Photo retrieved from: alhann.com
“His boots dusty from walking along the banks of the Rio Grande, Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Michael Connor scanned the water’s edge and watched a flush of ducks pass before listening to a detailed explanation of the recent work that went into revitalizing this stretch of river in central New Mexico.
“The ground remained bare where earth was moved to lower the banks to a more natural state. The dry skeletons of cottonwood trees were place in the river to provide cover for endangered fish. And behind Connor, the thinned forest of cottonwoods and willows showed signs of recovery after a few years of not having to compete with invasive nonnative vegetation.
“The restoration work along Sandia Pueblo’s section of the Rio Grande is just the latest effort by tribal, state and federal water managers as they grapple with persistent drought across the West, the uncertainties of climate change, endangered species concerns and growing demand for a limited resource.”
Read more: SF Gate
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
“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
Learning more about Update 2009
“Update 2009 uses three plausible yet very different future scenarios — Current Trends, Slow & Strategic Growth, and “Expansive Growth — to illustrate future uncertainties to which the water community will need to respond, including the potential effect of long-term climate change on future water demands. Each scenario has different assumptions for how population, development, irrigated farmland, environmental water, or background water conservation may change over time.”
“A short description of the future scenarios is on information about scenarios is in Managing an Uncertain Future pages 14 – 15 of the Highlights booklet. “
Read more: California waterplan highlights
“How is it possible that a place like California, with such a long and painful history of water problems, remains so far behind the curve of smart water management? How is it really possible that things considered basic, fundamental, taken-for-granted in other places are still missing here? And are water managers and users so insular that they really think they’re doing a good job with water?
“That’s a rhetorical question: California is not ahead of the curve in anything “water.” It is dealing with 21st century water problems with 20th century (or is it 19th century) water policy and politics. Some remarkable, innovative efforts are underway, but they remain the exception, not the rule.
“Water Numbers: To date, Sacramento still has meters in only 25 percent of its houses and has no intention to meter everyone in a reasonable time period. And they’ve made ridiculous arguments that it would cost too much to put meters in. The Sacramento City Council has authorized a first phase to put in 1,735 meters for $20 million. Explain, then, how come the City of Ottawa will spend $25 million to install 190,000 smart meters? In the arid San Joaquin Valley, south of Sacramento, more than half of all residents are not metered. Fresno, the region’s largest city, charges single-family households a flat rate, regardless of how much water they use. And what do you know? Fresno’s water rates are among the lowest, and their water use among the highest, of anyone’s in California. Average Fresno residential use is 290 gallons per person per day. The state average is 135. For the same amount of water (22,440 gallons, more than enough for a family of four for a month) City of Fresno customers pay, on average, a monthly water rate of only $28.33, compared with San Francisco’s $89.57 and San Diego’s $95.48 (see the figure below). At least Fresno is beginning to slowly add meters.”
read more: SFgate
“Ethiopia, Haiti and Niger are facing the world’s worst water shortages, but 700 million people in 43 countries are under “water stress,” according to a new report released by the World Bank last month.
“Almost a third of all the bank’s projects in recent history have been water-related, and a total of $54 billion was spent financing them, the report said. Some, of course, have been controversial, since dams, irrigation projects, flood prevention and watershed-management projects often benefit one group at the expense of others. Also, many projects fail, once built, because the host country is not wealthy or sophisticated enough to maintain them.”
read more: New York Times
“The water district has a complicated mission. Formed in 1949, it represents the interests of 16 counties that support it with property taxes. In return, it accepts responsibility for “balancing and improving water quality, flood control, natural systems and water supply.”
“Everglades restoration became an important component in 2000, when the district became the lead agency for the largest environmental restoration effort ever attempted. But with fickle weather and a complicated system of canals, pumps, lakes and artificial marshes, the district struggles with protecting its residents and nature.”
read more: New York Times