Tag Archive for 'u.s. water supplies'

13 Things You Probably Don’t Know About the U.S. Water System (But Should)

Photo retrieved from: www.nationalgeographic.com

“Two U.S. cities (Charleston, West Virginia, and Toledo, Ohio) have gone for days with no safe water service. The nation’s largest reservoir is lower than it’s ever been. The nation’s largest state is in the worst drought ever recorded.

Here are some statistics that sum up the condition of the U.S. water system, which in a word are not good.

• The U.S. has 1.2 million miles of water supply mains — 26 miles of water mains for every mile of interstate highway.

• The U.S. water system has become so old that, on average, every mile of water pipe suffers a break every six years.

• U.S. water pipes leak one full day’s water for every seven days. That is, U.S. water utilities lose one out of seven gallons of drinking water they supply before it arrives at a customer.

• Many cities have centuries-long replacement cycles for their water pipes. Los Angeles and Philadelphia both have a 300-year replacement cycle. Washington, D.C. has a 200-year water pipe replacement cycle.

• The water system is often out-of-date in surprising ways. In Sacramento, California’s capital, half the water customers have no water meters, so in the midst of the state’s worst drought in history, they pay a flat fee no matter how much water they use. In New York, the city’s largest apartment complex, Peter Cooper Village/Stuyvesant Town, has 11,232 units — and no water meters.”

Read more: National Geographic


What Is Farm Runoff Doing To The Water? Scientists Wade In

Photo retrieved from: www.npr.org

“America’s hugely productive food system is one of its success stories. The nation will export a projected $139.5 billion in agricultural products this fiscal year alone. It’s an industry that supports “more than 1 million jobs,” according to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

But all that productivity has taken a toll on the environment, especially rivers and lakes: Agriculture is the nation’s leading cause of impaired water quality, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Scientists want to get a better sense of how all that agricultural runoff is affecting water quality. So this summer, three dozen scientists from the EPA and U.S. Geological Survey are wading into some 100 streams, from Ohio to Nebraska. Their mission: Test for hundreds of pesticides and nutrients used in farming, and check for possible effects on what’s living in the streams.

This is the first time scientists have tested for so many chemicals in a whole region’s waters or considered the impact of agricultural runoff on fish, frogs, bugs and algae at this scale. The study is costing the USGS $6 million and the EPA $570,000.”

Read more: NPR


Collecting Rainwater Could Save U.S. Residents $90 Million A Year

Photo retrieved from: www.homelandsecuritynewswire.com

“Simply collecting rainwater could save U.S.residents millions of dollars each year on their water bills and drastically cut down on water consumption.

A new study by the Natural Resources Defense Council examined the potential cost-savings in eight U.S.cities and found that residents could collectively save $90 million or more annually.

With population growth and climate change placing an even greater pressure on existing water supplies, urban rooftop rainwater collection could help mitigate shortages and price spikes in the future. Simple rainwater basins placed on roofs in urban environments could address nearly 80 percent of daily residential water usage for things like washing clothes and flushing toilets.”

Read more: Homeland Security News


The U.S. Wastes 7 Billion Gallons of Drinking Water a Day: Can Innovation Help Solve the Problem?

Retrieved from: www.thinkprogress.org

“Every day leaking pipes lose an estimated seven billion gallons of clean drinking water (over 11,000 swimming pools). That, combined with the $11 billion annual shortfall to replace aging water facilities, makes the U.S. a very water-inefficient country.

By 2020, California estimates it will incur study released by the NRDC found that $105 billion in GDP.

Compounding the problem is that the emissions from the 7,000,000 gallons for water lost from leakage are estimated to contribute 13.5 million kg of CO2e to the atmosphere daily — accelerating climate change and further exacerbating the vicious cycle.”

Read more: AlterNet


Mexico’s Ocean Could Become U.S.’s Drinking Water

Water agencies supplying San Diego, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Tucson are studying whether to build a desalination plant to turn seawater into drinking water at this power plant north of Rosarito beach. Photo retrieved from: www.voiceofsandiego.org

“Just before the toll road stretching south from Tijuana enters Rosarito Beach, it veers inland, away from beautiful blue-water views, swinging wide around an industrial power plant complex, all filled with metal smokestacks and white fuel tanks, a major source of Baja California’s electricity.

There, water suppliers from across the Southwest are studying what would be the first project of its kind: tapping Mexico’s ocean as a source of the United States’ drinking water.

Together with the Mexican government, the agencies supplying San Diego, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix and Tucson are studying whether to build a seawater desalination plant in Mexico capable of producing 50 million gallons of water daily, enough to supply 112,000 homes, as a way of reinforcing water reliability in both countries. Water would either be pumped to the United States or swapped for the rights to some of Mexico’s share of the Colorado River.

The two countries already share the Colorado, the lifeblood of not only the American Southwest but Mexicali, Tecate and Tijuana, too. But the mighty river no longer looks so dependable. Lake Mead, the vital Colorado River reservoir held back by the Hoover Dam outside Las Vegas, recently dropped to its lowest point since being filled in the late 1930s, sapped by drought and growing demand.”

Read more: voiceofsandiego.org