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Dr. Shu-Qing Yang
University of Wollongong, Australia
How to Supply Sufficient Good Quality Water to Coastal Communities by Coastal Reservoirs
Water is the essence of life and through water we experience the impact of climate change directly. The United Nations predict that 2/3rds of the world’s population will be under water stress conditions by 2025. The US National Academy of Engineering (NAE) lists clean water supply as one of 21st century’s Grand Challenges that must be addressed and solved for quality of life to be sustainable in the future. Apart from the natural scarcity of freshwater, the quality of the available freshwater is also deteriorating due to pollution, hence intensifying the shortage. Every day, 2 million tons of sewage and other effluents drain into the world’s waterways, six times more water than what exists in all the rivers of the world. Global water resources are grossly polluted by wastes to the point that vast stretches of rivers are dead/dying and many lakes are cesspools of waste. Aiming to this, many proposals have been proposed and practiced in the world like desalination plants, wastewater reuse facilities etc. However after review the limitations of these methods, we conclude that coastal reservoirs will dominate future’s water supply because: 1) We presently only use about 15% of the available water resources worldwide, the remaining 85% of water is lost to the sea and most of it is floodwater. As the climate warms, some types of extreme weather could become more frequent and severe, with increases in extreme heat, intense precipitation, and long-term drought. Heavy rains and flooding may become more frequent. Change in weather patterns and runoff will require very large storage capacity that only the sea can provide. 2) As more people migrate to the coastal areas for permanent settlement, the existing water supply infrastructures cannot match the future distribution of the population. As a result of these inhabitant changes, the coastal areas will bear the highest water stress. Many Asian countries/cities have experienced this change. For example, in China almost all coastal cities suffer severe water shortage. 3) Unlike conventional inland dams, coastal reservoirs collect runoff in a seawall contained area in the sea. Positioned at the end of a river mouth, it has the potential to capture all runoff from a watershed. Coastal reservoirs provide the greatest potential for runoff collection. This innovative water solution has avoided the environmental impacts experienced by inland dams, such as the negative effects of the reservoir’s downstream effluent, land inundation, and population displacement etc. Coastal reservoirs construction costs are much less than conventional damming and there are no energy costs and carbon emissions for desalination or treatment processes that desalination plants and wastewater treatment plants have. It is suggested that only the best quality floodwater is pre-treated by agricultural wetlands prior to its storage in the coastal reservoir, thus high quality water supply is ensured. The potential application of wetland + coastal reservoir to Shanghai’s water supply will be discussed, and the preliminary results show that Shanghai people can drink water as good as the spring bottled water.
Shu-Qing Yang is a Assoc. Professor at the school of Civil, Mining and Environmental Engineering of University of Wollongong, Australia. Previously, he was a chair professor at Tianjin University, South China University of Technology, China and a professor at Korea Maritime University, South Korea, Principle Research Scientist at MAaritime Research Centre of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. He holds a Master and a PhD degree in Water Resources and Environmental Engineering from Nanjing Hydraulic Research Institute and Nanyang Technological University, respectively. He has published more than 150 papers in journals, books and conference proceedings, including more than 50 papers in journals indexed in the Web of Science – Journal Citation Reports such as J. Fluid Mechanics, Physics of Fluids, J. of Hydraulic Engineering, J. Hydraulic Research, Water Resources Research, J. Geophysical Research etc. He has also granted 6 patents including coastal reservoirs that can pump freshwater from the sea without desalination processes. He won three prestigious awards, one of the best paper award was issued by IAHR-APD, the other one by American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and one by National People's Congress of China. He has participated in the scientific committee of several conferences and associations and serves as a reviewer in a wide range of international journals. Currently, he is interested on sediment transport, turbulence, drag reduction by polymer additives, water resources engineering, etc.
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