Jul 27, 2012

Hines Farm - Eileen's Latest Tool

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Eileen's Latest Tool
John Deere 5075M Utility Tractor
Self Leveling Loader will be Installed Mid-August

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90+ Degree Hay Making Just Got Easier! - Hines Farm

Related Link: John Deere 5075M Utility Tractor

Jul 26, 2012

National Drought Summary -- July 24, 2012

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Midwest worsening!

Pasture, rangeland, and crop condition continued to deteriorate from the Colorado High Plains to the Ohio and Mid-Mississippi valleys, and from Oklahoma to the Dakotas.  Temperatures reached 100 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter across parts of the Great Plains to Midwest every day this week, and some locations have not had significant rain for the last 30 days.  July 22 USDA statistics indicated over 90 percent of the topsoil was short or very short of moisture in Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, with virtually all (99 percent) short or very short in Missouri and Illinois. Over 80 percent of the pasture and rangeland was in poor or very poor condition in Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. Corn, Soybean, Sorghum, and Alfalfa losses continued to mount, ponds dried up, and wells failed in several of the states. D0-D4 expanded region-wide.


National Drought Summary -- July 24, 2012

The discussion in the Looking Ahead section is simply a description of what the official national guidance from the National Weather Service (NWS) National Centers for Environmental Prediction is depicting for current areas of dryness and drought. The NWS forecast products utilized include the HPC 5-day QPF and 5-day Mean Temperature progs, the 6-10 Day Outlooks of Temperature and Precipitation Probability, and the 8-14 Day Outlooks of Temperature and Precipitation Probability, valid as of late Wednesday afternoon of the USDM release week. The NWS forecast web page used for this section is: http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/forecasts/.

Weather Summary: A strong upper-level ridge of high pressure continued to dominate the nation’s weather this U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) week, bringing well above-normal temperatures to much of the country east of the Rockies. Beneath the core of the high, hot and dry weather baked the central and southern Plains to Ohio Valley. Monsoon showers and thunderstorms brought areas of rain to the West, cool fronts moving along the high’s northern edge triggered scattered showers and thunderstorms in the northern tier states, and a front skirting the high dropped beneficial rain along its eastern and southern peripheries. July 22 U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports indicated that 55 percent of the nation’s pasture and rangeland was in poor to very poor condition, breaking last week’s record. In the Plains and Midwest states, crop losses mounted, ranchers liquidated herds, and trees continued to drop leaves and branches. On July 25, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack designated 76 additional counties in six states as drought disaster areas, bringing the total for the 2012 crop year to 1369 counties across 31 states. Over two dozen large wildfires were burning by the end of the USDM week – most in the West but several in the Plains.

The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic: Light to locally moderate rain fell across parts of the region. The rains were generally enough to keep the drought depiction status quo, although enough fell to dent D0 and D1 in northern Maryland. D1-D2 expanded across the Chesapeake Bay and into northern Virginia where rains were below-normal, and D0-D1 expanded in southern New England which experienced subnormal precipitation and widespread low stream levels. According to USDA statistics, 80 percent or more of the topsoil was rated short or very short of moisture in New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut, and half or more of the pasture and rangeland was rated poor or very poor in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and New York.

The Southeast, Deep South, and Southern Texas: Areas of beneficial rain, locally over three inches, fell from the central Appalachians to Tennessee Valley, central to coastal North Carolina, the Lower Mississippi Valley, and parts of western Florida. D0-D2 were pulled back from West Virginia to Tennessee, extreme northern Alabama, northwest Georgia, and parts of North Carolina, and D0-D1 were reduced in Louisiana and Mississippi. But the showers and thunderstorms were spotty, with many areas getting below-normal rainfall or hardly any at all. D0 expanded in southern and northeastern Florida, D1 was added to the southern coast of North Carolina and expanded in the Florida panhandle, and D1-D4 expanded in parts of Alabama and Georgia.

The Great Plains to Midwest: Frontal showers and thunderstorms dropped locally an inch or more of rain over parts of the Dakotas, Upper Mississippi Valley, and southern Great Lakes. In the Dakotas and Minnesota it was enough to slightly trim a few of the drought areas, but the 2+ inches from southern Wisconsin to northern Indiana was able to only maintain status quo. Most other areas were not as lucky. Pasture, rangeland, and crop condition continued to deteriorate from the Colorado High Plains to the Ohio and Mid-Mississippi valleys, and from Oklahoma to the Dakotas. Temperatures reached 100 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter across parts of the Great Plains to Midwest every day this week, and some locations have not had significant rain for the last 30 days. July 22 USDA statistics indicated over 90 percent of the topsoil was short or very short of moisture in Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, with virtually all (99 percent) short or very short in Missouri and Illinois. Over 80 percent of the pasture and rangeland was in poor or very poor condition in Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. Corn, Soybean, Sorghum, and Alfalfa losses continued to mount, ponds dried up, and wells failed in several of the states. D0-D4 expanded region-wide.

The West: Monsoon showers dropped locally an inch or more of rain to parts of the West, but amounts were mostly less than half an inch. D3 was eliminated in extreme southern Arizona, D2 and D3 were pulled back slightly in parts of New Mexico, and D0 shrank in western Montana. But D3 expanded in western Nevada and D0-D2 grew in central to northern California (mostly in the San Joaquin Valley). Over 80 percent of the topsoil was rated short or very short of moisture in New Mexico, Colorado, and Wyoming. Three-fourths (75 percent) or more of the pasture and rangeland was classified as poor or very poor in California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado.

Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico: The precipitation pattern was mixed over Alaska this week, with drier-than-normal amounts observed at the northern, southeastern interior, and most panhandle stations, and above-normal precipitation at most stations to the west. It was a drier-than-normal week at most Hawaiian stations, but drought conditions were consistent with the existing depiction. Locally 2 to 5 inches of rain fell over parts of Puerto Rico this week. The D0 in western Puerto Rico was eliminated due to a re-evaluation of long-term conditions, but otherwise the depiction over Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and Alaska remained unchanged from last week.

Looking Ahead: Forecast models for July 25-30 show a front piercing the upper-level high early in the period, bringing scattered showers and thunderstorms to Great Plains and Midwest core drought area. Rainfall amounts may reach an inch in places, with a few locations receiving possibly 2 or more inches. The heaviest amounts from the front and low pressure system are expected to be in the Upper Great Lakes and Northeast, where locally 3 inches or more of rain may fall. Parts of the South could see an inch or more of rain as the front makes its way to the Gulf Coast. Monsoon showers could drop up to an inch of rain, total, across the Four Corners states, and frontal rains in the Northern Rockies could bring scattered light showers, but the rest of the West should be dry. Temperatures may dip from the frontal passage, but the week should average warmer than normal for most of the country.

For July 31-August 8, dry weather is expected to dominate from the West Coast to Northern Rockies, and from the Central to Southern Plains. Above-normal precipitation is forecast for the Southwest and from the Upper Mississippi Valley to Ohio Valley, parts of the Southeast, and from the Mid-Atlantic states to coastal Northeast. Above-normal temperatures are expected for much of the country, especially the Rockies and Plains states, while below-normal temperatures may hug the West Coast. Western Alaska is forecast to be wetter than normal, northern Alaska warmer than normal, and the southern areas cooler than normal.

Author: Richard Heim, National Climatic Data Center, NOAA

How to Make a Shop-Made Sled - YouTube

Published on Jul 26, 2012 by wwgoaeditor
George Vondriska shows you how to create and use two different sleds in your woodworking shop using Micro Jig appliances, one for cutting perfect miters on your table saw, and another that will help you to easily crosscut small woodworking pieces with your band saw. The Zero Play® Guide Bar System from Micro Jig fits directly into the miter gauge slots on your table saw and band saw, which ensures that your sled will stay on a straight line and makes your job much easier.

PFAW's Past and Present | People For the American Way

Together, we can help make sure that America is the best it can be, and that the promises of Liberty, Equality, Justice for All -- the American Way -- become a reality.

How to Make Seed Balls for No-Tilling Gardening

Ever thought of lobbing seeds into your field? No tilling, just a good arm?

Full Article:

Grow wild | Features | Missoula Independent

Grow wild
By Erika Fredrickson
Paul Wheaton's at the forefront of a permaculture revolution
In 1993, Paul Wheaton planted a garden in his Missoula yard—but everything died. At the time, Wheaton was making money writing computer software, pre-internet explosion. But after his garden withered, he couldn’t stop thinking about it. He started going to the Missoula Public Library and checking out gardening books, which he consumed. “That summer my software was doing great,” he recalls. “I should have paid attention to that, but instead I was obsessed with gardening.”
read more »
Related Link:

The Chicken Fountain - YouTube

Published on Jul 26, 2012 by rebeccanickols
The older hens caught onto the new watering system without a hitch!

Is 2012 A "Drought Hall of Fame" Contender? - Farm Progress

A Ball State meteorologist says this drought may rival those of the Dust Bowl years.
Published on: Jul 26, 2012

Janell Baum

As crop conditions continue on a downhill slide, some meteorologists are skipping the comparisons to the 1988 drought and jumping right into Dust Bowl data.

Meteorologist David Call of Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., said the Dust Bowl is a good comparison to 2012, as 1988's drought wasn't as widespread.

"Every state in the continental U.S. has some portion of it in some state of abnormally dry or drought level," Call said. "It's not uncommon for there to be dry areas, but this drought is a stretch so far."

He said that the two major droughts in the '30s (1934 and 1936), affected nearly the entire country, much like the drought of 2012. But, he said, they were a little different.

A Ball State meteorologist says this drought may rival those of the Dust Bowl years.

"I suppose one could argue that 1934 was drier while 1936 was a hotter, but that's like trying to compare Peyton Manning and Tom Brady – either drought would easily make the first round "Drought Hall of Fame" ballot," Call said.

Anyway, it's bad. According to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor data, more than 55% of the contiguous U.S. is in moderate or worse drought conditions, a trend that is expected to continue.

And, that limited rainfall coupled with record heat means crops are continuing to suffer. The latest USDA crop condition reports show 21% of the nation's corn crop in very poor condition and only 3% rated as excellent.

Shattered Records

While it is hard to tell exactly when drought worries started to intensify, this spring ushered in a host of record breaking temperatures.

"This whole drought started very early," Call said. "In the month of June, we set thousands of temperature records across the country. Whatever state you were in, you were probably setting records."

While record temperatures caught our attention, it was the lack of rain that really made us watch.

Call said Palmer Drought Indices are one way meteorologists assess rainfall and drought conditions. He said that this measure compares rainfall by rank, and explained that only about 10% of years were drier than this year in all but a dozen states, roughly. Indiana's rank is 3%, meaning it has only experienced drought conditions worse than this year about four times.

"For most states, the Palmer Drought Index, which goes back to 1895, ranks this drought among the top 10 or so years—so far," Call said.

It's That Darned Evaporation

Call said that even with a few good rainfalls, the intense heat and summer sun could shatter dreams of a quick recovery—and fall may be our earliest hope.

He said one of the reasons this drought has been so bad is because of the critical time it went from being a little worry to a big concern.

"One reason this drought came on suddenly was because not only was it dry, but it was very hot," Call said. "When it's very hot, there's a lot of evaporation and plants become stressed much more quickly because they are losing a lot more moisture to the air."

And, the drought seems to cause a lot more problems than just zapping moisture from plants—it can also create a cycle of dryness.

During the late summer, a lot of moisture in the air actually comes from crops, Call said. Without that moisture, it is more difficult for rainstorms to develop.

"The sun is very intense and it's very warm. Even if it starts raining a bit more, [the sun] will evaporate a lot of that moisture and it's not going to go into the ground as much as it would this fall," he said.

As fall temperatures arrive, Call expects the precipitation to go more quickly into the ground and accumulate more easily.

When Will It End?

Though he said predictability is very limited with droughts, Call estimates that if most states get an inch to two inches of rain a week for the next couple of months, things may start to look up by September.

But, he reminded, expectations for a changing weather pattern aren't high—a tropical system or sustained rainfall would be needed to change the drought trend. Call said neither is very likely, and estimated that most states need nine to 12 inches of rain to fully erase the effects of the drought.

Though the drought may continue into fall and winter, drought isn't as noticeable during those seasons. Consistent rains in the spring may be the best bet for a full recovery. Call said that if that happens, residual effects for next year's growing season could be minimal.

"If there are consistent rains in the spring, even if there is a deficit from the past, that should be sufficient for crops to grow," he said.

Jul 25, 2012

The Rock Island Clock Tower Building

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Our daughter, Monica, took this great picture of the Rock Island Clock Tower Building while boating from Dubuque to Muscatine this past Sunday, 7-21-2012.

Spent most of my 33+ years working for the Corps on the 3rd floor, west side shown in this photo.

This building construction started in 1863.

Very Interesting History - The Rock Island Clock Tower, From Ordnance to Engineers - A web page of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Rock Island Illinois - See

Vine Crops Produce Two Types of Flowers

Published on Jul 24, 2012 by UIExtension
Vine crops produce two types of flowers: male and female. Female flowers, like in cucumbers, also produce immature fruit ready to be pollinated by the male flower. Insects typically take care of pollination, but it can also be done manually by a brush if insect activity is lacking.

Building a Hugelkultured Swale

Published on Jul 25, 2012 by MidwestPermacultureMidwest Permaculture's Hands-on class extend our hugelkultur swale.

NASA - Satellites See Unprecedented Greenland Ice Sheet Surface Melt

Published on Jul 25, 2012 by PBSNewsHour
On July 8, NASA satellite imagery showed about 40 percent of Greenland's top ice layer intact. By July 12, only four days later, 97 percent of the ice had melted. Margaret Warner asks NASA's Thomas Wagner for scientific explanation of the massive thaw.

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Extent of surface melt over Greenland’s ice sheet on July 8 (left) and July 12 (right). Measurements from three satellites showed that on July 8, about 40 percent of the ice sheet had undergone thawing at or near the surface. In just a few days, the melting had dramatically accelerated and an estimated 97 percent of the ice sheet surface had thawed by July 12. In the image, the areas classified as “probable melt” (light pink) correspond to those sites where at least one satellite detected surface melting. The areas classified as “melt” (dark pink) correspond to sites where two or three satellites detected surface melting. The satellites are measuring different physical properties at different scales and are passing over Greenland at different times. As a whole, they provide a picture of an extreme melt event about which scientists are very confident. Credit: Nicolo E. DiGirolamo, SSAI/NASA GSFC, and Jesse Allen, NASA Earth Observatory
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› Hi-res of right image

For several days this month, Greenland's surface ice cover melted over a larger area than at any time in more than 30 years of satellite observations. Nearly the entire ice cover of Greenland, from its thin, low-lying coastal edges to its two-mile-thick center, experienced some degree of melting at its surface, according to measurements from three independent satellites analyzed by NASA and university scientists.

On average in the summer, about half of the surface of Greenland's ice sheet naturally melts. At high elevations, most of that melt water quickly refreezes in place. Near the coast, some of the melt water is retained by the ice sheet and the rest is lost to the ocean. But this year the extent of ice melting at or near the surface jumped dramatically. According to satellite data, an estimated 97 percent of the ice sheet surface thawed at some point in mid-July.

Researchers have not yet determined whether this extensive melt event will affect the overall volume of ice loss this summer and contribute to sea level rise.

"The Greenland ice sheet is a vast area with a varied history of change. This event, combined with other natural but uncommon phenomena, such as the large calving event last week on Petermann Glacier, are part of a complex story," said Tom Wagner, NASA's cryosphere program manager in Washington. "Satellite observations are helping us understand how events like these may relate to one another as well as to the broader climate system."

Son Nghiem of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., was analyzing radar data from the Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) Oceansat-2 satellite last week when he noticed that most of Greenland appeared to have undergone surface melting on July 12. Nghiem said, "This was so extraordinary that at first I questioned the result: was this real or was it due to a data error?"

Nghiem consulted with Dorothy Hall at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. Hall studies the surface temperature of Greenland using the Moderate-resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA's Terra and Aqua satellites. She confirmed that MODIS showed unusually high temperatures and that melt was extensive over the ice sheet surface.

Thomas Mote, a climatologist at the University of Georgia, Athens, Ga; and Marco Tedesco of City University of New York also confirmed the melt seen by Oceansat-2 and MODIS with passive-microwave satellite data from the Special Sensor Microwave Imager/Sounder on a U.S. Air Force meteorological satellite.

The melting spread quickly. Melt maps derived from the three satellites showed that on July 8, about 40 percent of the ice sheet's surface had melted. By July 12, 97 percent had melted.

This extreme melt event coincided with an unusually strong ridge of warm air, or a heat dome, over Greenland. The ridge was one of a series that has dominated Greenland's weather since the end of May. "Each successive ridge has been stronger than the previous one," said Mote. This latest heat dome started to move over Greenland on July 8, and then parked itself over the ice sheet about three days later. By July 16, it had begun to dissipate.

Even the area around Summit Station in central Greenland, which at 2 miles above sea level is near the highest point of the ice sheet, showed signs of melting. Such pronounced melting at Summit and across the ice sheet has not occurred since 1889, according to ice cores analyzed by Kaitlin Keegan at Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H. A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather station at Summit confirmed air temperatures hovered above or within a degree of freezing for several hours July 11-12.

"Ice cores from Summit show that melting events of this type occur about once every 150 years on average. With the last one happening in 1889, this event is right on time," says Lora Koenig, a Goddard glaciologist and a member of the research team analyzing the satellite data. "But if we continue to observe melting events like this in upcoming years, it will be worrisome."

Nghiem's finding while analyzing Oceansat-2 data was the kind of benefit that NASA and ISRO had hoped to stimulate when they signed an agreement in March 2012 to cooperate on Oceansat-2 by sharing data.

Jul 24, 2012

Wheel hub motor concept drives hybrid progress at MTSU

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2012-07-wheel-hub-motor-concept-hybrid.html#jCp

Wheel hub motor concept drives hybrid progress at MTSU
Wheel hub motor concept drives hybrid progress at MTSU 
Students push Perry’s gas-saving project to next level
July 24th, 2012 by Randy Weiler

Powered by at least nine MTSU students’ work since 2008, Dr. Charles Perry continues driving toward success in the development of the plug-in hybrid retrofit kit for any car.

Perry, who holds the Russell Chair of Manufacturing Excellence, and a five-member team saw gas mileage increase anywhere from 50 to 100 percent on a 1994 Honda station wagon retrofitted with laboratory prototype plug-in hybrid capability.

Perry is now talking with several potential investors — companies with vehicle fleets — to solicit funds to build and demonstrate a manufacturing version of the plug-in hybrid technology.

The research Honda has been fitted with electric motors in each rear wheel and a large lithium-ion battery, which is mounted in the rear of the vehicle. As lithium-battery technology improves, Perry said, the battery size can be reduced in production models.

Switching on power to the two rear wheels’ electric motors made a huge difference by reducing the power required from the internal-combustion engine, he added.

“The whole point was to demonstrate the feasibility of adding the electrical motor to the rear wheel of the car without changing the brakes, bearings, suspension — anything mechanical,” Perry said.

The technology’s gas-saving principle uses an electric motor to supplement the power coming from the internal combustion engine.

All nine students, who now have graduated with bachelor’s or master’s degrees, came from MTSU’s Department of Engineering Technology. Each has provided unique talents and abilities to bring the project to fruition.

The most recent group includes:

Jay Perry (no relation to Charles Perry), mechanical design/build and drawing;
Brent Brubaker, electrical design and build;
Ken Gendrich, programming;
Brandon Cromwell, computer numerical-control machining; and
Suneth Wattage, finite-elements analysis modeling.Alex Kirchoff ‘s drawing skills, Ken Garrett’s electrical design/build expertise, Brian Mastley’s mechanical-build talent and David Gray’s mechanical-machining experience helped in the first years of the wheel-hub project.

“It was a huge honor to work on it,” said Brubaker, a May 2012 graduate. “I got to collaborate with some of the best minds —not only the other students, but the faculty.

“The wheel-hub motor is an answer to a problem. It’s innovative technology. You can take and bolt it on a car. When people see that, their eyes light up. They think it might cost a lot of money and are surprised when you tell them it might be $3,000. We have a lot of student projects that I have been a part of, but the wheel-hub was my favorite out of the whole thing.”

Jay Perry will remain heavily involved in the project this fall. Other students will join the team as plans develop.

Perry, who also is a professor of engineering technology, said the students’ contributions proved invaluable.

“We’ve had heavy student involvement,” Perry said. “One of our goals has been to utilize students in the building, testing and design. Nine students in the last five years very much were involved in all aspects of developing this technology.”

Team Perry also includes John Rozell, the ET department’s assistant director, and Rick Taylor, director of laboratories.

Paul Martin III, an employee who left MTSU in October 2011 to work for Quality Industries in La Vergne, assisted Perry three years. He is the son of alumna and MTSU Foundation immediate past president Murray Martin. His father, alumnus Paul W. Martin Jr., and uncle, Lee Martin of Knoxville, donated $2 million toward the building of MTSU’s Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building.

Perry said three faculty members also played prominent roles in the project:

Dr. Chong Chen advised in the motor’s design and directed Wattage’s modeling work;
Dr. Richard Redditt oversaw the mechanical build of the earliest prototype of the wheel-hub motor; and
Dr. Ron McBryde was a consultant and oversaw student involvement in the machine shop.Perry said they have reached what industry insiders call “the valley of death” as they try to transfer the project’s technology from the laboratory to a commercial product.

“We have gained proof of concept in terms of feasibility,” he said. “We need quite a bit of money to have proof of product. What we’ve achieved is a demonstrated technology, not a proven technology. Investors want to see proven field-tested performance and reliability. We have to pass through this transition, from feasibility to true, viable product.”

Perry, who had 40 patents in a 28-year career with IBM before coming to MTSU, said a manufacturing partner has stepped forward “and is totally committed to us” and will accompany him to anticipated upcoming presentations.

Perry said Lou Svendsen, university counsel with the Tennessee Board of Regents, will join him in approaching companies that have both U.S. and worldwide fleets of vehicles, especially those “interested in green technology, reducing carbon footprint and savings in fuel costs.”

Provided by Middle Tennessee State University

Jul 23, 2012

How ancient Mayan cities dealt with drought | SmartPlanet

By Tyler Falk | July 18, 2012
Full Article:  http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/cities/how-ancient-mayan-cities-dealt-with-drought/4050?tag=nl.e660

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Today, in the United States, more than 50 percent of the country is in a state of drought, the worst since 1956. While conspiracy theorists might point to the Mayan calendar, the Mayans themselves likely faced similar extreme droughts.

New evidence shows how Mayans adapted to drought conditions to sustain a city with tens of thousands of people for 1,500 years. Research, to be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, points to sustainable water-management technology that helped the Mayan city of Tikal combat drought. But what did this system look like?

Most impressive is a dam that held as much as 20 million gallons of water. The structure, made by human hands, was 260 feet long and 33 feet high and was constructed with cut stone, rubble, and earth. It’s the largest known dam built by the Central American Mayans, according to a news release from the University of Cincinnati, whose researchers were part of the archeological team examining the Mayan water system. But the city didn’t rely on rain falling directly into the huge dam. Instead, they build slanted paved and plastered surfaces with canals that fed the larger reservoirs. Basically, their courtyards and plazas also served as a gravity dam and rainwater runoff was a good thing.

“It’s likely that the overall system of reservoirs and early water-diversion features, which were highly adaptable and resilient over a long stretch, helped Tikal and some other centers survive periodic droughts when many other settlement sites had to be abandoned due to lack of rainfall,” said Ken Tankersley, a co-author of the paper and professor from the University of Cincinnati.

Of course, water purity in cities was an issue then as it is today. To clean up their water using this system, researchers found, the city placed sand boxes in the canals to filter the water before it reached the main reservoir. The researchers found quartz sand, which in not natural to the area, in the ancient city. The Mayans would have had to travel about 20 miles to find the sand for the filtration system.

So what can today’s cities learn from this ancient water management system?

“Water management in the ancient context can be dismissed as less relevant to our current water crisis because of its lack of technological sophistication,” said Vernon Scarborough, a co-author of the paper and a professor at the University of Cincinnati. “Nevertheless, in many areas of the world today, the energy requirements for even simple pumping and filtering devices to say nothing about replacement-part acquisition challenges access to potable sources. … The ancient Maya, however, developed a clever rainwater catchment and delivery system based on elevated, seasonally charged reservoirs positioned in immediate proximity to the grand pavements and pyramidal architecture of their urban cores. Allocation and potability were developmental concerns from the outset of colonization. Perhaps the past can fundamentally inform the present, if we, too, can be clever.”

Photo: Flickr/archer10

Jul 22, 2012