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RAINWATER AND WATER NEWS - 2008

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December 26, 2008

Environmental News Service - Bush Administration Covered Up 500+ Blocked Water Pollution Cases The results of a Congressional investigation released today detail the collapse of the Clean Water Act enforcement program in the wake of a Supreme Court decision that clouded the question of whether rivers, streams and wetlands remain protected from pollution and development. The report reveals more than 500 clean water enforcement cases that have been dropped or stalled in the wake of the 2006 decision in Rapanos v. United States. >> more

San Antonio Express News - San Antonio now in worst drought category All but the southern tip of Bexar County deteriorated to the worst category in the U.S. Drought Monitor report issued Thursday as the terribly dry conditions continue to expand across the area. Bexar and all or most of nine other counties in Texas were placed in the “exceptional” drought category, meaning residents can expect such things as widespread crop and pasture losses and shortages of water in reservoirs, streams and wells, creating water emergencies. >> more

December 15, 2008

Alliance for Water Efficiency Advises Obama's Transition Team on Investment in Water Efficiency The Alliance for Water Efficiency advised President-Elect Barack Obama’s transition team about the employment potential and economic benefits of broad investments in water efficiency. AWE has prepared a position paper titled, “Transforming Water: Water Efficiency as Stimulus and Long-Term Investment ”. The intent of the paper is to show that water efficiency programs yield jobs, water savings and other economic benefits and will be a cost-effective investment to consider for the stimulus package. It has been reported that this document is already being used to help inform future national policy.>> Learn More >> Download PDF Policy Paper

December 15, 2008

Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel - FDA maintains bisphenol A is safe The Food and Drug Administration is sticking with its ruling that bisphenol A is safe, outraging lawmakers and health advocates who say the chemical is toxic and should be banned. Several hundred studies have been published in the past few years on BPA's effects. While studies paid for by chemical makers minimize concern for the chemical, most independent studies have found harm. >>more

December 8, 2008

Austin Water Wise Newsletter - The High Cost of High Pressure A landscape irrigation system can be very beneficial if it is operated efficiently. One problem is that an inefficient with high pressure is that it can waste as 40% of water meant for the landscape. An irrigation system operating under high pressure looks like mist or fog. If you can see water drifting into the air while the system is running, then water is being wasted. The tiny water droplets end up evaporating rather than falling on the landscape. Install a Pressure Regulating Valve (PRV) on the irrigation main line. This is the best way t

o repair a system that has high pressure on every station. >> more

November 25, 2008

Water Efficiency - Raincatcher's Delight -Seaholm tanks were sized so that minimal water was spilled, and the amount of rainwater to be collected, plus the amount to be used were noted for each month of the year. Austin has adopted strict criteria for stormwater control, requiring the first flush of approximately 0.8 inches of runoff to be detained and filtered before being released. Seaholm’s irrigation system will have underground pressure-drip lines that will discharge into the landscape root zone even during wet periods. This design is to provide ample reserve storage capacity to receive stormwater runoff from subsequent rain events. Butler’s research seminar—studied the feasibility of installing a rainwater harvesting system at Seaholm, and then evaluated the advantages and disadvantages of various systems (their report is available online: Seaholm Raincatchment System Evaluation). >> more

November 9, 2008

San Diego Union-Tribune - CALIFORNIA'S WATER: A VANISHING RESOURCE Mandatory water-saving measures for all San Diego businesses and residents will start to take shape Monday. The biggest potential change for customers is a property-by-property water “budget” that would impose dramatically higher rates for those who go over their allotted limit. San Diego also is preparing to stop issuing water permits for most new development projects unless builders can offset their water demand through conservation or other measures. That provision would start only if the drought becomes more severe, but it already has sparked concerns about the lack of details. >> more

November 3, 2008

Calgary Herald - High water fees set to rise Calgary's water rates in 2007 were fourth highest of 23 Canadian cities polled, behind only Burnaby, Ont., St. John's and Winnipeg. The increases on the table for the next three years would see the average metered household pay around $200 more a year for water and wastewater in 2011 than they do now. While 1,000 litres of tap water would cost around $1.18 next year, a 510 mL bottle of Dasani priced at $1.79, is equivalent to paying $3,500 for the same amount of water. Even a four-litre jug of distilled water at $2.29 works out to cost nearly 500 times tap water. >> more

November 2008

The Observer - Drought Land will be Abandoned Achim Steiner, executive director of the UN Environment Programme, said water shortages caused by over-use of rivers and aquifers were already leading to serious problems, even in rich nations. With climate change expected to reduce rainfall in some places and cause droughts in others, some regions could become 'economic deserts', unviable for people or agriculture, he said. Experts at the International Water Association congress in September called for investment in water infrastructure to at least double from the current level of $80bn (£49bn) a year to avoid widespread flooding, drought and disease. Unep has calculated that enough rain falls on Africa to theoretically supply the needs of 13 billion people, and has called for a continent-wide rainwater harvesting programme. >> more

Running Dry in the American Southwest A documentary directed, written, and produced by Jim Thebaut, president of The Chronicles Group, a Los Angeles based non-profit public information/education film production company. Featuring narration from Emmy® Award-winning actress Jane Seymour, “The American Southwest: Are We Running Dry?” is a definitive look at how the water crisis affects the American Southwest states and its escalating economic toll. As in the rest of the world, significant water problems exist in the Southwestern states because of severe drought, urban development, agricultural uses and population growth. The overwhelming need to solve these issues in the United States and the world is crucial through education and planning. The severity of the American water crisis cannot be underestimated. >> more >> View Trailer

FLOW: For the Love of Water Irena Salina's award-winning documentary investigation into what experts label the most important political and environmental issue of the 21st Century - The World Water Crisis. nterviews with scientists and activists intelligently reveal the rapidly building crisis, at both the global and human scale, and the film introduces many of the governmental and corporate culprits behind the water grab, while begging the question "CAN ANYONE REALLY OWN WATER?" Beyond identifying the problem, FLOW also gives viewers a look at the people and institutions providing practical solutions to the water crisis and those developing new technologies, which are fast becoming blueprints for a successful global and economic turnaround. >> more >> View Trailer

Ethical Corporation - Water resources: Efficiency and conservation – Swimming in dwindling waters Aral Sea, once the world’s fourth largest inland sea, this massive expanse of water has shrunk to a tenth of its original size due to a huge irrigation project introduced in the 1960s. The fishing industry is now floundering, the flora and fauna perishing and the summers becoming hotter and hotter. Simple population growth is not the whole answer, however. Rapid rates of industrialisation, urbanisation and wealth accumulation mean that people are now using on average six times more water than they were a century ago. >> more

The National Academies Press - Prospects for Managed Underground Storage of Recoverable Water Water use efficiency through technology and conservation, increasing supply through importation and desalination, and reuse of treated wastewater will occur due to increasing demand for fresh water. With or without these strategies, however, there is often a need for temporary detention and storage of water during times of abundance for release during times of need. Because of the shortcomings often associated with storage in aboveground reservoirs–including evaporative losses, land consumption, and ecological impacts–there is increased interest in storing recoverable water underground as part of an overall water management plan. This new 349-page $48 book, covers why it will be become necessary to store water underground as a means for augmenting current water supplies. >> more

October 2008

Environmental Working Group - Bottled water contains disinfection byproducts, fertilizer residue, and pain medications The bottled water industry promotes an image of purity, but comprehensive testing by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) reveals a surprising array of chemical contaminants in every bottled water brand analyzed, including toxic byproducts of chlorination in Walmart’s Sam’s Choice and Giant Supermarket's Acadia brands, at levels no different than routinely found in tap water. >> more

University of Texas, Austin - Green Roofs Differ in Building Cooling, Water Handling Capabilities Interest in vegetated roofs has increased as water and energy conservation becomes more important to property owners. Yet the study of six different manufacturers' products found the green roofs varied greatly in capabilities such as how much they cooled down a building's interior and how much rainwater they captured during downpours. >> more

October 30, 2008

Rocky Mountain News - Warming to cut Colorado water supply Though it's not clear how much less water the state's streams will generate, state officials say water utilities must craft drought plans to cope with water supplies that will be less predictable and, often, less abundant. The report was compiled by the University of Colorado Western Water Assessment, a partnership between the university, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the CU Cooperative Institute for Research into Environmental Sciences and the Colorado Climate Center at Colorado State University. >> more

October 24 , 2008

Homer News (Alaska) Turn off that tap - In the city's fiscal year 2009 preliminary budget, a residential water user who uses 2,000 gallons in a month, for instance, will experience a rate increase of 3.33 percent for water and 3.13 percent for sewer. A residential customer who uses 5,000 gallons would see a 9.52 percent increase for water and a 7.55 percent increase for sewer. A commercial water user who uses 5,000 gallons in a month would see a 12.9 percent increase for water and 14.46 percent for sewer, for example, and one who uses 100,000 gallons would pay 19.31 percent more for water and 35.37 percent more for sewer. >> more

October 21 , 2008

Rocky Mountain News - Future oil, water needs might not mix In 40 years, will Colorado have a greater need for oil or for water? The state may not be able to have both, a draft of a new study suggests. According to the assessment, as much as 410,000 acre-feet of water would be required to produce 1.5 million barrels of oil from shale annually by 2050. That's enough H20 for about 820,000 households. >> more >>Download Study

Thirsty world: Desperate quest for water (Excerpt from "What Matters," the latest book by "Day in the Life" series creator David Elliot Cohen) Water is the key to life. It is fundamental to all human activities. Water grows the food we eat, generates the energy that supports our modern economies and maintains the ecological services on which we all depend. Yet billions of people worldwide still lack access to the most basic human right: safe, clean, adequate water. This failure to meet the basic human need for water has direct, tangible and unacceptable consequences: drink dirty water and you get sick. Witness the father caring for his son afflicted by a guinea worm parasite. See the girl wasting away from cholera. Look at the consequences of arsenic poisoning on Bangladeshi villagers. And know that all of these diseases are completely preventable. >> more >>Download Water Chapter

October 17 , 2008

The Discovery Channel - Cactus Goo Makes Water Safe The slimy ooze inside prickly pear cactuses that helps the plants store water in the desert can also be used for scouring arsenic, bacteria and cloudiness out of rural drinking water, according to research at the University of South Florida in Tampa. >> more

October 13 , 2008

High Country News - Rainwater harvesting saves water, breaks the law Conservation advocates, including many utilities, have embraced the idea of using water collected from roofs, and stored in cisterns or rain barrels, to reduce reliance on dwindling surface water or groundwater supplies. Yet in Utah, Colorado and Washington, it's illegal to do so unless you go through the difficult -- and often impossible -- process of gaining a state water right.>> more

October 9 , 2008

The Sydney Morning Herald - Water to burn at fussy Starbucks WHILE years of drought mean many Australians wouldn't consider leaving the tap running while they brush their teeth, the coffee shop chain Starbucks leaves a tap running all day in each of its 23 Australian stores. But the practice, followed in all 10,000 Starbucks stores worldwide, has been slammed by environmental groups as unnecessary and irresponsible. Reports overseas say about 23.4 million litres of water - enough to fill an Olympic swimming pool every 83 minutes - is wasted in stores each day around the world. >> more

October 5 , 2008

Environmnental Protection Agency - NATIONAL WATER PROGRAM STRATEGY: Response to Climate Change The 119 page report includes an overview of the likely effects of climate change on water resources and the Nation’s clean water and safe drinking water programs. It also describes specific actions the National Water Program intends to take to adapt program implementation in light of climate change. Over the coming years, we in the United States can expect:

  • shorelines to move as a result of sea level rise;changes in ocean chemistry to alter aquatic habitat and fisheries; warming water temperatures to change contaminant concentrations in water and alter aquatic system uses;new patterns of rainfall and snowfall to alter water supply for drinking and other uses and lead to changes in pollution levels in aquatic systems;
  • more intense storms to threaten water infrastructure and increase polluted storm water runoff.

Climate change will have numerous and diverse impacts, including impacts on human health, natural systems, and the built environment. Many of the consequences of climate change relate to water resources. >> more

September 30 , 2008

OnTap Magazine - Rainwater Harvesting Moderate Investment Can Yield Big Results >> more

eco-structure Magazine - Rainwater Harvesting and Condensation >> more

Environmental Building News - Water Policies: Encouraging Conservation - Cambria is unique in drought stricten California. Even with strict water conservation there is simply not enough water. In 2001, Cambria issued a building moraturium on water permits, stopping almost all construction. New developments had to offset water use by as much as ten-to-one in some cases to get approval. Drastic measures are occurring across the West, where the population is growing. Cities and states are getting aggressive and creative in trying to conserve. Las Vegas with it's award winning we will pay you to rip out your grass program; California with it's flush-volume limit of 1.28 gallons for toilets, below the federal standard of 1.6 gallons; and Austin, TX with it's tiered rate structure that has a eightfold difference between the lowest and highest water rates. >> more

September 29 , 2008

WaterTech -Bostonians pay the most for their tap water - Bostonians paid more than other Americans for their publicly supplied drinking water in 2008 at $5.76 per thousand gallons, according to an annual survey conducted by the NUS Consulting Group. Some of the more notable increases included: New Orleans at 51.9 percent; St. Louis at 32.4 percent; Fort Smith, AR, at 29.6 percent; Sioux Falls, SD, at 18.2 percent; and Los Angeles at 17.9 percent. >> more

NUS Consulting Group’s 2007-2008 International Water Report and Cost Survey - Germany claims top honors as the most expensive surveyed country in terms of water with the United States being the least expensive. Australia experienced the largest year-on year increase in pricing at 18.5 percent. Over the past two years, average water rates in Australia have grown by more than 35 percent. In North America, Canada for the fourth year in a row experienced water price increases well beyond the country’s annual inflation rate. Further increases are expected as the nation invests more towards volume based pricing and promoting conservation efforts. The United States reported an average water pricing increase of 7.2 percent over the past year. Given these developments around the world, medium to large business consumers of water can no longer rely on cheap and abundant supplies. With fleeting opportunities for savings and the reality of ever higher prices, consumers must take an active role when it comes to their water purchases. >> more

Fresno Bee - Fresno residents could face changes in how they use water - Unlike most California cities, Fresno does not charge homeowners for the volume of water they use; an agreement with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, however, requires the city to begin charging a metered rate by 2010. Conservation will be a major part of Fresno's water future. Fresno residents use an average of just over 300 gallons of water every day, compared to about 240 in Clovis, which requires residents to pay a metered rate. Fresno's peak water usage during the winter, when most residential sprinkler systems are shut off, is 75 million gallons a day. In the summer, it's more than 250 million gallons. >>more

September 23 , 2008

Arizona Daily Star - Tucson council approves graywater regulations All new homes built in Tucson after mid-2010 will need to include plumbing for a graywater system, the City Council voted unanimously. The regulations affect only new construction, not existing houses, unless the homeowner builds an addition with a new bedroom, bathroom and kitchen. A newly constructed guesthouse on an existing property would need the graywater plumbing. Dozens of environmentalists came out to cheer the new rules, which were proposed by Councilman Rodney Glassman. >> more

September 18 , 2008

CNN - Planet is running out of clean water, new film warns - Water-related problems aren't restricted to the developing world. A harmful pesticide, banned by many European countries, remains widely used in the United States, where it runs into rivers and streams. And one expert estimates California's water supply will run out in 20 years. These sobering statistics come from "FLOW," a new documentary film about the world's dwindling water supply. The filmmakers and their sources argue a combination of factors, including drought and skyrocketing demand, have created a looming global crisis that threatens the long-term survival of the human race.>> more

September 10 , 2008

EPA Encourages Water Conservation - Water is a precious resource that is taken for granted until its availability becomes limited, and the growing demand for water and increasing population can create water shortages. Across the country a typical family of four spends about $850 on water and sewer costs per year, so reducing water use can also save money. A typical family of four can save $210 per year by changing over to water-efficient appliances and fixtures, and by adopting other water saving practices. "The average American uses a whopping 100 gallons of water per day, so making these few day-to-day sacrifices should not be a problem," said Donald S. Welsh, EPA regional administrator. >> more

August 30 , 2008

Associated Press - Rainwater collectors work to ease shortages - Scientists warn that climate change will result in more severe droughts and erratic storms worldwide, and this spring was the driest in California's 114 years of record-keeping. Extreme drought and abnormally dry conditions persist across large swaths of the country, with states in the West and Southeast hardest hit. Roofs are being used to collect rain from Austin to Seattle. Santa Monica's new library sits atop a 200,000-gallon rainwater cistern, and in August the city launched a rainwater rebate program for homeowners. In Marin County, a recent seminar on rainwater harvesting attracted a standing-room-only crowd of several hundred. >> more

August 25 , 2008

The Age - Desal and water tank wars - DESALINATION and other big-ticket solutions to Melbourne's water woes threaten to sideline alternatives, as a proposal to drop rainwater tanks is the subject of a row at the highest levels of State Government. In a separate public study on a proposed estate, Armstrong Creek in Geelong, Professor Coombes found that use of tanks and local recycling of waste water could cut demand for mains water by 75% and waste water by 63%. Such a strategy, he found, could defer the need for the Government's proposed $142 million pipeline to Geelong within 20 years.>> more

Rainwater Harvesting in the UK – Current Practice and Future Trends Rainwater harvesting (RWH), where runoff from roofs and impervious areas is collected and utilised, is receiving renewed attention as an alternative water source. RWH requires less treatment than greywater recycling, if being used for non-potable demand such as toilet flushing. However, there are challenges to overcome in the promotion and implementation of RWH in the UK; it is a relatively unproven technology and there are still many concerns to be assuaged. Nevertheless, the situation is beginning to change with welcome moves coming from the Government, the UKRHA and housing developers themselves, in response to an increasingly challenging water resources situation. This paper provides a brief introduction to RWH, along with an overview of the current and future prospects of the technology within the UK. >> more

August 22 , 2008

Guardian News and Media - Revealed: the massive scale of UK's water consumption - The UK has become the sixth largest net importer of water in the world, the environment group WWF will tell a meeting of international experts in Stockholm, with every consumer indirectly responsible for the use of thousands of litres a day. Only 38% of the UK's total water use comes from its own resources; the rest depends on the water systems of other countries, some of which are already facing serious shortages. The study makes the first attempt to measure the UK's total "water footprint" and highlights the extent to which our imports come from countries which are running out of fresh water.>> more

Liquid Assets - Penn State Public Broadcasting Documentary on Nation’s Deteriorating Water Infrastructure - It is out of sight and out of mind, but America’s aging water system is in dire need of an overhaul. Penn State Public Broadcasting (WPSU-TV) is set to premiere a public television event on the looming crisis underneath our feet and how communities are trying to meet this challenge. "Liquid Assets: The Story of Our Water Infrastructure," tells of America’s distressed essential infrastructure systems: drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater. These complex and aging systems—some in the ground for more than 150 years—are critical components for basic sanitation, health, public safety, economic development, and a host of other necessities of life. A four-minute trailer is available for viewing now at liquidassets.psu.eduThe documentary explores major water, sewage, and stormwater infrastructure issues facing communities across the country, including: Atlanta, Boston, Herminie, Pennsylvania, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Washington, DC. >> more

August 22 , 2008

The New Mexican - Water-rate hike called 'regressive' - The city is proposing a 6.99 percent increase per year for both the monthly service charge and water-usage fee. The increase would occur each of the next seven years if the City Council approves the plan. It includes a 3 percent inflation rate per year. With the rate hike, an average monthly residential bill of $31.51 would increase to $33.71 in 2009, $38.59 in 2011 and $50.57 per month by 2015 >> more

Austin American Statesman - LCRA raises water, wastewater rates - The Lower Colorado River Authority on Wednesday approved rate increases for wholesale water and wastewater that will affect residential and retail customers in Williamson, Travis and Hays counties.

Water UsagePrevious Bill New Bill % Increase
6,000$56
$64.25

14.7%

10,000$70
$80.25
14.6%
20,000$105
$120.25
14.5%

In addition, Liberty Hill wastewater customers who purchase services directly from the LCRA will pay about 15 percent more each month. Wholesale wastewater customers in western Williamson County will also see higher costs.>> more

August 19 , 2008

The Salt Lake Tribune - Thirsty lawns add to Utah water woes - 1 million Utahns have about 11 years until H2O judgment day. At current watering rates and with projected population growth, that's when Salt Lake County's biggest water district either must enforce water rationing or spend $1 billion on new supplies, including a pipeline from the sensitive Bear River, northern Utah's migratory-bird oasis. >> more

August 13 , 2008

The New Mexican - Watching the Water - Scientists predict that climate change will mean more rainfall and less snow in Yosemite in the next 50 years. If that happens, they say, one of the nation's premier outdoor destinations could experience problems — including severe floods in winter and spring, plus dry wells in the summer. With global warming, "the magnitude and frequency of floodings may increase because springtime flooding is usually caused by rain on snow," Fengjing Liu, a research scientist at UC Merced, said in an e-mail. Flooding could be of the magnitude of the crippling January 1997 deluge, which caused more than $178 million of damage in Yosemite, Roche said. Slowly-melting snow offers another environmental advantage, Roche said. It's able to infiltrate the soil and build up groundwater supplies that feed wells in the mountains year-round as well as creeks, streams and rivers in the late summer and fall. >> more

August 12 , 2008

Austin Water Wise Newsletter - Connection Between Water and Power - A recent article here highlighted the connection between Austin Water’s energy use and the city’s Climate Protection Plan, noting that AWU is responsible for about half of the City of Austin electric use. That’s about 200,000,000 kWh per year; an average of 550,000 kWh per day.One coal car carries about 100 tons of coal, which can produce over 300,000 kWh. So AWU uses the equivalent of almost two coal cars’ worth of energy each day. >> more

August 10 , 2008

Wise County Messenger Online - District will consider temporary fees for water wells - Fees could soon be applied to some water wells in the county capable of pumping large amounts of water. Revenue from the fees will pay for the district's routine business. Residents of Wise and the other three counties voted to create the Upper Trinity Groundwater Conservation District last year. The district's purpose is to protect the quality of local water and make sure residents maintain control over the groundwater fairly. >> more

August 7 , 2008

Voice of San Diego - Report: Water the 'Challenge of the Century' - San Diego's water supply once looked more reliable than it does today. But a prolonged drought on the Colorado River and legal restrictions on exports from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta have forced the region's water wholesalers to tap storage reserves to meet demand. Unless the state experiences an unusually wet winter, water restrictions are possible next year. The widespread call for voluntary conservation has been ineffective. Those efforts alone are often not successful unless accompanied by tangible steps. >> more

August 2 , 2008

US Water News - Israel Not Alone in Water Troubles - Israel's water problems may look grave, with the Kinneret dropping to new lows and the price of water set to rise, but other countries - such as Australia and Jordan — are facing similar, if not worse, crises due to the scarcity of this resource. Australia's northeast tip, is now experiencing its worst drought in 100 years, with five consecutive low-rainfall years and water shortage, with supplies at just 38 percent of capacity. >> more

Environmental Network News - Spain's drought a glimpse of our future? - Barcelona, Spain is a dry city. It is dry in a way that two days of showers can do nothing to alleviate. The Catalan capital's weather can change from one day to the next, but its climate, like that of the whole Mediterranean region, is inexorably warming up and drying out. Its fountains and beach showers are dry, its ornamental lakes and private swimming pools drained and hosepipes banned. Children are now being taught how to save water as part of their school day. Spain needs to capture more rainwater, says Stephanie Blencker of the Stockholm International Water Institute, as climate change will produce alternating extremes of drought and heavy rain. "Rain is the biggest resource we have, and we can make it available all year round if we have sensible storage opportunities," she said.

>> more

July 2008

U.S. Water News - San Antonio Water System announces 2008 WaterSaver Award winners - As San Antonio braces for another hot and dry summer, the city's water purveyor continues to work hard to promote water conservation in the city. San Antonio Water System (SAWS) has chosen 15 individuals and organizations in the city to receive 2008 Watersaver Awards for joining in the effort. Some of the winners include:

  • Bexar County 4-H helped retrofit 364 toilets to conserve about 4.3 million gallons per year.The Valencia Homeowners Association helped retrofit 319 toilets for a savings of 3.8 million gallons per year.
  • The 2008 WaterSaver Pioneer Award went to SeaWorld San Antonio. The 250-acre marine park has invested in numerous water-saving measures, including an extensive water-recovery system for all marine pools, ice-plant water reclamation for cooling, operating decorative fountains and watering hanging plants with captured air-conditioning condensate, planting and maintaining drought-tolerant landscaping, and retrofitting high-flow toilets at the park. Through these measures, SeaWorld saves more than 25 million gallons of water per year.

>> more

July 27, 2008

The Sun - City enacts strong water restrictions - Chino Hills has enacted the strongest water-conservation measures in its history. Pat Hagler, director of Chino Hills public facilities and operations, who is in charge of the city water agency, states the new ordinance to help encourage better water conservation does not have a time frame, . "I think it has to become a way of life for us, just like our gasoline," Hagler said. "We'll never go below $4 and we're probably never going to get more water. She added, "We're a very privileged society in America. In other parts of the world, water conservation is a way of life. We have to get in that same frame of mind." >> more

July 26, 2008

Tri-State Online - CAP officials look for future water solutions - The combined population of three of Arizona's most populous counties could double in 40 years and that has water experts dreaming up plans for the future. One scenario could have three desalination plants on line by 2048 to increase the supply of Central Arizona Project water flowing to Phoenix and Tucson. The prospect of desalination has in recent years gained more currency among water leaders in Arizona and the West as they try to deal with the twin pressures of population growth and drought that have kept flows in the river below normal for seven of the past 10 years.>> more

July 23, 2008

Kitchen and Residential Design Blog - Raindrops keep falling on my head - (A fun article from someone just wondering if Rainwater Harvesting could actually help.) Tampa, Florida gets an average of 46 inches of rain a year. Nearly all of that rainwater floods the streets and washes garbage and silt into the Bay. I have been wondering if there can be some good use for those 46 inches.>> more

July 22, 2008

Kitchen and Residential Design Blog - Raindrops keep falling on my head - (A fun article from someone just wondering if Rainwater Harvesting could actually help.) Tampa, Florida gets an average of 46 inches of rain a year. Nearly all of that rainwater floods the streets and washes garbage and silt into the Bay. I have been wondering if there can be some good use for those 46 inches >> more

July 19, 2008

Denver Post - Can you own the rain? Kris Holstrom lives with her husband and two children in a solar-powered home in rural San Miguel County. Committed to promoting sustainability, she grows organic produce year-round, most of which is sold to local restaurants and farmers markets. Kris did what thousands of farmers before her have done: She applied for a water right. Except instead of seeking to divert water from a stream, she sought to collect rain that fell upon the roof of her house and greenhouse. To her surprise, the state engineer opposed her application, arguing that other water users already had locked up the right to use the rain. The Colorado Water Court agreed, and Kris was denied the right to store a few barrels of rainwater. If she persisted with rain harvesting, she would be subject to fines of up to $500 per day. >> more

July 18, 2008

BBC News - Rain Friendly Building An innovative new building has been constructed in Leamington Spain which has been developed to cope with rainwater more efficiently.>> Watch video

July 14, 2008

New Hampshire Public Radio - Towns Brace for 311% Rate Increase Homeowners are dreading the onset of winter and unprecedented heating bills. But residents of four communities in New Hampshire may face another economic blow. The price they pay for water may rise dramatically. In some cases, they may see their water bills increase several times over.>> more

New way of managing water needed A new report, “The Next Market Crunch: Water,” takes on climate change and the impact to water supplies, with special consideration of how water managers are to adjust to changes in modeling current and future supplies. Surface water, groundwater and technologies to deliver potable water, such as reverse osmosis desalination, are discussed.>> more

July 10, 2008

State of California - Governor Schwarzenegger and Senator Feinstein Propose Compromise Plan to Provide California Safe, Reliable and Clean Water "The goal of this plan is to break the long-standing stalemate over water," Senator Feinstein said. "California is facing an unprecedented water crisis. The combination of drought, court ordered water restrictions, global warming, and an increasing population has placed a major strain on the existing infrastructure. We need to prepare now for the future. The $9.3 billion bond proposal that the Governor and Senator Feinstein have proposed includes the following elements from all stakeholders and is a compromise approach that will move California toward a reliable water future:

  • Increased water storage to ensure our water supply is more reliable year-to-year and we're able to capture excess water in wet years to use in dry years Improved water conveyance to reduce water shortagesRestored Delta ecosystem to allow California to take control of its own water systems
  • Increased conservation and tools to use water more efficiently

>> more

July 4, 2008

Dallas/Fort Worth Channel 8 - Rainwater recycling plan costs in Richardson, TX Catching rainwater and using it to irrigate the lawn has become a bigger deal than a Richardson man ever expected. Bill Burke thinks a rainwater harvester can save 8,000 gallons of city water. But the City of Richardson is not making it easy to implement. The city admits this is a good idea but Burke can not install it without first applying for a special permit, paying $1,500 in fees, and having two public hearings.>> more

June 2008

New IMAX movie Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s obsession with rivers has its headwaters in the mid-1960s, when he and his famous dad paddled along the towering walls of the Grand Canyon. Now 54 and chief prosecuting attorney for the Riverkeeper environmental alliance, he goes after river polluters nationwide with a vengeance.>> more

June 19, 2008

Businessweek - There will be Water If water is the new oil, T. Boone Pickens is a modern-day John D. Rockefeller. Pickens owns more water than any other individual in the U.S. and is looking to control even more. He hopes to sell the water he already has, some 65 billion gallons a year, to Dallas, transporting it over 250 miles, 11 counties, and about 650 tracts of private property. The electricity generated by an enormous wind farm he is setting up in the Panhandle would also flow along that corridor. >> more

June 17, 2008

AllAfrica.com -Rwanda: Water Harvesting - Solution to Drought Harvesting water precisely means capturing rain where it falls or collecting the run off in one's village or town as a means of water storage to ensure constant supply in times of water scarcity. the Rwanda Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) started water harvesting in the southern and eastern provinces in 2007. "As we harvest water, we target areas that are susceptible to drought. So far we have dug ponds or check dams in these areas from which we irrigate agricultural land. Some are located in south Bugesera, Ruhango and Nyanza. More are yet to be built in Rwamagana, Gisagara and Kirehe," said Patrice Hacyizimana, the Director of RADA.>> more

U.S. Water News Online - Southern water providers raise rates despite conservation Atlanta's utility, struggling to pay for a $4 billion update of its sewer and water infrastructure, heard from angry homeowners this week protesting a plan to raise customer rates by 27.5 percent this year and about 12.5 percent each of the next three years. Charlotte-Mecklenburg utilities boosted rates by about 15 percent this month — about $6 for an average customer. Suburban Atlanta's Gwinnett County warns it could raise rates if revenue — down 3 percent — keeps dropping. >> more

June 12, 2008

India Together - This bank deposits rain and draws water Cement cover, comes in the way of natural recharging of ground water. There is no exposed soil so that the runoff water can percolate into the sub-soil. In order to get rid of this ‘unwanted water’, a plan was devised. The cellar was made to slope down to an underground tank having an approximate capacity of 10,000 litres. As and when the tank would get filled, a sensor-operated motor would pump the water out and let it go to the gutters. The arrangement, a literal ‘dialysis’, was smoothly operating smoothly till B M Ramesh thought something more could be done. Ramesh’s second experiment of ‘cement breaking’ at his bank also proved beneficial. The borewell water has now turned sweeter and tastier. Earlier, all the steel vessels used for cooking developed thick, whitish scales inside. Cleaners had to scrape these scales three to four times in a year. Now the scaling has come down considerably. >> more

June 11, 2008

Daily Journal of Commerce - New rules will allow gray water in Oregon State building codes regulators will consider passing new rules to ensure Oregon homeowners don’t have to flush their drinking water down the toilet. Oregon building codes currently allow homeowners to collect and reuse rainwater for inside uses such as flushing toilets. But codes are murky when it comes to recycling gray water – water used in sinks, showers or clothes washers – for those same indoor uses. On June 20, however, the state Building Codes Division will take a proposal to the Oregon State Plumbing Board for new rules that would allow homeowners to install systems that reuse gray water in the same manner as rainwater for indoor use. The new rules would help ease concerns that have risen among conservationists and policy makers when it comes to using treated drinking water to flush toilets. >> more

June 10, 2008

Burlington Free Press - Vermont's Governor Douglas signs groundwater protection bill The legislation declares Vermont's groundwater a public trust and sets up a permitting process for those who want to make large water withdrawals. It is meant to protect Vermont from water-shortage problems other states are seeing, but also to prevent problems Vermont has seen with wells going dry, streams losing flow and neighbors having little control over projects that might affect them, said Jon Groveman of the Vermont Natural Resources Council, which supported the legislation. Advertisement "In the future, it's only going to become more of a problem," Groveman said.The law will require commercial enterprises that withdraw 20,0000 gallons a day or more to file a report with the state starting Sept. 1, 2009, and to obtain a permit for withdrawal of more than 57,000 gallons effective July 2010. Most farming operations will be exempt. That means the state should be able to better monitor how much water is being withdrawn and make sure it has no adverse impact on surrounding water supplies, Coleman said. >> more

June 7, 2008New Age - Against the flow CANADIAN conservationist, activist and author Maude Barlow is to H2O what Al Gore is to CO2. It was the inclusion of water on the list of tradeable goods being negotiated between Canada and America in the late 1980s that put it on Barlow's radar. She began to read about the issues of water trade, water ownership, water rights, water security "I just became obsessed". The amount of water being shipped out [exported as crops] to make profit for a handful of corporations and agribusiness is not sustainable! >> more

A Water Budgets, Not Rationing The 2007-2008 Grand Jury agrees that water budgeting is the solution for Orange County water woes. The Grand Jury calls on the water agencies to motivate consumers to conserve and to educate. >> more

June 5, 2008

San Francisco Chronicle - Governor declares drought, orders water sent to worst areas Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger today declared a statewide drought and ordered the state Department of Water Resources to quickly transfer water to areas with the most severe water shortages. "There is no more time to waste because nothing is more vital to protect our economy, our environment and our quality-of-life," Schwarzenegger said. But Schwarzenegger argued that California desperately needs to build more water storage and improve water delivery systems to allow the state to better manage its water resources during dry years. >> more

May 31, 2008

The Modesto Bee - Back to the future: Rainwater harvesting With California on the edge of drought and water restrictions already beginning in some areas, the state might soon be looking toward an ancient practice that is attracting renewed interest around the world: rainwater harvesting. In Australia, rainwater harvesting has been widespread for years, and in parts of the country it is the only source of fresh water. The government of Texas is an aggressive proponent of the idea. And in Washington's San Juan Islands, residents have overwhelmed a state agency that grants permits for the installation of harvesting systems. >> more

May 28, 2008

Deseret News - Eradicating contaminant may spur 25% rate hike Alta, Utah customers will have to pay 25 percent more for water if a proposal to increase water rates goes through. The extra $19,000 generated by the increase will be added to a grant of $450,000 from the state to pay for engineering studies focused on reducing antimony levels. The study to find the least expensive way to rid water of antimony will be complete in about a month, town officials said. Alta will then have to fund the solution, regardless of its cost. That figure could reach into the millions, said town clerk Kate Black. >> more

May 21, 2008

The Sacramento Bee - Home system collects rainwater for use in drier times The Sierra snowpack is below average. State officials said April and May were the driest spring on record. And Roseville has issued a drought alert – the first since 1994. People were already thinking water, so Robert Lenney tried to make them consider rainwater. "Several counties are in a water crisis, and several water agencies have ordered water conservation. It's very important," he said. Perusing Lenney's rain harvesting system, Scott Davis of West Sacramento said it makes sense, given the cost of water and conservation efforts. >> more

Orlando Sentinel - Orange County leaders adopted tougher conservation rules A key component requires businesses and residents in unincorporated Orange to honor state rules that bar irrigating lawns more than twice a week. Even-number addresses and lots, and common residential areas, can water Thursdays and Sundays. Odd-numbered addresses are allowed to irrigate Wednesdays and Saturdays. Violators could face a $100 to $250 code-enforcement fine, officials said. >> more

Wired Science - In America's Southwest, More People Plus Less Water Equals Trouble Phoenix, Arizona and Las Vegas, Nevada - are smack in the middle of the desert. While there's plenty of land to build houses on out there, the same cannot be said of another commodity : water. With hundreds of thousands of new residents moving to those areas every year, scientists are warning that they may soon hit "peak water" - the point where there just isn't enough of the wet stuff to go around. To keep its taps flowing, Phoenix has come up with a 50-year water management plan. One part of the strategy is conservation. By enforcing strict plumbing codes and restrictions on watering large turf facilities, in addition to providing low-flow toilets to low income households, the city has cut the amount of water each resident uses daily from 267 gallons in the 1980s to 198 gallons today. But Phoenix isn't just cutting the amount of water it uses; they're also storing gigantic quantities of the stuff in an underground waterbank. Water from the Colorado Riveris pumped through canals and delivery channels into an interconnected set of aquifers lined with sand and gravel, creating a vast subterranean lake. Engineers control the flow in and out of this complex with a system of computer-controlled gates. >> more

Denver Post - New housing developments could collect own water the Senate backed a bill that would let up to 10 new developments apply for permission to install cisterns to collect rainwater that drains off rooftops. The water would have to be used on lawns and gardens or to fight potential wildfires. Democratic Sen. Chris Romer's proposal would let the developments try out the idea over the next three years. The aim is to measure whether the cisterns prevent a lot of water from flowing into rivers and streams or whether most of it would have been soaked up by the ground anyway. Rural residents who aren't connected to a water supply would also be able to collect rainwater but they would be allowed to do it permanently. >> more

May 15, 2008

Water Environment Research Foundation - Homes sought for graywater study research team is looking for homeowner-volunteers who would like to be part of a study looking at the impact of household “graywater,” as used in landscape irrigation, on plants, soils and human health. Volunteers are those with existing graywater systems that have been in place for at least five years, especially if they’re located in Florida, Arizona or New Mexico. The research team of professors Larry Roesner and Sybil Sharvelle also would consider participants from other states and those who would volunteer to install new graywater irrigation systems in the next year, particularly in Arizona, New Mexico and California. >> more

May 13, 2008

Fox News - Barcelona, Spain, starts to import water on ship The ships, scheduled to continue to arrive with water for at least the next three months, will provide the 5.5 million people of greater Barcelona with 6 percent of their usual monthly water consumption. The ship that arrived May 13 carried 5 million gallons of water. >> more

May 11, 2008

Virginia Water Resources Research Center - The intertwined tale of energy and water The conventional production of energy and power requires a huge amount of water. Without water, our energy and power generation systems will come to an abrupt stop. In the United States, for example, thermoelectric power plants consume 136 billion gallons/day of fresh water, a number that translates to an average of 25 gallons of water to produce one kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity. For example, A 60-Watt incandescent bulb can consume up to 6,000 gallons of water a year. >> more

CNN News - Is it time to talk about 'peak water'? Water is the new oil--a resource where demand continues to rise but supply is limited. Availability of fresh water has long been a concern for countries that are water stressed. But water is a tangible concern to more parties. A nuclear power plant in Tennessee was derated last year because of a drought in the region. In another case, a huge brewery was shut down because of a lack of available water. It takes 3,700 liters of water to make one liter of ethanol and 900 liters of water to make one liter of biodiesel. "If water had a price that was even a fraction (of its cost), those things wouldn't be done. They're done because oil has a price and water does not. >> more

April 30, 2008

The Christian Science Monitor - Hopes that the wells won't run dry in Vermont Vermonters so worried about unregulated water withdrawals that on Friday the state legislature passed a bill that establishes a water-permit requirement. Declaring groundwater to be a public trust, the bill aims to prevent corporations from taking more than their fair share. Enterprises withdrawing more than 57,600 gallons of water a day must now obtain a permit. (Most farms are exempt.) Gov. Jim Douglas (R) is expected to sign the measure. >> more

April 28, 2008

Wired - Peak Water: Aquifers and Rivers Are Running Dry - That the news is familiar makes it no less alarming: 1.1 billion people, about one-sixth of the world's population, lack access to safe drinking water. Aquifers under Beijing, Delhi, Bangkok, and dozens of other rapidly growing urban areas are drying up. The rivers Ganges, Jordan, Nile, and Yangtze — all dwindle to a trickle for much of the year. In the former Soviet Union, the Aral Sea has shrunk to a quarter of its former size, leaving behind a salt-crusted waste. >> more

April 25, 2008

USA Today - Water Rates Rise - Atlanta, GA and Charlotte, GA are seeing a 15% increase, and Palm Beach County, FL adds a $3.50 surcharge due to drought. “Nobody in the Southeast has been paying the true costs of water,” says Robin Craig, a law professor and water expert at Florida State University. >> more

Las Vegas Valley Water District rate increase- In Las Vegas the rise will increase bills by about 23 percent with a greater percentage increase for larger water users, and a smaller percentage increase for those customers who typically use less water. The rate increase will help promote water conservation and will help the Water District recover more closely the costs to deliver water. >>more

U.S. Water News Online - Vermont lawmakers told of coming water crises - “It's going to surpass energy as a national security issue for the United States,” said Maude Barlow, an Ottawa-based environmentalist and author of the books “Blue Gold” and “Blue Covenant.” “There are alternative forms of energy, but we haven't yet found an alternative to water,” Barlow told a joint hearing of the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee and the House Committee on Fish, Wildlife and Water Resources. The Senate has passed, and the House panel soon is to take up, legislation that would declare the groundwater under Vermont a “public trust.” That's a legal doctrine that the legislation's backers say could provide protections for the state's aquifers essentially by restricting individual users from sucking them dry. >>more

April 10, 2008

IPCC - Climate change and It's Impact on Water - IPCC used a conference in Budapest to launch a paper detailing the effects of climate change on the earth's water supply. Enough observations, made over decades, from which can be seen that the whole cycle of water is changing as result of climate change. The paper warned that there is an increased risk of extreme weather events, flooding and drought in many areas across the globe in the future. Changes to the earth's water supply could have serious consequences for the availability of food in the future. >>Executive Summary or >>IPCC website for full report

April 5, 2008

The Daily Sentinetl - Colorado Lawmaker wonders: Who’ll catch the rain? A Denver lawmaker wants to allow new housing developments in the state to get water the old-fashioned way — with cisterns. Under existing law, all rainwater is supposed to be allowed to flow into streams to be used by water-rights holders. Romer’s plan aims to measure whether there is a noticeable difference in runoff returning to streams if all of the homes in a particular development are gathering some of that water in cisterns. >>more

March 30, 2008

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) - Hotter and Drier: The West's Changed Climate In a report by the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization (RMCO) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), drawn from 50 scientific studies, 125 other government and scientific sources, and our own new analyses, documents that the West is being affected more by a changed climate than any other part of the United States outside of Alaska. >>more

March 26, 2008

The Denver Post - 136 years later, mine law may get update Mineral prices are soaring, which is helping push up the number of claims, the groups said. The measure hasn't been overhauled since President Ulysses S. Grant signed it into law in 1872. >>more

The Daily Sentinel - Conservation district: There's less water than feds think for oil shale The federal government has projected that full production could reach 2 million barrels per day, which would require a lot of water. Estimates are that each barrel of oil would take one to three barrels of water to produce. >>more

Earth Policy Institute - BOTTLED WATER: Pouring Resources Down the Drain Global consumption of bottled water reached 154 billion liters (41 billion gallons) in 2004, up 57 percent from the 98 billion liters consumed five years earlier. Even in areas where tap water is safe to drink, demand for bottled water is increasing. Making bottles to meet Americans’ demand for bottled water requires more than 17 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel more than 1 million U.S. cars for a year. >>more

March 20, 2008

Ground Water Report to the Nation: A Call to Action Water demand, quality and quantity are matters of national urgency. If we don't act now, we rish degrading and jeopardizing the future health and well being of the country, our economy, and our ecological systems. >>more

March 10, 2008

AP - Pharmaceuticals Found in Drinking Water At least one pharmaceutical was detected in test of finished drinking water supplies fror 24 metropolitan areas according to a limited test of 62 major water providers. The long-term health effects of these contaminants is unknown. The EPA has no standards for these substances. >>more For more on what the EPA does require, read the article on - How safe is your water? The EPA regulates tap water, but how well do they do their job? >> more

February 13, 2008

Scripps News - Lake Mead Could Be Dry by 2021 There is a 50 percent chance Lake Mead, a key source of water for millions of people in the southwestern United States, will be dry by 2021. Research concluded that human demand, natural forces like evaporation, and human-induced climate change are creating a net deficit of nearly 1 million acre-feet of water per year. Today, we are at or beyond the sustainable limit of the Colorado system. The alternative to reasoned solutions to this coming water crisis is a major societal and economic disruption in the desert southwest; something that will affect each of us living in the region" the report concluded. >>more

February 8, 2008

News 14 Carolina - Raleigh tightens taps even further. City of Raleigh will move to Stage 2 water restrictions on Feb. 15. The stricter measures are meant to save more water. Stage 2 restrictions effect car washes, bans pressure washing and handheld irrigation. >>more

February 3, 2008

Water Shortage Highlighted at Davos 2008. Several panels sessions dedicated water, but not covered in the press. Time Is Running Out for Water, a panel including Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General, United Nations, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Chairman and CEO, Nestlé, E. Neville Isdell, Chairman and CEO, The Coca-Cola Company, Fred Krupp, Andrew N. Liveris, Chairman and CEO, Dow Chemical, and moderated by Ralph R. Peterson Death, Disease and Dirty Water a panel session including: Luke Alphey, Co-Founder and Chief Scientist, Oxitec, Michel Kazatchkine, Michel Kazatchkine Executive Director, Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Pardis Sabeti, Jasmine M. Whitbread, Chief Executive, International Save the Children Alliance, United Kingdom , and moderated by David E. Bloom Securing a Watertight Future a panel including: Jean-Paul Bouttes, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Steve Dobbs, Daniel C. Esty, Walter Fust, Fred Krupp, Simon Maxwell, Ralph R. Peterson, Mary Robinson, Jean-Pierre Rosso. Orville H. Schell, Peter Schwartz, Björn Stigson and facilitated by Margaret Catley-Carlson. Highlights from this session:

  • Global artificial irrigation uses 70% of the world’s water, ten times as much as all private households combinedIrrigated cropland continues to triple in size and demand for waterTen times more water goes into growing meat rather than vegetablesAgricultural land conversion rises by 20% just to meet hunger-reduction goals by 2015
  • One-third of existing irrigated lands succumb to ruin due to soil salinity

Who Is Managing Your Supply of Water? - A panel composed of Huguette Labelle, Jim Leape, Director-General, WWF International, Moon Kook-Hyun, N. K. Singh, Achim Steiner and moderated by Margaret Catley-CarlsonhwartzThe True Value of Water - A session moderated by Daniel C. Esty, Director, Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy, on a panel composed of Vilasrao Deshmukh, Orville H. Schell, John J. Wilkinson, and Fernando Zobel de Ayala

January 30, 2008

EPA, National and Environmental Groups Launch "Green Infrastructure". New comprehensive plan to reduce runoff and increase environmental and economic benefits for communities. >> more

January 27, 2008

Polymers are Forever - Alarming tales of a most prevalent and problematic substance. Great article in a recent edition of Orion magazine on the alarming increase of plastics everywhere. Most of our plastic grocery bags have a life span of 450 years. >> more

Get Wise on your Watershed - Good overview primer in a recent edition of Backhome magazine on watershed and why protecting local water sheds is critical in maintaining clean water. In the Jan/Feb edition, not available online, but at bookstores and local libraries. >> more

January 13, 2008

Nature Geoscience - Antarctica shrinking faster than previously forecasted - Western Antarctica ice sheets are more vulnerable to global warming than previously thought, according to scientist Eric Rignot, lead author of a paper published in the journal Nature Geoscience. >> more

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