Follow David and Janet Carle as they travel the 38th Parallel seeking water-related environmental and cultural connections. Their book, TRAVELING THE 38th PARALLEL: A WATER LINE AROUND THE WORLD is published by the University of California Press (2013). They have crossed the U.S., Europe, Turkey, Turkmenistan, China, and Korea, and Japan. Why 38°N? See the answer posted in September 2009
Traveling the 38th Parallel, a Water Line around the World links
The Four Rivers "Restoration" Project in South Korea that we described in our book, Traveling the 38th Parallel: a Water Line Around the World, remains controversial. A new administration is now the ruling party and, "ruling and opposition parties failed to reach an agreement Tuesday
over the budgets for river related projects. The key issue was whether
the government has to pay 317 billion won ($283.7 million) in interest
for debts of the Korea Water Resources Corporation incurred from the
project. Some in the ruling Saenuri Party are now agreeing with
the opposition party’s demand to hold a National Assembly probe into
the project. 'The government invested 24 trillion won and it has brought
about environmental problems, so an investigation is necessary,' said
Rhee In-je, a senior leader of the party."
Follow this link to the original story: Korean news article about former President's anger over attacks on his legacy
We explored the Turkmenistan diversions of the Amu Darya that play a major part in the decline of the Aral Sea, once the 4th largest lake in the world. This video goes to the lakebed and the Kazakh people whose fishing boats are stranded far from any water today: Louder Than Words video features Aral Sea
We visited Lanzhou, on the Yellow River, in the interior of China during our 38th parallel travels. A new project to level mountains and then build on them to serve the growing population and development pressure is underway, with concern being raised by Chinese scientists as the effort continues. See: Chinese Scientists Question Plan to Bulldoze 700 Mountains in Lanzhou
The objective is different than mountaintop removal coal mining, which we also described, in the Appalachian Mountains of the U.S. This Chinese effort is a way to flatten mountains for construction purposes. Whether the land will be stable enough is one question. Dust issues are occurring. Water quality in the Yellow River watershed is another big question.
Since we visited Hasankeyf during our travels around the world on the 38th parallel, the Ilisu Dam has nearly been completed, despite the archaeological values of the ancient town. This new article includes an interview with a Hasankeyf lodgekeeper and family man named Firat, who firmly believes the town will not be flooded, because the very idea is so wrong. But the author's concluding words reveal his skepticism about Firat's optimism: " I nodded and said farewell to Fırat, his family and the ancient town of Hasankeyf.
Iran's Lake Oroumieh, once one of the world's largest salt lakes (at 37.75 degrees North) has been rapidly declining due to watershed diversions and agricultural water use. This week (late February 2014) experts gathered in northwestern Iran to develop plans for saving the lake, which now holds just 20 percent of the water it contained only a decade ago. The nation's new president, Hassad Arani, made this effort an urgent priority. As this article from ABC news reported, ""Rouhani stands by his campaign promise to revive the lake," [according to] Isa
Kalantari, a popular scholar appointed by Rouhani to lead the rescue
team." Kalantari added: ""Don't blame nature and drought. Human beings, not climate change, are
responsible for this situation. We dried up the lake because of our
excessive demands and wrong methods. Now, we have to revive it
ourselves. Five million people have to leave this region if the lake
As we traveled the 38th Parallel investigating such water issues, we had to skip over that section west of the Caspian Sea, because travel to Iran was not feasible. Now the administration change and international effort to protect the lake have changed things, so perhaps we can visit that site someday and report back on this effort in this blog.