Category Archives: Agriculture

Oil and Gas Versus Nature

SASK OIL AND GAS

Water Under Pressure ~ Navigating competing demands between agriculture and natural resource development, by Chad Eggerman appeared in watercanada’s July/Aug, 2014 issue.

SASK AGRICULTURE LOGOSaskatchewan’s economy has been growing at a feverish pace the past few years on the pillars of agriculture, mining, and oil-and-gas SASK ECONOMYdevelopment. Although growth has recently settled at more
sustainable levels, recent discussion in the province has centered around how to
best use water resources in future development. This is an ongoing discussion in jurisdictions in Canada where both agriculture and natural resource development coexist, most prominently British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec. The agriculture sector is traditionally the largest user of water in Saskatchewan, particularly for irrigation in the West Central region of DIEF LAKEthe province around Lake Diefenbaker. By some estimates, there is the potential to expand as much as 500,000 additional acres of land to irrigation around the lake. The Government of Saskatchewan views this expansion as a major opportunity for economic growth and to attract investment. There are a number SASK IRRIGATION LOGOof irrigation districts in Saskatchewan that are administered by the Ministry of Agriculture under The Irrigation Act, 1996. Saskatchewan has been mining natural resources for many years but recent multibillion-dollar expansions and greenfield projects have raised Wollaston Lake uranium minesthe profile of mining in the province. The most established resources are uranium in the north and potash in the south. The potash-producing region in Saskatchewan directly overlaps prime agricultural land as well as considerable oil-and-gas reserves. SASK MININGThere are two methods to mine potash: solution mining and conventional shaft mining.

The solution-mining process involves the construction of a well field composed of at least two drill holes—one to send hot water down to the potash-bearing zones of rock, and another to bring the potash-laden brine up to the surface after percolating in an underground katepwa_lakecavern. Solution mining uses vast quantities of water. Currently, Vale proposes to build a 70-kilometre water pipeline to Katepwa Lake in the Qu’Appelle Valley to pump more than 40 million litres per day for their Kronau project (the equivalent of 15 KRONAU PROJECTOlympic-sized swimming pools). K+S Potash Canada is currently building a new solution potash mine and is planning on using up to 60 K S POTASHmillion litres of water per day. Different regulations in Saskatchewan apply depending on whether the water comes from the surface or the ground, the type of mining (for potash, solution or conventional), and the location (uranium in the north is regulated differently than potash in the south). The oil-and-gas industry in Saskatchewan OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAhas experienced rapid growth recently due largely to continued expansion of the use of hydraulic fracturing (or fracking), which involves pumping pressurized
water underground to fracture rock to extract oil or gas. There were 3,200 horizontally fracked wells sunk in Saskatchewan from 1990 to 2013. On average, there are about 3,000 new oil HORIZONTAL VERSUS FRACTUREwells (both vertical and horizontal) drilled in Saskatchewan each year. Any fresh water to be used in Saskatchewan for fracking is subject to appropriate approvals from various provincial water agencies.  Residual fracking fluids are recycled and disposed of at provincially approved waste processing facilities or stored. The discharge or storage of used fluids into the surface environment is prohibited in Saskatchewan. The risk of water availability for farmers, miners, and oil-and-gas companies is becoming evident. Water supply agreements between miners and water suppliers, like SaskWater or a SASK WATERmunicipality, are becoming increasingly difficult to negotiate. The water supply agreement is a critical agreement to provide a certain amount of water at a set price. There are very significant risks for potash solution mines, which use water to operate if water supply is curtailed or discontinued. Oil companies are having to travel further and pay more for water for fracking. Intensive livestock and increased spraying (which uses fresh water) in Saskatchewan are also putting pressure on water supplies. There are a number of innovative projects in the province to mitigate these risks. Oil-and-gas companies are starting to use treated wastewater for their fracking operations. SELLING WASTEWATERMunicipalities in Alberta and Saskatchewan are now selling treated wastewater to oil companies. The treated wastewater can come from lagoons or from grey water discharge. This is a new revenue stream for municipalities and increases WESTERN POTASH LOGOthe certainty of water supply for oil-and-gas companies. Western Potash Corp.’s new potash mine in Milestone, Saskatchewan recently received environmental REGINAassessment approval for the facility, including the use of City of Regina treated effluent as the industrial water source for its solution mining process. The water is purified to prevent foaming or scaling. This is the first potash mine in the world to use treated water. CANADA MAPIt is expected the discussion between farmers and extractors of natural resources will continue in Saskatchewan and across Canada, with innovative technologies and agreements providing a way forward.

CHAD EGGERMANChad Eggerman is a partner in the Saskatoon office of Miller Thomson LLP and assists owners and contractors to develop projects in the natural resource industry

 

Floating gardens prevent climate change damage

The Floating Gardens of Bangladesh MAIN ICON Farming on Water to Prevent the Effects of Climate Change
By Amy Yee, Nov. 18, 2014 of the New York TimesTENDING GARDEN BEST

CHARBHANGURA, Bangladesh — Each year the brown waters of the Gumani river swell during the summer monsoon, creeping over the surrounding fields to flood Charbhangura, a village of 2,500 people in the Pabna district of northwest Bangladesh.

From July to October the waters can rise at least 10 feet. The trunks of trees more than 30 feet away from the dry season riverbed show watermarks waist high. When the fields flood, the village’s farmers have no work.

“There is water all around,” said Hafiza Khatun, 25, a mother of two whose family income used to vanish for six months of the year when her farm laborer husband had nothing to do. “There was no happiness.”

But three years ago, Ms. Khatun was trained by Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha, a Bangladeshi nonprofit organization, to tend an unusual source of food and income: a floating farm with a duck coop, fish enclosures and vegetable garden moored by rope to the riverbank. Five to 10 women can share the structure, splitting about 130,000 taka, or about $1,700, a year. Shidhulai supplies seeds, fish and duck feed and other materials that cost about 10,000 taka. This money goes a long way in rural Bangladesh, especially for villagers struggling to survive. Ms. Khatun, who has no education and bore the first of her two children when she was 15, previously earned nothing. DUCK COOPDucks quacked loudly as Ms. Khatun gathered eggs in the coop, ushering some of them outside to the “duck run,” a stretch of water between fish enclosures. She had never raised ducks or fish before the training, Ms. Khatun said, but “nothing has been very difficult.” The duck coop, originally built on a bamboo platform, now rests atop more-buoyant plastic oil drums — recycled and found materials are enthusiastically used alongside locally grown bamboo. Villagers can now build the entire structure for the equivalent of $260, which is covered by Shidhulai, Mr. Rezwan said.

This documentary, uploaded on Feb 26, 2008, shows an adaptation technique used to deal with flood and water-logging in the South Central part of Bangladesh. Copyright CLACC / BCAS Mohamed Ali, Abdul Shakoor Sindhu, Mariam Rashid and MD Abdul Alim

Climate change threatens to worsen the severity and duration of floods in low-lying Bangladesh.  

  IMAGE2   OPEN FURROW

Floating farms — and produce that can flourish in flood conditions — are a way to help Bangladeshis live with rising waters. “There is big demand for solutions for climate change-affected areas,” said Mohammed Rezwan, the founder and executive director of Shidhulai. With the extra income from selling eggs, fish and vegetables, Ms. Khatun started saving money in a bank for the first time, bought a bed to keep her and her family off wet ground in their dirt-floored home, and helps her husband support the family.

  IMAGE3  IMAGE5    

IMAGE6IMAGE8

TENDING GARDEN BEST

In northern Bangladesh, agricultural land is regularly flooded as rivers are engorged by the annual Himalayan snow melt and monsoon rains. In one of the world’s most densely populated countries, where 156 million people live in an area the size of Iowa, thousands are left with no way to earn a living. Many migrate to already overcrowded cities, contributing to urban blight.

Mr. Rezwan founded Shidhulai as a 22-year-old architecture graduate in 1998. That year, disastrous flooding in Bangladesh killed 700 people and left 21 million homeless. 
Initially, Mr. Rezwan focused on building schools on boats, and worked to ensure that thousands of children would not fall behind when roads were blocked by floodwaters.

To date, the nonprofit’s fleet, which now numbers 22 schools, five health clinics and 10 libraries, has provided continuity of education and other services for more than 70,000 children in villages isolated by seasonal floods. Four years ago it started to also build floating farms for villagers, and particularly the landless poor, to help them eke out a living during the months of floods.

So far there are 40 floating IMAGE4farms that are worked by about 300 women: Mr. Rezwan has ambitious plans to create 400, to serve 3,000 women and their families in the next few years. He also argues that the floating farm concept could help other riverine developing countries, as has been the case with floating schools. “They have the potential to be replicated around the world,” he said.

IMAGE7Shidhulai’s school boats have been copied in several other countries, including the Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam, Nigeria and Zambia. A floating farm measures about 56 feet long and 16 feet wide. The coop can house 100 ducks and is equipped with a small solar panel to power lights inside. It floats on empty oil drums, plastic containers and a bamboo platform.

Mr. Rezwan took his initial concept for the farms from floating gardens that had been used in southern Bangladesh for hundreds of years. 

Those gardens layered water hyacinths — a type of weed — over bamboo structures and topped the resulting artificial island with soil to grow vegetables.

The design had to be modified however, to suit local conditions. The southern model didn’t work in the north, where heavier rains waterlogged the vegetable beds and it was difficult to create drainage. Water hyacinth was also less plentiful in the north.

Related links:

Youtube video, published on Feb 6, 2013, gives background information (in English subtitles) and step by step instructions for creating these gardens.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AK_qTm2pUsw

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/

PEI potato industry lobbies for deep well

1-PEI POTATO INDUSTRY

The following excerpt from “Hot Potato – The Prince Edward Island potato industry is lobbying for deep-well permits, but not without great resistance” by Rachel Phan appeared in WaterCanada’s Mar/Apr issue.

POTATO BOARDOn the East Coast of Canada, a contentious debate rages on over the Prince Edward Island Potato Board’s request to have a moratorium lifted on deep-well water extraction for irrigation.
CAVENDISHThe board, along with industry giant Cavendish Farms, began a full-scale lobby effort in January 2014 to push for deep-well permits, saying science indicates the Island has a high water-recharge rate. This has been met with significant backlash from environmentalists, citizen’s groups, and political parties that say extracting tonnes of water out of the Island’s deep water aquifer is risky business, especially since Prince Edward Island relies exclusively on groundwater. “High-volume extraction could mean individual wells could dry up. There aren’t a lot of central water systems here in TODD DUPUISP.E.I.,” said Todd Dupuis, executive director of regional programs for the Atlantic Salmon Federation. “Often the country folk have their own wells, and if they’re in close proximity to a monster  well that’s taking a lot of water out of the  ground, it can actually really lower the  water table to the point where your well  no longer produces water.”
The moratorium, which was initially intended to be in place for a year, has been in place since 2001. In the more than 10 years since the moratorium was put in place, the Prince Edward Island department of environment has studied the Island’s water recharge GROUND WATER EXTRACTIONrate. It released a provincial water extraction policy earlier this year around the same time the potato board began its lobby efforts, sparking claims the province is working in the interest of potato growers. The policy noted the province has “abundant groundwater recharge” of approximately two billion cubic metres a year, contradicting recent reports of a dwindling water supply in the province. (For more on this, see bit.ly/peiwater.)
LINKLETTER“The department of environment found that […] less than seven per cent of the P.E. I. groundwater is used by all users,” said Gary Linkletter, chairman of the Prince Edward Island Potato Board. “Of that seven per cent, […] industrial uses about 30 per cent and residential about 60 per cent. Currently, irrigation is hardly even a player in P.E.I. groundwater use. “If there was a real concern about water use, these other users are the ones where a LOGOmoratorium would actually make a difference. […] We feel it is only proper and fair that agriculture not be subject to the current, very selective moratorium.” Prince Edward Island potato growers have said that, without deep-water wells, productivity will decline and lead to the reduction of the province’s $1-billion potato industry. Some growers have expressed concerns over staying competitive, especially since American farmers can sometimes KEVIN MCISSACharvest twice the amount of potatoes from one acre. “We’re not even close to that in Canada because we don’t have the longer growing season or access to irrigation,” Kevin MacIsaac, chair of the United Potato Growers of Canada, told The Guardian…
“[Growers] add more fertilizer than they need, and that stuff is very water soluble and full of nitrate and phosphate,” Dupuis said. PEI GROUNDWATER SUPPLY“There’s always stuff left over: it leeches down into the soil, and the soil in P.E.I. is sandstone, so it is very porous. The water up high is latent with fertilizer and percolates down.”
Linkletter said the contamination of aquifers by fertilizers is actually exacerbated by dry conditions. “Proper moisture conditions for the crop to grow would reduce what fertilizer is left in the soil. […] It would be more likely to reduce problems rather than increase them.”
DEEP WELL IRRIGATIONHe added that the deep-well extraction for irrigation would only occur for a very limited portion of the year, and that such wells would be monitored to ensure “responsible supplemental irrigation.”
Since the potato industry has made its request to the province to remove the moratorium, there has been an impassioned response from concerned islanders who are attending usually empty 011514Daryl Guignion for Nigel's story ion deep water welle.committee meetings in droves. A February 26 meeting was attended by 200 Prince Edward Islanders, including biologist Darryl Guignon, who said, “None of us have been asked anything about this. Nor the department of fisheries and oceans, nor the public! It’s our water for heaven’s sake, and we can’t even have an input in a water policy?”
JANICE SHERRYEnvironment Minister Janice Sherry has said the provincial government will not make a decision on deep-well irrigation and the moratorium will not be lifted until there is further proof that such practices would not diminish the quantity or quality of Prince Edward Island’s groundwater.

Rachel Phan is Water Canada’s managing editor.

California Drought Crisis affects U.S. and Canada

HOW BAD IS THIS DROUGHT GRAPHThe Nexus in Crisis – California’s drought is everybody’s problem, by Kerry Freek, is from WaterCanada’s Mar/April 2014 issue

Dangerously low river levels might be a gold prospector’s dream, but California’s drought—gearing up to be the worst in the United States on record this century—is quickly becoming a widespread nightmare.
NOAAAt the end of January, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that water levels in all but a few reservoirs in the state were at less than 50 per cent of capacity. DROUGHT MONITORBy February, drought had affected every square inch of the state in some capacity, and the U.S. federal government announced that nearly 15 per cent of the state, and much of the farmland, is experiencing extreme conditions. On February 19, the Chicago Tribune reported that 10 communities were at acute risk of running out of drinking water in 60 days.
WATER COALITIONThis extreme drought is leading to extreme measures. California’s farmers, who receive nearly 80 per cent of the state’s water allocations, are facing significant cutbacks—and, in some cases, they’re losing water delivery completely. In February, Central Valley farmers learned the state’s largest delivery system would provide no water to the area, which produces half of the fruits, nuts, and vegetables in the United States. The California Farm Water Coalition says this means farmers will leave 500,000 acres of land unplanted in the 2014 season.
OBAMAYou can guess what that might mean for the country. “California is our biggest agricultural producer, so what happens here matters to every working American, right down to the cost of food that you put on your table,” said U.S. President Obama in an address in the same month.

SYLVAIN CHARLEBOISCanadians will feel the impact,  too. University of Guelph economics professor Sylvain Charlebois told CTV News the price of food products imported from California could soon increase by as much as 20 per cent.


Beyond just feeling the impact, Canadians also have an active role to play 
in mitigating the effects of this disaster— especially when it comes to energy.

SIGN2According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, almost 14 per cent of the nation’s hydroelectric generating capacity is concentrated in California. Lower river levels hinder the state’s ability to produce energy.
While natural gas can make up much of the difference, the drought increases demand for this resource in a time when much of the United States and Canada is (or, by the time you read this note, was) in a deep freeze.

GAS PRICES SOARThe unprecedented demand for natural gas has impacted fuel supplies, driving the price of the resource skyward. During this time of crisis, Californians are being asked to conserve both water and energy.
SIGNThat’s just the beginning for  California. The effects of the drought will be lasting, especially in the farming sector where many people have lost their livelihoods. Both state and federal governments are directing emergency drought relief funds—$687 million and $200 million, respectively—to help California residents, farm workers, and communities deal with water shortages.
CROPPED SAVE WATER LOGOWhen we talk about water and its influence, the links between it and food, energy, and the economy—call it any kind of nexus, if you prefer—become dangerously apparent. Californians, and now the rest of North America, are learning that lesson the hard way.
The urgent challenge is to move those lessons to policy and action. After significant weather events, drought and flood alike, a country’s economy takes a major hit. Follow the money and, on top of the millions of dollars for aid, these events result in higher prices for things like food, energy, and insurance, not to mention the increased threat to environmental and human health and safety.
SIGNWill this finally be the crisis that spurs us to action? Perhaps now is the time to look at—and actually begin implementing—alternative sources of power, including sewage heat recovery (see “Wasted Potential” by Lynn Mueller in the Mar/Apr issue of WaterCanada). NATURAL DISASTERS SIGNWe must apply what we’ve learned to ensure this crisis doesn’t worsen or persist. We must be open to learning from this and other disasters— and ensure our systems are resilient enough to handle what Mother Nature throws our way.

CAL DROUGHT MONITOR 2014

KERRY FREEKKerry Freek,

Editor-at-large for WaterCanada

 

Designing water reclaiming and recycling programs – green technology

ROOFTOP GARDEN

This article, ‘Function and Beauty – A new reality for watershapes’, by Aviram Müller, appeared in the Jan/Feb issue of WaterCanada magazine.

Please note that I’ve added a YouTube video, uploaded Sept. 15, 2010 by Aviram Muller, regarding the BioReSys – Bionic Regeneration Systems which I definitely recommend – should be a must for our current school curriculum.  This video is the first of five parts which you can access after watching Part 1.

In recent centuries , designers have done a tremendous job of figuring out how water looks and sounds. As environmental concerns become increasingly important, however, we’re being challenged to think differently about water – how it affects us physically and the essential role it plays in maintaining a healthy world.
2ND PARAAs a species, we’ve done a great deal to squander water as an asset, whether by contaminating and otherwise polluting natural bodies of water or by treating pools and other watershapes with harsh chemicals. Isn’t it ironic that spas, which exist primarily so we can take advantage of their healthful benefits, are commonly sanitized with chlorine or other powerful oxidizers that may be hazardous to our health?
3RD PARAIn trying to use water to achieve healthful or recreational ends, we have in fact turned away from its natural value and benefits. And it’s not just spas or swimming pools—even with decorative, purely visual water features such as fountains, we have for years turned our backs on natural processes while
pursuing our aesthetic goals.
Point of crisis
Today’s culmination of economic and environmental crises presents an amazing opportunity for watershapers to step back and set the foundations for a fresh, sustainable direction.
5TH PARAWhen water features emerged in Classical times, Islamic and later European societies, they introduced fountains as the public source for potable water. It was only after centuries of performing this public function that fountains moved decisively away from their original purpose and became more or less purely decorative.

6TH PARAThe time has come for water feature to come full circle. Not only must water features be beautiful and soothing, but henceforth, they must be functional, purposeful in the reclamation and decontamination of water. And if water features as part of water management also remediate existing environmental damage or contribute to the cooling of interior spaces, even better.
Increased scope
7TH PARAIn recent years, the typical water feature (fountain, pool, spa, pond or stream) has essentially been a standalone unit in which water is circulated, filtered and treated in a closed loop. As such, these features have very little (if anything at all) to do with the overall performance of adjacent buildings or spaces.
8TH PARABut water features could be part of a much larger system. Water could be reclaimed from roofs and other impermeable surfaces, moved into storage in various cisterns or reservoirs and then treated biologically in planted pond or wetland areas or used as part of a water feature. Then, this same water can be used for irrigation, firefighting, air conditioning or the cooling of manufacturing, industrial and power-generating systems.
Some of the pioneering work has already been done. What may seem revolutionary to some in North America is, in fact, already widely practiced in Europe and has been part of the designer approach for more than 20 years. In some places, natural resources and environments are so restricted by population density that designers have already moved in this direction out of necessity.
For years, they’ve dealt with acid rain, groundwater contamination and rivers so polluted that swimming in them has become hazardous or impossible. Under those constraints, system designers think differently about how they manage, reclaim and reuse water.
Using biology
In North America, we have been taught that water can only be effectively treated through use of chemicals and mechanical filtration. But in Europe, the effluent from car washes, water discharged from nuclear power plants, cooling water from large office buildings, and even the water that emerges from zoological exhibits are treated biologically. In addition, the European experience has shown that biological filtration using specific types of plants can help remediate contaminated water by removing heavy metals and organic compounds introduced into water supplies via the fertilizers used by agricultural or industrial operations.
Whether they take the form of ponds with wetland areas and planted floating islands or of green roofs that bring park like features to urban settings, biological systems can be beautiful. Once humdrum settings, such as retention basins, are now accented with plants, pathways, docks, floating fountains, floating islands and diverse varieties of wildlife.
Specific measures
PARA 14Currently, there are no classifications or criteria in the LEED certification program referring specifically to water feature designs. The Water Efficiency category, however, emphasizes reducing the use of potable water supplies and thus presents several opportunities for creative applications.
PARA 15Already, according to current LEED provisions, a green roof can be used to capture rainwater. Once captured, the water is treatment by flowing either to a gravel-based wetlands zone/retention basin or into a body of water that contains floating islands and myriad plants that take up contaminants.
PARA 16When water exits these basins, no matter its condition, it can be used for water features, irrigation, or numerous other reasons. Alternatively, this water can be channeled into an “infiltration” basin where water is injected into the ground to help recharge aquifers. This can be helpful in areas where there are issues with seawater intrusion or underground plumes of pollution.
PARA 17Some LEED projects seek designs that involve remediation of environmentally damaged areas. Indeed, contaminated soil can be helped by properly designed water management – for instance, designs can include choosing plants specifically meant to biologically treat water containing certain contaminants.
Active participation
In sizing up the LEED point potential of water features, it’s important to recognize that the water features will help earn credits relative to specific situations. The LEED point system and the relative value a “functional” water feature can bring opens the discussion of the role the designer can play in the final design of commercial complexes and residential developments.
PARA 20  Traditionally, designers in their more aesthetic or recreational roles are among the last consulted in a project. Until recently, in fact, fountains, swimming pools, spas, ponds, cascades or interactive water features have been seen as separate and divorced from everything else on site.
LAST PARAWith this new green philosophy, designers are becoming integral participants in the process of designing water reclaiming and recycling programs, and providing beauty with function.

MULLERAviram Müller is the founder of Karajaal, a Quebec-based company that designs and engineers distinct and interactive venues using water, lighting effects, fountains and pools.
A graduate of Frankfurt University, Aviram has dedicated 25 years to the creation and development of water-based art. Aviram is recognized by his peers as an artist and sculptor with a strong engineering and technical foundation.

 

SUCCESS IN BATTLE WITH NESTLE OVER WATER RIGHTS!

PARLIAMENT

NESTLE RED X“Battle with Nestle over water affects Pontiac” – Published in The LowDown Online, by William Amos and Carissa Wong November 27, 2013

WATER CHART

Everyone needs water. Life exists because of it. In Canada, we expect water to be everywhere, accessible and clean. But the reality is that less than one per cent of the world’s freshwater is readily accessible for direct human use.

ONTARO MAPWe also expect our governments to protect this resource and put a community’s need for drinking water ahead of a corporation’s desire to bottle and sell water for profit. But sometimes, governmental priorities get confused, as they did recently in Ontario.

Every day, Ontario permits Nestle Canada Inc. to take 1.13 million litres of water, which it then bottles and sells, from an aquifer in Wellington County near Guelph. GUELPH AQUIFERLast year, the Ontario government — through the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) — renewed the permit on the condition that Nestle would take less water from the aquifer during serious droughts. But Nestle appealed these mandatory restrictions to the Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal, which has jurisdiction to determine disputes over groundwater permits. Then the MOE tried to cut a settlement deal with Nestle.

ENVIRO LAW CLINICThe deal would have allowed Nestle to avoid the mandatory drought restrictions. But in February, pro bono lawyers at Ecojustice challenged the deal on behalf of Wellington Water Watchers and Council of Canadians.

We filed a legal submission with the Ontario Environmental Review Tribunal, arguing that the proposed settlement was bad for the province and deserved closer scrutiny. Last month, the Tribunal agreed with our clients. It concluded that the proposed settlement deal was not in the public interest and was inconsistent with the Ontario Water Resources Act. The Tribunal ordered a full hearing so that the appropriateness of the drought-based restrictions could be thoroughly examined.  But recently, as a result of the Tribunal’s decision to order a hearing, Nestle withdrew its appeal of the mandatory drought restrictions. The deal is dead.

GUELPH GROUNDWATERSo Nestle must comply with the original permit conditions, reducing the amount of groundwater it takes from Wellington County during drought. Because these non-profit community groups took action, Nestle must leave more water for other users (in dry times) and the government must ensure they live up to that promise.       

Federal, provincial and municipal governments are each responsible, to the extent of their jurisdictions, for managing groundwater resources. But that’s not always what happens. Sometimes well-organized, dedicated members of the public must use the legal system to hold government accountable.

GUELPH WATERSHEDOur watersheds are vulnerable when governments roll out the red carpet for private companies who bristle at mandatory restrictions on their water takings.

In this case, the MOE had it right in the first place — drought-based restrictions should be applied to all future water takings for bottle water enterprises. All Ontarians, not just those who drink water from a well, need to be protected against those who would cut deals that limit the government’s ability to safeguard our shared water supplies. The same approach should apply in Quebec.

PONTIACThe example from Wellington County resonates throughout Canada. It hits home to those of us living in the Pontiac who depend on well-water for our basic needs. When making decisions about the water that sustains our communities, the government’s job is to put the greater public interest first.

Ed. note: William Amos is a Chelsea resident and is the Director of the Ecojustice Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Ottawa. Carissa Wong is an articling student at Ecojustice.

NESTLE ROAD SIGNThe following are my thoughts and not part of this article:
I would think that the province of B.C. should be taking a very close look at this  outcome for many like Sheila Muxlow, pictured outside Nestle’s bottling plant near Hope, B.C. on Aug. 12, 2013, who have concerns about Nestle withdrawing millions of litres of water without payment.  According to the provincial Ministry of Environment, “B.C. is the only jurisdiction in Canada that doesn’t regulate groundwater use.”

http://www.lowdownonline.com/battle-with-nestle-over-water-affects-pontiac/

Interesting related link ~

https://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/blog_categories/bottled-water/blogs/