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New Research reveals that Water shortage may have led to demise of Maya civilisation

Within a short period of time, Mayan civilisation in Central America went from flourishing to collapsing probably due to water shortage

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1892 photograph of the Castillo at Chichen Itza, by Teoberto Maler. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
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London, August 24, 2016: New Research has revealed that the irrigation technology that served the Mayans well during periods of drought may have actually made their society more vulnerable to major catastrophes.

Something really drastic must have happened to the ancient Maya at the end of the Classic Period in the ninth century.

Within a short period of time, this advanced civilisation in Central America went from flourishing to collapsing- the population dwindling rapidly and monumental stone structures were no longer being constructed.

The socio-hydrological model developed by the Gunter Bloschl-led team at Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien) tell us that droughts and water issues are one possible explanation for their demise and shows us just how vulnerable an engineered society can be.

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“It’s well-known that the Mayans built water reservoirs in preparation for dry spells,” said Linda Kuil, one of professor Gunter Bloschl’s PhD students of the Vienna Doctoral Programme on Water Resource Systems.

“With our model, we can now analyse the effects of the Mayans’ water engineering on their society. It is also possible to simulate scenarios with and without water reservoirs and compare the consequences of such decisions,” Kuil noted.

The water supply determines how much food is available and, in turn, affects the growth of the population.

As it turns out, water reservoirs can actually provide substantial relief during short periods of drought.

In the simulations without reservoirs, the Mayan population declines after a drought, whereas it continues to grow if reservoirs provide extra water.

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However, the reservoirs may also make the population more vulnerable during the prolonged dry spells.

Maya Civilisation. Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Maya Civilisation. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

The water management behaviour may remain the same, and the water demand per person does not decrease, but the population continues to grow.

“This may then prove fatal if another drought occurs resulting in a decline in population that is more dramatic than without reservoirs,” the authors noted.

“When it comes to scarce resources, the simplest solutions might turn out to be superficial and not always the best ones,” Kuil added.

The lessons learnt may also help us to draw important conclusions for our own future.

“We need to be careful with our natural resources. If technical measures simply deal with the shortage of resources on a superficial level and we do not adjust our own behaviour, society is left vulnerable,” the authors pointed out. (IANS)

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Google Takes Initiative To Clean And Make Our Planet Healthy

The tool suggests simple changes-like installing a low-flow showerhead and fixing common household leaks-that can help you be more water smart.

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Pichai met with senior Republicans on Friday to discuss their concerns, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said. Wikimedia Commons

Google has teamed up with the California Academy of Sciences to launch an interactive new tool that will help reduce environmental footprint by informing the amount of water your shower uses or the impact of throwing away food or turning down the water heater by a few degrees.

The tool called Your Plan, Your Planet is an interactive way to understand your environmental impact and learn simple, science-based ways to improve it.

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People must be enough conscious regarding the protection of the Environment. Pixabay

“We all want a healthy planet. The small choices we make each day can help us get there. Learn simple tips from Google and the California Academy of Sciences to leave the earth in better shape,” Google said in a blog post late on Friday.

“Our greatest impact on the planet comes from just three things: our food, water, and energy usage. And if we each made a few small changes, we could all make a big difference,” wrote Jill Puente, Planet Earth Advocate, in the blog post.

Food production accounts for more than two-thirds of the world’s water use, and over a quarter of carbon dioxide emissions.

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A Google logo is seen at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, VOA

Your Plan, Your Planet, shows the water and carbon impact of what people eat and gives them smart ways to store it so that less food ends up in the trash.

Also Read: Environmentalists Investigate The Kerala Floods

The tool also suggests simple changes-like installing a low-flow showerhead and fixing common household leaks-that can help you be more water smart.

Much of the energy we use comes from burning natural resources, which in turn releases CO2 into the air. But easy tweaks, like washing laundry on a cold and adjusting the thermostat just a few degrees, can reduce the impact in a big way, Puente noted. (IANS)