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Swim Down Through a Sea of Trash With Dramatic, Eerily Beautiful Photos by Mandy Barker

Swim Down Through a Sea of Trash With Dramatic, Eerily Beautiful Photos by Mandy Barker | The Water Steward | Scoop.it

What would it be like to swim down through the estimated 100 million tons of trash swirling around in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? Mandy Barker's photographs bring viewers probably as close as they'd ever want to come to finding out.

Looking at the images in the U.K.-based artist's "SOUP" series creates the vertiginous feeling of sinking into the ocean, watching colorful -- but deadly -- bits of plastic in all shapes, sizes, and hues rise through the blackness of the deep sea.

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A Government Science Agency Had To Redo Its Graphs Because Ocean Temperatures Went Off the Charts | VICE News

A Government Science Agency Had To Redo Its Graphs Because Ocean Temperatures Went Off the Charts | VICE News | The Water Steward | Scoop.it
The world's oceans are warming as much as 100 times faster than at any time during the past 800,000 years.

The graph's upper bound was raised 25 percent in order to plot the rise in the amount of energy stored in the oceans, an event triggered by increasing amounts of human-generated greenhouse gas emissions.

It's not the first time the agency was forced to revise the size of its graphs. NOAA has amended charts three other times, including once for sea level rise, since they began posting them in 2008.

According to research published by NOAA scientists in 2012, the spike in ocean heat content from 1955 to 2012 was around 24 x 10^22 Joules: That's 2,400,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 Joules. For perspective, if that amount of heat were transferred to the lower six miles of the atmosphere, temperatures would rise about 36 degrees Celsius (65 Fahrenheit).

The importance of the updated NOAA data, however, is less in the fact that the agency had to adjust its charts. Instead, say scientists, the new high temperature illustrates the dramatic warming of the oceans, which is frequently overlooked, with much greater attention being paid to atmospheric temperature increase. 

Oceans can absorb about 1,000 times more heat than the atmosphere. At least 90 percent of extra heat trapped by human-generated greenhouse gases can be found in the world's oceans. 

Bert Guevara's insight:

When scientists first made ocean warming charts, they didn't expect it to be this warm, too soon! Now they have to increase the upper limit.

"It takes a lot more energy to heat water than to heat air," Jennifer Francis a climate scientist at Rutgers University, told VICE News. "The steady upward climb of deep ocean temperature is staggering. And nothing other than increased greenhouse gases caused by burning fossil fuels can explain it."

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UN moves toward major treaty for ocean biodiversity ("time to protect seas beyond close borders")

UN moves toward major treaty for ocean biodiversity ("time to protect seas beyond close borders") | The Water Steward | Scoop.it
UN member states agreed Saturday to begin negotiations on a treaty to protect marine biodiversity in ocean areas extending beyond territorial waters, in a move heralded by environmental organizations.

The eventual UN treaty would be the first to specifically address protection of marine life, calling for the preservation of vast areas threatened by pollution, overfishing and global warming.

But the agreement was reached only after a small group of countries engaged in fishing and ocean mining blocked a more rapid timeline during the discussions between experts from the 193 member countries.

A majority of nations called for quick action but several countries such as the United States, Russia, Canada, Iceland and Japan expressed reluctance.

The treaty represents international zones that make up 64 percent of the world's oceans or a total of 43 percent of Earth's surface.

"This is the biggest biosphere on earth and there is no legal instrument in place to establish national parks at sea to protect marine life," Karen Sack of the Pew Charitable Trusts told AFP.

The treaty would concern "conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction," creating in particular, "marine protected areas" and sharing of benefits derived from the deep sea, such as marine genetic resources, the text said.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Protecting the seas should go beyond immediate country borders. It's now time to care for the high seas, as the wealth of our oceans have to be protected.

"The eventual UN treaty would be the first to specifically address protection of marine life, calling for the preservation of vast areas threatened by pollution, overfishing and global warming."

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We can fix the Gulf dead zone — for $2.7 billion a year ("who foots bill? why not nip it in the bud?")

We can fix the Gulf dead zone — for $2.7 billion a year ("who foots bill? why not nip it in the bud?") | The Water Steward | Scoop.it
It will cost $2.7 billion to stop dumping fertilizer in the Mississippi, where it ends up killing off everything in the Gulf of Mexico. And it's worth it.

Every year, millions of tons of nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizers wash down the Mississippi River and out into the Gulf of Mexico. There, instead of fertilizing corn, they fertilize the growth of algae, which blooms extravagantly and, in turn, creates a massive boom in microorganisms. There are so many aquatic microorganisms reproducing, eating algae and respiring at once, that they literally use up all the oxygen in the water. Anything else that needs to breathe oxygen — all the other marine life — dies.

It’s a tough problem to solve, because there isn’t any one fertilizer spigot that we can turn off. The stuff is washing off thousands of fields, up and down the vast Mississippi watershed. A group of scientists and economists detailed the various options in a paper published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Farmers could plant more cover crops, install bioreactors to filter their drainage, or change their land use.

The experts also came up with a number for how much all with would cost: $2.7 billion a year.

Either farmers or taxpayers are going to have to pay that bill. In Iowa, the fight over who ponies up is coming to a head: The Des Moines Water Works is spending so much money to filter nitrates out of the water that it is going to sue the counties upstream for polluting. The chair of the Water Works told the Des Moines Registerthat he had no choice but to sue:

“This is the only way that we see that we can engage the government, especially the state of Iowa, in a serious discussion about regulating those pollutants that are dumped into our source water.”

Bert Guevara's insight:

This is a problem all over the world where chemical fertilizers are used. Aside from soil desertification, water dead zones are created. Where does the solution begin? Or do we just repair the damage and accept the situation?

"The farmers upstream from Des Moines are feeling a lot of pressure to make changes, but there’s no reason they should be the only ones targeted while others get a free pass. Either way, everyone will probably end up paying for it."

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Water Source for Almonds in California May Run Dry ("what do you do when the wells run dry?")

Water Source for Almonds in California May Run Dry ("what do you do when the wells run dry?") | The Water Steward | Scoop.it
The business of growing almonds has thrived in California despite drought because of a federally controlled project that allowed for Sacramento River water flows, but the law requires that that source nurture salmon as well during scarcity.

California’s almond orchards have been thriving over the past decade and now provide an $11 billion annual boost to the state economy. Covering 860,000 acres, they account for 80 percent of world production. But the growth coincides with another record development here — drought — and the extensive water needs of nut trees are posing a sharp challenge to state water policy.

Farmers in the area where almond production has been most consistent have relied on water from a federally controlled project that draws its supply largely from the Sacramento River. But that source is less reliable because of legal requirements that in a time of scarcity, waterways that nurture California salmon must also get available water flows.

Almonds “have totally changed the game of water in California,” said Antonio Rossmann, a Berkeley lawyer specializing in water issues. “It’s hardened demand in the Central Valley.”

Farmers are planting almonds because, as permanent crops, they do not need to be replanted after every harvest. They have been steadily taking over from cotton and lettuce because they are more lucrative. “That’s the highest and best use of the land,” said Ryan Metzler, 45, who grows almonds near Fresno.

Bert Guevara's insight:

The well-loved almond fruit plantations are in trouble with water sources.

When the wells run dry, what now California?

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Vital Signs: Sea Level ("the increase is now 3.17mm per year or 56.35mm total since 1996; what now?")

Vital Signs: Sea Level ("the increase is now 3.17mm per year or 56.35mm total since 1996; what now?") | The Water Steward | Scoop.it
Vital Signs of the Planet: Global Climate Change and Global Warming. Current news and data streams about global warming and climate change from NASA.

Sea level rise is caused primarily by two factors related to global warming: the added water coming from the melting of land ice and the expansion of sea water as it warms. The first chart tracks the change in sea level since 1993 as observed by satellites.

The second chart, derived from coastal tide gauge data, shows how much sea level changed from about 1870 to 2000.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Rising at 3.17mm per year, the sea level has risen by 56.35mm since 1996. This consistent trend was monitored by NASA satellites, so they are quite accurate.

What will earth citizens do?

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Andres Oppenheimer: Canal calamity looms in Nicaragua ("haste leading to environment disaster?")

Andres Oppenheimer: Canal calamity looms in Nicaragua ("haste leading to environment disaster?") | The Water Steward | Scoop.it
The $50 billion project hasn't had a serious environmental impact study.

Jaime Incer Barquero, a respected former Nicaraguan environment minister and university professor who is nominally an environmental adviser to Ortega, told me in a telephone interview that the Nicaragua canal project is “a foretold disaster.”

“It will lead to the contamination and death of aquatic life in Lake Nicaragua, which is Latin America’s biggest tropical lake,” Incer Barquero said. “It will also mean that the Nicaragua Lake may lose forever its capacity to provide potable water to all of Nicaragua, including the capital.”

The planned transoceanic waterway will require the dredging of an area of about 64 miles across Lake Nicaragua, which will release millions of tons of mud and other sediments. That will pollute the water of the entire lake, depleting oxygen and killing fish and other aquatic species, he said.

Bert Guevara's insight:

A foretold disaster ...

"If Nicaragua’s $50 billion transoceanic canal scheduled to start construction Dec. 22 becomes a reality, it could be the world’s biggest environmental disaster in recent memory.

"A group of 15 international environmental experts ... concluded that the Nicaragua Canal project should not start without a proper environmental impact study, Nicaragua’s Confidencial magazine reported."

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'ON THE BRINK OF COLLAPSE' | 4 governors want Visayan Sea Triangle declared protected area

'ON THE BRINK OF COLLAPSE' | 4 governors want Visayan Sea Triangle declared protected area | The Water Steward | Scoop.it

Four governors in the Visayas are calling on President Benigno Aquino III to declare the Visayan Sea Triangle a protected area.

The call is contained in the resolution to declare and establish as protected area the waters beyond the 15 kilometer waters of the municipalities and cities surrounding the Visayan Sea which was passed during the 6th Visayan Sea Summit at Museo Sang Bata sa Negros Friday.

The resolution was signed by Governors Alfredo Marañon Jr. of Negros Occidental, Arthur Defensor Sr. of Iloilo, Rizalina Seachon-Lanete of Masbate, and Hilario Davide III of Cebu, who was represented by Ricardo Lachica.

"We want to establish the entire Visayan Sea as the biggest marine protected area in the Philippines, ensuring that the biodiversity and marine life will be protected for generations to come," the four governors said.

They added: "We are asking the national government agencies to not only take the lead but to pledge their support by providing personnel, necessary funds and make this as the priority of their respective agencies or departments."

Defensor, who moved for the passage of the resolution, said that it will be forwarded to President Aquino for his approval.

Bert Guevara's insight:

"The resolution stated that despite the vigorous coastal enforcement of efforts of the different LGUs of their 15-kilometer municipal waters, commercial fishing still continues to encroach on fishing grounds constitutionally reserved for small and marginal fisherfolk.

"There is a need to widen the conservation area for the Visayan Sea which in turn will also widen the breeding area of the diverse marine life of the Visayan Sea and by reason of such will provide the marginal and subsistence fisherfolk opportunities to increase their fish catch that will alleviate poverty and improve their quality of life that is consistent to the national policy, the resolution added."

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Nature Is Speaking – Penélope Cruz is Water | Conservation International (CI) - YouTube ("listen!")

Julia Roberts, Harrison Ford, Kevin Spacey, Edward Norton, Penélope Cruz, Robert Redford and Ian Somerhalder all join forces to give nature a voice. Watch th...

Conservation International's new Nature Is Speaking campaign seeks to redefine the conversation about the relationship between people and nature. In a series of short films, celebrities lend their voices to parts of nature, such as the rainforest, ocean, and redwood. All deliver an important message everyone needs to hear: Nature doesn't need people. People need nature.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Listen to water speaking ...

Nature doesn't need people. People need nature.

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Brazil's giant dam programme is a climate disaster ("politics vs science; dam emissions understated")

Brazil's giant dam programme is a climate disaster ("politics vs science; dam emissions understated") | The Water Steward | Scoop.it
Brazil's newly elected Dilma Rousseff is committed to completing the disastrous Belo Monte dam, writes Helle Abelvik-Lawson. Worse, she looks certain to press ahead with the industrialisation of the Amazon, with 61 hydroprojects in the pipeline. And new scientific findings about the massive climate impacts of tropical forest dams are not about to stop her.

There has also been research into the 250MW Balbina dam, which has been branded a 'methane factory'. The research found that downstream (ie non-reservoir) methane emissions account for 3% of all methane released from the central Amazon floodplain, according to a paper published in Geophysical Research Letters.

A study by Philip Fearnside of the National Institute for Amazonian Research found that proportionate to output the hydro dam emits far more greenhouse gases than the most inefficient coal plant.

And yet Brazil continues apace with its programme of dam-building in the tropics - 61 are planned to be built in the next five years - despite significant opposition.

The Belo Monte - a mega operation that will be the third-largest dam when it is fully completed - continues although an appeals court judge that the dam was unconstitutional in a 2012 ruling because of lack of consultation with the public - though this was overturned. Its construction has displaced 20,000 indigenous villagers.

The dam could now also be an imminent threat to the climate. The reservoir has now been filled and the water is at 97 metres above sea level, flooding 250 square miles of the Amazon forest - the world's largest and arguably most precious carbon sink.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Brazil is going in the way of China -- development now and fix the environment later.

"Without the political will in Brazil to fund and implement mitigation strategies immediately, it seems increasingly likely that the continued industrialisation of the Amazon for hydroelectric dam building may become an unexpectedly devastating contributor to climate change."

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Your clothes are polluting the ocean every time you do laundry ("either redesign sewers or textile")

Your clothes are polluting the ocean every time you do laundry ("either redesign sewers or textile") | The Water Steward | Scoop.it
An estimated 1,900 microfibers can get rinsed out of a single piece of synthetic clothing each time it's washed, and these microplastic fibers might be the biggest contributors to ocean pollution.

The source of some of these tiny bits of plastic, the so-called microplastics, is microbeads in personal care products, which are washed down the drain and are too small to be effectively filtered out at wastewater treatment plants, and which probably ought to be banned.

However, one of the sources of this microplastic pollution might be as close as our own laundry room, especially if we own clothing made from synthetic fibers. After studying microplastics from shorelines at 18 sites across the globe, ecologist Mark Browne found that 85% of the synthetic materials accumulating there were microfibers that matched the kinds of materials found in synthetic clothing, which might mean that our wardrobes and washing machines are two of the biggest culprits in ocean pollution.

One of the most telling findings is the estimate (based on experiments which sampled wastewater from domestic washing machines) that a single piece of synthetic clothing can release about 1,900 microfibers each time it's washed. Multiply that figure by the number of pieces of clothing made from synthetic fabrics that get washed every single day, and it adds up to a huge amount of plastic microfibers entering our waterways each year.

That's an alarming amount of plastic pollution, and if, as Browne suggests, "a large proportion of microplastic fibers found in the marine environment may be derived from sewage as a consequence of washing of clothes," then part of the solution needs to come from fiber and apparel companies, through designing better synthetic fabrics that don't shed their fibers as readily. But in searching for support to study the issue further, Browne found that the leaders in the industry, including some of the most progressive clothing companies, such as Patagonia, weren't interested, and his efforts at fundraising have received only one small grant from a clothing brand over the past year.

Bert Guevara's insight:

How do you approach this kind of pollution?

Do you redesign sewer filter?

Do you redirect laundry water from washing synthetic clothes?

Do you ban synthetic textile?

Do you reinvent textile?

Do you invent a new washing detergent?

"That's an alarming amount of plastic pollution, and if, as Browne suggests, "a large proportion of microplastic fibers found in the marine environment may be derived from sewage as a consequence of washing of clothes," then part of the solution needs to come from fiber and apparel companies, through designing better synthetic fabrics that don't shed their fibers as readily."

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7 things you should know about marine pollution | OUPblog ("it's a big mess that we need to control")

7 things you should know about marine pollution | OUPblog ("it's a big mess that we need to control") | The Water Steward | Scoop.it
Marine pollution has long been a topic of concern, but what do you really know about the pollutants affecting the world’s waters? We asked Judith Weis, author of Marine Pollution: What Everyone Needs to Know to delve into the various forms of pollutants, and the many ways they can harm our environment and bodies.

(1)   Marine debris is much more than an aesthetic issue. In the United States, over 100 species of marine mammals, sea turtles, birds, fish, and invertebrates are injured or die after getting entangled in marine debris.

(2)   Some chemical pollutants are gender benders, altering the sexual development of marine animals. 

(3)   Ocean acidification, a side effect of climate change, is affecting marine life by impairing the ability of young shellfish to make their shells, and affects the homing and prey detection behavior of fishes.

(4)   Nutrients are essential for all life, but in excess they become one of the most serious and widespread pollutants.

(5)   Harmful algal blooms, frequently associated with excess nutrients, have become more prevalent in recent years, and have been found along the shores of many continents, as well as in freshwater.

(6)   Water pollution gets worse after a severe rain storm.

(7)   Invasive species, a type of biological pollution, can have a major impact on biological diversity, fisheries, human health, and economics.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Marine pollution has long been a topic of concern, but what do you really know about the pollutants affecting the world’s waters?

"We asked Judith Weis, author of Marine Pollution: What Everyone Needs to Know, to delve into the various forms of pollutants, and the many ways they can harm our environment and bodies."

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How California is turning drainage canals back to rivers - Los Angeles Times ("beyond flood control")

How California is turning drainage canals back to rivers - Los Angeles Times ("beyond flood control") | The Water Steward | Scoop.it
The Santa Ana River, born of snowmelt and natural springs near Big Bear Lake, flows through Southern California as one of the region's most scenic rivers — until it hits Orange County.

After cutting through a deep, lush canyon and flowing through the city of Riverside, the Santa Ana spills into riprap and the county's dreary concrete flood control channel extending 26 miles to the Pacific Ocean.

Under recently approved legislation, long stretches of the flood control channel's banks will have trails, parks and natural areas, and portions of the river itself will be cleared of boulders, low-hanging limbs and other entanglements to open the waterway to kayaking and rafting.

In Southern California, however, the Santa Ana and half a dozen other once beautiful rivers and streams have remained drainage channels. Their purpose is to prevent the flooding that devastated the region in the middle decades of the last century when flash storms in the San Gabriel Mountains sent massive amounts of water into communities unable to handle the deluge. Too much open land had been developed and paved.

Converting the rivers into efficient drainage channels all but ended the flooding, and for more than half a century, government flood control agencies fought any changes that would diminish carrying capacity, even as environmentalists and river advocates began calling for ecological restoration and recreational improvements in the 1980s.

"They are the last open space we have in working-class and park-poor communities for healthy recreational goals such as walking, hiking and biking trails," said D.J. Waldie, an author and expert on the local landscape and culture.

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

Having it both ways -- flood control and bringing nature back to the water ways. It is like turning Pasig (sewer) River into a scenic Pasig River again. These kinds of efforts are what the people yearn for.

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Sao Paulo Running Out of Water Unless Reserve Tapped Now ("more cities running dry even before summer")

Sao Paulo Running Out of Water Unless Reserve Tapped Now ("more cities running dry even before summer") | The Water Steward | Scoop.it
Latin America’s biggest metropolis may run out of water next month. For some of the 20 million residents across Sao Paulo, the nation’s financial hub, taps are already running dry.

Dilma Pena, chief executive officer of the state-run water utility, told the city council yesterday that supplies are only guaranteed until mid-November unless it can tap the last of the water in its Cantareira reservoir. The four-lake complex that supplies half of Sao Paulo has already been drained of 96 percent of its water capacity amid Brazil’s worst drought in eight decades. Regulators have so far refused to allow Cia. de Saneamento Basico do Estado de Sao Paulo, known as Sabesp (SBSP3), to use the rest on concern it’s mismanaging supplies.

Meanwhile, rising temperatures are increasing the need for water. Last week, Sao Paulo recorded heat of 36.7 degrees Celsius, the highest since 1933. At the end of October, rains will become more regular and from November to February they will be in the historical average, according to weather forecaster Climatempo. To help Cantareira recover would take twice the historical average rainfall, according to Climatempo meteorologist Bianca Lobo.

Sabesp, Latin America’s biggest publicly traded water utility, has plunged 26 percent this year, compared with a 2 percent gain in the 20-member Bloomberg World Water Index.


Bert Guevara's insight:

We can no longer maintain the carefree urban lifestyle that most of us grew up in. The promise of a comfortable living in the city is being threatened with dwindling water supply and electricity.

We have to live as if electricity and water are limited everyday, because they really are. This brings in the need for "smart & green" cities.

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Why Dump Treated Wastewater When You Could Make Beer With It? ("won't make a diff when you're drunk")

Why Dump Treated Wastewater When You Could Make Beer With It? ("won't make a diff when you're drunk") | The Water Steward | Scoop.it
An Oregon company has developed a high-tech process for turning sewage into pure drinking water. Now it's asking the state for permission to give its recycled water to a group of home brewers.

Clean Water Services of Hillsboro says it has an advanced treatment process that can turn sewage into drinking water. The company, which runs four wastewater treatment plants in the Portland metro area, wants to show off its "high-purity" system by turning recycled wastewater into beer.

Clean Water Services has asked the state for permission to give its water to a group of home brewers. The Oregon Brew Crew would make small batches of beer to be served at events – not sold at a brewery.

But as of now, the state of Oregon doesn't technically allow anyone to drink wastewater, no matter how pure it is.

The Oregon Health Authority has approved the company's request for the beer project. But the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission will also have to sign off on it before anyone serves a beer made from recycled sewage.

The process includes three different treatment methods: ultra-filtration, which filters the water through very small pores; reverse osmosis, which passes the water through a membrane that blocks chemicals from passing through; and enhanced oxidation, which uses ultra-violet light and an oxidizing chemical to break down contaminants.

Bert Guevara's insight:

With clean water sources dwindling, use of recycled water will invade more homes. Maybe "recycled water" beer will taste better?

"When people think about it enough it makes sense, although the initial knee-jerk reaction might be 'yuck,'" he said. "We want to start having this conversation now before we get into the drought situation that California and Texas and Australia have gotten into, so we can get the rules and safeguards in place that will allow greater use of this resource."

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The 10 Most Important Water Stories in 2014 ("the future of clean water will impact quality of life")

The 10 Most Important Water Stories in 2014 ("the future of clean water will impact quality of life") | The Water Steward | Scoop.it
California's multi-year drought grew dire enough in 2014 to prompt Governor Jerry Brown to declare a drought emergency in January. By the end of the year, California had experienced the driest and hottest 36 months in its 119-year instrumental record...

1. The California Drought Becomes an Emergency

2. Tigris and Euphrates River Dams Influence Islamic State Expansion

3. U.S.-China Climate Agreement Includes Water-Energy Provisions

4. The U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act Turns 40 Amid Mounting Safety Lapses 

5. Evidence of the Link between Climate Change and Extreme Hydrologic Events Grows Stronger

6. America Becomes More Water-Efficient as U.S. Water Use Drops Dramatically

7. China's South-North Water Transport Canal Opens

8. Algal Blooms Foul Water Worldwide

9. Water-Saving Renewable Energy Technologies Become Mainstream

10. Water Shutoffs in Detroit Are Factor in Largest U.S. Municipal Bankruptcy

Bert Guevara's insight:

Care to know what happened to global water supply in 2014? Here is a summary of the Top 10 water events according to Peter H. Gleick, President of Pacific Institute.

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Marco Fuentes's curator insight, January 21, 3:58 PM

añada su visión ...

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Insatiable greed: Poison fishing destroying marine life in River Indus – The Express Tribune

Insatiable greed: Poison fishing destroying marine life in River Indus – The Express Tribune | The Water Steward | Scoop.it
The dead fish are sold as poultr­y feed.

Hundreds of juvenile fish were found dead in the Rice and Nara Canals after fishermen poured poisonous chemicals into the water to maximise their catch. The incident occurred after the closure of the canals for the annual repair and maintenance of the Sukkur Barrage from January 6 to January 20.

Once a year, the seven offshoots of the Sukkur Barrage are closed for maintenance and repairs, due to which the gates at the head of the canals are closed and water is allowed to flow downstream into the river. The water collects in small ponds at various sites of the canals. It is in these ponds where the greedy fishermen pour poisonous chemicals that kill the smaller fish which are then sold as poultry feed.

On Saturday, a large number of dead fish were found in the Rice and Nara canals, which were believed to have died as a result of the poisonous chemicals. The substance is so hazardous that it has allegedly been responsible for the deaths of a number of rare blind Indus dolphins over the past few years. The relevant departments have, however, failed to take action against the perpetrators.

According to locals, the fishermen pour the chemicals into the water late at night and then send their children to collect the dead fish in the morning. The dead fish is either sold to fish farmers to be used as feed or to the poultry industry. The addition of these chemicals not only harms the juvenile fish but also other marine life, such as the fresh water turtles and the Indus dolphin.

Bert Guevara's insight:

This is mass murder!!! - worse than dynamite fishing. In the end, even the water is poisoned. Not only is greed at play here; also apathy. For his part, the Sukkur fisheries department deputy director Ghulam Mustafa Gopang expressed ignorance about the incident. He added, however, that officials of the fisheries department, wildlife department and the World Wildlife Fund had met the Sukkur SSP in this regard, who had assured them of full cooperation. Moreover, teams of officials of the fisheries department had been deployed at various points to discourage the practice, he revealed."

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Infographic – Save Our Waters ("if we don't manage water supply now, clean water will be rare soon")

Infographic – Save Our Waters ("if we don't manage water supply now, clean water will be rare soon") | The Water Steward | Scoop.it
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Bert Guevara's insight:

Water supply and aquatic life are both in danger at the rate man is abusing the planet's water resources.

Check out the infograph and find out why.

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Coral Triangle countries work to protect marine resources ("borderless waters require teamwork")

Coral Triangle countries work to protect marine resources ("borderless waters require teamwork") | The Water Steward | Scoop.it
Coral Triangle countries are helping to avoid a natural and humanitarian toll in the Indo Pacific by conserving ocean habitats that are critical for the fo

The Coral Triangle is a six million kilometer marine area that directly sustains and protects more than 120 million people in coastal communities across Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and Timor Leste.

“As a source of food, income, and protection from severe weather events, the ongoing health of the Coral Triangle’s marine ecosystems is critical,” said  Naoko Ishii, CEO and chairperson of the Global Environment Facility during the recent World Parks Conference held in Sydney, Australia.

“We applaud the leadership of Coral Triangle countries in taking on the responsibility of conserving and managing the region’s marine resources for the benefit of the people that depend on them,” Ishii said.

“Since it came together in 2009 to form the CTI-CFF, the six Coral Triangle countries and partners have collectively demonstrated notable achievements in the sustainable management of critical coastal and marine ecosystems essential to support food security and livelihoods in the Coral Triangle,” said Prof. Ir. R. Sjarief Widjaja, chairman of CTI-CFF Interim Regional Secretariat, hosted by Indonesia.

“We are delighted that the partners remain committed in their support and cooperation to secure the large-scale changes required to halt and reverse the threats facing this precious region.

Bert Guevara's insight:

What is the Coral Triangle, where the Philippines is a part of?

"“These marine protected areas are designed in such a way that they will generate significant income, livelihoods, and food security benefits for our coastal communities, as well as conserve the region’s rich biological diversity,” she said.

"The Initiative reaches out to varied constituencies in the region such as fishers, businesses, local governments, women leaders, and scientists who are pivotal in planning and managing marine and coastal resources effectively."

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Ian Somerhalder is Coral Reef — Nature Is Speaking ("you don't see me, but you need me")

Ian Somerhalder is Coral Reef — Nature Is Speaking ("you don't see me, but you need me") | The Water Steward | Scoop.it
What's scarier than vampires? Oceans without coral. Watch: Ian Somerhalder is Coral Reef http://natureisspeaking.org/coralreef.html #NatureIsSpeaking

 

"You don't see me, but you need me. ... Why are you killine me?"

Bert Guevara's insight:

Listen to the voice of the coral reef.

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Water risks threaten billions in electric sales, farm products ("crops or current - hard choices")

Water risks threaten billions in electric sales, farm products ("crops or current - hard choices") | The Water Steward | Scoop.it
Conflicts between industry and agriculture for limited water supplies has serious consequences for hundreds of millions of people around the world.

Thermoelectric power production accounts for 41 percent of U.S annual water withdrawals. And electric utilities, according to MSCI ESG Research, are 11 times more water intensive than all other industries combined and more than twice as water intensive as the next most-intensive industry, paper manufacturing. Nevertheless, approximately one in every four electric utilities operates in irrigation-intensive and water-stressed U.S. counties. Electric power generators, therefore, face more agro-industrial water risks than any other industry.

Previous analysis from MSCI ESG Research indicated that approximately $21 billion in electricity sales from publicly traded utilities could face water risks, most likely in water-stressed and drought-prone areas where much of the land is used for farming.

For example, in 2010, higher water temperatures forced the Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant on the Tennessee River to reduce generating capacity by between 40 and 60 percent for 45 days. Drought and increased competition can reduce the volume of fresh water flowing through a river. With less water, sunlight increases water temperatures more quickly. In cases such as Browns Ferry, a power plant is forced to cut back on the electricity it generates to avoid overheating. This could mean significant financial losses for the electric utility and more vulnerable energy security across the grid.

If not managed, agro-industrial water conflicts can represent a material risk to farms, businesses, their investors and everyone who depends on their services. Adequate water governance coupled with responsible natural resource management by the private sector is needed to mitigate these risks and to improve energy and food security. Specifically, two things can help support ongoing efforts by energy utilities and farmers: increased public investment in the collection, monitoring and disclosure of water-related information; and increased incentives to drive more collaboration across industry and agriculture to find conflict-mitigating collective solutions.

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

Crops or current? The hard choices are happening everywhere. In Metro manila, whenever La Mesa dam supply goes critical, the choice between household use and agricultural use is faced very often. The criteria is sometimes political!

"The report found that competition for water in stressed areas between power generators and other industrial users and agricultural operations could create stranded assets, reduce overall productivity, create community conflicts and threaten food and water security."

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Era of cheap fish is over, says expert, as industry forced to tackle slavery and overfishing ("greed!")

Era of cheap fish is over, says expert, as industry forced to tackle slavery and overfishing ("greed!") | The Water Steward | Scoop.it
Lack of oversight is allowing fishing companies to flaunt regulations on human trafficking and overfishing, but campaigners say progress is slowly being made....

Around 21 million people are enslaved worldwide, according to the International Labour Organisation, with workers on fishing boats especially vulnerable to abuse.

In a 2011 report, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime found that some 22,000 people from Laos, for example, had been taken against their will into the Southeast Asian fishing industry.

“Perhaps the most disturbing finding … was the severity of the abuse of fishers trafficked for the purpose of forced labour on board fishing vessels,” the report said.

An investigation by The Guardian last year found that “large numbers of men [are] bought and sold like animals and held against their will on fishing boats off Thailand” to supply shrimp to leading supermarkets around the world, including Walmart, Carrefour, Costco, and Tesco.

While progress is being made on stamping out human trafficking, lack of oversight and poor enforcement of existing regulations are key factors contributing to another major problem: overfishing.

“Some of these companies are acting with far too much muscle and are not actually interested in the final outcome, just to incredibly overfish in many parts of the world, particularly in the Pacific,” he said.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Overfishing and the use of slave labor is a very serious issue that needs international action. Fingers are pointing to China in the issue of overfishing. (Am I surprised?)

“If we have more and more fisheries collapsing, the public clamour for some kind of concerted, combined action is going to be pretty strong,” Field said. “We’re an international world where the good guys and the bad guys [are] answerable to public opinion on the world stage.

“The era of cheap fish is over.”

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Why we need to save seagrass

Why we need to save seagrass | The Water Steward | Scoop.it
Seagrass is one of the most important coastal habitats where young ocean-going fish such as Atlantic cod can grow and develop before setting out on the journey of life. But these critically important habitats, revealed in new research, are being damaged the world over and its not just threatening biodiversity but our food security. Some 30,000 […]

Some 30,000 km2 of seagrass (Zostera marina) has disappeared over the past two decades, about 18% of the global area. This is incredibly important. One hectare of seagrassabsorbs 1.2 kilogrammes of nutrients each year, equivalent to the treated effluent of 200 people. It can produce 100,000 litres of oxygen per day, can support 80,000 fish and 100m invertebrates – and absorb ten times as much CO2 as a pristine area of Amazon rainforest.

Providing shallow-water habitats where young ocean-going fish can grow and develop is one of the key ecosystem services that our coastal seas provide, but unfortunately we largely don’t recognise the value of them in supporting the fishery resources of vast ocean basins. We continue to allow the loss of this coastal habitat to occur throughout the world – in spite of regulations in many nations to protect key habitats and biodiversity.

Bert Guevara's insight:

What is the value of seagrass to the environment?


"... One hectare of seagrass absorbs 1.2 kilogrammes of nutrients each year, equivalent to the treated effluent of 200 people. It can produce 100,000 litres of oxygen per day, can support 80,000 fish and 100m invertebrates – and absorb ten times as much CO2 as a pristine area of Amazon rainforest.


"Seagrass meadows are globally important resources that are being threatened by a whole series of issues ranging from climate change and major weather events to boating activity, poor water quality and coastal development. This work clearly illustrates how key habitats in our coastal seas such as seagrass need protecting, not just for biodiversity but for the continued food security provided by our oceans."

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China shipping delivers toxic pollution cocktail-report ("1 ship emits pollution equal to 500k trucks")

China shipping delivers toxic pollution cocktail-report ("1 ship emits pollution equal to 500k trucks") | The Water Steward | Scoop.it
BEIJING (Reuters) - China is waging war on pollution, closing factories and targeting dirty coal-fired power plants, but its ports are pumping out pollution virtually unchecked, according to a report by

Seven of the world's 10 largest ports are in China, with more than a quarter of the planet's maritime cargo passing through China, and the heavily populated coastal cities such as Guangzhou, Shanghai and Shenzhen are among the most polluted.

"With ocean going ships allowed to burn fuel with sulphur levels that are 100 to 3,500 times higher than permitted in on-road diesel, one container ship cruising along the coast of China emits as much diesel pollution as 500,000 new Chinese trucks in a single day," said the NRDC report.

Most ships at Chinese ports use cheap bunker fuel, which is high in sulphur, and port vehicles and equipment are powered by diesel fuel. The combined exhaust from ships and ports contain high levels of diesel particulate matter, oxides of nitrogen and oxides of sulphur, said the NRDC.

"These emissions are known to cause cancer and are associated with a wide range of respiratory and cardiovascular illnesses," said the report.

Bert Guevara's insight:

The ugly cost of progress is daunting to the environment and to the people that the economy is supposed to benefit.

"The thousands of ships that ply China's waterways are delivering a toxic cocktail of pollution, with just one ship capable of emitting the same pollution as half a million trucks each day, the report by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) said."

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These maps of California's water shortage are terrifying ("we don't know how much is left underground")

These maps of California's water shortage are terrifying ("we don't know how much is left underground") | The Water Steward | Scoop.it
Not only that, but the same thing is happening in China, India, and the Middle East—and climate change is making it worse.

The maps come from a new paper in Nature Climate Change by NASA water scientist James Famiglietti. "California's Sacramento and San Joaquin river basins have lost roughly 15 cubic kilometers of total water per year since 2011," he writes. That's "more water than all 38 million Californians use for domestic and municipal supplies annually—over half of which is due to groundwater pumping in the Central Valley."

Famiglietti uses satellite data to measure how much water people are sucking out of the globe's aquifers, and summarized his research in his new paper.

The lesson Famiglietti draws from satellite data is chilling: "Groundwater is being pumped at far greater rates than it can be naturally replenished, so that many of the largest aquifers on most continents are being mined, their precious contents never to be returned."

The Central Valley boasts some of the globe's fastest-depleting aquifers—but by no means the fastest overall. Indeed, it has a rival here in the United States. The below graphic represents depletion rates at some of the globe's largest aquifers, nearly all of which Famiglietti notes, "underlie the world's great agricultural regions and are primarily responsible for their high productivity."

Bert Guevara's insight:

The over-extraction of underground water is happening not only in the US, but also in China and India. The little known fact is that it cannot be replenished easily (approximately 40 years for water to travel through the ground?).

"And the more we pump, the worse things get. As water tables drop, wells have to go deeper into the earth, increasing pumping costs. What's left tends to be high in salts, which inhibit crop yields and can eventually cause soil to lose productivity altogether. ... All of this is taking place in a scenario of rapid climate change and steady population growth—so we can expect steeper droughts and more demand for water."

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Price of keeping river clean rises ("the price to pay increases after years of pollution neglect")

Price of keeping river clean rises ("the price to pay increases after years of pollution neglect") | The Water Steward | Scoop.it
HAVERHILL — The city plans to spend another $5.2 million — or a total of $12.1 million this year — to fix its drains and keep pollution out of the Merrimack River.

The city plans to spend another $5.2 million — or a total of $12.1 million this year — to fix its drains and keep pollution out of the Merrimack River.

In April, City Council approved a request from Mayor James Fiorentini to borrow $6.9 million to repair and upgrade storm water and sewer pipes that have been polluting the river for decades.

 

At Tuesday's council meeting, the mayor will ask for approval to borrow another $5.2 million, for a total of $12.1 million for the project ordered by the federal government. The city plans to borrow the money from the state's low-interest environmental loan fund and pay it back over 20 years. Paperwork on the loan said the city will be making annual payments of $746,116.

Fiorentini said he did not know when the loan would begin impacting residential and business sewer bills, but that it would likely be soon.

Worse, he said the city will have to borrow millions more in the next few years to complete the federally-mandated repairs, beginning with another round of borrowing as soon as next year.

Most of the money is to replace sewer pipes and modernize the sewer and storm water system, but some of it will be used to design and construct improvements at the city's sewage treatment plant on South Porter Street, the mayor said.

The plant is recovering from a recent major malfunction in its treatment tanks that caused foul odors to be spewed across the city for several weeks. The upcoming project involves replacing two centrifuges at the plant that are used for de-watering foul-smelling sludge before it is transported out of the plant for disposal.

Bert Guevara's insight:

As city populations increase, one common result is more waste water output from human activities. The price of keeping the waterways clean increases as population density climbs.

The only way to mitigate this trend is to practice waste water management from the source, but this will require a huge effort from the community. But can we afford not to address the problem?

 

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