[About the Project]
[About the ApocaDocs]
[About Equal Share]
[TwitterFollow: apocadocs]


SEARCH

More than 6,000 stories!

OUR BOOK
IS NOW
IN PRINT!

The ApocaDocs have a Book!
Humoring the Horror
of the
Converging Emergencies
94 color pages
$24.99
Read FREE online!

Explore:

Play:

It's weekly, funny, and free!
Play:

Click for paper-free fun!

Ads for potentially
microfunding this site:


Apocadocument
Weekly Archives:
Sep 26 - Dec 31, 1969
Sep 19 - Sep 26, 2011
Sep 12 - Sep 19, 2011
Sep 5 - Sep 12, 2011
Aug 29 - Sep 5, 2011
Aug 22 - Aug 29, 2011
Aug 15 - Aug 22, 2011
Aug 8 - Aug 15, 2011
Aug 1 - Aug 8, 2011
Jul 25 - Aug 1, 2011
Jul 18 - Jul 25, 2011
Jul 11 - Jul 18, 2011
Jul 4 - Jul 11, 2011
Jun 27 - Jul 4, 2011
Jun 20 - Jun 27, 2011
Jun 13 - Jun 20, 2011
Jun 6 - Jun 13, 2011
May 30 - Jun 6, 2011
May 23 - May 30, 2011
May 16 - May 23, 2011
May 9 - May 16, 2011
May 2 - May 9, 2011
Apr 25 - May 2, 2011
Apr 18 - Apr 25, 2011
Apr 11 - Apr 18, 2011
Apr 4 - Apr 11, 2011
Mar 28 - Apr 4, 2011
Mar 21 - Mar 28, 2011
Mar 14 - Mar 21, 2011
Mar 6 - Mar 14, 2011
Feb 27 - Mar 6, 2011
Feb 20 - Feb 27, 2011
Feb 13 - Feb 20, 2011
Feb 6 - Feb 13, 2011
Jan 30 - Feb 6, 2011
Jan 23 - Jan 30, 2011
Jan 16 - Jan 23, 2011
Jan 9 - Jan 16, 2011
Jan 2 - Jan 9, 2011
Dec 26 - Jan 2, 2011
Dec 19 - Dec 26, 2010
Dec 12 - Dec 19, 2010
Dec 5 - Dec 12, 2010
Nov 28 - Dec 5, 2010
Nov 21 - Nov 28, 2010
Nov 14 - Nov 21, 2010
Nov 7 - Nov 14, 2010
Nov 1 - Nov 7, 2010
Oct 25 - Nov 1, 2010
Oct 18 - Oct 25, 2010
Oct 11 - Oct 18, 2010
Oct 4 - Oct 11, 2010
Sep 27 - Oct 4, 2010
Sep 20 - Sep 27, 2010
Sep 13 - Sep 20, 2010
Sep 6 - Sep 13, 2010
Aug 30 - Sep 6, 2010
Aug 23 - Aug 30, 2010
Aug 16 - Aug 23, 2010
Aug 9 - Aug 16, 2010
Aug 2 - Aug 9, 2010
Jul 26 - Aug 2, 2010
Jul 19 - Jul 26, 2010
Jul 12 - Jul 19, 2010
Jul 5 - Jul 12, 2010
Jun 28 - Jul 5, 2010
Jun 21 - Jun 28, 2010
Jun 14 - Jun 21, 2010
Jun 7 - Jun 14, 2010
May 31 - Jun 7, 2010
May 24 - May 31, 2010
May 17 - May 24, 2010
May 10 - May 17, 2010
May 3 - May 10, 2010
Apr 26 - May 3, 2010
Apr 19 - Apr 26, 2010
Apr 12 - Apr 19, 2010
Apr 5 - Apr 12, 2010
Mar 29 - Apr 5, 2010
Mar 22 - Mar 29, 2010
Mar 15 - Mar 22, 2010
Mar 7 - Mar 15, 2010
Feb 28 - Mar 7, 2010
Feb 21 - Feb 28, 2010
Feb 14 - Feb 21, 2010
Feb 7 - Feb 14, 2010
Jan 31 - Feb 7, 2010
Jan 24 - Jan 31, 2010
Jan 17 - Jan 24, 2010
Jan 10 - Jan 17, 2010
Jan 3 - Jan 10, 2010
Dec 27 - Jan 3, 2010
Dec 20 - Dec 27, 2009
Dec 13 - Dec 20, 2009
Dec 6 - Dec 13, 2009
Nov 29 - Dec 6, 2009
Nov 22 - Nov 29, 2009
Nov 15 - Nov 22, 2009
Nov 8 - Nov 15, 2009
Nov 1 - Nov 8, 2009
Oct 26 - Nov 1, 2009
Oct 19 - Oct 26, 2009
Oct 12 - Oct 19, 2009
Oct 5 - Oct 12, 2009
Sep 28 - Oct 5, 2009
Sep 21 - Sep 28, 2009
Sep 14 - Sep 21, 2009
Sep 7 - Sep 14, 2009
Aug 31 - Sep 7, 2009
Aug 24 - Aug 31, 2009
Aug 17 - Aug 24, 2009
Aug 10 - Aug 17, 2009
Aug 3 - Aug 10, 2009
Jul 27 - Aug 3, 2009
Jul 20 - Jul 27, 2009
Jul 13 - Jul 20, 2009
Jul 6 - Jul 13, 2009
Jun 29 - Jul 6, 2009
Jun 22 - Jun 29, 2009
Jun 15 - Jun 22, 2009
Jun 8 - Jun 15, 2009
Jun 1 - Jun 8, 2009
May 25 - Jun 1, 2009
May 18 - May 25, 2009
May 11 - May 18, 2009
May 4 - May 11, 2009
Apr 27 - May 4, 2009
Apr 20 - Apr 27, 2009
Apr 13 - Apr 20, 2009
Apr 6 - Apr 13, 2009
Mar 30 - Apr 6, 2009
Mar 23 - Mar 30, 2009
Mar 16 - Mar 23, 2009
Mar 9 - Mar 16, 2009
Mar 1 - Mar 9, 2009
Feb 22 - Mar 1, 2009
Feb 15 - Feb 22, 2009
Feb 8 - Feb 15, 2009
Feb 1 - Feb 8, 2009
Jan 25 - Feb 1, 2009
Jan 18 - Jan 25, 2009
Jan 11 - Jan 18, 2009
Jan 4 - Jan 11, 2009
Dec 28 - Jan 4, 2009
Dec 21 - Dec 28, 2008
Dec 14 - Dec 21, 2008
Dec 7 - Dec 14, 2008
Nov 30 - Dec 7, 2008
Nov 23 - Nov 30, 2008
Nov 16 - Nov 23, 2008
Nov 9 - Nov 16, 2008
Nov 2 - Nov 9, 2008
Oct 27 - Nov 2, 2008
Oct 20 - Oct 27, 2008
Oct 13 - Oct 20, 2008
Oct 6 - Oct 13, 2008
Sep 29 - Oct 6, 2008
Sep 22 - Sep 29, 2008
Sep 15 - Sep 22, 2008
Sep 8 - Sep 15, 2008
Sep 1 - Sep 8, 2008
Aug 25 - Sep 1, 2008
Aug 18 - Aug 25, 2008
Aug 11 - Aug 18, 2008
Aug 4 - Aug 11, 2008
Jul 28 - Aug 4, 2008
Jul 21 - Jul 28, 2008
Jul 14 - Jul 21, 2008
Jul 7 - Jul 14, 2008
Jun 30 - Jul 7, 2008
Jun 23 - Jun 30, 2008
Jun 16 - Jun 23, 2008
Jun 9 - Jun 16, 2008
Jun 2 - Jun 9, 2008
May 26 - Jun 2, 2008
May 19 - May 26, 2008
May 12 - May 19, 2008
May 5 - May 12, 2008
Apr 28 - May 5, 2008
Apr 21 - Apr 28, 2008
Apr 14 - Apr 21, 2008
Apr 7 - Apr 14, 2008
Mar 31 - Apr 7, 2008
Mar 24 - Mar 31, 2008
Mar 17 - Mar 24, 2008
Mar 10 - Mar 17, 2008
Mar 2 - Mar 10, 2008
Feb 24 - Mar 2, 2008
Feb 17 - Feb 24, 2008
Feb 10 - Feb 17, 2008
Feb 3 - Feb 10, 2008
Jan 27 - Feb 3, 2008
Jan 20 - Jan 27, 2008
Jan 13 - Jan 20, 2008
Jan 6 - Jan 13, 2008
Dec 30 - Jan 6, 2008
Dec 23 - Dec 30, 2007
Dec 16 - Dec 23, 2007
Dec 9 - Dec 16, 2007
Dec 2 - Dec 9, 2007
DocWatch
water issues
Twitterit?
News stories about "water issues," with punchlines: http://apocadocs.com/d.pl?water+issues
Related Scary Tags:
climate impacts  ~ contamination  ~ aquifers depletion  ~ drought  ~ ecosystem interrelationships  ~ weather extremes  ~ food crisis  ~ toxic water  ~ global warming  ~ melting glaciers  ~ anthropogenic change  



Sat, Feb 13, 2016
from Science Advances, via CommonDreams:
4 Billion People at Risk as 'Water Table Dropping All Over the World'
Freshwater scarcity is increasingly perceived as a global systemic risk. Previous global water scarcity assessments, measuring water scarcity annually, have underestimated experienced water scarcity by failing to capture the seasonal fluctuations in water consumption and availability. We assess blue water scarcity globally at a high spatial resolution on a monthly basis. We find that two-thirds of the global population (4.0 billion people) live under conditions of severe water scarcity at least 1 month of the year. Nearly half of those people live in India and China. Half a billion people in the world face severe water scarcity all year round. Putting caps to water consumption by river basin, increasing water-use efficiencies, and better sharing of the limited freshwater resources will be key in reducing the threat posed by water scarcity on biodiversity and human welfare. ...


C'mon. Drought is just a market opportunity!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Jan 7, 2016
from The Guardian:
December 2015 was the wettest month ever recorded in UK
December was the wettest month ever recorded in the UK, with almost double the rain falling than average, according to data released by the Met Office on Tuesday. Last month saw widespread flooding which continued into the new year, with 21 flood alerts in England and Wales and four in Scotland in force on Tuesday morning. The record for the warmest December in the UK was also smashed last month, with an average temperature of 7.9C, 4.1C higher than the long-term average. ...


If this were a sport, Mother Nature would be killing it!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Nov 15, 2015
from DesdemonaDespair:
Sao Paulo on emergency reserve water; drought means Brazilian hydropower falls short
... The main water supply in Săo Paulo has been running on emergency reserves, and the system is only able to deliver about 40 percent of its usual capacity. Before 2014, it was able to supply approximately 8,700 gallons of water per second, but now, it only delivers around 3,500 gallons per second. Because two-thirds of Brazil's power comes from hydroelectric power plants, electricity has also been in short supply. Widespread blackouts have hit the country's largest cities, and increased energy rationing is a possibility, which could stunt the economy.... ...


The Free Market (™) will solve this problem for sure.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Sep 28, 2015
from Inside Climate News:
Basic Water Source for Most Alberta Tar Sands Could Run Dry
"We show that the current and projected surface water allocations from the Athabasca River for the exploitation of the Alberta oil sands are based on an untenable assumption of the representativeness of the short instrumental record."... Tar sands projects are already threatened by a slump in oil prices, as well as pending global action to address climate change. Tar sands drilling is a prominent target of environmental groups and climate activists because the oil emits an estimated three to four times more carbon dioxide when burned than conventional crude. Its water use only adds to the environmental costs. ...


Brevity is the soul of "OMG, WTF?"

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Jul 28, 2015
from Vice:
21 of 37 Aquifers: The World Is Running Out of Water
Humans are depleting underground aquifers around the world at alarming rates, threatening hundreds of millions of people who rely on them for survival, according to a comprehensive study conducted by researchers from NASA and the University of California, Irvine. Twenty-one of the world's 37 largest aquifers are losing water at a greater rate than they're being refilled, falling victim to population growth and climate change. Thirteen of those diminishing water sources are experiencing "significant distress," including the Arabian Aquifer System, which supplies Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, the Murzuk-Djado Basin in northern Africa, the Indus Basin of India and Pakistan, and the Central Valley Aquifer System in California. "It's very serious," Jay Famiglietti of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and an author of the report told VICE News. "All over the world, we use more water than we have available to us on a renewable basis." ... "There's serious ecological damage being done right now. The ground is sinking in California, streams are being depleted, the water table is falling, wells are running dry, the quality of water is degrading," Famiglietti told VICE News. "We really are past these sustainability tipping points, so it sure as heck would be good to know how much water is left. We're depleting it very quickly." ...


Coincidentally, it just happens to overlap with a correlative causation. Thankfully, it has absolutely nothing to do with the rise of radicalism in these countries.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Mar 2, 2015
from Guardian:
Sao Paulo - anatomy of a failing megacity: residents struggle as water taps run dry
According to a crisis report published on 9 February by the pressure group Aliança Pela Água (Water Alliance), whereas catastrophic situations like flooding often fosters solidarity, a lack of resources tends to do the opposite, leading to chaos and even violence. In Itu, a city 100km from Săo Paulo a desperate water shortage in late 2014 led to fighting in queues, theft of water, and the looting of emergency water trucks, which are now accompanied by armed civil guards. These events left many paulistanos wondering how the hardship might play out in their own pressurised and densely populated city. ...


drip... drip... drip...

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Feb 2, 2015
from Reuters:
California suffers dry January, prolonging devastating drought
California has experienced one of the driest Januarys on record, and the lack of rain during a time of year when the weather is usually wet indicates the state is likely headed for a fourth straight year of drought, officials said. A prolonged drought could portend further economic and environmental setbacks for the nation's most populous state, which has already lost both crops and jobs to the dry weather. ...


Parchifornia

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Dec 5, 2014
from Reuters, via DesdemonaDespair:
Săo Paulo taps emergency water reserves which may last for two months - 'If it doesn't rain, we won't have an alternative but to get water from the mud'
Săo Paulo, Brazil's drought-hit megacity of 20 million, has about two months of guaranteed water supply remaining as it taps into the second of three emergency reserves, officials say. The city began using its second so-called "technical reserve" 10 days ago to prevent a water crisis after reservoirs reached critically low levels last month. This is the first time the state has resorted to using the reserves, experts say.... Brazil's southeast region is suffering its worst drought in at least 80 years after an unusually dry year left rivers and reservoirs at critically low levels. ...


Twenty million people without showers is an aesthetic nightmare!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Nov 3, 2014
from ThinkProgress:
NASA Bombshell: Global Groundwater Crisis Threatens Our Food Supplies And Our Security
An alarming satellite-based analysis from NASA finds that the world is depleting groundwater -- the water stored unground in soil and aquifers -- at an unprecedented rate.... The groundwater at some of the world's largest aquifers -- in the U.S. High Plains, California's Central Valley, China, India, and elsewhere -- is being pumped out "at far greater rates than it can be naturally replenished." The most worrisome fact: "nearly all of these underlie the word's great agricultural regions and are primarily responsible for their high productivity." And this is doubly concerning in our age of unrestricted carbon pollution because it is precisely these semiarid regions that are projected to see drops in precipitation and/or soil moisture, which will sharply boost the chances of civilization-threatening megadroughts and Dust-Bowlification. ...


You can't frack water from a stone -- or can you??

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Oct 18, 2014
from Wageningen University and Research Centre, via ScienceDaily:
Plastic nanoparticles also harm freshwater organisms
Organisms can be negatively affected by plastic nanoparticles, not just in the seas and oceans but in freshwater bodies too. These particles slow the growth of algae, cause deformities in water fleas and impede communication between small organisms and fish.... In the study into the effects of tiny plastic particles in freshwater, PhD candidate Ellen Besseling and student Bo Wang exposed water fleas to various nanoplastic concentrations. At higher concentrations, algae growth declined. Water fleas were also smaller following exposure to nanoplastics and their offspring malformed in various ways. 'These are the first malformations that have been seen in freshwater organisms and we do not yet know how big the problem really is', says Ellen Besseling. She believes that more research is needed into the sources, concentrations and effects of nanoplastic in water and on other organisms. ...


"Microparticles" ought only to produce "microconcerns." Instead, I'm seeing "macroconcerns." What's up with that?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Oct 17, 2014
from Bloomberg:
Sao Paulo Running Out of Water Unless Reserve Tapped Now
Latin America's biggest metropolis may run out of water next month. For some of the 20 million residents across Sao Paulo, the nation's financial hub, taps are already running dry. Dilma Pena, chief executive officer of the state-run water utility, told the city council yesterday that supplies are only guaranteed until mid-November unless it can tap the last of the water in its Cantareira reservoir. The four-lake complex that supplies half of Sao Paulo has already been drained of 96 percent of its water capacity amid Brazil's worst drought in eight decades. ...


Bring out the reserve immediately, Chives.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Oct 7, 2014
from Center for Investigative Reporting:
California water officials aren't following own call for conservation
Mike Soubirous is a prodigious water user, pumping more than 1 million gallons per year at his lushly landscaped home on a hot, windy Southern California hilltop. Soubirous also is a member of the Riverside City Council, which in July voted unanimously to impose tough new water conservation rules in this desert city of 317,000. Yet as California's drought worsened from 2012 to 2013, he consumed enough water to supply eight California households - more than any other top water official in the state, records show. ...


The fox is drowning the henhouse.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Sep 30, 2014
from Lincoln Journal-World:
Ogallala water continues to pour onto farm fields despite decades of dire forecasts
...The aquifer, a shallow, underground sea under parts of eight states and spanning 174,000 square miles, is the main source of water in the western third of Kansas. Counties on top of the aquifer account for roughly two-thirds of the state's agricultural economic value. Without Ogallala water, significant portions of the region's agriculture and its related businesses could not be sustained, manufacturing could not continue, recreational opportunities would diminish and towns could vanish, state officials say. ...


How brown will the earth / turn in a state run by a / climate denier?

ApocaDoc
permalink


Want more context?
Try reading our book FREE online:
Humoring the Horror of the Converging Emergencies!
More fun than a barrel of jellyfish!
Sat, Sep 27, 2014
from Yale360:
Aral Sea Basin Dry for the First Time in Modern History, NASA images show
For the first time in modern history, the eastern basin of the South Aral Sea has gone completely dry, as this NASA satellite image captured in late August shows. The Aral Sea is an inland body of water lying between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan in central Asia. It was once one of the four largest lakes in the world, but it has been shrinking markedly and dividing into smaller lobes since the 1960s, after the government of the former Soviet Union diverted the region's two major rivers to irrigate farmland. One Aral Sea researcher suggested that it has likely been at least 600 years since the eastern basin entirely disappeared. Decreasing precipitation and snowpack in its watershed led to the drying this year, and huge withdrawals for irrigation exacerbated the problem. ...


The early superstardom went to Aral's head, and now look at him.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Sep 8, 2014
from Guardian:
The similarity between circular economy and water stewardship
How will the new fad - these circular models - improve a company's water management? Circular economies, the theory says, produce virtually no waste, as all raw materials are re-used and recycled continuously to form a closed loop. It's a dramatic shift from our current linear economy, in which we take, make, consume and dispose, drawing regularly on our natural resources to create products that eventually end up as trash. From a conservation perspective, a closed loop system is obviously better for the environment. But is that it? Does it really have the potential to transform business markets? It might. When circular economy thinking is applied to business operations, it is surprisingly synergistic to water stewardship. For both water stewardship and circular models, efficiency isn't the end game. Yes, it's important to reduce the water required to make and dispose of products. Water efficiency also tends to carry additional benefits, such as increased profits and energy savings. But from a natural resources management perspective, there's much more to do. ...


I'm more accustomed to circular reasoning, like "there's no point in trying to save the planet, because we're utterly screwed, so let's use it up faster."

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Aug 22, 2014
from Mother Nature Network:
California's drought? 'Normal' versus 'now' in pix
Situated at the foot of the Sierra Nevadas in Butte County, Lake Oroville is one of the largest reservoirs in California, second only to Shasta Lake. After enduring three straight years of drought, the lake is currently only filled to 32 percent of its capacity.... To get a better idea of the dire situation in the Golden State, continue below for a photo comparison of water levels taken in 2011 and 2014, looking at Lake Oroville and Folsom Lake, another major California reservoir located in Sacramento County that is now filled at 40 percent of its capacity. ...


I think I need to reassess my late-summer frolic plans.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Aug 13, 2014
from Los Angeles Times:
Oil companies fracking into drinking water sources, new research shows
Energy companies are fracking for oil and gas at far shallower depths than widely believed, sometimes through underground sources of drinking water, according to research released Tuesday by Stanford University scientists.... "Thousands of gallons of diesel fuel and millions of gallons of fluids containing numerous inorganic and organic additives were injected directly into these two formations during hundreds of stimulation events," concluded Dominic DiGiulio and Robert Jackson of Stanford's School of Earth Sciences... they point out that there is no way of knowing the effects of fracking into groundwater resources because regulators have not assessed the scope and impact of the activity. ...


It's only water!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Aug 12, 2014
from Center for Effective Government:
GAO Report Finds Problems with EPA Groundwater Protection Program
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not adequately monitoring more than 172,000 wells used to enhance oil and gas drilling and dispose of drilling wastewater, according to a July 28 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The report, based on two years of research, identified several significant problems with EPA's program to protect groundwater from drilling chemicals and wastes. Since millions get their drinking water from groundwater, these problems raise significant questions about how effectively and consistently we are protecting public drinking water. ...


Who cares? It's underground.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Aug 11, 2014
from Mother Jones:
Bottled Water Comes From the Most Drought-Ridden Places in the Country
Bottled-water drinkers, we have a problem: There's a good chance that your water comes from California, a state experiencing the third-driest year on record. The details of where and how bottling companies get their water are often quite murky, but generally speaking, bottled water falls into two categories. The first is "spring water," or groundwater that's collected, according to the EPA, "at the point where water flows naturally to the earth's surface or from a borehole that taps into the underground source." About 55 percent of bottled water in the United States is spring water, including Crystal Geyser and Arrowhead. The other 45 percent comes from the municipal water supply, meaning that companies, including Aquafina and Dasani, simply treat tap water--the same stuff that comes out of your faucet at home--and bottle it up. (Weird, right?) But regardless of whether companies bottle from springs or the tap, lots of them are using water in exactly the areas that need it most right now. ...


Everybody wants their little piece of California.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Aug 4, 2014
from Washington Post:
Water utilities charge more to offset low-flow toilets, faucets and shower heads
Federally mandated low-flow toilets, shower heads and faucets are taking a financial toll on the nation's water utilities, leaving customers to make up the shortfall with higher water rates and new fees that have left many paying more for less. Utility officials say they understand that charging more for water because demand has dropped might seem to violate a basic premise of Economics 101. But utilities that generally charge by the number of gallons used are beginning to feel the financial pinch of 20 years of environmentally friendly fixtures and appliances, as older bathrooms and kitchens have been remodeled, utility experts say. ...


The shareholders are thirsty for profit.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Aug 4, 2014
from Associated Press:
Toledo's water crisis was a decade in the making from farms and sewage plants, experts say
The toxins that contaminated the drinking water supply of 400,000 people in northwest Ohio didn't just suddenly appear. Water plant operators along western Lake Erie have long been worried about this very scenario as a growing number of algae blooms have turned the water into a pea soup color in recent summers, leaving behind toxins that can sicken people and kill pets. In fact, the problems on the shallowest of the five Great Lakes brought on by farm runoff and sludge from sewage treatment plants have been building for more than a decade. ...


Who listens to experts?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Jul 28, 2014
from Washington Post:
Study: Colorado River Basin drying up faster than previously thought
Seven Western states that rely on the Colorado River Basin for valuable water are drawing more heavily from groundwater supplies than previously believed, a new study finds, the latest indication that an historic drought is threatening the region's future access to water. In the past nine years, the basin -- which covers Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and California -- has lost about 65 cubic kilometers of fresh water, nearly double the volume of the country's largest reservoir, Lake Mead. That figure surprised the study's authors, who used data from a NASA weather satellite to investigate groundwater supplies..."We really don't know how much water is down there. We've already depleted a lot of it. There could be more, but when we have to start to dig deeper to access it, that's a bad sign," Castle said. "If [ground water basins] continue to be depleted, they don't come back up." ...


We could always squeeze water out of stones, right?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Jul 27, 2014
from The Independent (UK):
Drug-resistant bacteria: Sewage-treatment plants described as giant 'mixing vessels' after scientists discover mutated microbes in British river
Superbugs resistant to some of the most powerful antibiotics in the medical arsenal have been found for the first time in a British river - with scientists pinpointing a local sewage-treatment plant as the most likely source. Scientists discovered the drug-resistant bacteria in sediment samples taken downstream of the sewerage plant on the River Sowe near Coventry. The microbes contained mutated genes that confer resistance to the latest generation of antibiotics. The researchers believe the discovery shows how antibiotic resistance has become widespread in the environment, with sewage-treatment plants now acting as giant "mixing vessels" where antibiotic resistance can spread between different microbes. ...


I prefer to pretend that I simply do not produce anything that could be classified as "sewage."

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Jul 15, 2014
from ThinkProgress.org:
Company That Caused Historic West Virginia Chemical Spill Fined $11k
The company responsible for letting 10,000 gallons of a mysterious chemical seep into West Virginia's drinking water supply this past January was fined $11,000 by the U.S. Department of Labor on Monday, just two days before the six-month anniversary of the historic spill. After inspecting the facilities at Freedom Industries' chemical storage site in Charleston, the Labor Department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) found that, at the time of the spill, Freedom Industries' chemical tanks containing crude MCHM had been surrounded by a wall that was not liquid tight. That violation that warranted a $7,000 fine. OSHA also hit Freedom Industries with an additional $4,000 fine for not having railings on an elevated platform used for loading and storing the chemical in the tanks. Both violations were labeled by OSHA as "serious," warranting monetary penalties.... Wednesday marks the sixth month anniversary of the day when Freedom's tanks spilled 10,000 gallons of crude MCHM -- the licorice-scented chemical mixture used in the coal production process -- into West Virginia's Elk River, tainting the water supply for 300,000 civilians. In the aftermath, nearly 600 people checked themselves into local hospitals with what federal epidemiologists called "mild" illnesses, such as rash, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. ...


The industry will be "scared straight" by that fine!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Jul 1, 2014
from Telegraph (UK):
The race to stop Las Vegas from running dry
America's most decadent destination has been engaged in a potentially catastrophic gamble with nature and now, 14 years into a devastating drought, it is on the verge of losing it all. "The situation is as bad as you can imagine," said Tim Barnett, a climate scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. "It's just going to be screwed. And relatively quickly. Unless it can find a way to get more water from somewhere Las Vegas is out of business. Yet they're still building, which is stupid." The crisis stems from the Las Vegas's complete reliance on Lake Mead, America's largest reservoir, which was created by the Hoover Dam in 1936 - after which it took six years to fill completely.... Mr Barnett predicts it may be a "dead pool" that provides no water by about 2036. The lake currently looks as if someone has removed a giant plug from it. Around its edges a strip of bleached rock known locally as the "bath tub ring" towers like the White Cliffs of Dover, showing where the water level used to be. Pyramid-shaped mountains rise from the shallow waters. ...


If I draw the Ace of Spades, I'll have a Royal Flush!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, May 14, 2014
from Yale360:
Half of US is experiencing some degree of drought, analysis finds
Half of the United States is in the midst of a drought, a recent analysis from the U.S. National Drought Monitor found, with nearly 15 percent of the nation in extreme to exceptional drought. Dry conditions are pushing north rapidly, along with warmer temperatures, and soil moisture and groundwater levels are low far in advance of the agricultural peak demand season, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center. Much of the Southwest and Great Plains regions have been in a persistent drought for several years, and as this map prepared by federal agencies shows, an exceptional drought is currently plaguing parts of those regions. ...


Existing power, in the face of systemic drought, is not just transitory, but faintly ridiculous.

ApocaDoc
permalink


You're still reading! Good for you!
You really should read our short, funny, frightening book FREE online (or buy a print copy):
Humoring the Horror of the Converging Emergencies!
We've been quipping this stuff for more than 30 months! Every day!
Which might explain why we don't get invited to parties anymore.
Wed, Apr 30, 2014
from Toronto Globe and Mail:
Climate change and health: drinking water in decline
... Water tainted by agricultural runoff is an old concern in rural Canada, but one that is becoming increasingly worrisome as the climate changes. Extreme weather events, such as sudden deluges and floods, increase the flow of pollutants into surface waters. Extended dry periods cause industrial and organic pollutants to build up on the land - then an intense rainstorm can wash it all at once into watersheds. Those storms also cause floods and erosion, which can overwhelm water-filtration systems. At the same time, river flows are declining and water is residing longer in lakes, concentrating pollutants. The results, being seen across Canada, are increasingly tainted aquifers and nutrient-enriched lakes or drinking reservoirs where toxic algae growth is occurring - even in once pristine water bodies such as those that supply Metro Vancouver. ...


Let them drink Coke.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Feb 25, 2014
from NPR:
Brutal Drought Could Drain More Than Brazil's Coffee Crop
Brazil, a country usually known for its rainforests, has been facing a severe drought in its breadbasket region, leaving people in the cities without water and farmers in the countryside with dying crops. Global prices for coffee, in particular, have been affected. Scientists in Brazil say the worst is yet to come -- yet no one in the government, it seems, is listening.... "All of us have never seen a drought that's been so prolonged and so aggressive as this one," Polidor says. "In 49 days, we got maybe 11 millimeters of rain."... Juliano Jose Polidor, the corn farmer in the Brazilian countryside, doesn't have strong political views and doesn't know much about the debate about climate change. He says he just knows what he sees. "I think we are getting to the hour where it's not just me who needs to be worried, but the whole world," says Polidor. "We will have to decide what to do about what is happening." ...


Welcome to the Hotel California. You can check out any time you like. But you can never leave.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Feb 2, 2014
from LA Times:
California snowpack hits record low
Even with the first significant storm in nearly two months dropping snow on the Sierra Nevada, Thursday's mountain snowpack measurements were the lowest for the date in more than a half-century of record keeping. At 12 percent of average for this time of year, the dismal statewide snowpack underscored the severity of a drought that is threatening community water supplies and leaving farm fields in many parts of California barren. ...


Let them drink Dasani.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Jan 26, 2014
from DailyKos:
The News Just Keeps Getting Worse for West Virginia (and It Doesn't Stop There)
... And it gets worse - how about this article featuring a former WV coal miner Joe Stanley, who says: "I watched the coal industry poison our water for years. Now they're telling us not to drink the water? We've been dumping this stuff into unlined ponds and into old mines for years," he says. "This MCHM was just one of the chemicals we were told was highly toxic but that we dumped into old mine shafts and slurry ponds, and it's been seeping into the groundwater for years." It sounds bad even before Stanley explains that coal mines are constantly pumped to clear ground water, aquifers, and underground streams: "As soon as we're out of that mine it immediately fills with water. And where does it go from there? I don't know, your guess is as good as mine." Stanley says he hasn't drunk the water for years and that no one else should either.... How much longer will we let the coal industry play fast and loose with our water? From coal processing chemicals, to the toxics scrubbed while burning coal, to the coal ash left behind - the industry is poisoning an element necessary for all life: water. It's time to close these water pollution loopholes once and for all. ...


I'll pay whatever is necessary for my water. Does that make me a "desirable consumer"?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Jan 22, 2014
from Times of Northwest Indiana:
Water main break prompts boil order for some in Griffith
Residents south of Main Street are under a 48-hour boil order after a water main break Sunday disrupted service, officials said. Griffith and private crews were working Sunday to repair the broken pipe, but officials didn't know when the repairs would be complete. Some residents could be left without water until Monday. Town Council President Rick Ryfa said an Enbridge contractor struck the pipeline Sunday morning, causing the water main break. As a result of the break, 1 million gallons of water had drained from the south water tower, Ryfa said. ...


Enbridge must be comprised of a bunch of Gilligans!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Dec 30, 2013
from Center for American Progress:
Devastating Drought Continues to Plague California
As California enters its third consecutive dry winter, with no sign of moisture on the horizon, fears are growing over increased wildfire activity, agricultural losses and additional stress placed on already strained water supplies. The city of Los Angeles has received only 3.6 inches of rain this year--far below its average of 14.91 inches, USA Today reported. And San Francisco is experiencing its driest year since record keeping began in 1849. As of November, the city had only received 3.95 inches of rain since the year began. ...


The city of (parched) angels.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Dec 8, 2013
from AFP:
Scientists discover vast undersea freshwater reserves
Australian researchers said Thursday they had established the existence of vast freshwater reserves trapped beneath the ocean floor which could sustain future generations as current sources dwindle. Lead author Vincent Post, from Australia's Flinders University, said that an estimated 500,000 cubic kilometres (120,000 cubic miles) of low-salinity water had been found buried beneath the seabed on continental shelves off Australia, China, North America and South Africa.... The deposits were formed over hundreds of thousands of years in the past, when the sea level was much lower and areas now under the ocean were exposed to rainfall which was absorbed into the underlying water table. When the polar icecaps started melting about 20,000 years ago these coastlines disappeared under water, but their aquifers remain intact -- protected by layers of clay and sediment. Post said the deposits were comparable with the bore basins currently relied upon by much of the world for drinking water and would cost much less than seawater to desalinate. Drilling for the water would be expensive, and Post said great care would have to be taken not to contaminate the aquifers. ...


I bet if we fracked a pipeline out to those aquifers, we'd end up with a gusher here at home!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Nov 29, 2013
from Environmental Health News:
Only half of drugs, other newly emerging contaminants removed from sewage
...More than 1,400 wastewater treatment plants in the United States and Canada discharge 4.8 billion gallons of treated effluent into the Great Lakes basin every day, according to the study. The scientists reviewed 10 years of data from wastewater treatment plants worldwide to see how well they removed 42 compounds that are increasingly showing up in the Great Lakes. Six chemicals were detected frequently and had a low rate of removal in treated effluent: an herbicide, an anti-seizure drug, two antibiotic drugs, an antibacterial drug and an anti-inflammatory drug. Caffeine, acetaminophen and estriol (a natural estrogen) also were frequently detected in sewage but had high removal rates. ...


Whoa. Free drugs, dude!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Nov 7, 2013
from Wall Street Journal:
Water Shortages Threaten Energy Output: Wood Mackenzie
Water shortages are threatening energy output and increasing costs in some of the world's most prolific sectors including shale gas in the U.S., crude oil in the Middle East and coal in China, and the situation is set to worsen, Wood Mackenzie said Thursday. The energy sector is already the world's largest consumer of water for industrial purposes, using over 15 percent of global supply, and this is rising, the consulting firm said in a report, noting huge quantities are needed to increase pressure at oil fields, in technologies like hydraulic fracturing and to upgrade coal quality. Growing water needs will pit energy companies against other users, and increase production costs significantly, it said. ...


Let them drink Coke.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Nov 5, 2013
from Huffington Post:
Hinton Coal Mine Leak: Alberta Pit Failure Dumps Plume Of Refuse Into Athabasca River
The "major failure" of a pit at an Alberta coal mine has released one billion litres of contaminated water into the Athabasca River. The breach at the Obed Mountain Coal Mine has resulted in murky water entering two tributaries, which carried the refuse into the Athabasca and is now visible in the river in the form of a muddy plume, states the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER.)... "It's our understanding that the water has entered two tributaries in the Athabasca River." The pit, which is located approximately 30 kilometres east of Hinton, failed during Halloween, stated the AER. These kinds of incidents are rare, Barter told the Edmonton Journal, adding he was surprised it happened. ...


A billion litres here, a billion litres there, pretty soon it adds up to real contamination.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Oct 24, 2013
from Huffington Post:
CNRL Primrose Oil Leak Likely Contaminating Aquifers
The leak at the Primrose oilsands project in northern Alberta has likely contaminated groundwater aquifers, the province states in an environmental order. Sticky bitumen, which rose to the surface over six months ago, says the order, "has entered local non-saline groundwater aquifers, likely contaminating the groundwater," according to the Edmonton Journal.... The new order confirms a major problem, groundwater contamination, and should raise a red flag about CNRL's high-pressure steam process known as fracking, for extracting bitumen, New Democrat environment critic Rachel Notley told the Edmonton Journal. ...


Well? Water yer options?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Oct 20, 2013
from KASA:
Fracking fluid blows out nearby oil well
More than 200 barrels of fracking fluid, oil and water blew out of a traditional oil well on BLM land in the San Juan Basin... On Sept. 30, one of Encana's fractures reached Parko's neighboring vertical well. The pressure was too much for the older well to handle. "Our highest pressure is around 150 pounds," said Parko Oil pumper Johnny Aragon. "The pressure we were experiencing was in excess of 2,000 pounds, which is a lot more than what the wells are designed to hold." Encana's operations were approximately 0.5 miles from the Parko well that had the blowout. "An Encana well, undergoing stimulation operations, may have communicated with the well of a nearby operator," said Encana spokesperson Doug Hock. "That operator's well became over-pressurized resulting in the release of fluid from both the wellhead and a nearby tank." ...


Not to worry. That's just the wells networking.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Sep 26, 2013
from Charlotte Observer:
North Carolina rejects $600,000 in grants to study fracking impact
North Carolina's environment agency has taken the unusual step of returning a federal grant to study streams and wetlands that could be harmed by hydraulic fracturing for natural gas. The N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources had itself recommended last year that baseline water-quality data be collected where drilling might occur. The information would help document any problems linked to drilling. But under new leadership appointed by Gov. Pat McCrory, the department now says it doesn't want the $222,595 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency. The department also returned a second grant of $359,710 for wetlands monitoring. Division of Water Resources director Tom Reeder said the fracking study will be done, but not now and not by the unit that applied for the grant. The Program Development Unit, which housed experts in aquatic ecosystems, is being disbanded in a reorganization of the division.... "This is not a grant being imposed on North Carolina by a federal agency that doesn't really know what we need," she said. "This was a grant being sought by DENR to meet known challenges." Diggins added: "It raises the concern of whether this is part of a trend of backing away from science." ...


Who needs science, when hope springs eternal?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Sep 10, 2013
from Associated Press:
Experts: Climate primary factor on lake levels
Placing water retention structures in the St. Clair River may not be enough to counteract the effects of a warming climate and raise Lakes Huron and Michigan to their normal levels, experts said Monday. As water surface temperatures and evaporation rates continue to rise, low water is likely to be a long-term problem despite significant improvement this year following heavy snows in winter and a rainy spring, according to testimony during the annual meeting of the Great Lakes Commission. ...


Okay, everybody, head to one of the Great Lakes and take a leak!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Aug 28, 2013
from Xinhua:
Water supplies in eastern U.S. threatened by river alkalinization: study
Researchers from the University of Maryland and other institutions looked at records of alkalinity trends in 97 rivers from the U.S. state of Florida to the state of New Hampshire over the past 25 to 60 years and found that two-thirds of the region's rivers are becoming "significantly more alkaline." Among the rivers impacted are those that provide water for big cities such as Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Atlanta, the researchers said. Increased alkalinity complicates drinking water and wastewater treatment, encourages algae growth, and can hasten the corrosion of metal pipe infrastructure. At high alkalinity levels, ammonia toxicity can also harm irrigated crops and fish in rivers, according to the researchers.... "This is because acid rain, acidic mining waste, and agricultural fertilizers speed the breakdown of limestone, other carbonate rocks, and even concrete and cement," the researchers said in a statement. "The result: alkaline particles are washed off of the landscape and into streams and rivers." ...


Alkaline rivers, acidic seas... see, it's all part of Gaia's plan to balance things out.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Aug 22, 2013
from The Vancouver Sun:
Nestle's extraction of groundwater near Hope riles First Nations
First Nations chiefs are calling on the province to start protecting their interests, claiming Nestle Waters Canada extracted millions of litres of groundwater, for free, from their traditional territory without consultation or compensation....The Chawathil First Nation is laying claim to 265 million litres of water Nestle takes every year from a well in their traditional territory in Hope. They're backed by the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, which is broadening the claim to get the province to consult with First Nations about water in B.C. ...


First Nations = thirst nations.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Aug 14, 2013
from Associated Press:
Scott says state will sue Georgia over water
Gov. Rick Scott, saying it's time to fight for the economic future of the Apalachicola Bay region, announced Tuesday that Florida will file a lawsuit against Georgia over its consumption of freshwater in a river system that serves three Southeastern states. The decision by Florida's governor to proceed with a lawsuit directly against Georgia is an escalation in a legal dispute lasting more than two decades. Scott charged that Georgia has been unwilling to come up with a reasonable approach to sharing water that flows downstream from Georgia into Alabama and Florida. ...


There will be blood (in the water).

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Aug 13, 2013
from London Guardian:
A Texan tragedy: ample oil, no water
...Across the south-west, residents of small communities like Barnhart are confronting the reality that something as basic as running water, as unthinking as turning on a tap, can no longer be taken for granted. Three years of drought, decades of overuse and now the oil industry's outsize demands on water for fracking are running down reservoirs and underground aquifers. And climate change is making things worse. In Texas alone, about 30 communities could run out of water by the end of the year, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. ...


And the parched shall inherit the earth.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Aug 7, 2013
from Environment 360:
With Tar Sands Development, Growing Concern on Water Use
Opposition to the mining of Alberta's tar sands -- and the Keystone and Gateway pipelines that would carry their oil to the Gulf of Mexico and Pacific Ocean -- has largely been focused on the project's greenhouse gas emissions and threats to pristine environments along the pipeline rights-of-way. But another serious issue is coming to the fore -- the massive amounts of freshwater being used by the industry. In 2011, companies mining the tar sands siphoned approximately 370 million cubic meters of water from the Athabasca River alone, which was heated or converted into steam to separate the viscous oil, or bitumen, from sand formations. That quantity exceeds the amount of water that the city of Toronto, with a population 2.8 million people, uses annually. ...


Perhaps we could use child labor instead of water to separate the bitumen from the sand?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Jul 15, 2013
from Akron Beacon Journal:
Portage County is No. 1 in Ohio for injecting drilling wastes
Portage County injected enough drilling wastes deep into the ground in 2012 to fill a train of tanker cars that would stretch nearly 37 miles from downtown Akron to the center of Garrettsville. State records show that Portage was No. 1 in Ohio last year for waste injections, delivering 2,358,371 ... barrels of brine and other wastes into 15 active wells -- nearly two-thirds of it from out of state. The volume grew 18.7 percent from 1,986,653 barrels in 2011. ...


Portage County: Dumping ground of the Midwest!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Jun 28, 2013
from The Verge, via BoingBoing:
Brain-eating amoebas thrive in US lakes as global warming heats waterways
It's a fatal infection without an effective treatment, and one that strikes in a decidedly gruesome manner: An amoebic organism lurking in water is inadvertently inhaled during a swim on a hot summer's day. From there, it travels through the nasal passage and into the brain, where it multiplies, devours one's cerebral fluid and gray matter, and almost invariably causes death. These "brain-eating amoebas" -- known to doctors and scientists as Naegleria fowleri, or N. fowleri -- aren't believed to kill often. In the US, researchers estimate that between three and eight people die from N. fowleri disease, commonly referred to as PAM (primary amebic meningoencephalitis) each year. But that might not be the case for long. In recent years, N. fowleri has popped up in unexpected locations, which some experts suggest is a sign that warmer waters -- caused by brutal summer heat waves and rising temperatures across the country -- are catalyzing their spread. ...


I prefer to have the more grammatically correct "amoebae" eat my brains.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Jun 24, 2013
from Scientific American:
The Colorado Is Pronounced America's Most Endangered Waterway
The river that carved the Grand Canyon and supplies 36 million Americans with drinking water is in trouble, according to American Rivers... "The Colorado River...is so over-tapped that it dries up to a trickle before reaching the sea." Indeed, 36 million of us drink water from the Colorado. The river responsible for cutting the Grand Canyon irrigates nearly four million acres of farmland where some 15 percent of the nation's crops are grown. But according to American Rivers, over-allocation and drought have placed significant stress on water supplies and river health--and another summer drought is on the way. A 2013 study by the federal Bureau of Reclamation finds that there isn't enough water in the Colorado to meet current demands and that the flow will be as much as 30 percent less by 2050 due to climate change. That reduced flow threatens not only endangered fish and wildlife but also the river system's $26 billion recreation economy. ...


By the time it reaches the ocean, it's just the C. crick.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Jun 14, 2013
from WTRF:
Gas Line Ruptures Under Ohio River Near Bellaire
A gas line that runs underneath the Ohio River near Bellaire ruptured Thursday morning, spewing gas out of the water. The Neffs Fire Department responded to the call on the riverbank underneath the Bellaire Bridge. The company that owns the line has been notified of the situation. Authorities say the leak is a big hazard because people often camp along the river and start campfires. They say they have made repeated calls to Columbia Gas, but no one has arrived at the scene as of 10:30 a.m. Thursday. ...


It's an anomaly! This is so rare! It almost never happens! Carry on, this is just part of economic development.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Jun 11, 2013
from Texas Tribune, in New York Times:
Experts Urge Focus on Aquifers in Push for Water From Mexico
At least 20 aquifers stretch across the United States-Mexico border, said Gabriel Eckstein, a professor at the Texas Wesleyan University School of Law and the director of the International Water Law Project. Some are being mined at a record pace, he said. "I know you have a lot of agricultural interests in the Valley yelling and screaming about water in the Rio Grande; that is going to continue," he said. But of the 14 million people living within 50 miles of the border, "80 or 90 percent of them get their water from aquifers." "I would suggest that focusing on just the rivers is a mistake," he said. "Every state is pumping based on its own rules without actually quantifying how much water is in the aquifers." ...


Translation from the original Malthusian: "What's ours is mine."

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, May 23, 2013
from Texas Tribune:
Ogallala Aquifer in Texas Panhandle Suffers Big Drop
... The Ogallala wells measured by the district experienced an average drop of 1.87 feet from 2012 to 2013. That makes it one of the five or 10 worst drops in the district's more than 60-year history, said Bill Mullican, a hydrogeologist with the district. "There are some pretty remarkable declines," Mullican said. One well in the western part of the water district, he said, dropped 19 feet over the year. The vast majority of Texas is enduring a drought, but the Panhandle has been especially hard hit, causing farmers to pump more water to make up for the lack of rain. That depletes the amount of water stored in the aquifer over the long term, which means future generations will find less water to pump to grow crops.... "The general trend has been [that] the depletion in the High Plains Aquifer is more severe the further south you go," said Leonard Konikow, a USGS hydrologist and the study's author.... As to how much water is left, Konikow was not optimistic. In some hard-hit Texas portions of the Ogallala, "it appears that about half the aquifer's saturated thickness has dried up," he said. ...


Somebody had some way of describing this "used up half of a resource" thing, somehow or another. Was it "Speak" resource? "Beak" resource? Gimme a minute, it'll come to me...

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, May 22, 2013
from New York Times:
Wells Dry, Fertile Plains Turn to Dust
... And when the groundwater runs out, it is gone for good. Refilling the aquifer would require hundreds, if not thousands, of years of rains. This is in many ways a slow-motion crisis -- decades in the making, imminent for some, years or decades away for others, hitting one farm but leaving an adjacent one untouched. But across the rolling plains and tarmac-flat farmland near the Kansas-Colorado border, the effects of depletion are evident everywhere. Highway bridges span arid stream beds. Most of the creeks and rivers that once veined the land have dried up as 60 years of pumping have pulled groundwater levels down by scores and even hundreds of feet.... In 2011 and 2012, the Kansas Geological Survey reports, the average water level in the state's portion of the aquifer dropped 4.25 feet -- nearly a third of the total decline since 1996. And that is merely the average. "I know my staff went out and re-measured a couple of wells because they couldn't believe it," said Lane Letourneau, a manager at the State Agriculture Department's water resources division. "There was a 30-foot decline."... "Looking at areas of Texas where the groundwater has really dropped, those towns are just a shell of what they once were," said Jim Butler, a hydrogeologist and senior scientist at the Kansas Geological Survey. ...


"Peak Water" was so 20th century.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, May 21, 2013
from Reuters:
Drop in U.S. underground water levels has accelerated: USGS
Water levels in U.S. aquifers, the vast underground storage areas tapped for agriculture, energy and human consumption, between 2000 and 2008 dropped at a rate that was almost three times as great as any time during the 20th century, U.S. officials said on Monday. The accelerated decline in the subterranean reservoirs is due to a combination of factors, most of them linked to rising population in the United States, according to Leonard Konikow, a research hydrologist at the U.S. Geological Survey. ...


What's this? There's fur in my aquifer.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, May 20, 2013
from Financial Times:
China: High and dry
...In the face of China's rapid economic expansion and growing presence on the global stage, it is often forgotten that the country is running out of water. In per capita terms, China's water resources are just a quarter of the world average. Eight of China's 28 provinces are as parched as countries in the Middle East such as Jordan and Syria, according to China Water Risk, a consultancy based in Hong Kong....The economic problems are formidable, with the water shortage threatening to slam a brake on growth. ...


Let them drink Coke.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Apr 3, 2013
from The Australian:
28,000 rivers wiped off the map of China
More than half of the rivers previously thought to exist in China appear to be missing, according to the 800,000 surveyors who compiled the first national water census, leaving Beijing fumbling to explain the cause. Only 22,909 rivers covering an area of 100sq km were located by surveyors, compared with the more than 50,000 in the 1990s, a three-year study by the Ministry of Water Resources and the National Bureau of Statistics found. Officials blame the apparent loss on climate change, arguing that it has caused waterways to vanish, and on mistakes by earlier cartographers. But environmental experts say the disappearance of the rivers is a real and direct manifestation of headlong, ill-conceived development, where projects are often imposed without public consultation. ...


A River (doesn't) Run Through It.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Mar 29, 2013
from Reuters, via NBC, through DesdemonaDespair:
EPA: More than half of U.S. rivers unsuitable for aquatic life
Fifty-five percent of U.S. river and stream lengths were in poor condition for aquatic life, largely under threat from runoff contaminated by fertilizers, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Tuesday. High levels of phosphorus and nitrogen, runoff from urban areas, shrinking ground cover and pollution from mercury and bacteria were putting the 1.2 million miles of streams and rivers surveyed under stress, the EPA said.... Twenty-one percent of the United States' river and stream length was in good biological condition, down from 27 percent in 2004, according to the survey, carried out in 2008 and 2009 at almost 2,000 sites. ...


I guess the cost of progress is measured in gigagallons.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Mar 26, 2013
from London Guardian:
One in five French bottled waters 'contain drugs or pesticides'
They are sold as being cleaner, healthier and purer than the water that spouts from the average French tap. Now, however, an investigation has discovered traces of pesticides and prescription drugs -- including a medicine used to treat breast cancer -- in almost one in five brands of bottled water on the shelves of France's supermarkets. While scientists say the contamination is minuscule and the water remains safe, consumer groups are warning of a "potential cocktail effect" for drinkers, and say the findings raise serious environmental concerns. ...


Sacre bleu!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Feb 4, 2013
from Detroit News:
Lakes Michigan, Huron sink to lowest level ever
In the nearly 100 years researchers have catalogued the rise and fall of the Great Lakes, Michigan and Huron have never seen a month like January. The two-lake system recorded its lowest-ever level for a month, a mean of 576.02 feet above sea level. It's a number that dips below the all-time low for January -- 576.12 feet -- as well as the all-time low for any month, 576.05 feet in March 1964.... Keith Kompoltowicz, the U.S. Army Corp.'s chief of watershed hydrology, said the weather so far -- including the recent string of days with 50 degree temperatures -- has been inconsistent. "It's really been a mixed bag of conditions so far," he said. ...


I'm just glad those lakes are too Great to fail.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Jan 22, 2013
from The Globe and Mail:
Is there water enough for U.S. to frack its way to energy independence?
In chemistry you quickly discover that oil and water don't mix. The same is true in the energy industry. It's unfortunate, because the new fuel sources that the International Energy Agency claims will allow North America to reach energy independence require tremendous amounts of water. Whether from shale plays or the oil sands, millions of gallons of water are needed to pull that energy out of the ground.... The industry's growing need for water comes at a time when much of the country is grinding through the worst drought in more than half a century....it takes about 600,000 litres to drill a single well. And that's a drop in the bucket compared to the 23 million litres that are needed to frack that same well. ...


I'd rather die of thirst than a lack of energy!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Jan 15, 2013
from CNN:
New water lows for Great Lakes could drain local economies
Water levels in Lake Michigan and Lake Huron fell to record low levels for December, and are expected to break the all-time low sometime in the next few months. Cargo ships ... are being forced to lighten their loads, some harbors have already been forced to close and the tourist trade is bracing for an impact as well. ...


Maybe the low water could be a tourist lure!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Dec 13, 2012
from ProPublica:
Poisoning the Well: How the Feds Let Industry Pollute the Nation's Underground Water Supply
Federal officials have given energy and mining companies permission to pollute aquifers in more than 1,500 places across the country, releasing toxic material into underground reservoirs that help supply more than half of the nation's drinking water. In many cases, the Environmental Protection Agency has granted these so-called aquifer exemptions in Western states now stricken by drought and increasingly desperate for water.... The recent surge in domestic drilling and rush for uranium has brought a spike in exemption applications, as well as political pressure not to block or delay them, EPA officials told ProPublica. "The energy policy in the U.S is keeping this from happening because right now nobody -- nobody -- wants to interfere with the development of oil and gas or uranium," said a senior EPA employee who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the subject. "The political pressure is huge not to slow that down." ...


Water, water everywhere....

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Nov 13, 2012
from Crain:
Splitting the state
In any discussion about "fracking" natural gas and oil wells from layers of shale deep beneath the surface, the talk quickly steers to the balancing act between those natural resources -- how much water is used and its source, where to put fracking fluid after it more resembles turpentine than water, and how much gas and oil can be captured in the tradeoff.... Opponents say that oil and gas companies consume on average the equivalent of a small lake of water -- about 3 acres by 5 feet deep -- to use hydraulic fracturing to open a horizontally drilled well in deep shale. The dark sedimentary rock splits easily into plates to release oil and gas. Proponents say a fracked well may produce enough natural gas to meet the needs of 30,000 to 50,000 homes for a year. ...


Apparently these 30,000 to 50,000 homes don't need water.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Oct 30, 2012
from Bloomberg:
First U.S. Oil Sands Mine Proceeds Without Pollution Permit
Utah officials have given a Canadian company the greenlight to begin mining oil sands on a remote plateau in Eastern Utah without first obtaining a pollution permit or monitoring groundwater quality, an action that sets the stage for a possible court battle over the fragile region. The board of the Utah Division of Water Quality sided with Calgary-based U.S. Oil Sands contends that there was little or no water in the area of the company's proposed mine site and affirmed the agency's earlier decision not to require the permits or monitoring.... The board as well as officials of the Water Quality Division wrestled with the question of how much water is to be found in this semi-arid region, which gets an average of 12 inches of precipitation a year.... Dubuc, the lawyer representing Living Rivers, said even small seasonal amounts of water and water on adjoining land need to be protected. ...


Sometimes the laws of supply and demand don't raise the value of a scarce commodity!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Oct 26, 2012
from Yahoo Finance:
Chesapeake Is Planning To Frack Within A Mile Of A Nuclear Plant
Natural gas giant Chesapeake Energy has been given permission to drill for natural gas via hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," one mile away from the Beaver Valley Nuclear Power Station in Shippingport, Pennsylvania, according to multiple reports.... "We're not aware of any potential impacts and don't expect any," Jennifer Young said Monday. "We see no reason to be particularly concerned."... "[T]here are no required setbacks specifically relating to a required distance between unconventional wells and nuclear facilities, just a blanket regulation requiring a 500-foot setback from any building to an unconventional well." ...


As long as they're not breaking any laws, right, Mr. Murphy?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Sep 24, 2012
from Midwest Energy News:
Minnesota scientists develop bacteria to clean up fracking water
A new biotechnology developed by a team of University of Minnesota scientists could help clean up wastewater from hydraulic fracturing, preventing contamination of rivers, streams, lakes, and even drinking water with toxic chemicals from coal and shale beds. The new method employs chemical-eating bacteria encased in a silica gel. The contaminants from the fracking wastewater slip inside the gel, where they are destroyed by enzymes in the bacteria. The bacteria remain encapsulated and do not contaminate the wastewater themselves... ...


Bacteria ... has our back!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Sep 17, 2012
from InsideClimate News:
U.S. Paying a Price for Lack of Water Policy
The worst drought since at least the 1950s has barely registered on political radar screens this year. Water doesn't make it into convention or stump speeches, or onto bumper stickers or campaign signs. To many people concerned about the nation's water supply, this drought of attention to a vital resource underscores a glaring, ongoing problem that will likely worsen in coming years if it is not addressed soon. "The nation lacks a coherent approach to dealing with water," said Gerald Galloway, a civil engineer, hydrology expert and former president of the American Water Resources Association. "Everyone is just hoping it will get better. Hope is not a method." ...


Sounds like we need a Water Czar.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Aug 28, 2012
from London Guardian:
Food shortages could force world into vegetarianism, warn scientists
Leading water scientists have issued one of the sternest warnings yet about global food supplies, saying that the world's population may have to switch almost completely to a vegetarian diet over the next 40 years to avoid catastrophic shortages. Humans derive about 20 percent of their protein from animal-based products now, but this may need to drop to just 5 percent to feed the extra 2 billion people expected to be alive by 2050, according to research by some of the world's leading water scientists. ...


These scientists sound like a bunch of hippies.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Aug 9, 2012
from Nature:
Demand for water outstrips supply
Almost one-quarter of the world's population lives in regions where groundwater is being used up faster than it can be replenished, concludes a comprehensive global analysis of groundwater depletion, published this week in Nature. Across the world, human civilizations depend largely on tapping vast reservoirs of water that have been stored for up to thousands of years in sand, clay and rock deep underground. These massive aquifers -- which in some cases stretch across multiple states and country borders -- provide water for drinking and crop irrigation, as well as to support ecosystems such as forests and fisheries. Yet in most of the world's major agricultural regions, including the Central Valley in California, the Nile delta region of Egypt, and the Upper Ganges in India and Pakistan, demand exceeds these reservoirs' capacity for renewal. ...


Let them drink cake.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Aug 8, 2012
from Washington Post:
'Like a water world': Torrential rains submerge half of Philippine capital, kill 9 people
... The deluge, the worst since 2009 when hundreds died in rampaging flash floods, was set off by the seasonal monsoon that overflowed major dams and rivers in Manila and surrounding provinces. The capital and other parts of the country already were saturated from last week's Typhoon Saola, which battered Manila and the north for several days before blowing away Friday. That storm was responsible for at least 53 deaths. "It's like a water world," said Benito Ramos, head of the government's disaster response agency. He said the rains flooded 50 percent of metropolitan Manila on Monday evening, and about 30 percent remained under waist- or neck-deep waters Tuesday. ...


I wanna know who gave Manila permission to take all the Midwest's rain!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Aug 7, 2012
from Reuters:
Water shortages driving growing thefts, conflicts in Kenya
As droughts become more frequent and water shortages worsen, Kenya is seeing an increase in water thefts and other water-related crime, police records show. The most common crimes are theft, muggings and illegal disconnections of water pipes by thieves who collect and sell the water. Many of the crimes occur in urban slums, which lack sufficient piped water. ...


Hydrobbers!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Jul 30, 2012
from Oregon State University:
Chronic 2000-04 Drought, Worst in 800 Years, May Be the 'New Normal'
The chronic drought that hit western North America from 2000 to 2004 left dying forests and depleted river basins in its wake and was the strongest in 800 years, scientists have concluded, but they say those conditions will become the "new normal" for most of the coming century. ...


The new normal: horror.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Jul 4, 2012
from Texas Tribune:
Drought Caused Big Drop in Texas Portion of Ogallala Aquifer
The historic Texas drought caused the Ogallala Aquifer to experience its largest decline in 25 years across a large swath of the Texas Panhandle, new numbers from a water district show.... Further north in the Panhandle, along the state's border with Oklahoma, a second water district also registered large declines in the Ogallala. Steve Walthour, the general manager of the eight-county North Plains Groundwater Conservation District, calculated on Monday that the average drop in the Ogallala reached 2.9 feet last year.... As for this year, farmers say that spring rains have helped, but most of the Panhandle remains in moderate drought, or worse. Fondren is holding out hope for showers soon. "We're going to go back to pumping pretty hard again if we don't get some rain," he said. ...


No worries: the Texas legislature just designated the Ogallala Aquifer "too big to fail."

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Jun 16, 2012
from Nature, via New York Times:
India's Septic Problem
Rapidly-modernizing India is drowning in its own excreta. According to the World Health Organization, more than 600 million Indians practise open defecation -- making up 60 percent of the 1.1 billion people who do so worldwide. But even as toilets get built, the challenge of managing excreta grows.... Leaked sewage leads to a deadly and costly spiral. As surface or groundwater gets contaminated, the city must source clean water from farther afield. The cost of pumping water rises -- it now accounts for 30-50 percent of the price of supplying water. The cost of building and maintaining pipelines increases. And if the network is not maintained, water is lost -- 30-50 percent of the water leaks. The nation therefore has less clean water to supply and needs to pay more to get it to the people. It cannot provide these services for everyone, and it chooses the rich. As the water system degrades, the rich move to bottled water. The poor get sick... ...


Same excreta, different country.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, May 21, 2012
from Nature:
Source found for missing water in sea-level rise
Climate change, with its associated melting ice caps and shrinking glaciers, is the usual suspect when it comes to explaining rising sea levels. But a recent study now shows that human water use has a major impact on sea-level change that has been overlooked. During the latter half of the twentieth century, global sea level rose by about 1.8 millimetres per year, according to data from tide gauges. The combined contribution from heating of the oceans, which makes the water expand, along with melting of ice caps and glaciers, is estimated to be 1.1 millimetres per year, which leaves some 0.7 millimetres per year unaccounted for. This gap has been considered an important missing piece of the puzzle in estimates for past and current sea-level changes and for projections of future rises. ...


If they are referring to me taking a leak in my backyard I am not gonna stop!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Apr 16, 2012
from Telegraph.co.uk:
Britain faces worst drought since 1976
Half of Britain is now in drought as the country faces its most severe water shortage since 1976, the Environment Agency warns today. More than 35 million people are now living in drought-affected areas, with water shortages today declared across the Midlands and South West. Parts of the country are already drier than they were in the summer of 1976, when Britain experienced its worst drought for more than 100 years. The drought of 1976 led to standpipes being installed in residential streets, water supplies to businesses being rationed and schools having to close early. ...


When it doesn't rain, it doesn't pour.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Apr 2, 2012
from Mongabay:
Brazilian judge suspends dam that would flood sacred waterfalls
A federal judge has suspended the construction of a 1,820 megawatt dam on the Teles Pires River in the Amazon. The judge found that indigenous communities were not properly consulted about the dam, which would flood a sacred site, known as the Seven Waterfalls, as well as imperil the livelihoods of indigenous fishermen. "The compensation [the government is] offering will never substitute places that are sacred to us, such as Sete Queda [Seven Waterfalls], that hold the cemeteries of our ancestors and that should be preserved. Sete Quedas is also the spawning grounds of fish that are an important source of food. They talk about fish ladders, but where have these ever worked?" Taravy Kayabi, a leader of the indigenous Kayabi people, said in a press release, adding that, "The government needs to look for alternative ways to generate energy that don't harm indigenous peoples and their territories." The judge ordered that the indigenous tribes of the Kayabi, Manduruku, and Apiaká must be consulted before any further construction can occur on the Teles Pires Dam, named after the river. Breaking the suspension will result in a fine of $100,000 per day. Still, NGOs warn that this is not the end of the Teles Pires Dam. ...


Dammit, the short-term economy demands short-term solutions!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Mar 23, 2012
from Guardian:
Las Vegas plan to pump water across 300 miles of desert approved
Contentious plans to pump water across 300 miles of desert to Las Vegas were given the green light on Thursday. The ruling, from the state water engineer, Jason King, will allow the city to go ahead with a plan to draw water from four thinly populated valleys of eastern Nevada. King did not give Las Vegas all of the water it was seeking. But the award of nearly 84,000 acre-feet of water, from the Spring, Cave, Dry Lake and Delamar valleys should help Las Vegas escape a worst-case scenario where it would run out of drinking water by the middle of the next decade.... Environmental groups, and a coalition of cattle ranchers and native Americans from eastern Nevada who have been fighting the project, said they would fight the decision in the courts. ...


What gets pumped to Vegas, stays in Vegas.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Mar 23, 2012
from American Geophysical Union, via EurekAlert:
AGU: Small clique of nations dominates global trading web of food, water
Food production is one of the primary uses of fresh water, and as countries grow in population, they need more food, and therefore more water, to support their residents. If they don't have the water to grow crops or raise livestock but have money to spend, countries can import food - essentially importing water. The virtual water network is a way to look at the global balance of this freshwater trade, Carr said.... One of the findings is that as of 2008, the most recent year examined by the study, there are just five key players - Brazil, Argentina, United States, Canada and Australia - in the virtual-water world, which are responsible for most of the world's export of the resource. ...


Apocaiku: Virtual water / when manifested in food / is too actual

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Mar 22, 2012
from Truthout:
About That Dimock Fracking Study: Actually, Result Summaries Show Methane and Hazardous Chemicals
Claire Sandberg, in an interview with Christine Shearer:
The industry likes to state that their number one safety precaution is thousands of layers of impermeable rock and that essentially there is no possible way for the methane to get into the ground water. And we know that the available science conclusively debunks that. The only peer-reviewed study that has been done on groundwater contamination from fracking has found that it occurs a majority of the time, so there is something really wrong here if methane is getting into the groundwater a majority of the time, often at explosive levels of methane. At the same time, the industry does have a point that a lot of the contamination is not from the actual fracking itself - the process where you are injecting chemicals deep into the ground. A lot of the contamination is just from drilling and I think a lot of people are discovering - and this is part of our message with Water Defense - that the risks to water and health are just endemic to drilling and to fossil fuels and it is not specific to fracking. In general, this is the way these companies operate; it is how they have operated around the world, it's "pump and dump." The difference now is that, for the first time, the impacts of fuel extraction are literally in millions of Americans' backyards. And increasingly, it is extreme fossil fuels, more devastating kinds of extraction as we run out of the easier-to-access sources of fossil fuels, but ultimately these problems are inherent to fossil fuels. We need to move to a renewable energy economy. ...


OMG! This could mean turning away from our comfortably suicidal course!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Mar 13, 2012
from Traverse City Record-Eagle:
Great Lakes ice down 71 percent since 1973
A published report says the amount of ice covering the Great Lakes has declined about 71 percent over the past 40 years, a drop that the lead author partly attributes to climate change. The report published last month by the American Meteorological Society said only about 5 percent of the Great Lakes surface froze over this year. "There was a significant downward trend in ice coverage from 1973 to the present for all of the lakes," according to the study, which appeared in the society's Journal of Climate. ...


I sure hope it's not ice that makes the Great Lakes great.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Feb 20, 2012
from PostCarbon Institute:
Animation: There's No Tomorrow (2012)
Animated documentary about resource depletion & the impossibility of infinite growth on a finite planet.
...


Endless growth? It's worked so far!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Feb 7, 2012
from Bloomberg News:
Peak Everything
By 2030, the global middle class is expected to grow by two-thirds. That's 3 billion more shoppers. They'll all want access to goods, including water, wheat, coffee and oil. Is there enough for everybody? Can business satisfy demand and avoid hitting "peak everything?" ...


Only thing not peaking is denial.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Feb 6, 2012
from Toronto CTV:
Artificial glaciers helping combat climate change
Artificial glaciers are being built in the Himalayas to combat the growing affect climate change is having on natural glaciers. Chewang Norphel creates the fake ice mounds in his village, where the water supply is dwindling because of receding glaciers. Norphel builds the artificial glaciers by diverting seasonal runoff and trapping it in stone pens. The ice, now two metres thick, will melt in April when farmers sow their only crop of the year. ...


That dude must have channeled MacGyver.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Feb 2, 2012
from Reuters:
University of Vermont joins move to end bottled water sales
The University of Vermont is banning the sale of bottled water on campus, part of a growing effort at schools to reduce plastic waste and save students' money by promoting tap water. A dozen U.S. universities have ended sales of bottled water in the past three years, but UVM is the largest to do so. Other schools include the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, University of Portland and Washington University in St. Louis. ...


The awesome power of the tap water lobby is something to behold.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Feb 1, 2012
from New York Times:
Food Crisis as Drought and Cold Hit Mexico
A drought that a government official called the most severe Mexico had ever faced has left two million people without access to water and, coupled with a cold snap, has devastated cropland in nearly half of the country.... While the authorities say they expect the situation to worsen, one of the five worst-affected states, Zacatecas, got a reprieve on Sunday. Heriberto Felix Guerra, head of the Ministry of Social Development, saw the rain, the first in 17 months, as a guardedly reassuring sign.... ...


What, they don't have faucets in Mexico? Or supermarkets?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Jan 31, 2012
from Guardian:
China's largest freshwater lake dries up
For visitors expecting to see China's largest freshwater lake, Poyang is a desolate spectacle. Under normal circumstances it covers 3,500 sq km, but last month only 200 sq km were underwater. A dried-out plain stretches as far as the eye can see, leaving a pagoda perched on top of a hillock that is usually a little island. Wrapped in the mist characteristic of the lower reaches of the Yangtze river, the barges are moored close to the quayside beside a pitiful trickle of water. There is no work for the fisheries. According to the state news agency Xinhua, the drought - the worst for 60 years - is due to the lack of rainfall in the area round Poyang and its tributaries. Poor weather conditions this year are partly responsible. But putting the blame on them overlooks the role played by the colossal Three Gorges reservoir, 500km upstream. The cause and effect is still not officially recognised, even if the government did admit last May that the planet's biggest dam had given rise to "problems that need to be solved very urgently". ...


Three dams, gorging.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Jan 31, 2012
from Reuters:
World lacks enough food, fuel as population soars: U.N.
The world is running out of time to make sure there is enough food, water and energy to meet the needs of a rapidly growing population and to avoid sending up to 3 billion people into poverty, a U.N. report warned on Monday. As the world's population looks set to grow to nearly 9 billion by 2040 from 7 billion now, and the number of middle-class consumers increases by 3 billion over the next 20 years, the demand for resources will rise exponentially. ...


Too many people; pythons in the Everglades could soon be running out of food. Synergy here?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Jan 3, 2012
from Baltimore Sun:
Bay group says cleanup to create more than 230,000 jobs
Federal regulations intended to clean the Chesapeake Bay will create hundreds of thousands of jobs in construction and monitoring, according to a report to be released Tuesday by a leading environmental group. Spending on sewage and storm-water treatment alone could support about 230,000 jobs in the region over the next 14 years, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation report found. That spending will be necessary to meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requirements to reduce pollution in the bay.... "Clean air and clean water creates jobs," said William C. Baker, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's president, who said the argument that environmental regulations add to joblessness is "nothing less than absurd." ...


Creates jobs... and tastes good, too!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Dec 27, 2011
from Tierramerica:
No Time Left to Adapt to Melting Glaciers
The water supplied by the glaciers of the Cordillera Blanca, vital to a huge region of northwest Peru, is decreasing 20 years sooner than expected, according to a new study. Water flows from the region's melting glaciers have already peaked and are in decline, Michel Baraer, a glaciologist at Canada's McGill University, told Tierramérica. This is happening 20 to 30 years earlier than forecasted... When glaciers begin to shrink in size, they generate "a transitory increase in runoff as they lose mass," the study notes. However, Baraer explained, the water flowing from a glacier eventually hits a plateau and from this point onwards there is a decrease in the discharge of melt water. "The decline is permanent. There is no going back." ...


"At a glacial pace" is quickly becoming a phrase subject to reinterpretation.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Dec 22, 2011
from Shanghai Daily:
40,000 hairy crabs released in Yangtze
THE city government yesterday freed 40,000 hairy crabs into the mouth of Yangtze River near the Qingcaosha Reservoir, the first step in a five-year campaign to repair the ecosystem to improve the water quality in the reservoir that provides tap water for millions of residents. The hairy crabs will help establish a complete food chain in the river to help more fish and other aquatic animals survive in the river... ...


You know your ecosystem is in trouble when you need 40,000 hairy crabs.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Nov 30, 2011
from New York Times:
As Texas Drought Reveals Secrets of the Deep
Despite periodic rainstorms, lower temperatures and even snowfall in Amarillo late last month, Texas remains in the midst of one of its worst droughts. From January through October, statewide rainfall totaled 10.77 inches, about 15 inches below average. The year that ended in September was the driest in Texas since at least 1895, when statewide weather records begin, breaking the previous record low set in 1956 by 2.5 inches. "It's the most severe single-year drought on record," said John Nielsen-Gammon, the state climatologist and a professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University. "There literally is no point of comparison."... The water levels at many of the state's man-made lakes have become a drought barometer. Lake levels have decreased statewide by as little as a few feet to as much as 50 feet or more. Some lakes are completely dry, and others are close to it. Lake E. V. Spence in West Texas, which normally has a maximum depth of 108 feet, is less than 1 percent full. ...


Boy, when Texas does drought, they do it big!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Nov 28, 2011
from Associated Press:
A quarter of world's farmlands highly degraded, says UN
The United Nations has completed the first-ever global assessment of the state of the planet's land resources, finding in a report today that a quarter of all farmland is highly degraded and warning the trend must be reversed if the world's growing population is to be fed. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates that farmers will have to produce 70 per cent more food by 2050 to meet the needs of the world's expected nine billion-strong population. That amounts to 1 billion tonnes more wheat, rice and other cereals and 200 million more tons of cow and other livestock. But as it is, most available farmland is already being farmed, and in ways that actually decrease its productivity through practices that lead to soil erosion and wasting of water. ...


Cropalypse!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Nov 21, 2011
from The Epoch Times:
Yangtze River Pollution Imperils Hundreds of Millions
The banks of China's Yangtze River are crowded with chemical factories, which dump massive amounts of toxic waste water into the river, affecting hundreds of millions of people who rely on the river for drinking water. Nevertheless, a Chinese official recently stated that the Yangtze's water quality "overall is good and can be used safely." According to a recent Economics Information Daily report, latest data from the Yangtze River Water Resources Protection Bureau says that the total polluted water discharged into the Yangtze exceeded 33.9 billion tons this year and is increasing at a rate of 2 percent per year. Data released by the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection last December said there are over 400 thousand chemical factories, five major steel manufacturing centers, and seven major oil refineries along the banks of the Yangtze. ...


I imagine "Yangtze," loosely translated, means Shit.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Nov 20, 2011
from UPI:
Great Plains water pumping imperils fish
Great Plains river basins are threatened by pumping of groundwater from aquifers, risking a bleak future for native fish in many streams, U.S. researchers say. Unlike alluvial aquifers, which can be replenished with rain and snow, these regional aquifers were created by melting glaciers during the last Ice Age, the researchers say, and when that water is gone, it's gone for good.... In a three-year study of the Arikaree River in eastern Colorado, researchers concluded that during the next 35 years only slightly more than half of the current fish refuge pools would remain. Falke and his colleagues say it would require a 75 percent reduction in the rate of groundwater pumping to maintain current water table levels and refuge pools, which is "not economically or politically feasible," the study said. Pumping of regional aquifers is done almost entirely for agriculture, Falke said, with about 90 percent of the irrigation aimed at corn production, along with some alfalfa and wheat. ...


If God didn't want us to use that water, He wouldn't have made it available. Right?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Nov 15, 2011
from Canadian Press, via Huffington Post:
Estrogen In Drinking Water: Prostate Cancer Deaths Linked In New Study
Researchers suggest there may be a link between estrogen from oral contraceptives that has found its way into the environment and rising rates of prostate cancer among men around the world. In a study in the online publication BMJ Open, researchers at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto looked at the percentage of women using the pill, intrauterine devices, condoms and vaginal barrier contraceptives in 87 countries, then examined the incidence and deaths from prostate cancer. "Looking at these percentages, we find a strong correlation between female use of oral contraceptives at a population level and both new cases of prostate cancer and mortality from prostate cancer," said lead author Dr. David Margel, a urologist and fellow in uro-oncology. ...


Sometimes the water makes me feel so verklempt.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Nov 14, 2011
from London Independent:
Now you Dead Sea it...
...the Dead Sea is also on the way to becoming a man-made environmental disaster zone. For decades water has been pillaged for agriculture and domestic use from its main water provider, the River Jordan; and secondly from the Sea itself, for the hugely lucrative extraction of its vital minerals. Now the Sea is shrinking with alarming rapidity. Its level is falling at a rate of 1.1 metres a year. Drive a few kilometres north of here along Route 90 and you arrive at where members of the British Palestinian Exploration Fund in 1917 painted a red line in the primeval limestone cliffs towering above them. ...


Dead Sea... living up to its name!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Nov 7, 2011
from Huffington Post:
Mining water in the Mojave
Some believe this lush farm in the unlikeliest of places also sits atop a partial solution to Southern California's water woes. By tapping into an aquifer the size of Rhode Island under the 35,000-acre Cadiz ranch, proponents say they can supply 400,000 people with drinking water in only a few years.... "Do we need additional water supplies? Yes. Do we need groundwater storage? Yes," said Winston Hickox, a Cadiz board member who headed the California Environmental Protection Agency. "The question is 'OK, environmental community, what are your remaining concerns?' I don't know." But conservationists including the Sierra Club remain worried. Critics say the company has misrepresented the size of the aquifer and that mining it could harm the threatened desert tortoise, bighorn sheep, as well as the nearby Mojave National Preserve which has some of the densest and oldest Joshua tree forests in the world. Concerns over rare desert species were also echoed by state Department of Fish and Game biologists in March. Conservationists also worry tampering with an aquifer in a place where water is so scarce could cause dust storms. ...


Some things are just too hard to figure out.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Nov 2, 2011
from New York Times:
Stone-Washed Blue Jeans (Minus the Washed)
From the cotton field in rural India to the local rag bin, a typical pair of blue jeans consumes 919 gallons of water during its life cycle, Levi Strauss & Company says, or enough to fill about 15 spa-size bathtubs. That includes the water that goes into irrigating the cotton crop, stitching the jeans together and washing them scores of times at home. The company wants to reduce that number any way it can, and not just to project environmental responsibility. It fears that water shortages caused by climate change may jeopardize the company's very existence in the coming decades by making cotton too expensive or scarce. ...


These numbers are enough to make me wet my pants.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Oct 31, 2011
from Institute of Physics via ScienceDaily:
Glaciers in Southwest China Feel the Brunt of Climate Change
Significant increases in annual temperatures are having a devastating affect on glaciers in the mountainous regions of south-western China, potentially affecting natural habitats, tourism and wider economic development... Of the 111 stations examined, 77 per cent displayed statistically significant increases in annual temperature....In the Pengqu basin of the Himalayas, for example, the 999 glaciers had a combined area loss of 131 km2 between 1970 and 2001, whilst the Yalong glacier in the Gangrigabu Mountains retreated over 1500 meters from 1980 to 2001. ...


111...77...999...what's next? 666?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Oct 26, 2011
from New York Times:
China Takes a Loss to Get Ahead in the Business of Fresh Water
Towering over the Bohai Sea shoreline on this city's outskirts, the Beijiang Power and Desalination Plant is a 26-billion-renminbi technical marvel: an ultrahigh-temperature, coal-fired generator with state-of-the-art pollution controls, mated to advanced Israeli equipment that uses its leftover heat to distill seawater into fresh water. There is but one wrinkle in the $4 billion plant: The desalted water costs twice as much to produce as it sells for. Nevertheless, the owner of the complex, a government-run conglomerate called S.D.I.C., is moving to quadruple the plant's desalinating capacity, making it China's largest. "Someone has to lose money," Guo Qigang, the plant's general manager, said in a recent interview. "We're a state-owned corporation, and it's our social responsibility." ...


Somebody give this guy a prestigious position.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Sep 6, 2011
from Miami Herald:
Wall of saltwater snaking up South Florida's coast
South Florida's lakes, marshes and rivers pump fresh, crystal clear water across the state like veins carry blood through the body. But cities along South Florida's coast are running out of water as drinking wells are taken over by the sea. Hallandale Beach has abandoned six of its eight drinking water wells because saltwater has advanced underground across two-thirds of the city. "The saltwater line is moving west and there's very little that can be done about it,” said Keith London, a city commissioner for Hallandale Beach, who has worked on water conservation and reuse for the last decade. A wall of saltwater is inching inland into the Biscayne Aquifer -- the primary source of drinking water for 4.5 million people in South Florida. ...


Cue musical theme from "Salty Jaws."

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Aug 23, 2011
from Reuters:
Water systems at risk from growing demand for food - expert
Efforts to feed an extra 2 billion people by mid-century could lead to widespread destruction of forests, wetlands and other natural systems that protect and regulate the world's water, researchers warn. But finding ways to boost agricultural production while protecting nature could produce big benefits, including reduced poverty and hunger in some of the world's most fragile countries and hikes in food production that are sustainable beyond 2050... The question is particularly urgent as water runs short in some of the world's most important food-producing regions, including the plains of northern China, India's Punjab and the western United States, as well as in a broad swath of the Middle East and North Africa. ...


We might also rethink our rampant reproductive rates.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Aug 15, 2011
from Indian Country Today:
Navajo Aquifer Concerns May Prove True
For years, Native opponents of a massive strip mine on Black Mesa in northern Arizona have said longstanding extractive practices of Peabody Energy Corp. (formerly Peabody Western Coal Co.) have depleted a major aquifer on which they depend and a recent analysis seems to bear them out. "The mining-related impacts on the aquifer are more significant than have been recognized or acknowledged," said Dr. Daniel Higgins, who performed the analysis as part of Arid Lands Resource Studies, graduate interdisciplinary programs, University of Arizona, Tucson.... The aquifer Higgins studied for more than five years provides drinking water to Native communities and is a source of water below Black Mesa that feeds sacred springs. Opponents object to the further industrial use of the pristine aquifer water.... But it's not like a bank account, he explained,"because being able to see any change or reversal (in aquifer depletion) is going to take a tremendous amount of time in a large aquifer. The impacts will get worse before they get better--it's not like flipping a switch." A federal geochemical analysis in 1997 determined that 90 percent of the water in the N-Aquifer is 10,000 to 35,000 years old. "Technically, that 90 percent of the water is not replenishable on a human time-scale but only on a geological time-scale," he said. ...


"Industrial use" and "sacred springs" mix like coal and water.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Aug 1, 2011
from Reuters:
Weather disasters seen costly sign of things to come
The United States is on a pace in 2011 to set a record for the cost of weather-related disasters and the trend is expected to worsen as climate change continues, officials and scientists said on Thursday. "The economic impact of severe weather events is only projected to grow," Senator Dick Durbin said at a hearing of the Senate Subcommittee on Financial Services and Government, which he chairs. "We are not prepared. Our weather events are getting worse, catastrophic in fact."... As of June, the United States has seen eight weather disasters exceeding $1 billion each in damage, and the annual hurricane season has hardly begun, said Kathryn Sullivan, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Environmental Observation and Prediction and NOAA's Deputy Administrator. The record is nine in a single year, 2008. But April alone saw separate tornado, wildfire, flood and drought disasters. "Any one such a event in a year would be considered quite notable, and we had four in totally different hazard categories in the space of a month," Sullivan told Reuters. The costs of weather-disaster damages have climbed past $32 billion for 2011, according to NOAA estimates.... "Every weather event that happens nowadays takes place in the context of the changes in the background climate system," University of Illinois scientist Donald Wuebbles, who worked on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, told the panel. "So nothing is entirely 'natural' anymore," he said. ...


I suppose I should be grateful to be alive while history is being made.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Jul 6, 2011
from Minneapolis Star-Tribune:
Concern rising over pollutants in waters
Scientists are increasingly aware of pollutants that were unknown or immeasurable just a few years ago. One documented effect has been the "feminization" of fish in the Mississippi River because of estrogen-like chemicals in the water.... Estrogenic substances can be found in things we use every day, such as detergents, prescription drugs, fragrances, birth control pills and patches, and personal care products such as body wash and shampoo. Hormones are also used in animal food. These chemicals can get into surface water -- rivers, streams and even relatively remote lakes -- through the effluent from sewage treatment plants, agricultural runoff, leaching from landfills, and drainage from rural septic systems. Once in the water, estrogen-like chemicals enter the bloodstreams of aquatic animals, including fish. They "deceive" the estrogen receptors in the fish because their molecular structure is so similar that receptors can't tell the difference. The result is a disruption of the fish's reproductive system, ranging from diminished size and strength to the production of eggs and ovarian tissue in the male fish's testicles. Just how worried should we be? The presence of these contaminants in Minnesota's rivers and lakes is a source of "concern, not alarm," says Heiko Schoenfuss, one of the leading researchers in the field. These "contaminants of emerging concern," or CECs, are getting the attention of scientists and environmentalists because of what we do know, but also because of what we don't know. ...


If they have a TLA, then it must be serious. OMG!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Jun 30, 2011
from Grist:
In the worst drought in Texas history, 13.5 billion gallons of water used for fracking
Texas is experiencing the driest eight-month period in its recorded history. But in 2010, natural gas companies used 13.5 billion gallons of fresh water for hydraulic fracturing, and that could more than double by 2020. Where's all this water coming from? Oh, it was just lying around, in these aquifers! You guys weren't using it to drink or irrigate or anything, right? Guys? Crockett County, Tx., near San Angelo (which you probably also haven't heard of, but it's not near much else), has gotten less than two inches of rain since October. But water for fracking could soon make up 25 percent of the county's water usage, according to its groundwater conservation manager. Fracking takes between 50,000 and 4 million gallons for a single well, on average, and could take as many as 13 million gallons. And most of that water is gone for good -- 75 percent of it can't be recovered. ...


Think we slow down business just because of drought? You don't know Texas!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Jun 28, 2011
from Guardian:
China told to reduce food production or face 'dire' water levels
China needs to reduce food production on its dry northern plains or aquifers will diminish to a "dire" level in 30 years, one the country's leading groundwater experts has warned. Zheng Chunmiao, director of the Water Research Centre at Peking University, said the world's most populous country will have to focus more on demand-side restraint because it is becoming more expensive and difficult to tap finite supplies below the surface.... Over the past 10 years, Zheng estimates the annual water deficit in northern China at 4bn cubic metres. This is increasingly made up from underground sources, which account for 70 percent of water supplies. Although some aquifers remain 500 metres thick, others are emptying at an alarming rate. This has created depletion cones, the deepest of which is at Hengshui near Xizhuajiang.... Zheng said much more needs to be done, including demand reduction, water transfers and greater use of desalination plants. "We will get there because we have to," he said. "If nothing changes, then in 30 years, we will face a dire situation." ...


Surely we'll then find some other million-year-storehouse of something else that we can deplete.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Jun 20, 2011
from SciDev.net:
Small hydro could add up to big damage
A belief that 'small' hydropower systems are a source of clean energy with little or no environmental problems is driving the growing interest in mini, micro, and pico hydro systems that generate from less than 5 kilowatts up to 10 megawatts of energy. Hydropower appears to be the cleanest and most versatile of renewable energy sources. But experience shows that optimism about its potential can be misplaced.... By the end of 1970s it had become clear that the very optimistic, almost reverential, attitude towards hydropower projects that had prevailed during the early 1950s was misplaced. These projects damaged the environment as seriously as did fossil-fuelled power projects.... A turbine here or there may not affect the river noticeably; but if we are to use the technology extensively and put turbines in every other waterfall in a river, and make small dams on most of its tributaries or feeder streams, the environmental degradation -- per kilowatt of power generated -- will likely be much higher than that caused by large hydropower systems. The factors that harm a river habitat with large hydropower projects are also at play with small projects: interrupted water flow, barriers to animal movement, water loss from evaporation and loss of biodiversity from the sacrificed portion of river are some examples. ...


There goes all my plans for our Three Gullies Dam.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Jun 11, 2011
from New York Times:
1,000-Year Record Shows Unusual Snowpack Declines in Recent Decades -- Study
While record-sized snowpack and attendant flooding in the Rocky Mountains have made headlines this spring, the long-term trend for snowpack levels in the Rockies tells quite a different story, according to climate scientists. Snowpack has in fact been declining in recent decades, and a new U.S. Geological Survey-led study shows the decrease since the 1980s is more significant than at any other time in the past 1,000 years.... After analyzing hundreds of thousands of tree rings, the researchers found only two instances of sustained low snowpack in the northern Rockies comparable to the 20th century from about 1300 to 1330 and about 1511 to 1530. However, those dips were not as severe as current declines. "You have a pretty severe early 20th century and especially a post-1980s decline that is really isn't matched most anywhere in the paleo-climate record," Pederson said. ...


It suspiciously corresponds with the rise of snowboarding!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Jun 11, 2011
from FAO, from DesdemonaDespair:
Climate change to have major impacts on water for farming
An acceleration of the world's hydrological cycle is anticipated as rising temperatures increase the rate of evaporation from land and sea. Rainfall will increase in the tropics and higher latitudes, but decrease in already dry semi-arid to mid-arid latitudes and in the interior of large continents. A greater frequency in droughts and floods will need to be planned for but already, water scarce areas of the world are expected to become drier and hotter. Even though estimates of groundwater recharge under climate change cannot be made with any certainty, the increasing frequency of drought can be expected to encourage further development of available groundwater to buffer the production risk for farmers.... Increased temperatures will lengthen the growing season in northern temperate zones but will reduce the length almost everywhere else. Coupled with increased rates of evapotranspiration this will cause the yield potential and water productivity of crops to decline. "Both the livelihoods of rural communities as well as the food security of city populations are at risk," said FAO Assistant Director General for Natural Resources, Alexander Mueller. "But the rural poor, who are the most vulnerable, are likely to be disproportionately affected." ...


C'mon. All you have do is drill a few more wells, right?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Jun 11, 2011
from Huffington Post:
Flooding Mississippi May Have Spread Invasive Asian Carp
While scientists have been battling to keep a ravenous, invasive fish species out of the Great Lakes, some worry that spring floods along the Mississippi River may be spreading the Asian carp downstream.... They can weigh up to 100 pounds, grow 4 feet long and live for 25 years. They could be crowding out food sources of native species for decades.... "We may now be finding them in lakes, ponds, bayous, anywhere the river water went. Those things will be full of carp now."... Most freshwater species cannot survive in a salty environment. But the carp can. "Asian carp unfortunately are the exception that can do fairly well in high-salinity water," Chapman said. How far the fish may spread because of the flood won't be known for some time, he said. ...


Isn't "carp" just the letters of "crap" trasnposed?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, May 30, 2011
from Reuters:
China's 'land of fish and rice' parched by drought
The drought gripping stretches of central and eastern China has dried Lake Honghu into an expanse of exposed mud, stranded boats and dying fish farms, threatening the livelihoods of residents in Hubei Province who call this their "land of fish and rice." Dry spells and floods blight various parts of China nearly every year, and officials are prone to call each the worst in 50 years or longer. But many residents around the lake said that was a fitting label for the months-long drought that has drastically shrunk the lake, the adjacent Yangtze River, and many other lakes and tributaries along the mighty river's course through farming and industrial heartlands. "I've never, ever seen it this bad. Look at the rice. It's all going yellow and the stalks will die unless we get some rain soon," said Ouyang Jinghuang, a pepper-haired 66-year-old farmer tending rice paddies near Lake Honghu. "We're all digging wells and buying our drinking water. Usually, we have so much water here that we worry about floods, not droughts." ...


If only the reasons were more scrutable.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, May 27, 2011
from National Geographic:
Prozac Killing E. coli in the Great Lakes
Scientists in Erie, Pennsylvania, have found that minute concentrations of fluoxetine, the active ingredient in Prozac, are killing off microbial populations in the Great Lakes. Traces of antidepressants such as Prozac have been found in both drinking and recreational water supplies throughout the world, in quantities experts say are too dilute to affect humans but which have been found to damage the reproductive systems of mollusks and may even affect the brains of animals like fish.... Killing off bacteria might seem like a good thing. "Your immediate thought is, 'well, that's good, because they're not supposed to be there anyways," said Mercyhurst College microbiologist Steve Mauro, whose team found fluoxetine in low doses in water near Lake Erie's beaches. "But what about all the other bacteria that are supposed to be there and part of that ecosystem?" ...


Best of all, the E. coli don't even mind.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, May 13, 2011
from Discovery News:
Lake Slime Loaded With Pollutants
Pesticides, plasticizers, pharmaceuticals and other hormone-disrupting chemicals soak into the slime that coats rocks at the bottom of lakes and streams, found a new study. Fish and aquatic insects then feed on those contaminated slimes, also known as biofilms. By documenting biofilms as covert hiding places for toxic chemicals, the study offers the potential for aquatic slimes to help remove pollution from wastewater effluents. For now, the findings also raise new concerns about how the chemicals in our drugs and personal care products work their way through food chains.... Concern has been building for years about the environmental effects of endocrine disrupters, a class of chemicals that can interrupt the hormonal systems of both people and animals that are exposed to them. These chemicals, which include hormones from birth control pills and ingredients of many plastics, end up in the discharge that flows out of wastewater treatment plants all over the developed world. ...


Slimant Green comes from people!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Apr 20, 2011
from IRIN:
Somalia: "Worst drought in a lifetime"
Officials and aid workers in Somalia's Middle Shabelle region have raised the alarm over the plight of drought-stricken villagers urgently needing food and water. "We are experiencing the worst drought we have seen in decades; since the beginning of March, we have buried 54 people who died from the effects of the drought, seven of them today [20 April]," said Ali Barow, leader of the small town of Guulane, 220km northeast of Mogadishu, the Somali capital. Barow said Guulane and the surrounding villages of Eil Barwaaqo, Hirka Dheere and Hagarey, with an estimated population of 20,000-25,000, were suffering the effects of a prolonged drought.... He said all the water points in the area had dried up. "The remaining water points are not fit for human consumption but people are desperate and will drink anything." Tifow said almost all the deaths were water related. "Most of them died of AWD [acute watery diarrhoea] that was caused by drinking contaminated water." Alasow Sharey Bool, 80, said both people and livestock were dying in the area. "In my 80 years, I have never experienced what I have seen now. This is the worst drought I have witnessed in my lifetime." ...


Don't forget that the number of drowning victims has fallen dramatically.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Apr 13, 2011
from Bloomberg Businessweek:
Graves of Diseased Animals Spur Shift to Evian in S. Korea
More than 1,000 kilometers from Tokyo, Seoul is having its very own crisis of faith in tap water, and radiation isn't to blame. In South Korea, the carcasses of 9.7 million cattle, pigs and poultry were buried in mass graves across the frozen countryside after outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease and bird- flu last winter. That's raised concerns that pollutants may enter groundwater now that the soil has thawed, said Jun Kwan Soo, a professor of environmental engineering at Yeungnam University. ...


Ten million buried cattle, pigs and poultry? What could go wrong?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Apr 8, 2011
from Reuters:
Biodiversity vital to streams as extinctions rise
As Earth enters a period of mass extinction, a study released on Wednesday offers a new reason to preserve biodiversity: it's an effective, natural pollution scrubber in streams. Environmental activists have long warned that waning biodiversity means the loss of such ecological services as stream-cleaning, control of pests and diseases and increased productivity in fisheries. The latest study, published in the journal Nature, shows how this works, demonstrating that streams that contain more species have better water quality than streams that have fewer. The species being discussed are microorganisms such as algae that incorporate elements of pollution into their bodies. The more types of algae there are in a stream, each with a minutely different habitat, the better they are collectively at filtering pollution out of the water. ...


Can't we just bioengineer a quicker picker-upper?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Apr 7, 2011
from ScienceDaily:
Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria in New Delhi Public Water Supply
Disease-causing bacteria carrying the new genetic resistance to antibiotics, NDM-1, have been discovered in New Delhi's drinking water supply. A Cardiff University-led team found new strains of resistant bacteria in the Indian capital, including species which cause cholera and dysentery. The findings are the first evidence of the environmental spread of NDM-1, which had previously only been found in hospitals. The scientists are calling for urgent action by health authorities worldwide to tackle the new strains and prevent their global spread.... While most patients with the bacteria have recently been hospitalised in India, some cases have occurred there without recent hospital treatment, prompting the team to test the wider environment. Samples were taken in New Delhi from public water taps and from waste seepage, such as water pools in the street. Resistant bacteria were found in 4 per cent of the water supplies and 30 per cent of the seepage sites. The researchers identified 11 new species of bacteria carrying the NDM-1 gene, including strains which cause cholera and dysentry. Antibiotics are used to reduce excretion of bacteria in cholera patients, and to reduce the duration and severity of dysentery. Worryingly, the identified Shigella isolate, which can carry dysentery, is resistant to all appropriate antibiotics.... The research team also believes that temperatures and monsoon flooding make New Delhi ideal for the spread of NDM-1. ...


What happens when we see NDM-2, the Sequel?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Apr 1, 2011
from PhysOrg:
Human-powered drill for clean water in developing nations built by student engineers
Other water-drilling alternatives in the region either can't dig deep enough or cost too much, sometimes upwards of $15,000. But the team's device has the potential to drill a 150- to 250-foot-deep hole in a matter of days--all for about $2,000. The drill was created for a year-long engineering capstone project that has students solving real engineering problems with real clients. The team created the drill for WHOLives.org, a nonprofit dedicated to providing clean water, better health and more opportunities to people living in impoverished communities. The organization is currently focusing its drilling efforts on Tanzania, but it has plans to expand its operations to other countries.... The BYU team also had to operate within a number of strict parameters set by WHOlives.org so that the final product can be easily built and maintained in developing countries. The drill uses no gears or customized parts, and it can easily be taken apart, transported in the bed of a truck and reassembled within an hour. The drill can be operated by four people. Three spin the wheel that turns the bit, and the fourth lifts the bit up and down when necessary to punch through tough spots. A water pump system removes the dirt from the six-inch-wide hole. ...


Don't they realize that capitalism wants to treat clean water as a commodity??

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Mar 28, 2011
from Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres via ScienceDaily:
Freshwater Content of Upper Arctic Ocean Increased 20 Percent Since 1990s, Large-Scale Assessment Finds
The freshwater content of the upper Arctic Ocean has increased by about 20 percent since the 1990s, according to a new large-scale assessment... The freshwater content in the layer of the Arctic Ocean near the surface controls whether heat from the ocean is emitted into the atmosphere or to ice. In addition, it has an impact on global ocean circulation...This freshwater lies as a light layer on top of the deeper salty and warm ocean layers and thus extensively cuts off heat flow to the ice and atmosphere. Changes in this layer are therefore major control parameters for the sensitive heat balance of the Arctic. ...


That's the problem with this planet. It's sooooo sensitive.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Mar 24, 2011
from BusinessInsider:
Time Lapse Satellite Photos Show How Humans Are Destroying The World
It takes a lot to provide for 7 billion humans. Mankind is destroying rainforests, draining marshes and drilling into mountains to provide timber, water, coal and other resources. Some of this destruction has been captured in before and after satellite photos.... Before a Soviet Union irrigation project in the 1960s, the Aral Sea was the world's fourth largest lake. During the 2005 to 2009 drought, the lake continued to dry up and was polluted by pesticides and fertilizer. A twenty-five year time-series of coal mining in West Virginia shows the surrounding "valley fills," streams filled with excess rock from the mountaintop removal. Scientists concluded that this mining process has "pervasive and irreversible" consequences. ...


They can Photoshop anything these days. I'm sure everything's just fine.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Mar 22, 2011
from PhysOrg:
Portable solar device creates potable water
By harnessing the power of the sun, a Monash University graduate has designed a simple, sustainable and affordable water-purification device, which has the potential to help eradicate disease and save lives. The Solarball, developed as Mr Jonathan Liow's final year project during his Bachelor of Industrial Design, can produce up to three litres of clean water every day. The spherical unit absorbs sunlight and causes dirty water contained inside to evaporate. As evaporation occurs, contaminants are separated from the water, generating drinkable condensation. The condensation is collected and stored, ready for drinking. Liow's design was driven by a need to help the 900 million people around the world who lack access to safe drinking water. Over two million children die annually from preventable causes, triggered largely by contaminated water. It is an increasing problem in developing nations due to rapid urbanisation and population growth. Mr Liow's simple but effective design is user-friendly and durable, with a weather-resistant construction, making it well suited to people in hot, wet, tropical climates with limited access to resources. ...


There's something a little fishy about a beautiful, clever, cheap device that improves people's lives.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Mar 21, 2011
from Mongabay:
UN: Want water? Save forests
The UN-backed Collaborative Partnership on Forests (CPF) is urging nations to conserve their forests in a bid to mitigate rising water scarcity problems. "[Forests] reduce the effects of floods, prevent soil erosion, regulate the water table and assure a high-quality water supply for people, industry and agriculture," said the Forestry Department Assistant Director General, Eduardo Rojas-Briales, with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). "Forests are part of the natural infrastructure of any country and are essential to the water cycle." In addition, forests reduce the impact of droughts, while preventing desertification and salinization, while loss of tropical rainforests has been shown to decrease local rainfall. In addition, cutting-edge research has even established a link between forest cover and winds delivering rainfall, one that remains quite controversial.... According to the UN, within 15 years 1.8 billion people could suffer from 'absolute water scarcity', while two-thirds of the global population could see water scarcities. Currently, 20 percent of people in the developing world don't have access to clean water. ...


No thanks. I'll just drink beer.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Mar 15, 2011
from TEDX:
What you need to know about natural gas exploration
An astonishing 48 minutes of Dr. Theo Colborn, on the mechanics, engineering, resource use, health impacts, and environmental impacts of fracking and the natural-gas process. Wordy, nerdy, factual, but utterly straightforward. A natural-gas version of "An Inconvenient Truth." Scarier, in many ways, than GasLand, the Oscar-nominated documentary. ...


Toxic from top to bottom, side to side, inside and out. What's left?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Mar 13, 2011
from The Denver Post:
Colorado farmland goes dry as suburbs secure water supplies
Colorado farmers still own more than 80 percent of water flowing in the state, but control is rapidly passing from them as growing suburbs move to secure supplies for the future. The scramble is intensifying as aging farmers offer their valuable water rights to thirsty cities, drying up ag land so quickly that state overseers are worried about the life span of Colorado's agricultural economy.... Since 1987, Colorado farmers and ranchers have sold at least 191,000 acre-feet of water to suburbs, according to a review of water transactional data. (That's enough water to fill Chatfield Reservoir nine times-- and enough to sustain 382,000 families of four for a year.) ...


Few truly appreciate the value of a well-watered lawn and a sparkling-clean car.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Mar 10, 2011
from CBC:
Monitoring of oilsands impact inadequate: panel
The province must do a better job of monitoring the impact of oilsands mining on water quality in northeastern Alberta, concludes a scientific panel. Environment Minister Rob Renner appointed the six-member panel in September 2010 after a University of Alberta study concluded industry was responsible for increased levels of toxins in the Athabasca River, a claim contradicted by government scientists.... It found industry and government monitoring is inadequate in determining the amount of toxins entering the environment.... "It's not just that we have to have more monitoring, but we have to have a more coordinated system for monitoring." NDP critic Rachel Notley said Renner has known for years that the current system was lacking but did nothing about it. "The minister can try to rewrite history, but the record shows that while the Tories barged ahead on development, their commitment to environmental protection was in spin only," said Notley. ...


So get 'em some more flatscreens! Jeez, problem solved!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Mar 9, 2011
from ProPublica:
PA Dep't of Environment Protection Gets the Axe - Environmental Permitting To Be Streamlined
A budget proposal [1] released today by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett emphasizes jobs creation and looks to cuts in environmental protection and permitting as one way to save money.... But a quick glance shows that the Department of Environmental Protection will face reduced funding across the board, including in its water safety and water treatment programs. The state has been under pressure recently to reign in environmental damage from its fast-growing natural gas drilling industry, and has faced criticism--including in a 2009 ProPublica investigation [2]---for its inability to handle and safely treat wastewater produced from the drilling process. In response, the DEP has added staff, implemented stricter drilling rules, and begun permitting and building new and improved water treatment plants. That momentum could now change.... "Regulatory Reform:... In addition, the DCED secretary is empowered to expedite any permit or action pending in any agency where the creation of jobs may be impacted." ...


What a great job that would be!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Feb 28, 2011
from London Daily Mail:
Water demand will 'outstrip supply by 40 percent within 20 years' due to climate change and population growth
Water demand in many countries will exceed supply by 40 per cent within 20 years due to the combined threat of climate change and population growth, scientists have warned. A new way of thinking about water is needed as looming shortages threaten communities, agriculture and industry, experts said. In the next two decades, a third of humanity will have only half the water required to meet basic needs, said researchers. Agriculture, which soaks up 71 per cent of water supplies, is also likely to suffer, affecting food production. ...


That's why I'm sticking with my Diet Coke.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Feb 8, 2011
from Reuters:
Milwaukee, Chicago Areas May Face Water Shortages: Report
The Great Lakes region, the world's largest freshwater system, could face local water shortages in the Chicago and Milwaukee areas due to increased demand and environmental changes, the U.S. Geological Survey said on Monday. Water levels in Chicago and Milwaukee could drop by an additional 100 feet over the next 30 years due to increased demand from pumping of groundwater that has already reduced groundwater levels as much as 1,000 feet, the report found... The five Great Lakes make up 84 percent of the fresh surface water in North America overall. ...


The sad fate / of the not so Great / Lakes

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Feb 2, 2011
from West Central Tribune, Willmar, Minnesota:
Not enough being done to prevent zebra mussels spread in local lakes; potential to be 'biggest bombshell' ever for county
If anything is going to be done to prevent invasive species like zebra mussels from entering county lakes, it may have to be done locally. Kandiyohi County Commissioner Dennis Peterson said legislators do not understand how serious the problem is and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is procrastinating and not taking necessary action. The end result will most surely be a disastrous infestation of zebra mussels that could cause property values around high-priced lakes like Green Lake to plummet, he said. A 30 percent drop in property values is already happening on lakes near Alexandria where zebra mussels have been found, Peterson said. If that happens here it will be the "biggest bombshell this county has ever seen," said Peterson, who's afraid that it may already be too late to prevent zebra mussels from entering Green Lake. During a report Tuesday at the County Board of Commissioners' meeting, Peterson said it's time for local lake associations and residents to "really raise heck." ...


A little heck-raising may indeed be required.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Jan 3, 2011
from National Geographic News:
"Mining" Groundwater in India Reaches New Lows
Nearly a third of India is suffering from chronic water shortages, and making up for it with "the world's largest groundwater mining operation," according to experts. A band of land stretching across northern India, at the foot of the Himalayan Mountains, is one of the most heavily populated and intensely irrigated regions in the world. The area is chronically short of water. But the region still has a limited supply of it in underground aquifers, according to water resources expert Shama Perveen of Columbia University. According to a new study by Perveen and her colleagues, Upmanu Lall and Naresh Devineni, some parts of India are using groundwater three times faster than it's being replenished. ...


Pretty soon, all that'll be left in those aquifers... is fur.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Dec 31, 2010
from Earth Institute:
'Erin Brockovich' Hexavalent Chromium Found in Tap Water of 31 U.S. Cities
The carcinogenic chemical chromium-6 (or hexavalent chromium) has been found in the drinking water of 31 of 35 U.S. cities analyzed by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) which released results of its tests on December 20. Chromium-6 is the chemical made infamous in the movie "Erin Brockovich," about the residents of Hinkley, California, who won $333 million in damages in 1996 from Pacific Gas and Electric for polluting their drinking water with chromium-6. Chromium-6 is highly toxic and has been found to cause allergic dermatitis, and stomach and gastrointestinal cancer in animals and humans. Used in the manufacture of stainless steel, textiles, anticorrosion coatings, and in leather tanning, it gets into drinking water through industrial pollution. It is also present naturally in some minerals.... In its tests, EWG found that 25 of the cities tested had levels of chromium-6 higher than California's proposed limit. Norman, OK's level at 12.9 ppb was 200 times the California limit; Honolulu, HA's chromium-6 measured 2.00 ppb; Riverside, CA's was 1.69 ppb; Madison, WI's was 1.58 ppb; and San Jose, CA had 1.34 ppb. The utilities that service the 31 cities whose tap water contained chromium-6 provide water to over 26 million people. ...


All that chromium makes my insides so bright and shiny!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Dec 22, 2010
from IRIN:
Water shortage hits Somaliland
Residents in parts of Somalia's northeastern self-declared republic of Somaliland are facing severe water shortages after poor October to December Deyr rains. "In the eastern regions of Somaliland, such as Sool, Sanag and Togdheer, the people are already facing livelihood difficulties, as well as water shortages, because all the barkads [water pans] have run out of water," said Mohamed Muse Awale, director of Somaliland's National Disaster Committee.... "The nearest place to get water is Damal Hagare [160km northeast] in Sanag region and the prices have increased from US$8 to $15 [for 200 litres]," Said Mohamoud Abdi Mohamoud, from the Hudun District in Sool, told IRIN. According to a Famine Early Warning Systems Network report, poor rainfall in December is likely to "further stress water resources and negatively impact [on] crop and rangeland conditions in the Greater Horn of Africa". ...


Why don't they just move? That's what I'd do.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Dec 8, 2010
from Earth Institute:
Parched for Peace: The Fertile Crescent Might Be Barren
Hydrology experts and research scientists at the conference reported that between 2002 and 2008, the [Syrian] national water supply fell from 1,200 to less than 750 cubic meters per person per year, a decrease of over 35 percent. At the conference, scientists and hydrological engineers expressed concern over not only the low water supply itself but also, the rapid rate of decline. Many were not surprised by the news, however, pointing to Syria's notoriously inefficient water policies and supply systems. Consequently, many also pointed out that with some reform in these two areas, Syria could easily meet its water needs. A key aspect to such efficiency reforms will be changing agricultural practices. Crop irrigation currently constitutes 80 percent of Syria's water consumption and due to the continued application of outdated techniques (such as flood irrigation), more than 70 percent of this water is wasted through evaporation and runoff.... Climate scientists say that the entire Fertile Crescent - which encompasses all of Syria and much of neighbor Iraq - might be turning barren. Such a permanent, drastic decline in agriculture in the face of diminishing oil reserves and declining foreign investments would spell disaster for Syria. Iraq faces a similarly tenuous future: agriculture there has been all but decimated by years of warfare and drought. The collapse of farming is presenting extreme economic challenges as well as safety concerns: both Syria and Iraq are becoming increasingly dependent on imported food and water, and both face growing numbers of displaced migrants no longer able to glean profit or sustenance from farming. ...


Why can't they just turn their faucets up to 11?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Dec 1, 2010
from Earth Institute:
California's Water Rights Controversy: Should Farmers Be Allowed to Transfer Water to Developers?
Two farmers in San Joaquin Valley, California have recently come under scrutiny for proposing to sell their water rights to developers. As a part of the Dudley Ridge Water District they have the right to draw up to 57,343 acre-feet of water per year from the California State Water Project. (An acre-foot is the amount it takes to cover an acre of land in a foot of water - about twice as much as an average household uses in a year.) The California Department of Water Resources defines its State Water Project as "a water storage and delivery system of reservoirs, aqueducts, powerplants and pumping plants," 30 percent of which is set aside for agriculture and from which farmers are allotted their yearly supply. Under this potential sale, the farmers would be paid a total of $11.7 million dollars, as they sell the water at a price of $5,850 per acre-foot to the Tejon Ranch who will have access to 2,000 acre-feet per year. This kind of arrangement is not limited to these two farmers, and is an increasingly common occurrence as the water a farm has access to becomes more valuable than the returns from actually growing crops. Last year, the Dudley Ridge Water District sold 14,000 acre feet of water to the Mojave Water District for a total gain of $73 million. While the idea of transferring water is not new, the main difference is that while up until this point the majority of water transfers have been temporary agreements between districts, this is a permanent transfer of water.... Another commonly echoed argument against permanent and long-term water transfers is that it gives farmers an unfair advantage since they pay a mere $500 per acre-foot compared with the district’s selling price of $5,850 per acre-foot. ...


"Farming water" seems a little bit of a stretch, but not at those profit margins.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Nov 23, 2010
from PhysOrg:
Rice production withers as Egypt diverts water supply
In Kafr el-Sheikh, rice farmers once looked forward to harvest time, but work has dried up in the large Nile Delta town since water shortages prompted heavy restrictions on production. Under pressure from upstream countries to use its share of the river's waters more sparingly, Egypt's government has decided to severely restrict the farming of this water-intensive crop. But the move threatens the price and supply of a commodity that feeds many of the country's burgeoning poor, as well as being a lucrative Egyptian export and a key employer in the agricultural sector.... Rationalising the use of its precious water supplies is a growing imperative for Cairo, with Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda demanding a more equitable share of the Nile waters on which Egypt so heavily depends.... Others criticise Egypt's decision to focus its agricultural production on lucrative export crops, at the expense of basic food supplies for its 80 million people. "Why reduce the area allocated to rice production when it is the staple diet of many Egyptians," asked Habib Ayeb, at the American University in Cairo, pointing out that Egypt is a major exporter of another water-intensive crop -- strawberries. ...


Hey, if we don't use it up, it just goes downstream!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Nov 19, 2010
from Earth Institute:
'Small is Also Beautiful' - Appropriate Technology Cuts Rice Famers' Water Use by 30 Percent in Punjab, India
But the Green Revolution in Punjab came with a heavy price. Even as yields per acre shot up year after year, heavy use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizer and tube-irrigation soared as well, contributing to cancer, degrading the natural capital of the soil and-perhaps most importantly-depleting non-renewable underground aquifers at staggering speed. Now, even as agricultural productivity has plateaued, a dropping water table now puts the food security of the entire country at risk.... The team then installed the tensiometers in rice fields. In order to get accurate results, farmers were instructed to irrigate only one acre of their fields based on the tensiometer readings, and to use the other fields as control plots. Initial results were remarkable. On average, farmers irrigated the tensiometer fields 30 to 35 percent less than on control plots--with no adverse impact on yield. In fact, anecdotal reports suggested that in some cases yield actually improved, as farmers were able to minimize some pest diseases associated with excessive standing water. ...


"Appropriate technology" seems so appropriate!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Nov 16, 2010
from Associated Press:
EPA announces Fla. water pollution rules
The federal Environmental Protection Agency for the first time Monday in Florida set numeric water pollution standards for a state although 13 others already have adopted such rules on their own. The federal standards are required by the settlement of a lawsuit last year. They replace Florida's vague descriptive regulations for determining when rivers, lakes and other inland waters are polluted with such contaminants as fertilizer and animal and human waste. Those pollutants are blamed for toxic algae blooms that have clogged Florida's waterways. "The EPA has stepped in to rescue Florida from a powerful gang of polluters who for decades have used campaign contributions and intimidation to stop state government in Tallahassee from taking this action," said Frank Jackalone, Florida staff director for the Sierra Club. His is one of five environmental groups that sued EPA for failing to enforce the Clean Water Act of 1972, charging Florida was allowed to get away without adopting numeric standards. ...


This is especially important in a state that will have so much more water once sea levels rise.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Nov 13, 2010
from New York Times:
Drought in the Amazon, Up Close and Personal
In the field we worried about why it was raining so little. Back in Iquitos, Peru, we discovered that our field work had coincided with the worst drought ever recorded in the Amazon basin. Reading the previous two-and-a-half weeks of e-mail, it was possible to track the drought's progress through the newsletters I receive every few days from a Brazilian research institute. First there was a note saying that the river level gauge at Manaus was at the twelfth lowest stage in recorded history. A few days later, a note said it was at the second lowest stage in history, and then, on Oct. 26, a note confirmed that the river had dropped to the lowest recorded level since measuring began 108 years ago.... The low readings at Manaus did not make front-page news back home, but maybe they deserved to: Two of the three worst Amazon droughts in history have now occurred within the last five years,­ the sort of coincidence that also turns up in conversations these days about icebergs and hurricanes and Siberian heat waves. But the drought was definitely news in Iquitos, where people were deeply upset by the lack of rain. It was unsettling, too, for our little band of biologists to be writing about the drought on laptops powered by Iquitos's gas-fired power plant, located in a part of Peru where roughly half of the landscape is currently inside oil and gas concessions. ...


Iiii wanna know / if we never see the rain / will we smile / on a sunny day

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Nov 12, 2010
from AFP, via Yahoo News:
Beijing to melt snow to address water shortage
Beijing will collect and melt snow this winter in a bid to quench the water shortage that has plagued the Chinese capital for years, state media reported Friday. Two vehicles with high-powered heaters capable of processing around 100 cubic metres (3,500 cubic feet) of snow and ice an hour will be sent to locations around Tiananmen Square, the Global Times said. Clean snow will also be dumped into dammed sections in three rivers that drift through the city to be used for road cleaning, irrigation and to supplement the rivers' water levels, it said. Additional snow-melting areas have been assigned citywide, it added.... Water consumption in Beijing, with a population of nearly 20 million and growing, rose to 3.55 billion cubic metres last year, compared with its water supply of 2.18 billion cubic metres, the Global Times said. ...


Apocaiku:
Beijing's borrowing / from the cold bank of winter / to pay water debt.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Nov 7, 2010
from PhysOrg:
Urine for sale? South African city wants to buy
Get paid to pee. That's the deal on offer in the South African city of Durban, where the city is looking to buy liquid waste to encourage residents to use dry toilets.... Aiming to improve hygiene and save money, the port city has installed in home gardens about 90,000 toilets that don't use a single drop of water. Now Durban wants to install 20-litre (quart) containers on 500 of the toilets to capture urine -- rich in nitrates, phosphorus and potassium, which can be turned into fertiliser. A municipal worker would collect the jerry cans once a week and could pay around 30 rands (four dollars, three euros) to the family -- not a small sum in a country where 43 percent of the population lives on less than two dollars a day.... "If we can turn the toilets into a source of revenues, then they will want to use the toilets," said Neil MacLeod, Durban's head of water and sanitation.... "South Africa is a water-stressed country," said Teddy Gounden, who heads the project. "With the increase in demand for drinking water, we cannot afford to flush this valuable resource down the sewer." ...


The business opportunities in a high-demand, low-supply world are astonishing!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Nov 3, 2010
from New York Times:
Rising Seas and the Groundwater Equation
Worldwide overpumping of groundwater, particularly in northern India, Iran, Mexico, northeastern China and the American West, more than doubled from 1960 to 2000 and is responsible for about 25 percent of the rise in sea level, according to estimates in a new study by a team of Dutch researchers published in Geophysical Review Letters. The general idea that groundwater used for irrigation is running off into ocean-bound rivers or evaporating into the clouds, only to end up raining into the ocean, has been around for two decades or so; it was a focus of a 2005 paper in The Journal of Hydrogeology. But Peter H. Gleick, a leading expert on water issues, said the new paper offers a fresh way of quantifying the phenomenon. Mr. Gleick, president of the Oakland-based Pacific Institute, said that experts on groundwater issues "have known for a long time that that water ultimately ends up in the oceans and contributes to sea level rise. What we haven't known is the magnitude and severity of the problem." ...


The sky IS falling!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Oct 27, 2010
from ScienceDaily:
Uranium in Groundwater? 'Fracking' Mobilizes Uranium in Marcellus Shale
Scientific and political disputes over drilling Marcellus shale for natural gas have focused primarily on the environmental effects of pumping millions of gallons of water and chemicals deep underground to blast through rocks to release the natural gas. But University at Buffalo researchers have now found that that process -- called hydraulic fracturing or "fracking"-- also causes uranium that is naturally trapped inside Marcellus shale to be released, raising additional environmental concerns.... "Marcellus shale naturally traps metals such as uranium and at levels higher than usually found naturally, but lower than manmade contamination levels," says Tracy Bank, PhD, assistant professor of geology in UB's College of Arts and Sciences and lead researcher. "My question was, if they start drilling and pumping millions of gallons of water into these underground rocks, will that force the uranium into the soluble phase and mobilize it? Will uranium then show up in groundwater?" ...


Oh, Cassandra, will you fracking shut up?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Oct 26, 2010
from London Guardian:
Drought brings Amazon tributary to lowest level in a century
One of the most important tributaries of the Amazon river has fallen to its lowest level in over a century, following a fierce drought that has isolated tens of thousands of rainforest inhabitants and raised concerns about the possible impact of climate change on the region. The drought currently affecting swaths of north and west Amazonia has been described as the one of the worst in the last 40 years, with the Rio Negro or Black river, which flows into the world-famous Rio Amazonas, reportedly hitting its lowest levels since records began in 1902 on Sunday. In 24 hours the level of the Rio Negro near Manaus in Brazil dropped 6cm to 13.63 metres, a historic low. ...


What will we call the rainforest, in the Age of Drought?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Oct 26, 2010
from Greenwire:
Slide in EPA Clean Water Criminal Enforcement Continues Under Obama
Criminal enforcement of federal water-pollution laws has continued a more than decadelong slide under the Obama administration, despite pledged improvements, according to U.S. EPA data. The government reported 32 new Clean Water Act convictions during the fiscal year that ended in September, down from 42 in 2009. The number of criminal water pollution cases initiated by the agency fell from 28 last year to 21 this year... The numbers indicate that the Obama administration so far has been unable to reverse a trend that started under President George W. Bush... ...


Where's the water police when you need 'em!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Oct 23, 2010
from Associated Press:
Horror disease hits Uganda
A disease whose progression and symptoms seem straight out of a horror movie but which can be treated has killed at least 20 Ugandans and sickened more than 20,000 in just two months. Jiggers, small insects which look like fleas, are the culprits in the epidemic which causes parts of the body to rot. They often enter through the feet. Once inside a person's body, they suck the blood, grow and breed, multiplying by the hundreds. Affected body parts -- buttocks, lips, even eyelids -- rot away...The insects breed in dirty, dusty places. The medical name for the parasitic disease is tungiasis, which is caused by the female sand fly burrowing into the skin. It exists in parts of Latin America and the Caribbean, besides sub-Saharan Africa...health workers are telling residents of the 12 affected districts in Uganda that jiggers thrive amid poor hygienic conditions. ...


Praise the Lord and pass the hand sanitizer.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Oct 22, 2010
from BBC:
Warming destabilises freshwater aquatic ecosystems
Future warming could have "profound implications" for the stability of freshwater ecosystems, a study warns. Researchers said warmer water affected the distribution and size of plankton - tiny organisms that form the basis of food chains in aquatic systems. The team warmed plankton-containing vessels by 4C (7F) - the temperature by which some of the world's rivers and lakes could warm over the next century.... "Essentially, what we observed within the phytoplankton (microscopic plants) community was that it switched from a system that was dominated by larger autotrophs (plants that photosynthesise) to a system that was dominated by smaller autotrophs with a lower standing biomass." Dr Yvon-Durocher added that a greater abundance, but lower overall biomass, of smaller phytoplankton had "very important implications for the stability of plankton food webs".... "This meant that the distribution of biomass between plants and animals changed from a... situation where you had a large amount of plants and a smaller amount of animal consumers to an 'inverted pyramid' where you have a smaller quantity of plant biomass and a larger amount of animal biomass," he told BBC News. ...


I eat the food pyramid upside down. Why not the rivers?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Oct 19, 2010
from NSF/NCAR, via EurekAlert:
Drought may threaten much of globe within decades
The United States and many other heavily populated countries face a growing threat of severe and prolonged drought in coming decades, according to results of a new study by National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) scientist Aiguo Dai. The detailed analysis concludes that warming temperatures associated with climate change will likely create increasingly dry conditions across much of the globe in the next 30 years. The drought may reach a scale in some regions by the end of the century that has rarely, if ever, been observed in modern times.... While regional climate projections are less certain than those for the globe as a whole, Dai's study indicates that most of the western two-thirds of the United States will be significantly drier by the 2030s.... "We are facing the possibility of widespread drought in the coming decades, but this has yet to be fully recognized by both the public and the climate change research community," Dai says. "If the projections in this study come even close to being realized, the consequences for society worldwide will be enormous." ...


Only this time, the great clouds of the dustbowl will be laced with unknown toxins from corporate farms.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Oct 18, 2010
from New York Times:
Lake Mead Hits Record Low Level
Sometime between 11 and noon on Sunday, the water level in Lake Mead, the massive reservoir whose water fills the taps of millions of people across the Southwest, fell lower than it ever has since it was filled 75 years ago. Even as a flurry of thunderstorms dropped rain on the Las Vegas area, with as much as an inch falling in the mountains to the north, Lake Mead's level dropped to 1,083.18 feet above sea level just before noon, and fell further, to 1,083.09, by 9 local time Monday morning.... Lake Mead's levels are still eight feet above the level at which a shortage is officially declared and limited rationing could go into effect.... But Barry Nelson, a senior policy analyst for the Natural Resources Defense Council, said: "This strikes me as such an amazing moment. It's three-quarters of a century since they filled it. And at the three-quarter-century mark, the world has changed."... Mr. Nelson said that the 11-year drought, which has caused the Colorado River to deliver considerably less water than its users have been promised, "reflects weather patterns that are what climate models predict for an era of climate change." "Either these are early indicators of climate change or conditions we should expect more of in the future," he concludes. ...


2010 just keeps rackin' up the records!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Oct 17, 2010
from The Walrus:
The Last Great Water Fight
Sixteen hundred kilometres downstream from Fort Chip, the Mackenzie River empties a watershed nearly the size of Western Europe into the Arctic Ocean. Draining half of Alberta and most of the Northwest Territories, as well as parts of British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and the Yukon, the Mackenzie is one of the world's great water arteries.... At their deepest level, the [river development] negotiations feature two starkly different views of humanity's prerogatives. One has framed four centuries of North American development under Euro-colonial management. It puts man first, fashioning nature primarily as a resource for the fulfillment of human desires. The other sees our species as one -- but only one -- of nature's creations, as dependent on a healthy habitat as any moose or beaver.... A 2009 effort by the Ottawa-based Canadian Boreal Initiative to put a value on "non-market" services provided by the Mackenzie ecosystem tallied the total at $570.6 billion a year -- ten times the market price of all the gold, diamonds, and oil clawed from its soil annually. ...


This is, sadly, a watershed decade.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Oct 11, 2010
from New York Times:
Water Crisis Threatens Asia's Rise
Framed by banana and eucalyptus trees, the caramel-colored Mekong River rolls through this lush corner of Yunnan Province in southwestern China with an unerring rhythm that is reassuring in its seeming timelessness. Yet as recently as April, a fearsome drought had shriveled the Mekong to its narrowest width in 50 years. Water levels were so low that at Guanlei, a river town not far from here, dozens of boats were laid up for more than three months....the incident highlighted the strains that are being generated as the unslakable Asian thirst for water collides with the reality of a supply that is limited and, if climate change projections are borne out, may shrink sharply....The risk of conflict over water rights is magnified because China and India are home to more than a third of the world's population yet have to make do with less than 10 percent of its water. ...


How dry I am just reading this story!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Oct 3, 2010
from Huffington Post:
EPA Seeks To Regulate Toxic Chemical, Perchlorate, Under Safe Drinking Water Act, Reversing Bush Administration Decision
The Environmental Protection Agency wants to regulate a toxic chemical used in rocket fuel that has contaminated drinking water supplies, reversing a decision made under the Bush administration. A government official briefed by the EPA told The Associated Press on Thursday night that the agency has proposed that the chemical, perchlorate, be regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The official, who did not want to be named because a final decision has not been made, said the plan is now under interagency review. Perchlorate has been found in drinking water in at least 35 states at levels high enough to interfere with thyroid function and pose developmental problems in humans, particularly for babies and fetuses. The Defense Department used perchlorate for decades in testing rockets and missiles, and most perchlorate contamination stems from defense and aerospace activities. In 2008, under President George W. Bush, the EPA decided against regulating the chemical, saying that setting a federal standard would do little to reduce risks to public health. That decision angered environmentalists and Democratic lawmakers. ...


If we remove all the drinking water contaminants, what will motivate us to sustain the bottled-water economy?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Sep 25, 2010
from AGU:
Groundwater depletion rate accelerating worldwide
In recent decades, the rate at which humans worldwide are pumping dry the vast underground stores of water that billions depend on has more than doubled, say scientists who have conducted an unusual, global assessment of groundwater use. These fast-shrinking subterranean reservoirs are essential to daily life and agriculture in many regions, while also sustaining streams, wetlands, and ecosystems and resisting land subsidence and salt water intrusion into fresh water supplies. Today, people are drawing so much water from below that they are adding enough of it to the oceans (mainly by evaporation, then precipitation) to account for about 25 percent of the annual sea level rise across the planet, the researchers find. Soaring global groundwater depletion bodes a potential disaster for an increasingly globalized agricultural system, says Marc Bierkens of Utrecht University in Utrecht, the Netherlands, and leader of the new study. "If you let the population grow by extending the irrigated areas using groundwater that is not being recharged, then you will run into a wall at a certain point in time, and you will have hunger and social unrest to go with it," Bierkens warns. "That is something that you can see coming for miles." ...


If Nature didn't want that water used, she'd have buried it far from where humans could find it.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Sep 21, 2010
from Financial Times:
Arid cities face future without water
Nestling in Yemen's rugged highlands, the city of Sana'a has hosted ancient dynasties and survived countless foreign invaders during its more than 2,500 years of existence.... Yet today Sana'a is facing a crisis that has the potential to threaten its existence as the Yemeni capital. Man and nature have combined to rob it of its most precious resource - water. "If we continue at this rate, water will be completely gone from Sana'a in the next 10-12 years," says a Yemeni government official.... In 2008, the equivalent of $500m in diesel subsidies was used to pump water for agriculture, almost half of it in the Sana'a basin, the official adds. ...


Dang! I keep forgetting we can't just grow forever!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Sep 17, 2010
from IRIN:
Nepal: Global warming swells glacial lakes, endangering thousands
As global warming shrinks glaciers along the world's highest peaks, glacial lakes in Nepal are increasingly at risk of bursting the natural dams containing them - endangering the lives of tens of thousands in communities below, experts say. Nepalese authorities have identified about 20 "priority" lakes at risk of leading to glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs), and are using various methods to reduce the volume of water in some of them.... "GLOFs come very fast, carry great big boulders; they can push down rock walls and destroy river banks. The destructive impact is very, very high," Mool told IRIN by phone from Kathmandu. ...


Didn't the Himalayan glaciers get the message about the IPCC being wrong about them?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Sep 16, 2010
from Guardian:
'We will have no water and that will be the end of the world for us'
He lives in a small village called Pampa Corral, at 4,020m (nearly 13,000ft) in the Cusco region, and he grows a staggering 215 varieties of potatoes - red ones, black ones, translucent ones, shapes and sizes you cannot imagine.... But the point is, folk like Julio and their extraordinary diversity of crops are critically endangered by the massive changes they observe taking place in the High Andes. When Julio was a boy, (he's now in his 50s) a glacier was just two minutes walk from his door. Now it is a nine-hour hike away. "The seasons used to be very clear, we knew when to plant. Now we have less water. We used to get the water from the glacier. Now we have twice as many mosquitoes. We have no light from the glacier I don't understand what is going on. We feel very disoriented," he said. "I think that I will have no water and that will be the end of the world for us." Peru is said to be the 56th richest country in the world, with 28 of the world's 35 climates and more than 70 percent of the tropical glaciers on earth. Most are in rapid retreat, leaving behind devastated farmers and communities short of water. ...


I guess Julio will just have to get a real job.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Sep 14, 2010
from PR Watch:
Lauria Quit Cigarettes, But Now He's on the Bottle
...Bottled water means big money for beverage manufacturers, but people are starting to realize that it's also big drain on their wallets and the environment. Bottled water costs a whopping 2,000 times more than tap water, and about 40 percent of mass-produced bottled water brands come from the same sources as tap water. Tap water is also subjected to more regulations than bottled water. Moreover, bottled water also siphons money from taxpayers' pockets. Last March, Corporate Accountability International surveyed the budgets of five states and found that taxpayers in those states were shelling out between $78,000 and $450,000 for bottled water, a resource that essentially flows free from public taps. People are discovering this information to the detriment of the bottled water companies, which made $11 billion on the product in 2008.... When he worked for the tobacco industry, Tom Lauria used to deny smoking was addictive. He denied the connection between secondhand smoke and respiratory disease. He also denied the health affects of parental smoking on children, opposed restrictions on cigarette vending machines and told us that efforts to end smoking in public places would lead to Prohibition. Now Lauria works for the International Bottled Water Association, which occupies the same address as the American Beverage Association, the soft drink companies' lobbying group. Lauria is running a campaign to try to convince people that bottled water is indisposable. ...


When Lauria's free, I'd like to hire him to convince people that the planet is not warming!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Sep 8, 2010
from EnvironmentalResearchWeb:
The rise and rise of water shortage
Over the past 2000 years, population increase has been four times more significant than climate change in the rise of water shortage. That's according to researchers from Finland and The Netherlands, who have analysed population growth, climate data and water-resource availability.... "Water shortage increased extremely rapidly from 1960 onward, with the proportion of the global population living under chronic water shortage increasing from 9 percent, or 280 million people, in 1960 to 35 percent (2,300 million) in 2005." "The pace of growth of water scarcity - which according to our analysis is very rapid in many geographically large and highly populated regions of the planet - is striking," said Kummu. ...


Meet you at the deep end.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Aug 18, 2010
from Rice, via EnvironmentalResearchWeb:
Carbon surprise on Texas river
A new study by geochemists at Rice University finds that damming and other human activity has completely obscured the natural carbon dioxide cycle in Texas' longest river, the Brazos. "The natural factors that influence carbon dioxide cycling in the Brazos are fairly obvious, and we expected the radiocarbon signature of the river to reflect those influences," said study co-author Caroline Masiello, assistant professor of Earth science at Rice. "But it looks like whatever the natural process was in the Brazos, in terms of sources and sinks of carbon dioxide, it has been completely overprinted by human activities." ... Plants take up carbon dioxide from the air via photosynthesis and store it in their leaves and stems. Some of that stored carbon gets buried in the soil and locked away for hundreds or thousands of years. But much is also washed into rivers, where rapid decomposition can quickly return it to the atmosphere. Understanding when and where that plant carbon dioxide is returned to the atmosphere is essential if policymakers are to plan effective carbon-sequestration strategies.... Scientists currently believe Earth's rivers take up about 1 gigaton of carbon each year and give off about the same amount. But the exact dynamics of the process are largely unknown. For example, the residence time of carbon dioxide - how long it stays in the river - has been studied in fewer than a half a dozen rivers worldwide. If a significant number of those rivers are like the Brazos, scientists may need to adjust the way they think about rivers inhaling and exhaling carbon dioxide. ...


Is that a "known unknown" or an "unknown unknown"?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Aug 17, 2010
from Toronto Star:
A new issue percolates throughout India: How much to charge for water?
Every day that it's open for business, the local Coca-Cola bottling plant in this parched corner of India draws about 200,000 litres of underground water from four wells. Coke's annual bill for 36 million litres? Zero. Like many Indian states, Rajasthan doesn't charge for taking water from groundwater reservoirs because free water has been considered a fundamental right in India for decades. Yet water conservation advocates say that principle needs to be rethought at a time when economic growth and population pressure are expected to double demand over the next 25 years. ...


Zero? Why, that's the price that refreshes Coke's shareholders.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Aug 8, 2010
from Daily Mail:
Billions of pieces of rubbish clogging Three Gorges
... But China's Three Gorges superstructure is now under threat from vast floating islands of rubbish and debris which have been swept into the Yangtze River by torrential rain and flooding. The debris has clogged a large swathe of the river and the locks of the hydroelectric dam - which cost $25billion to build and claimed more than 100 lives - are now at risk. The crust of rubbish is jammed so thick in places that people can stand on it. The Three Gorges rubbish jam is not an isolated occurrence. Another island covering 15,000 square metres - more than 150,000 square feet - had lodged under a bridge in the north-eastern city of Baishan in Jilin province and was blocking water flow. Officials in Baishan are racing against time to clear the debris as they fear a fresh wave of flooding could bring down the bridge. If the island is washed downstream, it could block floodgates at the Yunfeng dam, now operating at full capacity.... 'We have collected 40 trucks of the trash, but the remaining trash might fill another 200 trucks,' police officer Wang Yong said. More rain is forecast in the coming days. ...


Thank goodness this is an isolated occurrence!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Aug 6, 2010
from BBC:
Pakistan floods 'hit 12m people'
The worst floods in Pakistan's history have now affected 12 million people, says the government relief agency. General Nadeem Ahmed, of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), said that figure only covered Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab provinces. Figures for Sindh province were not yet available, he added.... As well the estimate of 12 million people affected, Gen Ahmed said that 650,000 houses had been destroyed. "In my opinion, when assessments are complete, this will be the biggest disaster in the history of Pakistan," he told a news conference in Islamabad on Friday.... And the region is only midway through monsoon season, with more rain forecast. ...


I hate it when "Singin' in the Rain" gets to that primal-scream part.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Aug 2, 2010
from Guardian:
Floating debris threatens to block Three Gorges dam
Thousands of tonnes of rubbish washed down by recent torrential rain are threatening to jam the locks of China's massive Three Gorges dam, and is in places so thick people can stand on it, state media said on Monday. Chen Lei, a senior official at the China Three Gorges Corporation, told the China Daily that 3,000 tonnes of rubbish was being collected at the dam every day, but there were still not enough resources to clean it all up. "The large amount of waste in the dam area could jam the miter gate of the Three Gorges dam," Chen said, referring to the gates of the locks which allow shipping to pass through the Yangtze river. The river is a crucial commercial artery for the upstream city of Chongqing and other areas in China's less-developed western interior provinces.... Environmentalists have warned for years that the reservoir could turn into a cesspool of raw sewage and industrial chemicals backing on to nearby Chongqing city, fearing that silt trapped behind the dam could cause erosion downstream. China has made scant progress on schemes drawn up nearly a decade ago to limit pollution in and around the reservoir. Chen said about 10m yuan is spent each year clearing 150,000 to 200,000 cubic metres of floating waste by the dam. ...


Dam! Who would have expected debris?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Jul 29, 2010
from BBC:
Floods wash barrels of chemicals into China river
Rescue teams in north-east China are working to retrieve 3,000 barrels of chemicals washed into a major river, state media say. Severe floods washed the barrels, from two chemical storage facilities, into the Songhua river in Jilin city. Around 400 barrels have been recovered so far by workers at eight stations on the river. Water quality was being checked and no chemicals had yet been found in the water, state media said. Several parts of China have been hit by flooding in recent weeks, amid the worst seasonal rains in a decade. Elsewhere in Jilin, 30,000 people in the town of Kouqian were said to be trapped by floodwaters after a reservoir and two rivers burst its banks.... The remaining 3,000 contained flammable chemicals, it said. Water supplies in the city of 4.5 million people were briefly suspended and panic-buying reported as residents stocked up on bottled water. ...


Something tells me that any catastrophic flood would have flooded the river with lots of chemicals.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Jul 26, 2010
from IRIN:
Mali: Water has become a "luxury"
Local and national authorities - backed by international agencies - have sent truckloads of water and thousands of tons of rice and fodder to Kidal, where animals are dying daily and water for drinking and bathing is increasingly rare. While residents say the assistance has been significant, they say it is insufficient and long-term solutions are indispensable. "Catastrophe" is in store if water shortages are not resolved, according to a report the Kidal regional assembly recently submitted to President Amadou Toumani Touré following an evaluation in the region. A continuation of today's conditions "will set in motion a vicious cycle: chaotic displacement of people, tension and conflict and urban overpopulation." "The region's very stability is threatened."... Housseini Maďga, president of a government and civil society water organisation in Mali, said a town north of Gao, Mali, "saw not a drop of rain in all of 2009 - nothing". ...


And waiter, bring me a bottle of your finest H20, spare no expense.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Jul 21, 2010
from Wall Street Journal:
A Water Fight Over Luxury Showers
Regulators are going after some of the luxury shower fixtures that took off in the housing boom. Many have multiple nozzles, cost thousands of dollars and emit as many as 12 gallons of water a minute. In May, the DOE stunned the plumbing-products industry when it said it would adopt a strict definition of the term "showerhead" in enforcing standards that have been on the books -- but largely unenforced -- for nearly 20 years. Industry response has been fast and furious. "It was not the legislative intent of Congress to authorize DOE to regulate the bathing habits of Americans," wrote Frederick Desborough, vice president of California Faucets, a Huntington Beach, Calif., manufacturer, in a letter to the DOE in June. The showdown is a challenge to President Barack Obama and his energy secretary, Steven Chu, as they try to cajole -- or compel -- Americans to use water and energy more efficiently. ...


It is my God-given, American right to waste as much water as I please!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Jul 21, 2010
from Environmental Health News:
New membrane makes fresh water from sea and sewage feasible
Researchers at Yale University have developed a custom membrane that can clean and purify water from oceans, salty ground water or sewage water with far less energy input than currently is required to do a similar job. The membrane may be a big step forward in reaching the goal of reliable and affordable sources of fresh water. Finding sustainable sources of clean drinking water is a major global challenge, especially in most of the developing world. The need is apparent in both urban areas, due to growing population and demand, and rural regions, where sometimes scarce water supplies are quickly drying up. As fresh water becomes more scarce, desalination and filtering will be increasingly necessary to satisfy the world's unquenchable thirst for this precious commodity. Yet, neither of the existing desalination technologies -- distilling sea water water vapors by boiling then collecting the water vapors or reverse osmosis where water is pushed through membranes to filter the salt -- are feasible on a large scale. Both require high amounts of energy to either boil the water or create pressure. ...


Now if we can just develop a membrane to turn that water into wine.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Jul 21, 2010
from NRDC:
More than One Out of Three U.S. Counties Face Water Shortages Due to Climate Change
More than 1,100 U.S. counties -- a full one-third of all counties in the lower 48 states -- now face higher risks of water shortages by mid-century as the result of global warming, and more than 400 of these counties will be at extremely high risk for water shortages, based on estimates from a new report by Tetra Tech for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). The report uses publicly available water use data across the United States and climate projections from a set of models used in recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) work to evaluate withdrawals related to renewable water supply. The report finds that 14 states face an extreme or high risk to water sustainability, or are likely to see limitations on water availability as demand exceeds supply by 2050. These areas include parts of Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas. In particular, in the Great Plains and Southwest United States, water sustainability is at extreme risk. ...


Thank goodness we don't require the Great Plains states!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Jul 20, 2010
from Yale environment 360:
Does Egypt Own The Nile? A Battle Over Precious Water
A simmering dispute over who owns the waters of the River Nile is heating up. From its headwaters in Ethiopia and the central African highlands to the downstream regional superpower Egypt, the Nile flows through 10 nations. But by a quirk of British colonial history, only Egypt and its neighbor Sudan have any rights to its water. That is something the upstream African nations say they can no longer accept. Yet as the nations of the Nile bicker over its future, nobody is speaking up for the river itself -- for the ecosystems that depend on it, or for the physical processes on which its future as a life-giving resource in the world's largest desert depends. The danger is that efforts to stave off water wars may lead to engineers trying to squeeze yet more water from the river -- and doing the Nile still more harm. What is at risk here is not only the Nile, but also the largest wetland in Africa and one of the largest tropical wetlands in the world -- the wildlife-rich Sudd. ...


That ownership thing humans do... just hasn't worked out so well.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Jul 6, 2010
from The Reno Gazette-Journal:
DRI researchers find air-pollution link to drought
An increasing amount of scientific evidence suggests air pollution may be playing a role in drought, experts from the Desert Research Institute said. DRI scientists working at a remote lab in the Rocky Mountains said polluted air can cut a storm's snowfall in half. And the same researchers said the remaining snow also is affected because pollution could be squeezing another 25 percent of its water content. The DRI findings are bad news for Western states like California and Nevada that rely on snowpacks for drinking and agricultural water. An estimated 90 percent of Nevada's water is provided by melting snowpacks. ...


From snowpacks... to no-packs.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Jun 27, 2010
from National Geographic:
Alaska Town Eyes Shipping Water Abroad
Can Alaska, with its deep, wide lakes, and sparse population, quench the world's thirst? An opportunistic American company thinks it can, despite many logistical hurdles and questions about transporting freshwater in bulk across the seas. The town of Sitka in Southeastern Alaska features a distinctive cobalt jewel: the Blue Lake reservoir, a lake fed by abundant rain, snow and glacial runoff, connected by pipeline to the local deepwater port. For nearly a decade, the town has tried to turn this ample, pure freshwater resource into a commodity for thirsty buyers in the lower 48 states--and even overseas. It has offered contracts to sell up to 9.5 billion gallons a year, or about 8 percent of the reservoir's volume, to interested buyers at a rate of one cent per gallon. Several companies have tried and failed to make the venture profitable. But Terry Trapp, a Colorado businessman who is partnering with San Antonio-based S2C Global Systems, believes he may have a willing market in the Middle East. "There are water shortages and people who need water all over the world," said Trapp. "But the people in the most dire straits are in the Middle East."... "There are more sustainable solutions like rainwater harvesting," Karunananthan said. "This [Sitka] project will not serve the environment in any way."... "If that water sits in the hold of a tanker for weeks traveling across the ocean, when it arrives it's not spring water anymore; you're going to have to clean it up," said James McNiven, a professor of public administration at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia who has studied the potential of Canada's bulk water industry. "As a business proposition this gets to be very expensive and chances are the economics don't work." ...


Even bilgewater is better than no water.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Jun 23, 2010
from IRIN:
IRAQ: Killing for water
In the early hours of 18 June, gunmen broke into Faisal Hassan's west Baghdad home killing him, his wife and their two young children. The motive was not sectarian, political or even economic - but water-related. Forty-year-old Hasan was an employee of a local irrigation department.... The department he worked for supervised government water distribution to farmland in and around Abu Ghraib. His death brings the number of irrigation department employees killed in this city to three in the past three months, Mohammed Khudhair, a police investigator, said. "All these employees had nothing to do with politics or anti-militant activities, but instead were victims of the nature of their work, which has become a risky one," he said.... "Government officials can't control the regulation of irrigation and stop those who violate their regulations either because of corruption or because they fear for their lives. So we have to solve this issue ourselves." ...


This could be a TV crime-drama: "Assignment: Irrigation Department!"

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Jun 13, 2010
from New York Times:
Vital River Is Withering, and Iraq Has No Answer
Withered by decades of dictatorial mismanagement and then neglect, by drought and the thirst of Iraq's neighbors, the river formed by the convergence of the Tigris and the Euphrates no longer has the strength the keep the sea at bay. The salt water of the gulf now pushes up the Faw peninsula. Last year, for the first time in memory, it extended beyond Basra, Iraq's biggest port city, and even Qurna, where the two rivers meet. It has ravaged fresh-water fisheries, livestock, crops and groves of date palms that once made the area famous, forcing the migration of tens of thousands of farmers.. In a land of hardship and resignation and deep faith, the disaster along the Shatt al Arab appears to some as the work of a higher power. "We can't control what God does," said Rashid Thajil Mutashar, the deputy director of water resources in Basra. But man has had a hand in the river's decline. Turkey, Syria and Iran have all harnessed the headwaters that flow into the Tigris and Euphrates and ultimately into the Shatt al Arab, leaving Iraqi officials with little to do but plead for them to release more from their modern networks of dams. ...


Working together with those next-door-neighbors, I'm sure we can keep the Malthusian commons green.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Jun 10, 2010
from Nature Conservancy:
New Research Finds 472 Million People Worldwide Have Potentially Been Negatively Affected by Dams
Published in a special issue of the Water Alternatives journal recognizing the 10th anniversary of the World Commission on Dams, the findings reveal that at least 472 million people have potentially experienced negative consequences to their incomes and livelihoods. "There are many places where dams have undeniably provided economic benefits such as flood protection, irrigation, and hydropower, but as this report shows they have also caused serious consequences for some of the world's most vulnerable people," said Brian Richter, The Nature Conservancy's Global Freshwater Program Director and lead author of the report. "At a time when global dam-building is rampant, we need to be smarter about planning for and operating dams in ways that alleviate harmful human and ecological impacts."... On the Kafue River in Zambia, 50 percent of the fish catch once consisted of the commercially-important three spotted tilapia, but after the Kafue Gorge and Itezhitezhi Dams were built, this figure was reduced to only 3 percent.... In the Mun River in Thailand, the Pak Mun Dam has caused a 60-80 percent decrease in fish catch, and 50 fish species have disappeared entirely.... The paper’s authors point out that pragmatic, scientifically-sound and well-demonstrated approaches and solutions are already available and can be utilized today, not only at the dam planning phase but also retroactively, to adjust the operations of an existing dam. "It is unacceptable that half a billion people have been essentially ignored".... ...


That's only 472 million poor people, right?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Jun 1, 2010
from CTV Ottawa:
Great Lakes water levels alarmingly low, officials say
After a winter of next-to-no snow, water levels all across the Great Lakes are down this spring, something government and business experts say could have an impact on the environment and the economy. The Canadian Hydrographic Service issued a warning earlier this month that water levels were at potentially dangerous levels on the lakes system, which stretches from Lake Superior in northwestern Ontario to Montreal. The water is running so low that boaters risk running aground on rocks that would usually be well under water, the service said....Water levels in Lake Superior, the largest of the lakes, are at their lowest in more than a century, according to officials on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border. ...


The Great Lakes are ate up!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, May 25, 2010
from Ars Technica:
Not just oil: US hit peak water in 1970 and nobody noticed
...A new analysis suggests that it may be valuable to consider applying it to a renewable resource as well: the planet's water supply. The analysis, performed by staff at the Pacific Institute, recognizes that there are some significant differences between petroleum and water. For oil, using it involves a chemical transformation that won't be reversed except on geological time scales. Using water often leaves it in its native state, with a cycle that returns it to the environment in a geologic blink of an eye. Still, the authors make a compelling argument that, not only can there be a peak water, but the US passed this point around 1970, apparently without anyone noticing. ...


You'd think the cotton mouth would have been a dead giveaway.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, May 14, 2010
from ChemicalWatch:
Bill on screening for endocrine disrupters in drinking water enters Congress
Ed Markey, chairman of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee of the US House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee,and Jim Moran, chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Interior and the Environment,have introduced the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Enhancement Act (HR 5210), which is designed to update the US Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program. The Bill requires the US Environmental Protection Agency to establish a programme that tests chemicals found in drinking water to determine whether they are endocrine disruptors and if so, to determine the extent of their ability to interfere with the body's hormonal system. The EPA would have to produce a schedule for identifying and testing substances found in drinking water, ensuring that at least 100 chemicals found in drinking water were tested within four years. ...


And not a moment too soon!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, May 13, 2010
from DC Bureau:
Poseidon's Desalinization Plant: Dream Water Supply or Draining the Pacific and Taxpayers?
...After 12 years of permitting battles, the [Poseidon] desalination plant - which could open the floodgates for many others on the California coast - may finally be built. Best of all, the developers promise, it will cost the public nothing to build... But dozens of interviews and a review of available records by the Public Education Center's DCBureau.org shows that while private equity and bonds would be used for upfront construction, southern Californians would pay at least $640 million over 30 years for the project, including as much as $374 million in public subsidies...But critics say that far from being a New Age answer to water woes, the plant and others like it are costly, unnecessary boondoggles that often malfunction and carry damaging environmental side effects. They argue keeping water prices artificially low through subsidies for costly desalination plants is the wrong approach, and that conservation, recycling wastewater, and other far cheaper alternatives should be tried first. ...


Sounds like a Poseidon adventure waiting to happen.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, May 3, 2010
from Agence France-Press:
Jordan River could die by 2011: report
The once mighty Jordan River, where Christians believe Jesus was baptised, is now little more than a polluted stream that could die next year unless the decay is halted, environmentalists said on Monday. The famed river "has been reduced to a trickle south of the Sea of Galilee, devastated by overexploitation, pollution and lack of regional management," Friends of the Earth, Middle East (FoEME) said in a report. More than 98 percent of the river's flow has been diverted by Israel, Syria and Jordan over the years. "The remaining flow consists primarily of sewage, fish pond water, agricultural run-off and saline water," the environmentalists from Israel, Jordan and the West Bank said in the report to be presented in Amman on Monday. ...


Humans, why have you forsaken your planet?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Apr 25, 2010
from Sacramento Bee:
Bee exclusive: Livestock waste found to foul Sierra waters
...parts of the high Sierra are not nearly as pristine as they look. Nowhere is the water dirtier, [Robert Derlet] discovered, than on U.S. Forest Service land, including wilderness areas, where beef cattle and commercial pack stock - horses and mules - graze during the summer months. There, bacterial contamination was easily high enough to sicken hikers with Giardia, E. coli and other diseases. In places, slimy, pea-green algae also blossomed in the bacteria-laden water. That contrast has prompted Derlet and Charles Goldman, director of the UC Davis Tahoe Research Center, to mount a publicity campaign calling for dramatic management change in the Sierra. Cattle, they say, should be moved to lower elevations. And Forest Service areas where they now graze should be turned into national parks. "At one time, cattle were important for developing civilization here," said Derlet. "But now, with 40 million people in California, the Sierra is not for cattle. It's for water. We need water more than Big Macs." ...


I call that... McWisdom.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Apr 19, 2010
from BBC:
UK water use 'worsening global crisis,' 'unsustainable.'
The amount of water used to produce food and goods imported by developed countries is worsening water shortages in the developing world, a report says. The report, focusing on the UK, says two-thirds of the water used to make UK imports is used outside its borders.... "We must take account of how our water footprint is impacting on the rest of the world," said Professor Roger Falconer, director of the Hydro-Environmental Research Centre at Cardiff University and a member of the report's steering committee.... Embedded in a pint of beer, for example, is about 130 pints (74 litres) of water - the total amount needed to grow the ingredients and run all the processes that make the pint of beer. A cup of coffee embeds about 140 litres (246 pints) of water, a cotton T-shirt about 2,000 litres, and a kilogram of steak 15,000 litres. ...


I didn't know you could concentrate water.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Apr 18, 2010
from TrueSlant:
A Dying African Lake, Polluted, Overfished; Bad And Getting Worse
It was shortly after daybreak and a long, wooden fishing skiff crunched up on the stony beach here along Lake Victoria. Women who sell fish in the market in nearby Kisumu swarmed the boat. They grabbed slippery Nile perch and tilapia and tossed them into their plastic baskets. Then they began haggling. The catch that day was meager, and one woman came away with nothing. "The fishermen don't get enough fish," said Salin Atieno, 37. She has been buying fish at the Dunga landing for seven years. "There are not that many fish now." Lake Victoria, one of the largest fresh water lakes in the world, is suffering. It is polluted with raw sewage and it is muddy from the erosion of soil from nearby hills that have lost trees and shrubs to people in search of firewood. Like Lake Chad in West Africa and a few other lakes around the world, it has also been shrinking. Parts of Lake Victoria are clogged with hyacinths and algae. All of this has been thinning out the fish. "The lake is dying," said Dr. Raphael Kapiyo, the head of environmental studies at Maseno University in Kisumu, an East African trading post of a city with about 400,000 people. ...


Can we introduce some more invasive species? Ones that eat raw sewage, water hyacinth, and algae?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Apr 16, 2010
from CSIRO, via EurekAlert:
Ocean salinities show an intensified water cycle
Evidence that the world's water cycle has already intensified is contained in new research to be published in the American Journal of Climate. The stronger water cycle means arid regions have become drier and high rainfall regions wetter as atmospheric temperature increases.... The paper also confirms that surface warming of the world's oceans over the past 50 years has penetrated into the oceans' interior changing deep-ocean salinity patterns.... The study finds a clear link between salinity changes at the surface driven by ocean warming and changes in the ocean subsurface which follow the trajectories along which surface water travels into the ocean interior. ...


Yes, but are you calculating the salt added from my tears?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Apr 6, 2010
from University of Maryland, via EurekAlert:
New study shows rising water temperatures in US streams and rivers
New research by a team of ecologists and hydrologists shows that water temperatures are increasing in many streams and rivers throughout the United States. The research, published in the journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, documents that 20 major U.S. streams and rivers - including such prominent rivers as the Colorado, Potomac, Delaware, and Hudson - have shown statistically significant long-term warming.... "It's both surprising and remarkable that so many diverse river systems in North America behaved in concert with respect to warming," said Dr. David Secor of the UMCES Chesapeake Biological Laboratory whose work focused on Maryland's Patuxent River, where he has noted a 3°F increase since 1939. The analysis indicates that 20 of the 40 streams studied showed statistically significant long term warming trends, while an additional 13 showed temperature increases that were not statistically significant. Two rivers showed significant temperature decreases. The longest record of increase was observed for the Hudson River at Poughkeepsie, New York. The most rapid rate of increase was recorded for the Delaware River near Chester, Pennsylvania. ...


Maybe the endocrine-disrupted fish will look hotter to each other.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Apr 5, 2010
from University of Gothenburg, via EurekAlert:
Medicine residues may threaten fish reproduction
Researchers at Umea University and the Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, have discovered that traces of many medicines can be found in fish that have been swimming in treated waste water. One such medicine, the hormone levonorgestrel, was found in higher concentrations in the blood of fish than in women who take the contraceptive pill. Elevated levels of this hormone can lead to infertility in fish.... The fish in the study were exposed to treated waste water from three sewage treatment works in Stockholm, Umea and Gothenburg. The study shows that levonorgestrel - which is found in many contraceptive pills, including the morning-after pill - can impact on the environment and constitutes a risk factor for the ability of fish to reproduce. Levonogestrel is designed to mimic the female sex hormone progesterone and is produced synthetically. A study from Germany showed very recently that less than a billionth of a gram of levonorgestrel per litre inhibited the reproduction of fish in aquarium-based trials. 
"We are finding these levels in treated waste water in Sweden," explains Jerker Fick at the Department of Chemistry at Umea University. ...


Ah, so it's not overfishing, it's overmedicating.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Apr 5, 2010
from Guardian:
BP fights to limit controls on shale gas drilling
BP is lobbying on Capitol Hill against a federal US environmental agency being given jurisdiction over the use of a controversial method of extracting gas from shale deposits, ahead of an important meeting this week. The London-based oil company wants decisions on drilling techniques such as hydraulic fracturing - which uses high-pressure liquids to force fissures - to be taken at state level, rather than being left to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), whose specialist committee meets on Wednesday to discuss its concerns. BP is also opposed to the public disclosure of the chemicals used in fracturing, on the basis that the information is commercially sensitive - something that will anger environmentalists, who are highly suspicious of the process. ...


This is no frackin' surprise.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Apr 2, 2010
from Reuters:
Ecologists fear for Baikal as Putin saves factory
On the shores of Lake Baikal, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is held up as a saviour and cursed as a scourge after allowing a Soviet-era paper mill to reopen beside the world's largest freshwater lake. Ecologists have branded Russia's most powerful man as the killer of Baikal, a 25-million-year-old lake believed by local tribes to be sacred, and have mustered thousands of people at protests calling for his resignation. Putin's opponents say he has misjudged the public mood and is risking Baikal to save 1,470 jobs at the Baikalsk Pulp and Paper Mill, which was mothballed in late 2008 amid a pollution row. ...


How could a lake that old be fresh?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Mar 25, 2010
from The Vancouver Sun:
New way of fish farming could help fix environment
New designs for fish farms could keep them in the ocean and help restore damaged marine environments at the same time, says a biologist working on a five-year nationwide aquaculture project. Marine biologists in New Brunswick and in B.C. are employing mussels, oysters, sea cucumbers, urchins and seaweed to dramatically increase the amount of food created by salmon farms, and they believe they can extract excess carbon and nitrogen pollution from the sea in the process. ...


That's a win-win! Er, except for the fish, of course.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Mar 25, 2010
from Discovery News:
Taking Showers Could Contaminate Drinking Water
With every shower you take, you may be unwittingly polluting the environment. As you scrub off dirt, you also wipe off medicines from your skin and pharmaceuticals excreted in sweat, according to a new study. Those chemicals pass through the sewage system and might even end up in our drinking water... Their research revealed that human skin fails to absorb much of the medicine that is applied topically, such as antibiotic ointments and steroid creams. Showers, baths and laundry wash those drugs directly into the sewage system. Chemically, these compounds often remain whole, unlike the broken-down versions in feces and urine. ...


We could just lick each other clean, like cats.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Mar 25, 2010
from New Scientist:
Petropolis: Filming Canada's tar sands
Canadian media artist and filmmaker Peter Mettler aerially filmed the tar sands of Alberta, Canada from a helicopter to highlight the vast scope and impact that the industrial mining site has on the environment. The result is his new film, Petropolis, which screens tomorrow evening at the Flatpack Festival in Birmingham, UK. The mining area of the tar sands is as big as all of England and the tar sands oil production releases five times more greenhouse gases than conventional oil production. As Mettler explains, getting the oil out of the tar sands uses roughly as much water as a city of two million people. Afterwards, 90 per cent of this water is so contaminated with toxic chemicals that it must be stored in tailings ponds so huge that they can be seen from outer space. ...


I'm not liking the visible hand of the marketplace.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Mar 22, 2010
from Reuters:
Waste water kills mlns of children, pollutes sea
Human beings are flushing millions of tonnes of solid waste into rivers and oceans every day, poisoning marine life and spreading diseases that kill millions of children annually, the U.N. said on Monday. "The sheer scale of dirty water means more people now die from contaminated and polluted water than from all forms of violence including wars," the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said. In a report entitled "Sick Water" for World Water Day, UNEP said the two million tonnes of waste, which contaminates over two billion tonnes of water daily, had left huge "dead zones" that choke coral reefs and fish. It consists mostly of sewage, industrial pollution, pesticides from agriculture and animal waste ...


This is where scatology meets eschatology.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Mar 21, 2010
from New York Times:
California Tribe Hopes to Dance Salmon Home
The unusual journey centers on an apology, to be relayed to the fish on the banks of the Rakaia River through a ceremonial dance that tribal leaders say has not been performed in more than 60 years.... As the Winnemem see it, the tribe's troubles began in early 1940s, with the completion of the Shasta Dam, which blocked the Sacramento River and cut off the lower McCloud River, obstructing seasonal salmon runs, and according to the tribe, breaking a covenant with the fish. "We're going to atone for allowing them to build that dam," said Mark Franco, the tribe's headman. "We should have fought harder." As luck would have it, the United States government once bred millions of Chinook eggs from the McCloud and shipped them around the world in hopes of creating new fisheries, including a batch that went to the South Island of New Zealand, where the fish thrived.... The trip to New Zealand is not the first time the Winnemem have turned to ancient methods to try to change policy. In 2004, while fighting a proposed plan to raise the Shasta Dam 18 feet, the tribe staged a war dance, a four-day, round-the-clock ceremony carried out by their dwindling numbers of warriors. "We were exhausted," Mr. Franco said. But in the end, the dam was not raised. Once in New Zealand, the Winnemem plan to rendezvous with local Maori leaders and stage a four-day ceremony starting March 28 that will culminate with the rare "nur chonas winyupus," or middle water salmon dance. The Francos say they intend to ask local fish and game officials if they can bring back some of New Zealand's salmon eggs -- once of California stock -- back to the McCloud. "We have to do more than pray," Ms. Sisk-Franco said. "We have to follow through." ...


Uh-oh. If this works, we'll have a *lot* of apologies to make!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Mar 21, 2010
from Times Online:
Solution to a thirsty world: sea water without the salt
In the coastal town of Al Khaluf, Oman's minister for water turned on a desalination plant that will provide the area with 100 cubic metres of fresh, clean water every day -- enough for 80,000 people.... In less than 20 years, 5.3 billion people -- two-thirds of the world's population in 2025, according to UN estimates -- will face a shortage of water. London could be among those places.... Modern Water, based in Guildford, Surrey, claims its technique differs from most desalination procedures. [Most] rely on high pressure, needing huge amounts of electricity, to push salt water through an enormous filter. The company's patented "manipulated osmosis" technology uses a chemical reaction to separate the salt from the water -- a process that uses far less energy. "It reduces energy consumption by as much as 30 percent," said McDougall. ...


Seventy percent of "huge amounts" is still "very large amounts of energy" for desalination. Thankfully, we have the coal!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Mar 15, 2010
from Wiley - Blackwell via ScienceDaily:
'World's Most Useful Tree' Provides New Low-Cost Water Purification Method for Developing World
A low-cost water purification technique published in Current Protocols in Microbiology could help drastically reduce the incidence of waterborne disease in the developing world. The procedure, which uses seeds from the Moringa oleifera tree, can produce a 90.00 percent to 99.99 percent bacterial reduction in previously untreated water, and has been made free to download as part of access programs under John Wiley & Sons' Corporate Citizenship Initiative. A billion people across Asia, Africa, and Latin America are estimated to rely on untreated surface water sources for their daily water needs. Of these, some two million are thought to die from diseases caught from contaminated water every year, with the majority of these deaths occurring among children under five years of age. ...


Just so these trees don't get too big a head on their shoulders.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Mar 15, 2010
from Vancouver Sun:
Chinese dams blamed for Mekong's dwindling flows and fish stocks
...there are widely differing views on why the Mekong has shrunk to its lowest levels in 20 years, with only half its normal volume in some places, so that vital fish migrations have been disturbed and river shipping had to be halted. Some blame global warming and shrinking glaciers in Tibet where the Mekong starts its 4,900-kilometre journey through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and Cambodia before spreading out through Vietnam's "Nine Dragons" delta and easing into the South China Sea. Others blame the El Nińo effect on Southeast Asia's monsoons and especially the lack of rain in Laos, which in normal times supplies 35 per cent of the water in the main reaches of the Mekong. But a favourite culprit among the peoples of the five countries of the lower Mekong is China and its massive program of hydroelectric dam building on the river as it flows through Yunnan province. ...


I'd say it was an act of God (dam).

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Mar 11, 2010
from Standard-Freeholder:
Massive water crisis looming: Gwynne Dyer speaks in city
Dyer presented a multitude of "frightening scenarios" which could occur in the next 20-25 years and he did not spare Canada. He said our country could be confronted with a "desperate" United States if the lower states -- vulnerable to severe droughts -- run short of water. "Should we make a (water-supply) deal on our terms before (the U.S. is forced to divert Great Lakes water unilaterally)?" Dyer said... "You could see the methane gas bubbling up through the melt," Dyer said, recalling eye-witness accounts near Yellowknife, N.W.T. "The kids get kitchen matches, find the melt ponds and set them on fire -- they burn all summer."... "They're drawing up scenarios where armed forced have an enormous role in taking on emerging threats," Dyer said, explaining that water shortages will ignite international tensions. ...


Just because he's been right most of the time doesn't mean he's right this time.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Mar 6, 2010
from Bombay Economic Times:
Groundwater depleting at alarming rate: Report
If current trends of acute groundwater use continue, 60 percent of all aquifers in India could run dry in 20 years or will be in a critical condition, a World Bank report launched on Friday said. It has urged priority action through higher investment in management of groundwater resources to reduce over exploitation, especially in view of the fact that there is major dependence by several sectors on the resources countrywide. Groundwater resources are being depleted at an alarming rate. Today, 29 percent of groundwater blocks are semi-critical, critical, or overexploited, and the situation is deteriorating rapidly. ...


Groundwater will contain more "fer" than "aqui."

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Feb 28, 2010
from Madison Wisconsin State Journal:
Tracking a rising tide of waste
Wisconsin is churning out permits for industrial-scale farms to spread millions of gallons of manure on state fields but provides little oversight after that, inspecting them only once or twice every five years, a Wisconsin State Journal investigation has found. At stake is the health of thousands of homeowners who draw their drinking water from wells near the giant farms or the fields where the manure is spread... But a review of the state's oversight of the huge farms turned up weaknesses and missteps, including farms operating without permits, a dearth of on-site inspections and a monitoring system that consists largely of inspectors filling out paperwork at their desks. ...


Who wants to look at shit more often than that!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Feb 21, 2010
from Associated Press:
Feds outline plan to nurse Great Lakes to health
The Obama administration has developed a five-year blueprint for rescuing the Great Lakes, a sprawling ecosystem plagued by toxic contamination, shrinking wildlife habitat and invasive species. The plan envisions spending more than $2.2 billion for long-awaited repairs after a century of damage to the lakes, which hold 20 percent of the world's fresh water... Among the goals it hopes to achieve by 2014: finishing work at five toxic hot spots that have languished on cleanup lists for two decades; a 40 percent reduction in the rate at which invasive species are discovered in the lakes; measurable decreases in phosphorus runoff; and protection of nearly 100,000 wetland acres. ...


I know how to push that 40 percent to 100: just ignore 'em!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Feb 17, 2010
from Guardian:
Tajikistan facing water shortages and climate extremes, report warns
Tajikistan, which has been at the crossroads of Asian civilisations for over a thousand years, is in danger of being overwhelmed by water shortages, rising temperatures and climate extremes. A report released today by Oxfam details fast-rising temperatures, melting glaciers in the Pamir mountains, increased disease, drought, landslides and food shortages. Temperatures plummeted to -20C for more than a month in 2008-09 -– unheard of in what is, in places, a subtropical region –- and temperatures in the south of the country near Afghanistan have risen several degrees above normal, said the report. About 20 percent of the country's 8,492 glaciers are in retreat and 30 percent more are likely to retreat or disappear by 2050, said Ilhomjon Rajabov, head of the state's climate change department. The largest glacier, Fedchenko, has lost 44 sq km, or 6 percent of its volume, in the last 34 years.... The implications of climate change stretch well beyond Tajikistan's borders, said Oxfam. Because its glaciers and mountains supply much of the water for the Aral Sea and and the vast, water-hungry, cotton-growing areas of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, there is a danger climate change will increase tensions between already water-stressed countries. ...


Imagine the attention if this was, say... Colorado?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Feb 10, 2010
from NUVO Newsweekly:
On Easter Island and Asian carp
The story of the devastation of Easter Island is a compelling narrative, so next time the conversation wanes at a dinner party or in a bar, you can tell your friends all about it. This comes from author Jared Diamond (Collapse), whose recounting of the story first appeared in Discover Magazine in 1995. This tale gets more metaphoric every day... There's something delicious (so to speak) about a society that would destroy itself through -- in part -- the transportation of these statues. Food and warmth is one thing, but transporting statues seems superfluous, a symptom of a diseased magical thinking, and thus, well, just plain stupid. You'd think we've gotten smarter over the centuries, but this whole saga reminds me of the controversy surrounding the Asian carp and their inexorable march to the Great Lakes. ...


The gods aren't crazy; we are!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Feb 8, 2010
from Asahi Shimbun:
Seaweed beds, the 'cradle of the sea,' vanishing
... Seaweed beds are called the "cradle of the sea" because they provide fish with oxygen, as well as places to hide and lay eggs. The symbol of marine biodiversity, however, is fast disappearing from Japan's coastal regions in a phenomenon called isoyake, or denudation of rocky shores. In 1991, an Environment Agency survey found 200,000 hectares of rich seaweed beds around the nation. The Marine Ecology Research Institute in Tokyo estimates about 20 percent had been lost by 2008. The underwater deforestation is attributed to overgrazing by herbivorous fish, pollution and other factors, but the exact causes have not been determined. ...


Whose hand is rocking this cradle?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Feb 8, 2010
from Reuters:
Blue jeans: 15000 litres/ pair
The main impact of climate change will be on water supplies and the world needs to learn from past co-operation such as over the Indus or Mekong Rivers to help avert future conflicts, experts said on Sunday. Desertification, flash floods, melting glaciers, heatwaves, cyclones or water-borne diseases such as cholera are among the impacts of global warming inextricably tied to water. And competition for supplies might cause conflicts.... "Water is a very good medium [for co-operation]. It's typically an apolitical issue that can be dealt with," said Adeel, who is also director of the UN University's Canada-based Institute for Water, Environment and Health. ...


How touching that we can all die of thirst together!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Feb 4, 2010
from Telegraph.co.uk:
Most of Britain's ponds in a 'terrible state'
The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology measured animal life and water quality in half a million ponds across the country, from tarns in the Lake District to garden pools. Mostly as a result of pollution from farms, sewers and roads, more than 80 per cent of ponds were judged to be in a "poor" or "very poor state".... "It is shocking that ponds are in such a terrible state. This should be a wake up call for everyone concerned with protecting freshwater wildlife and involved in water management. Practically unnoticed, wildlife-rich, clean and unpolluted ponds have become a rarity in the countryside." ...


Change the name of that 80 percent to "cesspool" -- problem solved!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Feb 4, 2010
from China Daily:
Yunnan, Guangxi reel from severe drought
The worst drought in 50 years is leaving millions of people and animals without drinking water in Yunnan province and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. Zhu Zhenghong, 76, from Niubi village in the mountains outside Kunming, capital of Yunnan, sits on a huge rock outside his home at 10 am and 2 pm every day. "I am waiting for the drinking water sent by the government that is the most important thing to me now," he told China Daily yesterday. In Zhu's village, a total of 455 villagers are suffering from the drought, which has killed almost all the corn and bean crops in their fields. "I haven't seen any rain since last September and the stream on the mountain has dried up," Zhu said. ...


And government water... just doesn't taste that good.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Feb 4, 2010
from Environmental Protection:
Ecologists Create a More Precise Way to Measure Human Impacts
Ecologists from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and Baylor University in Texas have developed a new method for measuring the impact of human-caused environmental degradation on biodiversity that is significantly more precise than current methods and has revealed a dramatically lower ecological "tipping point" at which species are threatened.... Baker said the precision of their new method is significantly greater than methods that have been widely used for the past 40 years. For example, a decade-old analysis widely cited by environmental professionals and policymakers suggests that it takes up to 15 percent of impervious surface (meaning roads, roofs, or parking lots) or about 20 to 30 percent developed land in a given area before local water systems no longer sustain normal aquatic life. Baker and King's new method demonstrates that aquatic life actually shows significant loss of biodiversity with only 1 to 3 percent developed land in a watershed. ...


"Tipping points" presume that we're currently balanced.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Jan 30, 2010
from Orange County Register:
MTBE cleanup starts now, San Juan says
The city said it has detected the additive MtBE in "all of its wells," constituting an emergency condition. The report says an emergency condition exists if the city must act to "safeguard life, health or property." The city has been in talks with Chevron for about two years to decide on the cleanup of MtBE from city groundwater. Chevron has proposed a solution that would require the company to access city land, but the city has refused access over disagreements about how the cleanup should proceed. MtBE spilled into city soil years ago from two Chevron gas stations. The additive was discovered two years ago in city groundwater. The city's groundwater-recovery plant has been hobbled by the council's decision not to pump water from wells that contain MtBE. The city has been supplementing its water supply by purchasing water from the Metropolitan Water District.... Mayor Lon Uso said, "Chevron has not stepped up and been responsible." Chevron spokesman Sean Comey said the groundwater is safe to drink. ...


Chevron? Not taking responsibility? How unusual.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Jan 24, 2010
from San Francisco Chronicle:
Despite downpour, drought still with us
It might seem odd to talk about a drought after a weeklong series of thundering storms drenched the Bay Area and heaped snow on the Sierra, but California's water lords know the state's lingering thirst cannot be quenched by one showy display of wet weather. The recent downpours have temporarily brought the state back from the dusty brink, but officials with the California Department of Water Resources claim much more rain and snow will have to fall if the Golden State is going to pull out of its drought... Regardless of how things go this winter, water districts across Central and Northern California will not be resting easy. If not the vagaries of the weather or climate change, they have to worry about crumbling infrastructure and environmental disputes limiting water pumping through the critical Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. ...


Downpours are the new drought.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Jan 11, 2010
from Indian Express:
Cities choking, only 8 treating 50 percent sewage: CPCB
Thirty five cities in India are pumping as much as 7,604 million litres of sewage daily straight into rivers, notably the Ganga, and the sea. A new report by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) on water consumption and sewage disposal patterns shows that the biggest cities in India are only treating 50 per cent of the sewage they generate. Not only is the rest going back to rivers, the source of drinking water, but it is also polluting the sea.... While the current state of sewage disposal poses a massive health problem, it is also a waste of resources. "Sewage water has nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus. The nutrient value of this water is between Rs 75 per hectare per annum to Rs 400 per hectare per annum. The only way out is to set up systems wherein this water is used for irrigation and fertilisation in fields and horticultural areas," said a senior scientist from CPCB. ...


We need to go all Rumpelstiltskin-like and turn that shit into gold!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Jan 7, 2010
from Independent.co.uk, in DesdemonaDespair:
Icecapped roof of world turns to desert
The Chinese Academy of Sciences -- the country's top scientific body -- has announced that the glaciers of the Tibetan plateau are vanishing so fast that they will be reduced by 50 per cent every decade. Each year enough water permanently melts from them to fill the entire Yellow River. They added that the vast environmental changes brought about by the process will increase droughts and sandstorms over the rest of the country, and devastate many of the world's greatest rivers, in what experts warn will be an "ecological catastrophe".... The glaciers have been receding over the past four decades, as the world has gradually warmed up, but the process has now accelerated alarmingly. Average temperatures in Tibet have risen by 2 degrees Fahrenheit over the past 20 years, causing the glaciers to shrink by 7 per cent a year, which means that they will halve every 10 years.... Perhaps worst of all, the melting threatens to disrupt water supplies over much of Asia. Many of the continent's greatest rivers -- including the Yangtze, the Indus, the Ganges, the Brahmaputra, the Mekong and the Yellow River -- rise on the plateau. In China alone, 300 million people depend on water from the glaciers for their survival. Yet the plateau is drying up, threatening to escalate an already dire situation across the country. Already 400 cities are short of water; in 100 of them -- including Beijing -- the shortages are becoming critical. ...


I never thought of glaciers as having a half-life.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Jan 5, 2010
from Toronto Globe and Mail:
U.S. car ownership shifts into reverse
Americans' infatuation with their cars has endured through booms and busts, but last year something rare happened in the United States: The number of automobiles actually fell. The size of the U.S. car fleet dropped by a hefty four million vehicles to 246 million, the only large decline since the U.S. Department of Transportation began modern recordkeeping in 1960. Americans bought only 10 million cars -- and sent 14 million to the scrapyard.... And the overall drop in car ownership has prompted speculation that the long American love affair with the car is fading. Analysts cite such diverse factors as high gas prices, the expansion of many municipal transit systems, and the popularity of networking websites among teenagers replacing cars as a way of socializing. ...


Meet me in the backseat of my tweet.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Jan 5, 2010
from Agence France-Presse:
China river oil spill pollution 'serious': govt
Two tributaries of China's Yellow River have been "seriously polluted" by an oil spill, further contaminating badly tainted drinking water resources, the government said Tuesday. Up to 150,000 litres (40,000 gallons) of diesel spilled into the Chishui and Wei rivers on Wednesday last week after a pipeline operated by China's largest oil producer, China National Petroleum Corp., ruptured, state media said... The two rivers flow into the Yellow River, one of China's longest rivers and the source of drinking water for millions of people, including residents of eight cities that lie downstream from the oil spill, Xinhua news agency said. ...


New name for the Yellow River: Rainbow River.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Dec 27, 2009
from ProPublica:
New gas wells leave more chemicals in ground
Three company spokesmen and a regulatory official said in separate interviews with ProPublica that as much as 85 percent of the fluids used during hydraulic fracturing is being left underground after wells are drilled in the Marcellus Shale, the massive gas deposit that stretches from New York to Tennessee.... for each modern gas well drilled ... more than three million gallons of chemically tainted wastewater could be left in the ground forever. Drilling companies say that chemicals make up less than 1 percent of that fluid. But by volume, those chemicals alone still amount to 34,000 gallons in a typical well. These disclosures raise new questions about why the Safe Drinking Water Act, the federal law that regulates fluids injected underground so they don't contaminate drinking water aquifers, should not apply to hydraulic fracturing, and whether the thinking behind Congress' 2005 vote to shield drilling from regulation is still valid. When lawmakers approved that exemption it was generally accepted that only about 30 percent of the fluids stayed in the ground... Ninety percent of the nation's wells now rely on the process, ...


Doesn't "aquifer" translate to "hairy water"?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Dec 18, 2009
from Associated Press:
Environmental groups ask EPA to fix Indiana water rules
INDIANAPOLIS — Three environmental groups asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday to review and correct what they call serious flaws in Indiana's water pollution control program, or to wrest control of it from the state... In a petition, the Chicago-based Environmental Law & Policy Center, the Hoosier Environmental Council and the Sierra Club Hoosier Chapter asked the EPA to “evaluate the systematic failure” of Indiana to properly administer and enforce a federal water pollution program that issues wastewater permits to industrial, municipal and other facilities. ...


Right, the Environmental Procrastination Agency will get right on that.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Dec 15, 2009
from Reuters:
California aquifers seen rapidly losing water
California's two main river basins and the aquifers beneath its agricultural heartland have lost nearly enough water since 2003 to fill Lake Mead, America's largest reservoir, new satellite data showed on Monday. Depleted aquifers account for two-thirds of the loss measured, most of it attributed to increased groundwater pumping for irrigation of drought-parched farmland in California's fertile but arid Central Valley, scientists said. The findings have major implications for the economy as the Central Valley is home to one-sixth of all irrigated U.S. cropland, said Jay Famiglietti, a hydrologist at the University of California, Irvine, and member of the research team.... Central Valley farms have increasingly tapped into aquifers during the past few years to help offset drastic cuts in their regular allocations of irrigation water pumped in by the state and federal government from farther north. How much water remains in California's aquifers is unknown, but satellite studies show that groundwater is being used up faster than nature can restore it. ...


Good to the last drop.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Dec 14, 2009
from Associated Press:
Governments Turn to Cloud Seeding to Fight Drought
SACRAMENTO, California -- On a mountaintop clearing in the Sierra Nevada stands a tall metal platform holding a crude furnace and a box of silver iodide solution that some scientists believe could help offer relief from searing droughts. This is a cloud-seeding machine designed to increase rainfall by spraying a chemical vapor into the clouds. Under the right conditions, it can help water droplets grow heavy, coalesce and fall to the ground. Faced with water shortages, growing populations and the threat that climate change could make matters worse, governments around the globe have increasingly turned to cloud seeding in an attempt to wring more rain and snow from the sky. ...


We call this feat of geoengineering the trickle-down effect!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Dec 5, 2009
from TIME Magazine:
The Tragedy of the Himalayas
...Scientists call it the third pole -- but when it comes to clear and present threats from climate change, it may rank first. The high-altitude glaciers of the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau -- which cover parts of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan and China -- are the water tower of Asia. When the ice thaws and the snow melts every spring, the glaciers birth the great rivers of the region, the mightiest river system in the world: the Ganges, the Indus, the Brahmaputra, the Mekong, the Yellow, the Yangtze. Together, these rivers give material and spiritual sustenance to 3 billion people, nearly half of the world's population -- and all are nursed by Himalayan ice... a new report from the international consulting group McKinsey & Co. estimates that by 2030, India alone will have only 50 percent of the water that it needs under a business-as-usual scenario. Nor is Asia the only region that will grapple with water scarcity in a warmer world: the McKinsey report estimates that the globe will have 40 percent less water than it needs by 2030 if nothing is done to change current consumption patterns. ...


My cup runneth not over.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Nov 30, 2009
from National Geographic News:
Will Water Footprints be the Next Energy Star?
Like their cousin the carbon footprint, water footprints are one of the latest methods scientists are using to assess humanity's impact on the planet. And now businesses are starting to use water footprinting as well. A water footprint measures the total amount of water it takes for a company to manufacture and transport a product, or for a city, country, or business to operate... Water-intensive products and food items include beef, coffee, and cotton. For example 2 pounds (1 kilogram) of beef requires 4,227 gallons (16,000 liters) of water to produce... The U.S. has the biggest water footprint per capita, at 766,098 gallons (2.9 million liters) per person each year... ...


Clearly, the United States is the Bigfoot of water consumption.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Nov 25, 2009
from Forbes:
China executes 2 for role in tainted milk scandal
BEIJING -- China executed a dairy farmer and a milk salesman for their roles in the sale of contaminated baby formula - severe punishments that Beijing hopes will assuage public anger, reassure importers and put to rest one of the country's worst food safety crises. The two men executed Tuesday were the only people put to death in a scheme to boost profits by lacing milk powder with the industrial chemical melamine; 19 other people were convicted and received lesser sentences. At least six children died after drinking the adulterated formula, and more than 300,000 were sickened. ...


Wouldn't a slap on the wrist have sufficed?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Nov 25, 2009
from Agence France-Presse:
Dead Sea needs world help to stay alive
The Dead Sea may soon shrink to a lifeless pond as Middle East political strife blocks vital measures needed to halt the decay of the world's lowest and saltiest body of water, experts say. The surface level is plunging by a metre (three feet) a year and nothing has yet been done to reverse the decline because of a lack of political cooperation as a result of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The shoreline has receded by more than a kilometre (around a mile) in some places and the world-famous lake, a key tourism destination renowned for the beneficial effect of its minerals, could dry out by 2050, according to some calculations. ...


Calling it "Dead" sure can't be helping...

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Nov 13, 2009
from National Geographic News:
Cocaine, Spices, Hormones Found in Drinking Water
How's this for a sweet surprise? A team of researchers in Washington State has found traces of cooking spices and flavorings in the waters of Puget Sound.... The Puget Sound study is one of several ongoing efforts to investigate the unexpected ingredients that find their way into the global water supply. Around the world, scientists are finding trace amounts of substances -- from sugar and spice to heroine, rocket fuel, and birth control -- that might be having unintended consequences for humans and wildlife alike. ...


Water has never tasked sooooo good!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Nov 11, 2009
from Climate Wire:
Las Vegas Gambles With an Uncertain Water Future
Straddling the border between Nevada and Arizona, the Hoover Dam is a symbol of human engineering might. For more than 70 years, its massive walls have tamed the flows of the Colorado River, fueling the growth of cities like Las Vegas that depend on it to supply water and power from its generating station. But these days, what's most striking is the lack of water stored behind the dam's concrete arch. A thick white band of mineral deposits marks the walls of Black Canyon above the water line. Locals call it the "bathtub ring." It's where the water used to be, before the start of the current decade-long drought. ...


Craps!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Nov 6, 2009
from Monash University via ScienceDaily:
Rainwater Is Safe To Drink, Australian Study Suggests
A new study by Monash University researchers into the health of families who drink rainwater has found that it is safe to drink.... "This is the first study of its kind. Until now, there has been no prospective randomised study to investigate the health effects of rainwater consumption, either in Australia or internationally," Associate Professor Leder said... Expanded use of rainwater for many household purposes can be considered and in current times of drought, we want to encourage people to use rainwater as a resource... ...


Um... I thought "drought" meant no rain.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Nov 5, 2009
from Daily Climate:
Rapid change threatens foundations of human health
Rapid changes already underway to the Earth's climate, ecosystems and land cover threaten the health of billions, undermining key human life-support systems and threatening the core foundations of healthy communities worldwide, according to a new report released Wednesday. There's been this extraordinary ballooning of the whole human enterprise. When you put climate change on top of that, we're looking at further destabilization of an already tenuous situation between people and their life-support systems. The disruption represents the greatest public health challenge of the 21st century and leaves poor populations mostly in developing nations most vulnerable – even though they contribute the least to many of the problems... The report outlines a series of public health threats – food and water scarcity, altered distribution of infectious diseases, increased air pollution, natural disasters, and population displacement – that collectively threaten large segments of the human population. ...


Thy shit is on a sure trajectory, fan-ward.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Nov 1, 2009
from New York Times:
Thirsty Plant Dries Out Yemen
Even as drought kills off Yemen's crops, farmers in villages like this one are turning increasingly to a thirsty plant called qat, the leaves of which are chewed every day by most Yemeni men (and some women) for their mild narcotic effect. The farmers have little choice: qat is the only way to make a profit.... Meanwhile, the market price of water has quadrupled in the past four years, pushing more and more people to drill illegally into rapidly receding aquifers. "It is a collapse with social, economic and environmental aspects," said Abdul Rahman al-Eryani, Yemen's minister of water and environment. "We are reaching a point where we don't even know if the interventions we are proposing will save the situation." Meanwhile, the water wells are running dry, and deep, ominous cracks have begun opening in the parched earth, some of them hundreds of yards long. ...


You'll pry my qat from my cold, emaciated hands.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Oct 27, 2009
from BBC:
Gaza thirsts as sewage crisis mounts
Gaza's aquifer and only natural freshwater source is "in danger of collapse," the UN is warning. Engineers have long been battling to keep the densely populated strip's water and sewage system limping along. But in September the UN Environment Programme warned that damage to the underground aquifer - due to the Israeli and Egyptian blockade, conflict, and years of overuse and underinvestment - could take centuries to reverse if it is not halted now.... Lagoons designed to allow treated clean water to infiltrate through Gaza's sandy soil back down into the aquifer are instead funnelling sewage straight back into the groundwater. In addition, with several years of drought and the digging of hundreds of illegal, unregulated wells, the UN Environmental Programme says at least three times more water is extracted than is replenished each year. As the level is dropping in the aquifer, sea water is invading. ...


Sounds like a little salt might help.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Oct 22, 2009
from London Times:
Four-year drought pushes 23 million Africans to brink of starvation
...A four-year drought has pushed as many as 23 million people to the brink of starvation across East Africa, making it the worst in a decade or more. Close to four million of those at risk are in Kenya, where one person in ten survives on emergency rations. Last week clouds gathered over much of the country, but the rains have come too late to bring much relief. Aid agencies have warned that with them will come flooding, cholera, malaria and hypothermia. In the arid north, pastoralists have watched as their cattle collapsed from exhaustion and thirst, and those that survive now face floods. The people are scarcely holding on and the number of armed skirmishes over water and livestock is rising. ...


When it comes to the Apocalypse... if it's not one thing... it's another.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Oct 22, 2009
from SolveClimate:
Dangers of Climate Change: Lack of Water Can Lead to War
Climate change leads to higher temperatures. Higher temperatures lead to melting glaciers, so snow-melt-based water supplies decrease. Climate change also leads to more irregular rainfalls. Under most climate models, rainfall is predicted to occur more frequently in brief, furious bursts rather than the more sustained and regularized patterns that make it easy to store and irrigate crops. A recently-released World Bank study notes that there is now strong reason to believe that rainfall variability will increase substantially in Sub-Saharan Africa, reducing GDP and heightening poverty. Previous evidence from Ethiopia, for example, showed that just one season of sharply reduced rainfall "depressed consumption" up to five years later.... Water is basic. When there's not enough of it, people die. When there's not enough to keep crops properly irrigated, there's famine. So it's not a big shock that when water decreases, conflict over it increases. Or to put it more simply, a lack of water leads to war. ...


Water? C'mon, what about rain? Sheesh, I can get AquaFina from any machine!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Oct 21, 2009
from United Press International:
Mexicans told to cherish and treat water as part of family
...Mexican President Felipe Calderon is exhorting Mexicans to be aware of the importance of conserving water and to consider saving water as important as protecting their family.... He said water was a member of the Mexican family, present at home every day and therefore deserving of attention, not neglect. Mexico is facing its worst drought in 69 years with poor rainfall depleting underground water reserves and thwarting irrigation of crops. In the capital the problem is compounded by a rapid drying of Mexico City's lake-bed soil and sinking of the sprawling metropolis. ...


Meet my funny uncle, Hank2Orville.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Oct 19, 2009
from International Rice Research Institute via ScienceDaily:
Climate Change Threatens Rice Production
...by using advanced modeling techniques, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) has mapped rice-growing regions in the Philippines that are most likely to experience the negative effects of climate change, showing the extent to which climate change threatens rice production. Solutions to help farmers adapt are nevertheless available. Cyclone Nargis wreaked havoc on the rice crops and communities of Myanmar in 2008. Since then, IRRI has sent submergence-tolerant and salt-tolerant rice varieties for testing there as more resilient options for farmers. Massive rat infestations in Myanmar followed cyclone Nargis. Horrific rat infestations also occurred recently in Laos and Bangladesh, where the rodents ate up to 100 percent of rice crops, invaded house stores of food, bit sleeping people, and likely propagated disease. IRRI is hosting an international conference on rodents in rice to help find solutions. ...


And the RATS shall inherit the earth.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Oct 19, 2009
from Vietnam News:
Contaminated wells threaten 2 million people in Ha Noi
The preliminary results from Ha Noi’s 2009 census, reported that over two million Hanoians are using drilled well water, while a series of surveys have stated that many of the drilled wells in the city are contaminated with arsenic... The census also reported that 22.5 per cent of the 6 million people in the city are using untreated water from pools, lakes, rivers, and other sources. It also stated that 38.5 per cent are using untreated well-water and the remaining 39 per cent have access to clean water. Viet Nam has more than 1 million drilled wells. Of the reported wells, an estimated 25 per cent are contaminated with arsenic. The levels of arsenic in the water are approximately 20-25 times higher than the permitted level in those areas. ...


Vietnam: pushing the envelope of population control innovations.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Oct 16, 2009
from Independent Online (South Africa):
Playing roulette with our water
South Africa's water crisis lies in the country's persistent denial that there is a problem, says Dr Anthony Turton, water expert. "It lies in the pitiful fact that we are dooming future generations to the misery of poverty by failing to recognise that what we have done thus far can no longer be done in the future, simply because the assumptions on which previous solutions were based are no longer valid," he said.... Turton told the Sunday Independent that the water crisis was "way bigger than any ordinary person will ever realise".... We have simply failed to translate what scientists have known for decades... so now we have no solutions and are left at the vagaries of nature... It is Russian Roulette and soon the loaded round will be in the chamber when we pull the trigger," said Turton. ...


That loaded round is just a theory.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Oct 11, 2009
from Albany Times-Union:
Lake George hits 23rd 'dead zone' summer
With new rules to protect Lake George's streams still to be unveiled, this summer marked the 23rd in a row in which a pollution-fueled "dead zone" formed in deep water at the southernmost end of the lake. From the village of Lake George toward Tea Island, oxygen levels at the bottom of the lake drop during the summer as a mix of nutrients from fertilizers, storm runoff and septic leakage fuels microbial activity. The microbes consume increasing amounts of oxygen, which leaves too little for fish and other aquatic life to survive. Bauer's group has been pushing for the creation of new rules to limit building and other development around 150 streams that feed the lake. Those streams are the source of much of the pollution that reaches the lake. ...


It had such promise as a teenager. Now the dead zone is a slacker.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Oct 7, 2009
from Dick Jones Communication, via EurekAlert:
Water scarcity will create global security concerns
"Up to 1.2 billion people in Asia, 250 million Africans and 81 million Latin Americans will be exposed to increased water stress by 2020," Pachauri says. Water shortages have an enormous impact of human health, including malnutrition, pathogen or chemical loading, infectious disease from water contamination, and uncontrolled water reuse.... "A technological society has two choices," Pachauri says. "It can wait until catastrophic failures expose systemic deficiencies, distortion and self-deceptions, or the culture can provide social checks and balances to correct for systemic distortion prior to catastrophic failures."... "A major mitigation would only postpone growth domestic product growth by one year at most over the medium term. That's not a high price to pay for the world." ...


Before implementing "major mitigation," you have to believe in the "theory of science." Oh, and have political will.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Oct 6, 2009
from BBC:
Egypt oasis risks becoming mirage
...Siwa is a nine-hour drive from Cairo, across some of the most barren desert anywhere on the planet. It sits 18 metres below sea level, the main oasis surrounded by green desert islands where water naturally springs to the surface. Beneath the sandstone is the Nubian aquifer an enormous - yet finite - supply of fossilised water that has flowed for thousands of years... In the past 20 years the water, that once flowed naturally from beneath the rocks, has been sucked at alarming rate from hundreds of man-made wells....And some believe without a more concerted effort by all parties, these green dots in the desert might suddenly and irrevocably disappear from the map. ...


Sounds like the story of earth itself: from oasis to mirage...

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Oct 5, 2009
from The Sacramento Bee:
Sacramento Nestle Waters bottling plant draws fire
Sacramento banned bottled water from its City Council meetings last year, but over the summer it welcomed a Nestle Waters plant that would churn out millions of those bottles every week. With California in its third year of drought and Sacramentans facing watering restrictions, Councilman Kevin McCarty thinks the plant needs a closer look.... Nestle signed a lease on an industrial building in July. Mayor Kevin Johnson and the Sacramento Area Commerce and Trade Organization both lauded the project, which the company says will employ 40 people....the plant is likely to draw 30 million gallons of water in 2010 from the city water system. That includes water to be filtered, disinfected and remineralized to produce the company's Pure Life brand, as well as other water needed for plant operations. ...


Pure Life... pure profit...

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Oct 3, 2009
from London Independent:
The great drought: Disaster looms in East Africa
On the plains of Marsabit the heat is so intense the bush seems to shiver. The leafless scrub, bleached white by the sun, looks like a forest of fake Christmas trees. Carcasses of cattle and camels are strewn about the burnt red dirt in every direction. Siridwa Baseli walks out of the haze along a path of the dead and dying. He passes a skeletal cow that has given up and collapsed under a thorn tree. A nomad from the Rendille people, he is driving his herd in search of water... Across East Africa an extraordinary drought is drying up rivers, and grasslands, scorching crops and threatening millions of people with starvation. In Kenya, the biggest and most robust economy in the region, the rivers that feed its great game reserves have run dry and since the country relies on hydropower, electricity is now rationed in the cities. ...


The Apocalypse brings out the poet in us all.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Sep 26, 2009
from AFP, via DesdemonaDespair:
India heading for worst drought since 1972
India's monsoon was about 20 percent below strength just over a week before the official end of the rainy reason, putting the country on course for its worst drought since 1972, weather data showed Wednesday. "Until September 21, for the country as a whole, the rain deficiency was 22 percent," said B.K. Bandopadhyay, a spokesman for the weather office.... Low rainfall early in the monsoon period ravaged India's rice, cane sugar and groundnut crops, and has disrupted the flow of water into the main reservoirs that are vital for hydropower generation and winter irrigation. The drought is expected to dampen India's economic growth this year and has sent food prices rocketing, leading to huge hardship for India's poor masses.... Rains in the northwest were 34 percent less than average, in central regions they were down by 19 percent, and the northeast had a 26-percent shortfall. ...


Mother Nature has some explaining to do. Doesn't she owe us rain?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Sep 25, 2009
from The Economist:
A catastrophe is looming
THIS year's drought is the worst in east Africa since 2000, and possibly since 1991. Famine stalks the land. The failure of rains in parts of Ethiopia may increase the number needing food handouts by 5m, in addition to the 8m already getting them, in a population of 80m... In Mwingi district, in Kenya's Kamba region, the crops have totally failed. Villagers are surviving on monthly government handouts of maize-meal, rice and a little cooking oil. Worse than the hunger, say local leaders, is the thirst. People are digging wells by hand, but they hit rock... Meteorologists reckon the rains due in October and November will be heavier than usual. That would be good, if the east African authorities were prepared. But they are not. Mud slides and floods are likely, with streams and rivers carrying off the topsoil. Malaria and cholera may increase. Surviving cattle, weakened by drought, will drown or die of cold. ...


Afrocalypse!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Sep 25, 2009
from Associated Press:
Study finds school drinking water tainted
CUTLER, Calif. - Over the last decade, the drinking water at thousands of schools across the country has been found to contain unsafe levels of lead, pesticides and dozens of other toxins. An Associated Press investigation found that contaminants have surfaced at public and private schools in all 50 states - in small towns and inner cities alike. But the problem has gone largely unmonitored by the federal government, even as the number of water safety violations has multiplied. ...


Might as well get the little buggers used to it.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Sep 25, 2009
from Scientific American:
Water galore on Moon and Mars
In a sensational announcement, NASA announced that there are vast quantities of water on the Moon, which has always been considered an arid world. A second discovery revealed that water ice exists at mid-latitudes on Mars. This is much further from the poles and closer to the equator than water was previously thought to lie and means there should be supplies for human explorers to drink. The new martian ice was detected by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter probe which spotted the ice in craters produced by recent meteorite impacts on the red planet. The discovery delighted space scientists still reeling from the revelation that water is widespread on the Moon. There are no lakes or rivers -the lunar soil, or regolith, is still drier than any desert on Earth. ...


Now I won't have to worry about the converging emergencies!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Sep 22, 2009
from London Guardian:
Most English and Welsh rivers too dirty for new European standards
Only five of the 6,114 rivers in England and Wales are in pristine condition, and more than three-quarters are expected to fail new European quality standards, says the government's fullest-ever ecological assessment of water quality. The report, by the official pollution watchdog, the Environment Agency, shows that 117 English and Welsh rivers are ranked on a par with the dirtiest rivers in eastern Europe, a further 742 are considered to be in "poor condition" and 3,654, or 60 percent, are in "moderate" condition. The chemical and biological state of UK rivers, wetlands, lakes, estuaries and coastal waters has improved considerably in the last decade, but the results are highly embarrassing because the government is legally required by Europe to ensure that 95 percent of all British rivers are in "good" ecological condition by 2015. Today, just 26 percent are in that category and at the present rate of improvement, the report says, only a further 5 percent will meet this target. ...


Maybe their standards are just too high!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Sep 19, 2009
from Christian Science Monitor:
Severe drought affects 1.3 million in Syria
The acute drought that has driven an estimated 300,000 Syrian farmers, herders, and their families to abandon home for makeshift urban camps may not be the worst in the region's history; the Fertile Crescent has often experienced cycles of drought. But now climate change, an exploitation of water resources, and higher food prices brought about by the global financial crisis have all severely sharpened the impact of this dry spell, now in its fourth year. The numbers of Syrians affected – an estimated 1.3 million, 803,000 of whom have entirely lost their livelihoods – point to a serious humanitarian crisis. With Syria's population expected to triple by 2025, the severity of the drought presents yet another challenge for a leadership isolated internationally and struggling at home to maintain a broken state system while slowly introducing capitalism. ...


Perhaps they should rethink that whole "tripling the population" plan, eh?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Sep 10, 2009
from Odisha Today (India):
Industrialisation, Agriculture and depleting Ground Water in Orissa
Due to deviation in the pattern of rainfall, the flow of river in Orissa has been reduced drastically and around 8 months in a year, rivers are lying dry. This has been forcing all to depend upon ground water to meet all short of water requirements. At the same time, due to deviation in the pattern of rainfall, neither during heavy rainfall nor during scanty rainfall, water percolating to the ground water table.... Around 80 percent of rural population in Orissa depends upon ground water for drinking and domestic purposes. At the same time, due to change in the pattern of rainfall, people have started shifting from rain fed agriculture to seasonal irrigated hi-yielding agriculture. This is again increasing the consumption of ground water like anything. ...


They're becoming the rivers of no recharge.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Sep 8, 2009
from SciDev.net:
Air pollution cutting China's 'vital' rain
China's increasing air pollution has cut the light rainfall essential to the country's agriculture over the last 50 years, new research suggests. The research, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research last month, is based on rainfall data collected from weather stations across China. The number of light rain days -- those with precipitation of less than ten millimetres -- in northeast and southeast China has been cut by 7 and 8 days respectively per decade for the past five decades, researchers have found.... The authors say that increased levels of aerosols -- particles of pollution in the air above China -- are caused by increasing fossil fuel consumption, particularly in big cities like Beijing. ...


Economic growth as a WMD? Is this a trap we laid?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Aug 25, 2009
from Guardian (UK):
Fury at plan to power EU homes from Congo dam
The Grand Inga dam, which has received initial support from the World Bank, would cost $80bn. At 40,000MW, it has more than twice the generation capacity of the giant Three Gorges dam in China and would be equivalent to the entire generation capacity of South Africa. Grand Inga will involve transmission cables linking South Africa and countries in west Africa including Nigeria. A cable would also run through the Sahara to Egypt. But controversially, it is understood that part of the feasibility study for the Grand Inga project would see the scheme extended to supply power to southern Europe, at a time when less than 30 percent of Africans have access to electricity -- a figure that can fall to less than 10 percent in many countries. Extending the scheme to Europe is part of a recent trend that includes the ambitious 400bn-Euro Desertec plan to take solar power from the Sahara to southern Europe. ...


Just curious -- who will pay for twice the environmental devastation?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Aug 22, 2009
from London Financial Times:
Kenya hit by mass hunger and water shortage
The number of Kenyans in urgent need of food aid has jumped by over 50 per cent to nearly 4m, according to official figures, as the country is hit by mass hunger as well as shortages of power and water. The immediate cause of the three-fold crisis is a prolonged drought, but critics of Kenya’s dysfunctional coalition government blame it for failing to mitigate the drought’s effects, in spite of clear warning signs. The government was already facing public discontent over its failure to implement political reforms pledged after last year’s post-election crisis, but the real-life impact of the food, water and power shortages is fuelling the anger. ...


A "dysfunctional government"... sounds awfully familiar!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Aug 19, 2009
from American Chemical Society, via EurekAlert:
Homes pollute: Linked to 50 percent more water pollution than previously believed
In the study, Lorence Oki, Darren Haver and colleagues explain that runoff results from rainfall and watering of lawns and gardens, which winds up in municipal storm drains. The runoff washes fertilizers, pesticides and other contaminants into storm drains, and they eventually appear in rivers, lakes and other bodies of water.... Preliminary results of the study suggest that current models may underestimate the amount of pollution contributed by homes by up to 50 percent. That's because past estimates focused on rain-based runoff during the wet season. "Use of pesticides, however, increases noticeably during the dry season due to gardening, and our data contains greater resolution than previous studies," Oki says. ...


If it's that way in California, imagine 123 Maple Street, Anytown, USA.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Aug 16, 2009
from Sydney Morning Herald:
Study links drought with rising emissions
DROUGHT experts have for the first time proven a link between rising levels of greenhouse gases and a decline in rainfall. A three-year collaboration between the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO has confirmed that the drought is not just a natural dry stretch but a shift related to climate change. Scientists working on the $7 million South Eastern Australian Climate Initiative said the rain had dropped away because the subtropical ridge - a band of high pressure systems that sits over the country's south - had strengthened over the past 13 years. ...


The rain was full of acid anyway.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Aug 13, 2009
from Christian Science Monitor:
Argentina: Farming crisis batters world food provider
...Argentina is facing its worst farming crisis since becoming one of the most prolific food providers in the world. A devastating drought, the most severe in more than 50 years, has dried up grassland and left cattle with nothing to graze... For cattle-raising regions, like San Miguel del Monte, south of Buenos Aires, the drought has cut deeply. Here, the lakes have dried; pastures are so barren that cattle graze by the roads. On a recent day, local producer Lorena del Rio looked at two dozen cows feeding on corn from a special plastic trough, an expensive alternative to pasture. Her family has lost eight of their 600 cows, and many cows are too weak to get pregnant. "It is horrible not to be able to feed your animals," Ms. Del Rio says. ...


Don't moooooo for me.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Aug 11, 2009
from Science:
India's Groundwater Disappearing at Alarming Rate
Farming is a thirsty business on the Indian subcontinent. But how thirsty, exactly? For the first time, satellite remote sensing of a 2000-kilometer swath running from eastern Pakistan across northern India and into Bangladesh has put a solid number on how quickly the region is depleting its groundwater. The number "is big," says hydrologist James Famiglietti of the University of California, Irvine--big as in 54 cubic kilometers of groundwater lost per year from the world's most intensively irrigated region hosting 600 million people. "I don't think anybody knew how quickly it was being depleted over that large an area." ...


Thank goodness there are so few people living in India.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Aug 11, 2009
from Environmental Health News:
Germ-killing chemical from soaps, toothpaste building up in dolphins
Dolphins are swimming in waters tainted with germ-killing soaps, but they aren't winding up squeaky clean. Triclosan, an antibacterial chemical found in everyday bathroom and kitchen products, is accumulating in dolphins at concentrations known to disrupt the hormones and growth and development of other animals. Scientists have found that one-third of the bottlenose dolphins tested off South Carolina and almost one-quarter of those tested off Florida carried traces of triclosan in their blood. It is the first time the chemical has been reported in a wild marine mammal – a worrisome finding, researchers say, because it shows it is building up in the ocean’s food web. Triclosan is the germ-killing chemical of choice in hundreds of products, including liquid hand soaps, toothpaste, deodorants and cutting boards. Now some scientists are calling for its removal from consumer products. ...


I prefer my dolphins minty fresh!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Aug 11, 2009
from Than Nien News (Vietnam):
Slaps on the wrist as old hands pollute waters
In Dong Nai, the Tan Phat Tai Private Company in Bien Hoa Town, not far from HCMC, was last year caught twice by Dong Nai police discharging harmful waste including paint and oil into the land of nearby residents. The company was fined VND15 million (US$842). Again on June 12 this year, the footwear company was caught releasing waste into a residential plot in Long Thanh District. It was fined VND10 million on July 3 only to be caught dumping around three cubic meters of wastewater from a tanker in Vinh Cuu District just four days later. Since the company's license for transporting, treating and destroying waste was granted by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, authorities in Dong Nai said they can only impose cash penalties upon the polluter.... "The wastewater is black and smells like weed killer," a local resident had said in July, adding that she could hardly breathe when standing near the dumping site. Test results later showed that the effluent contained cyanide, phenol, lead and other heavy metals. Le Quang Thang, who drove the tanker that dumped the waste, said he had been doing so for two months, getting paid VND2 million for each trip. Thang said he was told where to throw the waste, and that he made three such trips a day. ...


Fines of about twice what the truck driver was paid that day. Ouch! That's gotta hurt!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Aug 9, 2009
from Sacramento News:
Amid drought, Sacramento water use climbed
As the state entered a severe drought, many of the city of Sacramento's biggest water users increased their watering dramatically, including some familiar locations: the City Cemetery, Land Park and Curtis Park... Even when Sacramento issued its first-ever "spare the water" alert this summer, forbidding outdoor watering by residents from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., the city's own park and cemetery workers apparently missed the memo... In the Sacramento Historic City Cemetery off Broadway and Riverside Drive, streams from antiquated jets pooled on crypts. The cemetery may host a drought-resistant garden of native plants maintained by volunteers, but its overall consumption grew by 76 percent from 2006 to 2008, the second-fastest rise of any large user. ...


The irony of watering the dead ... is nearly too much to bear.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Aug 7, 2009
from BBC (UK):
Climate fixes 'pose drought risk'
The use of geo-engineering to slow global warming may increase the risk of drought, according to a paper in Science journal. Methods put forward include reflecting solar radiation back into space using giant mirrors or aerosol particles. But the authors warn that such attempts to control the climate could also cause major changes in precipitation. They want the effect on rainfall to be assessed before any action is taken.... They cite the powerful effects on rainfall of volcanic eruptions which also prevent solar radiation reaching the Earth's surface, albeit by throwing up dust rather than reflecting the radiation back into space. For example in 1991, the eruption of Mount Pinatubo not only reduced global temperatures but also led to increases in drought.... The article warns that geo-engineering of this type, combined with the effects of global warming could produce reductions in regional rainfall that could rival those of past major droughts, leading to winners and losers among the human population and possible conflicts over water. ...


Why don't all these crises recognize that we need to be able to fix them?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Aug 7, 2009
from Guardian (UK):
Climate change melting US glaciers at faster rate, study finds
Climate change is melting America's glaciers at the fastest rate in recorded history, exposing the country to higher risks of drought and rising sea levels, a US government study of glaciers said today. The long-running study of three "benchmark" glaciers in Alaska and Washington state by the US geological survey (USGS) indicated a sharp rise in the melt rate over the last 10 or 15 years. Scientists see the three -- Wolverine and Gulkana in Alaska and South Cascade in Washington -- as representative of thousands of other glaciers in North America. "The observations show that the melt rate has definitely increased over the past 10 or 15 years," said Ed Josberger, a USGS scientist. "This certainly is a very strong indicator that climate change is occurring and its effects on glaciers are virtually worldwide." The survey also found that all three glaciers had begun melting at the same higher rate -- although they are in different climate regimes and some 1,500 miles apart. ...


That theory biting us in the ass once again with facts? Well, at least it's consistent.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Aug 6, 2009
from National Geographic News:
In Just Four Years: Vast Aral Sea Vanishing
From 2006 through 2009, Central Asia's vast Aral Sea dramatically retreated, with its eastern section losing about 80 percent of its water in just four years (above, newly released NASA satellite images are animated to show the regression). The [formerly] immense body of water, which straddles Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan (see map), was once the world's fourth largest freshwater lake.... By 2000 the Large Aral Sea had split into two sections, an eastern and western lobe. Without an influx of freshwater, the concentration of salts and minerals in the soil began to build up, making the remaining water saltier. This caused the commercial fishing industry to collapse. ...


Perhaps it should be called TFSKATA... The Former Sea Known As The Aral?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Aug 3, 2009
from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Storm sewers oozing human fecal bacteria to beaches, rivers, study finds
Human sewage is flowing out of municipal storm sewers and into local waterways and Lake Michigan on rainy days without sanitary sewer overflows to blame for the load, and even during periods of dry weather, a three-year study has concluded. And the contamination cannot be pinned on raccoons or other animals living in the storm sewers. Genetic testing ruled them out. Human fecal pollution is found at several beaches and rivers throughout the Milwaukee area, creating an unseen though serious public health risk for anyone in the water, said Sandra McLellan, associate scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Great Lakes WATER Institute and the study's lead researcher. ...


Me, I wear a Hazmat swimming suit...

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Jul 28, 2009
from Inland Valley Daily Bulletin:
Experts planning for a flood of Noah's Ark proportions
California may be caught in the throes of a years-long drought, but ... crisis experts are now planning for a flood of Noah's Ark proportions. Worried about the long-term effects of climate change, the USGS and the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration are co-creating a scenario for a cataclysmic flood across the Golden State. Last year, a USGS-led team of 300 scientists created a detailed scenario for a 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Southern California, followed by a "ShakeOut" drill of 5.4 million residents, a disaster preparedness record. Many of the same scientists are now fashioning a hypothetical ARk Storm scenario similar to the mother of all known California floods - the Great Flood of 1861-62. ...


Are they also acquiring two of every kind of beast?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Jul 28, 2009
from Washington Post:
Texas Scorched by Worst Drought in 50 Years
A combination of record-high heat and record-low rainfall has pushed south and central Texas into the region's deepest drought in a half century, with $3.6 billion of crop and livestock losses piling up during the past nine months. The heat wave has drastically reduced reservoirs and forced about 230 public water systems to declare mandatory water restrictions. Lower levels in lakes and rivers have been a blow to tourism, too, making summer boating, swimming and fishing activities impossible in some places.... Nearly 80 of Texas' 254 counties are in "extreme" or "exceptional" drought, the worst possible levels on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's index. ...


Everything is bigger AND droughtier in Texas.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Jul 26, 2009
from Environmental Research Web:
Groundwater crisis could hit India as climate changes
Traditionally India has relied on surface storage and gravity flow to water crops but in recent years it has come to depend heavily on groundwater to irrigate crops and to cope with dry spells. Today the number of irrigation wells equipped with diesel or electric pumps in the country stands at more than 19 million, compared with just 150,000 in 1950. This dependence is only likely to increase in the future as more and more rural farmers scavenge this water using small mechanical pumps and private tubewells. The practice has a large carbon footprint and groundwater pumping using electricity and diesel accounts for an estimated 16–25 million metric tonnes of carbon emissions or up to 6 percent of the total carbon dioxide produced by India. ...


Hey, no worries! We've been doing this for decades in the Midwest!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Jul 21, 2009
from London Guardian:
Food products should carry 'water footprint' information, says report
Food and drink products should carry a new label to give consumers more information about their "water footprint" -- the hidden amount of water used in the manufacturing process -- two health and food lobby groups will recommend this week. More transparency is needed about the huge volumes of water used to produce food, which most consumers are unaware of, said the joint report by the Food Ethics Council (FEC) and the health and food group Sustain. It is calling for the proposed new label to reflect good practice, by taking into account the extent to which some companies and manufacturers are already working to use water in ways that are fair and environmentally sustainable. ...


Who's gonna wanna drink that water once your foot's been in it?!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Jul 18, 2009
from New York Times:
Bottled Water Makers in the Hot Seat
Bottled water makers, it seems, are under seige. The Environmental Working Group, which found chemical contaminants in tests of bottled water, has begun calling for more oversight of the bottled water industry. Proponents of low-carbon lifestyles, meanwhile, are urging consumers to eschew bottled water and fill up reusable bottles with tap water instead. Restaurants have started to pull bottled water from their menus, and cities like Toronto are delivering chilled, dispensable drinking water to public events so people won't have to buy it. Last week, members of Congress grilled manufacturers of bottled water about the safety and environmental impacts of their products, while a small town in Australia reportedly became the first in the world to ban bottled water entirely. ...


I dunno... Paying for the contaminants just feels right.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Jul 15, 2009
from Dallas Morning News:
Brutal realities in Texas
SOUTHWEST: Isolated thunderstorms graced a few farms and ranches, but for most the hottest, driest summer on record continued unabated. High winds and a series of more than 20 days with record or near-record high temperatures aggravated the drought. The soil profile was very dry. High, dry winds increased the risk of roadside and field fires. The Edwards Aquifer water level, as measured at a test well in San Antonio, dropped within 0.3 feet of the mandatory Stage III declaration requirement by the San Antonio Water System. A mandatory stage III water rationing declaration was expected soon, said AgriLife Extension personnel. Except in deferred pastures, forages were almost nonexistent. Pastures and rangeland made almost no progress. The cantaloupe and watermelon harvests were nearly complete. Harvesting of corn and sorghum began; below-average yields were expected. Cotton, peanuts and pecans were making excellent progress under heavy irrigation. ...


Water rationing with the left hand, excellent cotton through heavy irrigation with the right.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Jul 15, 2009
from Jerusalem Post:
Study shows dramatic decline in coastal wetlands
The recently published study... entitled "Decline of wetland ecosystems in the coastal plain of Israel during the 20th century," discusses the harmful impact of humans on the country's wetlands over the past century. It makes use of satellite images, aerial photographs and historical maps to chart the history of the country's dramatic wetland decline. According to the report, "Out of 192 swamps and rain pools recorded in historical sources, only 18 percent [35] still exist today." The study attributed the decline, which was also found to have taken its toll on local plants and animals, to an "increase in population, farming and built-up areas." According to Prof. Noam Levin, the study's author, several species had "disappeared from Israel." One of those species was a rare amphibian unique to Israel, he said. "The only place in the world it existed was in Israel. They drained the lakes and swamps and it wasn't found anywhere again," Levin told The Jerusalem Post. ...


We extinguish species with such efficiency.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Jul 14, 2009
from New York Times via Common Dreams:
Iraq Suffers as the Euphrates River Dwindles
JUBAISH, Iraq... The Euphrates is drying up. Strangled by the water policies of Iraq's neighbors, Turkey and Syria; a two-year drought; and years of misuse by Iraq and its farmers, the river is significantly smaller than it was just a few years ago. Some officials worry that it could soon be half of what it is now. The shrinking of the Euphrates, a river so crucial to the birth of civilization that the Book of Revelation prophesied its drying up as a sign of the end times, has decimated farms along its banks, has left fishermen impoverished and has depleted riverside towns as farmers flee to the cities looking for work. ...


This news makes my apoca-lips parched.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Jul 14, 2009
from University of California - Los Angeles via ScienceDaily:
Major Breakthrough With Water Desalination System
...researchers at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science are working hard to help alleviate the state's water deficit with their new mini-mobile-modular (M3) "smart" water desalination and filtration system... Though the system is compact enough to be transported anywhere in the back of a van, it can generate 6,000 gallons of drinking water per day from the sea or 8,000 to 9,000 gallons per day from brackish groundwater. By [Yoram Cohen, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and lead investigator on the team]'s estimate, that means producing enough drinking water daily for up to 6,000 to 12,000 people. ...


When I can fit one into my pocket... Count me in!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Jul 12, 2009
from European Space Agency via ScienceDaily:
Declining Aral Sea: Satellite Images Highlight Dramatic Retreat
New Envisat images highlight the dramatic retreat of the Aral Sea's shoreline from 2006 to 2009. The Aral Sea was once the world's fourth-largest inland body of water, but it has been steadily shrinking over the past 50 years since the rivers that fed it were diverted for irrigation projects. As the Aral Sea evaporated, it left behind a 40 000 sq km zone of dry, white salt terrain now called the Aral Karakum Desert. Each year violent sandstorms pick up at least 150 000 tonnes of salt and sand from the Aral Karakum and transport it across hundreds of km, causing severe health problems for the local population and making regional winters colder and summers hotter. In an attempt to mitigate these effects, vegetation that thrives in dry, saline conditions is being planted in the former seabed. ...


This "salt and sand" stuff makes me parched!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Jul 11, 2009
from Portland Oregonian:
Oregon opens the tap wider for recycling gray water as demand grows, supplies wane
Oregonians have long recycled bottles, paper and cans. But now water? Yes, the estimated 40 gallons a day per person that drains from the shower, kitchen sink, washing machine. It is known as gray water, and all of it could water the lawn, the vegetable garden -- or go into the toilet tank for a "free" flush. That's if Oregon, which faces a population surge in a time of uncertain water supplies, follows the example of water-starved cities such as Tucson, Ariz., which requires many new structures to be plumbed to make use of gray water. ...


If only there was a more poetic term for "gray water"... muted silver water? smoky slate water?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Jul 9, 2009
from Associated Press:
H2-WHOA! Australian town bans bottled water sales
SYDNEY -- Residents of a rural Australian town hoping to protect the earth and their wallets have voted to ban the sale of bottled water, the first community in the country -- and possibly the world -- to take such a drastic step in the growing backlash against the industry. Residents of Bundanoon cheered after their near-unanimous approval of the measure at a town meeting Wednesday. It was the second blow to Australia's beverage industry in one day: Hours earlier, the New South Wales state premier banned all state departments and agencies from buying bottled water, calling it a waste of money and natural resources. ...


Cheers, mate!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Jul 3, 2009
from IRIN News (UN):
Rwanda: Water rationing warning as drought bites
Electrogaz, Rwanda's public utility, is considering water rationing due to shortages caused by a prolonged drought in parts of the country, officials said. Yves Muyange, the acting chief executive, said the country was now facing a deficit of up to 22,000 cubic metres of water every day and had no alternative until supplies had been boosted. "Starting this month, we are going to conduct rationing tests across major towns in the country to find out how to implement the programme," he said. Muyange said efforts were under way to increase water production across the densely populated country of nine million people. Environmental specialists blame the drought on climate change, with erratic rainfall and frequent dry spells combining to increase water shortages. ...


First, stop watering the golf courses. Then, stop watering the lawns. Then, stop... wait, Rwanda?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Jun 26, 2009
from University of Wisconsin, via EurekAlert:
Projected food, energy demands seen to outpace production
With the caloric needs of the planet expected to soar by 50 percent in the next 40 years, planning and investment in global agriculture will become critically important, according a new report released today (June 25).... "We are at a crossroads in terms of our investments in agriculture and what we will need to do to feed the world population by 2050," says David Zaks, a co-author of the report and a researcher at the Nelson Institute's Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment. By 2050, world population is expected to exceed 9 billion people, up from 6.5 billion today. Already, according to the report, a gap is emerging between agricultural production and demand, and the disconnect is expected to be amplified by climate change, increasing demand for biofuels, and a growing scarcity of water. ...


But I'll still be able to have Ho-Ho's, right?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Jun 20, 2009
from Florida State University, via EurekAlert:
Troubled waters: Low Apalachicola River flow may hurt gulf fisheries
Reductions in the flow of the Apalachicola River have far-reaching effects that could prove detrimental to grouper and other reef fish populations in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico, according to a new Florida State University study that may provide new ammunition for states engaged in a nearly two-decade water war. The Florida State researchers found that in years with low river flow, the concentration of phytoplankton -- the microscopic plant-like organisms that feed into the food chain -- decreased over a large area of the continental shelf. This is significant because scientists have hypothesized that year-to-year changes in the phytoplankton can alter the availability of food for the very young fish larvae... The findings broaden the environmental considerations of managed flow reductions in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) river system. The Apalachicola River, the final leg of the river system, has been the focus of a nearly 20-year legal battle between Florida, Georgia and Alabama, known as the Tri-State Water War. At the heart of the dispute is Georgia's desire to divert water from the ACF river system to the burgeoning population of the Atlanta metropolitan area, and Florida and Alabama's contention that this flow reduction could have negative consequences for the downstream river environment. ...


Hot 'Lanta will have its water, phytoplankton or no phytoplankton. We call it the "peculiar institution."

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Jun 16, 2009
from New York Times:
An Unsightly Algae Extends Its Grip to a Crucial New York Stream
The Esopus Creek, a legendary Catskill Mountain fly fishing stream that is an integral part of New York City's vast upstate drinking water system, is one of the latest bodies of water to be infected with Didymosphenia geminata, a fast-spreading single-cell algae that is better known to fishermen and biologists around the world as rock snot.... Didymo has a natural tendency to grow upstream in fast-moving rivers and creeks, but it can spread by clinging to fishing equipment, especially the felt-bottom waders that fly fishermen use to keep from slipping on river bottoms.... Even more worrisome, when kept in a cool, damp place -- like the trunk of a car -- Didymo can survive for 90 days in a felt sole, Dr. Spaulding said. Didymo presents other mysteries. Its destructive blooms are not set off by excess nutrients in the water -- often from human byproducts -- the way other algae booms are. Didymo can bloom in waters that are nearly pristine. ...


Fishermen: boogers are not a good lure.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Jun 6, 2009
from Alternet:
California's Water Woes Threaten the Entire Country's Food Supply
...Here are some not-so-fun facts: California's agricultural sector grows approximately one-third of the nation's food supply and is nourished by diverted rivers and streams filled yearly by runoff from its prodigious Sierra Nevada snowpack, as well as groundwater pumping and other less-reliable methods. That snowpack -- which once sparked the first, but not the last, water war that helped transform a semi-arid Los Angeles into an unsustainable oasis less populous than only New York City -- is disappearing fast...To make matters worse, a crushing drought, now well into its third year, has made simply everything problematic. In California's central valley, home to a majority of the state's agricultural output, farmers are leaving hundreds of thousands of acres fallow, and the resultant economic depression is having a domino effect that could cost California $1 billion to start and is causing residents of a one-time food powerhouse to go hungry. ...


"An unsustainable oasis"... sounds like planet Earth to me!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Jun 5, 2009
from CBC (Canada):
How much fertilizer can a river take?
Every year, some of P.E.I.'s rivers and streams end up starved of the oxygen marine animals need. Huge blooms of sea lettuce grow and then rot, sucking the oxygen out of the water, causing fish and other creatures to die in what's called anoxic conditions. Mike van den Heuvel of the Canadian Rivers Institute at UPEI has been looking at the example of the Wilmot River near Summerside, where the equivalent of several pickup trucks full of fertilizer is going into the water every day. Van den Heuvel, who is being consulted by the government, is one of the scientists trying to find that safe level of nitrates for Island rivers. While that level has not been established, he told CBC News Thursday too much is making its way into some rivers, and if changes aren't made, the consequences could be dire. "Ultimately it could have effects on economically important industries. For example, the mussel farming industry depends on the estuaries," said van den Heuvel. "Also tourism is also a very important industry for P.E.I., and smelly anoxic estuaries are not really a big draw for tourists." ...


This one is just gasping "less, and less, and less..."

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Jun 5, 2009
from Guardian (UK):
Captured on camera: 50 years of climate change in the Himalayas
But half a century later, American mountain geographer Alton Byers returned to the precise locations of the original pictures and replicated 40 panoramas taken by explorers Müller and Schneider. Placed together, the juxtaposed images are not only visually stunning but also of significant scientific value.... "Only five decades have passed between the old and the new photographs and the changes are dramatic," says Byers. "Many small glaciers at low altitudes have disappeared entirely and many larger ones have lost around half of their volume. Some have formed huge glacial lakes at the foot of the glacier, threatening downstream communities in case of an outburst."... The effects of climate change are dramatically illustrated at the world's "third pole", so-called because the mountain range locks away the highest volume of frozen water after the north and south poles. ...


Good thing global warming has just been a theory over those 50 years.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Jun 3, 2009
from University of Minnesota:
U of M Study says Minnesota households flushing 25 percent more pharmaceuticals, household chemicals than 30 years ago
In addition to a 25 percent overall increase in medicines and chemicals in the wastewater, researchers found caffeine in all samples; salicylic acid (the active compound in aspirin) was in 75 percent of samples, ibuprofen in 50 percent and endocrine disruptors -- typically found in birth control pills and hormone replacement products -- in nearly 85 percent. Researchers also found that water use did not vary from season to season, but was affected by the household's age, with younger households using nearly twice the amount of water per person than households with occupants 55 and older. The good news is a 33 percent decrease in the amount of oil and grease flushed down the drain. Concentrations of phosphates were also down —due to phosphate-free detergents and household cleansers—while the amount of nitrogen in household wastewater remained the same. ...


What's that? Hormones are tasty?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, May 20, 2009
from Marine Biological Laboratory, via:
Scientists link influenza A (H1N1) susceptibility to common levels of arsenic exposure
The ability to mount an immune response to influenza A (H1N1) infection is significantly compromised by a low level of arsenic exposure that commonly occurs through drinking contaminated well water, scientists at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) and Dartmouth Medical School have found.... However, in mice that had ingested 100 ppb (parts per billion) arsenic in their drinking water for five weeks, the immune response to H1N1 infection was initially feeble, and when a response finally did kick in days later, it was "too robust and too late," Hamilton says. "There was a massive infiltration of immune cells to the lungs and a massive inflammatory response, which led to bleeding and damage in the lung." Morbidity over the course of the infection was significantly higher for the arsenic-exposed animals than the normal animals.... "One thing that did strike us, when we heard about the recent H1N1 outbreak, is Mexico has large areas of very high arsenic in their well water, including the areas where the flu first cropped up. We don't know that the Mexicans who got the flu were drinking high levels of arsenic, but it's an intriguing notion that this may have contributed," Hamilton says. ...


Next they'll discover that "old lace" is a catalyst for the black plague.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, May 16, 2009
from Associated Press:
Obama wants to pump $475M into Great Lakes cleanup
A budget proposal from the Obama administration would spend $475 million on beach cleanups, wetlands restoration and removal of toxic sediments from river bottoms around the Great Lakes. The spending represents a first step toward a multiyear campaign to repair decades of damage to the battered ecosystem. It also seeks to ward off new threats by preventing exotic species invasions and cutting down on erosion and runoff. Obama's 2010 budget released in February requested the $475 million for a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, focusing on the region's most pressing environmental problems. When added to existing programs such as sewer system upgrades, it would push annual federal spending on the lakes past $1 billion. ...


Isn't "pumping" crap into the Great Lakes what got us into this trouble in the first place?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, May 14, 2009
from London Times:
Professor Anthony Costello: climate change biggest threat to humans
Climate change poses the biggest threat to human health in the 21st century but its full impact is not being grasped by the healthcare community or policymakers, a medical report concludes. The report, compiled by a commission of academics from University College London and published in The Lancet, warns that climate change risks huge death tolls caused by disease, food and water shortages and poor sanitation. The authors said that the NHS would face serious incremental pressures from heat and hygiene-related illnesses because of increasingly hot summers, greater pathogen spread with warmer temperatures, and the heightened risk of flooding. ...


An even bigger threat... than Godzilla?!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, May 12, 2009
from Times of India:
The mad rush for water
KANPUR: The Khuranas leave bed early in the morning everyday at 5.00 this May, not to jog and gym, but to fill water as this is the only time it is easily available. Ravi Khurana, head of family and a banker said, "The water supply has a steady flow in early morning hours so we wake up early to store enough water for our daily requirements." Water has become a priced and elusive commodity in the concrete desert of this city and everybody can feel its shortage. The problem increases in high-rise buildings. Along with rising mercury, family budgets too are rising with a new entrant in their household items -- water cans. Talking to TOI, Anupam Shukla, a resident of Swaroopnagar said, "Motor pumps are proving to be incapable of supplying water to our sixth floor apartment. Hence, we are forced to buy water cans of 20 litre capacity to store drinking water." He added, "We do not use the water supplied directly for drinking purpose, rather using it for performing other household chores and for bathing etc." ...


Can't someone just invent a way to make water? C'mon, innovators!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, May 11, 2009
from London Times:
River Jordan, the site of Jesus' baptism, a 'sewage pipe'
If Pope Benedict hoped to immerse himself yesterday in the waters of the River Jordan, where Jesus was said to have been baptised by his cousin John, he will have been disappointed: the river is now such a polluted, denuded shadow of its former self that bathing is prohibited in its sluggish, brown waters. A United Nations report described the biblical waterway as a "sewage pipe" made filthy by pollution from farming in Israeli settlements in the Jordan Valley, by poorly managed sewage disposal from Palestinian cities in the West Bank and by waste water from Jordan and Syria. ...


Bet you could get a good craptism there.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, May 5, 2009
from CBC News (Canada):
Researchers flag increasing levels of fresh water in Labrador Sea
Melting Arctic ice that flows into the Labrador Sea could affect the climate along the Labrador coast, and elsewhere in the North Atlantic, new research suggests.... "We see this small trend towards fresher waters coming out, but we're not certain if it's a large-scale trend yet," said oceanographer Craig Lee, who headed the research project. Lee said more fresh water would slow down the Labrador Current, which flows south along the Labrador coast. Water density changes in the Labrador Sea could also affect the Gulf Stream, a transatlantic current that brings warm temperatures to northern Europe.... Anderson said people in Nain are already living with effects. For example, he said the "rattles" -- places that don't freeze over in the winter because of the movement of currents -- are getting smaller. ...


The perimeter fresh water freezes better. Will we end up with Arctic fringe baldness? How do we do a comb-over?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, May 4, 2009
from Washington Post:
Finding Space for All in Our Crowded Seas
The ocean is getting crowded: Fishermen are competing with offshore wind projects, oil rigs along with sand miners, recreational boaters, liquefied gas tankers and fish farmers. So a growing number of groups -- including policymakers, academics, activists and industry officials -- now say it's time to divvy up space in the sea... To resolve these conflicts, a handful of states -- including Massachusetts, California and Rhode Island -- have begun essentially zoning the ocean, drawing up rules and procedures to determine which activities can take place and where. ...


Tell ya what. Y'all can just have that giant garbage island!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Apr 30, 2009
from Inter Press Service:
HEALTH-ARGENTINA: Half of Children at Risk for Lack of Clean Water
More than half of all children in Argentina are at risk of illness because of lack of access to clean, running water, while a large proportion are also threatened by polluting industries and the use of pesticides in agriculture, according to a study by the ombudsman's office... More than one-third of the causes of child mortality are related to modifiable environmental factors, says the study. These include lack of access to safe water, inadequate waste disposal, pollution, accidents and occupational illnesses or injuries in the countryside, industry or informal sector activities. ...


Whatever you do... don't cry for them!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Apr 29, 2009
from Discovery News:
Plastic Water Bottles May Pose Health Hazard
With all of the bad press swirling around certain types of plastic lately, regular old plastic water bottles have maintained a reputation as safe, at least as far as human health is concerned. New evidence, however, suggests that plastic water bottles may not be so benign after all. Scientists in Germany have found that PET plastics -- the kind used to make water bottles, among many other common products -- may also harbor hormone-disrupting chemicals that leach into the water. ... "What we found was really surprising to us," [lead researcher Martin] Wagner said. "If you drink water from plastic bottles, you have a high probability of drinking estrogenic compounds." ...


Hey, my man boobs could use a little definition.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Apr 27, 2009
from Dhaka Daily Star:
All Dhaka rivers left 'dead'
Soft attitude of the government towards polluters and lack of awareness among city dwellers have literally left dead all the rivers and other surface waters in and around the capital. Over the years the government agencies conducted small-scale drives against the polluters without yielding any major success. The polluters have meanwhile continued polluting the rivers side by side with city dwellers linking excreta discharge to the storm sewerage that ultimately falls into the rivers. The immediate past caretaker government had earlier directed industrialists to install Effluent Treatment Plants (ETP) at their respective industries by October 31, 2007. But most of the industrialists defied the directive and the government also did not go for action against the violators. ...


We have met the enemy and he has crapped all over himself.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Apr 25, 2009
from Scripps Institution of Oceanography / UC San Diego via ScienceDaily:
No 'Burp' Accelerating Climate Change?...
An expansion of wetlands and not a large-scale melting of frozen methane deposits is the likely cause of a spike in atmospheric methane gas that took place some 11,600 years ago, according to an international research team led by Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego... "This is good news for global warming because it suggests that methane clathrates do not respond to warming by releasing large amounts of methane into the atmosphere," said Vasilii Petrenko, a postdoctoral fellow at University of Colorado, Boulder, who led the analysis while a graduate student at Scripps.... "This study is important because it confirms that wetlands and moisture availability change dramatically along with abrupt climate change," said [co-author Jeff] Severinghaus. "This highlights in a general way the fact that the largest impacts of future climate change may be on water resources and drought, rather than temperature per se." ...


What a relief: We'll die of thirst, not heat!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Apr 24, 2009
from National Science Foundation via ScienceDaily:
As World Warms, Water Levels Dropping In Major Rivers
Rivers in some of the world's most populous regions are losing water, according to a comprehensive study of global stream flows. The research, led by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo., suggests that the reduced flows in many cases are associated with climate change, and could potentially threaten future supplies of food and water... The scientists, who examined stream flows from 1948 to 2004, found significant changes in about one-third of the world's largest rivers. Of those, rivers with decreased flow outnumbered those with increased flow by a ratio of about 2.5 to 1. ...


Old Man River is getting decrepit!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Apr 22, 2009
from Frontline:
Poisoned Water
More than three decades after the Clean Water Act, iconic American waterways like the Chesapeake Bay and Puget Sound are in perilous condition and facing new sources of contamination. With polluted runoff still flowing in from industry, agriculture and massive suburban development, scientists note that many new pollutants and toxins from modern everyday life are already being found in the drinking water of millions of people across the country and pose a threat to fish, wildlife and, potentially, human health. ...


The earth... she is our toilet.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Apr 21, 2009
from Boston Globe:
Fewer showers to help prevent global warming?
...Officials at the Kingston campus set out to see if they could change student behavior around some of the most common and wasteful energy habits on campus: leaving computers on when not in use, keeping the heat and/or air conditioners on when they leave a room, and taking excessively long showers....Based on an initial survey, URI students took showers that lasted an average of 13 minutes each. After the first semester, shower length remained virtually unchanged, but students reduced the number they took from eight to 6.8 per week. "Shower length is the most difficult behavior to change; it seems to be ingrained in people as a right," said Scott Finlinson, coordinator of the project for NORESCO, the energy services company hired by the University. "While men tend to be willing to reduce the length of their showers, women say that they have too much to do in the shower to cut back on the time spent there." ...


When the Apocalypse comes... I intend on smelling real good!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Apr 20, 2009
from Inter Press Service:
PERU: Water Isn't for Everyone
The melting of glaciers resulting from climate change and the lack of adequate water management policies seem to be the main causes behind the water shortages that are fuelling conflicts in Peru. This warning is being sounded from a variety of sectors. Nearly 50 percent of the 218 social conflicts recorded by the national ombudsman’s office as of February 2009 were triggered by socio-environmental problems, many of them related to water management issues, states the report "Water Faces New Challenges: Actors and Initiatives in Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia", published by the international anti-poverty organisation Oxfam on Mar. 20. Two southern departments, Moquegua and Arequipa, are at loggerheads over water. And rural communities in the Andean highlands region along the Yauca River have experienced violent clashes that have even claimed lives. ...


If only they would wage these wars with water pistols!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Apr 18, 2009
from Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council via ScienceDaily:
Changing Climate May Lead To Devastating Loss Of Phosphorus From Soil
Crop growth, drinking water and recreational water sports could all be adversely affected if predicted changes in rainfall patterns over the coming years prove true, according to research published in April in Biology and Fertility of Soils. Scientists from Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC)-funded North Wyke Research have found for the first time that the rate at which a dried soil is rewetted impacts on the amount of phosphorus lost from the soil into surface water and subsequently into the surrounding environment. Dr Martin Blackwell who is one of the project leaders said:..."This is really worrying because high phosphorus concentrations in surface waters can lead to harmful algal blooms which can be toxic, cause lack of oxygen during their decay and disrupt food webs. This can also affect the quality of water for drinking and result in the closure of recreational water sport facilities." ...


I can't LIVE without my recreational water sports!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Apr 17, 2009
from London Daily Guardian:
Australia's largest river close to running dry
Australia's biggest river is running so low that Adelaide, the country's fifth-largest city, could run out of water in the next two years. The Murray river is part of a network of waterways that irrigates the south-eastern corner of Australia, but after six years of severe drought, the worst dry spell ever, its slow moving waters are now almost stagnant. Water levels in the Murray in the first three months of this year were the lowest on record and the government agency that administers the river, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA), said the next three months could be just as grim. With meteorologists predicting another year of below-average rainfall, the MDBA, is bracing for worse to come. ...


Australia might just be world's first continent to go belly up.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Apr 15, 2009
from Grand Rapids Press:
Voracious goby extends its range to deeper water, threatening Great Lakes, scientists say
A half-century after alewives disrupted Great Lakes fisheries and trashed beaches, another invasive fish is engaged in a biological conquest of the world's largest freshwater ecosystem. The round goby is taking over large swaths of the Great Lakes and their connecting waters, according to scientists studying the invader. Gobies breed like rabbits and eat like pigs, causing profound changes at the base of a food chain that supports the Great Lakes $7 billion sport and commercial fisheries. New research conducted in Green Bay, Wis., found that gobies were hogging tiny aquatic organisms that other fish species need to survive. ...


Gobies hog like humans!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Apr 10, 2009
from Yale Environment 360:
Retreat of Andean Glaciers Foretells Global Water Woes
Earlier this year, the World Bank released yet another in a seemingly endless stream of reports by global institutions and universities chronicling the melting of the world's cryosphere, or ice zone. This latest report concerned the glaciers in the Andes and revealed the following: Bolivia's famed Chacaltaya glacier has lost 80 percent of its surface area since 1982, and Peruvian glaciers have lost more than one-fifth of their mass in the past 35 years, reducing by 12 percent the water flow to the country's coastal region, home to 60 percent of Peru's population. And if warming trends continue, the study concluded, many of the Andes' tropical glaciers will disappear within 20 years, not only threatening the water supplies of 77 million people in the region, but also reducing hydropower production, which accounts for roughly half of the electricity generated in Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador. ...


The melting of the cryosphere just makes me weep!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Apr 8, 2009
from CNN:
Report lists America's 10 most endangered rivers
Rivers are the arteries of our infrastructure. Flowing from highlands to the sea, they breathe life into ecosystems and communities. But many rivers in the United States are in trouble. Rivers in Alaska, California and the South are among the 10 most endangered, according to a report released Tuesday by American Rivers, a leading river conservation group. The annual report uses data from thousands of rivers groups, local governments, environmental organizations and citizen watchdogs to identify waterways under imminent threat by dams, industry or development. ...


Is there a River Styx for rivers that die?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Apr 6, 2009
from USA Today:
Leaks, wasteful toilets cause cascading water loss
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that more than 1.25 trillion gallons of water -- equivalent to the annual water use of Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami combined -- leak from U.S. homes each year. According to the EPA, toilets account for nearly 30 percent of indoor water consumption in American homes. Old, inefficient toilets are responsible for the majority of the water wasted -- 200 gallons a day each in some cases. Often such leaks can be stopped by simply replacing the flapper, the piece of rubber that seals water into the tank and allows it to leave when you flush.... According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, 36 states anticipate water shortages over the next five years. ...


Can we put our heads together and solve this? -- yes we can!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Apr 3, 2009
from The Nation:
Tennessee's Dirty Data
The Tennessee Valley Authority manipulated science methods to downplay water contamination caused by a massive coal ash disaster, according to independent technical experts and critics of the federally funded electrical company. The TVA is the largest public provider of electricity in the nation, providing power to 670,000 homes and burning through some 14,000 tons of coal per day. On December 22 the authority made headlines when one of its retention ponds collapsed, letting loose an avalanche of coal ash--the toxic residue left over when coal is burned. More than 5 million cubic yards of ashy mud pushed its way through a neighborhood and into Tennessee's Emory River, knocked houses off foundations and blanketed river water with plumes of gray scum that flowed downstream. New evidence indicates that in the wake of the disaster, the TVA may have intentionally collected water samples from clean spots in the Emory River, a major supplier of drinking water for nearby cities and a popular site for recreational activities such as swimming and fishing. Third-party tests have found high levels of toxins in the river water and in private wells, while the TVA has assured residents that tap water, well water and river water are safe. ...


Isn't it just soooo human nature to want to cover up mistakes.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Apr 2, 2009
from Reuters:
Water Wars Leave Northern Colorado Farmers Dry
Many farmers in this northern Colorado plains region are struggling to keep their crops irrigated and stay afloat as they find themselves on the wrong side of state water rules dating back to the 19th century. The farmers around Wiggins, population 830, recently lost a lengthy war over access to the nearby South Platte River.... The farmers' plight traces back to the late 1800s, when reservoir and ditch companies bought senior rights to the Platte. Some 30 years later, farmers drilled their first wells in the South Platte River Valley. Water in Colorado is first come, first served. State law requires well users to have a supply of replacement water ready before they start pumping from the river to ensure there's enough for the senior rights holders. ...


Let's hope they don't use waterguns in these wars!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Mar 31, 2009
from San Jose Mercury News:
Obama signs landmark wilderness bill; restoration of key California river included
In one of the first major environmental acts of his presidency, President Barack Obama on Monday signed a far-reaching measure to provide wilderness protection to 2.1 million acres of federal land and restore salmon to California's second-longest river, the San Joaquin. The law will put billions of gallons of fresh water back into the river, potentially improving drinking water quality for large sections of the Bay Area, including Silicon Valley. "This legislation guarantees that we will not take our forests, rivers, oceans, national parks, monuments, and wilderness areas for granted," Obama said at a White House ceremony. "But rather we will set them aside and guard their sanctity for everyone to share." The Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009, co-written by Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Sen. Barbara Boxer, is the largest wilderness preservation bill since President Clinton signed the Desert Protection Act in 1994. ...


Yes we really can!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Mar 30, 2009
from London Guardian:
Fit every home with water meter by 2020, says Environment Agency
Every home in London and south-east England should be fitted with a water meter within six years, according to experts at the Environment Agency who say the move is needed to conserve dwindling water supplies. The agency says water companies and the government must accelerate plans to roll out the meters, and wants one fitted to every home in England and Wales by 2020. Water-stressed areas such as the south-east should have them by 2015, it says. Paul Leinster, chief executive of the Environment Agency, said: "People and businesses need to use less water and wasting water needs to cost a lot more." He said climate change and population growth could lead to serious shortages. "There may not be enough water in England and Wales in the future for people and the environment unless we start planning and acting now. We need a joined-up approach to this problem to prevent it becoming a crisis." ...


This better not impact my 20 minute showers!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Mar 28, 2009
from Aspen Daily News:
Third-World women hit by climate change
In ski towns like Aspen the conversation about global warming's local effect focuses around the threat of shorter winters, less skiing, and the possibility of our resort economy crumbling as a result. On the other end of the spectrum in poor, developing nations it's more about fighting wild animals for clean water and spending your waking hours searching for firewood on an eroding landscape. And the hardships wrought by global warming in these countries are disproportionately shouldered by their women, as attested by the environmental leaders of Nicaragua, Mozambique and Jordan on Friday at the Aspen Environment Forum. ...


Figures that Mother Earth's mothers would be suffering the most...

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Mar 24, 2009
from Wall Street Journal:
Drought Turns Water Into a Cash Crop
... After three years of drought in California, water is now a potential cash crop. Last fall, the state activated its Drought Water Bank program for the first time since 1994. Under the program, farmers can choose to sell some of the water they would usually use to grow their crops to parched cities, counties and agriculture districts. Water -- or the lack of it -- has been costing the state dearly. According to Richard Howitt, a professor at the University of California, Davis, the drought and resulting water restrictions could cost as much as $1.4 billion in lost income and about 53,000 lost jobs, mostly in the agriculture sector. ...


But think of all the new job opportunities for rain dancers!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Mar 23, 2009
from Denver Post:
Nestle plan sets off water war
A plan to suck, truck and bottle Arkansas Valley spring water has residents here crusading against the world's largest food and beverage company. "Nestle is seeking to drain the blood of Chaffee County," said Salida local Daniel Zettler during a fiery public hearing last week. Nestle -- with 12 U.S. brands of bottled water and almost $4.3 billion in North American sales in 2007 -- came calling for Arkansas Valley spring water about two years ago. The company wants to draw 65 million gallons a year from an aquifer feeding two freshwater springs near Nathrop, pipe it 5 miles to a truck stop and ship it 100 miles to a Denver bottling facility. It would be sold under the company's Arrowhead brand. ...


Sing with me now... Nestle makes the very best ... bottled water...

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Mar 22, 2009
from Palm Beach Daily News:
Rubber ducks dropped into Greenland's Jakobshavn Glacier to track ice flow
To keep track of climate change, scientists around the world employ some of the most sophisticated devices and machines found in the 21st century. Advanced theoretical models run on huge number-crunching computers, while thousands of miles up in space complex satellites examine every nook and cranny of our atmosphere. Still, sometimes scientists just need a rubber ducky. At least, that's what Alberto Behar, a researcher from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, used recently to try to figure out what's going on inside the world's fastest-moving glacier. Behar dropped 90 rubber ducks inside the Jakobshavn Glacier, not far from Greenland, last September to try to determine why glaciers speed up in the summer months during their annual march to the sea. Behar says the Jakobshavn Glacier discharges around 7 percent of all the ice that comes off of Greenland each year. Thanks to global warming, scientists believe its melting ice sheet could help raise ocean levels in the coming years. ...


This idea was hatched at the Ernie Institute.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Mar 22, 2009
from Agence France-Presse:
UPDATE: World Forum On Water Ends With Pledge
ISTANBUL (AFP)--A seven-day focus on the world's water crunch wound up here Sunday with a pledge by more than 100 countries to strive to provide clean water and proper sanitation for billions in need and shore up defenses against drought and flood. Ministers and delegation chiefs endorsed the declaration, coinciding with World Water Day, at the end of the biggest ever conference on the planet's crisis of fresh water. But some countries criticized the cornerstone outcome of the fifth World Water Forum as flawed, while activists dismissed the event itself as a "trade show."... A number of countries, including Spain, France and several nations from Latin America and Africa, tried in vain to have the document recognize access to safe drinking water and sanitation as "a basic human right," rather than a "basic human need" - a textual change with political and legal ramifications. ...


As long as they don't change my Coca-Cola again...

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Mar 19, 2009
from BusinessGreen:
Chief scientist warns of 'perfect storm' for resource shortages by 2030
The UK's chief scientist will today warn that political and business leaders have just 20 years to prepare for a "perfect storm" of climate change-related impacts on food, water and energy supplies or risk public unrest, conflict and mass migration.... According to Beddington, demand for food and energy will increase 50 per cent by 2030, while demand for fresh water will rise 30 per cent as the population grows to top 8.3 billion. At the same time, climate change is expected to result in falling levels of agricultural productivity and water shortages across many hot regions, leading to mass migration and increased risks of cross-border conflict. ...


Isn't the human race "too big to fail"?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Mar 18, 2009
from Los Angeles Times:
Who owns Colorado's rainwater?
Every time it rains here, Kris Holstrom knowingly breaks the law. Holstrom's violation is the fancifully painted 55-gallon buckets underneath the gutters of her farmhouse on a mesa 15 miles from the resort town of Telluride. The barrels catch rain and snowmelt, which Holstrom uses to irrigate the small vegetable garden she and her husband maintain. But according to the state of Colorado, the rain that falls on Holstrom's property is not hers to keep. It should be allowed to fall to the ground and flow unimpeded into surrounding creeks and streams, the law states, to become the property of farmers, ranchers, developers and water agencies that have bought the rights to those waterways. ...


Maybe people should try to get ownership of the sky.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Mar 16, 2009
from Inter Press Service:
Blessed and Cursed by Water
In 2008, the United Nations (U.N.) International Year of Sanitation, it is estimated that 2.16 billion people in developing countries lack that most basic of amenities - a proper toilet. They do not have water conveniently pumped in and out of their homes for use in flush toilets. Many have no choice but to relieve themselves in ditches, behind the house, down the road, or at any other 'convenient' location. The result: "widespread damage to human health and child survival prospects; social misery especially for women, the elderly and infirm; depressed economic productivity and human development; pollution to the living environment and water resources," according to the U.N. report 'Tackling a global crisis'. Of course, water is not only a question of sanitation. This year is also part of the U.N's international decade for water, titled 'Water for Life'. Some more statistics: about 700 million people in 43 countries are affected by water scarcity, according to the U.N. In 2025 the number could be 3 billion. Around 1.1 billion people are said to have no access to safe drinking water. ...


Turns out that
the "real thing"...
is water.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Mar 10, 2009
from Reuters:
Climate change accelerates water hunt in U.S. West
t's hard to visualize a water crisis while driving the lush boulevards of Los Angeles, golfing Arizona's green fairways or watching dancing Las Vegas fountains leap more than 20 stories high. So look Down Under. A decade into its worst drought in a hundred years Australia is a lesson of what the American West could become. Bush fires are killing people and obliterating towns. Rice exports collapsed last year and the wheat crop was halved two years running. Water rationing is part of daily life. "Think of that as California's future," said Heather Cooley of California water think tank the Pacific Institute. ...


Maybe there ought to be water in that tank instead of thoughts!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Mar 10, 2009
from WCSH6 (ME):
Shapleigh Passes Ordinance To Protect Groundwater
The town of Shapleigh voted Saturday to pass an ordinance that gives the people the right to control the water resources in town. Under the ordinance, groundwater is put in a common trust to be used for the benefit of its residents. The vote was 114 in favor and 66 against. Shapleigh is the first town in Maine to pass such an ordinance. It's a reaction to Poland Spring's interest in extracting town groundwater. ...


I'll drink from my recycled bottle to the rights of nature!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Mar 8, 2009
from Living on Earth:
Toward Healthier Waters
President Barack Obama has set aside half a billion dollars to clean up the Great Lakes. Many environmentalists - and some politicians - say the project is long overdue. The lakes are polluted with toxic waste that poison fish and endanger human health, and invasive species which disrupt the food web and the marine ecosystem... ...


Maybe we can bribe the quagga mussels into leaving.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Mar 6, 2009
from Bloomberg News:
India Failing to Control Open Defecation Blunts Nation's Growth
Until May 2007, Meera Devi rose before dawn each day and walked a half mile to a vegetable patch outside the village of Kachpura to find a secluded place. Dodging leering men and stick-wielding farmers and avoiding spots that her neighbors had soiled, the mother of three pulled up her sari and defecated with the Taj Mahal in plain view. With that act, she added to the estimated 100,000 tons of human excrement that Indians leave each day in fields of potatoes, carrots and spinach, on banks that line rivers used for drinking and bathing and along roads jammed with scooters, trucks and pedestrians.... In the shadow of its new suburbs, torrid growth and 300-million-plus-strong middle class, India is struggling with a sanitation emergency. From the stream in Devi's village to the nation's holiest river, the Ganges, 75 percent of the country's surface water is contaminated by human and agricultural waste and industrial effluent. Everyone in Indian cities is at risk of consuming human feces, if they're not already, the Ministry of Urban Development concluded in September. ...


At least their shit is out in the open.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Mar 6, 2009
from Port Elizabeth Herald:
Starvation a likely outcome of climate change in Africa
The global community is failing to meet the threat of climate change, says the chairman of the international body researching and tracking the climate change phenomena, Dr Rajendra Pachauri. Addressing the National Climate Change Summit here on a video clip, Pachauri, of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said things had gone backwards since the first global commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions was signed at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro 16 years ago. "Despite that commitment, between 1970 and 2004 emissions rose 70 per cent, and carbon dioxide alone rose 80 percent." ... Focusing on Africa, Pachauri said the prediction for some countries was that, as early as 2020, agricultural yield would drop by up to 50 percent. "In most cases, these are countries where people are already suffering from malnutrition, so this will exacerbate that suffering." Also by 2020, largely as a result of climate change, it is expected that between 75 million and 250 million people across the continent will be suffering from "water stress" -- a shortage of drinkable water. ...


Might be time to upgrade to a new continent.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Mar 2, 2009
from Guardian (UK):
China plans 59 reservoirs to collect meltwater from its shrinking glaciers
China is planning to build 59 reservoirs to collect water from its shrinking glaciers as the cost of climate change hits home in the world's most populous country. The far western province of Xinjiang, home to many of the planet's highest peaks and widest ice fields, will carry out the 10-year engineering project, which aims to catch and store glacier run-off that might otherwise trickle away into the desert. Behind the measure is a concern that millions of people in the region will run out of water once the glaciers in the Tian, Kunlun and Altai mountains disappear. Anxiety has risen along with temperatures that are rapidly diminishing the ice fields. The 3,800-metre Urumqi No1 glacier, the first to be measured in China, has lost more than 20 percent of its volume since 1962, according to the Cold and Arid Regions Environmental and Engineering Research Institute (Careeri) in Lanzhou. ...


Which of the seven previous generations do I blame?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Mar 1, 2009
from Associated Press:
Part of Lone Star State now driest region in the nation
LUBBOCK -- Central Texas cattle raiser Gerry Shudde remembers Texas' drought of record in the 1950s when his family's ranch sometimes got a couple of 4-inch rainfalls a year. But the drought ongoing now is far different. "This is just cut off completely," the 74-year-old rancher said. "In a lot of ways, it's worse." Across the nation's No. 2 agricultural state, drought conditions are evaporating stock tanks, keeping many crop farmers from planting into long-parched soil, forcing cattle producers to cull their herds, and dropping water levels in state lakes. Despite hurricanes Dolly, Gustav and Ike soaking Texas in 2008, almost every part of the state -- nearly 97 percent -- is experiencing some drought, according to the most recent U.S. Drought Monitor map, released Feb. 26. ...


Can I still wash my car?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Feb 24, 2009
from SciDev.net:
China's water deficit 'will create food shortage'
A leading climate change expert has warned that water shortage is the greatest threat to China's agricultural sector this century, amid a drought across the country. As demand for water continues to rise and less is available for agriculture, "China will see a food shortfall of 5-10 per cent -- a disastrous outcome in a country of 1.3 billion people -- unless effective and timely measures are taken," said Lin Erda, one of China's top climate change experts and leader of a joint China-UK project, 'Impacts of Climate Change on Chinese Agriculture'.... When the current episode of drought reached its peak in early February it was affecting 1.6 million hectares of farmland in at least 12 provinces in northern China -- considered the country's breadbasket. Thanks to snow and rainfall last week the affected area has dropped to 497,000 hectares across eight provinces. ...


Oh good... the breadbasket's only 1/3 empty.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Feb 19, 2009
from Reuters:
Los Angeles nears water rationing
With a recent flurry of winter storms doing little to dampen California's latest drought, the nation's biggest public utility voted on Tuesday to impose water rationing in Los Angeles for the first time in nearly two decades. Under the plan adopted in principle by the governing board of the L.A. Department of Water and Power, homes and businesses would pay a penalty rate -- nearly double normal prices -- for any water they use in excess of a reduced monthly allowance. The five-member board plans to formally vote on details of the measure next month. The rationing scheme is expected to take effect in May unless the City Council acts before then to reject it -- a move seen as unlikely since Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called for the measure under a water-shortage plan last week. ...


Welcome to the city of parched angels.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Feb 18, 2009
from World Bank, via AFP:
Andean glaciers 'could disappear': World Bank
LIMA (AFP) -- Andean glaciers and the region's permanently snow-covered peaks could disappear in 20 years if no measures are taken to tackle climate change, the World Bank warned Tuesday. A World Bank-published report said rising temperatures due to global warming could also have a dramatic impact on water management in the Andean region, with serious knock-on effects for agriculture and energy generation. ...


What would the llamas llook llike without water?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Feb 16, 2009
from BusinessGreen:
Vegas water watchers raise drought fears
Water supplies to Las Vegas could run dry within six years thanks to receding water levels at Lake Mead, officials warned last week, bringing into question the long-term viability of the fastest growing city in the US.... Over the past nine years, the Colorado river, which feeds Lake Meade, has experienced an average inflow two-thirds of its normal intake, Mulroy said in his presentation.... But scientists remain fearful that in the long term the desert city will have to find alternative water supplies and may even become unviable. ...


Las Vegas always was a gamble.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Feb 14, 2009
from Wall Street Journal:
Shrinking Water Supplies Imperil Farmers
The state's water supply has dropped precipitously of late. California is locked in the third year of one of its worst droughts on record, with reservoirs holding as little as 22 percent of capacity.... At the Harris Farms near Coalinga, managers said they plan this year to sideline 9,000 of 11,000 acres they used to plant with tomatoes, onions, broccoli and other vegetables. Harris has been reducing production for two years because of declining water, and now must cut even more than planned. "You feel like a general in a battle," said John Harris, chairman and chief executive of the business. "You're in constant retreat."... In the Modesto metropolitan area, housing prices have declined 55 percent... ...


"Constant retreat" may be the new refrain in the war on nature.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Feb 14, 2009
from Contra Costa Times:
Newest Delta victims: Killer whales
California's thirst is helping drive an endangered population of West Coast killer whales toward extinction, federal biologists have concluded. The southern resident killer whale population, which numbers 83, spends much of its time in Puget Sound but since 2000 many of them have been spotted off the California coast as far south as Monterey Bay. In a draft scientific report, biologists conclude the damage that water operations are doing to California's salmon populations is enough to threaten the orcas' existence because the water mammals depend on salmon for food. Federal officials confirmed the conclusions of the report to MediaNews on Friday; the data have not been released.... The findings, contained in a draft report by the agency's scientists, could elevate public support for environmental protection in the Delta, where the conflict between environmental advocates and water users has centered on Delta smelt, a nondescript fish that grows a couple of inches long and smells like cucumbers. "People have a hard time looking at the Delta smelt for its own sake," said Zeke Grader, executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations. "If it's Shamu, that's a different thing." ...


If only, say, Angelina Jolie was threatened, we could really "elevate public support"!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Feb 14, 2009
from The Economist:
Drought in northern China
...After 100 days without precipitation in the region, the government has declared a "Level 1" emergency for the worst drought in 50 years, authorising an extra 300m yuan ($44m) in special drought-relief spending. It will finance everything from cloud-seeding rockets to the digging of new wells and tankers to deliver water. This year's winter-wheat harvest is at risk. February 8th saw some rain, but only 5-10 millimetres, compared with 200mm farmers say they need in coming months. The drought comes at a difficult moment. The global downturn has hit China's exporters hard, and millions of rural migrants have lost their jobs in coastal factories and returned to their villages....China's water woes will only worsen, especially for farmers. When supplies tighten, urban and industrial users usually have priority. Ma Jun, a water specialist in Beijing, says that since the 1950s China has been digging ever deeper wells, and building ever more dams, canals, and water diversion projects. But all this has taken a toll. Because of lower water-tables and depleted aquifers, many rivers can no longer replenish themselves in the dry season. ...


My tung is so dry.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Feb 11, 2009
from Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Road salt spreading into our water
Rain and melting snow in the Twin Cities have flushed away road salt residue from hundreds of streets and tens of thousands of cars. But that might not be a good thing. Now a University of Minnesota study estimates that 70 percent of the deicing salt used on metro-area roadways does not travel far when it drains off the pavement. It gushes into area wetlands and lakes and seeps into groundwater, and it is making them saltier with each successive year. About 30 percent goes to the Mississippi River. ...


And mixed w/ all the PCBs and pharmaceuticals... what a delightful elixir!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Feb 10, 2009
from Washington Post:
Pride of Argentina Falls on Hard Times
Argentina is suffering its worst drought in decades and the cattle are dying by the barnload. Since October, the drought has taken down 1.5 million of the animals, according to an estimate by the Argentine Rural Society, in a country that last year sent 13.5 million to slaughter. The cattle for the most part are dying of hunger, as the dry skies have shriveled up their pastures, along with huge swaths of Argentina's important soy, corn and wheat fields. "The drought has affected practically the entire country, the cattle-ranching sector, agriculture. It is the most intense, prolonged and expensive drought in the past 50 years," Hugo Luis Biolcati, the president of the Argentine Rural Society, said in the organization's offices in Buenos Aires. "I think we are facing a very bad year." The cattlemen at the century-old Liniers Market in Buenos Aires, one of the largest cow auctions in the world, with about 40,000 animals passing through each week, tend to agree. In wooden pens, spines and ribs jut out under the many taut hides jostling together. ...


Don't moo for me.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Feb 5, 2009
from BBC:
Parched Perth embarks on water rescue
Turning the sea into drinking water is at the heart of Western Australia's multi-faceted approach to satisfying the thirst of a booming population that lives on the edge of a desert. "We had a history of taking gutsy decisions," said Jim Gill, former chief executive of the Water Corporation of Western Australia, a government-owned monopoly. "And that's what put us in a position of world leadership in terms of dealing with a drying climate." The corporation opened the southern hemisphere's first desalination plant, south of Perth, in November 2006. Powered by a wind farm, the move was prompted by the driest winter ever recorded in Western Australia (WA) - a region that was among the first to see the effects of a shifting climate. ...


And as the ice melts there'll be all the more ocean to desalinate!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Feb 3, 2009
from BBC:
Water - another global 'crisis'?
Among people who study human development, it is a widely-held view that each person needs about 20 litres of water each day for the basics - to drink, cook and wash sufficiently to avoid disease transmission. Yet at the height of the East African drought, people were getting by on less than five litres a day - in some cases, less than one litre a day, enough for just three glasses of drinking water and nothing left over. Some people, perhaps incredibly from a western vantage point, are hardy enough to survive in these conditions; but it is not a recipe for a society that is healthy and developing enough to break out of poverty. "Obviously there are many drivers of human development," says the UN's Andrew Hudson. "But water is the most important." ...


...bet they're drinking their own pee...

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Feb 1, 2009
from London Independent:
Parched: Australia faces collapse as climate change kicks in
Leaves are falling off trees in the height of summer, railway tracks are buckling, and people are retiring to their beds with deep-frozen hot-water bottles, as much of Australia swelters in its worst-ever heatwave. On Friday, Melbourne thermometers topped 43C (109.4F) on a third successive day for the first time on record, while even normally mild Tasmania suffered its second-hottest day in a row, as temperatures reached 42.2C. Two days before, Adelaide hit a staggering 45.6C. After a weekend respite, more records are expected to be broken this week. Ministers are blaming the heat-- which follows a record drought-- on global warming. Experts worry that Australia, which emits more carbon dioxide per head than any nation on earth, may also be the first to implode under the impact of climate change. ...


Down Under's 'bout to go down.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Jan 31, 2009
from Abu Dhabi National:
"The lake doesn't have a future"
Lake Victoria, spanning 68,800 square kilometres and three countries – Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda – is home to more than 30 million people, a population that depends on this body of water, even as they choke the life out of it. Godfrey Ogonda, an environmental scientist with the Friends of Lake Victoria, describes the assault on the lake as an "integrated" problem. It sounds innocuous enough until he explains that deforestation upstream is speeding soil erosion and washing excessive nutrients into the lake; unplanned settlements are pouring untreated human waste into the mix; overfishing is chronic; climate change is reducing rainfall and raising temperatures; and invasive species are attacking the weakened ecosystem... Named in 1858 after Queen Victoria, the largest tropical lake in the world is the reservoir of the mighty Nile river and it is close to joining the ranks of dying lakes. ...


Perhaps it's time to re-name it Lake Failuria.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Jan 30, 2009
from Mongabay:
Glaciers decline in ice mass for 18th straight year
Glaciers worldwide lost ice mass for the 18th consecutive year due to warming temperatures and reduce snowfall, reports the University of Zurich’s World Glacier Monitoring Service. Alpine glaciers lost on average 1.3 meters of thickness in 2006 and 0.7 meters in 2007, extending an 11.3-meter (36-foot) retreat since 1980. The pace melting has more than doubled since the 1990s.... The environmental consequences of melting glaciers are significant. Glaciers store massive amounts of water and their disappearance puts water supplies and agriculture in many regions at risk. Further, glacial melt is the largest contributor to rising sea levels according to a study published in Science in July 2007. ...


Jeez, take a break, willya?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Jan 28, 2009
from ACS, via EurekAlert:
Substantial work ahead for water issues, say scientists at ACS' Final Report briefing
Scientists and engineers will face a host of obstacles over the next decade in providing clean water to millions of people caught up in a water shortage crisis, a panel of scientists and engineers said today... Although Edwards stressed the importance of water conservation in meeting those, he also cited unintended consequences of such efforts. He noted, for instance, that reduced-flush toilets and other water conservation methods are allowing water to remain in household pipes longer. As it stagnates in pipes, the water could develop undesirable characteristics and have unwanted effects on household plumbing.... For instance, hypoxic zones in the Bay -- large areas of low oxygen levels where most animals can't live -- are still growing despite lacking the nutrients they need for expansion. "We don't fully understood why that is so," Ball said. "There's a lot to be learned yet about what locations and causes lead to that phenomenon, whether there are carbon sources coming in from the shallows into the deep that current models and understanding don't capture."... For example, the use of sensors to detect potentially toxic substances in water could provide general benefits for safety. Cost-effective, low maintenance sensors are a Holy Grail, Haas said, but difficult to develop. He warned that over-sensitive sensors could be counterproductive. ...


It was so easy getting into this mess. Why isn't it easier to get out?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Jan 26, 2009
from Agence France-Presse:
Study predicts ocean 'dead zones'
Global warming may create "dead zones" in the ocean that would be devoid of fish and seafood and endure for up to two millennia, according to a study published on Sunday. Its authors say deep cuts in the world's carbon emissions are needed to brake a trend capable of wrecking the marine ecosystem and depriving future generations of the harvest of the seas. In a study published online by the journal Nature Geoscience, scientists in Denmark built a computer model to simulate climate change over the next 100,000 years. At the heart of their model are two well-used scenarios which use atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas, as an indicator of temperature rise. Under the worst scenario, CO2 concentrations would rise to 1,168 parts per million (ppm) by 2100, or about triple today's level. Under the more optimistic model, CO2 would reach 549 ppm by 2100, or roughly 50 percent more than today. ...


Perhaps these dead zones could serve as giant trash receptacles.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Jan 25, 2009
from Associated Press:
China dams reveal flaws in climate-change weapon
XIAOXI, China-- The hydroelectric dam, a low wall of concrete slicing across an old farming valley, is supposed to help a power company in distant Germany contribute to saving the climate -- while putting lucrative "carbon credits" into the pockets of Chinese developers. But in the end the new Xiaoxi dam may do nothing to lower global-warming emissions as advertised. And many of the 7,500 people displaced by the project still seethe over losing their homes and farmland. "Nobody asked if we wanted to move," said a 38-year-old man whose family lost a small brick house. "The government just posted a notice that said, 'Your home will be demolished.'" The dam will shortchange German consumers, Chinese villagers and the climate itself, if critics are right. And Xiaoxi is not alone. ...


Dam it!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Jan 24, 2009
from The Sacramento Bee:
Federal raid heightens concerns about fake organic fertilizer
Federal agents this week searched a major producer of fertilizer for California's organic farmers, widening concern about the use of synthetic chemicals in the industry. The raid Thursday targeted Port Organic Products Ltd. of Bakersfield. Industry sources estimate the company produced up to half of the liquid fertilizer used on the state's organic farms in recent years. The Bee reported in December on a state investigation that caught another large organic fertilizer maker spiking its product with synthetic nitrogen, which is cheap, difficult to detect – and banned from organic farms. Since then, the organic industry and state officials have taken several steps to catch violators in California, which produces nearly 60 percent of the U.S. harvest of organic fruits, nuts and vegetables... As Thursday's raid indicates, work remains to improve a patchwork regulatory system that presumes manufacturers tell the truth about their products. On Thursday at the Eco-Farm Conference in Monterey, frustrated farmers and fertilizer makers alike called for stronger oversight. ...


Fake fertilizer is full of shit!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Jan 23, 2009
from London Times:
Ecologists warn the planet is running short of water
A swelling global population, changing diets and mankind's expanding "water footprint" could be bringing an end to the era of cheap water. The warnings, in an annual report by the Pacific Institute in California, come as ecologists have begun adopting the term "peak ecological water"-- the point where, like the concept of "peak oil", the world has to confront a natural limit on something once considered virtually infinite. The world is in danger of running out of "sustainably managed water", according to Peter Gleick, the president of the Pacific Institute and a leading authority on global freshwater resources.... A glass of orange juice, for example, needs 850 litres of fresh water to produce, according to the Pacific Institute and the Water Footprint Network, while the manufacture of a kilogram of microchips -- requiring constant cleaning to remove chemicals -- needs about 16,000 litres. A hamburger comes in at 2,400 litres of fresh water, depending on the origin and type of meat used. ...


Reading this article, I used 34 litres of fresh water!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Jan 19, 2009
from London Independent:
River pollutants linked to male infertility
The rise in male infertility and the decline in human sperm counts could be linked with chemicals in the environment known as anti-androgens which block the action of the male sex-hormone testosterone, a study has found. Scientists have identified a group of river pollutants that are able to stop testosterone from working. These anti-androgens have been linked with the feminisation of fish in British rivers and could be affecting the development of male reproductive organs in humans, it found. The study has established a link between anti-androgens released into rivers from sewage outflows and abnormalities in wild fish where males develop female reproductive organs. It is the first time that anti-androgens and hermaphrodite fish have been linked in this way. ...


This kinda makes me... sort of... a little bit angry, ya know?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Jan 19, 2009
from Fast Company:
Water Desalination: The Answer to the World's Thirst?
A quick spin through recent headlines reveals just how badly -- and how soon -- we're going to need new supplies of freshwater: Over the past 18 months in the United States alone, the governor of Georgia declared a state of emergency due to water shortages; salmonella contaminated municipal water in Colorado; and eight states ratified the Great Lakes Basin Compact, an agreement designed to ensure that Great Lakes water, nearly 20 percent of the world's freshwater, won't be shipped beyond those basins -- not even to nearby Minneapolis or Pittsburgh. Worldwide, the picture is far bleaker. Global water consumption has roughly doubled since World War II, and yet, according to the United Nations, 1.1 billion people still have no access to a clean, reliable supply. Eighty percent of disease and deaths in developing countries -- more than 2.2 million people a year, including 3,900 children each day -- are caused by diseases associated with unsanitary water. The cost of waterborne diseases and associated lost productivity drains 2 percent of developing countries' GDP each year.... Saltwater already comprises 97.5 percent of the water resources on the planet, and 60 percent of the world's population lives within 65 miles of a seacoast. Why not desalinate seawater and slake the thirst of nations? ...


Well we sure better think of something!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Jan 17, 2009
from Wilmington News Journal:
Report warns of impact on coast from warming
More storm-related flooding, shoreline erosion, habitat loss and saltwater intrusion into potential drinking water supplies are expected in Delaware and other Mid-Atlantic states as the climate warms, according to a report issued Friday by the Environmental Protection Agency. Delaware officials said they plan to use the federal report as a stepping-off point to plan for adaptation as the sea level continues to rise. Most troubling for Dave Carter, program manager for Delaware Coastal Programs, is that sea-level rise, combined with a settling of land, already is causing problems in some low-lying areas along Delaware Bay. "These are the early signals," he said. Comparing the state's new elevation data with Federal Emergency Management Flood Plan Maps for some areas in Delaware shows places where potential evacuation routes -- especially along Delaware Bay -- will be flooded "long before residents realize their lives are in danger," he said. ...


I've GOT to start investing in the floaties manufacturing industry!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Jan 17, 2009
from Reuters:
Tibetan glacial shrink to cut water supply by 2050
Nearly 2 billion people in Asia, from coastal city dwellers to yak-herding nomads, will begin suffering water shortages in coming decades as global warming shrinks glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau, experts said. The plateau has more than 45,000 glaciers that build up during the snowy season and then drain to the major rivers in Asia, including the Yangtze, Yellow, Brahmanputra and Mekong. Temperatures in the plateau, which some scientists call the "Third Pole" for its massive glacial ice sheets, are rising twice as fast as other parts of the world, said Lonnie Thompson, a glaciologist at Ohio State University, who has collected ice cores from glaciers around the world for decades. As glaciers melt at faster rates from the higher temperatures, a false sense of security about water supplies has developed across Asia, Thompson said on Friday. If melting continues at current levels, two-thirds of the plateau's glaciers will likely be gone by 2050, he said at a meeting on climate change at the Asia Society in Manhattan. ...


The Third Pole is trying awful hard to be Number One.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Jan 17, 2009
from Chicago Tribune:
U.S. warns of Teflon chemical in water
Less than a week before the Bush administration leaves office, federal environmental regulators are issuing a controversial health advisory on drinking water contaminated with a toxic chemical used to make Teflon and other non-stick coatings. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is advising people to reduce consumption of water containing more than 0.4 parts per billion of perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA -- a level critics say is not strict enough. Studies have shown the chemical, which is linked to cancer, liver damage and birth defects, has built up in human blood throughout the world. It is unclear how many cities might exceed the new limit because the EPA doesn't require water treatment plants to test for PFOA... Critics called the EPA's advisory a last-minute gift from the Bush administration to DuPont and a handful of other companies that make PFOA. Some scientists have proposed limits as low as 0.02 parts per billion. ...


If it doesn't stick, then what's the worry?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Jan 14, 2009
from ProPublica:
Jackson to Be Asked About Regulating Perchlorate in Drinking Water
In the latest volley of a years-long battle involving the Environmental Protection Agency, the military and the White House, the EPA announced last week that it will delay its decision [1] on whether to set a drinking water standard for perchlorate, a chemical in rocket fuel that has been found at harmful levels in drinking water across the country. The announcement that the EPA won't act until it receives advice from the National Academy of Sciences puts the contentious decision onto the already-heavy regulatory agenda awaiting Lisa Jackson, President-elect Barack Obama's pick to head the EPA. ...


I still fail to see what's wrong with a little rocket fuel in my drink!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Jan 13, 2009
from Brisbane Courier-Mail:
Two-headed fish larvae blamed on farm chemicals in Noosa River
CHEMICAL contamination from farm runoff has been blamed after millions of fish larvae in the Noosa River were found to have grown two heads. The disfigured larvae are thought to have been affected by one of two popular farm chemicals, either the insecticide endosulphan or the fungicide carbendazim. Former NSW fisheries scientist and aquaculture veterinarian Matt Landos yesterday called on the Federal Government to ban the chemicals and urgently find replacements. Dr Landos said about 90 per cent of larvae spawned at the Sunland Fish Hatchery from bass taken from the river were deformed and all died within 48 hours. ...


I guess this is a case where two heads AREN'T better than one!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Jan 12, 2009
from The Desert Sun (CA):
Protected species moves from valley
Warmer, drier weather linked to global climate change has caused at least one native species to disappear from the Coachella Valley -- and ecologists warn more could be lost if the conditions persist. The Jerusalem cricket, an inch-long insect protected under the Coachella Valley Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan, used to live in the Thousand Palms area and near the Palm Springs International Airport. But after more than a decade of drought, the moisture-needing cricket has shifted completely to more humid areas west of the valley, past Windy Point near Cabazon, according to local ecologists. Its "dramatic" disappearance is "the canary in the coal mine telling us what's going on" regarding local effects of climate change, said Dr. Cameron Barrows, a research ecologist who's studied the Coachella Valley the past 23 years. ...


And likely no "new Jerusalem" here...

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Jan 12, 2009
from DOE via EurekAlert:
Dirty snow causes early runoff in Cascades, Rockies
Soot from pollution causes winter snowpacks to warm, shrink and warm some more. This continuous cycle sends snowmelt streaming down mountains as much as a month early, a new study finds. How pollution affects a mountain range's natural water reservoirs is important for water resource managers in the western United States and Canada who plan for hydroelectricity generation, fisheries and farming. Scientists at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory conducted the first-ever study of soot on snow in the western states at a scale that predicted impacts along mountain ranges. They found that soot warms up the snow and the air above it by up to 1.2 degrees Fahrenheit, causing snow to melt. ...


Just another use for all that WhiteOut™ that nobody uses anymore.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Jan 8, 2009
from Associated Press:
TVA ratepayers may be stuck with ash cleanup bill
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The tab for a toxin-laden ash flood at a coal-fired power plant in Tennessee could reach hundreds of millions of dollars, and ratepayers for the nation's largest public utility will probably be stuck with the bill. The total cost of cleaning up last month's accident isn't yet clear, but the bill will be staggering. Extra workers, overtime, heavy machinery, housing and supplies for families chased from their homes and lawsuits are among the costs that are piling up. And with few other places for the Tennessee Valley Authority to turn to cover the costs, the utility's 9 million customers in Tennessee and six surrounding states will bear the brunt in higher electricity rate hikes in the future, TVA Chairman Bill Sansom told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "This is going to get into (electric) rates sooner or later," Sansom said. "We haven't even thought about going to Washington for it." When a dike broke Dec. 22 at the Kingston Fossil Plant, some 1.1 billion gallons of sludge was released from a 40-acre settlement pond, blanketing nearly 300 acres in a rural neighborhood up to 9 feet deep in grayish muck and spilling into the Emory River threatening drinking water. ...


So... I see ... we get crapped on twice.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Jan 5, 2009
from London Daily Mail:
Orange drinks with 300 times more pesticide than tap water
Fizzy drinks sold by Coca-Cola in Britain have been found to contain pesticides at up to 300 times the level allowed in tap or bottled water. A worldwide study found pesticide levels in orange and lemon drinks sold under the Fanta brand, which is popular with children, were at their highest in the UK. The research team called on the Government, the industry and the company to act to remove the chemicals and called for new safety standards to regulate the soft drinks market. The industry denies children are at risk and insists that the levels found by researchers based at the University of Jaen in southern Spain are not harmful... The chemicals detected included carbendazim, thiabendazole, imazalil, prochloraz, malathion and iprodione. ...


Things go better.... with imazalil!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Jan 2, 2009
from New York Times:
Signs of Another California Drought Year
SAN FRANCISCO-- California, just finished with its second consecutive year of drought, might well be facing a third. If so, state authorities may be forced to impose water rationing on farmers, homes and businesses. With the rainy season well under way, early partial measurements indicate that the amount of water stored in the Sierra snowpack, the state's natural reservoir, is higher than the amount at this time last year but well below average, said the state's meteorologist, Elissa Lynn. The deficit can be made up if January, February and March are full of big Pacific storms. But this week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that the weather phenomenon known as La Nina, which is characterized by cooler waters in the western Pacific Ocean and drier conditions, had returned for the second consecutive year. ...


That durn La Nina .... she just won't go away!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Dec 31, 2008
from SciDev.net:
Climate change linked to decline in Asian monsoon
Evidence that human-induced climate change may be affecting the Asian monsoon cycle has been published by a Chinese-US team.... Records show that, before 1960, warmer years were associated with stronger monsoons, and the temperature decreased when the monsoon weakened. But the study found a reversed association after this date. "The rising temperature now leads to less precipitation, which is not a natural pattern," said Larry Edwards, geologist at the University of Minnesota and co-author of the paper, which was published in Science (November). ...


How's that for good luck! Now Asia will need fewer unsustainable umbrellas and raincoats!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Dec 31, 2008
from Forbes:
Idaho miners won't have to restore groundwater
Monsanto Co., Agrium Inc., and J.R. Simplot Co. will be able to mine phosphate without being forced to restore groundwater beneath their operations to its natural condition, according to a new rule awaiting approval by the 2009 Legislature.... "We have never asked for the right to mess up someone else's beneficial use of the groundwater," [lobbyist for Idaho Mining Association] Lyman told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "The department came up with a rule they think is workable, without putting our industry into a difficult situation where we'd be unable to comply." The rule is backed by industry but opposed by environmentalists including the Greater Yellowstone Coalition and Idaho Conservation League, who say it gives mining companies near the Idaho-Wyoming border license to pollute forever. ...


"Unable to comply" with a livable future, that is.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Dec 30, 2008
from via ScienceDaily:
Climate Change Effects On Imperiled Sierra Frog Examined
Climate change can have significant impacts on high-elevation lakes and imperiled Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged frogs that depend upon them, according to U.S. Forest Service and University of California, Berkeley, scientists. Their findings show how a combination of the shallow lakes drying up in summer and predation by introduced trout in larger lakes severely limits the amphibian's breeding habitat, and can cause its extinction... Sierra Nevada Yellow-legged frogs need two to four years of permanent water to complete their development so repeated tadpole mortality from lakes drying up in summer leads to population decline. The scientists found the effect to be a distinct mortality mechanism that could become more important in a warmer, drier climate. ...


RIPbit

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Dec 29, 2008
from via ScienceDaily:
Climate Change Could Dramatically Affect Water Supplies
It's no simple matter to figure out how regional changes in precipitation, expected to result from global climate change, may affect water supplies. Now, a new analysis led by MIT researchers has found that the changes in groundwater may actually be much greater than the precipitation changes themselves. For example, in places where annual rainfall may increase by 20 percent as a result of climate change, the groundwater might increase as much as 40 percent. Conversely, the analysis showed in some cases just a 20 percent decrease in rainfall could lead to a 70 percent decrease in the recharging of local aquifers — a potentially devastating blow in semi-arid and arid regions. ...


You mean.... there's water under the ground?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Dec 28, 2008
from Queen:
Ecosystem Changes In Temperate Lakes Linked To Climate Warming
Unparalleled warming over the last few decades has triggered widespread ecosystem changes in many temperate North American and Western European lakes, say researchers at Queen's University and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. The team reports that striking changes are now occurring in many temperate lakes similar to those previously observed in the rapidly warming Arctic, although typically many decades later. The Arctic has long been considered a "bellwether" of what will eventually happen with warmer conditions farther south. ...


This must mean the Lake of Fire can not be far behind.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Dec 22, 2008
from Riverside Press-Enterprise:
Inland researchers say storm runoff, once just a threat, is a resource to be managed
Two Inland researchers think they have come up with a way to help replenish depleted aquifers and reduce ocean pollution using some unlikely partners: big-box stores. When it rains, much of parking-lot runoff flows across impervious surfaces into large detention basins, culverts or concrete waterways that carry the water to lakes and into the ocean. The researchers propose tapping big-box stores, shopping malls and warehouses -- properties that generate much of the runoff -- to help capture some of it before it flows into storm drains. They recommend building porous-pavement parking lots on the properties or channeling the storm water into infiltration trenches that allow the water to percolate into the ground. Not only would these devices help reduce the amount of polluted water or "urban sludge" that ends up in lakes and in the ocean, it also would help recharge depleted groundwater basins, the researchers say. ...


Now that's thinking outside the big box!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Dec 22, 2008
from ProPublica:
How the West’s Energy Boom Could Threaten Drinking Water for 1 in 12 Americans
The Colorado River, the life vein of the Southwestern United States, is in trouble. The river's water is hoarded the moment it trickles out of the mountains of Wyoming and Colorado and begins its 1,450-mile journey to Mexico's border. It runs south through seven states and the Grand Canyon, delivering water to Phoenix, Los Angeles and San Diego. Along the way, it powers homes for 3 million people, nourishes 15 percent of the nation's crops and provides drinking water to one in 12 Americans. Now a rush to develop domestic oil, gas and uranium deposits along the river and its tributaries threatens its future. ...


Let's see... survival? Or ... continued existence? Which shall we pick?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Dec 18, 2008
from The Epoch Times:
Desalination Plants Increase - As do Concerns
...Is this a valid source of drinking water? What are the ramifications of desalination? The desalination process removes salt and other minerals from water to make it drinkable. This is achieved by filtering using reverse osmosis. It sounds a good idea, just to take the salt out of the sea water and the result is water for us to drink; so why the fuss? And is it destructive to the oceans? “Yes,” says Wal Grahame, “It is destructive. A desalination plant here will have a footprint bigger than the MCG [Melbourne Cricket Ground] and four stories high. To produce 50 gigs of water they will have to emit 1 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.”... Around 11,000 litres of sea water per second are pumped into the desalination works resulting in between 25 to 60 tonnes of waste. This is sludge from the pretreatment process which uses chemicals to remove solid bits and to destroy any biological life such as, fish, plankton and biota. The chemicals used in the pre treatment process are chlorine, caustic soda, hydrochloric acid, and ferric chloride. Some of these chemicals get discharged back into the sea. Using the reverse osmosis process, the water is then pushed through a series of membranes which filters out everything except the water. ...


At least we won't be thirsty as the planet boils -- and becomes one giant dead zone.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Dec 18, 2008
from Nature:
Drinking water contamination mapped
The most comprehensive survey so far has found a slew of drugs, personal care products, pesticides and other contaminants in drinking water being delivered to millions of people across the United States. None of the compounds appeared at levels thought to be immediately harmful to human health. But the researchers were surprised to find widespread traces of a pesticide, used largely in corn (maize) growing, that has, at higher levels, been linked to cancer and other problems. ...


We are all pests now.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Dec 15, 2008
from The Bracebridge Examiner and Gravenhurst Banner:
Muskoka's lakes face new environmental threat: report
According to the study, long-term consequences of calcium decline could result in areas where forests won't grow back well. Lakes could also start to lose calcium-rich organisms. A type of water flea, Daphnia, was the aquatic creature studied in the report, said Yan. The water flea is a crustacean, like little tiny shrimp, not an insect, he said.... "We are kind of likening these water fleas to canaries in the coal mine," Yan explained. "So if one calcium-rich animal is in trouble, then we darn well better find out about all the other calcium-rich animals, like crayfish and snails."... In the industrial age, minerals in the soil were leached through acid rain and logging. "What takes the minerals away is six decades of acid rain and then logging, followed by forest regrowth," said Yan. ...


It's the decline of the wee ones that make me weep.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Dec 11, 2008
from BBC:
Failing Zimbabwe: Reporter round-up
A cholera epidemic is sweeping across Zimbabwe, causing further suffering to millions of people already struggling to survive in a country close to systemic collapse as food shortages and hyperinflation continue to take their toll.... It is a recipe for disaster, and a health scandal, according to a local priest. "Even now, there are many sick people inside, they are frail, they can't walk and relatives don't have money to send them to hospital, so they are left to suffer," said Majorie, a middle-aged woman carrying a child on her back. In the streets, piles of uncollected refuse are commonplace with flies feasting on the rubbish. In this chaos, vendors selling tomatoes, mangoes and vegetables rove around. Customers are still available. Some buy the produce and walk leisurely, eating mangoes, alongside streams of raw sewage to their hostels. There is nothing they can do about it. ...


Time for Mugabe to go Mugabye-bye.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Dec 5, 2008
from The Australian:
Drought forces state to buy water or run dry
FOR the first time in its history, South Australia will have to buy water to guarantee supplies for critical human needs next year, revealing the increasing severity of the nation's water crisis at the end of the Murray River. Necessary water supplies to Adelaide and towns across the state are at this stage not secured from July next year, which has forced the Rann Government on to the open water market. It has already bought 30 gigalitres from water resources shared with NSW and Victoria and admitted yesterday it had spent tens of millions of dollars to bolster the state's supplies. Authorities must have 201gigalitres in reserve to ensure the water needs of the nation's fifth-largest city and the rest of the state are able to be met. ...


Will there be water enough for my tears?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Dec 1, 2008
from Agence France-Presse:
Cholera-hit Zimbabwe cuts water supplies to capital
Zimbabwe has cut water supplies to the capital Harare, state media said Monday, as the health minister urged the public to stop shaking hands in a desperate bid to curb a deadly cholera epidemic. The city has suffered periodic water cuts for years as the crumbling economy has caused widespread power shortages that often leave pumps idle. But the city-wide cut appeared aimed at stopping the flow of untreated water around Harare, which is at the epicentre of the cholera epidemic that has claimed 425 lives since late August -- most in just the last month. ...


The people of Zimbabwe need to learn the Western-style fist bump.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Nov 29, 2008
from Chicago Tribune:
Scientists say they've found bacteria that will fight invasive mussels
Researchers seeking to slow the spread of invasive zebra and quagga mussels in American lakes and rivers have found a bacterium that appears to be fatal to the problematic species without affecting native mussels or freshwater fish. The bacterium, Pseudomonas fluorescens, offers some hope for controlling the troublesome bivalves that are wreaking ecological and economic havoc in North American waters from the Colorado River to Vermont, and especially in the Great Lakes. But more testing remains to be done, and the bacteria could be used effectively only on a limited scale, said Daniel Molloy, the New York State Museum researcher who discovered the possible new use for P. fluorescens. ...


From the Great Lakes ... to the Ate-Up Lakes.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Nov 29, 2008
from Queen:
Biologists Find New Environmental Threat In North American Lakes
A new and insidious environmental threat has been detected in North American lakes by researchers from Queen's and York universities. Along with scientists from several Canadian government laboratories, the team has documented biological damage caused by declining levels of calcium in many temperate, soft-water lakes. Calling the phenomenon "aquatic osteoporosis," Queen's PhD candidate Adam Jeziorski, lead author of the study, notes that calcium is an essential nutrient for many lake-dwelling organisms. ...


Don't biologists have anything better to do than discover new and awful stuff?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Nov 29, 2008
from Salt Lake Tribune:
Drought deepens strain on a dwindling Colorado
The drought gripping Utah, Southern California and the rest of the Southwest this century shows no sign of ending. Scientists see it as a permanent condition that, despite year-to-year weather variations, will deepen as temperatures rise, snows dwindle, soils bake and fires burn.... Making matters worse, the Colorado -- the 1,450-mile-long lifeline that sustains more than 30 million souls and 3.5 million acres of farmland in seven states, 34 tribal nations and Mexico -- is in decline, scientists warn....Trend analyses by federal scientists, probably conservative, predict the population dependent on the river will reach at least 38 million during the coming decade. ...


Sounds like in our lifetime the Colorado will be the Coloradone.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Nov 27, 2008
from Scientific American:
Troubled waters: striped bass moms pass on harmful pollutants to babies
...Striped bass and other fish have been dying in droves off the coast of San Francisco for decades; pollution from industry and agricultural runoff has long been blamed. Now a team of scientists from the University of California, Davis, and the University of California, San Diego, have fingered the killer contaminants. They found that wild female fish from the Sacramento River produced eggs containing a host of pollutants at levels high enough to cause biological harm. The list includes chemicals called PBDEs (flame retardants), PCBs (a known carcinogen banned in the 1979), and a slew of pesticides. They even found DDT, the infamous pesticide linked to cancer that was banned in 1972 after being indicted in Rachel Carson's Silent Spring). ...


This striped bass mom is the microcosm of the macro-contamination of Mother Earth herself.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Nov 26, 2008
from London Independent:
3,000 dead from cholera in Zimbabwe
Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's President, is trying to hide the real extent of the cholera epidemic sweeping across his nation by silencing health workers and restricting access to the huge number of death certificates that give the same cause of death. A senior official in the health ministry told The Independent yesterday that more than 3,000 people have died from the water-borne disease in the past two weeks, 10 times the widely-reported death toll of just over 300....The way to prevent death is, for the Zimbabwean people, agonisingly simple: antibiotics and rehydration. But this is a country with a broken sewerage system and soap is hard to come by. Harare's Central Hospital officially closed last week, doctors and nurses are scarce and even those clinics offering a semblance of service do not have access to safe, clean drinking water and ask patients to bring their own. ...


Zimbab-we are all connected.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Nov 26, 2008
from Science News:
Antidepressants make for sad fish
...Tons of medicine ends up in the environment each year. Much has been excreted by patients. Leftover pills may also have been flushed down the toilet. Because water treatment plants were never designed to remove pharmaceuticals, water released into rivers by these plants generally carries a broad and diverse array of drug residues.... Fish exposed as embryos or hatchlings to trace concentrations of the antidepressant venlafaxine, marketed as Effexor, didn't react as quickly as normal to stimuli signaling a possible predator. This laid-back reaction could prove to be a "death sentence"... ...


Hey, for all we know, it's fun to be lunch!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Nov 25, 2008
from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Fox River's dredging for PCBs starts soon
Green Bay - The workhorse in the biggest and most expensive phase to clean up the Fox River is a massive building rising from the banks of the river. Operating like a factory, the 242,000-square-foot facility will extract chemical compounds from river sediments for an estimated seven years and send them away in scores of dump trucks every day. After years of jockeying and extensive planning, the actual processing of the contaminated sediments starts in May - making the Fox and the Hudson River in New York the largest remediation projects in the country. The Fox is the largest single source of polychlorinated biphenyls on Lake Michigan. ...


Ideally it will be done in a fair and balanced way!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Nov 23, 2008
from Science News:
Is Your Fish Oil Polluted?
Diets rich in fish oil offer a number of health benefits, from fighting heart disease to boosting immunity. However, many noxious contaminants preferentially accumulate in fat. These include pesticides, brominated flame retardants, dioxins, and some related compounds known as polychlorinated biphenyls. So there's been some concern that if a fish was pulled from polluted waters, its fat might be polluted too. And those pollutants could end up an unwanted bonus in commercial fish-oil supplements. A new survey of some 154 different fish-oil capsules sold by 45 different companies now confirms that some supplements are remarkably dirty and others quite pure. In general, PCBs and a breakdown product of DDT were the major pollutants in fish-oil supplements. ...


Hey. What doesn't kill you ... might make you sick!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Nov 18, 2008
from Ohio State University, via EurekAlert:
Missing radioactivity in ice cores bodes ill for part of Asia
When Ohio State glaciologists failed to find the expected radioactive signals in the latest core they drilled from a Himalayan ice field, they knew it meant trouble for their research. But those missing markers of radiation, remnants from atomic bomb tests a half-century ago, foretell much greater threat to the half-billion or more people living downstream of that vast mountain range. It may mean that future water supplies could fall far short of what's needed to keep that population alive.... "that... means that no new ice has accumulated on the surface of the glacier since 1944," nearly a decade before the atomic tests. ...


Hard to imagine I'd be wishing we'd found radioactivity.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Nov 16, 2008
from Fredericton Times and Transcript:
Hazardous chemical spill forces residents, nearby businesses not to use water for anything but flushing toilet
An estimated 2,700 litres of chromium trioxide acid spilled from a location occupied by Custom Machine and Hardchrome Inc. on Melissa Street in the industrial park just outside Fredericton's city limits. The well on site has been contaminated with high levels of chromium. One of four monitoring wells drilled around the contaminated well has also shown higher levels of chromium, but consultants believe contaminated groundwater is being carried away from homes in the area.... Officials have said the incident was caused by human error. ...


ummm... well, yeah, "human error".

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Nov 15, 2008
from Toronto Sun:
Got a spare Earth anywhere?
If the world continues to pillage and plunder Earth's natural resources at the rate we are now, by 2030 we will need two planets to support us. If everyone on Earth consumed the equivalent resources of Canadians, it would take three Earths to meet the demand. Since the late 1980s, we have been in overshoot -- meaning our ecological footprint has exceeded Earth's biocapacity to sustain our rate of consumption -- by about 30 percent.... Deforestation and land conversions in the tropics, dams, diversions, climate change, pollution and over-fishing are killing species off, the reverberations of which are felt along the food chain. ...


I don't think NASA is ready to terraform Mars just yet.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Nov 3, 2008
from Bloomberg News:
Coca-Cola agrees to cut water use and stabilize emissions
SAN FRANCISCO - Coca-Cola Co., the world's largest soft-drink maker, vowed to more efficiently use water and stabilize its carbon-dioxide emissions linked to global warming under an agreement released last week with the World Wildlife Fund. Coca-Cola pledged to improve efficiency at bottling plants 20 percent by 2012 though overall water use will increase as business grows. The manufacturing changes will save about 50 billion litres (13 billion gallons) of water during the next four years, the Atlanta-based company said. Coca-Cola also will hold emissions at current levels, said spokeswoman Lisa Manley. ...


This is the cause that refreshes!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Nov 3, 2008
from Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Drought more menacing, but it gets less mention
Drought? What drought? The rains still haven’t come. Lake Lanier drops ever lower. And Georgia’s water wars with Florida and Alabama slog along. Yet last fall's doomsday water scenarios have disappeared from newspaper front pages and state officials' lips. Instead, this fall, Georgians are consumed with the financial crisis, the presidential election and gas prices. Meanwhile, the new year promises Year Four of the drought that has fundamentally affected the way North Georgians live. ...


Our mouths are too dry to speak of it.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Nov 2, 2008
from Eureka via ScienceDaily:
Cleaning Heavily Polluted Water At A Fraction Of The Cost
A European research project has succeeded in developing a water treatment system for industrial oil polluted water at a tenth of the cost of other commercially available tertiary treatments, leaving water so clean it can be pumped safely back out to sea without endangering flora or fauna. ...


Pumped "safely back out to sea"? How about pumped right to our faucets!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Nov 2, 2008
from London Guardian:
Is water the new oil?
...Already, 1bn people do not have enough clean water to drink, and at least 2bn cannot rely on adequate water to drink, clean and eat - let alone have enough left for nature.... The Stockholm International Water Institute talks about 'an acute and devastating humanitarian crisis'; the founder of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab, warns of a 'perfect storm'; Ban Ki-Moon, the United Nations Secretary General, has raised the spectre of 'water wars'. And, as the population keeps growing and getting richer, and global warming changes the climate, experts are warning that unless something is done, billions more will suffer lack of water - precipitating hunger, disease, migration and ultimately conflict. ...


A "perfect storm," yes, but without the rain!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Oct 31, 2008
from Associated Press:
Calif. cuts water deliveries to cities, farms
The state said Thursday it would cut water deliveries to their second lowest level ever, prompting warnings of water rationing for cities and less planting by farmers. The Department of Water Resources announced it will deliver just 15 percent of the amount that local water agencies throughout California request every year. That marks the second lowest projection since the first State Water Project deliveries were made in 1962. ...


My mouth grows dry just reading this story.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Oct 31, 2008
from WTHR-13:
What's Floating in the River
Indianapolis - It's a rainy fall morning and the White River looks particularly murky. There's good reason. The dark, sludgy stuff that's floating down the river is coming straight from someone's toilet. Dirty little secret? No. Indianapolis and more than 100 other Indiana towns openly admit they dump human waste into scenic rivers and streams. ...


We Hoosiers might crap into our rivers, but we don't piss into the wind!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Oct 24, 2008
from Telegraph.co.uk:
Salt levels in the ocean reflect human-induced climate change
Global warming is changing levels of salt in the ocean leading to different weather patterns on land, meteorologists have found.... In the subtropical zone salt has increased to a level outside natural variability over the last 20 years, suggesting less rainfall and increased evaporation caused by human-induced climate change. However in the North Atlantic, where there are more changeable weather patterns, an increase in salt levels was put down to natural variation. ...


Add to that the salt from my tears.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Oct 18, 2008
from Christian Science Monitor:
Climate change's most deadly threat: drought
...Brian Fagan believes climate is not merely a backdrop to the ongoing drama of human civilization, but an important stage upon which world events turn... In his new book, The Great Warming: Climate Change and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations, Fagan ... makes an original contribution ... by summoning attention to what he calls "the silent elephant in the room": drought. As polar icecaps melt and glaciers disappear, thus causing seas to rise, low-lying coastal areas may indeed be inundated, creating millions of environmental refugees. But it is the inland agricultural breadbasket regions that feed the world that stand to suffer the greatest upheaval if reliable precipitation patterns vanish. ...


The breadbasket will become a basketcase!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Oct 10, 2008
from New West:
Guzzling the West's Water
What is particularly ironic about livestock-caused stream dewatering is that it usually makes little economic sense. In much of the West, the value of leaving water in the river to sustain native fisheries or to provide for water-based recreation is often vastly greater than that of the beef produced with the same amount of water. Leaving water in the river to support fishing may ultimately be far more beneficial to local economies than using it for irrigation. Yet we regularly sacrifice the fish to produce beef -- a commodity that is already produced more economically and with less environmental impact in other, naturally wetter, parts of the country. In biology, it can be useful to categorize causative factors as either proximate or ultimate. In the arid West, livestock production is often the ultimate cause of species endangerment, though other factors, often more readily recognized, may be proximate causes. Thus, many dams in the West are proving to be ecological disasters, yet the dams themselves are only proximate causes of deteriorating aquatic ecosystems. Many dams would not have been built but for the demand for water storage for irrigation. ...


But dryland ranchin' is part The American Way of Life. Heck, it's a symbol for Marlboros. How can we endanger that?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Oct 4, 2008
from Azerbaijan Press Agency:
Tartar River water banned for using because Armenians poison it
Local residents said the river became very turbid and they found dead bodies of fishes and other river inhabitants. Armenians began to clean silt layer in Sarsang reservoir with the support of Russian company. The process was shown on Armenian TV channels broadcasted to Nagorno Karabakh. They shed slops from Sarsang and other reservoirs into Tartar River. Experts of the Azerbaijan Water Problems Institute found out that 90 per cent of the river water is useless. ...


Hey! That's my water your slops poison.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Sep 22, 2008
from Abu Dhabi National:
War zone's melting glacier a "colossal" risk
ISLAMABAD // India and Pakistan's 24-year battle for the Siachen Glacier along the disputed border above Kashmir costs more than US$2 billion (Dh7.4bn) annually, is accelerating glacial melting and is putting millions of South Asians at risk of catastrophic floods, drought and food shortages, glacial experts and environmentalists warn. ...


Can we all just get along?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Sep 20, 2008
from AP News:
Scientists monitor growing Lake Erie algae bloom
Giant floating fields of algae are back in strength this year on Lake Erie and scientists are trying to figure out why. The blooms of the pea-soup colored algae -- so big they've been showing on satellite photos -- are toxic to fish and small animals and irritating to humans. The lake once notorious for its pollution is cleaner than ever, yet the algae continues to thrive.... "It's now blooming in the proportions that it was in the bad old days of the 1960s and early '70s," Bridgeman said. "There's a mystery to it because the lake seemed to be getting cleaner, but now the algal blooms are worse." ...


Someday, someday Lake Erie will really be clean. It may be, however, long after we're all dead.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Sep 20, 2008
from The Economist:
Running dry
The world has a water shortage, not a food shortage: MOST people may drink only two litres of water a day, but they consume about 3,000 if the water that goes into their food is taken into account. The rich gulp down far more, since they tend to eat more meat, which takes far more water to produce than grains. So as the world's population grows and incomes rise, farmers will -- if they use today's methods -- need a great deal more water to keep everyone... ...


Instead, why don't the rich simply drink the blood of the poor.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Sep 18, 2008
from Online Opinion (Australia):
Water for food: the forgotten crisis
This year, the world and, in particular, developing countries and the poor have been hit by both food and energy crises. As a consequence, prices for many staple foods have risen by up to 100 per cent. When we examine the causes of the food crisis, growing population, changes in trade patterns, urbanisation, dietary changes, biofuel production, and climate change and regional droughts are all responsible.... The causes of water scarcity are essentially identical to those of the food crisis. There are serious and extremely worrying factors that indicate water supplies are close to exhaustion in some countries. Population growth in the next approximately 40 years will see an increase from 6.5 to up to 9.0 billion. Essentially every calorie of food requires a litre of water to produce it. Therefore, on average we require 2,000-3,000 litres of water per person [per day] to sustain our daily food requirements. ...


That's a lot of water! And most of it will contain endocrine disruptors and pharmaceuticals -- an added bonus!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Sep 15, 2008
from Associated Press:
Health facilities flush estimated 250M pounds of drugs a year
U.S. hospitals and long-term care facilities annually flush millions of pounds of unused pharmaceuticals down the drain, pumping contaminants into America's drinking water... These discarded medications are expired, spoiled, over-prescribed or unneeded... Few of the country's 5,700 hospitals and 45,000 long-term care homes keep data on the pharmaceutical waste they generate. Based on a small sample, though, the AP was able to project an annual national estimate of at least 250 million pounds of pharmaceuticals and contaminated packaging, with no way to separate out the drug volume. ...


As long as there's plenty of Prozac in there... who's to worry?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Aug 30, 2008
from National Geographic News:
VIDEO: Sun Used to Purify Water
"Just 48 hours of sunlight can kill germs that cause cholera, typhoid, and other diseases�a discovery that's already helping Kenya's poor." ...


The sun... it's just a great big ball of fun!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Aug 24, 2008
from Reuters:
After 5 years of war, Iraqis desperate for water
"At a communal water station in a Baghdad slum, a young boy's skinny arms fly up and down as he uses a bicycle pump to coax water from the dry ground. His efforts produce a languid stream that will tide over his family -- and the families of the children waiting near him to fill their cooking pots -- until the next day. This is a daily ritual for millions of Iraqis who lack access to sufficient clean water and proper sewage five years after the U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam Hussein." ...


Let them drink oil.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Aug 23, 2008
from National Geographic News:
"Water Mafias" Put Stranglehold on Public Water Supply
"Worldwide corruption driven by mafia-like organizations throughout water industries is forcing the poor to pay more for basic drinking water and sanitation services, according to a new report. If bribery, organized crime, embezzlement, and other illegal activities continue, consumers and taxpayers will pay the equivalent of U.S. $20 billion dollars over the next decade, says the report, released this week at the World Water Week conference in Stockholm, Sweden." ...


Water ... is an offer ... we can't refuse.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Aug 22, 2008
from The Economist (UK):
Everyone knows industry needs oil. Now people are worrying about water, too
Goldman Sachs, an investment bank, estimates that global water consumption is doubling every 20 years, which it calls an "unsustainable" rate of growth. Water, unlike oil, has no substitute. Climate change is altering the patterns of freshwater availability in complex ways that can lead to more frequent and severe droughts. Untrammelled industrialisation, particularly in poor countries, is contaminating rivers and aquifers. America's generous subsidies for biofuel have increased the harvest of water-intensive crops that are now used for energy as well as food. And heavy subsidies for water in most parts of the world mean it is often grossly underpriced -- and hence squandered. ...


Why should I worry about something that just falls from the sky?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Aug 18, 2008
from Chicago Tribune:
Spanish fear day when tap will run dry
"BARCELONA, Spain -- Water woes spiraled to such depths this year that the top regional environment minister here -- a confirmed agnostic -- confessed to climbing the stony shrine of the Virgin of Montserrat for a bit of solace. Winter rains refused to fall, shriveling reserves to severe drought levels and prompting a water shipment from France. Catalonia's go-to guy for the environment, Francesc Baltasar, told local radio that fear made for a quick, if dubious, epiphany at the feet of the Virgin Mary." ...


If we can just get the Virgin Mary statue to start weeping, our water worries are over!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Aug 16, 2008
from Austin American-Statesman:
Armstrong tops list of city's largest water users
"Every minute, about five gallons of water passed through the sinks, sprinklers, fountain and pool at Lance Armstrong's house in June, making the retired professional cyclist Austin's biggest water-using individual that month. A total of 222,900 gallons of water was used at Armstrong's home, according to the most recent city records available. That's about what 26 average Austin households use in a month." ...


Maybe we can shame people into conserving!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Aug 7, 2008
from McClatchy Newspapers:
Shrinking African lake imperils wildlife
"...Once among the largest lakes in the world — at some 9,000 square miles, roughly the size of New Jersey — Lake Chad has been decimated over the past four decades by rising temperatures, diminishing rainfall and a growing population that's using more water than ever before. Today, estimated at less than 2 percent of its original size, the lake's surface would barely cover Brooklyn and Manhattan." ...


Sounds like this lake is hanging by a chad -- I mean hanging by a thread!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Aug 3, 2008
from Washington Post (US):
Senate Passes Bill That Would Protect Great Lakes
Efforts to protect the Great Lakes from those who may covet their vast quantities of water for an increasingly thirsty world took a major step forward Friday as the Senate passed legislation endorsing the Great Lakes Basin Compact. The broad multi-state agreement would ban most diversion of Great Lakes water to any place outside the basin and would mandate conservation efforts inside it. Despite what some criticized as significant loopholes in the measure, House leaders said the bill would be a priority after the five-week congressional recess, and President Bush has said he would sign it. ...


Sorry, Las Vegas. Too bad, Phoenix.
That pipeline?
A pipe dream.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Aug 1, 2008
from San Francisco Chronicle:
Ducklings die as a river's flow dries up
"What had been for the last six months a vibrant stream teeming with migrating waterfowl and shorebirds recently became a dry channel where vultures gorged themselves on ducklings that died when the flows dried up. The discovery prompted calls for an investigation into the deaths of at least 20 cinnamon teal ducklings, 10 mallard ducklings and 20 adult mallards that had sought refuge in a shrinking pool of water in a concrete basin in the city of Industry, about 20 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. It also raised questions about the place of nature in an urban water system in which virtually every drop is adjudicated and claimed by someone." ...


Apparently, the vultures aren't entirely unhappy with the current situation.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Jul 23, 2008
from BBC:
Warming world 'drying wetlands'
"More than 700 scientists are attending a major conference to draw up an action plan to protect the world's wetlands. Rising temperatures are not only accelerating evaporation rates, but also reducing rainfall levels and the volume of meltwater from glaciers. Although only covering 6 percent of the Earth's land surface, they store up to an estimated 20 percent of terrestrial carbon." ...


Perhaps all our tears will be able to compensate for some of the loss.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Jul 18, 2008
from Economist:
Up to their necks in it
"Despite good laws and even better intentions, India causes as much pollution as any rapidly industrialising poor country... By official estimates, India has facilities to treat 18 percent of the 33,200m litres of sewage its cities produce every day. In fact, it treats only 13 percent, because of shortages of power, water and technical expertise in its sewage plants. These figures may underestimate the problem: measuring the output of 700m Indians who have no access to a toilet is tricky... In the words of Sunita Narain, a prominent environmentalist, mocking the tourist ministry's slogan: "Incredible India, drowning in its excreta." ...


Can't they just hold it?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Jul 14, 2008
from San Francisco Chronicle:
Olympics suck up China's already scarce water
"...Over-extraction of groundwater and falling water tables are huge problems for China, particularly in the north. Environmental activists warn that the nation is facing a future of water shortages, water pollution and continuing deterioration in water quality. Beijing is one of the world's most water-scarce mega-cities, with a deficit of 324,000 acre-feet annually." ...


Maybe we should introduce a new Olympic event: surviving thirst.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Jul 12, 2008
from The Telegraph via Associated Press:
Study: Southeast's cheap access to water at risk
"A new study says global warming and population growth threaten the Southeast's already precarious water supplies by fueling more extreme weather and degrading water quality... Models show that anticipated higher temperatures will generate more volatile weather, with more extreme storms, flooding and erosion ... and contribute to more severe droughts. Adding to the strain is the Southeast's population growth, which has led the nation in recent years." ...


Can't we just get all those extra people to help fight the weather?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Jun 29, 2008
from Science Daily (US):
Climate Change May Challenge National Security, Classified Report Warns
The National Intelligence Council (NIC) has completed a new classified assessment that explores how climate change could threaten U.S. security in the next 20 years by causing political instability, mass movements of refugees, terrorism, or conflicts over water and other resources in specific countries. The House Intelligence Committee is scheduled to be briefed Wednesday, June 25, on the main findings.... "There is clearly great interest among policy makers in knowing whether climate change will make crises such as the conflict in Darfur more prevalent, and whether other violent scenarios might be likely to unfold," said Levy. "The science of climate impacts does not yet give us a definitive answer to this question, but at least now we're looking at it seriously." ...


Uh-oh.
Maybe this climate change thing is serious.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Jun 26, 2008
from ABC News:
U.N.: Toxic Waste Exports on the Rise
Many poor countries accept toxic waste from abroad, such as old computers, rusted ships and pesticides, in a shortsighted bid to lift themselves out of poverty, despite the dangers to human health and the environment, a U.N. rights official said Thursday.... "Is it worth the short term monetary gain? Is it worth people falling sick ... precious water sources contaminated permanently?" he asked. "I believe that we need to think of a better solution to generate income and development." ...


The market forces say:
Yes.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Jun 24, 2008
from Conde Nast Portfolio:
China's Big Drain
Shijiayao’s main water source is a seep in a notch in the barren mountainside, which drips about a dozen bucketfuls a day—except in summer, when it dries up completely. No one bathes in ­Shijiayao. Next month, while visitors to Beijing amble along man-made lakes and fountains at the grand Olympic Green and Olympic Forest Park, ­Shijiayao residents will trek about 12 miles a day for drinking water.... Now the Olympics are exacerbating China’s water problems. To ensure enough potable water for an expected 1.5 million visitors in August, Beijing is tapping 80 billion gallons of so-called backup supply from four reservoirs in neighboring Hebei Province. Yet water levels in these reservoirs are already dangerously low. So to sustain the population boom on the semiarid Beijing plain, China’s water planners are scrambling to build pipelines, canals, and water tunnels farther and farther into the hinterlands. ...


Drink till the water runs dry.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Jun 15, 2008
from Dhaka Daily Star in Bangladesh:
Rivers void of life forms
"The level of pollution in the Buriganga and most parts of Turag and Norai flowing around the capital is so high that no living organism can survive in the waters of these rivers, researchers say. A three-year research finds that some invertebrates and small organisms come into being in these rivers when water flow increases during rains. But these life forms completely disappear in the dry season, they add. ...


Sounds like the kind of river you could light with a match.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Jun 12, 2008
from London Daily Telegraph:
Drought closes world's biggest cattle ranch in Australia
"Anna Creek station, which is bigger than Israel, encompasses 9,267 square miles of scrub, sand dunes and savannah in the Outback of South Australia. It is normally capable of supporting 16,000 cattle but the "Big Dry" -- the worst drought in a century -- has exhausted the land, forcing the herd to be whittled down to less than 2,000." ...


The "Big Dry" could sure use a "Giant Wet."

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Jun 1, 2008
from Discover:
Everything You Know About Water Conservation Is Wrong
"...It takes about 155 gallons of water on average to grow a pound of wheat. So the virtual water of this pound of wheat is 155 gallons. For a pound of meat, the virtual water is 5 to 10 times higher. There’s a virtual water count for everything. The virtual water footprint of a cup of coffee is 37 gallons; an apple, 19 gallons; a banana, 27; a slice of bread, 10; a sheet of paper, 3; and a pair of leather shoes, 4,400, according to Waterfootprint.org, a Unesco-run Web site providing a calculator for individual and national water use." ...


I guess when we really start running out of water, we can always eat paper.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, May 28, 2008
from Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
Get used to high food costs, water shortages
"Shocked by rising food prices? Get used to it -- and be ready for water shortages, too, says a sweeping new scientific report rounding up likely effects of climate change on the United States' land, water and farms over the next half-century." ...


So. Have you taken the PASAT yet?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, May 27, 2008
from Chicago Tribune:
Midwest's message: Hands off our lakes
"Piece by piece, a 5,500-mile wall around the Great Lakes is going up. You can't see it, but construction is progressing nicely, along with an implied neon sign that flashes, "Hands off—it's our water." The legal pilings for a 1,000-mile segment of the wall are scheduled to be sunk Tuesday when Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle finalizes his state's approval of the so-called Great Lakes Compact, a multistate agreement designed to protect and restrict access to nearly 20 percent of the world's supply of fresh water, contained in the five Great Lakes." ...


From now on, the Great Lakes will be referred to as MyGreat Lakes.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, May 25, 2008
from Houston Chronicle:
Drought turning futures to dust
"APALACHICOLA BAY, FLA. — Longtime oysterman Keith Millender sees every shower taken or car washed in metropolitan Atlanta as a small threat to his family, which has harvested seafood from northwest Florida's Apalachicola Bay for generations. The Apalachicola River — which carries water more than 300 miles from Georgia's Lake Lanier into the bay, providing the delicate balance of freshwater and saltwater oysters need to thrive — is running dry." ...


How long before these water disagreements turn to water war?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, May 2, 2008
from AP, via CNN:
Pharmaceuticals in reservoir causing troubling problems to fish, wildlife
A five-month Associated Press investigation has determined that trace amounts of many of the pharmaceuticals we take to stay healthy are seeping into drinking water supplies, and a growing body of research indicates that this could harm humans. But people aren't the only ones who consume that water. There is more and more evidence that some animals that live in or drink from streams and lakes are seriously affected.... Pharmaceuticals in the water are being blamed for severe reproductive problems in many types of fish: The endangered razorback sucker and male fathead minnow have been found with lower sperm counts and damaged sperm; some walleyes and male carp have become what are called feminized fish, producing egg yolk proteins typically made only by females. Meanwhile, female fish have developed male genital organs. Also, there are skewed sex ratios in some aquatic populations, and sexually abnormal bass that produce cells for both sperm and eggs. ...


No doubt those fish throw some wild parties!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Apr 26, 2008
from AlterNet:
Turkey Plans to Sell Rivers and Lakes to Corporations
The water privatization fever is hitting Turkey, just a year before the country will host the World Water Forum. In March 2009 the Turkish government will host the fifth World Water Forum against a backdrop of what is probably the most sweeping water privatisation programme in the world. As well as privatizing water services, the government plans to sell off rivers and lakes.... There are private water supply contracts in Arpacay and Corlu, as well as widespread outsourcing and subcontracting of the water supply across the country. In the city of Antalya, French water giant Suez pulled-out six years into a 10-year contract after the municipality rejected their demand for another price increase. The prices had already risen 130 percent and the company had failed to invest what was promised. ...


The visible hand of the market.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Apr 19, 2008
from Associated Press:
Jet stream found to be permanently drifting north
The jet stream -- America's stormy weather maker -- is creeping northward and weakening, new research shows. That potentially means less rain in the already dry South and Southwest and more storms in the North. And it could also translate into more and stronger hurricanes since the jet stream suppresses their formation. The study's authors said they have to do more research to pinpoint specific consequences. From 1979 to 2001, the Northern Hemisphere's jet stream moved northward on average at a rate of about 1.25 miles a year, according to the paper published Friday in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. ...


America's lack of discipline is clearly at fault here. We can't even keep our jet streams on track!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Apr 6, 2008
from Guardian (UK):
Drought ignites Spain's 'water war'
"There is a common saying in Spain that during a drought, the trees chase after the dogs. Now it is ringing true as the country struggles to deal with the worst drought since the Forties: reservoirs stand at 46 per cent of capacity and rainfall over the past 18 months has been 40 per cent below average. But months before the scorching summer sun threatens to reduce supplies to a trickle, a bitter political battle is raging over how to manage Spain's scarcest resource -- water. Catalonia, in the parched north east, has been worst affected, with reservoirs standing at just a fifth of capacity. ...


I guess the rain in Spain ain't fallin' on the plain no mo'...

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Mar 30, 2008
from Natural Resources Defense Council:
American West Heating Nearly Twice As Fast As Rest Of World
"The American West is heating up more rapidly than the rest of the world, according to a new analysis of the most recent federal government temperature figures. The news is especially bad for some of the nation’s fastest growing cities, which receive water from the drought-stricken Colorado River. The average temperature rise in the Southwest’s largest river basin was more than double the average global increase, likely spelling even more parched conditions." ...


Well, pilgrim, sounds like it's high noon to me.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Mar 22, 2008
from London Independent:
Water will be source of war unless world acts now, warns minister
"The world faces a future of "water wars", unless action is taken to prevent international water shortages and sanitation issues escalating into conflicts, according to Gareth Thomas, the International Development minister. The minister's warning came as a coalition of 27 international charities marked World Water Day, by writing to Gordon Brown demanding action to give fresh water to 1.1 billion people with poor supplies. "If we do not act, the reality is that water supplies may become the subject of international conflict in the years ahead," said Mr Thomas. "We need to invest now to prevent us having to pay that price in the future." His department warned that two-thirds of the world's population will live in water-stressed countries by 2025. The stark prediction comes after the Prime Minister said in his national security strategy that pressure on water was one of the factors that could help countries "tip into instability, state failure or conflict". ...


Apparently, the International Development minister doesn't travel much, or else he'd know that water is already the source of wars and conflict in numerous places. The Global Policy Forum identifies "50 countries on five continents" as hotspots for trouble

ApocaDoc
permalink

Wed, Mar 19, 2008
from Reuters:
Investors warm to water as shortages mount
" LONDON (Reuters) - As liquidity is drained from credit and money markets and pours into oil and gold, another asset class that could offer long-term returns to the discerning investor is water. Water shortages are on the rise -- stemming from soaring demand, growing populations, rising living standards and changing diets. A lack of supply is compounded by pollution and climate change. Investors are mobilizing funds to buy the assets that control water and improve supplies, especially in developing countries such as China where urban populations are booming, further tightening supply." ...


Gives the phrase liquid cash a whole new meaning, doesn't it?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Mar 18, 2008
from USA Today:
Drought eases, water wars persist
"It's raining again in the Southeast. Much of the drought-parched region has been deluged recently by winter downpours, including weekend storms that battered the downtown business district and a swath of north Georgia. The drought has not ended, but it has eased across most of the region, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor and the National Weather Service.... Now comes a tougher challenge: resolving new and long-standing disputes over water that some experts say could hamper the region's emergence as an economic and population powerhouse. In a part of the nation where water shortages have not traditionally been an issue, it's difficult to tell whether even a historic drought has made a lasting difference, some scholars say. "The Southeast has not yet come to grips with the fact that it has a water problem, that it needs to plan for its water usage, that it can't take for granted that all the water it needs will always be there," says Robin Craig, a law professor and water expert at Florida State University's College of Law. ...


Sounds like an intervention would be helpful. Where is our Dr. Phil for environment issues?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Mar 17, 2008
from The Fiji Times Online:
Near-empty dam causes supply disruptions
The dam was yesterday alarmingly three-quarters empty, with the two streams running dry. Water from the Waimanu River was being pumped into the dam yesterday to make up for the shortfall. Mr Yanuyanurua said as a result of the dry spell Fiji had been experiencing over the past few days, the water level had dropped dangerously.... Interim Local Government Lekh Ram Vayeshnoi said the water department should explain why this had happened. ...


A few days of dry spell drops the dam "dangerously"? Ouch! Maybe Fiji shouldn't be shipping all those square bottles of Fiji Water for the western elite to guzzle.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Mar 14, 2008
from Nature:
The energy-water nexus: deja-vu all over again?
"With US policymakers struggling to contemplate a future where oil pipelines sputter and water wells come up empty, panellists at the recently concluded American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Boston urged a rethink of the connection between these two crucial resources....Energy and water are closely linked. We use a lot of water to produce energy, especially fossil fuel energy. And we use a lot of energy to produce water -- for food, to treat water, to capture and treat wastewater", says [Peter] Gleick, [director of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security in Oakland, California]. "Energy constraints are beginning to affect water policy, and water policy is beginning to affect our energy choices. And yet, almost never do we integrate these two policies."...Now, the 2009 budget contains US$8 million earmarked to help fund a Department of the Interior census of domestic water supplies -- the first in 30 years. ...


Eight million bucks! To find out how much water we have? So we can figure out how much water to spend on energy production? Isn't 8 million what a toilet seat costs in Iraq -- or a hammer?

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Mar 14, 2008
from National Geographic News:
Water in Dams, Reservoirs Preventing Sea-Level Rise
"Dams and reservoirs have stored so much water over the past several decades that they have masked surging sea levels, a new study says. But dam building has slowed, meaning sea levels could rise more quickly than researchers predicted in a 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. Sea levels have been rising for decades, due mostly to global warming caused by greenhouse gases. The oceans are on average about 6.3 inches (16 centimeters) higher now than in 1930, when they started a noticeable upward climb. Melting glaciers and ice caps, along with ocean warming—water expands as it heats up—are the main culprits behind the increase." ...


Well, damn it, why can't we just build more dams!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Mar 10, 2008
from The Atlantic:
Waterworld
"Excerpt: The Earth has always been unstable. Flooding and erosion, cyclones and tsunamis are the norm rather than the exception. But never have the planet’s most environmentally frail areas been so crowded. The slowdown in the growth rate of the world’s population has not changed the fact that the number of people living in the countries most vulnerable to natural disasters continues to increase. The Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004 was merely a curtain-raiser. Over the coming decades, Mother Nature is likely to kill or make homeless a staggering number of people. American journalists sometimes joke that, in terms of news, thousands of people displaced by floods in Bangladesh equals a handful of people killed or displaced closer to home. But that formula is now as unimaginative and out-of-date as it is cruel." ...


While we normally try and titillate you to read these news stories with our snarky remarks, all we can do with this fine piece of narrative journalism is simply to beseech you: Click on the link and read...

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Mar 3, 2008
from Reuters:
Yemen Sleepwalks Into Water Nightmare
"BEIT HUJAIRA - Black-clad women trudge across a stony plateau in the Yemeni highlands to haul water in yellow plastic cans from wells that will soon dry up... These women are at the sharp end of what Yemen's water and environment minister describes as a collapse of national water resources so severe it cannot be reversed, only delayed at best...Yemen relies on groundwater, which nature cannot recharge fast enough to keep pace with a population of 22.4 million expanding by more than 3 percent a year. ...


Three percent growth isn't all that bad -- but given the situation, ye men and ye women might want to give it some thought.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Mar 3, 2008
from Naples News Daily (FL):
Collier county wants right to withdraw more aquifer water; district reluctant
"The county wants more fresh water because it is less expensive to treat than brackish water and can be treated with existing water plant capacity, delaying the need to build new plants, county Water Director Paul Mattausch said.... More than half of the county's water supply comes from alternative water supplies, either highly treated reclaimed water from the county's sewage treatment plants or brackish water from deeper underground." ...


Sorry, can't feel too bad: "about half of the county's drinking water is used to water lawns."

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Feb 28, 2008
from Associated Press:
Olympics highlight Beijing water woes
"BEIJING -- When 16,000 athletes and officials show up this summer, they will be able to turn the taps and get drinkable water - something few Beijing residents ever have enjoyed. But to keep those taps flowing for the Olympics, the city is draining surrounding regions, depriving poor farmers of water. Though the Chinese capital's filthy air makes headlines, water may be its most desperate environmental challenge. Explosive growth combined with a persistent drought mean the city of 17 million people is fast running out of water." ...


Looks it us like Zeus better get in gear and make it rain -- or at least ask Hydros, God of fresh water, to provide some.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Thu, Feb 7, 2008
from India News:
Two billion face water famine as Himalayan glaciers melt
"New Delhi: Two billion people face acute water shortage this century as Himalayan glaciers melt due to global warming. [Sayed I. Hasnain of the Centre for Policy Research] said the little work that had been done predicted that there would be a 20-30 percent increase in the water flow of the Ganges in the next four decades as the glaciers feeding the river melted, followed by a severe water shortage." ...


In four decades we can surely think of some solution: how about the Bottled Water Brigade comes to the rescue!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sun, Feb 3, 2008
from DOE/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory:
Human-caused Climate Change At Root Of Diminishing Water Flow In Western US, Scientists Find
"The Rocky Mountains have warmed by 2 degrees Fahrenheit. The snowpack in the Sierras has dwindled by 20 percent and the temperatures there have heated up by 1.7 degrees Fahrenheit. All could lead to dire consequences for the water supply in the Western United States, including California. Scientists have noted that water flow in the West has decreased for the last 20 to 30 years, but had never explained why it was happening. Until now." ...


Drum roll, please.... HUMANS are to blame!

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Jan 21, 2008
from Living on Earth:
From toilet to tap
"Orange County will soon use purified wastewater to replenish sinking groundwater. Orange County, CA has opened what is likely the largest sewage purification plant for drinking water in the world. The community is on board, and the idea is already being copied elsewhere in the U.S. and abroad. 'The squeamish call it 'toilet to tap.' The correct term is 'indirect potable water reuse.' That's a mouthful. And in a few days 2.3 million people in Orange County California will begin quenching their thirst with it. Living on Earth's Ingrid Lobet reports.'" ...


If we can start drinking our own urine, perhaps we can start breathing our own carbon monoxide and eating our own ... okay, I'll stop.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Tue, Dec 18, 2007
from NPR:
Worries About Water as Chinese Glacier Retreats
"China's lowest glacier, the Mingyong glacier -- an enormous, dirty, craggy mass of ice wedged in a mountain valley 8,900 feet above sea level -- is melting. And as it melts, the glacier on the edge of the Tibetan plateau is retreating up the mountain faster than experts can believe." ...


One scientist said: "The change is actually really remarkable." Gee, out of context, it sounds like he's enjoying himself.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Mon, Dec 17, 2007
from New York Times (US):
LA Reservoirs Closed After Carcinogen Is Found
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power plans to drain 600 million gallons from the reservoirs, the Elysian and the Silver Lake, early next year, said a water department spokesman, Joseph Ramallo. The reservoirs will be out of use for three to four months amid drought conditions. High levels of the carcinogen bromate were found in early October by a commercial customer who ran a laboratory test, officials said. The utility confirmed the finding, immediately removed the reservoirs from service and notified the Department of Public Health. Officials emphasized that the chemical is dangerous only after long-term consumption. ...


Great, Hollywood can't drink local bottled water, can't drink the tap water, and there's a drought in the region. Guess we'll just have to keep on shipping that Fiji Water thousands of miles. For now.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Fri, Dec 14, 2007
from The Hindu (India), Nov 21, 2007:
Urbanisation causing wetland depletion
"Experts found that the pollution of wetland ecosystems in the State was considerably high in Vembanad-Kol backwater system following various types of pollution in the upstream areas of the Pampa, Achenkovil and Periyar rivers. Also, salinity intrusion into rivers due to low water level in the summer months makes it unfit for drinking and other uses like irrigation. Heavy metal concentration was observed during the pre-monsoon months. The high metal concentration, observed in Kochi harbour area during the pre-monsoon season, was also attributed to the intrusion of high saline waters and precipitation of particulate matter." ...


"... on the verge of total degradation." That term ['total degradation'] was not defined, so we must disregard it.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Sat, Dec 8, 2007
from Cebu Daily News (Philippines):
Manila: Study sees lack of clean water by 2025
"The Philippines' water resources are fast deteriorating with rapid urbanization, with only about 33 percent of river systems still suitable as a supply source and up to 58 percent of groundwater now contaminated, a new Asian Development Bank (ADB) research shows." ...


By that time, the hurricanes may be frequently filling localized cisterns.

ApocaDoc
permalink

Copyright 2009 The Apocadocs.com