Saturday, 14 November 2009

Agua 2009

This week I’m in Cali, Colombia at Agua 2009, the biennial international conference on all things water. On Monday the main theme was water and climate change with some excellent presentations on Coping with climate change through adaptive management (by Professor Henk van Schaik of the Cooperative Programme on Water and Climate Change), effects on human health, on biodiversity, plus a few on the local situation in Andean countries. On Tuesday there were parallel sessions − I was at the one in nearby Palmira on New paradigms for urban water supplies and sanitation. On Wednesday I went to the session on wastewater treatment and presented a paper on Natural wastewater treatment and carbon capture − collect the biogas from a high-rate anaerobic pond to generate electricity and then use the final effluent to irrigate bamboo. In this way you not only produce a useful product but you should be able to earn carbon credits as some bamboos can capture over 30 tonnes of C per ha per year, so you could substantially reduce the cost of wastewater treatment − well, that’s idea anyway. Very swish conference dinner/dance on Thursday evening!