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Thursday, July 2

More Musings

Guess where the rain fell?

Thailand: Japan's Doraemon cartoon cat in rain ritual
BBC, June 29, 2015
Villagers in drought-affected northern Thailand have used a toy of a popular cartoon cat to perform a rain ritual - in case anyone complained about them using a real animal, it's reported.
Ordinarily, a live cat would be used as part of the ritual to pray for rain, but locals were worried about being accused of animal cruelty, the Thai Rath website reports. Instead, they turned to the Japanese manga character Doraemon - a time-travelling robotic cat - which was duly loaded into a wooden cage and carried around the village in Phrae province. Farmers in the area grow corn, but a lack of rain means many are struggling to irrigate their crops.
Doraemon was chosen because nobody could find a more realistic cat toy, the report says. The ritual involved the toy being taken to sacred sites around the village, and ended with a ceremony at a nearby monastery, according to the Bangkok Post
But so far the villagers' prayers have gone unanswered, and Thailand's drought persists. As well as causing problems for farmers, the dry spell is also starting to affect tap water supply in some places. The country's rainy season usually begins in May and lasts until November.
Japan: Evacuation advisories issued for 370,000 Kyushu residents amid heavy rain
The Japan Times News, June 11, 2015
KUMAMOTO – Heavy rain hit Kyushu on Thursday, with local authorities advising 370,000 residents in 14 municipalities to evacuate the area due to an increased risk of landslides. Alerts were issued for most parts of Kumamoto Prefecture and the cities of Unzen and Minamishimabara, Nagasaki Prefecture. ...
JR Kyushu suspended some train runs on the Hisatsu Line, the Misumi Line and the Kagoshima Line due to the heavy rain, according to local media reports. Meanwhile, South Korea’s Asiana Airlines canceled two round-trip flights Thursday between Seoul and Kumamoto.
According to the Meteorological Agency, the amount of rainfall in the 24 hours through 11:40 a.m. Thursday came to 280 millimeters at Mount Unzen in Nagasaki Prefecture, 219.5 mm in the Misumi district in Uki, and 213 mm in the Hondo area in Amakusa, Nagasaki.
The agency warned that 180 mm of rain could fall in northern Kyushu and 120 mm could fall in southern Kyushu during the 24 hours ending at noon Friday.

The Axis of Mooching

Drinking water shortage crisis strikes 520 cities in Iran
(Iran) Press TV, May 5, 2015
"520 cities in the country are facing the crisis of drinking water shortage,” Esmaeil Najjar, who is also head of Crisis Management Organization, said.
“Over the past two decades, the scourge of drought has struck our country,” he said, adding that Iran lies on an “arid belt” on Earth.
Iran’s Energy Ministry, which is in charge of regulating the water sector, announced recently that about 60 percent of the reservoirs of major dams are already empty. The ministry further said there has been a decrease of 16 percent in inflow of water into dam reservoirs from the start of autumn.
North Korea Asks Iran For Help Fighting Drought
Vice News, July 1, 2015
North Korea has asked Iran for urgent humanitarian aid to help survive what the North Korean government has called "the worst drought in 100 years."
"[Iran] is duty bound to render humanitarian aid to all countries," the head of the Iranian Red Crescent, Amir Hossein Ziaee, said, according to the Iranian state news agency IRNA. After meeting with the North Korean ambassador to Iran on Tuesday, Kang Sam Hyon, Ziaee said Iran will "spare no efforts," though no details of the aid package were yet announced.
The North Korean state news agency KCNA issued a report that more than 30 percent of rice paddies around the country were "parching up" because of a lack of rain.
Say, how much water does it take to run a nuclear reactor?

One U.S. Nuclear Reactor Uses as Much Water as All of D.C.
Wired, April 13, 2011
It takes the same amount of water required by a city of 5 million to fuel a typical U.S. nuclear power plant for one hour: 30 million gallons ...

 Lar dam, a major source of water supply to Tehran, is nearly dry

If you're not terrified of Mexico's government after reading this, you need to re-read

Mexico City: water torture on a grand and ludicrous scale
Kurt Hollander
February 5, 2014
The Guardian
Mexico City uses more water each day than any other city in the world. With its own water sources overexploited, an increasingly large part of its water must be brought in from outside the Mexico City valley.
So when I turn on the tap in my flat, the liquid that flows into my sink now mostly comes from distant bodies of water. Given that Mexico City is a mile-high mountain valley, bringing water up and into the city requires some pretty heavy duty machinery. Beginning in 1951, the Lerma river, located in the Toluca valley about 40 miles (70km) from the city, was the first outside water system to be tapped for use by residents of Mexico City.
The Lerma waterworks located in Chapultepec Park, equipped with pumps and pipes that connected the city to this distant water source, was an incredible engineering feat, acclaimed by the federal government (even though dozens of workers were killed in the process) and graced by the world's first underwater mural – Water, The Origin of Life, by Diego Rivera.
For decades, the Lerma contributed up to 15% of Mexico City's water. Over the last few decades, however, it has largely been sucked dry. What's left of this once-great waterway is forcefed 170,000 tonnes of toxic slime from the factories, industrial parks and irregular cities located along the banks of the river.
As the Mexico City population has grown exponentially, other water sources have had to be tapped to meet the increasing demand. And as its pipes suck up water from further and further away, its water costs have increased exponentially.

The Cutzamala river, twice as far away as the Lerma, now supplies up to one-third of Mexico City's water needs. The fact that local communities are being deprived of their own water sources in order to service the capital is a cause of discontent.
The Mazahua Indians who have lived around the Cutzamala for centuries now lack access to their own river water, and violent protests have resulted. In addition, as water sources tend to be interconnected, by overexploiting the river to supply drinking water to Mexico City residents, the Chapala lake in the very distant state of Jalisco is drying up.
Lack of rainfall and higher temperatures lead to lower levels in the main water sources outside the city (dams in Cutzmala have recently been as low as 30% of their capacity), and the quality of water pumped in from the bottom of these dams is poor. In extreme cases, such as the widespread death of fish due to increased temperatures, these water sources can be poisoned.
Although Mexico City as a whole depends on Cutzmala for only 30% of its water, some areas, such as the Santa Fe neighborhood in the south of the city, depend completely on water from this source and suffer droughts when its water levels sink.
Pumping more and more water up and into Mexico City requires more and more electricity.
To meet this increased demand, more and more dams have been built on the country's rivers. These dams monopolise the local use of the water and often force whole towns to move from their homeland, in turn leading to a flood of migrants into Mexico City.
Many of the millions of urban land invaders in Mexico City over the past few decades are farmers who fled rural areas impoverished from an inadequate access to water.
The new, haphazard cities these forced immigrants have created creep up and cover the mountains surrounding the city, destroying the trees and forests that normally replenish oxygen and protect the soil from becoming unusable dirt and dust. The lack of trees in turn puts these areas at risk of flooding and mudslides that claim human lives each year.
In addition, the new cities populated with millions of inhabitants that have sprung up around the periphery of Mexico City over the past couple of decades have put an added strain on the city's water supply.
Water has long ceased to be a free, readily available natural resource. Paying for a natural substance like water seems unnatural, which is perhaps why a good percentage of people and companies in Mexico City don't pay their water bills.
 If the city government should decide one day to end the subsidies and make customers pay the real cost of the poor quality liquid that comes out of their taps, blood would flow instead of water.
The demand for water in Mexico City doubles every 20 years, twice as fast as the population growth. For each square metre of new urban construction, 50 gallons of recoverable rainfall are lost each year, while for each acre of land occupied by humans the water that could be destined for more than 3,000 families is lost.
With the relentless urbanisation of every part of the Mexico City valley, water is becoming less and less a renewable resource and more and more a scarce commodity. [...]
I assure you Hollander is just getting warmed up.  Next he picks up from where he started, which was discussing the quality of Mexico City's water.  Which, frankly, makes Diego Rivera's sculpture of the Aztec rain god Tlaloc sprawled on his back and looking queasy quite the coda. 

The good news is the Holllander's writing finally explains why so many Mexicans have fled their country.  It's not the violence, it's not poverty.  It's the certain knowledge that their government is run by completely insane people.  

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