Tag Archives: Orleans

Air into Water

Majid2Canadian researchers have come up with a machine that can turn the humidity in the air into drinkable water.

Simon Fraser University professor Majid Barhami has spent 3 yrs developing the Hybrid Atmospheric Water Generator.  With this unit and future models they hope to be able to help solve the world’s water crisis. The prototype is slightly larger than a small fridge. Majid

The atmosphere always has a bit of humidity in it…they have even  been able to make water in desert like conditions. This new patent pending technology can make between 19 to 40 litres a day anywhere it is. Bahrami says there is no fear of running out of atmosphere as it replenishes itself automatically.  Humidity can be harvested for human consumption.


Harvesting Water from the Atmosphere.

The unit presently works off electricity , but future designs will include solar panels.

The Slippery Slope

WaterbasinThe agreement banning water diversion from the Great Lakes has been breached. Waukesha, Wisconsin is the first US city to get approved to divert water from the Great Lakes…this is a precedent that should be a concern to Canada and the US.

Waukesha’s Water Application Fuels Sprawl and Pollution:

The aquifer for the city of Waukesha is running low and the water is contaminated with high levels of naturally occurring cancer causing radium. They will be drawing some 31 million litres of water daily from Lake Michigan.

Divisive Conversation:

After consulting with Ontario and Quebec, the 8 states adjoining the Great Lakes gave  approval to the proposal. There are going to be strong conditions to withdraw and return the water in order to protect the Great Lakes.

The environmental group the Sierra Club has voiced their concerns over the deal. In their view Waukesha has known about the radium for decades and failed to act…the growing water contamination problem resulted from failures to act from the federal and state governments..not from water shortages. Now Canada needs to be concerned.

Not about Radium:


95% of the American fresh water is held in the Great Lakes, and must surely look attractive to some of the arid  states. Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York , Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin ,  Ontario and Quebec have a pact to help prevent water raids from outside the watershed. waterbasin great lakes

The first community has been approved…with a 2013 report identifying 8 other cities near the water shed as possibly needing water in the next few years. Where will this all lead to, stay tuned , but a concern raised by Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs is the possibility of “water wars”. this sounds a bit drastic now , but our economies need water to grow and the Great Lakes and indeed Canada has water.

Lake Ontario Waterkeepers

Lake ontario waterkeeper logo
Lake Ontario Waterkeeper is a Canadian Charity working for a day when every person in our watershed can safely touch the water, when the water is pure enough to drink, , and when the lake is clean and wild enough that you can toss a line in anywhere and pull out a fish.

After the tragedy of Walkerton , a lawyer and a researcher decided that no person should die or get ill  after swimming in , or drinking , or fishing from public waters… and so Lake Ontario Waterkeepers was born. All that is needed is a commitment to clean water,  the right mix of sound environmental policy, transparent and informed decision making, public education , and community building programs.

History of Lake Ontario Waterkeepers:

The Lake Ontario Waterkeeper program includes law , science, culture , and digital media. This includes…

a. Waterkeeper Swim Guide…this is an app and a website that helps you find beaches and check water quality status.

b. Waterkeeper Drink Guide…a smartphone app that shares drinking water advisories from across Canada.

c. The Clean Water Workshop…this workshop mentors university students with a passion for environmental law and watershed protection.For communities facing pollution problems the student volunteers provide much needed legal research and support.

Gordon Downie uncut:

If you don’t have a beach or water app on your smart phone go to http://www.waterkeeper.ca and download these apps and enjoy the water in confidence. For instance, by checking the swim app at the time of writing this I know not to go swimming at Petrie Island in Orleans. The water is not good there right now.


Dead Fish on Quebec’s Yamaska River.

YamaskaOn July 3rd it was reported that tens of thousands of fish in the Yamaska River around Ste. Hyacinthe had turned up dead. Wildlife officials had collected samples, but the determination of cause had not been discovered as yet. Sewers, agriculture, and the construction industry were being looked at as likely culprits. Yamaska 3

The combination of high temperatures, low water levels,no rain, and water usage are also possibles issues. The lack of rain means the water levels are really low, which can lead to a lot of organic matter in the water, which needs oxygen to break down , leaving little for the fish. Yamaska1

….and now what happened…the City of Ste. Hyacinthe released a statement that work related to the expansion of the water treatment plant was the likely cause. There was a”planned overflow of waste water” into the river. An estimated 8.5 million litres of sewage was released over a 48 hour period around June 28th. Essentially 10% of the river’s flow was sewage. yammy

Low water levels and high organic matter seem like smoke and mirrors…when 10% of the water is raw sewage. Obviously, bad decisions were made…and investigation is ongoing. Looks like the City of Ste. Hyacinthe tried to do what montreal did last winter , but with horrible results. If found guilty there could be a fine of up to $10,000.

Mystery of the Dead Fish in Quebec:

Florida’s Toxic Algae Bloom

Florida EIn Stuart Beach on Florida’s west coast tourism drives the local economy. It is the height of summer ,but they have empty beaches, empty restaurants, and empty hotels. Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency in several counties due to the algae bloom that started in Lake Okeechobee and spread to the beaches.Florida A

How did this occur? The Army Corps of Engineers released nutrient rich water into the St. Lucie estuary as part of their flood control measures. A massive bloom was already covering the lake and got released, and the algae outbreak eventually reached the beaches.Florids B

Why did this occur? Algae outbreaks happen when fertilizer sewage and manure pollution hit the water and in the right conditions we have a bloom. Consider it to be like adding miracle grow to the water..and a massive algae growth occurs. Toxic blooms can effect the liver, nervous system, and skin.Florida C

What can be done? Some feel it is not the pollutants , but the water storage limitations that need to be addressed, repairs to the Herbert Hoover Dike need to be done. (Federal issue). Others feel that pollution must be looked at(State issue), the water needs to be cleaned up.

Herbert Hoover Dike..

Both State and Federal authorities have to work together. The Engineers look after the water levels in the lake, and with levels at a 10 yr high. The dike is also prone to seepage and erosion. In the interest of public safety they don’t want the water to get to high. Water quality is a state issue. The blame game as to who is responsible is at the heart of the matter. We know what has to be done, until some real leadership is shown, Florida is stuck.

$1billion Security Project.

What Is The Hydrologic Cycle?

Simple enough question…but what is it?water Cycle

Since the beginning of time water has been a constant in quantity and motion. Little has been gained or lost over the eons. water cycle1

The Hydrologic Cycle begins with Evaporation: As water evaporates from the Oceans and Lakes it cools , condenses and forms clouds. Moisture is thus transported around the globe  until it is returned in the form of Precipitation. Once on the ground two things occur, evaporation and or the water may penetrate the earth to become groundwater. Groundwater then seeps it’s way back into the lakes ,rivers and oceans, or gets back into the atmosphere through Transpiration. Transpiration is water being absorbed in plants/trees and evaporates into the environment from there. The balance of water that remains on earth’s surface becomes runoff which ends up in the streams, lakes ,rivers , and oceans…and the cycle begins again.

The Hydrologic Cycle

Water Robots…

With the increasing sophistication of robots and artificial intelligence ..in evidence self driving cars and robots able to defeat humans at complex logic games, what is their future in the management of water?robot1

First up, we have the PureRobotics  crawler, designed to navigate , inspect and monitor water main pipes. Through the use of scanners and lasers it can measure pipe size and corrosion levels. it has the capacity to provide us real time data in hd. It can not repair, but provides a safe and accurate inspection.robot1

Removing lead from water. A research team at the Max-Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems has a proof of concept  graphene based micro bot capable of removing lead from water. Hundreds of these mini robots(15-20 microns in length), are said to remove lead in water from 1,000ppb to 50ppb in 60 minutes. The tubular shaped bots have layers that treat the water , the cleaned water ejected out the back to propel it through the water.

Professors at LSU identified a problem of bird predation at catfish farms. Fish farmers were having to resort to poisons or shooting birds to combat the birds agressively looking for lunch. A solar powered boat was developed that has cameras, GPS, and a software program that detects the presence of birds and moves accordingly. They can also track water temps, and dissolved oxygen which are two factors that have a direct impact on aquatic life.

Bird Control Lasers:

Venice’s famous waterways face pollution. Scientists there are developing, a long term system of automated swarm bots. These bots will collect temperature, salinity, pH, and particle data. There are three types of robots..aMussels, afish, and aPads. The design of these robots is inspired by their namesakes, as evolution has provided them with a physical character to deal with their environment. The aPads robot acts as a docking station, where the fish and mussels can dock, recharge , and communicate their findings.

A swarm of One Thousand Robots:

In the unmanned surface vehicle category a Chinese company has developed a USV that monitors water quality. and can produce a water quality map in real time. At only 20 cms in length it is easily deployable when responding to emergency spill accidents or rough weather. It also  has various probes and ultrasonic sensors to detect physical obstacles.

A long range endurance marine unmanned surface vehicle:

These are just a few of the cutting edge technowledgies that are out there. Science will be a huge determining factor in how we manage water moving forward.