Best of our wild blogs: 1 May 18

12 May (Sat): Lazarus Island dive cleanup with Our Singapore Reefs
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

12 May (Sat)- Want to learn how to be a nature guide? Come join the Chek Jawa Familiarisation Tour with the Naked Hermit Crabs!
Adventures with the Naked Hermit Crabs

19 May (Sat): Kayak the Kusu-Lazarus Trail with Kayakasia
Celebrating Singapore Shores!

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PUB looking to tap on Bedok and Lower Seletar reservoirs next for solar energy

TOH EE MING Today Online 30 Apr 18;

SINGAPORE — In its latest efforts to harness more solar power, the national water agency PUB announced on Monday (April 30) that it has called a tender to conduct engineering studies for the deployment of floating solar photovoltaic (PV) panels in Bedok Reservoir and Lower Seletar Reservoir.

This latest tender came seven months after the agency called for tenders last September for engineering and environmental studies for such systems in Upper Peirce Reservoir and Tengeh Reservoir. In 2016, the agency successfully rolled out the world's largest floating solar test-bed at Tengeh Reservoir.

The proposed floating solar PV system at Lower Seletar Reservoir will span one hectare and potentially generate 1 gigawatt hour of energy annually. For Bedok reservoir, the system will cover about 1.5 hectare and generate about 1.5 gigawatt hour of energy annually.

The floating solar panels will occupy less than 2 per cent of total surface area at the reservoirs, and will be installed away from the current water activities zones.

Taken together, the solar panels are set to shave off PUB's carbon footprint by 1.3 kilotonnes of carbon dioxide annually, or equivalent to taking about 270 cars off the road every year.

The PUB said this latest tender is in line with its vision to "further tap on its installations to generate renewable energy and reduce carbon footprint", as the energy generated by solar panels installed at the reservoir surfaces and at rooftops of buildings can help replace the grid energy currently needed for its operations – which requires energy throughout the "water loop".

TODAY understands the environmental and engineering studies at Tengeh and Upper Peirce Reservoirs are still ongoing.

Power is needed for pumping of raw water from reservoirs to waterworks, production of drinking water at waterworks, treatment of wastewater, and production of NEWater and desalinated water.

Separately, PUB is also installing a 0.5 megawatt peak solar panel system on the roof of Bedok Waterworks by this year.

Collectively, the solar panels at Bedok Reservoir and Bedok Waterworks will supply energy to the pump station, to pump raw water from the reservoir to its attached waterworks for treatment, and to the Waterworks to pump treated water into the water supply network for households.

For the Lower Seletar Reservoir, the solar energy generated will go the the adjacent Seletar Pump Station to pump raw water to Lower Seletar Waterworks for treatment, and for the transfer of raw water between reservoirs for operational purposes.

Even though the floating solar panels at Bedok and Lower Seletar Reservoirs are "small", PUB's chief executive Ng Joo Hee said they are "significant forays into making the water treatment process greener and less dependent on fossil fuels".

"The more renewables PUB can generate and use, the smaller our carbon footprint and the greater our contribution to Singapore's climate change mitigation effort," he added.

Currently, PUB has installed solar panels on the rooftops of Choa Chu Kang Waterworks, WaterHub, and the Marina Barrage. Other locations planned for solar panel deployment include the Changi Water Reclamation Plant and Tuas Desalination Plant, which will be installed by this year.

In 2016, the Republic invested over S$30 million in alternative energy tests. Besides the test-bed at Tengeh Reservoir, a micro-grid system — which consolidates power generated from multiple renewable energy sources — was also tested at Semakau Island.

PUB to produce solar power at Bedok, Lower Seletar reservoirs for operations
Channel NewsAsia 30 Apr 18;

SINGAPORE: PUB announced on Monday (Apr 30) that it has called a tender to conduct engineering studies for the deployment of floating solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in Bedok Reservoir and Lower Seletar Reservoir.

In the press release, the national water agency said there was potential to replace some of the grid energy used for the reservoirs' water loop operations with solar energy.

Such operations include the pumping of raw water from reservoirs to waterworks, production of drinking water at waterworks, treatment of wastewater and production of NEWater and desalinated water.

PUB explained that solar power will be generated by panels installed on the roof spaces of existing installations and on the surfaces of the reservoirs.

"PUB’s tender for engineering studies will look into the detailed designs for a 1 MWp (megawatt peak) floating solar PV system at Lower Seletar Reservoir and a 1.5MWp floating solar PV system at Bedok Reservoir."

Each solar system will occupy 1ha and 1.5ha respectively and will take up less than 2 per cent of total surface area at the reservoirs, said PUB.

The floating panels will also be installed away from current water activities.

PUB added that a 0.5 MWp PV system will be installed on the roof of Bedok Waterworks by this year.

Both systems are estimated to reduce PUB's carbon footprint by about 1.3 kilotonnes of carbon dioxide annually - equivalent to taking around 270 cars off the road every year.

With the additional PV system on Bedok Waterwork's roof, the total carbon footprint will be reduced by at least 1.5 kt of carbon dioxide yearly, said PUB. (Graphic: PUB)

With the additional PV system on Bedok Waterwork's roof, the total carbon footprint will be reduced by at least 1.5 kt of carbon dioxide yearly, said PUB.

PUB's chief executive Ng Joo Hee said that even though the solar PV systems were small, they were "significant forays into making the water treatment process greener and less dependent on fossil fuels".

Source: CNA/ad

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Indonesia: With warning drums and river clean-ups, women head off disasters

Michael Taylor Reuters 30 Apr 18;

YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Whenever heavy rains come at night in her neighborhood in the ancient Indonesian city of Yogyakarta, schoolteacher Muryani remembers the worst floods she experienced, almost 35 years ago.

Sleeping with her mother and two young siblings in a bamboo hut to guard a farmer’s goats from thieves, Muryani feared for their lives as flash floods burst through the door.

“Suddenly the water was so high ... it came very fast,” she said. “I was so worried about my mother, who was already quite old. I was afraid we would drown.”

Muryani, 44, who goes by one name only, still lives in the same area, now a small settlement of about 300 residents called Pedak Baru which sits by a river close to Mount Merapi volcano.

As floods have become more frequent over the last five years, Muryani and 25 other local women have teamed up with the YAKKUM Emergency Unit, a project that runs activities to help women protect their communities from disasters in Central Java and Yogyakarta.

Located along the Pacific Rim of Fire, Indonesia has more than 17,000 islands, and faces many natural threats, including earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions.

The effects of climate change, such as worsening floods and drought, present further risks.

The Indonesian government spends an estimated $300 million-$500 million annually on building back after disasters, according to World Bank resilience officials.

While the Southeast Asian nation has reduced poverty over the last 20 years, many hover just above the poverty line and can easily be pushed back under it by a disaster.

But women can play a crucial role in minimizing the risks for their families and neighbors, experts say.

For Muryani and her family, regular floods have often destroyed their possessions and furniture - which she cannot afford to replace - and forced her two children to miss school.

But the disaster training she has received is helping.

“It gives us an awareness for what to do when flooding happens and how to prepare,” she said.


Indonesia has experienced an average of 290 significant natural disasters annually over the past 30 years, according to the World Bank officials.

They include the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that killed about 167,000 Indonesians. After that shock, Jakarta reformed its institutions, laws and policies to better manage disaster risk.

The government introduced a disaster management bill in 2007 that shifted the emphasis from merely responding to disasters toward trying to stop them happening and curbing their impact.

The new approach led to the strengthening of Indonesia’s disaster management agency, with representatives and branches put in place across districts.

The disaster agency now encourages civil society groups like YAKKUM to involve women more in efforts to build resilience.

Despite the huge progress made in recent years, more work is needed, and a larger number of government departments should include disaster risk reduction in their projects, especially at the local level, said Arghya Sinha Roy of the ADB in Manila.

“Every disaster is not on a nationwide scale - it can be a localized district or village-level disaster,” he added.


Often marrying early, Indonesian women’s traditional role in running the household means they are sometimes forgotten when a community draws up plans to deal with disasters.

This can lead to them being left behind at home during evacuations, or being unaware of safety procedures.

“When you look back at the 2004 tsunami, most of the casualties are women,” said Irina Rafliana, a researcher at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences.

And women who survive a major catastrophe are often the ones responsible for getting their families back on their feet in tough circumstances, she added.

In Indonesia, as in many Asian countries, women often take care of the family and its finances, meaning they are best placed to suggest ways of protecting lives, property and incomes, experts said.

When disasters happen, women tend to quickly grasp the importance of saving key documents, for example.

And because women spend more time in their neighborhoods, they can pinpoint high-risk areas and influence their peers.

“If you compare Indonesia with other countries in Southeast Asia, the role of women ... in disaster risk reduction is among the strongest,” said Rafliana.


Pedak Baru faces twin threats of flooding and damage to infrastructure caused by eruptions from nearby Mount Merapi.

The only access to the settlement is via a narrow, potholed road, while many of its two-storey houses are in a state of disrepair due to regular inundations.

Things are changing, however, especially since YAKKUM began working with women in the community three years ago.

Pedak Baru’s women first mapped out their neighborhood to identify the risks, and now regularly collect rubbish from the river, recycling plastic waste for money.

The women are trained in evacuation procedures and first aid, and help fill and place sandbags along the river’s embankment when waters rise.

Despite scant funding, they have made life-buoys from rope and tyres, and early-warning drums from bamboo.

Signposts on walls point out escape routes and an evacuation point positioned on higher ground.

The women also hold regular talks with the local branch of the Indonesian disaster agency, and are campaigning for the permanent reinforcement of their river embankment.

Pedak Baru resident Farida Estiningrum, 39, said the scheme had been useful in helping young people too.

“We have even trained the children on how to save themselves when the flood comes to the houses,” she said. “We are prepared for everything.”

Reporting by Michael Taylor, Editing by Megan Rowling.

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Indonesia: 13 provinces brace for extreme weather

The Jakarta Post 30 Apr 18;

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has warned residents of 13 provinces over the potential for heavy rainfall in the next seven to 10 days.

BMKG head Dwikorita Karnawati said a weather phenomenon called Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) was occurring in the air surrounding the archipelago, bringing extra water vapor to form clouds in the sky of the western and central part of the country.

“Although some parts of Indonesia have entered the dry season, other parts are still in transition from the rainy season to the dry season,” said Dwikorita in Jakarta on Sunday as reported by

She has warned people in Aceh, North Sumatra, West Sumatra, Central Kalimantan, Central Java, Yogyakarta, North Sulawesi, Southeast Sulawesi, West Sulawesi, North Maluku, Maluku, West Papua and Papua to stay alert concerning this forecast.

Besides rainfall, she also warned of lightning and thunder in the next two days in Central Sumatra, east coast of Sumatra, Banten and northern West Java.

Strong winds and tornadoes may also knock down trees and billboards.

She also said tropical cyclone Flamboyan may also cause high tide in the next two to three days.

“We suggest postponing fishing activities until the waves subside,” she said.

She said 4-meter waves would be seen in waters to the south of Java and to the west of Lampung. (gis/swd)

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Damselflies are rapidly evolving in response to global warming

Not all species will have the genetic tools needed to adapt to rapidly changing temperatures and environmental conditions.
Brooks Hays UPI 30 Apr 18;

April 30 (UPI) -- Damselflies are rapidly evolving in response to climate change, new research shows, experimenting with genetic adaptations as temperatures continue to rise.

"Genes that influence heat tolerance, physiology, and even vision are giving them evolutionary options to help them cope with climate change," Rachael Dudaniec, a researcher at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, said in a news release. "Other insects may not be so lucky."

To measure the damselfly's response to climate change, Dudaniec and her colleagues tracked genetic variations among blue-tailed damselfly, or Ischnura elegans, populations in Sweden.

At different points in a species' genome, a population will feature several different gene variants, or allele. Allele frequency describes the distribution of variants among a population. In the latest study, scientists looked at the shift in allele distribution as they surveyed populations from north to south in Sweden.

"We examined the degree of turnover from one variant of a gene to another variant," said Rachael. "For example, how strongly does one variant of a gene change to another variant as you move to higher latitudes."

In addition to latitude, scientists looked for relationships between allele frequency trends and summertime highs, summertime precipitation and local wind patterns.

As conditions change, the gene variants best suited for the new environs become more common. By analyzing patterns of variation among the damselfly's genome, researchers were able to pinpoint genes allowing the insect to adapt -- genes related to heat tolerance, physiology and visual processing.

"These genes may be helping these insects deal with extreme climates, and how they find food and mates as their distribution shifts into novel northern habitats," said Rachael. "Our research suggests that the blue-tailed damselfly has a wealth of evolutionary strategies available to help it adapt to a changing climate."

Rachael and her colleagues published their findings this week in the journal Molecular Ecology.

Not all species will have the genetic tool needed to adapt to rapidly changing temperatures and environmental conditions.

"Our research highlights the need to further investigate how different species will cope with climate change," said Rachael. "Identifying the species that are going to struggle the most in changing environments will allow us to direct conservation actions more appropriately."

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Rising levels of 'frustration' at UN climate stalemate

Matt McGrath BBC 1 May 18;

Poorer nations are concerned that action on climate change is not fast enough to limit the impacts
Old divisions between rich and poor over money and ambition are again threatening to limit progress in UN climate negotiations.

Discussions between negotiators from nearly 200 countries have resumed in Germany, aiming to flesh out the rules on the Paris climate pact.

But developing countries say they are "frustrated" with the lack of leadership from the developed world.

Commitments to cut carbon are still "woefully inadequate" they said.

2018 marks a critical stage in the global climate negotiations process. By the end of this year, governments will meet in Poland to finalise the so-called "rulebook" of the Paris deal, agreed in the French capital in December 2015.

This is seen as a key test.

The rules will define the ways in which every country reports on their emissions and on their carbon-cutting actions and, importantly, how they will increase these actions in the years ahead.

But while rich and poor countries united in Paris to push through the deal, significant ruptures have re-appeared in wrangles over key technical details.

The developed nations want almost all countries to share the same set of rules on how carbon emissions are measured, reported and verified. This issue, called "transparency" in the negotiations, has run into difficulties with many emerging economies arguing for more "flexibility".

According to some observers, the richer countries believe that some in the talks are trying to turn the clock back to the time when only wealthier countries had any commitments to cut carbon, while developing countries including India and China had no obligations.

"The EU, US, and other developed countries are worried about the slow pace of negotiations on transparency and other elements of the Paris rulebook," said Alden Meyer from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

"And what they see as the efforts of some developing countries to reintroduce bifurcation into the climate regime - an argument they thought had been settled in Paris."

The developing nations are, in turn, incensed that enthusiasm for the $100bn per year in climate finance support from the rich, due to start in 2020, has started to wane.

"It has been frustrating to hear some developed countries celebrate their climate leadership even as they fall well short of the modest commitments they have made over the years," said Thoriq Ibrahim, environment minister for the Maldives and chairman of the Alliance of Small Island States, one of the key groups of poorer nations in the talks.

"If we spent as much time working on this problem as we do congratulating ourselves for caring so deeply about it, we would be closer to an outcome worthy of a celebration.

"As it stands, we haven't mobilised nearly enough resources to tackle this problem and until developed countries match their rhetoric with action our survival will continue to hang in the balance."

Talanoa dialogue

The government of Fiji currently holds the presidency of the UN talks and has been trying to inspire greater efforts to cut greenhouse gases - they've introduced an international conversation called the Talanoa Dialogue to push countries to do more. But a UN summary of written submissions to this process reflects the frustrations.

"The scale and pace of climate action must increase dramatically, and immediately so," it says.

While the furore over the decision of US President Donald Trump to withdraw his country from the Paris agreement has died down for now, there are likely to be other flashpoints as the talks progress.

One such issue is the question of the influence of fossil fuel companies on the talks. Some campaigners want the UN to firm up the rules to ensure there are no conflicts of interest.

"The fossil fuel industry and its trade association proxies have undermined climate action for decades yet the UN continues to allow these obstructionist to pull a chair up to the table," said Jesse Bragg from Corporate Accountability.

"If we are to avert the worst effects of climate change and truly realize the promise of Paris, parties must first resolve to eject the presence of the very industry at the core of this crisis once and for all."

The talks in Bonn will run until May 10.

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