background information

Summary Bogotá, the capital city and one of the most important cities of Colombia, is known for its location in the Andean mountain range. Although this city has a relatively large amount of available water sources, Bogotá is coping with water problems due to fast population growth. The resources used by the population of Bogotá city and its surrounding region “Sabana de Bogotá” are constantly under stress. Therefore, the city, EEAB (Empresa de Acueducto y Alcantarillado de Bogotá) CAR (Corporación de Autónoma Regional de Cundinamarca) and MAVDT (Colombia’s environment, housing and territorial development ministry) have the task to find new solutions to provide enough water for the citizens. In this article, the natural hydrological cycle of the region “Sabana de Bogotá” is compared with the current hydrological regime. Subsequently, the sustainability of Bogotá’s water facilities will be discussed. Finally, several problems arising from “water abuse” (ground water overexploitation, wrong wastewater treatment, floodings) will be explained. 1. Introduction

2.1 Urban history and an overview of Bogotá The city of Bogotá (4.6°N and 74.1°W), situated in the Andean Mountain Range of Colombia (figure 1) is currently the largest, fastest growing and most important city of Colombia with an estimated population of 7.5 million inhabitants (see figure 2) (Alcaldía Mayor de Bogotá D.C., 2011). The large number of inhabitants is the cause of urbanization and demographic growth which have started in the 1950’s. These processes were on its turn caused by the industrialization and a subsequent more stable economy in Colombia (Rueda-García, 2003). Before industrialization took place in Colombia, the rural population of the region Bogotá was larger than the urban population (6,995,415 vs. 4,459,345; see figure graph 1 and table 1). After the “Operation Colombia” in the 1950’s, which besides industrial development caused agricultural modernization, the traditional rural society decreased and people started moving to urban areas. This, on the larger time scale, caused the urban population of the Bogotá region to

Figure 1: Location of Bogotá Source: Shadowxfox (Basemap) and Alexrk2 (Relief) via Wikimedia Commons

be three times as large as the rural population these days (31,707,820 vs. 9,471,167; see graph 1 and table 1). Bogotá city in specific, as most important nucleus of this region, has even known a constant demographic growth since the last decades. 2.2 Climate According to Köppen, Bogotá, located at a height of ca. 2650 m (Lampis, 2007), is classified as a Cwb climate: a warm temperate climate with dry winters (Lampis, 2007; Peel et al, 2007). In the city, daily temperatures can vary from 8 up to 20 degrees (Skinner, R, 2004; Grieser et al. 2006). In extreme cases, temperatures of -8°C can be reached during the dry season (Lampis, 2007). These large daily fluctuations are, however, not visible in the monthly average tem-

Water, one of the main sources humans need to survive, is a very important topic in many arid regions of our world as the water shortage is large in these regions. Bogotá (Colombia) located in a subtropical region, has a relatively large amount of fresh water available. Nevertheless, the city is continuously fighting for a sufficient amount of potable water as the local population is dramatically increasing and the demand for water is larger than ever before. In this paper the following related questions will be answered: 1.) Which water resources are available in Bogotá city and its surroundings? 2.) What is the demand for water and why has it grown?

Graph 1: Population changes in urban and rural areas in Bogotá D.C. from 1951 -2000 Source: Rueda-García, 2003; based on: Cuervo and González (1997) Table 9.7p.340; DANE, Census 1951, 1964, 1973, 1985, 1993 and projections 2000


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Table 1: Population changes in urban and rural areas in Bogotá D.C. from 1951-2000 Source: Rueda-García, 2003; based on: Cuervo and González (1997) Table 9.7 p.340; DANE, Census 1951, 1964, 1973, 1985, 1993 and projections 2000

Figure 2: Growth of Bogotá city from 1950 -1990 and the Population growth of Bogotá D.C. compared to other regions Sources: Rueda-Garcia, 2003.

peratures (see graph 3), as extreme cold and warm temperatures are outweighed. During the year, no seasonal fluctuations can be found as the city is located in the Torrid Zone (the tropics) (Gutiérrez & Dracup, 2001; Lampis, 2007). Variations in rainfall throughout the year are, however, large. Looking at graph 3, two main rain-periods can be recognized: one taking place from March until June and one in October. Irregularities in rainfall and temperature in Bogotá are mainly caused

by the La Niña en El Niño phenomena (Ortiz, 2011 & Lapis, 2007). These phenomena are common in Colombia and cause periods of extreme drought or rain. 2.3 The “Water Cycle” in and around Bogotá city Bogotá city is connected to several important parts of the water cycle within the region. One very significant element is the Bogota River on the western side of the city. Eastward of the river, three urban

Graph 2: The Climate of Bogotá City, Source: Erdpunkte, 2010.


tributaries are flowing through the city into Bogota River (figure 3). The rainwater, feeding the groundwater or flowing overland (Horton overland flow/saturated overland flow), finally ends up in Bogota River which transports the water into SouthWestern direction to finally merge with the Magdalena River. Besides the rivers and the groundwater, wetlands form a very important element of the hydrological system in this region. In earlier days, the extension of wetlands was much larger than these days. Fragmentation due to urbanization caused the amount and the sizes of these wetlands to be reduced up to ± 2 percent of the former extend (Idarraga, 2011). At the moment, 13 wetlands are still found in Bogotá city: Torca, Guaymaral, La Conejara, Córdoba, Tibanica, Jaboque, La Florida, El Gualí Techo, El Burro, Tibabuyes o Juan Amarillo, Laguna La Herrera, Neuta, Medidor y Santa María del Lago (figure 4). These wetlands have a vital connection to aquifers. They are able to provide water to the aquifer or receive water from the aquifer, which depends on the hydraulic head as well as location, groundwater level and the permeability of the layers in between the aquifer and the wetland (Parties on the convention of Wetlands, 2005).

amount of fresh water sources in the surroundings of the city (water from rivers, groundwater, wetlands and the páramo ecosystem). The large stress on the water cycle due to domestic use, industrial consumption, agricultural consumption and by the generation of hydropower has increased enormously with the last 50 years. Since the rapid population growth started back in the 1950’s, the capital is using more and more water-resources. In 1933, the water from the rivers San Francisco and San Agustin was not sufficient anymore to supply the citizens and was therefore replaced by water from the river Tunjuelito (Colmenares Faccini, 2010).

Figure 3: Bogota River and tributaries Source: Rodrigues et al., 2008.

The Andeán páramo ecosystem also plays a key role within the hydrological cycle close to Bogotá city. As the páramo vegetation has a large water surplus, it sustains a stable base flow and is responsible for feeding Bogotá’s river and tributaries (Buytaert et al., 2006). According to Hincapié et al. (2002) the Colombian páramo can store an estimated amount of 1400 mm water per year, which is a large part of the annual rainfall.

In 1959, the water from the Tunjuelito River also did not serve the needs of the population anymore and water from the Bogotá River was added to the water supply. In 1980, after reaching an amount of 5 million inhabitants, water from Chingaza region (see figure 6) was needed to provide enough water for all citizens. For the transfer of water from the Chigaza region to Bogotá, the Guatiquiá River was used (Colmenares Faccini, 2010).

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On top of all of this, water has become privatized by law in 1994 (law no. 142). Three different organizations/companies are responsible for all water supplies in Bogotá: - The EAAB: Empresa de Acueducto y Alcantarillado de Bogotá - The CAR: Corporación Autónoma Regional de Cundinamarca that is responsible for the protection of environmental resources and in specific focused on water - The MAVDT: Colombia’s environment, housing and territorial development ministry As visible in the enumeration above, the government is partly still responsible for water protection. EAAB, however, provides the water to its customers (Colmenares Faccini, 2010). At the moment, Bogotá is using 25 m³/sec from all mentioned water resources, 1 m³/ sec from the Tunjuelito River, 10.5 m³/sec from Bogotá River and 13.5 m³/sec from Chingaza (Colmenares Faccini, 2010). 3. The effect of water use/abuse in Bogotá on the water cycle Some effects of urbanization on the hydrological cycle according to

Finally, soil type, geology and permeability of the layers are important for infiltration, groundwater recharge and the amount and size of aquifers that can be found in the region. The soil of the Bogotá region mainly consists of lacustrine and fluvial sediments, deposited in the last 6 Ma (Helmens & van der Hammen, 1994) (see figure 5). This causes a rather good groundwater recharge in the region, and as the soil in the region is partly characterized by peat, a lot of water is captured in the páramo, in the peaty soil or in the aquifers. Within these sediment deposits, several aquifers can be found. Within the quaternary basin is the Guadelupe Aquifer, (thickness 500-750m, transmissivity 5-536 m²/day, storage: 1*10-2 to 9*10-7 L-1) in fractured thick sandstones and clay stones. Pliocene-Quaternary aquifers can be found on top of the Lower Tertiary rocks, which mainly consist of small thin aquifers with a similar storage capacity (2*10-2 to 7*10-7 L-1) and a smaller thickness (0.5m to 5 meter) as the Guadelupe Aquifer (Lobo-Guerrero, 1992). 2.4





Bogotá has a good location for water supply; the city has access to a large

Figure 4: Wetlands and other elements of the hydrological system in Bogotá Source: Moreno et al., 2011.


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In 2004, the population of Bogotá consumed 94 liters per day per capita. Most of this water returns unfiltered back into the rivers Tunjuelo, Fucha and Saltire (see figure 3), which is strange for a city in which almost 96% of the wastewater system is already developed. The problem of wastewater returning directly back into the rivers is caused by some of the following complications/ problems: 3.2.1 The combined sewer system

Figure 5: Sediment depositions in the Bogotá Region, based on: Helmens & van der Hammen, 1994.

Goonetilleke et al. (2005) are: changes in runoff ratios; changes in impermeable areas; an increased runoff peak and volume; a reduced time to peak; a reduction in the retention capacity; a change in water infiltration into the soil. Most of these changes are also taking place in Bogotá D.C.: more flooding have been taking place in Bogotá due to canalization of the Bogotá River and the destruction of the wetlands (as mentioned in chapter 2). The most important characterizing water problems in Bogotá are however: aquifer overexploitation, unsustainable water use, flood-control and water contamination. 3.1 Aquifer and river overexploitation In the Bogotá region (Sabana de Bogotá), there has not been enough surface water to satisfy the water demand of the region for the last 50 years (Lobo-Guerrero, 2003). Lately, more groundwater is being extracted and more and costlier wells are constructed to provide towns, agricultural fields and the industry with a sufficient amount of water. In the last 40 years, the groundwater seems to be, however, more difficult to reach. EAAB is therefore building newer and deeper wells since 1970 to keep providing a sufficient amount of water for the growing population. As with the growing amount of wells too much water is extracted from these aquifers, the groundwater is descending in several aquifers within the Guadeloupe formation (quaternary aquifers) and groundwater extraction is becoming more uncontrolled than before (Lobo-Guerrero, 1995). At the moment, groundwater is extracted from more than 5,000 wells in the


region Bogotá (Lobo-Guerrero, 2003). This number of groundwater wells causes groundwater extraction to be uncontrolled and changes the renewable groundwater source into a non-renewable source. In many of these aquifers the groundwater has descended 35 m per year in the last years. In some aquifers the groundwater has even descended up to 8 meters per year, which can have many negative consequences (Lobo-Guerrero, 1995). One earlier mentioned consequence is the difficulty to reach the groundwater in the future. Another complication is overpressure in overexploited groundwater wells. Besides these local problems another consequence of a lower water table is the compaction of soils and subsidence of quaternary sediment layers, which causes problems for infrastructure (houses, paved roads, etc.) (Lobo-Guerrero, 1995). Other important consequences of the lowering of the potentiometric level are the disappearance of mountain front springs, streams and wetland (Lobo-Guerrero, 1995). The stress on the Bogotá River has become larger during the last years as more water is being extracted from the river. The maximum amount of water that can be extracted in order to maintain a balanced water cycle is said to be 10 m³/year according to Professor Thomas van der Hammen (in: Colmares Faccini, 2010). According to Rafael Colmares Faccini (2010) the actual extraction of water is said to be 4 to 5 times as large as this maximum. This indirectly causes the water table to be lower and the amount of available groundwater to be even smaller. 3.2 Waste water treatment: Bogotá’s urban drainage system The amount of water used per day by the population of Bogotá is very large.

Bogotá city knows a widely developed sewer system with channelized streams and wastewater interceptors. On top of that, the city also constructed a storm drainage system in order to prevent flooding during extreme rainfall events. According to Rodríguez et al. (2008), this system, however, is not working due to wrong infrastructure: “There are many wrong connections from the waste water system flowing into the storm drainage system”. They, moreover, mention that the percentage of wrong connections from the storm drainage system into the waste water system varies from 23% to 90%. The consequence of this inappropriate infrastructure is a poor water quality in the storm drainage channels. This poor water quality causes a bacteriological water contamination (mean Total Coliform concentration: 1*108 MPN/100 ml) (Rodríguez et al., 2008). 3.2.2 The lack of wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) Bogotá city has a daily wastewater flow of an estimated 75 liters per capita (88 liters used, 0.85 return factor - according to Rodríguez et al., 2008). As a part of this wastewater is contaminated, wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) are needed to be able to re-use water. In contrast to the largely developed sewer system, Bogotá only has one WWTP in the Saltire sub catchment. Saltire WWTP is able to treat an estimate of 25% of all wastewater. Even if normally, a percentage of 40% waste water treatment is demanded (Rodríguez et al., 2008), this is not available in Bogotá city. Even if according to Vollertsen and Hvitved-Jacobsen (2000) the direct discharge of urban dry weather wastewater is generally not accepted, the pollution of Bogotá River by the direct discharge of urban wastewater is a well-known problem in Bogotá city. Moreover, the Bogotá River does not have the capacity for self-purification due to the low slope angle, small longitudinal slope, high altitude and medium temperature

Water - June 2012

Figure 6: The location of the Chingaza’s National Park, where water is extracted to supply for Bogotá Source: www.maps.google.com (edited)

(Rodríguez et al., 2008). 3.3 Flooding & Water storage in soils The rapid urbanization since 1950 did not only cause a fast population growth for the city and a subsequent large demand for water, it also caused complications with water storage and related to that, flood control. As the Bogotá river has been channelized and wetlands have been destructed, the space for water has become smaller and smaller. And as wrong sewer infrastructure causes a poor water quality, it also affects the amount of water that can be captured by the storm drainage system; as wastewater is also collected in these tubes; there is less space available for flood water (Rodríguez et al., 2008). With the destruction of wetlands, much of the páramo-vegetation has also been destructed in the past. As páramo soils are comparable with peat soils (high organic carbon content), they are highly porous and have a high hydraulic conductivity. The páramo therefore provides a large water surplus and feeds rivers with a sustainable base flow (Buyteart et al, 2006). The destruction of páramo vegetation in the last decades altered this storage capacity. While páramo vegetation is disappearing, soils are losing their organic carbon content and overland flow takes place. All factors mentioned above have altered

the water cycle and cause a more frequent occurrence of flooding in Bogotá city. 4. Future planning

et al., 2008). Finally, an environmental and hydrological study will be carried out. 5. Discussion & Conclusion

Bogotá city and its surroundings have many problems with water use and abuse, as is shown in section 3. The EEAB, CAR and MAVDT are, however, constantly trying to find solutions for larger water supplies, but also action against flooding is undertaken. The “Rio Bogota’s Environmental Recuperation and Flood Control Project for Colombia”, financed by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Borrower, has been set up in combination with the CAR, EAAB and District government.

Bogotá city is a good example of a city with unsustainable water management (“water-abuse”). Some of the most important points are: river pollution by an insufficient treatment of wastewater, flooding hazard due to urbanization and páramo deforestation and groundwater overexploitation.

One mission of the project is to improve flood control by restoring parts of the original river flood plain and wetlands in Bogotá. The World Bank (2010) describes the project as the following: “This component will reduce flood risk and establishment of multifunctional zones along the Río Bogota river through the carrying out of flood control and environmental improvement works, including river dredging, embankment construction, restoration of riparian habitats, meanders and wetlands, land acquisition, involuntary displacement of people, landscape design, and establishment of parks, and the provision of consultants’ services for the design, construction and supervision therefor.”

Besides groundwater overexploitation all other problems are said to be resolved by the Rio Bogota Environmental Recuperation and Flood Control Project for Colombia. The price for resolving this environmental problem is, however, high: the whole project is said to cost 500 Million US Dollar (World Bank, 2010). As water in the past has become extremely expensive for Bogotá citizens (compared to other cities in Colombia) the question remains if this water will also remain affordable for the local population.

Another part of the plan is to complete the wastewater network and to upgrade Saltires WWTP capacity up to double (from 4 m³/sec up to 8 m³/sec) (Rodríguez


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References Alcaldía Mayor de Bogotá D.C., 2011. Viewed, 20 April 2011: http://www.sdp.gov.co/section-2117.jsp Buyteart, W. Célleri, R. De Bièvre, B. Cisneros, F. Wyseure, G. Deckers, J. Hofstede, R. 2006. Human Impact on the hydrology of the Andean páramos. Earth Science Reviews 79: pp. 53-72. Cuervo, L.M., and González, J., 1997. Industria y Ciudades en la era de la Mundialización. Colciencias, CIDER, TM Editores, Bogotá D.C. Colmenares Faccini, R. (Director Ejectivo Ecofondo), 2010. El agua y Bogotá: un panorama de insostenibilidad, viewed 20 April 2011: http:// www.usofrenteobrero.org/pdf/se³aury/41.pdf Prof. Nicolás Rueda-García, for: Development Planning Unit (DPU), 2003. Understanding Slums: Case studies for the Global Report on Human Settlements 2003 – The case of Bogotá D.C., Colombia. Erdpunkte, 2010. Klimagrafiken - Kolumbien Bogota.png, viewed 20 April 2011: http://www. erdpunkte.de/images/stories/Klimagrafiken/ Kolumbien%20-%20Bogota.png Goonetilleke, A. Thomas, E. Ginn, S. and Gilbert, D., 2005. Understanding the role of land use in urban stormwater quality management. J. Environ. Manage: 74, 31- 42. Grieser, J. Gommes, R. Colfield, S and Bernardi, M. (The Agromet Group, SDRN, FAO of the UN), 2006. Short Classification of Koeppen Classes, Italy, viewed 26 April 2011: http://user. uni-frankfurt.de/~grieser/downloads/KoeppenClimatology/KoeppenClasses.pdf Gutierrez, F. and Dracup, J.A. 2001. An analysis of the feasibility of long-range streamflow forecasting for Colombia using El Nino-Southern Oscillation indicators. Journal of Hydrology 246(1-4):181-196 Helmens, K.F. and van der Hammen, T., 1994. The Pliocene and quaternary of the high plain of Bogota (Colombia): A history of tectonic uplift, basin development and climatic change. Quaternary International, Vol. 21, pp. 41-61. Hincapié, J.C.A., Castillo, C.B., Argüello, S.C., Aguilera, D.P.R., Holguín, F.S., Triana, J.V., Lopera, A., 2002. Transformación y cambio en el uso del suelo en los páramos de Colombia en las últimas décadas. In: Castaño, C. (Ed.), Páramos y ecosistemas alto andinos de Colombia en condición hotspot y global climatic tensor. IDEAM, Bogotá, pp. 211–333. Idarraga, G. Protección del estado natural de los humedales de lasabana de Bogotá, viewed 20th of April, 2011: http://www.scribd.com/ doc/53955924/Proteccion-Humedales. Lampis, A., 2007. Urbanization y Global Climate Change: Bogotá – Colombia. CIDER, Universidad de los Andes.


Lobo-Guerrero, A., 1992. Geologiá y Hidrogeologia de Santafé de Bogotá y su Sabana. VII Jornaddas Geotècnicas de la Ingenieria de Colombia-I-Foro Sobre Geotécnica de la Sabana de Bogotá ; (II): 1-12, Sociedad Colombiana de Ingenieros-Sociedad Colombiana de Geotécnica, Bogotá. Lobo-Guerrero, A., 1995. Descendo de Niveles de Agua Subterránea en la Sabana de Bogotá. Jornadas geotecnicas de la Ingenieria de Colombia-II-Foro Sobre Geotécnica de la Sabana de Bogotá. Sociedad Colombiana de Ingenieros-Sociedad Colombiana de Geotécnica, Bogotá. Lobo-Guerrero, A., 2003. Effects of aquifer overexploitation on the surface nfrastructure in the Bogotá Sabana (Colombia). Materials and Geoenvironment, Vol. 50: pp. 193-196. Moreno, V., Garciá, J.F., Villalba, J.C., 2011. Descripción General de los Humedales de Bogotá D.C. Sociedad Geográfica de Colombia, Academia de Ciencias Geográficas , viewed 25th of April, 2011: http:// www.sogeocol.edu.co/documentos/humed.pdf Ortiz, LR., 2011. El Fenómeno de la Niña en Bogotá. Plaza Capital, viewed 25th of April, 2011: http://portal.urosario.edu.co/plazacapital/ articulo.php?articulo=126 Parties to the convention on wetlands, 2005. Guidelines for the management of groundwater to maintain wetland ecological character. 9th meeting of the conference of the parties to the convention on wetlands, “Wetlands and water: supporting life, sustaining livelihoods”, Kampala, Uganda. Peel, MC, Finlayson, BL and McMahon, TA, 2007. Updated world map of the Köppen-Geiger climate classification. Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci., 11: pp. 1633–1644. Rodríguez, JP. Diaz-Granados, MA. Camacho, LA.Raciny, IC.Maksimovic, C. and McIntyre, N. 2008. Bogotá’s urban drainage system: context, research activities and perspectives. BHS 10th National Hydrology Symposium Exeter. Rueda-García, N., 2003. The case of Bogotá D.C., Colombia. Universidad de Los Andes, Bogotá, viewed, 25th of April, 2011: http://www. ucl.ac.uk/dpu-projects/Global_Report/pdfs/Bogota.pdf Skinner, R, 2004. City Profile Bogotá. Cities, volume 21, issue 1: pp. 73-81. Stepmap.de, 2011. Landkarte Kolumbien, viewed 26th of April: http://www.stepmap.de/ landkarte/kolumbien-laenderinfo-119305.png Vollertsen, J. and Hvitved-Jacobsen, T., 2000. Sewer quality modelling – a dry weather approach. Urban Water, 2: pp. 295-303. Word Bank, 2010. Bogotá River Project

information Document, viewed 21st of April 2011: http://web.worldbank.org/external/projects/main?projid=P111479&theSitePK=40941 &piPK=51351143&pagePK=51351001&menu PK=51351213&Type=Overview

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The role of water objects in the area of the Udmurt Republic Aino Kirillova, EGEA Moscow Historically, people settled down along the rivers, which provided them with a water resource. The rivers are a source of life. Furthermore, they are a source of knowledge about the culture of a community, which dwelled on the sides of a water body and gave names to it. Let us consider a case study of the Udmurt Republic, one of the federal subjects of Russia. The republic is located in the eastern portion of the Eastern European Plain, between the Kama and Vyatka Rivers. Udmurtia is called the Land of Springs, because there are 8,5 thousand rivers, both big and tiny. The Rivers have diverse water sources of delivery, mostly snow, rain and subterranean water. The valleys of many of the rivers are meandering streams with rapids. The Kama river is the largest in Udmurtia (Figure 1). The name of the river possibly originates from the Udmurt word kam - which means “river, big water”. Such kinds of hydronyms

could be found in many Indo-Iranian and Finno-Ugric languages, so there is no consensus about its origin. From the economic and historical point of view, the significance of the Kama River for the republic is quite important. It has been used for shipping and wood floating; as well as being a source of water supply, hydropower and storage of fish resources [2, 51]. The next largest river is the Vyatka, which is the right tributary of the Kama River. The name, perhaps, goes back to the Finno-Ugric hydronym Uento which means “slow, calm and deep”. The largest tributary of the Vyatka is the Cheptsa (Figure 2). The Udmurt people, who first settled along it, called it Chupchi. Linguists think that the name originated from the Finno-Ugric chup (“Gulf”) and chi (“river, stream”), literally: “the river which pours into the bay”. The second tributary of the Vyatka is the Kil’mez. Udmurts call it Kalmez. It possibly comes from old Udmurt word cal, which means “little fish”, and the suffix – Meuse, which means “water source”.

The rivers were the only sustainable way of transportation in ancient times and in the Middle Ages, which is why the population settled mainly along the river banks. This predetermined the type of spatial structure of the riverine settlement in the Kama-Vyatka region [1, 2009, p.212]. The predominant location of settlements was along the small rivers. (Figure 3, authorChurakov V.S. 2009). This was more convenient for the construction of mills, which was important for the agricultural economy. Settlements along major rivers were small (about 5% of all settlements); as the coast is mostly marshy, and they were not of fishing significance. The authors of the study “Historical and Cultural Landscape of the Kama-Vyatka Region” [1, 2009] wrote about certain principles of the historical and cultural landscape formation as the effect of various ethnic communities adjusting to living conditions in different historical periods in the Kama region. Historical sites represent different periods of economic and cultural human activities in definite natural conditions. Natural-cultural sites (e.g.

Figure 1: The Kama River, Source: Photo by Aino Kirillova, 2009


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springs), water bodies (rivers, lakes) may be referred to as natural sanctuaries.Often they are unique original water objects. For example, the karst lake Lyzi in Udmurtia, is associated with several legends. In ancient times, people often prayed there. They called the water body the sacred lake. Scientists pay attention to the other karst lakes, which were also the place for religious ceremonies.

Figure 2: The Cheptsa River, Source: Photo by Aino Kirillova, 2010

It is possible to reconstruct the fragments of history due to physical geographical research. The Professor Y. Simonov [4, 2008, p. 314] wrote: “Through analysis of a river basin, you can get the information helping to restore the history of relief development, eco-geomorphologic analysis of the situation and thus predict changes”. It is crucial for landscape management and sustainable development. It is obvious that water bodies can be an instrument of research and a unique source of information about cultural and historical heritage of the region. It has shown how important water objects in Udmurt Republic are in the regional settlement system. References [1] Historical and cultural landscape of the Kama-Vyatka region: The Collective monograph. Izhevsk, 2009, p.244. [2] Kirillova L. Kama river in the writing of researchers // Permistika XI: Dialects and history of the Permian language in the cooperation with other languages: Materials of XI International Symposium.Perm University, Perm, 2006, p.50-55 [3] Kirillova L. Microtoponyms of Kilmez basin. Izhevsk, 2002, p.571 [4] Simonov Y. Selected proceeding. Moscow, 2008, p.384 [5] The Udmurt Republic: Encyclopaedia. Izhevsk, 2000. p.800 [6] Udmurt part of Kama region by descriptions XVIIXVIII centuries. The electronic edition. Churakov V. Udmurt Institute of History, Language and Literature, 2009

Figure 3: Sketch map of location of Udmurt settlements on the area of contemporary Udmurt Republic at the beginning of the XVIII century; circles – villages; triangles - emerging rural settlements Source: Churakov V.S. 2009 (Удмуртское Прикамье по писцовым описаниям и подворным переписям XVII - начала XVIII веков [Электронный ресурс] / автор-сост. Чураков В. С. — Ижевск: УИИЯЛ УрО РАН, 2009. Номер гос. регистрации 0320900868)


[1] Историко-культурный ландшафт КамскоВятского региона: Коллективная монография. Ижевск, 2009. С.244 [2] Кириллова Л. Е. Река Кама в трудах исследователей // Пермистика XI: Диалекты и история пермских языков во взаимодействии с другими языками: Материалы XI Международного симпозиума (30–31 марта 2006 г., Пермь) / Перм. гос. пед. ун-т; Отв. ред. Л. Г. Пономарева. Пермь, 2006. С. 50–55. [3] Кириллова Л. Е. Микротопонимия бассейна Кильмези. Ижевск, 2002. С. 571. [4] Cимонов Ю. Г. Избранные труды. Москва, 2008.С.384. [5] Удмуртская Республика: Энциклопедия. Ижевск: Издательство «Удмуртия», 2000. С.800 [6] Удмуртское Прикамье по писцовым описаниям и подворным переписям XVII – начало XVIII веков. Электронное издание. Чураков В. С., предисловие, составление, оригинал-макет, Удмуртский институт истории, языка и литературы УрО РАН, 2009.

Water - June 2012

Virtual water trade Daria Golub, EGEA Saint-Petersburg, Russian State Hydrometeorological University Water should be considered an economic good. The logic is clear: clean fresh water is a scarce good and thus should be treated economically. In dealing with the available water resources in an economically efficient way, there are three different levels at which decisions can be made and improvements can be achieved. The first level is the user level, where price and technology play a key role.

This is the level where the ‘local water use efficiency’ can be increased by creating awareness among the water users, charging prices based on full marginal cost and by stimulating water-saving technology.

also a fact that in some regions there is a low demand for water and in other regions a high demand. Unfortunately, there is no general positive relation between water demand and availability.

Second, at the catchment or river basin level, a choice has to be made on how to allocate the available water resources to the different sectors of economy (including public health and the environment). At this level we speak of ‘water allocation efficiency’.

A water-scarce country can aim at importing products that require a lot of water in their production (water-intensive products) and exporting products or services that require less water (water-extensive products). For water-abundant countries an argumentation can be made for export of virtual water. Import of water-intensive products by some nations and export of these products by others includes what is called ‘virtual water trade’ between nations (Hoekstra & Hung, 2003).

Beyond ‘local water use efficiency’ and ‘water allocation efficiency’ there is a level at which one could talk about ‘global water use efficiency’. It is a fact that some regions of the world are water-scarce and other regions are water-abundant. It is

Virtual water Virtual water is a term used for the water ‘embodied’ in a product, not in real sense, but in virtual sense. It refers to the water needed for the production of the product. As an example of virtual water content, one often refers to the virtual water content of grains or livestock products.

Figure 1: The three different levels in dealing with water Source: Hoekstra, A.Y., 2003

It is estimated that for producing 1 kg of grain we need for instance 1000-2000 kg of water, for the production of 1 kg of cheese we need 5000-5500 kg of water, and for 1 kg of beef we need on average

Figure 2: National virtual water trade balances over the period 1995-1999. Red represents net import, green net export. Source: Hoekstra, A.Y., 2003


The European Geographer, 8th Issue

Figure 3: Assessment of global virtual water trade between nations (period 1995-1999) according to the IHE study Source: Hoekstra, A.Y., 2003

16000 kg of water (Chapagain & Hoekstra, 2003). The concept of ‘virtual water’ was introduced by Tony Allan in the early nineties. It took nearly a decade to get global recognition of the importance of the concept for achieving regional and global water security. The first international meeting on the subject was held in December 2002 in Delft, the Netherlands. World-wide, both politicians and the general public show increasing interest in the pros and cons of the ‘globalization’ of trade. This is understandable, since increasing global trade implies increased interdependence of nations. There is some tension in the debate, relating to the fact that the game of global competition is played with rules that many see as unfair. Knowing that economically sound water pricing is poorly developed in many regions of the world means that many products are put on the world market at a price that does not properly include the cost of the water contained in the product. This leads to situations in which some regions in fact subsidise export of scarce water (Hoekstra & Hung, 2003). Quantifying virtual water trade flows Hoekstra and Hung, 2003; Chapagain and Hoekstra, 2003 estimate global virtual water trade between nations to be 1040×109 m3/yr in the period 1995-1999. This estimation is based on the virtual water content of the products in the exporting countries. Virtual water - virtual benefits? The virtual water hypothesis makes a priori sense and could, if used wisely, help forestall conflict. The virtual water thesis posits a self-restoring mechanism in a world out of equilibrium due to the sharply


unequal global water distribution picture. However, there is a problem with the underlying assumption that this equilibrium will be reached spontaneously, and that it will benefit everyone. It will redistribute stress and insecurity in ways that may heighten rather than dampen social conflict. While a reserve of virtual water sources can alleviate the stresses of adjustment, it also takes the human factor out of the equation (Warne, 2003). Global water saving related to international virtual water trade The water productivity – the volume of water required per unit of product – is often higher at the production site than at the consumption site. This means that the real virtual water content of a product, which depends on the production conditions at the production site, is often lower than the hypothetical virtual water content of the product if the product would have been produced at the consumption site. According to Renault (2003) for instance, trading 1 kg of maize from France to Egypt saves about 0.52 m3 of water, because the virtual water content of the French maize is about 0.6 m3/kg, whereas the virtual water content of Egyptian maize is about 1.12 m3/kg. They estimate that the virtual water content of international food trade flows is 683×109 m3/yr from the point of view of the exporting countries. Producing the traded food products in the importing countries would require 1138×109 m3/yr. The difference makes the global water saving (Hoekstra, 2003).

References Hoekstra, A.Y. and Hung, P.Q., 2003. Virtual water trade: A quantification of virtual water flows between nations in relation to international crop trade. Virtual water trade: Proceedings of the International Expert Meeting on Virtual Water Trade, Research Report Series No. 12: pp. 25-30. Chapagain, A.K. and Hoekstra, A.Y., 2003. ‘Virtual water trade: A quantification of virtual water flows between nations in relation to international trade of livestock and livestock products’. Virtual water trade: Proceedings of the International Expert Meeting on Virtual Water Trade, Research Report Series No. 12: pp. 49-57. Warner, J., 2003. ‘Virtual water – virtual benefits? Scarcity, distribution, security and conflict reconsidered’. Virtual water trade: Proceedings of the International Expert Meeting on Virtual Water Trade, Research Report Series No. 12: pp. 125-133. Renault, D., 2003. “Value of virtual water in food: Principles and virtues”. Virtual water trade: Proceedings of the International Expert Meeting on Virtual Water Trade, Research Report Series No. 12: pp. 77-81. Hoekstra, A.Y., 2003. Virtual water: An introduction. Virtual water trade: Proceedings of the International Expert Meeting on Virtual Water Trade, Research Report Series No. 12: pp. 1317.

Water - June 2012

Water consumption in figures and ways to reduce it Olga Chernopitskaya EGEA Saint-Petersburg “A sip of water opens the doors of paradise” Norwegian proverb Water is everywhere. It is hard to imagine our daily life without water: most human activities and manufacturing processes require water. Water is, besides oxygen, the second most important substance on Earth. Two thirds of the earth’s surface is covered by water. Without water, a human being can only survive three days. The water content of an adult human body is about 78%. Water is essential for growing plants, which produce oxygen for animals and humans, which need this oxygen. The world stock of fresh water is around 35 million trillion liters. More than 97% of the water on the planet is salt water, around 2% is fresh water, stocked in snow and ice and less than 1 % of the water can be used for growing crops, manufacturing goods, personal hygiene and as drinking water. Every year, the human population increases by 83 million (Population Media Centre, 2009) and with this population growth, the demand for fresh water also increases (o8ode.ru, 2009). According to these growth rates, it is obvious that problems connected to fresh water are getting larger. Therefore, we have to realize how important it is, to save water and start doing it right now. Did you know that? World water supply in figures: • 24 million km3 of water (about 70% of all fresh water) is frozen in ice sheets, glaciers, permanent snow cover and permafrost (IFAD, 2011). • The rest of the fresh water is mostly found in water bearing soil layers, which are often being depleted rapidly. • 118639 trillion liters of water is settled in lakes, rivers and swamps; this also includes water in plants, in animals and in the atmosphere (cawater-info.net, 2008). Access to fresh water and diseases caused by the lack of it: • Nowadays, 1.1 billion people in the world do not have access to clean potable water. 470 million people live in regions where there is an acute water shortage. According to experts’ predictions by 2025 the number of people living in such

Figure 1: Coast of Alaska (2010) Source: Photo by Olga Chernopitskaya

regions will increase to 3 billion people. • In developing countries up to 90% of all waste water is not cleaned. • 2.4 billion People, i.e. two fifths of the world population live in countries and regions, which do not have enough treatment facilities and drainage systems (voda-water.com, 2010). • The average distance that women in Africa and Asia have to cover to collect water for their families is around 6 kilometers. The weight of the water which they carry on their head equals the maximum weight of allowable luggage on a plane (20 kg) (cawater-info.net, 2008). • On average, people living in poor districts of the cities pay 5 to 10 times more for one liter of water than those who live in the prosperous districts of the same city. • Poor water and bad sanitation practices cause 80% of all diseases in developing countries. • Every year, 3.5 million people die from diseases associated with the consumption of contaminated water. 84 % of them are children aged between 0 and 14 years. At the same time 98% of deaths associated with the consumption of contaminated water occur in developing countries. • Every 15 seconds, somewhere on the Earth, a child dies due to the consumption of contaminated water. Every year, 1.4 million children die because of diarrhea, caused by parasites in the drinking water. In 90 % of cases, these are children under 5 years old (voda-water.com, 2010). • In the world, more people are dying because of water shortages and inadequate sanitation than were killed in any war to date.

Consumption: • Nowadays, the average citizen uses around 250 liters of water in Europe per day. • The average citizen of the USA uses 1,664 cubic meters of fresh water per year (Egoshin A., 2009). • The world average volume of water consumption per person per year is 626 cubic meters of fresh water. • 1,000 liters of water are required to grow one kilogram of wheat. • 15,000 liters of water are required to obtain one kilogram of beef. • The average citizen of the USA and Europe that consumes meat uses 5,000 liters of water per day. At the same time, this person uses 100 to 250 liters of water per day on drinking and personal hygiene. • 2,400 liters of water are needed to produce a single hamburger. This number is derived from the amount of liters used for growing wheat and taking care of the cattle (Egoshin A., 2009). • Millions of beggars on the planet use about 19 liters of water per day. • 46 % of our world population does not have plumbing in their houses. • 70-80% of all consumable water in the world is used on agriculture. In the farming industry water is often used very ineffectively. What can we do? • Fix or change all leaking faucets. A defective faucet can drip 30-200 liters of water per day. Try to close the faucet properly. • Turn off the water when you brush teeth. • Due to a leak, there is constantly flowing water from a water closet supply tank to the toilet bowl. Because of such leaks dozens of liters of water are lost every day. Try to monitor the state of plumbing in the apartment and repair it in time. • If possible, purchase cost effective plumbing: for example, a toilet with two flush modes. • If your water closet supply tank is not equipped with two flush modes then a simple tool can be used to avoid water loss: Fill a 2 liter bottle with water and put it inside the supply tank. • Do not keep the faucet constantly on when you are doing the dishes. This can decrease the water consumption by 3 to 5 times. • Use your dishwasher and washing machines only at full load. • Do not defrost food products under hot water or steam. It is better to shift it from the freezer into the refrigerator in advance. • Taking a shower for 7 minutes instead of taking a bath reduces water consumption


The European Geographer, 8th Issue

countries with a large water stock. A lack of clean fresh water at the surface creates a complication and forces countries to use their underground water reserves more actively. In the European Union 70 % of all water, used by water consumers, is coming from underground aquifers. In arid countries water is almost entirely coming from underground recourses (Morocco – 75 %, Tunis – 95%and Saudi Arabia- 100 %).Aquifers can be found almost everywhere in the world, but some of them are being drastically overexploited (Egoshin A., 2008). Some experts state that fresh water does not disappear. It moves from one region to another, without losses in the total amount of water. The same experts believe that lack of fresh water in some regions can be solved by water supplies from water-rich regions of the Earth (like Russia, Brazil and Canada). However, these countries, including their citizens, do not show so much enthusiasm towards these concepts (Egoshin A., 2008). Figure 2: Waterfall on the Wrangell Island, Alaska (2010) Source: Photo by Olga Chernopitskaya

by 5 to 7 times. Using economical scatter shower heads with a smaller diameter of holes can also help to stop wasting water. • Every minute, 15 liters of water runs out of a fully open faucet. • For washing the dishes under a strong stream, you use more than 100 liters of water, for washing a car with a hose more than 300 liters. • If a family saves only 20 % of the water from their normal usage, the amount saved could form a lake of 200 meters in diameter and 2 meters depth every year. • To save fresh water in Hong Kong, sea water is used in water closet supply tanks. • When the crew of the International Space Station celebrated the implementation of the new water purification system, instead of toasting with glasses of Champagne they ‘clinked’ water bags filled with recycled urine. Upon tasting the resulting liquid, the astronauts assured everyone that the water is “just amazing”. • A new TV advertisement in Brazil calls upon all inhabitants of the country to pee in the shower to save water.

References IFAD, 2011. Water facts and figures. Last viewed 27.02.2012: http://www.ifad.org/english/water/key.htm Greenpeace, 2010.“How to preserve clean water? Tips for saving water at home”, Last viewed 19.02.2011, greenpeace.org Semenova, E., 2009. “Water on Earth”, Last viewed 16.02.2011:o8ode.ru; Voloshin, K., 2010.“World’s freshwater reserves- Facts and Figures”, Last viewed 15.02.2011: cawater-info.net; Boiko, S., 2010 “Lack of water”, Last viewed 17.02.2011: voda-water.com; Egoshin, A., 2008. “Unesco published the world map of groundwater stock”. Last viewed 18.02.2011:priroda.su; Egoshin, A.,2008. “The myth of a shortage of water on Earth”. Last viewed 26.02.2011: priroda.su; Egoshin A., 2009. “Water consumption in figures”. Last viewed 16.02.2011: priroda.su.

The lack of fresh water supply can be a good reason to start a war. If humanity now starts wars for oil, we could have wars for fresh water in the near future. Even if fresh water would be an inexhaustible resource, we have to respect it and should not waste it mindlessly. Some people are afraid to look silly when putting a brick in the water closet supply tank or when they water the plants with rainwater. Remember, however, that using knife and fork or taking care of our personal hygiene are also concepts that were only created in the last centuries.

These tips were provided by Greenpeace and a lot of them were successfully tested by me. For your consideration UNESCO published the ‘Atlas of Transboundary Aquifers’ in 2009. In this atlas, Russia, Brazil and some others equatorial African countries were classified as


Figure 3: Pacific ocean in Alaska (2010) Source: Photo by Olga Chernopitskaya

Water - June 2012

Curious facts about water Olga Chernopitskaya EGEA Saint-Petersburg • A well-known Latin saying sounds like this: “In vino veritas, in aqua sanitas” which means “In wine there is truth, in water there is health”. (Pliny the Elder, AD 77-79). • The most arid place on earth is the Atacama Desert in Chile (Extreme Science, 2011). • The rainiest place of our planet is Mount Waialealeon the Hawaiian island of Kauai. It is raining here 350 days a year (O’Meara, 2006). • The longest river in the world is the Nile River, which is 6671 km long (The XO Directory, 2011). The deepest is the AmazonRiver, which washes 5,520km3(Spitzy&Leenheer, 1991) of water to ocean every year (How Stuff Works, 2011). • The largest reservoir with potable water on Earth is the Baikal Lake: it has a volume of 23000km3 (World lakes, 2011). • According to UNESCO, the minimum amount of water required per person per day is 50 liters(K4health,1998). • At the14th April 1986, hail stones that were weighting up to 1 kg and that were about 20 cm in diameter killed 92 people in Bangladesh (The Watchers, 2011). • One 60-watt incandescent bulb may use up to 6,000 Gallons of water a year (1 Gallon is 4.54609 l (Science Daily, 2008). • The longest valley glacier is the Nabesna glacier. It is located in the mountainous region of Alaska and has a length of 90 kilometers (NPS.gov, 2010). • The largest geyser locale, containing thousands of hot springs and 300 to 500 geysers, is the Yellowstone National Park in the USA (Wikipedia, 2012). • The highest waterfall on earth is the Angel Falls in Venezuela. Its 980 meters make it 15 times higher than Niagara Falls (Extreme science, 2010). • According to UNESCO the purest water can be found in Finland (Earth observer, 2010). • It is quicker to get ice out of hot water than from cold water: Hot water freezes faster than cold (Think quest, 2009).

• Water has more than 3 well-known aggregate states: liquid, solid and gaseous. Scientists distinguish five different states of water in liquid form, and 14 states in frozen form (Earth observer, 2010). • Water is like glass: At minus 120 degrees Celsius, water is extra viscous or ropy, and at a temperature below minus 135 degrees Celsius it turns into “glass” water. “Glass” water is a solid substance which has no crystal structure (Earth observer, 2010). • Throughout its life, a human being drinks about 75 tons of water (Lenntech, 2008). • The most expensive water in the world is sold in Los Angeles. Vendors pack the precious liquid in a bottle with Swarovski crystals. This water is sold at a price of $ 90 per 1 liter (Earth observer, 2010). • Every year, March the 22nd this celebrated as the World Water Day. This date was approved at a UN conference in 1992 in order to attract public attention for the preservation and improvement of the quality and quantity of fresh water for present and future generations (Unwater, 1994). • A person loses 50 kcal spending15minutes in the water at 30° Celsius. The same person loses 100 kcal spending the same time in a bath of 24 degrees (Christianfinn, 2011). • Many people have a strong feeling of hunger after exercises in the pool. This is a result of the influence of cold water: it stimulates the internal organs, including stomach, creating this feeling of hunger. Therefore, the optimal water temperature in the pool is above 25 degrees (Christianfinn, 2011). • One of the most watery products on Earth is the watermelon. 93% of it consists of water (Earth observer, 2010). References Christianfinn, 2011. Is Swimming Good for Weight Loss? Viewed 20th of December 2011:http://www.thefactsaboutfitness.com/research/swimming.htm Earth observer, 2010. Interesting facts concerning water. Viewed 20th of December 2011: http://www.earthobserver.org/post/2010/03/22/ Interesting-facts-concerning-water.aspx Extreme science, 2010. Highest Waterfall in the World - Angel Falls. Viewed 20th of December 2011: http://www.extremescience.com/zoom/ index.php/earth-records/4-highest-waterfall

Extreme Science, 2011. Driest Place: Atacama Desert, Chile, Even the Driest Place on Earth has Water.Viewed 17th of October 2011: http:// www.extremescience.com/zoom/index.php/ driest-desert HowStuffWorks, 2011.The Amazon River. Viewed 17th of October 2011: http://geography.howstuffworks.com/southamerica/the-amazon-river.htm K4health, 1998. How water is Used. Viewed 20th of December 2011: http://info.k4health. org/pr/m14/m14chap2_2.shtml Lenntech, 2008.Water Facts and Trivia. Viewed 20thof December 2011: http://www.lenntech. com/water-trivia-facts.htm NPS.gov, 2010.Glaciers. Viewed on 20th of December 2011:http://www.nps.gov/wrst/naturescience/glaciers.htm O’Meara, 2006. The rainiest place on Earth: Mount Waialeale, Kauai, Hawaii (Geographic overview). Viewed 17th of October 2011: http:// www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-149069398.html Pliny the Elder, AD 77-79. Naturalis historia 14, 141. ScienceDaily, 2008. Water Needed To Produce Various Types Of Energy. Viewed, 20th of December 2011:http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/04/080417173953.htm Spitzy&Leenheer, 1991. Biogeochemistry of Major World River, Chapter 9: Dissolved Organic Carbon in Rivers in: SCOPE 42. Viewed 17th of October 2011: http://www.ic.ucsc. edu/~mdmccar/ocea213/readings/01_water/ Spitzy_1991_Leenheer_SCOPE_42_Biogeochem_World_Rivers_chapter09_DOC_world_ rivers.pdf The Watchers, 2011.“Melon-sized hailstone?!” Viewed 20th of December 2011: http://thewatchers.adorraeli.com/2011/05/29/melonsized-hailstone/ The XO Directory, 2011. Nile, Longest River in the World. Viewed 17th of October 2011: http:// thexodirectory.com/2011/01/nile-longest-riverin-the-world/ Think quest, 2009. Hot Water Freezes Faster Than Cold. Viewed 20thof December 2011: http://library.thinkquest.org/C008537/cool/ freeze/freeze.html Unwater, 1994. About World Water Day. Viewed 20th of December 2011:http://www.unwater.org/worldwaterday/about.html Wikipedia, 2012.Geyser. Viewed 20th of December 2011: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geyser Worldlakes, 2011. Lake Profile – Baikal. Viewed 20th of October 2011: http://www.worldlakes. org/lakedetails.asp?lakeid=8385


The European Geographer, 8th Issue

Drought, Dams, Development and Degradation: a 4D approach to sustainable water management in tropical highlands - Case study: Lake Tana catchment (Ethiopian Highlands) Ruben Maes EGEA Leuven Introduction According to the United Nations some parts of the Horn of Africa have recently been hit by the worst droughts in 60 years due to the prolonged failure of rainfall since the end of 2010 (BBC News, 28 June 2011). In total an estimated number of more than 10 million people, living in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia, are affected by drought. Low agricultural yields have raised the food prices and have subsequently already pushed many moderate poor households over the edge. Consequently a large number of people have already fled to neighboring countries (BBC News, 28 June 2011). Meanwhile large parts of those countries are characterized by large population growth and a further development, which requires more resources and needs. According to the IPCC (2007) more severe droughts are expected around the Horn of Africa. The population at risk of increased water stress in Africa is expected to be between 75-250 million and 350-600 million people by the 2020s and 2050s, respectively. It is clear that resources like water need to be evaluated in a holistic way to avoid conflicts between different users, which may lead to further conflicts and instability in the states (SMEC, 2008). (Figure 1). In the Ethiopian Highlands high population densities are putting an increased

pressure on the available resources leading to overgrazing, deforestation and improper management of the land. As a result, heavy land degradation is taking place returning low agricultural yields, limited access to technology and knowledge. There is an urgent need to implement sustainable land and water management in order to secure the societies’ existence. This article will reflect on the current and future use of water by different stakeholders in the catchment of Lake Tana. The catchment of Lake Tana is located in the northwestern plateau of Ethiopia in an area where water resources are critical for sustainable local and regional development. It constitutes the upper catchment of the Blue Nile River that has about 60% contribution to the main Nile River flow (SMEC, 2008). The total area of the catchment is about 15000 km2 and although the mean population density in the catchment has already exceeded 175 inhabitants per square kilometer, the population is still growing on an annual basis at an estimated rate of 3% (SMEC, 2008). (Figure 2) Drought and dams Especially in the developing world drought is an issue of great concern. Global analysis of water related disasters between 1980 and 2006 indicated that 99% of the total drought fatalities were in Africa (SMEC, 2008). In Sub-Saharan Africa, where rainfed agriculture is the predominant economic sector, drought poses a great challenge to the overall per-

Figure 1: Water stress in the Horn of Africa (Source: BBC News, 28 June 2011)


formance of these economies (SMEC, 2008). Drought is a recurring phenomenon in Ethiopia, with increased frequency of occurrence in recent years (BCEOM, 1997). According to the international disaster database, drought has been on top in the list of natural disasters affecting millions of people in the country. In the Lake Tana catchment, precipitation is characterized by a very seasonal distribution. More than 85% of total annu-

Figure 3 Seasonal rainfall in Tana (en Beles) catchment (SMEC, 2008)

al rainfall (+/- 1700 mm) occurs between May and September during the “rainy season”. Very intense and energetic rainfall events during the rainy season cause tremendous water, sediment and nutrient discharge. In case of very intensive rainfall events even flooding may occur as soon as inflow into a particular area has exceeded the capacity of the drainage system. These flooding events are recur-

Figure 2: Lake Tana Catchment (Maes, 2011)

Figure 4: Cutting of roads due to flood event (Picture: Maes, 2011)

rent annual phenomena in areas near the lakeshore. From September till May only a very small amount of precipitation (+/10% of annual rainfall) occurs which is not enough for crop cultivation under standard rainfed conditions. (Figure 3) The most evident solution to deal with seasonal rainfall is the construction of dams in the catchment. The major advantage of building dams is that they can store water in a reservoir during the rainy season. Current floodplain areas can be secured during the rainy season from floods after the construction of dams and the stored water can be used during the dry season for irrigation purposes and even small hydropower practices. More irrigation agriculture is a possible solution to meet the food demand of the increasing and further developing population. Although dams seem to offer a good solution, disadvantages are related to the construction of dams. The main disadvantages of dam constructions are the high cost for construction and the disturbance of the ecological regime (alternating periods of droughts and floods). A

Figure 5: Recently constructed dam (Picture: Maes, 2011)

disturbance of the natural flow regime of the rivers also has a negative impact on the ecological system in the catchment. During the rainy season, high amounts of sediment transported by water lead to a rapid decrease of the reservoir’s storage capacity, the lifetime of the constructed dams decreases at a fast rate. Because of a lack in understanding of sediment dynamics sediment transport is often underestimated and the expected lifetimes of dams is overestimated. The construction of dams requires also space, which is limited in a densely populated area. (Figure 4) Twenty years ago, six suitable areas for construction of dams and reservoirs were identified during the Abbay Master Plan study. Presently, only one of these dams is under construction and is even not finished yet (SMEC, 2009). (Figure 5) Development Ethiopia has 12 river basins with estimated surface and groundwater resources potentials of 122 and 2.6 billion

Figure 6 Blue Nile hydropower station (Picture: SMEC, 2008)

Water - June 2012

cubic meters, respectively (BCEOM, 1997). The level of water resources development in the country in general, and Lake Tana basin in particular, is low compared to its potentials. Based on different sources Ayalew et al. (2002) indicated that Ethiopia has the potential to develop 155 TWh/year of hydropower and 3.8 million of hectares of irrigated land. Until recently, only about 8% of the irrigation and 2% of the hydropower potentials were developed and the clean water supply coverage was as low as 34% (BCEOM, 1997). In 2007, Lake Tana catchment has been identified by the Government of Ethiopia as a growth pole area where complementary investments are grouped to stimulate integrated development and accelerated growth. In the past, there was relatively low investment in water resources development, and its potential was hardly tapped because of a lack in financial resources and geopolitical struggles between Ethiopia and countries more downstream of the river Nile like Sudan and Egypt. The major water resource development in Lake Tana

Figure 7: Water inlet of Tana-Beles Hydropower station. Water is taken from Lake Tana (Picture: Maes, 2011)


The European Geographer, 8th Issue

Figure 8: Tana-Beles Hydropower house located at 150m below the earth surface (Picture: Maes, 2011)

Figure 10: Electricity is distributed from the earth surface (Picture: Maes, 2011)

catchment was the construction of the Blue Nile hydropower station next to the Blue Nile waterfalls in the early 1990ies.

drainage and water logging, flooding, pollutant transport and overexploitation of specific fish species.

The hydropower station was constructed about 30 km downstream of the inlet of the Blue Nile to meet the increasing demand of energy of the inhabitants in the catchment. In order to make sure that the hydropower station could operate during the whole year, a discharge-controlling dam ‘Chara Chara weir’ was constructed at the inlet of the Blue Nile in the late 80’s. The construction of this dam had an important impact on the river flow regime of the Blue Nile, especially near the Blue Nile falls. (Figure 6) The natural flow regime, consisting of large discharges during the rainy season and small discharges in the dry period, has been disturbed since the operation of the weir. Consequently also the ecological system has been disturbed.

The implementation of water resources development projects has impact on the environmental and hydrological system and is causing a lot of problems for different stakeholders. Water demand and water user sectors in the Tana basin that are affected by the planned water resources developments but do not benefit from them are fisheries, navigation, tourism, and environment. Fishery is an important economic activity in the Lake Tana area. According to a number of sources the maximum annual sustainable catch from Lake Tana is about 15,000 tonnes equivalent to 43 kg ha-1 yr-1.

To promote sustainable water resources development and management in the Tana catchments, the Ethiopian government launched the Tana-Beles Integrated Water Resources Development Program (TBIWRDP) in the 1990ies.

Figure 9: One of the Francis Turbines in the power house (Picture: Maes, 2011)

tures in an area of 220 km2. All these developments will result in increased agricultural production, agro-industrial development, increased energy production, and protection against flooding. This will create jobs and increase the living standard in the project area. At the regional and national levels, these developments will be beneficial for economic growth and food self-sufficiency. Degradation The Lake Tana Basin is an area that is heavily affected by soil erosion, sediment transport and land degradation. The land and water resources of the basin and the Lake Tana ecosystem are in danger due to rapid population growth, deforestation, overgrazing, soil erosion, sediment deposition, storage capacity reduction,

A concern related to the planned water resources developments is that the construction of dams on the major rivers in the Tana Basin will affect the spawning behaviour of the fish and result in a decline of the fish population. (Figure 11) Navigation on Lake Tana plays an important role in the transport of people and goods, especially to and from the more isolated western part of the lake.

The TBIWRDP project combines the generation of 460 MW of hydropower and irrigation development. The project relies on water transfer from Lake Tana through a 12 km tunnel. The tunnel will feed a vertical penstock shaft at the floor of which an underground powerhouse is located. The powerhouse will contain 4 Francis turbines of 115 MW each for a total installed capacity of 460 MW. From the powerhouse the flow is released via a 7.1 km tailrace tunnel to the Juhana tributary of the Beles River. The elevation for hydropower generation is 311 m and the rated discharge is 160 m3s-1. This water flows out of Lake Tana. (Figures 7-10). On-going and planned water resources developments in the Tana and Beles Basins are the construction of dams along the main rivers in the catchment and the implementation of irrigation struc-


Figure 11 Traditional fisheries on Lake Tana (Picture: Maes, 2011)

Water - June 2012

Figure 12: Blue Nile waterfalls (Picture: Maes, 2011)

There is serious concern at the Transport and Navigation Enterprise in Bahir Dar that the lake levels in future will drop to unacceptable low levels because of all planned developments. According to the enterprise, the minimum level of the lake should be 1785 meter above sea level. Below this level, navigation is restricted because of the many shallows in the lake. At a lower lake level, many of the larger boats might hit rocks below the water surface, causing substantial damage. At that level, the boats could also no longer reach the harbours along the western shore of the lake and transport of goods and passengers between the boat and the harbours had to be done by barges. Access to markets, schools, and health facilities will be seriously affected during low lake levels. Bahir Dar, located at the southern shore of Lake Tana is an important tourism destination in Ethiopia. From Bahr Dar, boat trips are offered on the lake to visit ancient monasteries on the various islands. A major tourist attraction near Bahir Dar is the Blue Nile waterfalls, located about 35 km south-west of the town. According to the tourist information bureau near the Blue Nile falls, the average number of visitors at the falls is about 30 000 Ethiopians and 10 000 foreigners per year. A major concern at the Culture and Tourism Bureau in Bahr Dar is that the attractiveness of the falls will be seriously affected, if the flow of water is drastically reduced due to the implementation of various structures.

Since the construction of the Chara-Chara weir and the Blue Nile hydropower plant, the flow pattern has already changed drastically. Much of the discharge has been diverted at a short distance upstream of the falls to the hydropower station. Less discharge is left to flow from the beautiful waterfalls and the falls are losing their attractiveness. The local economy of people living in the area near the waterfalls is almost completely based on tourism. Local inhabitants living in the village of Tis Abay (near the waterfalls) fear the loss of income in future.(Figure 12) Conclusion and recommendations The catchment of Lake Tana, located in the northwestern plateau of Ethiopia, is an area where resources issues are critical for sustainable local and regional development because of its great potentials for irrigation; hydroelectric power; high value crops and livestock production, ecotourism and others. Recently a lot of water resource developments have been implemented and in near future more projects will arise. Although these projects seem to have a positive impact on the development of the region and country, they also have negative local impacts and may result in conflicts or instability at a smaller scale. Before going on with the implementation of more structures it is important to focus on possible environmental impacts. Ethiopia is one of the countries which is expected to be strongly affected by climate change and more pronounced droughts are expected in future. There-

fore water resources need to be evaluated critically to secret a sustainable future for Ethiopia. Sharing minds, saving lives In September 2011 an international conference on integrated water resources management in tropical and subtropical drylands was organized by Mekelle University in Mekelle, Northern Ethiopia. The aim of the conference was to create a forum to exchange experiences and knowledge concerning sustainable water management. Various aspects of water management were discussed between international scientists, experts from governmental and non-governmental organizations and leading farmers. References Ayalew, L., 2002. Some things that we need to know about our rivers’ hydropower potential. Online available: http://www.mediaethiopia. com/engineering.htm. BBC News, 28th June 2011, online available: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13944550. IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (2007). Working Group I Report “The Physical Science Basis”, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 996 p. SMEC International Pty Ltd, (2008). Hydrological monitoring network. Hydrological study of the Tana-Beles sub-basins, 47p. BCEOM, (1997). Abbay River Basin Integrated Development Master Plan Project.Phase 2: Data collection – site investigation survey and analysis, Section II: Sectoral Studies, Volume II: Water Resources – Hydrology, p. 64-83.


The European Geographer, 8th Issue

Notes from a Newbie towards motivating others to join. In this field, words are seldom enough.

Sille Marie Myreng, EGEA Trondheim

Pictures and videos may work, but to recruit a wholehearted new Egean the experience must be first-hand. Making this possible demands all the energy and motivation you can gather, and if you succeed, it makes it all worth it. Once you really get caught in EGEA, nothing is more rewarding than to watch it grow.

Spring, 2011. As I write this, it has been exactly one year, one week and five days since I got the e-mail from EGEA Europe telling me that they had accepted our motivation letter.

Beer and Science come last on my list of Egean aspects, not because they are less important, but because they unite and underline all the other points. Any congress proves this beautifully, with a scientific program from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and partying from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. It exhausts you, but for five days it works.

It has been approximately four months since we were approved by the General Assembly, and two days since I returned from 2011’s NBRC, as psyched as ever on getting my entity to a new level. We are still fresh in the game, we still have a million ideas and challenges ready to be tried and carried out. One year is not nearly enough to establish a new entity on firm ground, but time has given us a growing understanding of what EGEA is and what it gives to us being part of it. From a newbie’s point of view, here is our perception of the association so far. The Egean spirit (Figure 1) is perhaps what I find most problematic to explain to someone who has not participated in a congress or any other event. Yet it is one of the most important aspects of EGEA, this atmosphere that is created when you gather so many young, eager geographers in one place. We all want to get to know each other, to party, to experience new things. But when we observe it with a geographer’s eye, everything we learn is fitted into a geographer’s understanding of the surroundings. Our trade is knowledge of the world, and one of the side effects is the constant observation of what is going on in social interactions, planning and landscape around us at any time. Never is this as visible as when a bunch of geographers with different backgrounds are put together in a place that is new to most of them.


Figure 1: The EGEA SPIRIT

Networking is a major word when trying to paint the outlines of what EGEA gives to us. The opportunity to meet people from all over Europe, all with the same interests, is worth more than any ECTS can measure. After five days at the AC you suddenly have someone to visit in dozens of cities, and through the website you can find a couch to sleep in, wherever there is an entity. Exchanges show you the city from the inside, and if you are thinking about studying abroad nothing is more useful than talking to someone who already lives there. Motivation is another word of great importance; you get loads of it through EGEA. The motivation to continue your studies is one thing. However, for those who are fully involved (and that is hard to avoid, really), most of the motivation goes

This mix may exist in other places, but I have never experienced it as exceptional as in EGEA. It makes Egeans who we are, for better or for worse. This is what we have to work with when building up a new entity, and gathering all the support we need to grow and be active. Other points worth mentioning could be the lack of money, time, knowledge and experience, all of which are obstacles we face continuously. From what I’ve heard at regional meetings, CP-days and in conversations in general, these challenges will, in most cases, stay with us through the whole lifespan of the entity. I think it is good; it gives us something to work towards. Although things may be moving slowly, they are moving. And the direction is straight ahead. It has been four months since EGEA Trondheim was approved by the General Assembly. This autumn it will be our turn to vote for new entities. I am looking forward to it.

Water - June 2012

Sunny Weekend 2011 Sea, history and volcanoes Sergio Cuevas, EGEA Barcelona The Sunny Weekend 2010, which was held in Menorca, turned out to be very successful. That is why Egea Barcelona organized a second edition of the Sunny Weekend in May 2011. This time it took place in the north of Catalonia, which offers a diverse landscape with beautiful mountains within striking distance of the Mediterranean Sea. On Friday 27th May, all the participants arrived and had dinner together. After welcoming all the participants, we played some get-to-know-each-other games. The next day, we went on an excursion to the monastery of Sant Pere de Rodes, where we could enjoy marvellous views of the Costa Brava and the mountains next to the sea. While we were going up, we stopped from time to time to explain some geographical facts of every different zone that we were at. We had lunch in the monastery. Afterwards, most of us went to the beach to relax a little bit. In the evening we celebrated the victory of FC Barcelona in the final of the Champions League.

Figure 1: Map of Sunny Weekend 2011 visited locations Source: Google Maps

On Sunday, we visited different villages by bus. We stopped in Peralada, where we had a guided tour through the castle and some champagne tasting. Afterwards, we went to Castellfollit de la Roca, a village up on a cliff, which is originally a lava flow. We visited the village and learned a little bit about the geomorphology of the region and the peculiarities of Castellfollit de la Roca. Finally, we went to Olot, where our hostel was situated.

Figure 2 Preparing dinner Source: Photo by Sergio Cuevas

On Monday, we went to a nature park that it is famous for its volcanoes. We walked around the volcanoes and explained the volcanic facts of this region to the participants. This excursion was really successful, especially because most the participants had never been to a volcanic region before. After a last lunch at a restaurant, we bid each other a fond farewell and departed. To put it in a nutshell, we had a great time together and we are already thinking about a third edition! So Egeans, stay tuned!

Figure 3: Sunny Weekend Team Source: Photo by Sergio Cuevas


The European Geographer, 8th Issue

Western Regional Congress 2011 Sandra Teuber, University of Tübingen EGEA Tübingen The WRC of 2011 took place in SintMichielsgestel in the Netherlands. The Congress theme was “Manscape: Welcome to our Human Landscape”. The organisers from EGEA Utrecht wanted the participants to reflect on landscapes in general and especially on those of the Netherlands and all of Western Europe where almost no landscape is left untouched. After the arrival the congress participants got accustomed to the new environment during a fun evening of games. The final of the night was the inside-out party, which lasted until the early morning hours. On the second day the group excursions took place. The participants were able to choose between three different excursions. One went to Rotterdam; one to De Hoge Veluwe National Park and Flevopolder; a third one went to Southern Limburg. During the excursion to Rotterdam, in which I took part, we did a harbour tour on a ship, visited the cubic houses and eventually went to visit the Maeslantkering, a storm-surge barrier that protects the harbour and the city of Rotterdam (figure 1) as well as the rest of the province of Zuid-Holland.

Figure 1: Cubic Houses, Source: Teuber, 2011

The day ended with the cultural fair and a cheerful party. The Belgian table was voted the best since they managed to bring a keg of beer and make French fries for everyone. But all the other countries had great tables as well and everyone had a great time trying the specialities of all the different countries. After a very short night, the workshop day started. Fortunately, the organisers provided us with lots of coffee and tea so that we all were able to attend interesting workshop sessions. The topics of the various workshops were all related to

landscapes and the human influence on them. I attended the workshop “Living in unsafe areas” where we worked with GIS to simulate urban expansion in Flanders. Afterwards, we coupled our results with a hydrology model to find out how likely it is that an unsafe area will be populated. Moreover, we checked what risks would be created and had to make a proper water management plan. The fourth day started with skills and training sessions in which we could improve our demeanour and find out how to deal with stress. For that reason external ex-

Figure 2: Example of the visualisation work, Source: Esch, 2011


Water - June 2012

Figure 3: Drum session, Source: Esch, 2011

perts came to our accommodation De Zonnewende. In a training session about visualisation we had to depict the word “human” with different materials (figure 2). This was a fun experience and since there were 6 groups, we managed to write the theme of this year’s WRC in our own lettering.

After another short night, the workshop excursions took place. My workshop went to Deltares, an independent research institute which develops solutions for water and flood management. We also visited Dordrecht where you can take a flood management walking tour (figure 4).

The evening started with the final workshop discussion and ended with the traditional BDC and a last party with all the new people we had met. The congress was a success and besides all the fun every participant had the chance to learn new things and leave with a lot of new impressions.

In the second training session I attended, an actress showed us how to present us in the best possible way. After singing a short song to take away our shyness and after finding out how to be of high or low status, the role play began. For one hour we became chiefs and employees, we were shy and nervous and then confident and proud. We walked tall and low and had a lot to laugh about. In the other training sessions people did yoga to cope with stress, had to conceptualise their future or did other interesting things. In the afternoon we had a drum session (figure 3) in the forest where we made a lot of noise, followed by the “EGEA’s got talent show” which proved that EGEA indeed has got some talent. The day ended with the Dutch night where there was a lot of orange!

Figure 4: Dordrecht, Source: Teuber, 2011


The European Geographer, 8th Issue

The Altai Adventure: Unique culture and virgin nature Altai Mountains, Siberia (Russia) 16th July – 7th August 2010 Svetlana Samsonova, EGEA Moscow Introduction

From 16th July to 7th August 2010 EGEA Moscow and EGEA Izhevsk organized the Altai Adventure, a 3 weeks hiking tour in the wild region of Siberia. On the expedition, 19 participants from 9 countries took part. We passed around 200 km by foot in 23 days at different altitude levels (4002700 m), in different landscape zones. About the Altai Mountains The Altai Mountains are a mountain range in the Central Asia and are located where Russia, China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan come together. Here is the original locus of the speakers of the Turkic language and other members of the Altaic language group. The Altai Mountains are described as “Golden Mountains” (“Altai” means “gold” in Turkic) (Wikipedia, 2010. Altai Mountains). The Altai Mountains are located at a junction of a few biogeographical provinces. The contrasting habitats (because of the contrast in relief) explain its high biological and landscape diversity. The Altai flora comprises 1840 species, of which 11 % are endemic (Maria Shahgedanova, 2003). Vertical zonation is clearly exhibited in the distribution of the Altai vegetation: In this

Figure 1: Altai expedition route

area we can distinguish steppe, foreststeppe, forest, high mountains and nival zones. During our expedition we crossed the Altai region from the north to the south (see figure 1) and had a unique chance to observe a great variety of landscapes with a characteristical environment:

1) At the plain territory (Altai Krai): steppe, forest-steppe and forest landscapes; 2) At the Low mountain region (Altai Republic): forest-steppe and forest landscapes; 3) At the High mountain region (Altai Republic): forest landscapes, tundra, alpine and subalpine meadows (see figure 2). The Objectives of the Altai Adventure For the Altai Adventure organizing team, there were several reasons to organize the Altai Adventure: - To promote the distant Altai region The Altai Mountains are situated in the middle of Eurasia, in the developing region of Russia. The example of the Altai Mountains is a good chance to show the diversity and beauty of virgin mountain area and to focus on the Altai Mountains as an analogue of Alps before settlement. - To show the possibility of the coexistence of an unique ancient culture and virgin nature and to explain how people can take natural features into account when adapting their life to it.

Figure 2: Belukha Mountain – Source: Andreas Christoffer Lundegaard (EGEA Copenhagen) Located in the Katun Mountains, it is the highest peak of the Altai in Russia. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Belukha is a twin-peaked mountain massif that rises along the border of Russia and Kazakhstan. There are several small glaciers on the mountain. Of the two peaks, the eastern peak (4,506 m) is higher than the western peak (4,440 m)


The Altai region has a great history - people settled there in the Stone Age, about 1.5 million years ago. More than million

Water - June 2012

years this region was settled and used by humans, but the virgin nature of the region is still vital. Local people have their own traditional land use, which preserves the natural environment. - To strengthen the relation and communication between the participants Due to the facts that the participants had to cope with each other for 23 days (camping and hiking) and that rocky hiking is a risky activity where the participants have to be able to rely on the team, this event was a good possibility to strengthen the relation and communication in the team. The Results and Outcome of the Expedition - Participants got information about Altai region

Figure 3: On the way – Source: Andreas Christoffer Lundegaard (EGEA Copenhagen) Argut river empties into the turquoise Katun

During Altai expedition, we had some excursions and discussions about history and geographical features of Altai region. We focused on some landscape specialties (diversity, glaciers degradation, glacial and tectonic lakes), historical facts (settlement history of the region, petroglyphs) and population aspects (language family, nationalities, etc.).

- Participants strengthened and improved their physical capabilities

We studied:

- Intercultural communication

a) The different types of traditional land use in the Altai region; b) The diversity of Altai landscapes; c) The dynamics of glaciers; the glacier area changes in Katun ridge; d) The different types of lakes; e) The History of settlement and development of the Altai region.

Participants from 9 countries were involved in the Altai Adventure (Austria, Slovakia, Latvia, Denmark, Slovenia, Italy, Germany, Finland and Russia). We lived together in tents for 23 days, talked a lot and discussed a lot – from political and historical issues to daily routine.

After 20 days of heavy hiking across mountains (from 10 to 30 km per day across ragged terrain with almost 25-30 kg at a back) participants were getting stronger and stronger day after day (see figure 3).

Acknowledgements I would like to express my thanks to all the organizers and participants of this great event (see figure 4): Aino Kirillova, Yury Zyablov, Sergey Zworygin (organizers, EGEA Izhevsk), Andrea Giunti, Stanislav Ruman, Marek Krajčuška, Daniela Adamcova, Jana Butorova, Michal Ignaták (EGEA Bratislava), Andreas Christoffer Lundegaard (EGEA Copenhagen), Liisa Kallajoki, Eva-Maria Tillder (EGEA Helsinki), Lea Ružič (EGEA Ljubljana), Sandra Juzane (EGEA Riga), Nils Ellwanger (EGEA Utrecht), Susanne Hanger, Verena Steidl (EGEA Wien). It would have been hard to get through the expedition and to fulfill our program successfully without the support of all members of the Altai Team!

References 1. Shahgedanova, M. 2003. The Physical Geography of Northern Eurorasia. Oxford University press: p.65. 2. Wikipedia, 2010. Altai Mountains. Viewed: 12th October, 2011: http://en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/Altai_Mountains

Figure 4: Altai Team – Source: Andreas Christoffer Lundegaard (EGEA Copenhagen)


The European Geographer, 8th Issue

Editorial Board of the European Geographer What is the European Geographer? The European Geographer is a magazine for EGEAns who want to share their scientific work with other EGEAns and publish them on the EGEA website. It is also for those who want to widen their scientific and European horizons (and which geographer doesn't want to?) by reading the articles and exchanging opinions. It is also possible to write articles about congresses and other EGEA events in the European Geographer.

What does the Editorial Board do? ¥

collecting articles for the latest issue


editing (i.e. checking and correcting) articles (including grammar & spelling mistakes, citation & references, structure, content, pictures)


put together and layout the magazine


organization tasks (including managing the budget, printing & distributing issues, advertisements of sponsors, etc.)


promoting the European Geographer within EGEA

What skills should you have? What skills should you have? -

English skills (very important)


organization skills

Check out our EGEA page http://www.egea.eu/entity/European Geographer. If you have any questions contact us: egea.magazine@egea.eu Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EuropeanGeographer


Water - June 2012


25 The European Geographer Magazine of the European Geography Association for students and young geographers

8th issue June 2012


ISSN: 1605-6566 Š EGEA Association, Utrecht All rights reserved

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European Geographer 8 - Water  

Issue 8 of the European Geographer Scientific theme: Water

European Geographer 8 - Water  

Issue 8 of the European Geographer Scientific theme: Water