News from the World of Water: Linking the Life Cycle of Carbon & Water

News from the World of Water: Linking the Life Cycle  of Carbon & Water

Singapore is commemorating the World Water Day 2011 with a series of events organised by  different community groups at 10 locations where the Active, Beautiful, Clean (ABC Waters) programme has come alive, plus there’s Roger Jenkins special Water Wor(l)ds event at night on 20 March at the NTUC Auditorium. Meanwhile, botanists have discovered that rising CO2 levels have reduced the density of the pores (stomata) that plants use to breathe by 34%, dramatically lowering the amount of water vapour the plants release to the atmosphere.

Telling it the way it is on World Water Day

Singapore, March 4 – World Water Day and World Storytelling Day come together in Singapore on 20 March in an aptly titled and unique celebration – “Water Wor(l)ds” – devised and organised by Roger Jenkins, himself a storyteller, director, teacher and author.

Stories with a water theme will be told and acted out at two venues during the day – Sengkang Wetlands stage and Lower Seletar Reservoir – while in the evening a gala performance will be held at the NTUC Auditorium, 1 Marina Boulevard, which also provides a panoramic view of the Marina Bay Reservoir.

Traditional tales from around the world – from the mountains of Ecuador to the mouth of the Ganges – will be told by professional storytellers Roger Jenkins, Chuah Ai Lin and Dolly Chew, with Gillian Tan sharing some stories in song.

Roger Jenkins explains that the importance of water – and storytelling – is universal. “Water is a symbol for life, cleanliness, renewal and healing”. He quotes Ursala K Le Guin who said: “There have been great societies that did not use the wheel, but there are no societies that did not tell stories”.

For the evening performance at NTUC Auditorium, commencing at 8pm, it is necessary to book in advance for a seat, but entry is by donation. Funds collected by the Singapore Environment Council (SEC) will go towards a water conservation project in an ASEAN country.

Roger Jenkins says he has three main objectives in organising the World Water Day’s event:

  • To enable a wide range of people of all ages to tell and listen to stories;
  • To raise awareness of the importance of water;
  • To raise funds for a water related project in an ASEAN country.

Internationally, the organisers of World Storytelling Day – – have adopted the theme of water for the first time this year, while the international observance of World Water Day – – is an initiative that grew out of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro.

World Wor(l)d is supported and promoted by Sustain Ability Showcase Asia and the Singapore Environment Council.

For more information and bookings go to:


From Public Utilities Board:

Taking place on 20th March, these events include a variety of land and water activities such as round-island cycling, mass walks, eco-carnivals, fun dragon boat race, photo competition, story-telling and clean-ups at our reservoirs and waterways.

The anchor venue for Singapore’s World Water Day event will be held at the Marina Barrage, a dam which has created Singapore’s 15th and first reservoir in the city. This central event with other satellite events will see over 10,000 community leaders and water ambassadors congregating to remind people to better appreciate and cherish this precious resource.
The Active, Beautiful, Clean Waters (ABC Waters) Programme transforms Singapore’s reservoirs and waterbodies into beautiful and clean streams, rivers and lakes, creating a vibrant City of Gardens and Water. Through this programme, people are brought closer to water and reminded of their roles in conserving, valuing and enjoying our waters.

Simultaneously, partners like Sony, Coca-Cola, Aveda, National Youth Achievement Award, the Singapore Environment Council and Commonwealth Secondary School will be showcasing their efforts in helping to keep Singapore’s waters clean.

Here is a summary of activities which will be held at Marina Barrage:

• BONUS EVENT – Round island cycling from our ABC Waters sites to Marina Barrage
• Fun Dragon Boat Race
• Step-o-meter mass exercise
• Walk for Water – organized by Aveda and the Singapore Environment Council;
• Faith and Water – an inter-faith celebration of the Inter-Religious Organisation’s 62nd Anniversary
• “Water Through My Lens” Photo Competition 2011 exhibition organized by the National Youth Achievement Award
• Clean-up at Kallang Basin and Singapore River
• School Performances

Other locations include:

• Alexandra Canal
• Bedok Reservoir
• MacRitchie Reservoir
• Sengkang Floating Wetland
• Lower Seletar Reservoir
• Kolam Ayer Waterfront
• Pandan Reservoir
• Jurong Lake
• NEWater Visitor Centre

For the full Singapore programme go to:

For events around the world go to:


Science Report by Kate Melville (4 March 2011):

“Profound” plant water cycle changes add new wildcard to climate change guesstimates

Botanists from Indiana University (IU) and Utrecht University (Netherlands) have discovered that rising carbon dioxide levels over the last 150 years have reduced the density of the pores (known as stomata) that plants use to breathe by 34 percent, dramatically lowering the amount of water vapor the plants release to the atmosphere. Writing about their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, the researchers hypothesize that continually increasing CO2 levels could reduce plant transpiration (water exchange) to the point where rainfall patterns are significantly altered.

For their research, the scientists gathered data from a diversity of plant species in Florida, including living individuals as well as samples extracted from herbarium collections and peat formations 100 – 150 years old. “The increase in CO2 by about 100 parts per million has had a profound effect on the number of stomata and, to a lesser extent, the size of the stomata,” said IU’s David Dilcher. “Our analysis of that structural change shows there’s been a huge reduction in the release of water to the atmosphere.”

Most plants use stomata on the undersides of leaves to absorb CO2from the air. The CO2 is used to build sugars, which can be used by the plant as energy or for incorporation into the plants’ fibrous cell walls. Stomata also allow plants to “transpire” water, or release water to the atmosphere. Transpiration helps drive the absorption of water at the roots, and also cools the plants. Fewer stomata means gas exchange and transpiration will be limited.

Dilcher explained the significance of the findings by noting that while the carbon cycle is important, the water cycle is equally so. “If transpiration decreases, there may be more moisture in the ground at first, but if there’s less rainfall that may mean there’s less moisture in the ground eventually. This is part of the hyrdrogeologic cycle. Land plants are a crucially important part of it.”

While it is well known that long-lived plants can adjust their number of stomata each season depending on growing conditions, little is known about the long-term structural changes in stomata over periods of decades or centuries. “The hydrogeologic cycle is complex. It’s hard to predict how changing one thing will affect other aspects,” opined Dilcher. “We would have to see how these things play out. Plant adaptation to rising CO2 is currently altering the hydrological cycle and climate and will continue to do so throughout this century.”


Leave a Reply