Category Archives: Geography

NYC Water Tank Project ~ Fabulous Results!

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Launching summer 2014, The Water Tank Project will transform the New York City skyline.  Look up! Some 300 water tanks around NYC are getting artsy makeovers all in the name of water conservation.

Run by Word Above the Street, a nonprofit dedicated to fostering environmental awareness and water conservation through art, the Water Tank Project looks like it will be a gushing success.water-tank-project-new-york-2.jpg

Art gets wrapped around NYC water tanks | ZoomIN

The Water Tank Project is the inaugural initiative of Word Above the Street, a non-profit dedicated to fostering environmental awareness and social advocacy through art. The incredible Water Tank Project will see approximately 100 local artists, including NYC public school students and internationally acclaimed artists such as Laurie Simmons and Odili Donald Odita, wrapping their artwork around selected city tanks. JORDI FORNIESArtwork by acclaimed artists and New York City public school students will be wrapped around rooftop water tanks throughout the city, celebrating the talents of established and emerging artists, and calling attention to the global water crisis. IMAGE3The Water Tank Project is part art exhibition, part awareness campaign. For the duration of the project, art above will be complemented by action on the ground through educational programs, public tours, social media activities and a symposium dedicated to inspiring fresh views on global water issues. 

For the duration of the city-wide event, tanks from Staten Island to the Bronx will be wrapped in vibrant artwork in hopes of bringing much-needed attention to global water issues. Often overlooked as rooftop eyesores, some of the 17,000 water tanks in Manhattan date back as far as the Industrial Revolution. While some may consider the rusty relics a thing of the past today, the Water Tank Project brings an important environmental purpose to the large iconic barrels.

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If you happen to be at Union Square, look up at the water tower above the Burlington Coat Factory. There’s a picture of a surfing dog on it, taken by fashion photographer Bruce Weber. Part of the Water Tank Project, this is one of several water towers around the city that will be wrapped in artwork to raise awareness about the global water crisis.
“I once had a dog named Palomino. He was an English Golden Retriever who loved nothing more than freewheeling like a hot dog surfer on the level of Kelly Slater. Whether on water or on land, with Palomino life was always an adventure”
. Bruce Weber, “Palomino Takes a Wave”.

ODILI DONALD ODITA
This painting called “Current” by Odili Odeta  – 282 11th Ave  (Chelsea) can be seen in the skyline to the left of Laurie Simmons’ Love Doll .

SWIMMER LAURIE SIMMONSSince I moved to New York many years ago I’ve wondered what it would be like to swim in a water tank. The Love Doll gets to enact this fantasy for me.” Laurie Simmons 

BACTERIA“Despite the fact that Georgia, the country where I was born, has numerous rivers, in the days of the Soviet Empire, when nothing was working well, there were many hours a day when we were without water. During my life I have lived in different countries, countries where water only runs during certain hours of the day. For my work for the water tank, “Bacteria”, my thoughts were focused on the contamination of water. Water can cause health problems; that made me think of the bacteria in water. We associate water with purity, cleanliness, and well-being. In many areas of the world, this is not the case. I imagined water bacteria in my painting for The Water Tank Project to raise awareness.” — Eteri Chkadua

SIGRID CALON

The Sigrid Calon tank at 530 West 25th St. in NYC’s Chelsea neighborhood.

FEMALE FIGURE LORENZO PETRANTONIWater Means Life – Lorenzo Petrantoni – 393 W Broadway (SoHo) 

GUSH As you stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge toward Manhattan, look to the South to view Marilyn Minter’s Gush atop 264 Water Street. SCOTT CHRISTOPHERTessa Traeger – 110 Fulton Street Tessa Traeger (Financial District)

IMAGE1Our aim is to produce art as social intervention, to inspire awe and joy, to educate, and to alter attitudes and habits among those who experience The Water Tank Project, ultimately creating meaningful and long-lasting change.

POTTERYThe organizers of the event hope that by decorating the tanks, the artsy initiative will inspire awe and joy as well as educate and alter everyday attitudes and habits towards water conservation. In addition to the water tank makeovers, the organization is planning tours, parties, educational programs and multiple forums discussing global water issues.

seen from Union SquareInterestingly, the printed wraps are installed on the tanks by Isseks Brothers, a family-owned NYC business established in the late 1800s. Isseks is one of only two companies in New York City that build and maintain water tanks. 

Tragic! Ocean choking on 8 million metric tons plastic per year

 

Episode 6 Ocean Requiem, uploaded on Jun 30, 2009.  This is a rather slow moving video but the end is very touching. This is a good relaxing video with a message so enjoy and visit seashephard.org to see how you can help. 

February 13, 2015
Plastic in oceanPromo image Lindsay Robinson/University of Georgia
As Maggie recently wrote about, there’s a lot of plastic crap in Earth’s oceans; The latest estimate was that there are over 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating in our seas, weighing over 250,000 tons. That’s about 700 pieces of plastic for every human on earth.

Image result for Jenna Jambeck university of GeorgiaBut a new study paints an even more alarming picture of the situation. Jenna Jambeck and her colleagues at the University of Georgia found that an incredibly large amount of plastic waste is mismanaged by the populations living in coastal area, and that even a conservative estimate of how much ends up in the sea puts adds up to between 4.8 million to 12.7 million metric tons of plastic. Per year. (8 million is the mid-point of the estimate).

Part of the problem is that some of the countries with the largest coastal populations – mostly in Asia – are also developing nations with inadequate infrastructure to deal with all the waste that they generate.

Here one of the authors of the study explains the methodology behind the numbers and also gives a warning about the future if we don’t clean up our act on waste management:

Image result for From there, we looked at what percent of that waste is plasticOur methods for this estimate were to look at per person waste generation rates in 2010 from 192 countries with a coastline in the world. Because people’s activities nearest the coast are responsible for most of the plastic going into the water, we limited our analysis to a 50km strip of the coastline. From there, we looked at what percent of that waste is plastic, and what percentage of THAT is mismanaged waste (which means litter or when waste is not captured and dumped on the land). From there we had three scenarios of input into the ocean: low, mid and high. Our 8 million metric ton estimate is that mid-range scenario. 8 million metric tons of plastic is equal to 5 bags filled with plastic going into the ocean along every foot of coastline in the world. That… is HUGE.

And it can get worse. If we assume a business as usual projection with growing populations, increasing plastic consumption and increased waste generation, by 2025, this number doubles – we may be adding 17.5 million metric tons of plastic per year. If that happens, then our cumulative input over time from 2010 to 2025 is projected to be 155 million metric tons.

The solutions to this plastic pollution problem are known, we just need to actually do it. We need to cut back on plastic production in the first place, so there’s less of it in the system. Then whatever is left needs to all be captured and managed properly. This requires not only better infrastructure (especially in poorer areas of the world), but also social and cultural changes. People need to be educated on what needs to be done with their trash in general, and plastic specifically.

 

Strange Lakes and Rivers Around The World ~ AWESOME!

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These 15 Strange Lakes And Rivers From Around The World Are Shockingly Pretty. If you travel around the world, you’ll find rivers and lakes with colors once thought to only be in dreams. From pink rivers to red lakes, these bodies of water gained their color through a variety of means. Some are colored differently because of pollution. Some just naturally have a distinct color. Either way, you truly have to see these bodies of water for yourself.   

WATER DROPLET HAPPY ICON GIMPCROPPEDAs I view the following remarkable photos of these lakes and rivers, I am in awe of nature’s bountiful display – the colours in her palette are absolutely  dazzling and yes “thought to only be in dreams” – truly a power to evoke awe and wonder!

Perhaps you might enjoy watching my video that I uploaded to Youtube on Sep 11, 2012.  Sit back, relax and enjoy this video of incredible photography of the most amazingly beautiful lakes from around the world. Enjoy the accompanying music, “Life Streams” by Mark Mueller and Scott Nelson. I created this video for Rainsoft Ottawa’s WordPress blog, “Incredible Lakes From Around the World”. I would greatly appreciate your feedback.

1.) Betsiboka River, Madagascar

2.) The Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

3.) Travertine Pools, Pamukkale, Turkey

 4.) Huanghe River, Lanzhou, China

5.) Uvac River flowing through Serbia, Bosnia, and Herzegovina

California’s water crisis ~ Alarming prediction!

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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

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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

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“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.