Desal plants fuel hikes

Last modified on 2010-07-22 14:49:34 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Kwinana desal plant, Perth, Australia. Photo retrieved from:

“This comes as Australia seeks to drought-proof its growing cities.

“The Productivity Commission will investigate the financial and environmental impact of Australia’s desalination plants, which will supply nearly a third of capital city water supplies within two years.

“The PC inquiry’s chairwoman, Wendy Craik, yesterday said the costs of desalination plants, including electricity, would be analysed. “We’ll be looking at the costs and benefits of desalination and the impact on prices,” she said.

“State governments are spending $9 billion to build desalination plants in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Adelaide and on the Gold Coast. But the energy-guzzling “water factories” are feeding steep increases in water prices, with household bills rising as much as 22 per cent last month.

“Inquiries by The Australian reveal that electricity charges make up half the cost of running Sydney’s new $1.8bn desalination plant at Kurnell, which is powered by a wind farm. Water from the Kurnell plant is costing $2.24 per thousand litres, including the capital cost, debt payments and operating costs.”

read more: The Australian

Ask The U.S. Ambassador to Support the Human Right to Water

Last modified on 2010-07-22 17:26:41 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Photo retrieved from: Food and Water Watch

“For the first time since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted 60 years ago, the UN General Assembly is finally poised to recognize the Human Right to Water and Sanitation. Billions of people are suffering because the world is not focused on providing water and sanitation for all. A strong UN General Assembly resolution will signal that water and sanitation is a key priority for the international community.”

Take action by signing the UN General Assembly resolution recognizing the Human Right to Water and Sanitation at: Food and Water Watch

Water users holding key to desalination plants

Last modified on 2010-07-16 03:44:49 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Retrieved from:

“FURTHER desalination plants to meet the booming southeast corner’s water needs may not be needed for another 20 years.

“High rain levels and frugal household water use have allowed the Government to postpone its planned construction dates for two new desalination plants.

‘In its new water planning blueprint, the Queensland Water Commission has estimated the plants would be needed by 2021 if consumption levels rise to 230 litres per person per day. But the plants could be delayed until as late as 2032 if consumption meets the 200 litres-per-day target and rain continues to fall at traditional levels.

“The QWC still plans to acquire the two priority sites for the plants, at Lytton near the mouth of the Brisbane River and at Marcoola on the Sunshine Coast.

“There are also two reserve sites, one allowing the existing Tugun facility to be duplicated and the other on Bribie Island.”

Read more: The Courier Mail

Everything You Need to Know About Groundwater

Last modified on 2010-07-13 15:22:56 GMT. 1 comment. Top.

“Groundwater is fresh water located underground in porous soil or fractures in rock formations. Collections of groundwater are called aquifers, and we draw from aquifers for drinking water and water for use in everything form irrigation to agriculture to manufacturing.

“Groundwater pumping is when we pull water from the aquifer for our own use. When we pull more water than is naturally replenished, this is called groundwater mining because we have to drill deeper and deeper into the earth to get at the remaining water.

“Groundwater is a very important source of water for civilizations worldwide, making up about 20% of the world’s fresh water supply. Many cities have gotten used to mining groundwater to sustain its residents. However, as we overuse the resource, pull water faster than aquifers can naturally refill, and continue to pollute groundwater supplies, we’re beginning to face a whole new set of serious problems with this vital resource.

“The more we pump from aquifers, the farther the available water is from the surface of the earth. That means more energy has to go in to mining the water, and the costs begin to outweigh benefits, and our capabilities. When aquifers are mismanaged and too much water is extracted, it can mean the aquifer is no longer a viable source of water and a new source needs to be found. Depending on the available options, it can mean anything from a city moving to energy intensive and environmentally problematic solutions, such as desalination plants, to the community being unable to survive.”

read more: AlterNet

Arid Australia Sips Seawater, but at a Cost

Last modified on 2010-07-11 00:36:25 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Retrieved from:

“In Australia, the world’s driest inhabited continent, early British explorers searching for a source of drinking water scoured the bone-dry interior for a fabled inland sea. One overeager believer even carted a whaleboat hundreds of miles from the coast, but found mostly desert inside. Today, Australians are turning in the opposite direction: the sea.

“In one of the country’s biggest infrastructure projects in its history, Australia’s five largest cities are spending $13.2 billion on desalination plants capable of sucking millions of gallons of seawater from the surrounding oceans every day, removing the salt and yielding potable water. In two years, when the last plant is scheduled to be up and running, Australia’s major cities will draw up to 30 percent of their water from the sea.

“The country is still recovering from its worst drought ever, a decade-long parching that the government says was deepened by climate change. With water shortages looming, other countries, including the United States and China, are also looking to the sea. ”

Read more: The New York Times

World Rivers Review: Focus on Dam Standards

Last modified on 2010-07-10 03:50:01 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Since the World Commission on Dams (WCD) issued its groundbreaking report in 2000, governments, institutions and civil society around the world have taken up the challenge of adapting its recommendations to their local context. This issue on dam standards examines where these efforts have been successful, and where more work needs to be done. As our senior policy analyst, Shannon Lawrence, notes in the commentary, “We know how to do it: the WCD framework provides the road map. What we’re lacking are the political will and the long-term vision to make it happen.”Read the full commentary on what the road towards better dams, healthier environments, and stronger communities looks like.

This special issue also looks at China’s budding efforts to adhere to standards, the dam industry’s proposed scorecard system for rating dams, and specific cases where the WCD recommendations are being put into practice.

Read More:  International Rivers

Special Report- All The Facts Behind The World’s Water Crisis

Last modified on 2010-06-28 19:16:26 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Rtrieved from:

“1. By 2025, more than 2.8 billion people will live in 48 countries facing water stress or water scarcity, a recently revised United Nations medium population projected. Of these 48 countries, 40 are either in the Near East and North Africa or in sub-Saharan Africa. Over the next two decades population increase alone—not to mention growing demand per capita—is projected to push all of the Near East into water scarcity. By 2050 the number of countries facing water stress or scarcity will rise to 54, and their combined population to 4 billion people—40% of the projected global population of 9.4 billion

“2. The 20 countries of the Near East and North Africa face the worst prospects. The Near East is the most water-short region in the world. In fact, the entire Near East “ran out of water” in 1972, when the region’s total population was 122 million, according to Tony Allan, a University of London expert on water resources. Since then, the region has withdrawn more water from its rivers and aquifers every year than is being replenished. Currently, for example, Jordan and Yemen withdraw 30% more water from groundwater aquifers every year than is replenished. Also, Israel’s annual water use already exceeds its renewable supply by 15%.

“3. Saudi Arabia presents one of the worst cases of unsustainable water use in the world. This extremely arid country now must mine fossil groundwater for three-quarters of its water needs. Fossil groundwater depletion in Saudi Arabia has been averaging around 5.2 billion cubic meters a year

“4. Of 14 countries in the Near East, 11 are already facing water scarcity. In five of these countries the populations are projected to double within the next two decades. Water is one of the major political issues confronting the region’s leaders. Since virtually all rivers in the Near East are shared by several nations, current tensions over water rights could escalate into outright conflicts, driven by population growth and rising demand for an increasingly scarce resource.

“5. In many countries, the water problem is the primary reason people are unable to rise out of poverty. Women and children bear the burdens disproportionately, often spending six hours or more each day fetching water for their families and communities.

“6. 1.1 billion people in the world…


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Chlorine’s importance in water treatment set to grow

Last modified on 2010-06-24 14:55:55 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Image courtesy of:

“AS THE world becomes more populous, water is becoming more scarce. There is strong growth potential for all types of water treatment technologies, but some could do better as countries bid to quench their thirst in a cheap and environmentally friendly way.

“The UN’s estimates (see map below, which shows projected global water withdrawal as a percentage of total water available) are based on its medium-population projections made in 1998. According to these, more than 2.8bn people in 48 countries will face water stress, or scarce conditions, by 2025. Of these, 40 are in West Asia (also known as the Middle East), North Africa or sub-Saharan Africa.

“Over the next two decades, population increases and growing demands are projected to push all the West Asian countries into water scarcity conditions.

“By 2050, the number of countries facing water stress or scarcity could rise to 54, with a combined population of 4bn – about 40% of the projected global population of 9.4bn. It is striking to note that even some developed nations, such as the US and many European countries will see more serious water scarcity by 2025. This could be one reason that some are already calling water the “new oil.”

“In order to arrive at the different qualities of water required for its various applications, and for the world to meet its goals, it must be treated. There are several different ways to do this, which are either combined or taken in isolation, according to each instance. Essentially, the aim is to remove, or in some cases reduce, the contaminants present in the water to bring it to an acceptable level for its required end use.”

read more:

Passing the Point of “Peak Water” Means Paying More for H2O

Last modified on 2010-06-02 00:17:13 GMT. 0 comments. Top.


Nile River Basin image by Jacques Descloitres, MODIS Land Rapid Response Team, NASA/GSFC (

“We have passed the point of “peak water”–or the end of cheap, easy-to-access water–in several places around the globe, experts say.

“Those places include the Great Plains in the southern and central U.S., California’s Central Valley, northern China, the Nile River Basin in northern Africa, the Jordan River Basin in the Middle East, India, and more.

“The term “peak water” has been sprinkled throughout recent media accounts of droughts and groundwater depletion, but a May 20 article in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science finally provides a clear definition.

“It means that every new sources we tap is going to be farther afield, harder to access, and more expensive. We are at the end of the era of cheap, easy-to-access water,” said study co-author Meena Palaniappan, director of the International Water and Communities Initiative at the Pacific Institute.”

read more: National Geographic

Great Barrier Reef oil disaster fear from stricken ship

Last modified on 2010-04-05 18:55:30 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

The Shen Neng 1 aground off Australia

“A Chinese ship is in danger of breaking up after running aground off north-east Australia, sparking fears of a major oil spill into the Great Barrier Reef.

“The Shen Neng 1, carrying 950 tonnes of oil, ran aground 70km (43 miles) off the east coast of Great Keppel Island.

“Some oil has already leaked and there are fears the coal-carrier may split into parts, causing a greater spillage.”

read more: BBC

Desal study wins WasteWatch prize

Last modified on 2010-04-01 02:13:37 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Peak Water

“Retired water treatment engineer Ken Quick won $1000 for his entry which claimed Sydney’s $1.9 billion desalination plant is money down the drain.

“If you would have spent almost $2 billion on stormwater harvesting and recycling water you would have got a lot more for your money.”

read more: weekly times now

Lords of Water; Finding Our Way Out of the World’s Water Crisis

Last modified on 2010-03-05 18:33:46 GMT. 1 comment. Top.

The WWC knows about big money: It is led by two of the world’s largest private water corporations, Suez Environnement and Veolia Water. Fauchon, president of the Council, is also the president of Groupe des Eaux de Marseille, a company owned jointly by Veolia and a subsidiary of Suez. Critics such as Maude Barlow, director of Canada’s Blue Planet Project and recent appointee as senior advisor on water to the U.N. General Assembly, contend that the Council’s links to private water operators and to AquaFed, the industry lobby group strategically headquartered across from the European Union Parliament in Brussels, compromise its legitimacy.“I call them the Lords of Water,” says Barlow.”

“The next World Water Forum is planned for South Africa in 2012, and it can be expected that that nation’s social movements led by the militant South African Anti-privatization Forum, will be ready for a fight.”

read more: emagazine

Australians Evacuated from Flooded Outback Town

Last modified on 2010-03-05 00:33:42 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

“Ironically, for a town which has been battling drought for years, residents were left hoping the rain would stop.”

read more: ndtv

Is Rain the Only Solution to Australia’s Water Crisis?

Last modified on 2010-03-03 02:59:44 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

“The more time elapses, the more confusing water policy becomes. As the savage inland drought continues, the impact on farming families and food production worsens. The more politicised the management of our most vital resource becomes, the murkier the waters get. We agree on only one fact: we have a water problem, especially with rivers. But how should it be fixed?”

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‘Tuned’ images from Esa’s Smos water mission

Last modified on 2010-03-01 14:54:22 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

“Smos information will result in a better understanding of the hydrological cycle – the description of how water is constantly exchanged between the Earth’s land and ocean surfaces and the atmosphere.”

read more: BBC News

Australian Water Crisis Offers Clues for California

Last modified on 2010-07-25 19:57:10 GMT. 0 comments. Top.


Photo retrieved from: LA Times

“When California water officials look into the future, many of them see Australia: a vast, arid continent that has been suffering through drought for more than a decade. Severe shortages have prompted Australia to implement strict water-saving measures throughout the country. It has required residents to use less water in their homes, caused government to build large-scale desalination plants and led farmers to implement drip irrigation systems.

“Australia, it seems, could offer a model of how to adapt in California, where, despite this weekend’s rains, the state remains in a third year of drought — a drought many water officials expect not only will continue but continue to be exacerbated by a growing population and climate change considerations

“The past is no longer a guide to water management,” said Bradley Udall, director of western water assessment for the University of Colorado at Boulder. “Climate theory models all point us in one direction, and that is a future with less water. We need to think here in the U.S. about how to deal with that now, not later.”

read more: Los Angeles Times

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