Photo retrieved from: www.alternet.org
“Peak water is here and unlike peak oil, there is no substitution for water. But like peak oil the low-hanging fruit of our fresh water supply has been picked and what is left requires costly environmental and financial impacts to extract. Peak water is about reaching physical, economic, and environmental limits on meeting human demands for water and the subsequent decline of water availability and use. There is a vast amount of water on the planet but sustainably managed water is becoming scarce.
Today some 18 countries, containing half the world’s people, are overpumping their aquifers. Among these are the big three grain producers—China, India, and the United States—and several other populous countries, including Iran, Pakistan and Mexico.”
Read more: Alternet
Photo retrieved from: www.bloomberg.com
“The driest year on record for Los Angeles and San Francisco is threatening water supplies to the world’s most productive agricultural region and almost doubling borrowing costs on some bonds issued by California water agencies.
Los Angeles, which normally gets almost 15 inches (38 centimeters) of rain a year, got less than 4 inches in 2013, according to the National Weather Service. San Francisco, where 22 inches is typical, got 6. Severe or extreme drought grips 85 percent of California, a federal monitor reported Dec. 24.
The scarcity is depleting California’s reservoirs and jeopardizing the credit of at least 30 water agencies that had been considered safe bets because their debt is backed by user fees rather than general taxes. Concern grew in November when the California Water Resources Department, the state’s largest supplier, said it was filling just 5 percent of orders from local water agencies, the lowest in five years. Less supply means lower sales and revenue.”
Read more: Bloomberg
Protecting rivers and communities from the ravages of large dams tends to involve brainy pursuits: there’s often a heavy focus on policy and political issues, and on designing strategic campaigns to stop destructive river projects and promote better options. While these efforts play a very important role in countering the powerful forces that threaten our rivers, the global river protection movement is also working to change hearts as well as minds. Around the world, groups are using the arts to reach people’s hearts and to promote a vision of water and energy for everyone, and a respect for rivers and the life, livelihoods and traditions tied to them. As one artist told us, “Art is a megaphone to project our side of the story.”
In this issue we hear from a wide range of groups who are using creativity to educate and build community for healthy rivers. This special issue ofWorld Rivers Review includes interviews, art works and essays by artist-activists using art, music, poetry and film to create social change.
To Learn More and Download the December Issue Click Here: International Rivers
“Throughout history, journalism and storytelling have defined civilization. Journalists are the first responders to global crises, the pointers to important trends and the translators between disciplines. Good journalists seek out knowledge, ask thoughtful questions, listen carefully and tell unforgettable stories. The art of the story, well-told, is a powerful force because it compels the resilience and connectedness of humanity.
In China, we have one of the richest, most complicated stories unfolding that the planet has ever seen. The country is the second largest economy after the US, and its economy tripled between 2000 and 2010. China’s GDP is expected to grow by more than 7% each year over the next 10 years.166
Yet our reporting found that the priceless energy beneath Wu Yun’s family grasslands may be trapped. China faces severe constraints to its GDP growth because it may not be able to continue to mine and process its coal at current rates. 167 Mines use copious amounts of water to extract and process coal, and as water supplies dwindle, production will slow.
Just as the account of Wu Yun’s life and choices framed the reporting that introduced the existence of water and energy stresses in Inner Mongolia and China, lives of people offer keen insight into the challenges and opportunities of sustainability, consumption and the dreams that drive them.”
Read More: Circle of Blue
“Do you think they’re about to have sex?”, one of the group whispers. I’m in Transylvania, crouched in the bushes with a bunch of activists in balaclavas, taking turns to speculate why a car has crept to a halt close to where we are hiding out. “No, it must be the cops, you can see the light from the mobile phone”, another one says. Time to move on.
It has been over an hour since the group started trashing equipment owned by the gas exploration company Prospectiuni, playing an edgy game of cat and mouse as we struggle to stay one step ahead of the security teams and police vehicles that are now sweeping the hilltops looking for us.
Another light tears round the bend on the road and the shout goes through the team to hide. I throw myself down, stretched out once again in the cool damp grass of a Transylvanian meadow. It’s going to be a long night.
In recent weeks the sleepy Saxon communities and protected forests of Sibiu county in Transylvania, have become an unlikely front for a new battleground, pitting gas exploration companies, the Romanian government and international investment firms, against a small band of environmental activists from across Romania, who are working side by side with local farmers to resist gas and oil exploration that they claim is taking place illegally on their land.
Read More: Alternet
Environmental (In)Justice in Native America: The Case of the Owens Valley Paiute
Over the past 150-years the expropriation of land and water from aboriginal communities in the Owens Valley have had devastating impacts for both people and the environment. Impacts include but are not limited to; loss of land and water rights, increased air pollution, habitat destruction and water scarcity. These effects have in turn led to erasure of cultural landscapes and caused enduring historical trauma. While non-Indian communities in the region have experienced similar Environmental Justice (EJ) issues, disproportionate exposures for the native community are due in large part to their exclusion from larger EJ discussions and narratives. This lecture will show how community-based projects can promote an EJ framework within tribes through inclusion, indigenous activism and participant media.
The lecture is from 12:30pm – 2pm at GPB 100 on UC Berkeley campus (across from Pat Brown’s). The lecture will begin with the 30-minute conclusion of the documentary film Mulholland’s Dream followed by a 50-minute talk with 10-minutes of Q&A. Following the lecture is the opening reception of Jenna Cavelle’s exhibition at the Bancroft Library titled Water & Culture: Recovering Owens Valley Paiute History. The reception will last from 2-4pm with Cavelle making remarks at 3pm. For more information contact: email@example.com
Cavelle is a published environmental journalist and researcher with a degree in Conservation and Resources from the University of California, Berkeley and is an entering MFA Candidate in Film at the University of Southern California (Spring 2014). Using a Political Ecology approach, her research examines human-environment interactions throughout the Citarum River Basin in West Java, Indonesia. Here, she explores the ecological, cultural, political, and economic factors that underlie water scarcity, degradation, and conflict with an emphasis on how local systems intersect with global forces to produce changes in access among differing groups.
Currently, Cavelle works with members of the Paiute Indian community of Owens Valley, California on a project that combines education, outreach, and technology to restore cultural memory associated with their ancient irrigation systems. These waterworks are currently in danger of being lost in the Owens Valley landscape through weathering and neglect. In addition, knowledge of the waterworks is also fading from American memory through the loss of culturally transmitted traditional knowledge. Through community engagement, her project works with tribal members to document Paiute irrigation networks and their role in shaping Paiute culture using museum exhibits, cartography and documentary film. While this project has real bearing on tribal customs and interests, it also informs larger local and regional communities.
A hundred years ago — Nov. 5, 1913 — 40,000 people gathered in Sylmar to watch the water arrive for the first time via the Los Angeles Aqueduct from the Owens Valley. It took 5,000 workers five years to complete the $23-million project, which was excavated with dynamite, hand shovels and mule power in rocky canyons and searing desert expanses.
We hope you enjoy this preview of what’s coming Monday, when The Times takes a look back at the aqueduct’s controversial history.
What to look forward to? More archival photos, film and front pages, plus modern photography and an aerial video tour at this page, beginning Monday.
Watch the Series: LA Times
Photo retrieved from: www.commondreams.org
“Water radiation levels at Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant more than doubled in the span of one night to levels 14,000 times the maximum level for safe drinking water, owner TEPCO admitted Thursday, setting new records for drainage ditch contamination as toxic spills and heavy rains continue to ravage the crippled facility.
Water samples taken on Wednesday from a drainage ditch near tanks storing contaminated water found beta radiation levels of 140,000 becquerels per liter. This is more than double the 59,000 becquerels measurement taken Tuesday at the exact same location, TEPCO announced in an email statement reported by Bloomberg.
The spike in radiation appears to be widespread. Water samples from another ditch measured at 15,000 becquerels, as compared to 2,200 becquerels in an Oct. 1 sample from the same location.”
Read more: Common Dreams
Photo retrieved from: www.ipsnews.net
“According to the Environmental Atlas of Buenos Aires, the depth of the Puelches aquifer ranges from 40 to 120 metres, and it supplies 9,900 cubic metres of water a day. It is located between the Pampeano aquifer, which is closer to the surface, and the deeper Paraná aquifer, whose water is salty and used primarily by industry.
In the eastern region of the country are the Ituzaingó, Salto and Salto Chico aquifers. And in the province of Neuquén, in the western part of the southern region of Patagonia, groundwater reserves provide water for the oil, gas and mining industries, explained Mario Hernández, a hydrogeologist from the National University of La Plata.
There are also aquifers in the southern province of Santa Cruz. And in the northwest, an arid region with little rainfall, these groundwater deposits are recharged by river water.
In the western provinces of Mendoza and San Juan, water is supplied primarily by underground reserves. As a result, the aquifers here are studied and protected, and subject to regular monitoring, because the local wine industry depends on the water they provide.
“Groundwater resources play a key role in arid and semi-arid regions. If it weren’t for the aquifers, massive engineering works would be needed to supply water for irrigation or residential use,” Tujchneider told Tierramérica.”
Read more: IPS
Radiation readings around tanks holding contaminated water at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have spiked by more than a fifth to their highest levels, Japan’s nuclear regulator said Wednesday, heightening concerns about the cleanup of the worst atomic disaster in almost three decades.
Radiation hot spots have spread to three holding areas for hundreds of hastily built tanks storing water contaminated by being flushed over three reactors that melted down at the Fukushima Daiichi plant in March 2011.
The rising radiation levels and leaks at the plant further inflamed international alarm, one day after the Japanese government said that it would step in with almost $500 million of funding to fix the growing levels of contaminated water at the plant.
Readings just above the ground near a set of tanks at the plant showed radiation as high as 2,200 millisieverts (mSv), Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) said Wednesday. The previous high in areas holding the tanks was the 1,800 mSv recorded Saturday.
READ MORE: Al Jazeera