How the Earth Made its Own Water – Out of Rocks
Scientists have long believed that icy comets brought water to Earth. But Dr. Wendy Panero, an associate professor of earth sciences at Ohio State University, says Earth's water may have been here all along, locked up in the planet's rocky mantle — and there may still be lots of water still trapped there. PRI_1/10/15
Give-and-Take Origin for Earth's Water?
Where, exactly, did our oceans come from? New research suggests that asteroids might have both delivered and removed lots of water — and that Earth itself might have locked it away deep inside. Ours is the only planet with abundant liquid water on its surface, and life (as we know it) wouldn't be possible without it. Sky & Telescope_ 1/2/15
The Politics of Drinking Water
Most Americans take cheap, safe drinking water for granted. Globally, one out of 10 people can’t access clean water. Some 1,400 children die each day from water-related diseases. Unless there’s a spill or equipment failure, these numbers exclude U.S. residents. Across the 50 states, 155,000 public water systems treat, filter, and deliver 100 gallons per person per day, all for the low cost of less than 1 cent per gallon.
60 Minutes Examines the World's Water Future
From under ground to outer space, the 60 Minutes report shows how scientists are tracking earth's underground water supplies and what's in store for the future, from deep drought zones to--hey, it really doesn't taste bad--toilet to tap solutions. 60 Minutes_11/16/14
California Gov. Jerry Brown Signs $687 Million Drought Relief Bill
The bi-partisan legislation requires the state’s Department of Public Health to adopt new groundwater replenishment regulations by July 1, and the State Water Resources Control Board and the Department of Public Health to develop other ways that allow the recycled water and storm water to increase the available water supply. Southern California Public Radio_3/1/14
Freshwater Reserves Beneath the Oceans?
Researchers in Australia claim there's a massive supply of freshwater that's hiding underneath the seafloor.
The team from Australia's National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training conducted an extensive analysis of previously documented sources of offshore groundwater. They estimate that about half a million cubic kilometers lie underneath the continental shelves of Australia, China, North America, and South Africa, and elsewhere. By comparison, the volume of Lake Superior is just over 12,000 cubic kilometers. Christian Science Monitor_ 12/9/13
Around the U.S.
Water supply tainted after oil spill
Eastern Montana residents rushed to stock up on bottled water yesterday after a cancer-causing component of oil was detected in public water supplies downstream of a pipeline spill on the Yellowstone River. Elevated levels of benzene were found in water samples taken from a treatment plant that serves about 6,000 people in the agricultural community of Glendive, near North Dakota. Some criticized the timing of Monday’s advisory, which came more than two days after 50,000 gallons of oil spilled from the 12-inch Poplar pipeline owned by Wyoming-based Bridger Pipeline Co. The spill occurred about 5 miles upstream from the city.
Adding to the frustrations was uncertainty over how long the water warning would last. Also, company and government officials have struggled to come up with an effective way to recover the crude, most of which appears to be trapped beneath ice covering the Yellowstone River. By yesterday, oil sheens were reported as far away as Williston, N.D., downstream from the Yellowstone’s confluence with the Missouri River, officials said. The Columbus Dispatch_1/21/15
Flint Seeking Water Solution
The city of Flint Michigan is making headway in its efforts to fix its drinking water distribution and treatment systems, the state-appointed emergency manager said, as protesters derided the quality and cost of water in the city. Jerry Ambrose spoke to City Council members ahead of a packed public meeting on the water system Wednesday night, a Flint newspaper reported. "There's nobody in this administration that's happy with the quality of the water," Ambrose said. Some Flint residents brought bottles of discolored water to the meeting. A protest about the quality and cost of water preceded the gathering, which ended before all the questions from the crowd were answered. Flint officials this month reported that municipal water has elevated levels of a disinfection byproduct called trihalomethane. Some residents say the water gives children skin problems. Flint officials insist the water is safe.
Flint switched from using Lake Huron as its drinking water source in April. The city plans to use Flint River water through the end of 2016, when the Karegnondi Water Authority is to open a new Lake Huron water pipeline. Detroit's water department has offered to reconnect Flint to its system although Flint officials say that would cost $12 million more per year. City Councilman Scott Kincaid said after Wednesday's meeting that there would continue to be problems with Flint water until the city uses lake water again. "The only solution I see in the short-term is getting Lake Huron water back in our system so people feel the water is clear and safe," Kincaid said. Livingston Daily_1/22/15
Flint City Councilman: 'We got bad water'
FLINT - Some Flint residents are complaining that the city's water is causing skin problems for some children. Hundreds of people turned out Tuesday to discuss Flint's water quality at a meeting with the mayor and City Council members. Detroit Free Press_1/14/15
Water Works Votes to Sue Three Counties Over Nitrates
The debate over how to improve the water quality of Iowa's rivers and streams took center stage inside Des Moines Water Works' headquarters Thursday afternoon. Dozens of people debated the utility's plan to sue three northwestern Iowa counties over high nitrate levels in the Raccoon River. In the end, the waterworks moved forward with its plans to sue the supervisors in Sac, Buena Vista and Calhoun counties.
The lawsuit targets several drainage districts feeding into the North Raccoon River that are managed by the three counties. Weekly samples taken from the river in Sac County since March have shown high concentrations of nitrates, according to officials with the Des Moines utility. Those nitrates have triggered costly treatment operations downstream at the Des Moines Water Works facility, officials say. But the end goal of the lawsuit extends far beyond the targeted counties. DesMoines Register_1/9/15
Western Water Miners Turn on the Taps for Fine, Bottled Agua
Bottled water remains hot in the U.S., with Americans guzzling nearly 11 billion gallons — a record high — in 2014. The sizzle is drawing investors eager to share Rocky Mountain water with the masses. But instead of competing with heavyweights like Nestle, PepsiCo and Coca-Cola on grocery shelves, these upstarts are taking their fight to the West's resorts, aiming to topple the top-shelf brands such as Perrier, San Pellegrino, Fiji, Evian and Voss. Denver Post_1/4/15
No Bottled Water; Tap Only for Egypt’s New Prime Minister
Ebrahim Mehleb, the new prime minister of Egypt, said he wants the government to be humble and reflect the lives of its people. As part of that effort, he banned bottled water from government headquarters, according to Gulf News, and said he will drink tap water. “This step emanates from my keenness to cut spending and share the average people their lifestyle,” Mehleb, an ex-housing minister, told reporters on Friday. Al Arabiya 3/ 2/14
Citing Drought, California Town Rushes Water Plant
California's drought declaration has triggered only local limits such as restrictions on washing cars or watering lawns for most communities, but one Pacific Coast tourist town has seized it as an opportunity to build a long-desired desalination plant.
The new project will turn salty water to drinking water for the 6,000-resident town of Cambria, which hugs the cliffs of the central coast, 6 miles south of William Randolf Hearst’s famous castle at San Simeon. It is one of the biggest infrastructure projects undertaken in response to Gov. Jerry Brown’s drought emergency decree last year. SF Gate_1/3/15
Small-scale solar desalination system aims for affordable water independence
By combining solar PV, solar thermal, and a heat exchanger, Desolenator has developed a low-cost portable water purifier and desalination device powered by renewable energy.
For most of us living in the developed world, access to clean drinking water isn't that big of a deal - we simply turn on the tap and potable water flows out until we shut it off. But for many people around the world, getting clean water isn't nearly as simple, and the combined effects of contaminated drinking water and the lack of adequate sanitary facilities can take a huge toll on both individuals and communities. Treehugger_12/16/14
New desalination system can fight United Arab Emirate's algae red tide
Abu Dhabi's second desalination plant on the Gulf of Oman coast will have advanced technology never before used in the Middle East to treat harmful blooms of marine algae. Its installation was prompted by the red algae, or red tide, which hit the UAE’s east coast for eight months from August 2008. Water desalination plants incurred large losses as the algae clogged filters. To combat the problem, a system known as dissolved air flotation (DAF) is being tested at the new desalination plant in Fujairah, a technique which has been used successfully elsewhere in the world. The use of DAF means that, rather than washing sand filters every day, one wash will be required every 38 hours. The National_ 2/13/10
El Paso, Texas, desalination plant: Another resource for fresh water
What's a desalination plant doing in a city that's hundreds of miles from the nearest ocean? The plants transforms brackish groundwater from the Hueco Bolson into fresh water. Taking in this salty, brackish water allows what Christina Montoya of the El Paso Water Utilities Public Service Board calls the world's largest inland desalination plant to conserve fresh ground water in the Borderland. kvia_ 2/13/10
California Air Resources Board reaffirms greenhouse-gas plan for Poseidon Resources desalination plant in Carlsbad
In a letter to the California Coastal Commission (CCC) on 8 February 2010, the CARB says, "We do not believe there have been any changes to the project or the assumptions underlying Poseidon's GHG plan, which would change the positions expressed in our August 5, 2008 letter." Poseidon Resources announced that CCC staff have recommended that the commission deny the request made by opponents of seawater desalination to revoke the Coastal Development Permit for the Carlsbad Desalination Project. The commission is scheduled to hear the revocation request when it meets in on 10 February 2010. D&WR_ 2/9/10
NOAA reorganizes with eye toward assessing effects of climate change
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration launched a new climate service today, a reorganization effort aimed at improving long-range assessments of climate change, sea-level rise and severe weather. The effort is aimed at providing long-term forecasts to assist fisheries managers, farmers, state governments, renewable energy developers, water managers and others. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke likened the new climate shop to the 140-year-old National Weather Service, recounting how weather forecasting helped citizens prepare for the blizzard that slammed the mid-Atlantic region last weekend. The NOAA initiative would bring together existing climate science, currently spread through various branches at the agency. Thomas Karl, currently director of the National Climatic Data Center, would serve as transitional director of the climate service, which would also have six regional directors. New York Times_ 2/8/10
Maine experts advise against ditching meds in the trash; they wind up in drinking water
According to a survey by the state's environmental agency, small amounts of discarded drugs were found at three landfills in the state, confirming that pharmaceuticals thrown into household trash end up in water that drains through waste. Although most of Maine does not draw drinking water from rivers where landfill water is present, other states do. Lawmakers in Maine are trying to create a bill that would require drug manufacturers to develop and pay for a program to collect unused prescription and over-the-counter drugs from residents and dispose of them. Scientists and environmentalists have discovered that small amounts of pharmaceuticals end up in drinking water through human excretion in sewers or by pouring leftover medication down the drain. Research has revealed that pharmaceuticals sometimes harm fish and that human cells can fail to grow normally in the laboratory when exposed to trace concentrations of certain drugs. Red Orbit_ 2/8/10
Pennsylvania plans Marcellus Shale formation hydraulic fracturing regulation to protect drinking water
Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell on Thursday proposed new rules to strengthen state regulation of natural gas drilling to protect drinking water supplies and announced the hiring of 68 new inspectors. The measures reflect the Democratic governor's environmental concerns while still aiming to promote development of the massive Marcellus Shale formation. Marcellus is one of four major shale formations that could provide the United States with an abundant energy supply but whose exploitation could be inhibited by regulators. The regulations are designed to prevent the escape of drilling chemicals into domestic water supplies, following numerous local reports of contamination from a process called hydraulic fracturing. Reuters_ 1/28/10
Georgia, Florida, Alabama Water Sharing
Georgia Gov. Sony Perdue backs state water conservation law and study of new Atlanta reservoirs
Gov. Sonny Perdue announced this morning that he is backing legislation packed with water conservation measures and a study of building new reservoirs as the Atlanta region faces the prospect of losing Lake Lanier as its main source of drinking water. The legislation would force water utilities to detect leaks, require the home building industry to use fixtures that rely on less water and set standards for measuring water use for each unit in apartment buildings. The bill would also make it easier for communities that conserve water to obtain state grants and lower interest loans. And it would set up a study committee to consider building new reservoirs or expanding existing ones. Called the Georgia Water Stewardship Act, the bill stems from recommendations the governor’s Water Contingency Task Force announced late last year. Perdue formed the panel after a federal judge issued a stinging ruling in July against Georgia in its water dispute with Alabama and Florida. Atlanta Journal-Constitution_ 2/3/10
Federal court allows Georgia to appeal water ruling
Georgia may appeal a momentous ruling that declared metro Atlanta cannot tap into Lake Lanier to supply most of its water needs, the federal appeals court in Atlanta has decided. In a unanimous decision issued Wednesday, a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals handed Georgia one of its few legal victories of late in the high-stakes, tri-state water dispute. The court agreed with Georgia's legal team that one facet of Senior Judge Paul Magnuson's ruling in July was a "final judgment" that can be appealed. The 11th Circuit said that because all issues in the complex litigation are "inextricably intertwined," it will consider all findings made by Magnuson in his sweeping July 17 ruling. In July, Magnuson found it illegal for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to draw water from the massive federal reservoir formed by Buford Dam to meet the water needs for more than 3.5 million metro area residents. Atlanta Journal-Constitution_ 1/21/10
Haiti donations provide everything from clean water to a school
With nearly $60 million raised so far by Friday's "Hope for Haiti Now" telethon, a spokesperson for UNICEF provided MTV News with a list of some of the items that can be provided:
» Collapsible water containers ($2): Each container holds 10 liters of water and is especially useful for kids carrying water for long distances to ensure that all their water doesn't spill en route from their water supply. It is also very useful for storing clean, safe water for everyday use.
» Water-purification tablets (60 cents for 50 tablets): Each tablet is able to turn 4 to 5 liters of dirty water into water suitable for drinking. Every day, 4,000 children worldwide die because they do not have access to clean water, according to UNICEF.
» Oral-rehydration salts (7 cents for one package): This solution, containing sugar and salt, treats children suffering from dehydration caused by diarrhea. Approximately 3,500 children die each day from dehydration caused by acute diarrhea, according to UNICEF. MTV News/VH1.com_ 1/25/10
Louisville, Kentucky sends drinking water aid to Haiti
After a day in Haiti's quake-shattered capital, sweating in snarled traffic, scrounging for batteries, attending meetings and nearly getting its first water systems built, word that the Louisville was opening its wallets to help was buoying news for relief workers trying to bring pure water to the people here. Edge team members said the $25,000 in promised funds from Louisville would provide fresh water for 50,000 people a day once the $5,000 purification systems were up and running. The team was preparing to turn on the first two water purifiers Friday morning— one at a Salvation Army site filled with homeless survivors and a second serving a clinic that is seeing more than 200 injured or sick patients a day. The next day, the group plans to install a third system at the Haitian Community Hospital, clogged with the injured seeking treatment and short on fresh water. Ahead, the group plans to set up purifier systems in remote towns not receiving aid. Louisville Courier-Journal_ 1/21/10
UN: Water supplies cut to Haiti capital
Key areas of Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince have been heavily damaged by a devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake, United Nations officials said Wednesday, adding that water supplies were cut. 'All municipal water supplies are reportedly shut off,' said Elizabeth Byrs with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, quoting Haitian ministry officials. Nearly 3.5 million people are estimated to be in areas affected by 'strong quakes,' OCHA estimated. In an earthquake, 'what people need urgently, more than food, is water,' said Veronique Taveau with the UN's Children Fund (UNICEF). UN officials said concerns over the water supply were growing along with fears of disease spreads. Deutsche Presse-Agentur/monsters and critics.com_ 1/13/10
International Water Summit (IWS): Premier Global Forum to Drive Actionable Water Security Solutions
Global water leaders representing private industry the public sector and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) will convene in Abu Dhabi next month to attend the International Water Summit (IWS). The global platform enables key industry players to exchange ideas, share the latest innovations in water management and to learn about the growing commercial opportunities in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Entitled 'Promoting Water Sustainability in Arid Regions,' IWS will examine the water-energy nexus and its long-term implications on regional and global food security and energy savings. The exhibition and conference, January 19-22, takes place during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW). NASDAQ_12_29_14
India's Shivsu Canadian installs Rs 52 crore worth water plant for Iraqi government
Chennai-based Shivsu Canadian Clear International Limited, a leading water technology solutions provider and manufacturer of mineral water packaging equipments, has become the first Indian company to successfully install Rs 52 crore worth desalination water plant for Iraqi Government. Shivsu's work includes design, manufacture, supply, construction and commissioning of the plant on a turnkey basis, a company release said. The capacity of the plant is 20 MLD (million liters per day). newKerala.com_ 12/28/09
China's Weihe River diesel spill may affect drinking water supply
The diesel fuel leak into a tributary of the Yellow River has spread downstream into Shanxi and Henan provinces, contaminating and potentially affecting the drinking water supply of many local residents. The fuel leaking into the Weihe River has reached the Sanmenxia reservoir on the Yellow River in Henan province despite earlier efforts to prevent it from spreading into the main river. China National Petroleum Corp is the owner of the broken oil pipeline. The broken diesel pipeline, which runs from Lanzhou in Gansu province to Changsha in Hunan province, was found leaking in the wee hours of Dec. 30 at a point close to the Chishui River, a tributary of the Weihe River. Su Maolin, deputy director of the Yellow River Water Resources Commission, yesterday refuted the claim by CNPC that the broken pipeline was caused by a third-party construction project, and called for a further probe into the accident after the spill has been tackled. China Daily/XinHua_ 1/5/10
Regional Water Issues
Despite rain, California still fighting over water
California has been deluged with rain and snow this winter, but its epic tug-of-war over water rages on, this time in the form of a plan by U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein to divert more water to the state's farmers. Feinstein has infuriated environmental activists, fishing groups and even fellow California Democrats by drafting federal legislation that would ease Endangered Species Act restrictions to allow more water to be pumped out of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta for growers in the state's Central Valley. California is the No. 1 farm state in the United States and its Central Valley is one of the country's most important agricultural regions. California farmers produce more than half the fruit, vegetables and nuts grown in the United States. The senator has not released details of her proposed measure, which may be attached as an amendment to a federal jobs bill. But she said it would grant farmers in the state's agricultural heartland up to 40 percent of their federal water allocation for two years. Cutbacks were forced by water shortages stemming from a three-year statewide drought and delta pumping restrictions imposed to protect imperiled salmon and smelt populations. Reuters_ 2/12/10
Federal judge does an about-face and upholds California water limits
A topsy-turvy week in a federal courtroom in Fresno, Calif., has led to the imposition of water flow restrictions to aid endangered delta smelt in the San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta. Judge Oliver Wanger of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California ruled against irrigators and farmers yesterday in their request for a restraining order to open water pumps on the south end of the delta to maximum capacity. Dead smelt have been salvaged this week at the pumps, prompting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to order the flow restrictions to go into effect this morning under a standing federal biological opinion. The restraining order would have blocked those limits from taking effect for 14 days. New York Times_ 2/11/10
North Carolina's attorney general balks at secret water talks with South Carolina
North Carolina's top attorney has rejected a call by his South Carolina counterpart to hold closed-door talks to settle a dispute over waterways that flow through the two states, according to a letter released Friday. Attorney General Roy Cooper said in the note that he wants the discussions in a commission appointed by both states to be open for public input. South Carolina's top attorney, Henry McMaster, had suggested in a December letter to Cooper that the two sides hold confidential discussions. AP/Businessweek 1/22/10
Utah governor ready to make deal for Snake Valley water sharing with Nevada
Utah and Nevada officials say they're ready to sign a deal splitting border groundwater in the Snake Valley despite opposition from members of a new Utah advisory board set up to study the plan. The Snake Valley Aquifer Advisory Council met Wednesday at the Utah Capitol to review public comments about the deal, which effectively grants Nevada the water that a Las Vegas utility wants for a proposed pipeline supplying the city. After discussing those comments, board members themselves voiced their misgivings but learned that a final agreement is imminent. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert believes the deal is needed to protect the rights of current water users in the desert valley west of Delta, said John Harja, board chairman and the governor's director of public lands policy coordination. "He is convinced that an agreement is better than none," Harja said. The next step, he said, is to declare an end to negotiations and have Utah Department of Natural Resources Director Mike Styler sign the deal. Herbert's spokeswoman, Angie Welling said the governor's support has nothing to do with Utah's hopes for Nevada's support of a Lake Powell pipeline. "This agreement is not being used as a bargain chip for anything else," she said. Salt Lake Tribune_ 1/7/10
Research and Technology
Water hits and sticks: Findings challenge a century of assumptions about soil hydrology
Researchers have discovered that some of the most fundamental assumptions about how water moves through soil in a seasonally dry climate such as the Pacific Northwest are incorrect – and that a century of research based on those assumptions will have to be reconsidered. A new study by scientists from Oregon State University and the Environmental Protection Agency showed – much to the surprise of the researchers – that soil clings tenaciously to the first precipitation after a dry summer, and holds it so tightly that it almost never mixes with other water. The finding is so significant, researchers said, that they aren't even sure yet what it may mean. But it could affect our understanding of how pollutants move through soils, how nutrients get transported from soils to streams, how streams function and even how vegetation might respond to climate change. The research was just published online in Nature Geoscience, a professional journal. "This could have enormous implications for our understanding of watershed function," said Jeff McDonnell, an OSU distinguished professor and holder of the Richardson Chair in Watershed Science in the OSU College of Forestry. "It challenges about 100 years of conventional thinking." News Release_ 1/21/10
Read the full report
Long-term option for wastewater disposal eludes shale gas industry
Defining wastewater disposal in the Marcellus shale fields has been a moving target. Drillers initially sent millions of gallons to public water treatment plants, till regulators mentioned the plants had been not equipped to appropriately clean the salt- and metal-laden water that comes from shale gas wells. The traditional process of injecting it back into deep wells is significantly less feasible in Pennsylvania, which has few such wells, and Ohio is accepting significantly less wastewater simply because of possible links among injection and earthquakes. The search for a option has spawned an industry of firms and innovators hunting for techniques to treat or reuse the wastewater that environmentalists feared would foul drinking supplies. National Review_1/25/15
State Group Links Kansas Quakes to Wastewater Disposal
The disposal of waste saltwater from hydraulic fracturing could be to blame for a sharp increase in earthquakes in south-central Kansas, according to a geophysicist with the Kansas Geological Survey. Rick Miller’s comments are the first by a state official to clearly suggest a link between hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, and the earthquakes that have rattled the area in the last two years, The Lawrence Journal-World reported. Washington Times_1/19/15
New Contaminants Found in Oil and Gas Wastewater
Duke University scientists have discovered high levels of two potentially hazardous contaminants, ammonium and iodide, in wastewater being discharged or spilled into streams and rivers from oil and gas operations in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Levels of contamination were just as high in wastewater coming from conventional oil and gas wells as from hydraulically fractured shale gas wells. Phys.Org_1/14/15
Turning Poop Into Clean Water
Under a headline “How to turn poop into drinking water,” Bill Gates last week posted a video on his blog that showed him drinking a glass of the poop-borne water — immediately drawing world attention to the latest brainchild from Peter Janicki of Sedro-Woolley. Previously known for his groundbreaking innovation in aerospace and marine engineering, the ever-inventive Janicki now has set his sights on improving sanitation in undeveloped regions of the world, starting with Africa and India. Seattle Times_1/11/14
Cleaning Waste Water with Algae
An artificial ecosystem should help purify the effluent from making beer.
ALGAL blooms happen when waste water from farms, factories and dwellings carries large amounts of normally scarce nutrients like nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous into rivers, lakes and seas. The Economist_ 12/31/14
Australia's wine 'cheaper than a bottle of water'
It depends what wine you're looking at and where you get your bottled water, but on some big retailers' shelves in Australia it's not too hard today to find water that is more expensive than wine. BBC News_12/30/14