SA Water Grab on Facebook
From Jim Spickard: There's some good information on the Alamo Sierra Club website. There will be a talk next Tuesday at 6:30 at the Eco Center at SAC. And Meredith had recent articles in the Express-News and the Rivard Report (both of which are online).
We Have the Right to Have That Basic Thing—it’s Water Water is life, and it belongs to all of us. It’s time to start acting that way.
[In California] Corporate farms persist in turning over thousands of acres of old rangeland and vineyards to plant new almond trees, which won’t produce for three years or more—by which time the groundwater will be even further depleted. Already, parts of the Central Valley are sinking about one foot per year as water tables plunge.
When residents call foul on these practices, they repeatedly come up against a brick wall of political excuses, cronyism, and state laws that protect corporate profits while ensuring that people continue to go without the water they need.
California’s agricultural and industrial policies view nature as an eternal endowment from the earth that’s given to those who can afford to ‘own’ and redistribute it for private gain. Water is increasingly exploited for economic growth rather than managed as a limited resource that’s deeply interconnected with the health and wellbeing of human communities, and of nature.
Water Quality - What's Up With Our Nation's Waters EPA site for kids on water quality
Via email from Organic Bytes:
Don’t Ask, Won’t TellWhen we asked writer Martha Rosenberg to wade into the issue of drugs in our drinking water, we weren’t sure what she’d find out.
Turns out, it isn’t pretty.
Thanks to the chemical, agricultural and pharmaceutical industries, and America’s antiquated water systems, you may be imbibing a witch's brew of drugs and chemicals. And you don’t even realize it.
How do all those chemicals get in your water? Via human drug waste in sewage, medicines flushed down toilets, agricultural runoff and the wide use of endocrine disruptors like pesticides, flame retardants and plastic-related compounds like phthalates and BPA.
Naturally, both the drug industry and water treatment “experts” say traces of toxic chemicals are so small they “probably pose no public health risk.” Yet they also admit that testing has begun so recently that no one really knows the long-term effects.
From Mary Buzby, director of environmental technology for that beyond-reproach pharmaceutical giant, Merck: "There's no doubt about it, pharmaceuticals are being detected in the environment and there is genuine concern that these compounds, in the small concentrations that they're at, could be causing impacts to human health or to aquatic organisms."
We suggest all those folks who continue to tell us not to worry our pretty little heads read “The Myths of Safe Pesticides,” a book that outlines why no amount of toxic chemicals, including and especially tiny amounts, are “safe.”
Why is California Looking to Drain Ancient Water When a Simpler Solution is on Our Plates? California is in its fifth year of severe drought and despite hopes the winter snowfall would bring some relief, 2016 has still been the third hottest year on record with 60 percent of the state still suffering in extreme drought. The drought is causing very real consequences; fierce fires, a total of 4,200 across the state already this year, a staggering toll of 66 million dead trees and almost 12,000 individuals are out of water because their wells have run dry or will soon. Conditions are so dire the state is turning to desperate measures and may start digging up to 3,000 feet underground to access newly found fresh water stores in our deep aquifers. While this sounds like a “get out of jail free” card, the option of disturbing and using these precious untouched water stores come with high risks.
We know that pumping water from shallow aquifers has resulted in some parts of California’s ground level falling by ten feet, which can be seen throughout Central Valley where the land is gradually sinking. Disrupting and taking water from the deep aquifers would risk this happening to a greater extent and destabilizing the area. The water from these deep reserves also would come at a very high financial cost, need to be treated at a desalination plant due to the high saline content and 30 percent of the reserves come with the problem that they are located directly where oil and drilling occurs, filling them with chemicals.
Rather than looking for more finite fresh water stores, perhaps we need to start addressing the main users of our fresh water supply and make sustainable changes. And this doesn’t simply mean having quicker showers.
Who is Really Using All the Water?
California’s largest water user is agriculture, responsible for 80 percent of the water used; and the section that requires the most by far is animal agriculture. Raising animals for food and dairy is literally leaving us parched. Yet, there is no mention of our diet affecting water use in the Water Conservation Education Program – even when a host of studies across the globe conclude that what we are choosing to eat is one of the most influential ways we can personally change how much water we are using.
Wind-powered device can produce 11 gallons per day of clean drinking water from the air WaterSeer is a low-tech, low-cost atmospheric water condenser that could help create water self-sufficiency in communities around the world.
A new device developed by VICI-Labs, in collaboration with UC Berkeley and the National Peace Corps Association, aims to provide a sustainable source of clean safe water for the millions without a reliable water supply. In the developed world, where most homes and businesses have ready access to clean water at the turn of a tap, we don't really have to worry about most waterborne diseases, or dehydration, or the ability to wash our selves, our clothes, or our eating utensils, but those worries are still very real for the millions around the world without a reliable clean water source. The WaterSeer could help to alleviate some of those water poverty issues.
The WaterSeer is relatively simple device, designed to be operated without an external power input, and without the need for costly chemicals or maintenance, that can 'pull' moisture from thin air and condense it into water using the temperature difference between the above-ground turbine and the collection chamber installed six feet underground. The potable water can then be delivered to the surface for use via a simple pump and hose, and the device is said to be able to produce up to 11 gallons per day, even in arid regions.
And the best part? The WaterSeer will be priced at just $134.
This tiny black rectangle disinfects water in minutes One of the major crises facing the world is access to clean drinking water. Because of that, we've seen a variety of water purification gadgets and materials over the years that could make it easier for people to attain clean water. One approach is using UV rays to disinfect water, but since UV rays only carry about 4 percent of the sun's energy, that method can take up to 48 hours, which limits the amount of water people can treat at a time.
Stanford University researchers and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory decided there had to be a faster way. What it you could use the visible part of the solar spectrum, not just UV rays, harnessing 50 percent of the sun's energy? With that in mind, the researchers created a small device that when dropped in water uses solar energy to disinfect it in just minutes.
“Our device looks like a little rectangle of black glass. We just dropped it into the water and put everything under the sun, and the sun did all the work,” said Chong Liu, lead author of the report published in Nature Nanotechnology.
The nanostructured device is about half the size of a postage stamp. When sunlight hits it, it forms hydrogen peroxide and other bacteria-killing chemicals that are able to eliminate 99.999 percent of the bacteria present in the water sample in only 20 minutes. The chemicals then dissipate and leave pure water behind.
The small glass is topped with what the researchers call "nanoflakes" of molybdenum disulfide. The thin flakes are stacked on their edges, creating a labyrinth like shape that resembles a fingerprint when viewed with a microscope.
Molybdenum disulfide is an industrial lubricant, but in very thin layers like what is used in this device, it becomes a photocatalyst, releasing electrons that take part in chemical reactions. The researchers were able to create layers that absorb the full range of visible sunlight and trigger reactions with oxygen, like hydrogen peroxide, which kills the bacteria present in the water.
While the device does disinfect the water, it's not able to remove any chemical pollutants, so it's best suited for areas that are mostly concerned with microbes in the water, not industrial pollution.
Clownfish and Anemone
Ocean Assets Valued at $24 Trillion, but Dwindling Fast Oceans produce half the oxygen we breathe and absorb 30% of carbon dioxide emissions
Gulf Restoration network take action on Texas Gulf Coast
Coral Reefs in Danger
Gulf of MexicoWill the Gulf of Mexico Remain a Dumping Ground for Offshore Fracking Waste? Federal documents obtained this year by the Center for Biological Diversity revealed that the Obama administration approved more than 1,200 offshore fracks in 630 different wells in the Gulf from 2010 to 2014. The fracking took place off the coasts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama — with no public involvement or site-specific tests done beforehand to evaluate the environmental impact.
Map of Fracked Wells in the Gulf of Mexico
Given that it takes millions of gallons of water to frack a single well, and that on its way into the earth to force out oil or gas reserves the water becomes contaminated with radioactive elements, heavy metals and other toxic compounds, you might wonder: Where is all that offshore fracking wastewater going?
Directly into the Gulf, as it turns out.
Water is a Human RightSlovenia Adds Water to Constitution As Fundamental Right for All Nov 18, 2016
Slovenia has amended its constitution to make access to drinkable water a fundamental right for all citizens and stop it being commercialised. With 64 votes in favour and none against, the 90-seat parliament added an article to the EU country’s constution.
Wakulla Springs, Florida
Send comments to email@example.com, Colby Glass, MLIS, Professor Emeritus