Water Scarcity

Analysis of Airborne Particulate Matter Values Between Air Quality Monitoring Sites in Imperial County, California, as an Indication of Geographic Influences on Lung Health During Drought Periods

Authors: Aubrey Doede1Robert Davis2
Author Affiliations: 1University of Virginia School of Nursing; 2Environmental Science, University of Virginia

Background: 2012-2016 marked California’s worst drought in over a century. Droughts are expected to recur in broader areas as a result of anthropogenic climate change. The Salton Sea, a landlocked depression without natural river inflow, is almost entirely dependent on agricultural irrigation of Imperial Valley’s 475,000 acres of farmland, though its water level has been diminishing due to decreased precipitation and river flow. Exposure of the lakebed and ground heating in an already-arid climate may cause an increase in airborne particulate matter (PM), reactive nitrogen, and ground-level ozone, exacerbating asthma symptoms. While Imperial County’s asthma-related pediatric emergency department admissions were among the highest in California and double of the entire state during the most severe drought years, past analyses have not taken into account environmental mediators with specific geographic granularity. Methods: Data from the United States Drought Monitor and the five air quality monitoring stations (AQMS) within Imperial County were used in the analysis between the years 2006-2016. Windowing was used to match closest weekly drought reports to the closest six-day PM collection periods. Upon visually examining the data, lower values appeared to drive the correlation between AQMSs. Therefore, in two time series – all years and non-drought years only – all values for PM10<75ppm were removed, and remaining values were used to measure correlations between AQMSs. Findings: Coarse (PM10) levels across all years were poorly correlated (adjusted r2=0.12-0.66, p<0.05). When removing drought years (2012 onward), these values were slightly more correlated than those obtained from all observed years (adjusted r2=0.31-0.57, p<0.05). When removing PM10 values under 75ppm, the correlation coefficients for these values deteriorate when examining only the outlying values (adjusted r2=-0.026-0.30, p<0.05). Interpretation: The lack of consistency between AQMSs during high PM10 days and during drought years suggests that AQMSs do not experience the same change in air quality, especially on days most likely to cause asthma exacerbations. This lends evidence to a geographic component of air quality differences and the potential for children near rural farmland to be more susceptible to asthma and lung disease. Future research regarding respiratory health in drought areas will provide a perspective on underrepresented local and regional environmental challenges. Drought is one of the most expensive natural events from a number of economic and public health vantage points, and findings in support of the health implications of agriculture and water use have broader potential implications for water policy, drought mitigation strategies, and health improvement.

A methodological exploration for assessing the impact of drought on stunting in Kenyan children

Authors: Kate Lillepold1Ashley Aimone1Susan Keino2, Paula Braitstein1
Author Affiliations: 1Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto; 2Department of Human Nutrition, College of Health Sciences, Moi University

Background
Globally, droughts are occurring more regularly and are having negative impacts on population health; particularly in countries like Kenya, where agriculture is a primary driver of the economy and source of subsistence for many communities. Children are particularly vulnerable to weather-related shocks. Previous research has demonstrated an association between drought and cross-sectional indicators of malnutrition, such as stunting. In this study, we have explored various longitudinal and spatial analysis approaches to evaluate the impact of drought on the risk of stunting over time and space among young children in Kenya.

Methods
Using anthropometric data from three geo-referenced Kenyan Demographic and Health Surveys (KDHS), and the self-calibrated Palmer Drought Severity Index (scPDSI), we started by developing multivariate linear regression and spatial lag and error models (with Moran’s I calculations) to explore the relationship between drought and height-for-age z-scores (HAZ) in children 0-5 years of age. Initial covariates included the age of the child, sex, maternal age, height and education, wealth index, urban or rural location, birth weight and length, and source of drinking water. Subsequent analyses included multilevel and geographically weighted regression modelling, using frequentist or Bayesian methods, with the addition of household-level covariates such as livelihood zones. In order to assess the impact of changes in drought severity on child HAZ scores over time, multiple years of the KDHS were analyzed using spatio-temporal modelling.

Findings
Preliminary results from the multivariate linear model demonstrated a negative non-significant association between drought severity and HAZ among Kenyan children in 2014 (beta=0.033, p=0.101); however, there was a significant interaction between drought and age (beta=-0.002, p<0.001). The spatial lag model gave similar results. Other significant variables included wealth index, age, sex, maternal education, and maternal height. Global Moran’s I calculations indicated that there was a slight positive spatial autocorrelation across child HAZ scores (I=0.047, p<0.001).

Interpretation
Increased drought was associated with a non-significant decrease in HAZ among Kenyan children. However, a significant interaction between age and drought indicates that the effect of drought varied by age. Findings from this study will help to inform the development of methodological approaches for improving our understanding of the role of climate change in child health. Expanding these analyses to other East African countries will also contribute to the development of national adaptation strategies and planning in anticipation of increased climate variability.

The role of drought tolerant crops in Food and Nutrition Security in Kenya

Authors: Esther Omosa1, Moses Siambi2Patrick Audi2Christine Wangari2Maureen Cheserek2Rhoda Nungo2
Author Affiliations: 1International Livestock Research Institute; 2International Crops Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)

The role of drought tolerant cereals and legumes in food and nutrition security in Kenya
Given their nutrient density and adaptability to hash climatic conditions, drought tolerant cereals (millets and sorghum) and legumes (green grams, pigeon peas and ground nuts) provide opportunities for nourishing rural households across the lifespan all year round. They are particularly important in preparation of complementary foods for children and are routinely consumed by some households besides being culturally significant in special ceremonies like weddings, child birth and thanks giving. This is an ongoing intervention project whose objective is to increase production and utilization of the selected Drought Tolerant Crops (DTCs) namely; sorghum, finger millet, green grams pigeon peas and green grams-among households within the project site to improve nutrition.

The households were purposively chosen from agro-ecological zones that favor growth of the DTCs and then given early maturing-high yielding DTC seed to plant. Nutrition education trainings and social behavior change communication was targeted to the farmers. Information education materials were distributed among households, radio shows or spots and cooking demonstrations on new recipes and products done to influence greater utilization and other desired nutrition practices. Data was collected at household level using qualitative and quantitative methods. Data on quantities of DTCs harvested and kept aside for home consumption was collected and comparisons done with the commonly grown cereals and legumes. Key informant interviews and focused group discussions were used to collect data on dietary practices and dietary diversity scores calculated.

Preliminary results indicate that the beneficiary households did not suffer food insecurity in the current failed seasonal rains, there was an increase in the quantities of DTCs kept aside for household consumption, and some were sold to purchase other nutritious foods besides meeting non-food purchases. Thus filling the gap of lack of any cereal or legume that would have existed since all of the commonly grown cereals and legumes failed up to 90% alongside the depressed rains. The final phase of the project is upscaling the DTC seed distribution, linking farmers to markets and raising nutrition awareness to have the desired behavior and impact on food and nutrition security. The DTC therefore have potential to impact on food and nutrition security through availability in the farms and access-from sale of surplus of the DTCs.

Analysis of Airborne Particulate Matter Values Between Air Quality Monitoring Sites in Imperial County, California, as an Indication of Geographic Influences on Lung Health During Drought Periods

Authors: Aubrey Doede1, Robert Davis2
Author Affiliations: 1University of Virginia School of Nursing; 2Environmental Science, University of Virginia

Background: 2012-2016 marked California’s worst drought in over a century. Droughts are expected to recur in broader areas as a result of anthropogenic climate change. The Salton Sea, a landlocked depression without natural river inflow, is almost entirely dependent on agricultural irrigation of Imperial Valley’s 475,000 acres of farmland, though its water level has been diminishing due to decreased precipitation and river flow. Exposure of the lakebed and ground heating in an already-arid climate may cause an increase in airborne particulate matter (PM), reactive nitrogen, and ground-level ozone, exacerbating asthma symptoms. While Imperial County’s asthma-related pediatric emergency department admissions were among the highest in California and double of the entire state during the most severe drought years, past analyses have not taken into account environmental mediators with specific geographic granularity.

Methods: Data from the United States Drought Monitor and the five air quality monitoring stations (AQMS) within Imperial County were used in the analysis between the years 2006-2016. Windowing was used to match closest weekly drought reports to the closest six-day PM collection periods. Upon visually examining the data, lower values appeared to drive the correlation between AQMSs. Therefore, in two time series – all years and non-drought years only – all values for PM10<75ppm were removed, and remaining values were used to measure correlations between AQMSs.

Findings: Coarse (PM10) levels across all years were poorly correlated (adjusted r2=0.12-0.66, p<0.05). When removing drought years (2012 onward), these values were slightly more correlated than those obtained from all observed years (adjusted r2=0.31-0.57, p<0.05). When removing PM10 values under 75ppm, the correlation coefficients for these values deteriorate when examining only the outlying values (adjusted r2=-0.026-0.30, p<0.05).

Interpretation: The lack of consistency between AQMSs during high PM10 days and during drought years suggests that AQMSs do not experience the same change in air quality, especially on days most likely to cause asthma exacerbations. This lends evidence to a geographic component of air quality differences and the potential for children near rural farmland to be more susceptible to asthma and lung disease. Future research regarding respiratory health in drought areas will provide a perspective on underrepresented local and regional environmental challenges. Drought is one of the most expensive natural events from a number of economic and public health vantage points, and findings in support of the health implications of agriculture and water use have broader potential implications for water policy, drought mitigation strategies, and health improvement.

A methodological exploration for assessing the impact of drought on stunting in Kenyan children

Authors: Kate Lillepold1, Ashley Aimone1, Susan Keino2, Paula Braitstein1
Author Affiliations: 1Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto; 2College of Health Sciences, Moi University

Background
Globally, droughts are occurring more regularly and are having negative impacts on population health; particularly in countries like Kenya, where agriculture is a primary driver of the economy and source of subsistence for many communities. Children are particularly vulnerable to weather-related shocks. Previous research has demonstrated an association between drought and cross-sectional indicators of malnutrition, such as stunting. In this study, we have explored various longitudinal and spatial analysis approaches to evaluate the impact of drought on the risk of stunting over time and space among young children in Kenya.

Methods
Using anthropometric data from three geo-referenced Kenyan Demographic and Health Surveys (KDHS), and the self-calibrated Palmer Drought Severity Index (scPDSI), we started by developing multivariate linear regression and spatial lag and error models (with Moran’s I calculations) to explore the relationship between drought and height-for-age z-scores (HAZ) in children 0-5 years of age. Initial covariates included the age of the child, sex, maternal age, height and education, wealth index, urban or rural location, birth weight and length, and source of drinking water. Subsequent analyses included multilevel and geographically weighted regression modelling, using frequentist or Bayesian methods, with the addition of household-level covariates such as livelihood zones. In order to assess the impact of changes in drought severity on child HAZ scores over time, multiple years of the KDHS were analyzed using spatio-temporal modelling.

Findings
Preliminary results from the multivariate linear model demonstrated a negative non-significant association between drought severity and HAZ among Kenyan children in 2014 (beta=0.033, p=0.101); however, there was a significant interaction between drought and age (beta=-0.002, p<0.001). The spatial lag model gave similar results. Other significant variables included wealth index, age, sex, maternal education, and maternal height. Global Moran’s I calculations indicated that there was a slight positive spatial autocorrelation across child HAZ scores (I=0.047, p<0.001).

Interpretation
Increased drought was associated with a non-significant decrease in HAZ among Kenyan children. However, a significant interaction between age and drought indicates that the effect of drought varied by age. Findings from this study will help to inform the development of methodological approaches for improving our understanding of the role of climate change in child health. Expanding these analyses to other East African countries will also contribute to the development of national adaptation strategies and planning in anticipation of increased climate variability.

A Qualitative Analysis of Water Security at Local Government Level in South Africa

Authors: Richard Meissner1, Nikki Funke1, Karen Nortje1, Inga Jacobs-Mata1, Elliot Moyo1, Maronel Steyn1, Justinus Shadung1, Winile Masangane1, Ngowenani Nohayi1
Author Affiliations: 1Council for Scientific and Industrial Research

As one of the 40 driest countries in the world with an annual average rainfall of 500 millimetres, South Africa is a water-scarce country. In addition, South Africa’s rate of economic development is closely linked to its level of water security, as rising water stress and increasing supply variability, flooding, inadequate access to safe drinking water and sanitation, and higher levels of water pollution are creating a drag on economic growth. Despite the high premium placed on our water resources, there is no commonly shared understanding of water security. The aim of this project was to research, using qualitative social scientific methodologies, how people in two South African local governments understand water security. We investigated how people, from different lifestyles, perceive water security in the Greater Sekhukhune District and the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipalities. The inland-situated Sekhukhune has a drier climate and a rural socio-economic profile as opposed to the coastal, urbanised eThekwini with its complex economy and diverse socio-economic structure. We conducted face-to-face structured interviews with a diverse stakeholder group in the municipalities and focus groups in two communities of each municipality: Leeuwfontein and Motetema (Sekhukhune) and Inanda and Ntshongweni (eThekwini). Following a qualitative analysis, we found that water security is a state of mind based on context-specific (i.e. localised and individualised) perception(s) held by an individual of water-related threats and how it influences individuals and their natural surroundings. How people perceive water security has policy implications at local government level in South Africa and further afield in other developing contexts. We established that people from diverse lifestyles hold various understandings and interpretations of water security relating mainly to the availability, access, and quality of water resources. Understanding how people perceive water security in specific localities could aid policy makers and (health) practitioners to develop more nuanced responses to ameliorate water insecurity and its negative impact on human wellbeing. We discovered that perceptions depend to a large extent on the changing state of the natural environment the person lives in; socio-economic status; experiences relating to various interactions with local governments, members of the community, and stakeholder further afield; as well as diverse practices to enhance individual or communal water security. That said, a changing natural environment is not the independent variable that influence water security perceptions; such conceptualisations also depend on varying degrees of inter-personal relationships and practices directly or indirectly related to water security enhancement.

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