Windblown Dust from Desert in the Reservoir: Environmental Problems

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High winds can raise large amounts of dust from areas of dry, loose, exposed soil; carry them kilometers above the ground and then deposit the dust over areas along the path causing environmental problem. The dust will be a serious health concern if it contains significant amount of particulate matter less than 10 micrometers in diameter (or PM10). These particles are small enough to be drawn into the lungs. More recent concerns about health problems have put the greatest focus on particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers (PM2.5). Windblown dust is normally caused by a combination of weather conditions, the natural environment and human activities. There are many sources of dust such as the soil disturbance during construction activities and agricultural tillage operations, traffic on unpaved roads and parking lots, cleared vacant land areas as well as disturbed and undisturbed desert. Many techniques have been developed and applied to minimize and/or control the dust at its sources. However, combating the windblown dust from desert that is formed in a “live” reservoir is extremely challenging. This presentation uses an existing case to highlight the many environmental, social and health problems that have been caused by the windblown dust from desert that exists in a large man-made reservoir for hydropower generation purpose. Environmental impact is considered to be significant if the dust source is not controlled. However, an innovative approach has to be employed as none of the conventional windblown dust control techniques is applicable.


Keywords: Windblown Dust, Reservoir, Environment, PM10, Human Health, Soil, Water, Wind
Stream: Environmental Sustainability
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Dr. Sietan Chieng

Professor, Civil Engineering Department, University of British Columbia
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Sietan Chieng is a registered professional engineer in soil and water engineering areas with a specialty in drainage and irrigation engineering. Besides soil and water engineering, his training also includes the disciplines of hydrology, hydraulics, computer applications and modelling, and environmental impact studies. He has more than twenty five years of experience in drainage and irrigation systems planning, design and installation; water management system operations and evaluation; environmental impact assessment and cost/benefit analysis for water management systems. Dr. Chieng joined the University of British Columbia (UBC) as professor in its Bio-Resource Engineering Department in early 1980. He then became a professor in Chemical & Biological Engineering Department from 1996 to 2003. Currently he is a joint professor in Civil Engineering Department and in Agroecology of land & Food Systems of UBC teaching and conducting research on irrigation and drainage engineering subjects as well as in the areas of soil & water quality and environmental impact studies. Dr. Chieng has extensive experience in international development with special emphasis on soil and water management for sustainable food and fibre production and environment. He had carried out consulting work and delivered lectures/seminars on the above topics at overseas institutes in countries including Egypt, India, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan, and the People Republic of China. He has been working as a consultant and technical advisor to different consulting firms, international agencies including CIDA and World Bank.

Ref: S08P0059