70% of Bolivian residents lack sufficient water amid worst drought in 25 years

November 25, 2016 by  
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The Bolivian government recently declared a state of emergency in response to the worst drought the country has experienced in 25 years. Water shortages have ignited protests, and an estimated 125,000 families have been impacted by the drought. President Evo Morales said, “We have to be prepared for the worst.” There are 339 municipalities in Bolivia, and 172 had already declared their own state of emergency. According to a Pan American Health Organization report, 70 percent of people in Bolivia don’t have enough drinking water . Most of Bolivia’s capital city has access to water only every third day, for just three hours, according to Al Jazeera. Bolivia’s Vice Ministry of Civil Defense estimates 360,000 cows and 716,605 acres used for agriculture have been hit by the drought. Related: Bolivia’s second largest lake has completely dried up The country’s water supply has dwindled, in part because in recent years Bolivian glaciers providing water for millions are melting. El Niño likely worsened the drought as well. President Morales said the country could use the crisis to “plan large investments” for Bolivia to adapt to a diminished water supply due to climate change . He also said local governments should set aside money and workers to obtain water from nearby water bodies and through drilling wells, and to transport that water to cities with the help of military forces. But some reservoirs and other water sources are nearly empty. Three dams supplying water to La Paz, home to nearly 800,000 people, are nearly dry. One of the dam’s capacities is at one percent, and the other two are at around eight percent. Al Jazeera reports that locals have protested the water shortages, and some protesters even held the country’s deputy water minister and water authorities hostage. Via The Guardian and Al Jazeera Images via Wikimedia Commons and Pixabay

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70% of Bolivian residents lack sufficient water amid worst drought in 25 years

Rugged solar roads to hit four continents in 2017

November 25, 2016 by  
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Solar-generating roadways could soon be a reality on roads everywhere, thanks to new technology from Europe. According to Bloomberg , Colas SA, a subsidiary of France’s Bouygues Group has been working on solar panels that are tough enough to handle the load of an 18-wheeler truck – and are currently building them into some French road surfaces, with plans to test the technology across four continents in 2017. These panels have already undergone five years of research and laboratory tests, but before they hit the roads in a major way, the company plans to test them further by building 100 outdoor test sites over the next year. “We wanted to find a second life for a road,” Colas SA’s Wattaway Unit chief technology officer told Bloomberg. “Solar farms use land that could otherwise be for agriculture, while the roads are free.” How does a road made of solar panels withstand the weight of a massive semi truck, you might ask? According to Bloomberg , while the panels are made with ordinary solar cells such as those that might be on your roof, they are layered with several types of plastic on top to create a sturdy casing that can withstand abuse. It has electrical wiring embedded, and is coated with a layer of crushed glass to create an anti-slip surface. Related: Solar Roadways unveils super strong solar panels for roads in a prototypical parking lot Wattaway began testing the new product last month on a kilometer-long site in the French town of Tourouvre. At 2,800 square meters in area, the embedded solar panel array is expected to generate about 280 kilowatts of energy at peak capacity. The company says that’s enough power to light up a town of 5,000 people for a whole year. They also told Bloomberg they intend to test the technology in Calgary, Canada, Georgia, USA, throughout the European Union, Africa and Asia, with plans to commercialize in 2018. Add this innovation to Tesla’s solar roof and what Solar Roadways is doing in the U.S., and it’s been a good year for unconventional applications of solar power. Via Bloomberg Images via Wattaway

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Rugged solar roads to hit four continents in 2017

Archaeologists discover ancient lost city in Egypt

November 25, 2016 by  
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Archaeologists have unearthed an Egyptian city dating all the way back to the first dynasty. The discovery was made across the Nile river from the city of Luxor in the province of Sohag. Hope for a revival in the country’s waning tourism industry has grown since uncovering the area rife with ancient huts, tools, and even a cemetery for royalty. The city’s remains were discovered a mere 400 meters from the temple of Seti I, according to The Guardian . It may also provide clues into the operations of Abydos, one of the most ancient cities in all of Egypt . So far, huts, tools made of iron, pottery shards, and large graves have been uncovered. These findings lead officials to believe the spot once housed high-ranking dignitaries and grave builders. Related: Secret tunnel sealed 1,800 years ago offers clues to mysterious ancient city in Mexico “The size of the graves discovered in the cemetery is larger in some instances than royal graves in Abydos dating back to the first dynasty, which proves the importance of the people buried there and their high social standing during this early era of ancient Egyptian history,” the antiquities ministry said. Since 2010, the country’s tourism has been steadily declining from its 14.7 million annual visitors. In the first quarter of this year, only 1.2 million tourists circulated through, down from last year’s 2.2 million. The discovery could mean a renewed interest in sightseeing for Egypt, especially as more information is learned about the site and its history. Via The Guardian Images via Wikimedia ( 1 , 2 )

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Archaeologists discover ancient lost city in Egypt

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