Tag Archive for 'water conservation'

Iraq’s Newly Protected Marshes a Huge Conservation Turnaround

Photo retrieved from: www.greenprophet.com

“Once the third largest wetland in the world, according to ENS,  the central marshes of Iraq were systematically drained during Saddam Hussein’s reign and nearly 100 percent of the land was usurped by development projects.

In addition to ruining an incredibly unique ecosystem, the devastation of the historical marshlands took everything and everyone along for the ride: the people, wildlife, culture, tradition, plants.

“They were a vital resource for regional fisheries, reeds, and other natural resources; the home of the indigenous Ma’dan Marsh Arab culture, which is directly linked to ancient Sumeria; and a globally important area for large numbers of migrant and wintering birds, and the native habitat of endemic birds and other valuable wildlife,” writes ENS.

Nature Iraq has worked diligently to save this magical place. One of Green Prophet’s official heroes, the group has overcome a myriad of economic, social and political speed bumps in order to achieve this landmark designation for a region that holds many secrets about a special part of Iraqi history and society.

But it wasn’t easy, and the enormous task took a toll on its founder’s personal life, director of Nature Iraq Azzam Alwash told Green Prophet in an earlier interview.”

Read more: Green Prophet


Where Does Our Water Come From?

“In observance of Earth Day, Patch offers this two-part series on the sources of our local water supply and the conservation efforts that are underway to use each drop wisely.

“Did you know that more than 60 percent of the water used in the Beach Cities and the Palos Verdes Peninsula is imported from faraway places?

“The West Basin Municipal Water District, which serves the South Bay and other nearby communities, gets the majority of its supply from two sources: the State Water Project’s system of reservoirs and aqueducts delivers water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta in Northern California and from runoff of melting snow in the Eastern Sierra Nevada; the Colorado River Aqueduct brings water from the Lake Havasu reservoir on the California-Arizona border.

“The remainder comes from a combination of groundwater and recycled water and other local sources, such as water that was originally imported but remains unused as “conserved water.”"

Read more: Patch

Use less water or you’ll pay: Que. warns

About 18 per cent of Quebec's water supply is wasted annually because of leaks and main breaks.

“The Quebec government is warning municipalities and businesses to reduce their water consumption or risk being penalized.

“According to a Municipal Affairs ministry study which compiled data on water use based on a 2006 Statistics Canada report, Quebec homes and businesses use 35 per cent more water than the Canadian average, and 62 per cent more than their counterparts in Ontario.

“Environment Minister Pierre Arcand called it an abuse of the resource and said part of the problem stems from a misconception about the availability of potable water in the province.

“”In Quebec we’ve always been told that resources were abundant, that there’s no problem with water,” said Arcand. “So I think a lot of people have that in their minds.”

“Arcand added about 18 per cent of the water supply is wasted annually because of leaks and main breaks.”

Read more: CBC

Calif. seeks balance in fixing its water system

Photo retrieved from: deltaboating.com

“As they tackled the question of whether California can find balance between reliable water supplies and a healthy environment, a panel of water experts acknowledged to those attending the California Irrigation Institute conference last week in Sacramento that answers to contentious water problems are not a simple yes or no.

“Instead, they suggested the answers are embedded in a complex web of factors, with any one answer having far-reaching implications for the state’s economy, the environment and how food is grown.

“”What’s emerging in our discussions is that all water used in California and all the ways we use it are interconnected,” said Phil Isenberg, chairman of the Delta Stewardship Council, during opening remarks to the conference. “All decisions touch one another and there’s no way to avoid a conclusion that decisions made in one area trickle out to the rest of the state.”"

Read more: The Daily Democrat

Gray water systems growing slowly in popularity

“Until recently, gray water had the patina of being on the fringe or new age. And it seemed, therefore, dismissible. But that image is changing. As the need to conserve water drives innovation and demand, gray water is finding a place in landscapes and gardens throughout the Bay Area.

“Gray water — some types of household waste water that bypasses the sewage system and is piped outside to the garden — is becoming more of a fixture in landscape and architectural designs, embraced by gardeners, environmentalists and homeowners. The reuse system, says Teresa Eade, an 18-year veteran and senior program manager with Alameda County’s Waste Management, now is a recommended practice in Waste Management’s Bay-Friendly Landscape Guidelines.

“Brent Bucknum, founder of the Oakland ecological engineering firm Hyphae Design Laboratory and the community-based nonprofit the Urban Biofilter, says gray water systems make economical and environmental sense.

“”Gray water is the most affordable, climate-specific solution to water issues in most Mediterranean California ecosystems,” Bucknum says. “It provides a year-round water supply with the smallest footprint, the fewest upfront costs and the least permitting hurdles.”"

Read more: The Mercury News

Calif. water overseer wants to reinforce farm water conservation

Photo retrieved from: circleofblue.org

“A newly appointed Delta water overseer wants to use the state constitution to enforce farm water conservation in California, contending that even small improvements could result in big savings.

“Craig Wilson is California’s first Delta watermaster, a position created by sweeping water reforms lawmakers passed at the end of 2009.

“In his first report to regulators, Wilson will argue Wednesday that farmers who use water inefficiently are violating the constitution’s requirement that its use be “reasonable.”

“His recommendations, if adopted, would mark the first time the doctrine has been applied so broadly.

“”It’s been taboo,” said Peter Gleick, a noted water expert and president of the Pacific Institute, an environmental research organization based in Oakland, Calif. “No one has wanted to step up and say, ‘This is not a reasonable or beneficial use of water.’ ”

“Gleick added: “We don’t have enough water anymore to be able to avoid that conversation.”"

Read more: The Miami Herald

Syria Launches Its First ‘Water-Scarcity Park’

Photo retrieved from: www.greenprophet.com

“Following five years of drought which has driven nearly half a million people away from drought-hit areas and put the country at risk of increasing desertification, Syria has inaugurated a water scarcity park to highlight the need to conserve dwindling water supplies.

Using drip irrigation techniques, the 1,000 square metre ‘water scarcity park’ will harvest rainwater and also use solar power to generate electricity to pump water for irrigation. Drip irrigation is a technique used to conserve water as draws water directly from it sources and takes it the plants through a network of pipes with small holes so that water waste is minimal.

The park which was opened by the country’s Vice-President Dr Najah Al-Attar, is located in Dummar, a suburb of Damascus and is planted with various drought-resistant flora. It is hoped that the park will be used as model for public and private parks and help rationalize the consumption of water and energy.

The water scarcity crisis in Syria has been blamed on a combination of poor water management, lack of rainfall and the over-extraction of water. In the past, Syria was comfortably supported by the Euphrates River in the top half of the country but the diversion of large amounts of water into agriculture and industrial sector means that the supplies are not sufficient to support the population. According to reports in The National, scientists reported that between 2002 and 2008, water availability dropped from 1200 cubic meters to 750 cubic meters per person in Syria.”

Read more: Green Prophet

Brazilian Water Protection a $100 Million Market?

Photo: Aerial view of Atibainha Reservoir, Brazil

“São Paulo state’s Atibainha Reservoir feeds the Cantareira water system, one of Latin America’s biggest. Water utility Sabesp says it helped to plant more than 500,000 trees in surrounding areas to protect water supply.” (Image courtesy Sabesp)

“Across Brazil, efforts are under way to recruit and reward rural residents to safeguard water sources and the forests that normally retain water. Basically, they are paid to protect and plant trees.”

“Water is one of Brazil’s most plentiful resources, with the country holding about 15 percent of Earth’s freshwater. But pollution and potential shortages are jeopardizing the farms and factories that drive the nation’s booming economy. Paying for water protection may be the cheapest way to both guarantee supply and naturally purify water, without extra—and expensive—treatment.”

“Paying for protection also gives farmers a reason to cooperate with conservationists and has the potential to jump-start a broader “environmental services” market that could generate more than $100 million (U.S.) a year to fund conservation projects in Brazilian water basins.”

“The country’s biggest states and the national legislature are considering legislation to regulate such payments, while a dozen pilot programs are already spending tax revenues, environmental fines and water-use fees to encourage conservation.”

This story is part of a special series that explores the global water crisis. For more visit National Geographic

Aromas neighbors battling for ‘blue gold’

“Suzie Petersen rinses her dishes in a tub of water she then uses for flushing the toilet. She recycles the water from brief showers, too. And, she says, she can wash her face in a mere cup of water.

“Since Petersen’s well ran dry five years ago and she had to start trucking in water at a cost of $225 every three or four weeks, the Via Del Sol Road resident has tapped every conservation tip in the book.

“But Petersen said it hasn’t been easy, and sometimes she feels like she’s been on an extended camping trip.

“Every time I turn on the faucet, I think about how many cups are coming out,” Petersen said. “Water is blue gold.”

“Many of her neighbors in an area known as Granite Ridge for the underlying rock are in the same boat. Too late, the residents of the Via Del Sol and Oak Ridge Drive neighborhoods on the high ground between Aromas and Prunedale discovered granite makes a poor reservoir. Those whose wells haven’t dried up are dealing with contamination from arsenic contained in the rock or nitrates from septic systems.

“After years of searching, the 60 families have found a solution. But first they have to persuade the Pajaro Valley Water Management Agency to approve their plan to hook up to the Aromas Water District. The district is within the agency’s boundaries and needs its blessing for the deal.

“It’s turning out to be a hard sell to those in the community who don’t want to see diminishing Pajaro Valley groundwater supplies exported outside the agency’s boundaries.”

read more: Santa Cruz Sentinel

U.S. Urban Residents Cut Water Usage; Utilities are Forced to Raise Prices

Las Vegas, Nevada

“Rising conservation has contributed to revenue volatility,” said Rusty Cobern, budget and finance manager for the Austin Water Utility. “We would have expected a revenue windfall during the [recent] drought. Aggressive conservation pricing model can eliminate windfall opportunities.”

“Water agencies have a disincentive to conservation because if customers cut use, it cuts sales,” Cooley told Circle of Blue.

In essence, water utilities make money selling water. And since selling less water decreases revenue, utilities develop a perverse incentive that welcomes dry periods because people will use more water on their lawns and generate more income for the utility.”

read more: Circle of Blue