Category Archives: Geography

California’s water crisis ~ Alarming prediction!

1-CALIFORNIA WATER CRISIS

These Maps of California’s Water Shortage Are Terrifying

California's water shortage

The following was posted on savethewater.org, by Tom Philpott, Oct. 30, 2014.

Just how bad is California’s water shortage? Really, really bad, according to these new maps, which represent groundwater withdrawals in California during the first three years of the state’s ongoing and epochal drought:

The maps come from a new paper in Nature Climate Change by NASA water scientist James Famiglietti. “California’s Sacramento and San Joaquin river basins have lost roughly 15 cubic kilometers of total water per year since 2011,” he writes. That’s “more water than all 38 million Californians use for domestic and municipal supplies annually—over half of which is due to groundwater pumping in the Central Valley.”

Famiglietti uses satellite data to measure how much water people are sucking out of the globe’s aquifers, and summarized his research in his new paper.

FARMER IN FIELDMore than 2 billion people rely on water pumped from aquifers as their primary water source, Famiglietti writes. Known as groundwater (as opposed to surface water, the stuff that settles in lakes and flows in streams and rivers), it’s also the source of at least half the irrigation water we rely on to grow our food. When drought hits, of course, farmers rely on groundwater even more, because less rain and snow means less water flowing above ground.

The lesson Famiglietti draws from satellite data is chilling: “Groundwater is being pumped at far greater rates than it can be naturally replenished, so that many of the largest aquifers on most continents are being mined, their precious contents never to be returned.”

The Central Valley boasts some of the globe’s fastest-depleting aquifers—but by no means the fastest overall. Indeed, it has a rival here in the United States. The below graphic represents depletion rates at some of the globe’s largest aquifers, nearly all of which Famiglietti notes, “underlie the world’s great agricultural regions and are primarily responsible for their high productivity.”

CHART TO CROP

The navy-blue line represents the Ogallala aquifer—a magnificent water resource now being sucked dry to grow corn in the US high plains. Note that it has quietly dropped nearly as much as the Central Valley’s aquifers (yellow line) over the past decade. The plunging light-blue line represents the falling water table in Punjab, India’s breadbasket and the main site of that irrigation-intensive agricultural “miracle” known as the Green Revolution, which industrialized the region’s farm fields starting in the 1960s. The light-green line represents China’s key growing region, the north plain. Its relatively gentle fall may look comforting, but the water table there has been dropping steadily for years.

groundwater supplyAll of this is happening with very little forethought or regulation. Unlike underground oil, underground water draws very little research on how much is actually there. We know we’re siphoning it away faster than it can be replaced, but we have little idea of how long we can keep doing so, Famiglietti writes. He adds, though, that if current trends hold, “groundwater supplies in some major aquifers will be depleted in a matter of decades.” As for regulation, it’s minimal across the globe. In most places, he writes, there’s a “veritable groundwater ‘free for all': property owners who can afford to drill wells generally have unlimited access to groundwater.”

And the more we pump, the worse things get. As water tables drop, wells have to go deeper into the earth, increasing pumping costs. What’s left tends to be high in salts, which inhibit crop yields and can eventually cause soil to lose productivity altogether. Eventually, “inequity issues arise because only the relatively wealthy can bear the expense of digging deeper wells, paying greater energy costs to pump groundwater from increased depths and treating the lower-quality water that is often found deeper within aquifers,” Famiglietti writes—a situation already playing out in California’s Central Valley, where some low-income residents have seen their wells go dry. In a reporting trip to the southern part of the Central Valley this past summer, I saw salt-caked groves with wan, suffering almond trees—the result of irrigation with salty water pumped from deep in the aquifer.

All of this is taking place in a scenario of rapid climate change and steady population growth—so we can expect steeper droughts and more demand for water. Famiglietti’s piece ends with a set of recommendations for bringing the situation under control: Essentially, let’s carefully measure the globe’s groundwater and treat it like a precious resource, not a delicious milkshake to casually suck down to the dregs. In the meantime, Famiglietti warns, “further declines in groundwater availability may well trigger more civil uprising and international violent conflict in the already water-stressed regions of the world, and new conflict in others.”

http://savethewater.org/maps-californias-water-shortage-terrifying/

Related link ~ http://yournewswire.com/global-collapse-coming-from-groundwater-supply-depletion-nasa/

Reshaping Florida’s Kissimee River

1-KISSIMMEE RIVER

Kissimmee: River of Dreams, Part 1 of 3 – Youtube video published on Jul 13, 2012  . This 27-minute documentary from 1997 was produced for the South Florida Water Management District.

The Kissimmee River Basin extends from Orlando southward to Lake Okeechobee. The largest source of surface water to Lake Okeechobee, this basin is about 105 miles long and has a maximum width of 35 miles. The Kissimmee River was originally a 103-mile-long shallow, meandering river that was reconfigured in the 1960s into a 56-mile-long canal (renamed C-38) for flood control. As a result, about 40,000 to 50,000 acres of floodplain marsh disappeared, resulting in a significant loss of habitat for wading birds and other aquatic animals, and in a loss of the natural nutrient-filtering effects of these wetlands.  The 15-year restoration project, initiated in 1999, is repairing the river and its floodplain by increasing water storage in the upper Kissimmee Basin, backfilling 22 miles of the C-38 Canal, recarving nine miles of river channel, removing two water control structures, and removing floodplain levees. The backfilling of the C-38 Canal and restoration of Kissimmee River are one of Florida’s great watershed restoration success stories.

Part 1 of 3 

Part 2 of 3 

 Part 3 of 3

SOURCE: http://www.care2.com/causes/why-is-florida-reshaping-an-entire-river.html

Colorado River ~ most endangered U.S. river

1-COLORADO RIVER BESTThe following Youtube video was published on Apr 16, 2013 by Pete McBride.

The Colorado River is a lifeline in the desert, its water sustaining tens of millions of people in seven states, as well as endangered fish and wildlife. However, demand on the river’s water now exceeds its supply, leaving the river so over-tapped that it no longer flows to the sea.

Alexandra Cousteau says, “With the ongoing drought in the West, this beautiful short film really hits home how fragile our water really is.”

It runs through seven states, nourishes nearly four million acres of farmland, and has flowed for more than six million years, yet the Colorado River, which supplies drinking water for thirty-six million people, is the most endangered river in America.

The following Youtube video, “The Colorado River in peril” by GeoBeats News, was published on Apr 22, 2013

The Colorado River was named the most endangered waterway in the US by American Rivers, a US environmental protection organization. They cited overuse, drought, and outdated management as its top threats. American Rivers’ president Bob Irvin said, “The Colorado River…is so over-tapped that it dries up to a trickle before reaching the sea.” The waterway runs through seven states and into Mexico. It supports the daily needs of 36 million people and the irrigation of the 4 million acres of land that produce 15 percent of the nations crops. Local flora and fauna (1,5,1) and a large recreational industry also rely on its well-being.

Link – excellent in-depth background on topic ~ 

link for Keep the Colorado Flowing ~

http://www.americanrivers.org/newsroom/resources/colorado-river-americas-most-endangered-river-2013/

Northern Quebec community receives $1.4 billion

1-BUILDING TOGETHER

“Building Together – A hydro project in Quebec works with collaboration from its neighbours.”, by Antonia McGuire appeared in WaterCanada’s May/June 2011 edition.

BUILDING2New roads, transported goods and purchased services, employment for trades and construction workers,  transferred knowledge of a water  treatment technology to the local community. When it comes to the business of water sustainability, the regional economic spinoffs are clearly significant. In the case of Eastmain 1A/Sarcelle, a northern Quebec hydroelectric project, the local community benefited from a boost of up to $1.4 billion, increasing quality of life and providing jobs. Of that amount, $632 million went to contracts awarded to the Cree people in the area, and over $260 million was invested in environmental measures. 
  HEADER IMAGESome people are already calling it Canada’s project of the decade, but what’s truly unique about this project is its collaborative approach. As part of its $5 billion sustainability development  strategy Hydro-Québec’s Société de développement de la Baie James (see “About SDBJ/SEBJ” at end) has earned an international reputation for providing world-class services in project engineering and construction in cooperation with First Nations communities.
Sharing resources
HYDRO QUEBECHydro-Québec and subsidiary SEBJ have an agreement to work together with the Cree people—through the partnership, they share resources such as personnel and environmental experts to assess the risks around water quality.
MAP3“A joint committee of representatives from the Cree and SEBJ decides everything together—how we go about it, who does it, and what it means for the Cree communities,” says Hydro- Québec’s biologist specializing in water quality for SEBJ, Roger Schetagne. “The Cree participate in all sampling, and are involved in every stage of the project. The methodology and all results are presented to the community very openly.”
It doesn’t end there. Despite $1.25-billion spent over four years by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada on water and wastewater infrastructure, documents obtained from Health Canada revealed that one in five First Nations communities still lack safe drinking water…Prior to the agreement with Hydro-Québec, the Cree Waskaganish  First Nation did not have an adequate water treatment system and some people still used and drank surface water from the river.
CREE COUNCIL“Water services were already an issue for the Waskaganish community, who, at the time, had an obsolete drinking water facility,” says Schetagne. Before the project, he says, SEBJ and First Nations people decided to build a new water treatment facility. The location and type of water treatment was decided with the Cree, and the facility was completed in 2009. It runs on a waterproof membrane water cleaning technology that is easily transferred to the Cree people.
SAFE WATERThe SEBJ/Hydro-Québec and Cree project team also provides a targeted local health campaign about healthy, safe drinking water practices. “We work in collaboration with the Cree board of health on this issue,” says Schetagne.
This sustainability development project is not only bridging two cultures to do business, but the work being done along the way is helping others develop real-world adaptation strategies— lessons that can provide benefits to the partnership and beyond.
About SDBJ/SEBJ
Back in 1971,the Société de développement de la Baie James
(SDBJ) formed a subsidiary of Hydro-Québec known as Société
d’énergie de la Baie James (SEBJ). For the past three decades, SEBJ has offered numerous services in power generation, transmission plant engineering, project management, and construction, as well as developed an expertise in remote areas and multicultural environments. Today, Hydro-Québec’s SEBJ group is spearheading one of the largest hydroelectric developments in the multicultural environments.
ANTONIA MCGUIREAntonia McGuire
is a Toronto-based
freelance writer.

$500M Invested in St. Lawrence Seaway

ST

The following article, “$500 million being invested in St. Lawrence Seaway”, was posted to renewcanada.net on April 30, 2014

ALGOMA SHIPThe St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. (SLSMC) marked the opening of the Seaway’s 56th navigation season with the transit of Algoma Central Corp.’s newly  built ship, the Algoma Equinox, through Lock 3 of the Welland Canal. The vessel is the first of eight Equinox-class ships that are being purpose-built for trade in the St. Lawrence Seaway.

slsmc ceo and administrator“Algoma Central Corporation’s fleet renewal is a leading example of the unprecedented level of investment that is happening throughout our navigation system,” said Terence Bowles, president and CEO of the SLSMC. “The Seaway alone is spending almost $500 million on modernizing its infrastructure—the biggest transformation in five decades.”

SLM LOGOIn concert with various domestic and ocean carriers investing $1 billion in new vessels, the SLSMC is investing $395 million between 2014 and 2018 to revitalize its locks and structures. Likewise, the U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. (SLSDC) is mounting a $92 million effort over a comparable timeframe.

BETTY SUTTON“Our asset renewal program will do more than just rebuild the lock infrastructure,” SLSDC administrator Betty Sutton said. “The introduction of new technologies will make the waterway even safer, more efficient, and more reliable. These investments signal a long term public commitment to shipping on the Great Lakes/Seaway System.”

GREAT LAKES SEAWAY SYSTEMMore than 227,000 jobs and $35 billion in economic activity are supported by the movement of goods within the Great Lakes-Seaway System.

http://renewcanada.net/2014/500m-being-invested-in-st-lawrence-seaway/

Additional links providing background

http://www.mmdonline.com/events/transit-of-the-baie-st-paul-marks-opening-of-2013-st-lawrence-seaway-season-98514

A Photo Journey through Atlantis, Bahamas ~ Fabulous!

ATLANTIS PARADISE ISLANDThe following is a reblog of Leslie Carter’s (my all time #1 favorite blogger!) from her Bucket list publications.  (http://bucketlistpublications.org)- posted Jan.27, 2014
Thank you, Leslie  for this wonderful and magical armchair travel journey.

A Photo Journey through Atlantis, Bahamas.

Royal Tower, Atlantis, Bahamas

Trying to explain everything that Atlantis, Paradise Island has to offer in one post would be impossible. Surprises and unique adventures were around every corner. From water slides, marine habitats, adventure currents, nightly entertainment, spas, sports, and a casino, it was important to pick favorites and cover those activities first because the endless adventures would provide a lifetime of entertainment. Follow our Atlantis journey through a series of my favorite photos.

Celebrity Transfers picked us up at the airport and drove us to The Reef, Atlantis in style.

Celebrity Transfers, Atlantis, Bahamas

The Reef provided us with all the comforts of home including a kitchen, garden tub, amazing ocean views, a semi-private pool, and easy access to the white-sand beaches.

The Reef, Atlantis

The Reef, Atlantis

Our View from The Reef, Atlantis Bahamas

Aquaventure, Atlantis Paradise Island’s water park, is a 141-acre waterscape with non-stop aquatic thrill ride features over twenty million gallons of water, thrilling high-speed water slides, a mile-long river ride with rolling rapids and wave surges, 20 swimming areas, a spectacular kids water-play fort, and 11 unique and refreshing swimming pools. We rode The Current and somehow managed to stay in the tube even when everyone around us was falling out.

Aquaventure, Atlantis Paradise Island

The Current, Atlantis

Aquaventure, Atlantis Paradise Island

The Marine Habitat offers a unique opportunity to explore lagoons, caves, coral formations, and underwater ruins designed to showcase exotic marine life ranging from dolphins and sea lions to sharks, rays, barracuda, to piranha, and eels. Athena loved the sharks the most; amazed by their graceful movements.

Atlantis, The Dig

The Dig, Atlantis

Playing with sea lions and dolphins was a first for my sister, Gabriella. The smile never left her face during the entire time we were in the extraordinary, almost dreamlike, environment.

Funny Sea Lion, Atlantis, Bahamas

Swimming with Dolphins at Atlantis, Bahamas

Every beach at Atlantis has its own unique allure and charm. Mom relaxed during her morning stroll on Atlantis Beach where she rubbed her feet in the fine powder-sand and we all splashed in the waves of The Cove Beach while looking at the spectactular vista of azure water.  Beaches, Atlantis Bahamas

Beaches, Atlantis Bahamas

Visiting Atlantis included adventure, relaxation, family-fun, and side splitting entertainment with Sherri Shepherd. It also included over-coming one of my greatest fears – swimming with sharks through Sea Trek.

Sea Trek Walk with Sharks

Sea Trek Walk with Sharks

The options at Atlantis are endless. When you book your vacation, start thinking about what you’d like to do the most immediately because you’re in for a non-stop, dream-like experience.

STOP KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE PETITION

KEYSTONE PIPELINE

A brief excerpt from Avaaz.com taken from an e-mail received 03.06.14

Right now, the US government is about to make the defining climate decision of Obama’s presidency - whether to approve a monstrous pipeline that will transport up to 830,000 barrels a day of the world’s dirtiest oil from Canada across the US.

If approved, the Keystone XL pipeline will help pump billions of dollars into the pockets of a few companies… but also millions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere. It’s been called “a fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the planet”. Bold public action has delayed it once, and a court ruling last week has dealt a serious blow to the project. Now, if we act fast and in massive numbers, we can help kill it for good.

Please sign the petition here -
http://www.avaaz.org/en/stop_the_keystone_xl_pipeline_loc/?blTFScb&v=36936

I really feel confident that you will not hesitate to sign this petition before it is too late once you’ve read the Huffingtion Post article below:

STOP PIPELINE COLLAGE SIGN

The following article “10 Reasons to Oppose the Keystone XL Pipeline” is taken from Huffington Post ‘The Blog’ posted on
02/18/2014  by Rose Ann DeMoro – Executive director, National Nurses United (AFL-CIO) and California Nurses Association.

With the clock ticking down on a final decision by the Obama administration on Keystone XL, it’s a good time to summarize reasons to oppose a project that looks more like a pathway to pollution than a gateway to our gas pumps.

Citing the threat to public health and how the project would hasten the climate crisis, nurses have been on the front line of protests against Keystone, a 1,700-mile pipeline that would transport 830,000 barrels of dirty tar sands oil every day from Alberta, Canada to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries, largely for export.

Here’s 10 reasons why:

1. No jobs on a dead planet
More jobs are certainly needed, but even the just concluded State Department assessment conceded Keystone would support only 35 post-construction jobs.

Infrastructure repair and promoting a green economy is a far better solution for the jobs crisis than a project that NASA scientist and climate expert James Hanson famously calls “game over” on the climate front.

If the threshold issue is jobs, nurses should support the pipeline as a full employment act in the volume of additional patients sickened by the pipeline’s health hazards and toll from accelerated climate change. But nurses see an inseparable link between environmental justice and the health of our communities and planet.

IMAGE1

2. Don’t drink the water…
From the ground to the pipe to the refineries, Keystone’s tar sands oil, with its thick, dirty, corrosive properties, pose a far greater hazard than conventional oil — a major reason for National Nurses United and nurse opposition.

Toxic contaminants in the massive water needed for extraction are infecting clean water supplies with towns nearby Alberta experiencing spikes in cancer deaths, renal failure, lupus, and hyperthyroidism. Huge pipeline spills near Marshall, Mi. and Mayflower, Ar. have led to respiratory ailments and other health ills. Pollutants from tar sands refineries are linked to heart and lung disease, asthma, and cancer.

3. And don’t breathe the air
Mounds of Petcoke, the carbon residue of tar sands refining, piled up for export for burning, have produced toxic dust storms that have left area residents gasping near Detroit, Chicago, and other locales. Canadian scientists are also alarmed at mercury “wafting” into the air from tar sands production which, in chronic exposure, have been linked to brain damage.

4. An asthma nation
Nurses see an explosion of asthma sufferers, especially children. More than 40 percent of Americans now live in areas slammed by air pollution with levels of particle pollution that can also cause higher incidents of heart attacks and premature death.

Keystone will multiply carbon emissions and speed up climate change resulting in more polluted air, higher air temperatures which can also increase bacteria-related food poisoning, such as salmonella, and animal-borne diseases such as West Nile virus.

5. The gathering storms
In the last year alone, we’ve seen the worst cyclone ever to hit landfall, fueled by sub-surface ocean temperatures 9 degrees above normal, the largest tornado ever recorded, record droughts, and other unprecedented weather anomalies. While some discount the link to climate change, there’s no dispute that the past decade was the hottest on record.

Nurses, as volunteers with National Nurses United’s RNRN project can attest, treat the human collateral damage, thousands of patients affected by Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda in the Philippines, for example, who endured life threatening injuries and loss of their homes and livelihoods.

6. The carbon bomb
All workers and their families live in the same communities affected by the climate crisis and the pipeline health hazards. Despite naysayers who insist there is no environmental justification to block it, there is as much scientific consensus on Keystone as there is on the human hand behind the climate crisis, or the factual evidence of evolution.

In addition to Hanson, who calls Keystone “the biggest carbon bomb on the planet,” dozens of other prominent scientists signed a 2013 letter stating “the actual and potential environmental damage (are) sufficiently severe to reject Keystone to protect the climate, human health, and the multiple ecosystems this project threatens.”

In simple terms, Keystone would generate the carbon emission equivalent of 40 million more cars or 50 coal-fired power plants every year.
IMAGE2
7. Not headed to your gas pump
Contrary to the myth, Keystone would contribute little to U.S. energy independence. The oil is headed to Texas ports for a reason — to be shipped overseas. TransCanada, the corporation behind Keystone, balked at a Congressional proposal to condition approval on keeping the refined oil in the U.S., and reports say TransCanada already has contracts to sell much of the oil to foreign buyers.

8. Pipeline or bust for the tar sands industry
Proponents insist that if Keystone is blocked, the tar sands crude will just be shipped by rail. Many disagree, among them a pro-pipeline Canadian think tank that predicts without Keystone, “investment and expansion will grind to a halt,” a view shared by the International Energy Agency, Goldman Sachs and some oil executives. Increasingly, it appears, the pipeline is the linchpin for tar sands development.
9. Which side are you on?
In one corner, the American Petroleum Institute, the oil billionaire Koch Brothers, other fossil fuel giants, the far right American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and politicians they influence — the same folks behind the attacks on unions, worker rights and health care and social justice reforms.

Standing with NNU in opposition are every major environmental group, farmers, ranchers and community leaders along the pipeline pathway, First Nations leaders, most Canadian unions, and U.S. transit unions.

10. A last word, from Robert Redford
“The more people learn about the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, the less they like it,” says actor/environmentalist Redford. “Tar sands crude means a dirtier, more dangerous future for our children all so that the oil industry can reach the higher prices of overseas markets. This dirty energy project is all risk and no reward for the American people.”

PLEASE SIGN PETITION

Article link ~
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rose-ann-demoro/10-reasons-to-oppose-the-_1_b_4791713.html