Archive for the 'aquifer overdraft' Category

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Santa Cruz desal critics pick apart environmental eval

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“SANTA CRUZ — Desalination skeptics packed a Quaker Meetinghouse on Thursday to hear a critical evaluation of an environmental report for a $129 million facility that would serve 135,000 water ratepayers.

More than 100 people listened as Rick Longinotti, a founder of Santa Cruz Desal Alternatives, questioned a draft environmental impact report’s conclusions about water supply shortages, alternatives and the impact on growth and the environment. He argued the city has made a political decision to allow for water use to grow at UC Santa Cruz and within the city’s limits from 3.2 billion gallons in annual demand now to 3.8 billion by 2030, figures published in the report, rather than hold demand down.

The former electrician turned marriage counselor and anti-desal crusader said the city needs to wean golf courses off drinking water, share excess winter flow with neighboring districts, become more aggressive with conservation measures and better manage the Loch Lomond Reservoir rather than pursue a costly desalting facility. He called again for a formal water-neutral development policy similar to one in place within the city’s desalination partner, the Soquel Creek Water District, which requires developers to directly offset their new use through conservation rather than pay fees that may not all go toward conservation.”

Read more: Santa Cruz Sentinel


NASA images reveal Middle East water woes

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Pictures taken by NASA satellites reveal an alarming loss of freshwater in the Middle East.

Two important rivers are disappearing, and if they vanish millions of people will be affected.

In just seven years, 144 cubic kilometres of water has been lost.

Al Jazeera’s Gerald Tan explains.”

Read more: Aljazeera


Saudi Arabia Stakes a Claim on the Nile

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“Forty years ago, when the farming started, there was a staggering 120 cubic miles (500 cubic kilometers) of water beneath the Saudi desert, enough to fill Lake Erie. But in recent years, up to five cubic miles (20 cubic kilometers) has been pumped to the surface annually for use on the farms. Virtually none of it is replaced by rainwater, because there is no appreciable rain.

Based on extraction rates detailed in a 2004 paper from the University of London, the Saudis were on track to use up at least 400 cubic kilometers of their aquifers by 2008. And so experts estimate that four-fifths of the Saudis’ “fossil” water is now gone. One of the planet’s greatest and oldest freshwater resources, in one of its hottest and most parched places, has been all but emptied in little more than a generation.

Parallel to the groundwater pumping for agriculture, Saudi Arabia has long used desalination of seawater to provide drinking water. But, even for the cash-rich Saudis, at about a dollar per 35 cubic feet (one cubic meter), the energy-intensive process is too expensive to be used for irrigation water.”

Read more: National Geographic

Rainwater structures vital to improve groundwater table

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“National Cadet Corps of 5th battalion took out a rally at Palayamkottai on Saturday to create awareness among the public on establishing rainwater harvesting structure in every house before the monsoon intensifies.

After being flagged off by Mohamed Sathick, Principal of Sathakkathullah Appa College in Palayamkottai, Assistant Professor, Department of Zoology, Zakhir Hussein spoke on the need for creating rainwater harvesting structures in every house to save every drop of rainwater to improve the groundwater table. Around 150 rallyists from SAC and Christhuraja Higher Secondary School, after traversing Government Law College, District Court Complex, Bell Matriculation Higher Secondary School, reached the college premises again.

NCC Officer of SAC Lt. Syed Ali Basha and Sub. Selvaraj and Sub. Mohanan of 5th battalion and NCC Officer of Christhuraja Higher Secondary School Radhakrishnan had made arrangements for the rally.”

Read more: The Hindu


Groundwater Depletion Accelerates Sea-Level Rise

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“Groundwater depletion will soon be as important a factor in contributing to sea-level rise as the melting of glaciers other than those in Greenland and Antarctica, scientists say.

That’s because water pumped out of the ground for irrigation, industrial uses, and even drinking must go somewhere after it’s used—and, whether it runs directly into streams and rivers or evaporates and falls elsewhere as rain, one likely place for it to end up is the ocean.

To find out how much of an effect this has on sea level, a team of Dutch scientists led by hydrologist Yoshihide Wada, a graduate student at Utrecht University, divided the Earth’s land surface into 31-by-31-mile (50-by-50 kilometer) squares on a grid to calculate present and future groundwater usage.

To make the calculation as precise as possible, they used not only current water-use statistics from each country, but also economic growth and development projections. They also took into account the impact of climate change on regional water needs, considering “all the major factors that contribute,” Wada said.

Because aquifers can be refilled, the scientists also used climate, rainfall, and hydrological models to calculate the rate of groundwater recharge for each region. From this, they projected the net rate of groundwater depletion.”

Read more: National Geographic


5 Reasons the ‘Geezer Empire’ of Billionaire Republicans Are Showering Romney With Cash

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“For decades, Simmons has been buying and selling companies, running into government regulators and unions along the way, and more often than not stubbornly overcoming his opponents—through paying campaign donations, lobbying and changing laws. In 1995, he became involved with a project to create a nuclear waste dump in Andrews County in West Texas. Last year, after Texas’ legislature passed a bill to allow 36 states to dump low-level waste, Forbes reported that his stake in the project jumped from $5 billion to $9.6 billion.

Simmons is hoping that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission will allow the site to start accepting high-grade radioactive waste from power plants and the military. In 2006, the company won a state environmental permit, after it spent six years not only changing Texas law to allow it to proceed, but steamrolling state environmental geologists who worried the project would leak into the Ogallala Aquifer, North America’s largest.”
Read more: AlterNet

The Endangered Waters Beneath Our Feet

Fish-shaped Long Island, New York, is underlain by aquifers that are its sole source of drinking water. Retrieved from:

“After all, water from underground meets 20 percent of U.S. water demand for drinking, crop irrigation and everything else. It also provides the base flows that keep many rivers and streams from drying up during the summer months.

So groundwater is crucial to our economies and ecosystems, yet it’s out of sight – and usually out of mind, as well.

Which is why a most-endangered aquifers list might help.

On such a list I would name the Ogallala Aquifer beneath the Great Plains, which supplies 27 percent of the nation’s irrigated farmland and has undergone decades of depletion. I would include California’s Central Valley aquifers, which are greatly over-pumped to grow the nation’s fruits and vegetables.

I would add coastal aquifers in Florida and the Carolinas, which are threatened by the intrusion of seawater.  In some areas, heavy pumping from those aquifers has reversed the hydraulic gradient: instead of groundwater flowing out to sea, ocean water moves in, polluting fresh drinking water with salt.”

Read more: National Geographic


Bill seeks to clarify groundwater oversight

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“A proposed law designed to keep water bills from skyrocketing has passed a state Senate committee, but opponents vow to fight the measure they say is a “political power grab.”

Senate Bill 1386, authored by Sen. Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, would remove barriers to storing groundwater in the Central Basin and would allow for underground water reserves to protect against high rates in dry periods. Area cities and water agencies have been embroiled in legal battles over how and by whom the water should be stored.

The bill unanimously passed the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee last week.

Supporters for Lowenthal’s bill include the cities of Lakewood, South Gate, Norwalk, Paramount and Torrance, along with the Long Beach Board of Water Commissioners, the Southeast Water Coalition and Redondo Beach Chamber of Commerce.

The basin water rights and sales of water basin customers are managed by the Central Basin Municipal Water District.

SB 1386 would clarify state law by establishing that one entity, the Water Replenishment District of Southern California, is responsible for managing groundwater in the region.”

Read more: Press-Telegram

Water crisis in city may take a serious turn soon

A heavy shower Friday morning though broke the hot-spell, the plight of the people facing acute water shortage is unlikely to go away soon.

“The water crisis that has been causing sufferings to the residents of different parts of the Dhaka city is unlikely to end soon.


“Rather lifting of excess groundwater from the aquifer and obstruction to recharge it may even intensify the crisis in the coming days, experts said.

“Excess lifting of groundwater, pollution of natural water bodies, power outage, overpopulation and policy failures are the factors causing water crisis in the capital, they said.

“The areas in which people across the capital are suffering from water crisis now include Mirpur, Kazipara, Shewrapara, Badda-Gulshan, Jurain, Khilgaon, Moghbazar, Bashabo, Mugda, Madartek, Wari, Azimpur, most parts of Old Dhaka, Hazaribag, Mohammadpur, Dhanmondi-Shankar, Kalyanpur.

“Residents claimed that the water supplied by Dhaka Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) was inadequate and in some areas the piped-water was also too much polluted and unfit for consumption.

“”Even, despite boiling it for more than an hour, the bad smell doesn’t go. On the other hand, its colour becomes yellow-reddish. This water can only be used for washing clothes and cleaning the floor,” Aklima Ara, a house-wife at Azimpur Graveyard (old) area in the capital said.

“She said most of the time she is forced to use this dirty water for cooking and drinking.”

Read more: The Financial Express