Category Archives: Uncategorized

Harvesting rainwater for soft water use – not easy!

The following article, “Hard Water – When it comes to standards and guidelines, harvesting rainwater isn’t as easy as it looks” by Kevin Wong appeared in the May/June 2011 issue of WaterCanada

RAINWATER CYCLE HEAD ARTICLE
In the last few years, as the provinces have had to wrestle with water conservation programs, policies, and myriad associated aspects, one of many topics has posed a significant challenge: how to handle rainwater harvesting and use.

Video and images used in this blog are not part of the article.

Youtube video,”Solutions for Development: Rainwater Harvesting”, uploaded on Mar 6, 2007 ~ Dr. Kent Butler explains the benefits of rainwater harvesting ~

underground cisternThere are a number of hurdles that provincial policy makers and their municipal counterparts have to handle. First, in Canada, there is just no easy template to handle greywater and, by association, rainwater. 
CDN PLUMB ASSNHere’s why. The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) standard for the design, installation, and maintenance of non-potable water systems (as it was referenced in Canada’s National Plumbing Code) was not adequate for adoption by the provinces. It did not offer proper guidance on intended water quality, backflow, maintenance, or testing. Development of guidelines for rainwater, water treatment, and other aspects that are critically needed by the provinces and the municipalities is ongoing.
Additionally, rainwater and storm water definitions are synonymous in Canada. Each carries some connotations that make it difficult to segregate the two definitions in policy. The difficulty results in an inability to offer simplified water treatment options for PLUMBING CODErainwater harvesting. There is a glimmer of hope, however. Provinces such as Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta have taken the leap and attempted to make these landmark changes to policy. Already there are draft changes posted for the next edition of the Ontario Plumbing Code.

RAINWATER TO POTABLE WATER

In the future, it’s hoped that the result would make it easier, policy-wise, to collect, disinfect (treat), and distribute rainwater to the home for a number of applications (some of which may not be available for treated greywater), such as showering or laundry. While the theory would be to use rainwater and appropriately treat for potable drinking water uses, the framework is not yet available in Canada.
AMERICAN PLUMB ENGINEERS Finally, the storage aspect of water storage is missing. In its rainwater harvesting guide, the American Society of Plumbing Engineers suggests that stored water does not need to be disinfected. Before disinfection for rainwater storage can be evaluated, containers would need to meet cistern or storage vessel standards like CSA B126. That standard is in the works.
wet_holding_tank_trailerThe water treatment technology to properly assess, manage, and set up water reuse systems exists. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a rainwater or greywater
grey water re-use
reuse system—what’s missing are the essential and proper standards and guidelines to bring the policy makers to a comfortable level as they mandate these systems into general policy.

cisternThere are models out there which we can turn to for best practices in the absence of these documents. We have a long way to go before we solve this challenge, but we’re working on it. 
WONGKevin Wong is the executive
director of the Canadian Water
Quality Association

Related link http://www.greenvillecounty.org/soil_and_water/pdf/rain_harvesting.pdf

Fun Friday ~ Quirky USA Town Trivia

The following article and photos were posted on Huffington Post’s “The Blog” Sept. 3, 2014 – taken from Travel+Leisure July 12, 2014 by Katrina Brown Hunt
America’s Quirkiest Towns (PHOTOS)

Paul Stone loves the colorful locals he sees on Boulder, Colorado’s downtown plaza, the no-cars-allowed Pearl Street Mall…
 That double-jointed blend is probably why the Colorado mountain town also made the top 20 for quirky locals, according to Travel + Leisure readers.
They ranked hundreds of towns for such magnetic qualities as vibrant main streets, coffee bars, and an eco-friendly vibe. And while plenty of those features may contribute to a town’s unique personality, the top 20 winners in the quirky category take it a step further. One highly ranked town is an unlikely hotbed for Tibetan monks, while another largely forgoes Valentine’s Day to celebrate Charles Darwin instead. Asheville, North Carolina, for instance, ranked highly for its booming craft beer industry and diverse dining scene — but here, “diverse” goes well beyond a few good places to eat pho. On his No Taste Like Home tour, Ashevillian Alan Muskat lets visitors forage in the woods for – and then sample – wild local delicacies like “fairy potatoes,” which grow on vines, and reishi, known as the Mushroom of Immortality. “Asheville sits smack in the middle of the most biodiverse temperate bioregion on the planet,” Muskat boasts. “So even our plants are freaky.”

No. 1 Asheville, NC
1 ASHVILLEIs it the thinner mountain air or that the locals are standing too close to a vortex? Either way, these North Carolinians are tops for eccentricity thanks to both old and new charms: the vortex-laden terrain, which purports to send off good energy; the Friday night drum circle in downtown’s Pritchard Park; and the seemingly bottomless love of local beer. To tap into their vibes, try the beer-and-moonshine “hoptails” at Grove Park Inn’s Great Hall Bar, the BRÖÖ shampoo at the Earth Fare shop, or the port cake at Short Street Cakes. Asheville also ranked in the top 10 for great bakeries; Vortex Doughnutsoffers a local beer-of-the-day donut.
No. 2 Provincetown, MA

2  PROVINCETOWN

With its history of artists and theater types—Eugene O’Neill, Al Pacino, and Barbra Streisand all cut their teeth here—Provincetown has always provided a colorful contrast to the otherwise seersuckered Cape Cod. For a suitably quirky place to stay, check in at the Salt House Inn, where each room has a “wall of curiosities” featuring vintage art or interesting objects found along the beach. The longtime gay-friendly destination also impressed readers with its seafood shacks (such as the Red Shack, which does Mexican and Moroccan lobster rolls) and cool souvenirs, such as a photo of your aura, done by Whaler’s Wharf psychic Carolyn Miller.

No. 3 Ithaca, NY

3 ITHICA

This upstate New York college town has deep hippie roots—it’s the home of legendary vegetarian restaurant Moosewood—but these are not your typical flower children. Come February, instead of celebrating Valentine’s, the town makes a big to-do over Charles Darwin’s birthday, in its Darwin Days. Thanks to the area’s Cayuga Wine Trail, Ithaca also scored in the top five for vino. Start your taste testing with Six Mile Creek, which uses grapes even for distilled spirits like its Chardonnay-based gin.

No. 4 Boulder, CO

4 BOULDER

This lovable mountain town is so outdoorsy (and granola) that each July, locals hold a Tube to Work Day. And while Colorado has recently become more famous for its smokable “herbs,” you can still explore the town’s original herbal high on a free tour of the Celestial Seasonings tea factory, or sit down for afternoon tea and samosas at the elaborately hand-carved Boulder Dushanbe Tea House, originally built in Boulder’s sister city in Tajikistan. To see why the town also ranked well for burgers, check out the grass-fed wonders at The Sink, which is completely wind-powered.

No. 5 Lambertville, NJ

5 LAMBERTVILLE

To folks in this quaint town along the Delaware River, the real weirdos may be the motorcycle riders and Wiccans across the bridge in New Hope, PA. Still, these Jersey denizens—artists, gardeners, and perhaps actors gunning to play General Washington in the next historical reenactment—get props for their serious attitude toward antiques. The four-story People’s Store has been selling treasures since 1832 (when such things weren’t old). For people-watching, go to coffee and gourmet shop Lambertville Trading Company, where the java is old-school, too: iced coffee served with frozen cubes of coffee and a full range of bone-china mugs.

No. 6 Aspen, CO

6 ASPEN

This tiny Colorado ski town attracts more than just the designer snowsuit crowd. Check out Woody Creek Tavern, one of Hunter S. Thompson’s favorite hangouts, with its sensory-overloaded walls of newspaper clippings and children’s art. Residents have a soft spot for pet lovers: the local shelter’s Rent-a Pet program lets you visit with a designated cat or dog during your stay. Aspen also ranked well for its sense of adventure, which can extend from outdoor sports to food and drink. AtZocalito’s, you can order your guacamole withchapulines (grasshoppers), and at Hotel Jerome’sJ-Bar, be sure to try an Aspen Crud, the bourbon-laced milkshake cocktail that dates back to Prohibition.

No. 7 Fayetteville, AR

7 FAYETTEVILLE

Whether you chalk it up to kookiness or school pride, this college town celebrates New Year’s each year with its own Hog Drop. The home of the University of Arkansas Razorbacks also ranked well for its sense of history: at the Clinton House Museum, you can stand in the modest little home where the former president and secretary of state once lived (and even got married, in the living room). To feel even more like an insider, stay at theInn at Carnall Hall—an elegant hotel built from a rehabbed women’s dorm—and tuck in at one of Fayetteville’s high-ranking diners, such as theRolling Pin Café, where on Saturdays you can order your biscuits with chocolate gravy.

water-dropletHope you all enjoyed your armchair travel time with us and have a great weekend.

Fight to force B. C. legislation to protect waterways

 BC SALMON The following article is taken from WaterCanada’s Mar/Apr issue; “A Legal Hotbed – Environmental groups in British Columbia are fighting to force the government into using legislation to protect its waterways” by Siobhan McClelland.
Environmental groups are testing the litigation waters in British Columbia to challenge government actions that put the marine environment at risk.

PIPELINERight now, British Columbia is a
hotbed for environmental issues, with private companies interested in using the province’s waterways as part of their operations, including fracking and natural gas businesses.

               
ECOJUSTICEBut Ecojustice, a Vancouver-based organization that represents several environmental groups, is pursuing many legal cases against the government. The organization claims the government hasn’t used its legislation or has violated its legislation, resulting in too much power being handed over to private companies that are making decisions that affect the environment.
WATERWAYS PROTECTION PROGRAMWhile there are environmental laws that provide protection for Canada’s waterways and marine life, some question how effective the legislation is.

“It’s frustrating to have legislation on the books, which the various levels of government ignore or OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAinterpret in a manner different than what was represented to the populace when proclaimed,” Maureen Bell,
(see link at end for one of Maureen’s articles on water rights) a Calgary environmental lawyer, said. “In such cases, the politicians get full points for creating the legislation, but if it languishes on the shelf or is perverted in its application, it isn’t much good.”
MARGOT VENTONMargot Venton, a staff lawyer at Ecojustice, said that people have been using the courts to try to protect the marine environment since the 1980s, when the rules changed to allow public interest parties standing, or the ability to become involved in environmental cases and bring lawsuits.

VANCOUVER COASTLINE“I think right now, in the British Columbia coast, there’s a lot of tension over how we will develop resources and what we are willing to risk in the development of these resources,” Venton said. “Some of the FISH FARMpotential resource uses, like pipelines or fish farms or whatever it is, are really placing these issues front and center in people’s minds, and we’re realizing that the threat is becoming really obvious.”
BC OIL AND GAS COMMISSIONEcojustice is currently challenging the British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission’s decision to issue short-term water approvals to fracking companies, arguing that the companies should have to go through the more stringent process of bringing water-license applications.
RANDY CHRISTENSENEcojustice staff lawyer Randy Christensen said short-term water approvals, which are usually good for two years, are being renewed by the same company five or six times. He said Ecojustice wants the companies that use water for fracking purposes to go into the water-licensing process, where the government would then assess the impact of the water withdrawals more carefully and look at the cumulative impacts of many water withdrawals in one area.
“Our concern right now is that there are really two different routes of getting the water. One has minimal oversight and one has more robust oversight,” Christensen said.
SALMON LIFECYCLEHe added that the cumulative impact of the fracking operations could affect water flow conditions in certain areas and fluctuations in water flow could affect the life cycles of fish in rivers and streams. This could possibly result in shortages at certain times of the year that would affect other people’s water use.
“These are all the kinds of things that need to go through the licensing process so that you have studies and assessments, and you know the impact of what those uses could be,”
Christensen said.
DISEASED SALMONFracking operations aren’t the only concern for Ecojustice. In another case, Ecojustice alleges diseased farmed Atlantic salmon have been unlawfully transferred into an open-pen fish farm, where the diseased fish would share water with wild fish. The claim is that FISHERIES LOGOFisheries and Oceans Canada has unlawfully given a private company the power to decide whether to transfer the diseased salmon.

Venton said decisions about the risks associated with the transfer of diseased fish should be made by the government, not private companies.
FISH FARM BEST“It’s more appropriate for the government to make the call about that risk than it is for a private individual or private company running a farm to make that call,” she said, arguing that the law doesn’t allow anyone to put fish that may carry a diseased agent into the ocean because this could potentially harm the conservation and protection of fish in the ocean.
PRIVATE CO MAKE DECISIONS“I think there is a general trend, in particular in the federal government, to get out of the business of governing,” she said, adding that this is her personal opinion. “There’s also a trend
in Canada toward deregulation and toward handing more and more power and decision making to the companies, with less and less oversight. You see that in British Columbia.”
DON'T FRACKKirsten Ruecker, a communications advisor at Fisheries and Oceans’ office in the Pacific Region, wrote in an email that the government was unable to comment on the fracking and salmon cases as these matters are currently before the courts.
ECOJUSTICE SAVE SALMON IN COURTThe fracking case does not have a hearing date yet. The salmon-farming case is scheduled for a hearing on June 9.

 

Siobhan McClelland is a former lawyer now working as a freelance journalist and the new media editor at Canadian Geographic. She has written for several law publications on a variety of topics.

Maureen Bell – “Water Rights Set To Make Waves” ~
http://www.lawyersweekly.ca/index.php?section=article&articleid=757

Save Otters Petition (Force Change)

1-SEA OTTERS

Save the Sea Otter from the
Effects of Climate Change!

The charmingly mellow sea otter spends much of its life in water, where it eats, sleeps, hunts, mates, and even gives birth. But a changing climate is changing its habitat and threatening the otter’s food source. Ocean acidification prevents the formation of carbonate shells, which put the otter’s food supply (marine invertebrates like clams & sea urchins) at risk.

Youtube video, “Threatened: The Controversial Struggle of the Southern Sea Otter”

In order to protect this adorable aquatic mammal, we need to combat climate change immediately.

Youtube video, ” California Sea Otters”, published on Feb 5, 2013

The EPA has proposed a landmark standard for climate pollution from new power plants. This standard will help end dirty energy as we know it and keep animals like the sea otter safe from climate change.

We know that industry leaders and their friends in Congress will be attacking it at any moment — and we need our voices to rise up louder than theirs. Tell the EPA you support its proposal to help curb climate pollution and save the sea otters’ habitat!

PLEASE SIGN PETITION:

http://forcechange.com/124591/save-the-sea-otter/?utm_source=ForceChange+Newsletter&utm_campaign=2cdbdc7e45-NL4535_26_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_600a6911b9-2cdbdc7e45-297079149

A Great Thank You for Rainsoft !

RAINSOFT HOUSE WITH PRODUCTS FOR BLOG2

We love it when
our customers are happy!

IMAGE12The following is a brief excerpt from a letter we received from a very satisfied client:

…”I recently won the RAINSOFT reverse osmosis unit from your company at a Green Exhibition in Lansdowne Park. What a wonderful surprise!…

Click below to read the full letter from this client.

Letter 2011

Here is Martin’s YouTube video explaining the benefits of our Rainsoft Reverse Osmosis drinking water system ~ 

IMAGE10

Flash mob Rijksmuseum Amsterdam ~ wow!

RIJKMUSEUM

This is a really ingenious way
to promote an upcoming event!

REMBRANT PAINTING HEROES

Published on Apr 1, 2013

The slogan ‘Our Heroes are Back’ is used to announce that, after an absence of one decade, all major pieces in the Rijksmuseum’s collection are back where they belong. This is what happens when they suddenly emerge in an unsuspecting shopping mall somewhere in The Netherlands.

“This Flashmob recreates Rembrandt’s “Night Watch”. It’s considered one of the most famous paintings in the world.”

REMBRANDT SELF PORTRAIT The Night Watch, created in 1642, is the most famous painting in the Rijksmuseum, actually has another title: Militia Company of District II under the Command of Captain Frans Banninck Cocq. A militia painting is a group portrait of a division of the civic guard. Rembrandt depicted the group of militiamen in an unusual way. Not in a neat row or sitting at their annual banquet, rather, he recorded a moment: a group of militiamen have just moved into action and are about to march off.

The names of the eighteen militiamen portrayed in the painting are on a shield above the gate. A company comprised more members, but only those who paid were included in the group portrait. The drummer was hired and was therefore allowed to be in the painting for free. Rembrandt added the others to enliven the painting. Three people on the left of the picture disappeared in the eighteenth century when part of the canvas was cut off. We are now only able to match a few names to the faces in the portrait.

http :// www.ing.nl / Rijksmuseum.

 

Exposing Invisibile Business Risk (Water Footprints)

1-WATER FOOTPRINTS1   

  TONY MAAS“Water Footprints ~ Exposing invisible business risk” – this excerpt from Tony Maas’ article appeared in the Jan/Feb 2010 issue of Water Canada.

IMAGE3Safe, reliable freshwater and healthy, productive freshwater ecosystems are foundations for a strong economy and sustainable communities. But the collective impacts of producing more food and fuel and quenching the thirst of expanding cities and industry are taking their toll on the Earth’s rivers, lakes and wetlands – including Canada’s.

IMAGE2Canada’s Rivers at Risk: Environmental Flows and Canada’s Freshwater Future, a recent report by World Wildlife Fund (WW F), examined how these impacts are affecting 10 of the country’s most important rivers. It found that, despite our position as one of the world’s water wealthy nations, Canada’s rivers and the freshwater flowing through them are under growing pressure. The report highlighted the need to protect and restore the natural flow of freshwater as a foundation of water security. For solutions, we must also turn our attention to the flow of water through our IMAGE1economy and to how these two streams interact. Water footprinting provides an approach for understanding these interactions, and for business and industry to understand their exposure to risks related to water security.

Confronting water (in) security: ROB DE LOEAccording to Rob de Loë, professor and research chair in water policy and governance at the University of Waterloo, “Water security exists when sufficient water of good quality is available for social, economic and cultural uses while, at the same time, adequate water is available to sustain and enhance important ecosystem functions.” As climate change impacts intensify, demand for water grows and action to protect and restore nature’s water needs takes hold, business and industry around the world are coming to grips with growing issues of diminishing water security – often suddenly and unexpectedly.

FTA December 2009 article in the Financial Times warned, “Water shortages could affect agricultural production and manufacturing processes and regulation could increase prices and limit the volume of water available.” These things are already happening. Anglo American, MILLER BEERone of the world’s largest mining groups, has had some difficulty developing a rich seam of platinum in South due to a lack of fresh water. In  South Africa ABMiller, the world’s second largest beer retailer was forced to halt production at one of its plants in 2007 due to water shortages.

1-WATER FOOTPRINTS1Here in Canada, a moratorium has been placed on water withdrawals from a number of prairie rivers – the Bow, the Oldman and the South Saskatchewan – to protect them from drying up. And a new water management framework under development for the lower Athabasca River will place tighter limits on the amount of water that can be withdrawn from the river to support the world’s largest energy project, the Alberta oil sands.

Understanding water risk: The article in the Financial Times also noted that “[Water] is an issue on which businesses need farJPMORGAN greater levels of awareness and understanding.” Efforts on this front are also well underway. A chorus of reports and publications on water and business Pacific-Instituterisk have emerged over the past few years from groups such as JP Morgan, the Pacific Institute and WWF. All recognize WWF-logothat water risk is a multi-dimensional challenge involving physical, regulatory, reputational and financial risks.

WATER FOOTPRINT4Early efforts by business and industry to understand and assess these risks have tended to focus on their operational water footprint – on the implications of local or regional water issues for local production facilities. But in a world of globalized trade, supply chains for most products reach across continents and often stretch around the planet. The result is a complex web of global interdependence on water resources whereby businesses operating in one watershed—which may be water secure – are (often unknowingly) exposed to risks on the other side of the world. So a business operating in Calgary or Toronto may be exposed to “invisible” water risks that stem from water security problems in the fields, farms and factories around the world from which their inputs to production are sourced. This supply-chain water footprint is much more challenging to trace.

WATER FOOTPRINTExposing invisible water risk: This global interdependence on water resources highlights a critical and often overlooked difference between water and carbon GREEN HOUSE GASfootprints. In the same way that a carbon footprint quantifies the amount of greenhouse gas emissions caused by a product or organization, a water footprint quantifies the amount of water required – both directly in operations and indirectly along supply chains – to produce goods and services.

But there are important differences. When an individual or organization emits greenhouse gases, it adds to the growing global pool accumulating in the planet’s atmosphere – the impacts of IMAGE4which, while maybe different in nature and severity depending on location, are shared around the world. Not so for the impacts of water footprints. The availability of freshwater resources and impact on freshwater ecosystems are much more localized. To understand the full water footprint impacts of a business or product we have to look much closer to the ground – at the many regions or watersheds where a supply chain may touch down.

For example, as1.-tar-sands-in-hands upgrading and refining phases to produce usable product, its impacts on freshwater resources and ecosystems stretch across North America. Extraction processes withdraw and pollute water from the Athabasca River. As the bitumen moves to upgrading facilities near Edmonton, its impacts expand to include the waters of the North Saskatchewan River. And this upgraded product is refined in facilities across North America, including the Great Lakes Basin, further expanding the impacts to include the world’s largest freshwater ecosystem…

IMAGE5

Tony Maas is the director of WWF’s freshwater program.