ニュースレター

2018年09月19日

ニュースレター アジア・太平洋水フォーラム JWFファンド NoWNET(ノーザンウォーター・ネットワーク)

【JWF News Vol.167】Recipients of the JWF Fund 2018 Decided!

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【JWF News Vol. 167】Recipients of the JWF Fund 2018 Decided!
September 19, 2018

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◇ Contents ◇

・Foreword Great Snakes Living under Cities: Why we Use the Kanji Characters “決壊”

・Announcement from the Japan Water Forum
- Recipients of the JWF Fund 2018 Decided!

・Report from the Japan Water Forum
- The JWF’s Efforts at World Water Week in Stockholm
- NoWNET Members' Meeting at the 2018 World Water Week in Stockholm

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・Foreword Great Snakes Living under Cities: Why we Use the Kanji Characters “決壊”
By Kotaro Takemura, Chair of the Japan Water Forum

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The Weather Goes Berserk
 In the Meiji, Taisho, and post-war Showa periods, serious floods occurred in cities across Japan every year. The lives of people, light and fragile as leaves, were lost by the hundreds and thousands.

 National and local governments struggled to strengthen river banks within limited budgets. They constructed retarding reservoirs and dams upstream to prevent water damage. However, towards the end of the 20th century, people began to say that dams and other public works projects were useless. People tended to think that the risk of flooding had gone away.

 In the 21st century, however, Japan has seen once more the threats posed by nature in the forms of tsunami and extreme weather events. On March 11, 2011, a tsunami caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake hit the Tohoku district. On September 10, 2015, the banks of the Kinugawa, a first-class river flowing through a metropolitan area, were breached. In July, 2017, torrential rains hit western Japan, claiming over 200 victims. Videos showing houses being washed away by tsunami and floods were televised nationwide. The people realized once again that we live in a vulnerable land.

A Great Snake Living under our Feet
 Japanese cities are built on alluvial plains. The riverbanks on such plains lie on top of a great snake.

The figure shows a geological map of the Nakagawa River, which flows from west to east in the City of Anan, Tokushima Prefecture. The Nakagawa River is under direct government control. The bold lines in the illustration show its banks. Under the ground lie old river channels, laid out just like the Yamata no Orochi a huge mythological snake with eight heads. This is true not only in the case of the Nakagawa River, but also for all rivers on alluvial plains.

 In the Edo period, people worked together to build embankments to confine diverging and meandering river channels into narrow areas. The purpose was to transform wild land into fertile farmland. It was an effort to expand wealth.

 In modern times, cities have been built on these alluvial plains. Today in the 21st century, land surfaces are covered with concrete and asphalt and we are no longer able to see the snake-like forms of old river-channels. But there these river channels still lie under the ground. They meander through wetlands and permeable gravel beds. The muddy water of a flood tries to take any opportunity to gush out from underground. If water finds its way out through riverbanks, they inevitably collapse.

s_20180919_NL vol.167
Figure: Landform classification map of Nakagawa River basin
(Source: MLIT Shikoku Regional Development Bureau)

Why do we Use the Kanji Characters “決壊” in Describing the Breaking of Riverbanks?
 Nowadays in Japan, we can see long seemingly fine embankments on both sides of rivers on alluvial plains. But no one knows where water will emerge from old river channels, breaking these embankments in times of flooding.
 It’s hardly new that no one knows where embankments will break. The Kanji characters “決壊” show this fact. In describing the breaking of an embankment, we use  “決壊”, not “欠壊”. It is significant that we use the character “決”, which means “decision”.

 If we omit part of the character “央”, it becomes a different character “夬”, which means to plane, in the sense that a carpenter planes down a piece of wood. Water planes away an embankment. Therefore, the character “決” itself indicates the breaking of an embankment, because “氵” means water. That’s why the Kanji characters “決壊” are used to describe the breaking of an embankment.

 In addition, the character “決定” is also related to an embankment.

Since the Edo period, people have engaged in flood prevention measures, struggling to prevent water leakage from riverbanks and landslides every time a flood occurs. Though people in the local community didn’t know where the embankments would break, they worked hard to protect them. If all of a sudden, the floodwater level lowered, it meant that part of the riverbank had broken. The villagers were said to be overjoyed because their village was saved as the flooding water poured down somewhere else but their place. Thus, in a sense, the embankment had decided where to give way, as noted in the characters “決定”.

 When we know the true nature of a riverbank, the principle of flood control becomes clear. It is to decrease water pressure on an embankment, with a great snake under the ground. That is, the principle of flood control is to lower the flood level by ten centimeters or even just one centimeter. In order to do so, we can widen the river, dredge the river bed, and construct discharge channels, upstream retarding reservoirs, and dams.

 In the future, the weather is expected to grow even more erratic. Continued efforts for flood control is our destiny for the continuation of the Japanese people.

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・Announcement from the Japan Water Forum

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- Recipients of the JWF Fund 2018 Decided!

Japan Water Forum (JWF) Fund managed through fees from corporate and individual members and donations is the initiative that supports grass-roots organizations to address water-related issues in developing countries. Since its establishment in 2005, 163 projects have been carried out so far.

In the JWF fund of this year, we have received 408 applications from 41 countries.

As the result of selection, we have decided to provide funds for 7 projects from 5 countries.

▼Please visit the following website for details▼
http://www.waterforum.jp/all/grass_roots_projects/jwf/2018/0919/?p=10030tag=en,rep_en

(Reported by Akie Gunji, Manager)

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・Report from the Japan Water Forum

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- The JWF’s Efforts at World Water Week in Stockholm

World Water Week 2018, which was held in Stockholm from August 26 to 31, hosted by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), is an international conference focused on global water issues. Experts, decision-makers, businesses, young professionals, and NGOs from across the world gathered to discuss water issues. In 2018, over 3600 participants from 133 countries attended nearly 300 sessions on the theme Water, Eco-systems and Human Development. The Japan Water Forum attended the conference as a Japanese NGO and secretariat of both the Asia-Pacific Water Forum (APWF) and the Northern Water Network (NoWNET), collecting and transmitting information, and promoting networking through sessions and exhibitions.

▼Please visit the following website for details▼
http://www.waterforum.jp/all/policy_recommendations/apwf/2018/0918/?p=9993tag=en,rep_en

(Reported by Sae Ishihara, Manager)

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- NoWNET Members' Meeting at the 2018 World Water Week in Stockholm

At the 2018 World Water Week, representatives from nine organizations belonging to NoWNET gathered to share the current and future priorities of each organization and to discuss collaborative activities and opportunities. Based on the results of discussions, the JWF, together with other member organizations, will share knowledge and experiences about adaptation measures for climate change from the perspective of water issues, focusing on the private sector initiatives. The JWF will also advance preparations towards COP24, to be held this December.

▼Please visit the following website for details▼
http://www.waterforum.jp/all/transmitting_japanese/nownet/2018/0918/?p=10051tag=en,rep_en

(Reported by Sae Ishihara, Manager)

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▼JWF News Achives▼
http://www.waterforum.jp/all/newsletter?tag=en,rep_en

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JWF News Vol. 167 / 19 September 2018
Japan Water Forum

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