Archive for the ‘Civil Engineering’ Category

I wanted to bring up an important topic that got some blog time on the AWRA blog a couple days ago. The post has to do with how we manage groundwater withdrawals. It deserves attention for a couple important reasons. First is that the traditional way of determining how much water to pump out of the ground is incorrect according to the author, and second, its incorrect in such a way that if we keep pumping they way we are pumping, we’ll run out groundwater. Not a pretty scenario. There is even evidence out there that groundwater withdrawals contribute to rising sea levels. I’ll try to digest all the info (there are three plus papers referenced) and bring this topic back up in another post. An important question that immediately comes to my mind is how do we incorporate this information into our current water management structures?

What most people don’t realize is that once you start the development (i.e., pumping), the water budget, usually calculated under steady-state conditions, becomes invalid. Why? Because you have imposed a new stress on the system – pumping – and that means that the water budget has changed. But most water managers don’t realize this, and blithely assume a steady-state budget when transient conditions actually apply.


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Streetsblog.net has some discussion on signaling and cyclists that, as a cyclist and civil engineer, I find rather interesting. Enough so to share it here.

I ride a steel bike (ferrous) most of the time and since I know what detection loops are and how they work, I usually don’t have a problem setting them off  and getting that much deserved green light in front of me. Of course, all cyclists don’t ride steel bikes and many times don’t realize detection loops exist. (I’m not sure what percentage of motorists know they exist!). In fact, it seems the sensitivity settings on the detector loops are not properly set to detect many of the bicycles out there on the road. The Federal Highway Administration is working to imrove this, thus improving transportation and safety for us all!

Making Signal Systems Work for Cyclists

is by David Gibson, P.E. a highway research engineer on the Enabling Technologies Team in FHWA’s Office of Operations Research and Development. He does some interesting experiments, has some great photos and even some diagrams! Click on the photo to get to the article!

Cyclist in a Detection Loop


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A small glimpse into the future of suburbia. Demand for sustainable urban living is on the rise! She talks about daylighting streams, bio-swales, and other sustainable approaches to development.

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My wife brought this EcoSeed article to my attention today and I wanted to share it. Villages in Peru collect water in the form of fog as it moves through their land. In combination with other harvesting techniques, we could begin to transform water supply infrastructure to a more sustainable direction by taking advantage of what falls from the sky, or floats in the air. If we look hard enough, nature is showing us solutions to our water crisis.

Fog Catchers Bring Water to Parched Villages

When dense fog sweeps in from the Pacific Ocean, special nets on a hillside catch the moisture and provide precious water to the village of Bellavista, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) outside of Lima, Peru.

(read more)

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I am now a …

Member at Sustainable Cities Collective

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In late February West Palm Beach, Florida, celebrated its new waterfront comprising 12.5 acres along the Intracoastal Waterway. The $30 million project, which includes Commons Park, water gardens, two boat piers, and walkways, was overseen by artist and lead designer Michael Singer, with landscape architects Carolyn Pendleton Parker at Sanchez & Maddux and Connie Roy-Fisher, architect of record Steve Boruff Architects, and HLB Lighting.

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National Geographic had a issue on water back in March. They also have a part of their website dedicated to freshwater information that I encourage everybody to check out. There is stunning photography as well as excellent articles on our most precious resource. While there I stumbled across The Annenberg Space for Photography. They have an exhibit entitled Water; Our Thirsty World. There is a very nice video with an Introduction to the photographers. It really does an excellent job at showing us what’s happening out there in the world.

National Geographic picture:

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