Archive for the ‘Water’ Category
“Chicago’s proposed rate increase, the centerpiece of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s push to create jobs while fixing a century-old utility, would end the long tradition of cheap water in the third-largest U.S. city. And it would force Coleman to pay up.
“I don’t like it, but there’s nothing I can do about it,” said Coleman, 49, a radiation therapist. “I see it irritating residents of Chicago, me included.”
Emanuel is pitching the increase as an economic stimulus bill whose cost would be shared by suburban water users. If approved by the City Council, the program would add 18,000 jobs over 10 years to both the municipal payroll and private companies hired to do the work, said Bill McCaffrey, an Emanuel spokesman. It’s a Chicago version of President Barack Obama’s plan to boost some taxes to pay for recession-proofing jobs.
Coleman joins a line of complainers stretching from coast to coast as as utility companies, towns and cities propose or enact steep water-bill increases as pipes and sewer systems crumble. The rate boosts acknowledge concerns that have been ignored for years, partly because they are underground, water experts say.
“Cities, especially east of the Mississippi, where the infrastructure is older, are having their comeuppance now,” said Peter Annin, author of “The Great Lakes Water Wars.”
‘Super-Tight Revenue Times’
“Their water systems are more than a century old and people have put off the upgrading, and now they are breaking,” Annin said. “Mayors and city councilors in older urban areas are in a real spot because here we are in super-tight revenue times, and there is no more basic infrastructure need than the water system.” “
via Emanuel Ends Cheap Water Era’s Drain on Chicago’s Finances as Pipes Burst – Bloomberg.
Water credits: A new way to conserve precious resource
Payal Gwalani, TNN Sep 23, 2011, 04.08am
ISTNAGPUR: It is said that the next world war would be over water. In order to avoid this imminent disaster, city-based environmentalist has proposed the idea of making water a tradable commodity by introducing water credits on the lines of carbon credits.The idea is to have a tradable certificate which notifies the quantity of water saved by an institution, organization or an individual this would help in maximum utilization of every available drop of water. It may be defined as a permit that allows the holder to trade the conserved water in the international market at their current market price.
Many important organizations working in the field of environment have shown an interest in the concept. The National Innovation Foundation run by the ministry of Science and Technology and ministry of environment and forest has forwarded the idea to their parent body World Innovation Foundation which is trying to develop the idea further. The United Nations GEMS/Water Programme has also hailed it as an interesting concept. Even the Environmental Information System ENVIS of the state government has endorsed it by putting it up on their website.The idea was conceived when Shripad Vaidya, an environmentalist, was trying to find ways to lessen the misery faced by the farmers in Central India. “I found out that irrigation is a big problem for many farmers in the region and started thinking of ways to help them out. Around the same time, I came across the idea of carbon credits. That made me look for ways to have a similar credit system for water,” explained Vaidya.Though commodification is viewed in a negative way, Vaidya sees it as a means to improve the value of any object. “We keep telling people the importance of justifiable use of all resources – including water. But when they attain a monetary value, people are more likely to use resources economically and try to avoid any misuse,” he said.The foremost step should be setting up of a standardized unit that would be recognized across the world, says Vaidya. “One water credit may have the value of a hundred litres or one thousand litres as per the decision taken unanimously by the concerned authorities,” he said while giving an example. The average water consumption of the interested consumer can then be measured and kept a track of. Thereafter, according to the actual consumption it may be observed whether the use is less or more than the average. Those using lesser quantities would then be able to sell their credits to those who wish to use more water than they have pledged to use. This way those individuals or organizations who try to conserve or recycle water would be able to reap financial benefits for their efforts.
via Water credits: A new way to conserve precious resource – Times Of India.
With just 4 inches of rain a year, Saudi Arabia is already one of the driest places on earth. But unlike neighboring Israel, conservation is not part of the culture. Saudi water use is profligate, almost twice the world average of 500 cubic meters per capita annually.
But it’s not that cliche of oil-rich extravagance you might imagine (“Dubai Gets Frozen Air From Europe!“) It is just that almost everything takes more water in the desert, from growing food to harvesting oil wealth – in order to desalinate enough water – for a rapidly growing population. Saudi women, with little else to do, produce large families. So the Kingdom gets through 950 cubic meters of water per person per year. It now faces “peak water”, a far more serious threat to its economy than peak oil.
Already, the kingdom has made tough decisions. Like parts of Australia, that made a decision to stop growing food as water supplies crashed during its long years of droughts, Riyadh is now ending domestic wheat farming.
Agriculture, mostly grain production, uses 85-90% of the kingdom’s water, and most of that has been drawn from rapidly depleting aquifers under the sand. That is unsustainable. By 2016, the kingdom will rely on imports 100 percent.
“The decision to import is to preserve water,” Abdullah al-Obaid, Saudi deputy minister of agriculture toldReuters. “It’s not a matter of cost. The government buys wheat at prices higher than in the local market.”
It’s risky relying on neighbors (most of whom will increasingly see similar levels of water scarcity) for grain. But its not just growing crops that is threatened. Saudi Arabia’s main supplier of income, its oil industry has already switched to innovative options like using solar and seawater for flushing out oil fields, in order to preserve its precious fossil water storage for drinking. Desalination brings its own water problems: contaminated water. The Kingdom is now draining its fossil water supply, stored for thousands of years under the desert.
Saudi Arabian peak water has now even precluded developing other potential sources of real wealth to diversify away from oil. Gold is just one example of an untapped – and now forever un-tappable – resource.
“Gold is there, but we don’t have water,” said Mohammed Hany al-Dabbagh, vice-president of precious metals and exploration at state-controlled minerals firm Saudi Arabian Mining Co.
“Water is as precious as gold.”
IsraelTradeCH Cleantech News.
What an astounding statistic : “Water is clearly essential for hydropower, but a lot of it is needed for coal power, too — to mine the raw material, to process it and then to cool the power plants that burn it. In 2010, coal-fired electricity in China used more than 30 trillion gallons (114 trillion liters) of water, or about 20 percent of the country’s total consumption. And over the coming decade, roughly 40 percent of the nation’s increase in water demand will be associated with coal power…”
“An American trucker barreling down Interstate 95 bemoaning the high price of diesel fuel might never imagine that one of the things driving up his bill is the way water in China is being mispriced. But the truth is, water shortages are indirectly causing increased use of diesel generators for electricity in China, and that, in turn, is helping raise diesel prices in the U.S.
Smarter pricing could help China — and the rest of the world — avoid further problems allocating water resources, and mitigate some of the side effects. Coal plants generate most of China’s electricity. Hydropower is the second-biggest source. Water is clearly essential for hydropower, but a lot of it is needed for coal power, too — to mine the raw material, to process it and then to cool the power plants that burn it. In 2010, coal-fired electricity in China used more than 30 trillion gallons (114 trillion liters) of water, or about 20 percent of the country’s total consumption. And over the coming decade, roughly 40 percent of the nation’s increase in water demand will be associated with coal power, China’s Ministry of Water Resources says.”
This development is exacerbating an already severe shortage in China. The country accounts for about 15 percent of the world’s consumption of fresh water. Yet its supplies are limited, and pollution is a significant hazard.
According to the World Bank, the amount of water per capita in China is only one-quarter of the global average. Furthermore, about 80 percent of the total supply is south of the Yangtze River, while only about half the Chinese population lives there. So the north is chronically short. The North China plain, which encompasses both Shanghai and Beijing, contains more than 40 percent of the national population, but less than 15 percent of the water. In this region, the per-capita amount is only about one-quarter the level considered the minimum for people to live on.
via Orszag: Why We Care About Price of Water in China – Bloomberg.
Sometimes we forget the impact of behind the scenes technologies that impact our economies and lives in indirect ways. Shipping logistics rely on critical navigation data…the work of hydrographologists.
“World Hydrography Day, celebrated in maritime countries around the world, is a time to recognize the ocean surveyors who map the oceans. Thanks to hydrographers — in NOAA, in other federal agencies, and in private industry — this nation’s safe and efficient maritime transportation system supports increased trade and economic growth for American industry and agriculture.
NOAA hydrographers measure oceans depths and search for underwater dangers to navigation, acquiring data for the nation’s nautical charts and ocean models. They have a long history of service to this country, beginning with President Thomas Jefferson’s Survey of the Coast in 1807.
Hydrographic products continue to support updated navigational tools and charts, but today’s data is used far beyond purposes envisioned in prior centuries. From helping scientists understand the movements of tsunamis, to characterizing essential underwater habitat for healthy fisheries, today’s hydrographers contribute, more than ever, to a healthy ocean, vibrant coastal communities, and a growing maritime economy.”
via World Hydrography Day 2011.
An interesting peek behind the curtain of the real life Matt Damon and his journey to bring water and hope to Africans.
“THE BUSINESS OF philanthropy is a difficult one, often as challenging to decipher as the problems it aims to solve. But Water.org is the smart and careful merger of two capable organizations: Damon’s H2O Africa, which he founded as a way to funnel money to well-managed NGOs in Africa; and Gary White’s WaterPartners, a two-decades-old group that had developed a series of highly innovative and counterintuitive approaches to water access. WaterPartners’ strategy had less to do with digging wells — which, if maintained poorly, can break down and leave a place in worse shape than before — and more to do with encouraging communities to participate in the creation and ownership of water and sanitation systems that function as mini utilities. These issues, known as WASH in philanthropic circles — water, sanitation, and hygiene — are among the least glamorous of all support efforts, yet are the most likely to lift a community out of poverty if done right. Think of toilets, hygiene education, pump maintenance, faucets, and a nascent form of self-government that literally takes a village. “A community has to invest in the project themselves to manage it,” insists White, 48. “It’s bottom-up, not top-down.” ”
via Can Matt Damon Bring Clean Water To Africa? | Fast Company.
“Did you know that 70% of the world’s oxygen comes from the ocean? Or that 97% of the biosphere is in the sea? The oceans also absorb much of our carbon dioxide and hold 97% of the earth’s water. Every single human being, plant and animal is literally dependent on the ocean for survival. Yet we treat our oceans like a bottomless liquid landfill.”
via Blue is the New Green | SocialEarth.
Water is an environmental top priority…..earth , wind , fire and …water.