Peak Water: When the Politics of Water Produce Changes in Access

We at PeakWater.org believe that the unequal distribution of, and the lack of access to uncontaminated, drinkable water is the single greatest crisis facing civilization and the environment.  The degree to which global citizens are uninformed about this highly politicized phenomenon must be addressed.  Thus, unpacking water politics through education and outreach is PeakWater.org’s primary objective.  Contemporary “Peak Water” discourse emphasizes an over-simplified Neo-Malthusian explanation of water scarcity wherein exceeding demand is contrasted with dwindling supply.  We at PeakWater.org understand the concept of “Peak Water” as a multi-causal explanation which considers how political, economic, and ecological systems intersect to produce perceived water crises.

PeakWater.org is a global water news aggregate, an awareness-building collective, a forum for public discourse, and an outreach organization specializing in politically, economically, and ecologically marginalized communities. All media featured on this site is compiled by a concerned team of scientists, professors, students, and global citizens. Here at PeakWater.org we hope to quench your thirst for global water news. We encourage you to share our site with others, and to share all water-related news with us so that we can pass it on. If you are interested in being part of our effort please join our group on Facebook and Twitter or send us an email!

All efforts executed by PeakWater.org board members and their affiliates are done so on a strictly voluntary basis.  No PeakWater.org board member receives a salary or contribution of any kind.  Rather, our effort is made possible through the generosity of the board members featured on this page who selflessly give their time in the name of water literacy and resource equity for all.  PeakWater.org’s 501c3 application is currently under review. In the interim,  all donor inquiries are forwarded to NGOs working in Santa Cruz, Owens Valley, and Indonesia for the purchasing of literacy resources, water filters, wells and the like.

Jenna Cavelle, Founder of PeakWater.org, is an environmental journalist and researcher with a degree in Conservation and Resource Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. Using a Political Ecology approach, Jenna’s 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 and use among differing groups.

Currently, Jenna works as a UC Berkeley Visiting Scholar alongside 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. Jenna is currently an MFA Candidate in Film & Television Production at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. Click here to learn more about her documentary film project, PAYA: The Water Story of the Paiute Indians, which is currently in production: PAYA the Movie.

Jenna is a published web and print journalist and photographer. Her work centers on environmental issues such as Climate Change, Ocean Conservation, Endangered Species, Natural Resources and more. Her portfolio of work can be viewed at www.jennacavelle.com.

Raised along fresh water springs and rivers in the Southeast United States, Jenna currently travels extensively throughout Southeast Asia, the Americas, Europe, and the South Pacific. She lives in Berkeley, California and can be reached by email at jennacavelle@peakwater.org. Jenna speaks English and Indonesian.

Chris MorrowChris Morrow is the Co-Founder of PeakWater.org.  His current research efforts focus on water recycling, waste water treatment, and Chromium 6.  Chris has a degree in Environmental Chemistry from the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he conducted research on behalf of the Microbiology and Environmental Toxicology department.  He is currently a PhD student in Water Resources Engineering at the University of California, Davis. He has worked with the University of Idaho on research oriented toward water and soil remediation from heavy and trace metal contamination in the Coeur d’Alene superfund. Read his presentation for the American Geophysical Union here. In his senior thesis research at UCSC, Chris investigated the subterranean movement of trace metal in California Estuaries. His report, which won him departmental honors can be downloaded here in 2 parts: Trace Metals in CA Groundwater – Part 1, Trace Metals in CA Groundwater – Part 2. In collaboration with the Research Centre for Water Resources Chris conducted an investigation on the sources and fates of chemical contaminants in Upper Citarum River Basin in West Java, Indonesia. The Indonesian Ministry of Public Works is currently using his report to improve water quality in the village of Sukamaju, on the urban fringes of Bandung.

Raised in the San Francisco Bay area, Chris currently lives in Davis where he can be found exploring the natural world on his bicycle. He can be reached at chrismorrow@peakwater.org.

Cécile Mioni, Ph.D., is the Lead Scientist at PeakWater.org. Dr. Mioni is a Marine Biogeochemist with an interest in environmental factors controlling marine microbial communities. Her current research focuses on monitoring distribution of harmful algae and their toxins, and characterizing environmental variables that control toxin production in the San Francisco estuary. She is also interested in the effects of contaminated water on public health and agriculture in the developing world. Currently, Dr. Mioni works as a post-doctoral scholar in the Paytan lab at the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Dr. Mioni grew up in a small town in the southwest of France, famous for its plums and fossilized oysters. Fascinated by aquatic sciences, she conducted her first experiments by attempting to teach “escargots” how to swim. Not deterred by her lack of success, she earned a B.Sc. in Biology and Earth Sciences from the University of Bordeaux, and a Maitrise in Biology of Population and Ecosystems from the European Institute of Marine Studies in Plouzané, France. Upon graduation, she joined the Master of Sciences program in Biological Oceanography and Marine Environment at the University of Pierre and Marie Curie in Paris. She completed her thesis work on iron biogeochemistry at the Institute Universitaire Européen de la Mer. Later she studied iron biogeochemistry as an intern under Professor François Morel at Princeton University. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. She currently lives in Santa Cruz with her German Shepherd, Honey, where she also practices Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at Kaijin MMA. Dr. Mioni can be reached at cmioni@ucsc.edu. Her curriculum vitae can be viewed at www.cecilemioni.com.  She speaks French and English.

Jane Stanley, Ph.D., serves PeakWater.org as an Editorial Consultant.  She is the Associate Director of the College Writing Programs at the University of California, Berkeley.  She teaches writing and teacher-preparation courses, and works with student writers in a range of very satisfying ways.  She is interested in the history of rhetoric and composition, in questions of who gets access to college, and in the ways writing proficiency marks social class in higher education.  Her recent book, The Rhetoric of Remediation: Negotiating Entitlement and Access to Higher Education (UP Press, 2009), pursued those issues with respect to the University of California from its founding in 1869 to the present.

Much earlier in her career, she pursued issues related to environmental law and clean water, contributing to a collected volume on the laws and policies governing aquaculture (Aquaculture, G. Bowden ed., Westview Press, 1982).  Her contributions included an examination of the history and currency of the nation’s first environmental law, the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899, and a study (with K.A. Bowden) of the Coastal Zone Management Act of 1972.  As she winds down her academic career at Berkeley, she plans to return to her home in Santa Cruz County, California, and to renew her relationship with the rivers and harbors and coastal zone of that beautiful place. She can be reached at jstanley@berkeley.edu.

Michael G. Vann, Ph.D., serves as a Historical Consultant for PeakWater.org.  Dr. Vann is a Professor of World History at California Sate University, Sacramento. He lectures on the role of water in human development, including the origins of complex societies, empires, and historical human manipulations of the natural world. Additionally, he offers courses on Southeast Asia and the history of Colonialism and Imperialism. He is published widely on issues related to racism and social injustices in the colonial empires of the 19th and 20th Centuries. His most recent book, The Colonial Good Life: A Commentary on Andre Joyeux’s Vision of French Indochina, published by White Lotus in Bangkok, is a translation and explication of an anthology of colonial cartoons published in 1912 Saigon.

Raised on the water in Honolulu, Hawaii, he currently divides his time between Santa Cruz and the Sacramento Delta region.  Dr. Vann’s curriculum vitae can be viewed at www.csus.edu/hist/faculty/vann. He speaks English, Spanish, French, and Indonesian and can be reached by email at mikevann@csus.edu.

Sam Inglis is a Peak Water columnist, writing on cryospheric processes, and their ramifications on water. Born and bred in the former British Colony of Hong Kong, he is typical of the ‘third-culture’ mentality, caught between a world of quintessential Britishness, and a desire to assimilate with the cultures of home. For the past four years he has been engaged in a BSc in Geography, and an MSc in Climate Change & Risk Management, specialising in glacial lakes and transboundary water resources. A passion for glaciological pursuits has been developing since the tender age of twelve when first faced by the icey Ladakhi behemoth Drang Drung.

Currently, Sam is based in Hong Kong, providing services as a mercenary researcher and photographer. He aspires to ship out to somewhere on the Indian subcontinent or Central Asia to pursue opportunities in disaster management, particularly in mountain environments. Sam can be reached at sam.inglis@gmail.com.

Jose Delara is the Director of Fundraising at PeakWater.org.  Jose served in the United States Navy during which time he worked in Puerto Rico, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Greece, Canada, and the Virgin Islands.   His academic concentration is in Philosophy and Environmental Ethics at the University of California, Berkeley.  As a community activist, Jose volunteers with various organizations that promote education for minorities and high-risk teens.   He is also highly active in the veteran community, working to secure support resources for re-entry veteran students at UC Berkeley.

Currently, Jose works with the PeakWater.org team to conduct research in the Citarum River Basin in West Java Indonesia.  His fundraising efforts for the Citarum River project will provide literacy materials and funding sources for an emerging grassroots coalition in West Java whose objective is to incorporate marginalized groups in the restoration and management of the Citarum River.  He may be reached by email at josedelara@peakwater.org. Jose speaks Spanish and English.

Miles Ten Brinke is a Peak Water columnist writing about the Water-Energy nexus and currently pursuing a Business & Management PhD at the University of Manchester Business School (MBS). His research revolves around the prospects of a transition to sustainability of the global water-energy nexus in light of increasing resource scarcity and climate change adaptation, and will utilise an application of the Multi-level Perspective to several national case studies with analysis implications for present and future policy.

Miles first came to the UK in 2012 to pursue his Energy Policy MSc, funded by the Fulbright-University of Exeter Postgraduate Student Award at the Penryn Campus in Cornwall. Prior to crossing the pond he’d completed a B.S. in Society & Environment with a concentration in Global Environmental Politics at UC Berkeley in 2012 after transferring there and completing his A.A. in Social/Behavioral Science at Mount San Jacinto College. He’s worked in energy for over six years now, first getting his start in everyday energy use efficiency in 2007. Since then he’s explored a number of research and praxis areas including demand management, energy economics (especially of Offshore Wind), the global energy system transition, the history of UK nuclear contention and energy governance (along with many others). He’s pursued this inside and out of the academe, through paid positions, volunteering and activism. Over the summer of 2013 he worked for the UK economic regulator for energy Ofgem as a Policy Analyst while simultaneously completing his MSc dissertation, both directed at the ongoing Integrated Transmission Planning and Regulation Project (which is changing how electricity transmission is regulated for Great Britain).

He currently lives in student-ridden Fallowfield, Manchester where he makes frequent escapes to walk the hills of the Peak District. Having lived in the beautiful but isolated Falmouth, Cornwall and worked the overwhelming bustle of London he’s found a reasonable city-country compromise in Manchester and its surrounds. Dearth of dry sunshine to contend with now, but fair play. At night he may be seen roaming the streets of Manchester with a pack of fellow reprobates (typically fellow MBS PhD candidates) haunting high street pubs and Northern Quarter bars where he’ll enjoy a good real ale. Miles takes particular joy in British humour and banter, especially in taking advantage of British misconceptions about the American lack of irony. Every day is a reminder of the absolutely brilliant twist and turns of life, he never expected to end up where he is now. He can be reached at t.m.tenbrinke@gmail.com

Rick Longinotti serves as a Community Outreach Consultant for PeakWater.org.  He is a Co-Founder of Transition Santa Cruz, www.transitionsc.org, part of the Transition Initiatives movement to build local resilience in the face of economic and environmental stress. When he learned of the city of Santa Cruz’s decision to build a desalination plant, he felt a strong need to assist the community in becoming aware of the impact of desalination in terms of energy, cost, and environment.

Rick is a Humanities graduate of Stanford University.  Currently he works as a Marriage and Family Therapist, and Co-Founder of Nonviolent Communication Santa Cruz www.nvcsantacruz.org, where he teaches skills for engaging in community activism. He works to build community spirit and civic engagement in an era when economic growth is becoming understood as more of a hindrance than a solution to community problems.

Rick currently resides in Santa Cruz, California with his wife Aviva and can be reached via his website at www.findingharmony.org.

Lily Victoria is a News Aggregator for PeakWater.org. She is a Certified Permaculture Designer with training in rainwater and graywater harvesting, sustainable land use design and agricultural practices. As an activist, Lily participates in community politics, environmental coalitions, and translates water literacy materials. She volunteers for Coastal Cleanup, Ocean Revolution, Special Olympics, and the Community Water Coalition.

On behalf of PeakWater.org, Lily attends public policy hearings on water management and desalination where she promotes alternatives to conventional water supply technologies. She also works as a community outreach coordinator specializing in minority groups such as developmentally disabled persons.

Lily currently resides in Irvine, California. Her academic concentration is in History at the University of California, Irvine. Lily can be reached by email at lilyvictoria@peakwater.org. Lily speaks Spanish and English.

Christina Richardson is a News Aggregator for PeakWater.org.  Her academic concentration is in Marine Biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.  She has conducted research on behalf of Marine Biologist, Dr. Bill Henry for Long Marine Lab to determine the livelihood of new albatross colonies on Guadalupe Island in the Pacific Ocean.

She has additional interests in dendrology, fresh water ecology, river preservation, and dam removal.  Christina’s work with PeakWater.org includes development of literacy materials, volunteer recruitment, and content development.

When Christina is not drinking biology, chemistry, and calculus from a fire hose, she can be found diving, sea kayaking, or wading the tide pools just off the Pacific coast. She can be reached via email at cmrichar@ucsc.edu.

Sami Oueida is a News Aggregator for PeakWater.org. He is a double major in Environmental Economics & Policy and Environmental Earth Science with a minor in Energy & Resources at the University of California, Berkeley. His emphasis is in Water & Development with an additional concentration in Engineering Leadership from the Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology. Sami is a research apprentice at London School of Economics in the Department of Geography and Environment, he is a Senior Advisor at Berkeley Consulting, the Treasurer of his fraternity, and active in the Strawberry Creek Restoration project.

Sami is energized by how economics and resource markets intersect. Economics claims that a free market without regulations or inappropriate regulations will lead to the exploitation of a resource until that resource is depleted or it becomes more profitable to exploit a different resource. Unfortunately, one way to exploit a resource cheaply is to not spend money on making sure that bad things don’t happen, which results in irresponsible corporations degrading resources and compromising public health, which in turn hurts profits.  There is no substitute for water, which in Sami’s opinion is the single most important resource to civilization; we need it to survive.  Sami has a deep affinity for the way water tastes and feels. He drinks about 3-4 liters of water a day, enjoys showers and long swims.

Originally from Los Angeles, with Lebanese heritage, currently based in London, Sami resides permanently in Berkeley, CA.  He speaks Arabic, French, and English. He can be reached at samioueida@gmail.com.

Chippie Kislik is the Campus Water Campaign Coordinator at PeakWater.org. Currently, she works with other UC Berkeley campus water organizations such as Take Back the Tap and I Heart Water, to find ways to collaborate in the fight to take back our water resources. She has an academic focus in Conservation and Resource Studies with a concentration in Environmental Education in Water Resources and a minor in Sustainable Design at the University of California, Berkeley.

She initially became interested in water and environmental issues in the first grade, when her teacher informed her that Santa’s home in the North Pole was melting away. Chippie has contributed to environmental stewardship by participating in beach side cleanups, creating her high school’s first recycling program, working as a Co-op Waste Reduction Manager and the Education Coordinator at the Berkeley Student Food Collective.

As part of her academic and professional trajectory, Chippie will travel to Brazil to better understand water conflict issues related to dam opposition by indigenous populations. She was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, and has researched the local watersheds of Marin County, specifically the salmon spawning in the Lagunitas Creek. Her research paper titled “Protection of Coho Salmon in the Lagunitas Creek Watershed” was recently published on OccupyH2O.org, which can be viewed by clicking here.

Chippie lives in a co-op in Berkeley and she loves yoga, bike rides, and to whistle, sing, and eat organic treats. She hopes to inspire others to become environmental stewards in their communities. She can be reached at ekislik@berkeley.edu. Chippie speaks Spanish and English.

As the Creative Director at PeakWater.org, Bob Nybe oversees all aspects of art, design, and photography for web and print media, corporate identity, and collateral materials including the product line. Bob has a degree in Fine Art and Photography from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. His company nybemotion has provided creative services for clients such as AOL, Buena Vista Studios, CBS, Disney, HBO Studios, Interscope, Miramax, MTV, Newline Cinema, Paramount Pictures, Showtime, Sony Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Spelling TV, Turner Cinema, Universal Pictures, VH1, Viacom, New Media, Warner Brothers, Art Center College of Design, and more.

Bob has provided creative services for the International Organization for Migration and the AIDS Institute addressing HIV/AIDS. His most recent efforts with PeakWater.org reflect his belief that creative solutions to environmental problems are central to solving the global water crisis. Bob lives in Los Angeles, California and can be reached at nybe@mac.com and his portfolio can be viewed at www.nybecreative.com.

Christian Ericson is the Art Director at PeakWater.org. He studied Graphic Design at Savannah College of Art and Design and the University of Redlands. He has worked with such acclaimed artists as The Roots, D’Angelo, Common, The Marley Family, Carly Simon, Ben Taylor, Lauryn Hill, Cody Chestnutt, John Mayer, and with entertainment companies such as Arcadia New Media, Sony/BMG Music, Astralwerks Records, Savoy Records, Ropeadope Records, Rebel Soul Music, and Iris Records creating web, album and logo designs, promotional campaigns, branding, and more. His portfolio of work can be viewed at www.brightmoments.org.

As a youth activist Christian started the environmental committee at The Rivers Country Day School, and personally implemented and carried out the first recycling program at his high school. Currently, Christian splits his time between Brooklyn, New York, where he works as a fine artist, and Cape Cod, where he navigates the salty bays, and the Bahamas where he explores the outer islands of Nassua and spends most of his time underwater.  He can be reached by email at info@brightmoments.org.