Monthly Archives: June 2018

Tips for Saving Water in a Heat Wave

Fill a jug with water and put it in the fridge. Gives quick access to a cool drink without running the water for a while for it to get to the right temp.

Take a shower. Taking a bath uses 40 litres more water than a shower. It also helps to take a quicker shower, don’t dawdle.

Don’t water your lawn so much. If it browns up, don’t worry it will green up next time it rains.

Before watering your flowers think. Could you use grey water? Water from the dishes..water used to wash your fruits and veggies…water from the kids wading pool.

Washing your car? Use a bucket of water, not the hose. How about just not washing the car for a bit.

When brushing your teeth, shaving , or even washing your hands…turn off the tap.

Wait until your washing machine is full before turning it on. Half a load uses more than half the water of a full load .



The Global Surface Area of Rivers and Streams

Researchers in the USA have used satellites, ground measurements, and statistical models to determine how much of the Earth is covered by rivers and streams. The result is a number 45% greater than previously thought.

To understand the importance of understanding why it is important to know the global coverage of rivers and streams you have to know that these bodies of water are a major source of green house gases. and are important in understanding carbon emissions.

In the coming decades we will be battling the effects of climate change, it will be important to know where the carbon we are producing goes, and we will require quantifying the global carbon cycle. Included in this equation will be how much carbon dioxide will be moving from rivers and streams into the atmosphere.

Safety at the Beach or Pool

Swimming season is underway in the Ottawa area. Making sure your kids have their swim lessons is essential for their safety, but lessons alone are not enough.

Never expect a child to be drown proof, even if they are on the swim team. If your child is not a competent swimmer…arms length supervision is recommended. Don’t rely on floaties, but get approved life jackets when children need flotation devices.

Even if your child is a confident swimmer they should never swim alone. Always have another competent swimmer with them or adult supervision.

Infant swim lessons are not drowning prevention exercises. Between 1-4 yrs children are developing their water competency. Over 4 yrs old lessons are a good idea, concerns overconfidence remain. People underestimate their risk, and overestimate their ability. 10 people die from accidental drowning each day.

Knowing about the water is important as well. Water temperature  and underwater objects can also be factors. Pool swimming does not mean you are an expert swimmer in ocean waves and currents. Supervision is important , but so are barriers and pool fences.

Have fun in the water this summer, but keep an eye on the little ones.

Backcountry Water Treatment

Backcountry water sources whether they be lakes , rivers, or creeks can be contaminated by  birds, animals , or humans. If you use untreated water it should be treated before you cook , clean, or even brush your teeth.

The cleaner your water looks to be at the start the more effective treatment will be. Avoid standing water. If the water is silted or muddy looking , let the water settle and skim off the top.


Water borne pathogens are possible disease causing micro organisms. Protozoa include giardia or beaver fever. These are becoming more widespread in North America and are larger than one micron. Bacteria exist in water all over the world. Most bacteria is harmless, but some can cause sicknesses like diarrhea Most bacteria area 1 micron in size. Viruses cause hepatitis, polio, and other diseases. They can be present in any water contaminated by human waste. Most viruses can be in the range of .1 micron range.

Treatment Methods

Boiling…enough heat will destroy pathogens, but it takes time and fuel. Recommended boiling time is 3-10 mins. More time at higher altitude.

Chemicals…are good on bacteria and viruses, but some protozoa can be resistant. Need time to act, from mere minutes to hours. Chlorine can be used but there are some issues. Iodine is good , but some people don’t like the taste or color.

Filters…strain out pathogens when water is forced through them.

Purifiers…have one or more filter stages, together with iodine resin or other deactivates viruses.

UV light … portable devices can treat .5 to 1 liter of water at a time. Beaming UV light through the water damages the DNA of the microbes. Carry extra batteries.

Care…After use filters need to be cleaned and left to air dry to prevent mold or mildew.



Yachting on Lake Eyre

The Lake Eyre Yacht club members are going to be able to get on the water once again. The Lake Eyre basin is the lowest natural point in Australia at about 15 metres be;low Sea level. The average annual rainfall is 125mm…meaning the lake and surrounding creeks and streams are usually dry.

The seasonal rains arrived 1,000kms away, a couple of months ago, in the upper Diamantina catchment in western Queensland. Members of the Yacht Club have been tracking the progress of the flood waters through outback Queensland. Water reached Lake Eyre on May 15th. Two days after the water arrived 3 yachts were sailing the majestic Eyre waters.

When full Lake Eyre is the Largest Lake in Australia, and as salty as seawater. This year the flood waters have not been enough to fill it completely.

Water Parks in the Maritimes

It is getting for the time for summer vacations…if traveling to the Maritime Provinces is on the to do list consider these great family outings.

1) Gaspereau River, Wolfville, Nova Scotia

Grab a tube and let all your troubles float away.

2) Water Wizard Waterslides, Woodstock, New Brunswick

Great slides and awesome water guns.

3) Nashwaak Tubing, Durham Bridge, N.B.

a great way to spend some time on the water…$10-$12 will get you a lot of fun.

4) Upper Clements, Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia

Includes the Fundy Spray Waterslide, the Sizziboo Sizzler Flume Ride , and more.

5) Shining Waters, Cavendish Beach, PEI.

Spend a great sunny day enjoying this great local water park.

6) Gallan’s Mirimachi River Tubing, Doyle’s Brook, NB.

Since you will be on the river for a while, you can bring refreshment in their special tubes that hold coolers.

7) Atlantic Playland, Hammond’s Plain, NS.

Close to Halifax…great day trip.

8) Magic Mountain, Moncton,  NB.

Tons of water based options including the Lazy River and Wave Pool.

Get out and enjoy your summer!



Hydroelectric Power: How it works

How do we get electricity from water?

A power source is used to turn a propeller like piece called a turbine, which then turns a metal shaft in an electric generator, which is the motor that generates the electricity. The hydroelectric plant uses falling water to turn the turbines.

The thing is to build a dam on a large river that has a drop in elevation. The dam stores up lots of water in the reservoir. Towards the bottom of the dam is there is a water intake. Gravity causes the water to enter the dam and fall down a large tube. end of the tube is a large turbine which is moved by the water. The turbine’s shaft goes into the generator which produces the electricity.

Now we have power . This power must then be transmitted to your home over a system of power lines.

The water continues past the propeller to be released into the river past the dam. Note: it is not a good idea to be close downstream when the water is being released.

Hurricanes are moving slower

New research is showing tropical cyclones, including hurricanes and typhoons, are now travelling across our planet at a slower rate. No big deal right..wrong. By traveling at a slower pace they drop far more rain and the flooding is far more devastating. This new research can be combined with related research from a month ago that suggests that warming temperatures from global warming will slow storms even more.

The two studies taken together show that climate change could already be increasing the dangers posed by hurricanes and typhoons in ways never before imagined. Slow moving storms can increase storm surge, increase the amount of time that structures are subjected to strong winds, and increases rainfall.

The research shows that from 1949 to 2016 tropical cyclones across the globe reduced their speed by 10%. With more time over an area , more moisture will be dropped….leading to increased flooding.

Shimla..ran out of water May 20/18

The Himalayan city of Shimla, home to 172,000 people ran out of water a few days ago. Water supplies have been critically low for the last three the taps have run dry.

Shimla was formerly the summer capital of the British Raj and is still popular for Indians to escape the oppressive heat on the plains. Residents must now line up for hours to collect water from government tankers, to get bottled water, or pay steep prices from “water mafia” types.

Tourism is big for the local economy, but travelers are asked to stay away from Shimla for a while. Dozens of police officers have been deployed to guard water distribution centres. Protests have broken out as the population suffers.

The government blames lower than expected snowfall causing rivers and streams to dry. Others blame chronic mismanagement. The city should be receiving 70m litres of water per day..but 40% is lost due to leakages. One of the 5 major water sources is believed to have become contaminated. Climate change is also named as an influencer.

Around 600million Indians are experiencing high water stress according to the World Resources Institute. Major cities like Delhi and Bangalore have faced disruptions in water service in recent years. In 2016 riots broke out in two states over how to share the water resources.

This week we looked at Pakistan and Indian…both have serious water concerns.