Dams + Sand Supply Reduction

January 27, 2023

Sand dunes in Kernel - Sydney, Australia (by Bea Pierce CC BY-NC 2.0 via Flickr).

Grains of Sand: Too Much and Never Enough – EOS Magazine

Sand is a foundational element of our cities, our homes, our landscapes and seascapes. How we will interact with the material in the future, however, is less certain.

Smartphone screens, wine bottles, and porcelain toilets share a surprising ingredient: sand. In fact, the ubiquitous material is the second most exploited natural resource on Earth, after water.

Most sand pours into the construction industry, which in turn pours much of it into concrete. “Sand is the most mined solid material on Earth, and we’re using more and more sand as we’re becoming more and more people,” said Mette Bendixen, a physical geographer at McGill University in Montreal.

“The use of sand is now faced with two major challenges,” said Xiaoyang Zhong, a doctoral student in environmental science at Leiden University in the Netherlands. “One is that it has caused enormous consequences in the environment,” he explained. “The second challenge is that easily usable sand resources are running out in many regions…”

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More on Dams and Sand Supply Reduction . . .

Mekong Basin (by Shannon1, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons).

Starving the Mekong – Reuters

Lives are remade as dams built by China upstream deprive the Mekong River Delta of precious sediment

Standing on the bank of the Mekong River, Tran Van Cung can see his rice farm wash away before his very eyes. The paddy’s edge is crumbling into the delta.

Just 15 years ago, Southeast Asia’s longest river carried some 143 million tonnes of sediment – as heavy as about 430 Empire State Buildings – through to the Mekong River Delta every year, dumping nutrients along riverbanks essential to keeping tens of thousands of farms like Cung’s intact and productive…

Daytona Beach, 20022 (by Jim Allen CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 via Fliickr)

Florida beaches were already running low on sand. Then Ian and Nicole hit – the Washington Post

“I think we’re starting to discover that, despite our best efforts and wanting to throw as much money at this as possible, it has become very difficult to keep these beaches as wide as we would like to keep them,” Robert S. Young, a geology professor at Western Carolina University and director of the Program for Developed Shorelines… “We simply don’t have the capacity to hold all of these beaches in place.”

Plaża w Benalmadenie na Costa del Sol (Photo: Beata77, CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia)

Half of the beaches on the Costa del Sol are at serious risk of sand loss – SUR

The loss of sand is a “serious risk” for half of the beaches in Malaga province, while another 40% are at “moderate risk” and 5% at slight risk, according to a report on the Strategy for the Protection of the Malaga Coast which the Secretary of State for the Environment, Hugo Morán, presented to mayors and councilors in Malaga on Tuesday morning…

Environmentalists and dam operators, at war for years, start making peace

The industry that operates America’s hydroelectric dams and several environmental groups announced an unusual agreement Tuesday to work together to get more clean energy from hydropower while reducing the environmental harm from dams, in a sign that the threat of climate change is spurring both sides to rethink their decadeslong battle over a large but contentious source of renewable power.

More Than 500 Dams Planned in Protected Areas Around the Globe, Study Finds

More than 500 dams are planned or already under construction within protected areas around the world, according to a new study published in the journal Conservation Letters. The study is the first of its kind to quantify the global extent of dams constructed in protected areas, which can include indigenous areas, nature reserves, and national parks.

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