Retrieved from: Landscape resource
“For the first time, U.S. Geological Survey scientists have mapped long-term average evapotranspiration rates across the continental United States – a crucial tool for water managers and planners because of the huge role evapotranspiration plays in water availability.
“Why are evapotranspiration rates so important to know? It’s because the amount of water available for people and ecosystems is the amount of annual precipitation – that is, snow or rain – minus the amount of annual evapotranspiration. Evapotranspiration itself is the amount of water lost to the atmosphere from the ground surface. Much of this loss is the result of the “transpiration” of water by plants, which is the plant equivalent of breathing. Just as people release water vapor when they breathe, plants do too.
“Since evapotranspiration consumes more than half of the precipitation that happens every year, knowing the evapotranspiration rates in different regions of the country is a solid leap forward in enabling water managers and policy makers to know how much water is available for use in their specific region,” said Bill Werkheiser, associate director for water at the USGS. “Just as importantly,” he added, “this knowledge will help them better plan for the water availability challenges that will occur as our climate changes since transpiration rates vary widely depending on factors such as temperature, humidity, precipitation, soil type, and wind.”
Read more: Water online
Retrieved from: Veoila
The New South Wales Government has confirmed Sydney’s desalination plant will be shutting down at the end of the week, but has rejected suggestions the facility has been a waste of money.
The plant cost $2 billion to build and has completed a two-year proving period, but will lie idle from Sunday.
Finance Minister Greg Pearce says it could be around three years before the facility operates again.
“At the moment of course the dams are full, so it won’t go back on until they drop below 70 per cent, and then the desalination plant operates until they’re up to 80 per cent again,” Mr Pearce said.
Greens MP John Kaye says the desalination plant is a massive white elephant.
“The desalination plant is a terribly expensive way of meeting population growth and completely unnecessary,” Dr Kaye said.
“If it were needed for a drought sometime in the future, then it should be built sometime in the future.
“The Greens estimate that households spent $80 million on running the desalination plant over the last two years. Not only was the desalination plant unnecessary, but the majority of that water has now flowed over the spillway at Warragamba.
Read more: abc
Photo retrieved from: Daily Mail online
“The seven water firms due to impose hosepipe bans are losing almost 300million gallons a day through leaks.
The huge volume disappearing down the drain would be enough to supply the daily needs of 11million people.
Two of the biggest companies involved, Anglian and Southern, are introducing rationing despite the fact they have missed official leak reduction targets.
Consumers will be angry that companies are imposing restrictions backed by a £1,000 fine before they meet their own obligations to save water.
Between them, the seven companies are wasting 286million gallons or 1,299.2million litres of treated water every day, the equivalent to 520 Olympic-size swimming pools.”
Read more: Daily Mail
Retrieved from: Iftf
“Water is California’s most precious resource. Yet in lean years and wet ones, California manages to mismanage this precious resource in spectacular fashion.
“That is the take-home message from a monumental report released last week by the Public Policy Institute of California, titled “Managing California Water.” The 482-page report issues both a clarion call and a road map for lawmakers and water interests to move beyond conflict and toward a new era of “reconciliation.”
“One clear message of the report is the need to modernize and consolidate the various institutions that govern how water is used. On the state level, decisions about water are now bifurcated between the Department of Water Resources and the State Water Resources Control Board.
“Making this department separate from the State Water Project would address the perception (and the reality) that state water contractors have inordinate influence over state water planning. Under the PPIC proposal, the State Water Project would become an independent public benefit corporation, similar to the Independent System Operator, which manages the state’s power transmission.
“The PPIC proposal is a good one. In buying and selling electricity and maintaining its infrastructure, the State Water Project would be more nimble and responsive if it didn’t have to deal with the state’s convoluted contracting procedures. Yet the PPIC is smart not to recommend that the state water contractors take complete control of these water works, as some of them would like to do. Contractors could sit on the board of an independent benefit corporation, but other interests would have a seat at the table, too.
“The PPIC also is on target recommending a stronger role for the Department of Fish and Game. Under its plan, this department would no longer be subservient to the Fish and Game Commission and would have more direct authority over river flows to help fish. The Fish and Game Commission, meanwhile, would go back to its original role – regulating hunting and fishing.”
Read more: Sacbee
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