Tag Archive for 'water news'

The Problem Is Clear: The Water Is Filthy

Retrieved from: New York Times

“SEVILLE, Calif. — Like most children, the students at Stone Corral Elementary School here rejoice when the bell rings for recess and delight in christening a classroom pet.

“But while growing up in this impoverished agricultural community of numbered roads and lush citrus orchards, young people have learned a harsh life lesson: “No tomes el agua!” — “Don’t drink the water!”

“Seville, with a population of about 300, is one of dozens of predominantly Latino unincorporated communities in the Central Valley plagued for decades by contaminated drinking water. It is the grim result of more than half a century in which chemical fertilizers, animal wastes, pesticides and other substances have infiltrated aquifers, seeping into the groundwater and eventually into the tap. An estimated 20 percent of small public water systems in Tulare County are unable to meet safe nitrate levels, according to a United Nations representative.

“In farmworker communities like Seville, a place of rusty rural mailboxes and backyard roosters where the average yearly income is $14,000, residents like Rebecca Quintana pay double for water: for the tap water they use to shower and wash clothes, and for the five-gallon bottles they must buy weekly for drinking, cooking and brushing their teeth.

“It is a life teeming with worry: about children accidentally sipping contaminated water while cooling off with a garden hose, about not having enough clean water for an elderly parent’s medications, about finding a rock while cleaning the feeding tube of a severely disabled daughter, as Lorie Nieto did. She vowed never to use tap water again.”

Read More: New York Times

Group kicks off campaign to put desal before Santa Cruz voters

Desal measure kickoff drive

Santa Cruz residents sign petitions to put the desal plant up for a vote crowd into India Joze restaurant Sunday. (Dan Coyro/Sentinel Dan Coyro/Sentinel Dan Coyro/Sentinel)

“SANTA CRUZ – Organizers of a ballot measure designed to put a planned desalination plant to a vote are set to begin circulating petitions around the city.

“About 100 people attended a kickoff party Sunday for a drive to place a measure on the November ballot that would require Santa Cruz city leaders to obtain voter approval before the desal plant is built.

“If passed by a majority of city voters, the measure would amend the city’s charter to ensure the city “does not approve, permit or fund a desalination plant without voter approval.” The amendment also would bar the city from incurring debt for the controversial project.

“Rick Longinotti, a desal opponent and member of the initiative’s steering committee, told the crowd assembled at India Joze restaurant that they would need about 5,500 signatures, or about 15 percent of city voters, by May to get on the ballot. Sunday’s event served to sign up petition volunteers.

“The measure, dubbed the Right to Vote on Desalination, does not take a position on whether a desalination plant is a good idea, he said. But he believes voters should be able to decide.”

Read more: Santa Cruz Sentinel

Ford Targets 30 Percent Water Reduction Per Vehicle

PR Newswire: news distribution, targeting and monitoring“Ford enters 2012 with plans to further reduce the amount of water used to make vehicles and continue showing efficiency is not only inherent in its vehicle lineup, but also in its manufacturing practices.

“A new goal calls for Ford to cut the amount of water used to make each vehicle 30 percent globally by 2015, compared with the amount of water used per vehicle in 2009.

“Ford is also developing year-over-year efficiency targets as part of its annual environmental business planning process and has established a cross-functional team spanning several divisions to review water usage more holistically.

“Water remains one of our top environmental priorities and our aggressive reduction target helps ensure continued focus on this critical resource,” said Sue Cischke, group vice president, Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering.

“Ford’s latest water reduction initiatives are designed to build on the success the company has had with its Global Water Management Initiative that launched in 2000. Between 2000 and 2010, Ford reduced its global water use by 62 percent, or 10.5 billion gallons. That’s the equivalent of how much water 105,000 average American residences use annually, based on figures from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“If Ford meets its goal of reducing the amount of water used by 30 percent between 2009 and 2015, the amount of water used to make a vehicle will have dropped from 9.5 cubic meters in 2000 to approximately 3.5 cubic meters in 2015. One cubic meter is equal to 264.2 gallons of water.”

Read more: PR Newswire

The best wastewater treatment plants can’t filter out superbug fragments

The best wastewater treatment plants can't filter out superbug fragments

Retrieved from: MedicalXpress

“The implications are unclear — researchers did not look for whole living , just for dead fragments of their  — but experts are concerned. Superbugs have developed resistance to almost every kind of antibiotic. They are building resistance faster than science can create . Many of them are deadly.

“Timothy LaPara and a team of researchers at the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities, testing water pouring from a modern water treatment facility in Duluth, found genes of  in the discharge. Most American cities do not have facilities as good as Duluth’s, but no one knows for sure how much worse the situation may be at those facilities because it has not been measured.

“This is not a trivial thing to miss,” said Ellen Silbergeld, professor and editor-in-chief of Environmental Research at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Silbergeld said LaPara shows the situation is more troubling than many had thought.

“The best-known superbug is MRSA, , which even has been found in the locker room of a  team but usually picked up in hospitals. It is sometimes defeated by massive doses of multiple , but not always.

“A new superbug, Clostridium difficile, which can cause a fatal colon inflammation, now is on the rise. Two antibiotics work for that bug most — but not all — of the time. A quarter of patients relapse and some will die.”

Read more: MedicalXpress


Marin Municipal Water District to challenge desalination ruling

Marin Municipal Water District

Retrieved from: MMWD

“The Marin Municipal Water District will challenge a judge’s ruling that the district’s desalination project environmental impact report is flawed, which essentially voided the project.

“The water district board voted Wednesday in a closed session to appeal a Marin Superior Court decision that determined the environmental analysis of the proposed San Rafael desalination plant was not prepared in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act.

“The North Coast Rivers Alliance was joined by several other parties in the lawsuit challenging the desalination project.

“In her August opinion, Judge Lynn Duryee said she was concerned the environmental impact report didn’t properly describe the environmental setting near the project nor fully assess its impact on marine species.

“Water district lawyers argued that assessments were done during peak seasons and that a more comprehensive study would be done — as required by state and federal officials — once the project moved forward.

The judge went on to write that the desalination plan is “unnecessary because water conservation costs nothing, has no negative environmental effects and is more effective than the (desalination) project.”

Read More: Marin Independent Journal

Decision Day for City Council (Santa Cruz Desal Project)

“On several occasions members of the Santa Cruz City Council have expressed the sentiment that desalination should be a last resort. Other strategies to make better use of existing resources should be employed first. On Tuesday at 7pm, the Council has the opportunity to put that intention into practice. To do so they will need to put the brakes on desal spending and direct their Water Department to implement alternatives first.

“The Water Department is asking the City Council for more money for the desal project. This time it’s a half million for a consultant to guide the permitting process for the desal project. According to Bill Kocher, head of the Water Department, $12.5 million in City, Soquel Creek Water District and state taxpayer money has already been spent on the desal project. It’s time for the Council to draw the line. Money for the permitting process should wait until a decision has been made whether to approve the project. And that decision will happen after an Environmental Impact Report is complete.

“The second decision Council will make on Tuesday is whether to include three key strategies in the City’s 5-year Urban Water Management Plan. Even people who are committed to the desalination project should have no objection to water exchanges with Soquel Creek District; water-neutral growth policy; and more resources for conservation.

“If the Council approves funds for desal permitting and fails to adopt the three strategies for making better use of our existing water resources, I will be supporting a ballot initiative that will put the decision on the desalination project in the hands of the voters. -Rick Longinotti.”

Read more: Desal Alternatives

Ex-Water Board Director In Court To Answer Charges

Stephen Collins

Retrieved from: KSBW.com

“MONTEREY, Calif. — The former director of the Monterey County Water Resources Agency Board of Directors is in hot water.

“Stephen P. Collins was charged with 33 felony counts and six misdemeanors on suspicion of profiting off water contracts he handed out while serving as the Monterey County water board’s director.

“Collins appeared in court Wednesday for arraignment on the charges against him; but the hearing was continued until Nov. 30 without Collins entering a plea. Prosecutors asked Collins to be held on $10,000 bail, but Collins’ attorney Juliet Peck successfully argued that he is not a flight risk and Judge Timothy Roberts agreed, allowing Collins to go free.

“District Attorney Dean Flippo announced the charges against Collins, 57, at a news conference on Tuesday afternoon.

“The conflict of interest charges against Collins stem from his handling of a desalination project, called the Regional Project.”
Read more: KSBW.com


Bangkok braces for flooding from high tides

Chinatown residents make their way through a flooded street on Wednesday. The water has caused problems for small vehicles and led to traffic congestion.

Retrieved from: CNN

“Bangkok, Thailand (CNN) — Severe flooding in Thailand Friday threatened central areas of Bangkok, a bustling capital barely above sea level and facing inundation at the next high tide predicted at 13 feet.

“Residents who decided to stay in their homes despite government pleas to get out waited anxiously to see if the highest tide, forecast for Saturday afternoon, would overwhelm defenses along the Chao Phraya River and its many canals.

“Bangkok’s outer suburbs are already submerged but the the central city has so far been largely spared the misery Thailand has been suffering for months in the nation’s worst flooding since 1942.

“But now the city must face two converging demons of water.”

Read more: CNN

California Water Commission delays efforts to condemn Delta Land

Bradford Island

Retrieved from: SacBee

“The state’s first effort to condemn land for surveys related to a controversial water diversion project in the Delta did not go smoothly Wednesday.

“Members of the California Water Commission struggled to find a pressing need for such “drastic” action and said they need more information.

“The commission was scheduled to consider 24 requests by the Department of Water Resources to condemn private land – mostly in Sacramento County areas of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

“This was cut to nine at the last minute, however, because officials realized it would be “almost impossible” to consider all 24 at a single meeting, said Allan Davis, a senior land agent at DWR.

“After the first one raised major issues, the commission voted 7-1 to delay all of them to its November meeting.

“It’s hard to know what’s going on here,” commission chairman Anthony Saracino said.
Read more: Sacramento Bee



Emanuel Ends Cheap Water’s Drain on Chicago Budget as Pipes Pop

Retrieved from: thewip.net

“Kenneth Coleman lives 2 1/2 blocks from Lake Michigan, one of the world’s largest, and struggles to understand why his water bill would more than double in the next four years.

“Chicago’s proposed rate increase, the centerpiece of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s push to create jobs while fixing a century-old utility, would end the long tradition of cheap water in the third-largest U.S. city. And it would force Coleman to pay up.

“I don’t like it, but there’s nothing I can do about it,” said Coleman, 49, a radiation therapist. “I see it irritating residents of Chicago, me included.”

“The water-rate increase amounts to an average of $120 per year, Emanuel said. Experts believe many residents have been spoiled.

“Chicago people are not paying for water,” said Robert Glennon, a professor at the University of Arizona law school and author of “Unquenchable: America’s Water Crisis and What to do About It.”

“We have to look at the component of the water bill,” he said. “There is no commodity charge for water; the water is free. People really are paying for the system and all of the infrastructure concerns.”

“Some Chicago residents, like Jolly Campbell, 62, a registered nurse, said she can handle the increase. “He’s doing what he needs to do,” Campbell said of Emanuel.

Glennon said outrage over more expensive water is understandable because many Americans “think of it as air. However, air is inexhaustible, water is not.”

Read more: SF Gate