Category Archives: Endangered resources

Student Ke Shuai wins high praise at World Water Week in Stockholm

For 18 years, Stockholm Junior Water Prize has congregated the world’s most imaginative young minds for an outstanding competition in the capital of Sweden, encouraging their continued interest in water and sustainability issues.

Each year, thousands of participants in over 30 countries all around the globe join national competitions in hopes of earning the chance to represent their nation at the international final held during the World Water Week in Stockholm.

The national and international competitions are open to young people between the ages of 15 and 20 who have conducted water-related projects of proven environmental, scientific, social or technological significance. The projects range from local or regional to national or global topics.
SIWI

CHINESE STUDENT

Chinese student Ke Shuai wins high praise at World Water Week event

STOCKHOLMStockholm, Sweden 

The following youtube video, was published on Aug 24, 2015 by New China TV, It’s not the whims of a 15-year-old, Ke Shuai.  Instead, it’s his UAV water quality monitoring project that has stirred a sensation at World Water Week.  And it caught the attention of experts.  UAV is the short form for unmanned aerial vehicle.        

                                                                      

SWP-Sculpture-1

Stockholm Water Prize celebrates
its Silver Jubilee

To celebrate the Silver Jubilee of the Stockholm Water Prize, we’ve created a video that sums up 25 years of honouring extraordinary water achievements. Since 1991, the Stockholm Water Prize Laureates have represented a broad range of water-related activities, professions and scientific disciplines from all over the world. Watch and share the video!

http://siwi-mediahub.creo.tv/prizes-and-awards/stockholm-water-prize/stockholm_water_prize_celebrates_its_silver_jubilee

Pouring Water From The Air – Award Winning Invention

This is a re-post of one of our popular blogs. 

SOMETHING SPECIAL FOR OUR ‘TECHIE’ FOLLOWERS – AN AWARD WINNING INVENTION FOR COUNTRIES FACING

WATER SHORTAGES:

For those facing water shortages, there is much to be thankful for when it comes to the inventive spirit. Thanks to young Australian inventor Edward Linacre, there may one day be no such thing as a water shortage for Australian farmers.

He recently won the £10,000 international James Dyson Award for a “low-tech” device – the Airdrop – that can draw water from the air, besting the work of 500 other inventors.

Linacre, a graduate of Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, says he wanted to solve the drought problem afflicting farmers in parts of Australia suffering from drought conditions. His solution, Airdrop, can harvest 11.5 milliliters of water for every cubic meter of air in the driest deserts such as the Negev in Israel, which has an average relative air humidity of 64 percent. A small-scale prototype Linacre installed at his parents’ house created about a liter of water a day. Linacre will use his prize money for further testing on increasing the yield.

As reported in The Sydney Morning Herald, instead of using complex, energy-intensive methods such as desalination, Airdrop’s source of water is abundant – the air – and so it can be used anywhere in the world.

Linacre’s Airdrop delivers water to the roots of crops in dry areas by pushing air through a network of underground pipes, cooling it down to the point where water condenses. The water can then be pumped to the roots of plants using drip irrigation methods.

This video interview,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=cXe-4XE2QVI

posted by gizmag, helps explain the invention and the sound reasoning behind it. Linacre say he was inspired by the Namib beetle, which survives in landscapes that get just half an inch of rain per year by consuming the dew it collects on the hydrophilic skin of its back. Similarly, the desert rhubarb can harvest 16 times the amount of water than other plants in its region by using deep water channeling cavities in its leaves.

James Dyson, whose charity sponsors the award, said that the device is a low-tech solution that could be installed and maintained by the farmers themselves; it powers itself using solar panels. Dyson offered this insight into the clever invention:

“Biomimicry is a powerful weapon in an engineer’s armory. We chose Edward’s project because it was a very good and original solution to what has become a real problem.”

In addition to Linacre’s cash prize, a further £10,000 has been awarded to Swinburne University. Linacre said without the university’s help he would never have got his idea off the ground.

The James Dyson Award is run by the James Dyson Foundation and each year students of product design, industrial design or design engineering from around the world are invited to enter.

 
Image: James Dyson Awards

Source: EcoLocalizer (http://s.tt/15ngo)

NYC Water Tank Project ~ Fabulous Results!

ICON
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.

IMAGE2 DOG

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. 

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/

“The Climate Crisis is a Water Crisis” by Gary Wockner

The following article, “The Climate Crisis is a Water Crisis” by Gary Wockner and Youtube video, “WKA Peoples Climate March Video 8 19 14″ was posted to Ecowatch.com on Sept. 15, 2014

We’ve seen near-record wildfires, rain, drought, flooding and snowpack in the last 5 years in the watersheds along the Front Range of Colorado. In the same 12 months that record rain has occurred in one part of the Southwest U.S.’ Colorado River basin, record heat and drought has occurred in another.

Climate change is real, is happening now, and the climate crisis is a water crisis.

WATER CRISIS

On Sept. 20 as a part of the People’s Climate March in New York City, I and other colleagues from the international Waterkeeper Alliance we be holding a teach-in, The Climate Crisis is a Water Crisis. We will come from all over the U.S. to tell a story about the link between climate and water, and we will offer our observations and recommendations on the next steps forward.

Here in the Southwest U.S, we must do everything we can to stop from making climate change worse. Unfortunately in Colorado and across the region, our public policies are going the wrong direction—we are drilling, fracking and mining fossil fuels faster than ever before, and we are burning them at record rates. Colorado’s frack-happy politicians and policies only seem to be rivaled by Utah’s deep dive (“carbon bomb”) into oil shale and tar sands mining. We must stop and head the other direction.

We also need to be better prepared to mitigate and adapt to climate change. We will likely see more extreme weather variability, we may see more extreme droughts in the Southwest U.S., and California’s extreme heat and drought going on right now may become a “new normal.”…

Taken from Gary’s post, “Waterkeepers March!” on Ecowatch, Sept. 21, 2014

WATERKEEPERS MARCH

“It was euphoric!

Never in my life have I been in such a mass of humanity as I was today in New York City in the largest climate march in world history. Joining me were 100 members of Waterkeeper Alliance as we marched along with more than 300,000 people through the streets of Manhattan. The march was three times bigger than anyone expected. The day was simply amazing…”

Gary Wockner, PhD, is Waterkeeper for the Cache la Poudre River in Fort Collins, Colorado, and directs the Save The Colorado River Campaign. You can reach Gary at Gary@GaryWockner.com.

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Canadians flushing huge energy source down the drain

1-WASTED POTENTIAL The following article, “Wasted Potential – Canadians may be flushing a huge source of energy down the drain” by Lynn Mueller was published in the March/April issue of WaterCanada magazine. DOWN THE DRAINIt has been estimated by the U.S. Department of Energy that Americans flush 350 billion kilowatt-hours of energy into sewers each year. This wasted energy would be enough to supply 30 million homes. In fact, the typical North American pours 75 litres of hot water down the drain every day. WATER EXPENSEFor a regular household, this can cost homeowners hundreds of dollars per year since water heating is the second highest source of energy demand in a home. But unbeknownst to some, it is now possible to capture 95 per cent of this wasted heat and recycle it back into our buildings using sewage heat recovery, which means the heat energy flowing down our drains never has to leave the building. Unlike solar or wind power, this technology doesn’t require a quantum shift in the way we live or the way we think—it can simply be plugged into our existing infrastructure. municipal systemWater enters heat recovery captures the heat in water leaving the building and uses it to reheat our hot-water tanks and the building itself. This technology is not complicated. First, a filter is used to separate out solids which make up about two to three percent of sewage. Then, with the help of a heat exchanger, the heat is transferred into clean water, and this warm, clean water is sent back into the building. At the end of the cycle, the clear sewer water picks up the solids extracted at the start and flushes it back into the municipal sewer system. The following Youtube video, “SHARC Energy Systems Launch Film”, was published on Jun 9, 2014 In the summer, buildings with sewage heat recovery systems can reverse their heat pumps and use the wastewater to reduce a building’s air-conditioning costs. In this scenario, the pumps extract heat from the building and transfer it through the exchanger into the sewer water. The potential reusable heat in wastewater has largely been ignored because sewage has “dirty” and negative associations. But today’s sewage heat recovery systems are hermetically sealed, meaning there is no associated smell. They are also designed to be clog-proof with an automatic back flush to filter sewage simply and effectively. Moreover, a monitoring system will flag any potential problems long before they become an issue. Sewage heat recovery is gaining in popularity with operations underway in Norway, Japan, and China’s Beijing South Railway Station. North American cities are now waking up to the fact that there is a valuable energy resource currently flowing under the city streets. Vancouver, Seattle, and Philadelphia have all started experimenting with sewage heat recovery systems. IWS LOGOIn Vancouver, International Wastewater Systems has already installed sewage heat recovery systems, called SHARCs, into several public and private buildings, including the Gateway Theater in Richmond. The Gateway installation will be the first application in Canada that will use raw wastewater directly from the municipal sewer rather than the wastewater coming out of the building. SEWAGE HEAT DISCOVERY SYSTEMAlthough sewage heat recovery systems are applicable to any building, they work best with residential buildings of greater than 200 units or with institutional buildings like hospitals and prisons that have exceptional hot water usage. The most cost-effective time to introduce a heat recovery system into a building is while doing other energy upgrades or retrofits. SEWAGE HEAT DISCOVERYThe option of using sewage heat recovery on a district-wide scale is also being explored worldwide. District energy systems are large-scale, multi-building heating projects that can supply energy over a large area using either recovered energy from other buildings, industrial sources, waste, or by burning carbon-neutral fuels. Sewage heat recovery could easily plug in to district energy infrastructure. FUEL CELL BEST  While sewage may not be as exciting as fuel cells or tidal energy, the fact that it has a payback period of two to five years makes it perhaps the most cost-effective renewable energy system currently available. Sewage heat recovery systems also work at 500 to 600 per cent efficiency, meaning that for every dollar spent on operational costs, $5 of heat is recovered. Moreover, current systems are demonstrating consistent energy saving performance of 76 per cent.

MUELLER TO CROPLynn Mueller is president of International Wastewater Systems in Vancouver.

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/