Category Archives: Precious Resource

Canadian water/wastewater sectors need climate change planning

“No Time to Lose – Canadian water and wastewater sectors must
adapt to climate change” by Hiran Sandanayake appeared in watercanada’s July / Aug 2014 issue

CWWAA few years ago, Canadian Water and Wastewater Association (CWWA ) staff asked its members a simple question: “How prepared are the Canadian water and wastewater sectors for climate change and extreme events?”

The following creative Youtube video, “Water and climate change : let’s adapt!”, published on Jul 30, 2014, mentions many vital concerns:

On the World Environment Day 2014, the Rhone Mediterranean Corsica water agency launched an animated film on adaptation to climate change in the water sector.  Climate change is here. Let’s adapt! The French Government, the Rhone Mediterranean Corsica water agency, the regions of Franche-Comté, Burgundy, Rhône-Alpes, Languedoc-Roussillon and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur have engaged in a plan to adapt to change climate. Making the ground permeable again to allow water to infiltrate, reducing water waste, preserving wetlands and biodiversity… the plan proposes a range of measures to reduce the vulnerability of territories.

 After discussions, meetings, and a poll, the CWWA developed a quick snapshot. There was some good news: some municipalities saw climate change as a risk worth addressing. Some of them were establishing climate-change policies and strategies, quantifying climate-change risk, and developing adaptation programs for climate change and extreme events.

Unfortunately, there were warning signs, too. There appeared to be a wide range in levels of preparedness across the country. As the national voice for the water and wastewater sector, CWWA felt it urgent to advocate for climate-change adaptation and provide guidance.
CWWA created a new national technical committee for climate change. Since then, it has been bringing early adaptation adopters and champions together to spark a dialogue, learn from each other’s experiences, and learn about data and technical tools available for water and wastewater managers and utilities.

Another short video published Oct. 14, 2013 dealing with this topic is,”Preparing Great Lakes Cities for Climate Change: Adapting to Change and Building Resilience”, emphasizing collaboration between Canada and the USA regarding these concerns.

For communities in the Great Lakes region climate change poses unique challenges and creates intriguing opportunities. While many regions of the country face catastrophic threats of sea level rise or tragic outbreaks of wildfires, climate change impacts in the Great Lakes region create more subtle and insidious stresses on the way we live, work and play in our communities. At the University of Michigan’s Graham Sustainability Institute, we are working to address these impacts and develop strategies for building more resilient cities.

Through my role as chair of the climate-change committee, I have had the privilege of learning from and working with a broad range of professionals from water and wastewater utilities, the private sector, government departments, and academia. During this time, some themes have become apparent to me:
• Adaptation to climate change often requires multi-disciplinary approaches.
• Climate-change planning is founded on many existing municipal planning processes.
• Incremental approaches to climate-change adaptation may not be sufficient.
• Local climate-change risk assessments and proper data are critical to making informed decisions. Without these, proposed solutions may result in monies not being spent on the true priorities or, worse,
may result in maladaption (unintentional exacerbation of vulnerabilities).
• Applying a true climate-change lens to water and wastewater planning may result in different solutions; place new emphasis on non-traditional or non-infrastructure intensive approaches to water management and protection during extreme events; force us to re-examine traditional approaches to uncertainty, risk, vulnerability, and level of service; and require changes now to increase resiliency.
Lessons from extreme events can be instructive for climate-change planning. These events sometimes highlight linkages not readily apparent during normal operations (for example, the limitations of municipal human resources, municipal cash flow/financing, public preparedness, et cetera). In some cases, the lack of mandates and efforts coordinated between jurisdictions can also further complicate adaptation efforts.
Funding for climate-change adaptation is needed, not only by the municipal utilities but also by the regional, provincial, and federal departments that are providing research, technical guidance, and coordination.

Though we have already seen successes in climate change adaptation and collaboration, we are still in the early days of this process. For our part, the CWWA climate-change committee will be Image result for CWWA climate-changepolling municipalities to get an updated survey of the state of climate-change adaptation. We are also creating an electronic resource databank and have other technical and coordination initiatives in the early planning stages.

The time is now to begin the adaptation process. Quantifying local risks and increasing resiliency now is the best and most cost-effective strategy.

HIRANHiran Sandanayake, P.Eng., is a senior water resources engineer with the City of Ottawa and chair of the CWWA ’s climate-change committee.

Interesting related article ~

“You can’t catch stupid?” ~ Don’t drink the water!!


The following article, “The Virus That Could Be Making You Dumber” by Carl Engelking was posted Nov. 10th this year on Discover’s web site.

You may have heard the saying, “You can’t catch stupid” – meant to console you that idiocy is not contagious. But, as it turns out, in a small way it might be.


LAKE ROLAND DAMScientists have discovered that a foreign virus in some peoples’ throats parallels with those individuals’ poorer cognitive performance. And when mice are given this virus, previously thought to only infect algae, they were slower to learn a maze.

LAKE ROLANDSurprise Virus

Scientists stumbled on their discovery while collecting throat swab samples from people to assemble a virome – a genetic profile of all the viruses circulating through our bodies. During the analysis, researchers were surprised to find DNA of chlorella virus ATCV-1, a virus common in aquatic environments but not thought to infect humans or animals.

IMAGE2What’s more, the virus was common: It was detected in 40 out of the 92 participants. It didn’t appear that age, sex, race or any other external factors affected a person’s chance of harboring the virus.

Here’s a Youtube video, “Scientists Accidentally Discover A ‘Stupidity Virus’ “, published on Nov 12, 2014 on this topic. 

Dumbed Down
DRUID HILL PARKFortunately for researchers, their original experiment included standardized tests to measure participants’ visual processing and motor skills. So, with the new variable – ATCV-1 – in the forefront, scientists switched gears to examine whether the newly discovered virus affected cognitive performance. And they found it did: people infected with the virus performed significantly worse on cognitive tests than did their uninfected counterparts.

CASCADE LAKEThat warranted further study, so researchers then tested how the virus affected mice. They infected 30 mice with ATCV-1 and put them through a series of maze tests. These mice took much longer to explore a novel maze setup than mice in the control group, researchers reported in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Mind Control
BALTIMORE HARBOR ALGAEATCV-1 is common in most inland waters such as those around Baltimore, where the study was conducted. Therefore, exposure to the virus is probably common, but why some people acquire infection while others don’t is still unknown. Answering this question, researchers say, will guide future studies on ATCV-1.

PATTISON PARKIn the meantime, it’s a fascinating and freaky example of how microbes can mess with our brains. Robert Yolken, the virologist who led the study, told The Independent,“This is a striking example showing that the ‘innocuous’ microorganisms we carry can affect behavior and cognition.”        

“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 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.


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


“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


300,000+ Demand Climate Action Now at Largest Climate March in World History

Naomi Klein on Democracy Now! Discussing Capitalism vs. the Climate

How Climate Change Exacerbates the Spread of Disease, Including Ebola




How Earth Made Us – The untold story of history.

This is part 2 in Professor Iain Stewart’s series, “How Earth Made Us”.  I highly recommend you take an hour to watch it as it is superlative!!!

Our planet has amazing power, and yet that’s rarely mentioned in our history books. This series tells the story of how the Earth has influenced human history, from the dawn of civilisation to the modern industrial age. It reveals for the first time on television how geology, geography and climate have been a far more powerful influence on the human story than has previously been acknowledged. A combination of epic story telling, visually stunning camerawork, extraordinary locations and passionate presenting combine to form a highly original version of human history.

Youtube video, “How Earth Made Us – Water”, uploaded on May 16, 2011 – Of all our planet’s forces perhaps none has greater power over us than water.  For me water is the most magical force on earth.  The presence of water shapes, renews and nourishes our planet.  It’s our planet’s life blood, that pumps through it continuously…


This time he explores our complex relationship with water. Visiting spectacular locations in Iceland, the Middle East and India, Iain shows how control over water has been central to human existence. He takes a precarious flight in a motorised paraglider to experience the cycle of freshwater that we depend on, discovers how villagers in the foothills of the Himalayas have built a living bridge to cope with the monsoon, and visits Egypt to reveal the secret of the pharaohs’ success. Throughout history, success has depended on our ability to adapt to and control constantly shifting sources of water.

Discover why societies have succeeded or failed, and how the environment has influenced every aspect of our history from art to industry, religion to war, world domination or collapse. Visiting some of the most iconic places on Earth, How Earth Made Us overturns preconceptions about our civilisations and our cultures to offer a new perspective on who we are today.

~Youtube video presented by Professor Iain Stewart ~

Link to ~ How Earth Made Us—a masterly BBC documentary

Our heartfelt thanks to Professor Stewart
for his exceptional accomplishment!



Water is our most precious resource.  It nourishes us, helps grow our food, and keeps our cities and forests clean.  British Columbia is endowed with some of the best water resources in the world.

So why, instead of protecting our water, are we letting companies have it for free?

Today, news broke that Nestle, one of the world’s largest food and water companies, has been bottling upwards of 265 million liters of British Columbia water EVERY YEAR…for nothing.  That is a small lake each year, gone, sold for corporate profit.

This water belongs to the citizens or people of British Columbia, and is NOT meant to be exploited by a Corporation for profit.  Call on the BC Environmental Ministry and Provincial Government to immediately change the law and force Nestle to pay a fair price for the water it sells every year.  This can’t stand.

As of August 22, 2013 4:55 p.m. we have 5,412 signatures, help us get to 10,000.

PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION by clicking on the link below – MANY THANKS!!!

NESTLE SIGNHere’s an excellent article on this topic ~




RIVER OF LIGHT LOGOShifting and evolving as it travels to rivers throughout the world, the River of Light has gained local and international recognition through its ability to not only engage communities to participate in the work, but also to highlight the importance of river preservation and water conversation on a global scale.  The River of Light is a world touring art installation by Creatmosphere that combines floating lights, sound and new technologies to celebrate the rivers of the world through public art.

River of Light Art project on the Bow River in Calgary August 2010, Artist: Laurent Louyer.  Photo slideshow to start with video clip of colour changes starting at 1:31 and then a few more images.  Music by Roger Subiranan Mata, “Point of No Return”, available through a creative commons license on http://www.jemendo

RED DEER RIVER2013 marks the 100th birthday of the City of Red Deer and to celebrate this the Red Deer River will become the territory and stage for a series of daylight sculptural and sound installations and night-time light and video interventions that aim to create new Points of View for the community to discover and engage with their city and river.

The River of Lights: Points of View has been commissioned by the
Central Alberta Historical Society for the Red Deer City Centennial.

Associated link ~


WATERCANADALOGOThe following excerpts are taken from Water Canada’s March/April 2013 article, “UNDERGROUND NETWORK – From sensors below the surface to satellites  somewhere in orbit, groundwater monitoring is becoming more  sophisticated”, by Erin Pehlivan.

HELEN APIO CHARITY.ORGHelen Apio is filled with joy as she collects clean water in her Northern Uganda village.  When she didn’t have water, she would walk to the nearest well—2.4 kilometres away—and wait in line with hundreds of other women, clutching two empty five-gallon water cans, anticipating stock.

BC GROUNDWATERCharity: water has helped women like Apio by introducing a unique water technology that detects groundwater in developing countries. Founded in 2006, charity: water’s first project was to install six wells in a Ugandan refugee camp.  They bought a GPS for $100, took it to Uganda, visited each project location and plotted six points on Google Maps, making the information and images public on their website.  Six years later, the charity has funded over 6,994 water projects in 20 countries serving over 2.5 million people with clean drinking waterCHARITY PUMP SENSORSThey have recently been allocated US$5 million for a pilot project via Google’s Global Impact Award to develop remote sensor technology specifically for groundwater.

So far, the charity has mapped each of its water projects to see how they function in real-time.  The remote sensor technology will help keep them posted on whether water is flowing at any of their projects, at any given time, anywhere in the world.

The efficient design of remote sensor technology means that individual community members don’t need to visit every project physically to ensure constant water flow.  These sensors manage time, budgets and resources with ease, allowing more time to be spent analyzing the actual water sample itself in the lab.

Below the surface: While real-time technology is growing more common throughout the water industry, groundwater applications are scarce.

RICHARDRichard Kolacz, president of Global Spatial Technology Solutions Inc. (GSTS), observes smart sensor capabilities that connect to groundwater sensors in Canada, allowing people to collect information from the sensors remotely.

GSTS LOGO2One Ontario conservation authority is already using one of GSTS’s water sensor prototypes on site.  Initially, conservation authorities collected information manually.  Now they’re able to collect it remotely.  “We’ve developed an interface – a means of connecting to a groundwater sensor— to collect information in a format that the conservation authority likes,” says Kolacz.  “Rather than waiting six months or more to collect data, they could have it back instantly.”

GROUNDWATER SENSORSThe data coming from groundwater sensors to conservation authorities allows them to monitor water quality and quantity, and helps them understand the health and use of the water.

What’s so important about monitoring water data?  The data could help First Nations communities in northern Ontario, according to Kolacz.  “We would have the ability to monitor key data points on potentially clean or waste water treatment plants, and provide opportunities to monitor the health and status of those facilities remotely,” he says.

Much like charity: water, the difficulty with GSTS’s prototype comes from having to train staff to manage facilities. The data still has to be analyzed, and the quality of that analysis depends upon a certain level of knowledge.

Please note:  I found the following YouTube video, published on Mar 27, 2013, that is directly related to the above information.  Mr. Kolacz speaks about GSTS’s most recent application regarding goundwater monitoring.  His presentation dealing with this topic runs from 3:20 to 7:30 on the video:

CHARITY SENSORS2Meanwhile, charity: water’s goal is to develop and install 4,000 low-cost remote sensors in existing and new water projects globally, all of which will transmit real-time data to the charity, its partners, and eventually to donors via status updates.  Canada can learn from this model. According to the 2010 Review and Assessment of Canadian Groundwater Resources, Management, Current Research Mechanisms and Priorities by theCCME LOGO Canadian Council of Ministers of the  Environment, practitioners in the field need access to organized groundwater data.  With projects like the ones charity: water and GSTS are piloting, that access can skyrocket.

SATELITEGroundwater is a valuable resource, but it is poorly understood and expensive to investigate. Incentives to effectively manage the resource are low. But respondents of the aforementioned review demand significant effort from the provincial government databases to provide up-to-date groundwater information accessible online. And once we embrace the new insights of cloud-based collaboration and networked sensor arrays, science-based policy will develop and advance, leading to more responsible water resource management and investments – especially when it comes to the murky and mysterious water that flows beneath us. Erin Pehlivan is a Toronto-based writer.

Related links ~

for Charity:water ~