Monthly Archives: October 2011

THE TRUTH OF TAP WATER

Article from THE COLLEGEAN: University of Richmond, September 28, 2011, By Katie Toussaint, Opinion Editor

I have never understood the addiction that some people seem to have to bottled water, let alone water itself. I hardly drink anything that lacks the fizz of carbonation, the lemon tang of Crystal Light or the bitter bite of coffee.
But from the U.S. to Canada, the administrations of 14 colleges, such as Saint Benedict and Macalester College in Minnesota, have taken note of the addiction and have acted against it.
The two universities have banned the sale of bottled water on campus during the past year for the sake of sustainability, according to a USA Today article.
The higher powers of Macalester College have tried to ease students into the transition, planting 31 “hydration stations” – water fountains with an additional spigot for refilling bottles – around campus, according to the article.
My reaction? I think buying water when it flows cleanly from taps is a strange and unnecessary luxury.
I also think it’s ridiculous to attach more spigots to water fountains; one should do just fine, even if you have to juggle your reusable bottle a bit to catch the semi-awkward arch of water.
Others’ reactions? The Minnesota College Republicans staged a protest against Saint Benedict’s ban, and distributed plastic water bottles in a quiet battle for students’ free choice, according to the article.
On the same campus, about 1,000 student petitioners slapped their seal of approval onto the ban with their signatures.
Predictably, bottled water companies are not tossing confetti with their party hats on. A spokesman for the International Bottled Water Association said the bans were generating false information related to bottled water consumption, and that the companies were pro-convenience rather than anti-tap water, according to the article.
Jerry Giordano, president of GreenUR, said he was very interested in spreading the phenomenon of banned bottled water sales to the University of Richmond, as long as a corresponding education program and increased access to tap water sources accompanied the change.
Safe drinking water streams out of sinks, but people are afraid to consume it because advertising has led them to believe that tap water is impure and bottled water is pure, Giordano said.
“The truth is that tap water, because it’s public water, has to be tested many times every day,” he said.
But because private companies are not held accountable by anyone, people are lucky if the company staff tests the water every week, he said.
Following the world’s oil crisis, the water rights issue could be the next source of global conflict because of increasing populations and elevated water-stress issues, such as the shortage of clean water in India’s Ganges River, Giordano said.
By purchasing bottled water, we are even doing damage domestically by heightening water stress issues’ such as drought, and by expanding our carbon footprint and exposing our bodies to factory-related carcinogens, he said.
And for no good reason – a high percentage of bottled water is bottled in the same state that it’s sold in, he said. “It’s less safe than water that’s in our own tap,” he said.
It also drains our resources, as it takes 1.85 gallons of water to make the plastic for one bottle of water, according to the Treehugger Discovery Company.
Now that Environmental Awareness Week has evaporated into the past, organizations like GreenUR are working to figure out whether a campus ban on bottled water sales is possible, Giordano said.
The university is under a binding contract with Coca-Cola, and part of that deal is the university’s obligation to sell whatever the company wants it to sell, including Dasani water, he said.
So our campus is caught in a legal bind with bottled beverage distributors. And we live in a business-centric world; advertising threads through medical practices, the food industry and politics alike.
As students, our young lives are spent preparing for the “real world,” and we are taught to get there through employment.
But what kind of real world are we going to end up in? Can that world sustain the pollution and loss of natural resources that surge from our consumer habits?
I’ve never been a vocal tree-hugger, and I don’t know what one campus community can do to noticeably reduce America’s carbon footprint. But if we need to save the world we live in — if not for our generation, then for others — why not try?
Bottled water could be one of the simplest addictions to kick. Grab a glass, turn the tap on the sink and drink it in.

Comments

Having worked in a water treatment plant here in Ontario the line of “weekly testing ” is generous. $$$$ trumps all and in this day and age  some tests are not done enough and some not at all.  Some bottled water is very good and some has leachate from landfills that leak in to it. No kidding and they still bottle it. This is why having your own high quality Reverse Osmosis–Takes the worry out of water

CONTROL OF CANADIAN WATER IN QUESTION

CONTROL OF CANADIAN WATER IN QUESTION
Published: October 06, 2011 8:00 AM By Ron Heusen, editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Ninety-seven percent of the world’s water is saline and not fit for human consumption or irrigation. The remaining three per cent is fresh water of which 2.5 per cent is locked ice. The remaining 0.5 per cent makes up our fresh water aquifers and the surface water that sustains all terrestrial life on earth.
The global hydrologic cycle that replenishes this half percent is a process that delivers this finite resource (water) to the world through wind driven circulation cells, each spanning 30 degrees of latitude.
The strongest cell is the Hadley, where warm moisture laden equatorial air rises and flows northward until it cools and deposits as precipitation. Most Canadians live in the Ferrel cell, positioned between the warm wet Hadley and the cold dry polar cell.
Global temperatures influence the amount of moisture these cells carry and where they release it. As global warming takes effect, climate change models predict some parts of Canada will see more moisture and some areas less.
Given 60 per cent of our water flows toward the unpopulated remote north, Canada does not have abundantly available water, making what we do have precious.
Fresh water is not just for drinking; it translates into food production, energy production and drives industry. That tiny half per cent of global fresh water supports everything we know.
Escalating contamination, strained and exhausted aquifers, expanding human populations and global warming are drawing humankind into a fresh water access crisis.
America’s “Great Plains” Ogallala aquifer, that lies beneath eight states and irrigates 27 per cent of U.S. irrigated land, is drying up due to over pumping. Some of us will likely be alive to see the death of that aquifer that is millions of years old.
The pending global water crisis has not escaped the opportunistic attention of multinational corporations. They are making privatization inroads into the consolidation of global water supplies, they have World Trade Organization and World Bank support and they want deregulation.
Under NAFTA, significant control of Canadian resources was lost to the Americans, and many believe that included our water.
The Security and Prosperity Partnership, a secretive trilateral (U.S., Canada, and Mexico) think-tank made up of government officials and corporate leaders, has placed water transfers from Canada to the U.S. on their agenda. This may appear benign, but a global oil industry was born from one well in 1859 in Oil Creek, Pa.
When we look at the history of the oil industry, it is not hard to imagine a future with profit focused American companies controlling Canadian water on the open market. The power that could come from businesses marketing a product, upon which everything depends, could be staggering.
The increasing value of water combined with global shortages could make well-funded legal departments providing advice to disingenuous public relation firms, powerful lobbyists influencing governments, economic disenfranchisement of water-starved nations, increasing global tensions and further marginalization of the domestic poor, reasonable predictions.
Will Canadians, suffering the malaise of perceptual disempowerment, even consider the ethics of whether our future American controlled Canadian fresh water is a global “right of life” or a “right of price”?

Comments

0.5%….Thats all the clean, drinkable water on earth. The talk about water as blue gold is true. With water containing iron, sulphur, tannin, salt, chemicals, iron / sulphur bacteria the list goes on and on, its easy to see why it is so precious. Aquifers drying up that are over a million years old reiterates the need for us all to open our eyes and protect the water around us. With more and more people using reverse osmosis and whole house carbon filters for their drinking water, the percentage is growing.  Still a large number of the masses drink what they are given hoping because they pay for it = its clean…

Water Art

LIGHT SHOWER TOWERS
WaterCanada, September 7, 2011, Written by Kerry Freek, Editor

Toronto’s newest stormwater system is breathtaking.
Housed in the pavilion basement at Sherbourne Common, a new park in the city’s rapidly developing East Bayfront area, the treatment facility cleans collected storm and lake water with ultraviolet (UV) light. The treated water is then sent underground to the north side of the park where it is released through three nine-metre-high art sculpture towers. The water flows from the tops of the towers down metal mesh veils and into a 240-metre-long water channel, or urban river, where it then flows into Lake Ontario.
Artist Jill Anholt’s Light Showers water towers are lit at night; as people move over the bridge of the water channel, motion sensors trigger shifting light patterns in the water as it falls from the sculptures. The mesh veils of the art sculptures are designed to capture water in the winter to form unique ice patterns.
Regardless of its attractiveness, the system and others like it have elicited some blowback from critics, especially in a time when many municipalities are worried about growing infrastructure deficits. Are the extra features necessary? Anholt’s sculptures don’t contain UV lamps and play only a minor role in the treatment process—they provide further aeration and act as a conduit to bring treated water to raised pools.
While some people may criticize Waterfront Toronto’s choice, others believe the art is a worthwhile investment. Waterfront Toronto chair Mark Wilson sees it as a catalyst for the further development of the East Bayfront neighbourhood. “The park has already helped us attract private and public sector partners who are working with us to transform this former industrial area into a dynamic new community,” he says. The City plans to recover the cost for the art feature—$1.9 million—through development fees as part of Waterfront Toronto’s public art strategy.
Others argue that making infrastructure visible is important to public understanding. During last April’s Out of Water: Sustaining Development in Arid Climates conference at the University of Toronto. (see “In the Eye of the Beholder,” a blog post at watercanada.net), one audience member said water infrastructure is often designed to blend with the environment. “Often, we don’t even know it’s there—but is that a good thing?” she asked. Maybe it’s important, she posited, that we see, recognize, and feel comfortable with the mechanisms that allow us to maintain the lives we’re accustomed to living and, at a basic level, survive.
During a presentation at the Ecocity World Summit this August in Montreal, Concordia University graduate student Cecilia Chen discussed the importance of mapping the flows of streams and aquifers beneath and around urban spaces to increase awareness that cities are, in some ways, nothing more than watersheds. Water’s role in an urban ecosystem, she said, goes unrecognized because it travels underground and out of sight. It’s only when a storm drain overflows and what she calls “hybrid water” becomes visible that awareness increases.
James Roche, director, parks design and construction for Waterfront Toronto, isn’t interested in separating infrastructure, landscape, and public space. “There’s more to gain from combining these fields,” he says. Roche says we ignore water’s important, though background, role in commerce and cities. “It changes how we live on a daily basis. The Sherbourne Common design helps to bring water back into the public realm.” … Sherbourne Common serves as a reminder of the role water plays in our lives.

Water art is a great way to promote and bring awareness to this sometimes forgotten treasure. Filtration systems and UV lights are used to clean up the water for the displays before shown to the public. Modern day art may bring people to think about where run off from highways, storm sewers and industrial pollution actually goes…

 

Water Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Hydration?

Water Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Hydration?

http://bit.ly/obWlsB

Take this WebMD Quiz to see how much you know about hydration, how much water you need, the signs of dehydration, sports drinks, and more. (Some myths uncovered.)
Have fun with this one folks.

What’s in the Bath Water With My Baby?

Healthy Begins Here
with Healthy Child Healthy World – Tuesday, July 21, 2009
What’s in the Bath Water With My Baby? by Christopher Gavigan
Sharing an article from WebMD Expert blog:

http://blogs.webmd.com/health-ehome/2009/07/whats-in-the-bath-water-with-my-baby.html

There’s something indescribable about bath time: the way a small child looks glistening wet, the smell of his damp hair, the sound of giggles and splashing against the acoustics of ceramic tile. It’s a bit enchanting.
I was immersed in the contentedness of it all the other night as I sat by the tub watching my son. Like usual, he was hypnotizing himself with the motion of water by repeatedly filling a wooden bowl and slowly pouring the water out. Inevitably, he stops to take a drink. Like many toddlers, he loves drinking his bath water. I’ve watched him do it countless times, but this time the proverbial light bulb went on.
We’re so careful about what we feed him and the beverages we choose, but somehow this innocent moment of ingestion had never crossed my mind. Bath time is about purity and cleanliness. Since we use natural and non-toxic bath wash and shampoos, we had nothing else to worry about, right? Unfortunately – no.
First of all, and perhaps the most obvious fact is that, while American tap water is some of the cleanest in the world (depending on where you live and whether you are drawing from a public source or a private well), there can still be contamination. An Environmental Working Group study of national tap water quality in 2005 found more than 140 contaminants with no enforceable safety limits.
Secondly, drinking the bath water is not the only way your child may be exposed to contaminants in it. As the water evaporates (and this is much more of a concern for showers), your child can inhale contaminants. In fact, according to the American Chemical Society, “we could receive from 6 to 100 times more chlorine by breathing the air around showers and baths than we could by drinking water.” Also, your skin is porous (and especially so in warm water which opens up pores), so dermal absorption is another route for contaminants to find their way into your child’s body.
If you’ve cleaned your tub recently with a conventional cleanser, and you haven’t rinsed it well enough, chemical residues can end up becoming a part of your baby’s bath water (which as you can guess by now – can end up being absorbed, inhaled, or ingested by your baby). So, skip the tough stuff and get a natural shine by either buying non-toxic cleaners or using simple ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice.
So the next time your little one jumps in the tub for her nightly scrub-a-dub, keep it even cleaner by filtering your water (or at the very least – discouraging your child from drinking it). There are great small bath filters that can hang from the tub’s nozzle that remover chlorine and other water contaminants. Be sure to use natural and non-toxic bath products and lotions. And finally, after they are all clean and jump into a fluffy towel – well, what was it cleaned with? Avoid those harsh conventional laundry cleaners, opt for non-toxic softeners and dryer sheets, and skip the chlorine bleach.
Now where’s our PVC-free yellow ducky hiding?

Comments

The RainSoft whole house carbon unit is a great product for anyone wanting to eliminate VOC’s. Skin adsorption and ingestion in the bath / shower can be eliminated with this product. Like the article states, we think so much about what comes in contact with our loved ones, water is sometimes overlooked.

Climate Change Threatens Canada’s Water: Report

Coordinated Water Conservation Guidelines Needed To Protect Canada’s Water System

Read the full article at: http://bit.ly/pwxrCp
VANCOUVER, Oct. 4, 2011 /CNW/ – Federal, provincial and municipal governments should implement coordinated national and regional water conservation guidelines to address the detrimental impact climate change is having on Canada’s water system, according to a new report from ACT, Simon Fraser University’s Adaptation to Climate Change Team.
“The days when Canadians take an endless abundance of fresh water for granted are numbered,” warns Bob Sandford, lead author of ACT’s Climate Change Adaptation and Water Governance report. “Increasing average temperatures, climate change impacts on weather patterns and extensive changes in land use are seriously affecting the way water moves through the hydrological cycle in many parts of Canada, which is seriously impacting water quantity and quality.”
“If Canada doesn’t become a water conservation society, water security in many parts of this country will be compromised.”
The report calls for a dramatic reform of water governance structures in Canada by all levels of government to meet the new challenges posed by a changing climate, and sets out twelve broad-based recommendations to help protect Canada’s fragile water supply.
Climate change is causing increased weather instability, leading to more frequent, deeper and persistent droughts as well as more intense rainfall and flooding across Canada resulting in greater property damage, higher insurance costs and a greater infrastructure maintenance and replacement deficit nationally.
Today, half of every dollar paid out by insurance companies is for water damage related to extreme weather events, which will continue to increase unless government and planners undertake the deep reforms necessary to manage water differently…
“Canada is coping with climate change, not adapting,” says Sandford. “Our primary response to climate change has been focussed on reducing emissions. While such action is critical, it is inadequate by itself…
Water policy in many parts of Canada has not kept pace with changing political, economic and climatic conditions…
One of the key challenges limiting effective water resource management in Canada is jurisdictional fragmentation, as legislative power over freshwater is divided between the federal government and the provinces, producing a complex regulatory web that spans First Nations, municipal, regional, provincial and federal orders of government. This has resulted in serious policy and information gaps …
The complexity, fragmentation and lack of coordination of water policies in Canada creates policies that are often inconsistent with respect to drinking water quality standards, ecosystem protection, allocation rights and climate change adaptation, the Climate Change Adaptation and Water Governance report concludes.
“The reform of water governance structures in Canada is essential if we want to successfully manage and protect our water supplies and minimize climate-related impacts on our environment, our economy and our society,” says Sandford.
Climate Change Adaptation and Water Governance Recommendations
• The federal, provincial and municipal governments establish national and regional water conservation guidelines that values water appropriately and promotes its wise use and conservation;
• Governments at all levels formally allocate water to meet nature’s needs and ensure its use is consistent with sustaining resilient and functioning ecological systems;
• Strengthen and harmonize flood protection strategies nationally;
• Government at all levels should formally support the design and sustainability of water supply and waste disposal infrastructure based on ecological principles and adaptation to a changing climate, with special attention to First Nations communities;
• National and regional water monitoring needs to be improved to provide reliable, accessible, up-to-date information needed to effectively manage water in a changing climate;
• The role of education in public understanding of the importance of water to our way of life in Canada should be recognized and formally supported;
• Water must be recognized as a human right integral to security and health;
• A collaborative water governance model should be supported to holistically managing watersheds;
• Governments at all levels must recognize the importance of groundwater, understand and value its role in creating a sustainable future for Canada;
• Develop coordinated long-term national strategies for sustainably managing water in the face of climate change;
• The government of Canada, in association with provincial, territorial and Aboriginal governments, should fully articulate and actively promote a new Canadian water ethic; and
• Create a non-statutory National Water Commission to advance policy reform and to champion the new Canadian Water ethic;
For the full report, please go to http://www.sfu.ca/act.
ABOUT ACT
ACT is a Simon Fraser University-based research program designed to address the fact that Canadians face major impacts of climate change such as violent storms, sea-level rise, water scarcity, energy challenges and health risks. A five-year series of six-month sessions on top-of-mind climate change issues, ACT brings leading experts from around the world together with industry, community and government decision-makers to explore the risks and generate recommendations for sustainable adaptation. Each session features multi-stakeholder conferences and public dialogues that raise awareness and study the problems posed as well as potential solutions. These events support a policy research and development process led by an expert working with a team of graduate researchers to develop policy options for sustainable adaptation to the impacts.

Comments

The lack of fresh water is already happening. Anyone who does analysis on water can tell you we have more unwanted substances than ever. Blue gold is here and we should all be more aware about what we put into our bodies

BLAME IT ON THE RAIN

BLAME IT ON THE RAIN – by Rebecca Taggart – Water Canada Jan/Feb, 2010 article

Acid rain leaves its mark in Canada’s freshwater lakes.

Calcium deficiency is commonly considered an ailment of the elderly.  However, many of Canada’s freshwater lakes are now being diagnosed with a similar condition.

Calcium levels in many of Canada’s freshwater lakes are dropping.  Just as it’s necessary for a healthy human body, calcium is also essential for supporting life in aquatic ecosystems.

Environment Canada scientists are involved in collaborative research that sheds light on a pattern of calcium loss in our small lakes and wetlands.  For almost 30 years, samples were collected from lakes across south-eastern Canada to monitor chemical levels in ecosystems sensitive to acid rain.  In an assessment of chemical changes from 770 Ontario lakes, researchers noticed a troubling pattern of declining calcium.

Making a recovery:  When rain falls on the land or drainage basin surrounding a lake, it washes a small amount of calcium from the soil and drains it into the lake.  This natural process has occurred over thousands of years, and accounts for most of the calcium found in lakes.

Acid rain speeds up this process by washing calcium from the soil and into lakes at a much faster rate than regular rain.  Acid rain also increases the acidity of lake waters, which can negatively affect the aquatic species that rely on the lake to survive.
Acid rain peaked during the 1970s and 1980s because of increased urban and industrial development throughout eastern North America.  Since then, aggressive environmental policies have reduced the harmful emissions that cause acid rain and have succeeded in reducing its occurrence.

However, those decades of faster calcium leaching due to acid rain have depleted the natural stock of calcium found in the soil of land in lake drainage basins.  Now that we are seeing less acid rain, calcium concentrations in some lakes are declining, perhaps to levels that are lower than those before acid rain became a problem.

This means that there may not be enough calcium available for some aquatic species to survive in these lakes.   Low calcium levels may also slow the biological recovery of lakes from the higher acidity levels that were also caused by acid rain.

Getting to the core of our lakes:    To demonstrate the effects of this problem, research scientist studied Daphnia, a crustacean that lab studies have shown is strongly dependent on sufficient calcium concentrations in lakes.  Researchers conducted a paleolimnological survey, which involves using a coring device to remove a sample of the lakes’ sediment floor.  Lying within these sediments are remains of plants and animals that have been preserved over time.  Based on an analysis of lake sediment cores, scientists found that Daphnia began to decline in the 170s, showing a strong link with measured declines in lake calcium levels..

Decline in Daphnia and other calcium-rich foods have the potential to threaten many other species.  Daphnia graze on algae, which regulates their presence in a lake.  This affects other animals in the food chain such as fish and birds.

The results of this research teach an important lesson about the role that each creature plays in an ecosystem.  Small lakes and wetlands provide important habitat for many species.  The individual roles these species play in our ecosystems demonstrate the interconnectedness of all life forms and illustrate the potential for habitat pollution and other impacts to have complex consequences for ecosystems.

Points to Ponder/ Our Concerns/Tips

Acid rain, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, zebra mussels the list goes on and on. The world is fully connected now and we transport our problems and receive others. The days of drinking from the river, lake or taps are gone……