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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 | Water Stewardship | 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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U.S. Seeks Greater Focus on Ocean Warming ("our survival is equally dependent on ocean health")

U.S. Seeks Greater Focus on Ocean Warming ("our survival is equally dependent on ocean health") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
With concern growing over the impact of ocean warming on marine life, the U.S. plans to raise the issue at the Paris climate talks and call for more research.

The U.S. government has urged the international community to focus more on the impact of climate change on the oceans, amid growing concern over changes affecting corals, shellfish and other marine life.

The U.S. will raise the issue at United Nations climate talks in Paris later this year. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will be asked to devote more research to the issue.

“We are asking the IPCC in their next series of reports to focus more on ocean and cryosphere [ice ecosystem] issues,” David Balton, deputy assistant secretary for oceans and fisheries at the U.S. State Department, said.

“In my judgment, more attention needs to be paid to the climate change effects upon the ocean areas of the world,” Balton said. “We need to keep pushing up until the Paris conference and beyond.

“Ultimately, we need to change the way we live if we’re to keep the planet in the safe zone.”

Around half of all greenhouse gases produced by the burning of fossil fuels and other activities are absorbed by the world’s oceans, which are warming steadily.

This has caused sea levels to rise and the oceans to become around 30 percent more acidic than in pre-industrial times. In acidic water, corals and shellfish struggle to form skeletons and shells.

An Australian-led study released this week, which examined the impact of climate change on 13,000 marine species, found that while some fish may be able to move into cooler areas, others face extinction due to warming waters. Species on the Great Barrier Reef are considered to be at particular risk.

U.S. government scientists have voiced their concern over recent signals that marine life is under pressure. An enormous toxic algal bloom nicknamed the “blob”, stretching from the Gulf of Alaska to the coast of Mexico, has been linked to the deaths of 30 large whales washed up on Alaskan coasts.

Bert Guevara's insight:

An overemphasis on land-based climate issues may distract us from an equally serious climate threat - our oceans. I have personally chosen this as my topic in the next Int'l Coastal Clean-up Summit in Subic next week.

 

"The U.S. government has urged the international community to focus more on the impact of climate change on the oceans, amid growing concern over changes affecting corals, shellfish and other marine life.

"The U.S. will raise the issue at United Nations climate talks in Paris later this year. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will be asked to devote more research to the issue."

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Extreme Arctic sea ice melt forces thousands of walruses ashore in Alaska ("are they staging a rally")

Extreme Arctic sea ice melt forces thousands of walruses ashore in Alaska ("are they staging a rally") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
Survival of walruses threatened as they wash ashore on a remote barrier island just before Obama is due to visit region to draw attention to climate change

The first reported sighting of animals forced to come ashore in the Chukchi Sea was by a photographer on 23 August, and confirmed by villagers in the remote hamlet of Point Lay late on Thursday, the US Fish and Wildlife Service said. 

Such landings, forced by the absence of sea ice on which to rest and feed, put the animals at risk of stampede in the limited space of the barrier island.

The animals are easily spooked by aircraft or onlookers, government scientists warned. Trampling deaths are one of the biggest natural risks.

Sea ice cover in the winter months fell to a new low this year because of climate change and abnormal weather patterns.

Some scientists believe the Arctic could be entirely ice-free in the summer months by the 2030s – with profound effects for local indigenous communities that rely on the ice, as well as wildlife that depend on extreme conditions.

Since 2000, the forced migration of walruses and their young to barrier islands such as Point Lay – known as a “haul out” – has become an increasingly regular occurrence, according to US government scientists.

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

This can't be business as usual. Something is wrong with the habitat of the walruses and they are reacting strangely.

 

"The extreme loss of Arctic sea ice due to climate change is forcing thousands of walruses to crowd ashore on a remote barrier island off Alaska, and threatening their survival."

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3 companies turning modern luxuries into clean water initiatives ("great initiative; good advocacy")

3 companies turning modern luxuries into clean water initiatives ("great initiative; good advocacy") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
Three companies with a focus on clean water initiatives.

The facts about the availability of sanitary water in underdeveloped nations are mind-boggling — and even domestically in the U.S., the numbers are grim. In Africa alone, more than 358 million people are without access to safe, drinkable water; that number jumps to more than 750 million globally.

But a slew of non-profits, individuals and companies are aiming to make an impact on these disheartening statistics, turning the modern luxuries many of us take for granted into clean drinking water for those in need around the world. Below are three such companies that deserve your support.

 

1. Wine To Water

... For each bottle of wine the company sells, it donates clean water to a recipient in need for one calendar year.

A few recent, heartwarming success stories made possible by the organization include this couple's decision to serve Wine To Water at their upcoming wedding reception, this campaign to bring much-needed relief to Nepal in the aftermath of the recent earthquakes and this recent, Wine-To-Water-sponsored service trip to Honduras.

 

2. Three Avocados

Three Avocados, a non-profit coffee company, has similar goals for making a global impact: the organization donates 100% of its profits to clean drinking water and education efforts in Uganda and Nicaragua.

 

3. Do Amore engagement rings

Few things connote luxury like diamonds, and few occasions are as memorable as marriage proposals. Do Amore, a company that sells conflict-free engagement rings and donates a portion of proceeds to provide clean drinking water to those in need, adds another layer of meaning onto this already-cherished occasion.

 

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

Check out these water advocacies through CSR projects (corporate social responsibility). I wish Filipino companies can do the same. Potable water in the Philippines is still a problem in many barangays.

 

"But a slew of non-profits, individuals and companies are aiming to make an impact on these disheartening statistics, turning the modern luxuries many of us take for granted into clean drinking water for those in need around the world. Below are three such companies that deserve your support."

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There Is No Carbon Dioxide ‘Technofix,’ Scientists Warn ("oceans will pay long term for our inaction")

There Is No Carbon Dioxide ‘Technofix,’ Scientists Warn ("oceans will pay long term for our inaction") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
Researchers have demonstrated that even if a geoengineering solution to CO2 emissions could be found, it wouldn’t be enough to save the oceans.

German researchers have demonstrated once again that the best way to limit climate change is to stop burning fossil fuels now.

In a “thought experiment” they tried another option: the future dramatic removal of huge volumes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This would, they concluded, return the atmosphere to the greenhouse gas concentrations that existed for most of human history — but it wouldn’t save the oceans.

That is, the oceans would stay warmer, and more acidic, for thousands of years, and the consequences for marine life could be catastrophic.

They calculated that it might plausibly be possible to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere at the rate of 90 billion tons a year. This is twice what is spilled into the air from factory chimneys and motor exhausts right now.

The scientists hypothesized a world that went on burning fossil fuels at an accelerating rate — and then adopted an as-yet-unproven high technology carbon dioxide removal technique.

“Interestingly, it turns out that after ‘business as usual’ until 2150, even taking such enormous amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere wouldn’t help the deep ocean that much — after the acidified water has been transported by large-scale ocean circulation to great depths, it is out of reach for many centuries, no matter how much CO2 is removed from the atmosphere,” said a co-author, Ken Caldeira, who is normally based at the Carnegie Institution in the U.S.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Some thought provoking conclusions about our oceans ....

 

"But while change happens in the atmosphere over tens of years, change in the ocean surface takes centuries, and in the deep oceans, millennia. So even if atmospheric temperatures were restored to pre-Industrial Revolution levels, the oceans would continue to experience climatic catastrophe.

“In the deep ocean, the chemical echo of this century’s CO2 pollution will reverberate for thousands of years. If we do not implement emissions reductions measures in line with the 2°C target in time, we will not be able to preserve ocean life as we know it.”

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Dirty Water Blamed for Sick Rowers at Brazil Olympic Trial ("dirty water is harmful to health")

Dirty Water Blamed for Sick Rowers at Brazil Olympic Trial ("dirty water is harmful to health") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
Thirteen rowers on the 40-member U.S. team came down with stomach illness at the World Junior Rowing Championships in Brazil. Trainers blame the water

Thirteen rowers on the 40-member U.S. team came down with stomach illness at the World Junior Rowing Championships in Brazil -- a trial run for next summer's Olympics -- and the team doctor said she suspected it was due to pollution in the lake where the competition took place.

The event took place amid rising concerns about the water quality at venues for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, now less than a year away.

The Americans were by far the hardest hit at the regatta that concluded over the weekend, with reports of vomiting and diarrhea. Other teams in the competition reported some illnesses, according to World Rowing, the sport's governing body, but those were about as expected at an event that featured more than 500 young rowers.

Francia said the U.S. team had taken precautions about competing in the polluted lake beneath Rio's picturesque Christ the Redeemer statue, "but maybe we were not as strict in enforcing them as we should have been from the beginning."

"As soon as kids started going down, we were bleaching oar handles, we were immediately washing hands after coming off the water," she said. "Other countries didn't allow water bottles at all. Other countries had water bottles in zip-locked bags."


Bert Guevara's insight:

The Olympics is not immune from water pollution. This early, incidents like these are revealing the obvious.


"The Americans' experience is almost certain to raise more concerns for the Olympics. About 10,500 athletes will attend the Summer Games, and 1,400 will participate in rowing, sailing, triathlon, canoeing and distance swimming in the waters around Rio."

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NASA: Pause Exists And Is Due To Ocean Heat Storage ("a temporary relief that has long-term impacts")

NASA: Pause Exists And Is Due To Ocean Heat Storage ("a temporary relief that has long-term impacts") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

A new NASA study of ocean temperature measurements shows in recent years extra heat from greenhouse gases has been trapped in the waters of the Pacific and Indian oceans. Researchers say this shifting pattern of ocean heat accounts for the slowdown in the global surface temperature trend observed during the past decade.

Researchers Veronica Nieves, Josh Willis and Bill Patzert of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, California, found a specific layer of the Indian and Pacific oceans between 300 and 1,000 feet (100 and 300 meters) below the surface has been accumulating more heat than previously recognized. They also found the movement of warm water has affected surface temperatures. The result was published Thursday in the journal Science.

During the 20th century, as greenhouse gas concentrations increased and trapped more heat energy on Earth, global surface temperatures also increased. However, in the 21st century, this pattern seemed to change temporarily.

The Pacific Ocean is the primary source of the subsurface warm water found in the study, though some of that water now has been pushed to the Indian Ocean. Since 2003, unusually strong trade winds and other climatic features have been piling up warm water in the upper 1,000 feet of the western Pacific, pinning it against Asia and Australia.

"The western Pacific got so warm that some of the warm water is leaking into the Indian Ocean through the Indonesian archipelago," said Nieves, the lead author of the study.

Bert Guevara's insight:

What will the effect on the surface be if the ocean gets warmer through the years? Read this very new report and find out.

 

"Now a new analysis by three ocean scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory not only confirms that the extra heat has been going into the ocean, but it shows where. According to research by Veronica Nieves, Josh Willis, and Bill Patzert, the waters of the Western Pacific and the Indian Ocean warmed significantly from 2003 to 2012. But the warming did not occur at the surface; it showed up below 10 meters (32 feet) in depth, and mostly between 100 to 300 meters (300 to 1,000 feet) below the sea surface. They published their results on July 9, 2015, in the journal Science."

“Overall, the ocean is still absorbing extra heat,” said Willis, an oceanographer at JPL. “But the top couple of layers of the ocean exchange heat easily and can keep it away from the surface for ten years or so because of natural cycles. In the long run, the planet is still warming.”

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Bert Guevara's curator insight, July 28, 12:15 AM

What will the effect on the surface be if the ocean gets warmer through the years? Read this very new report and find out.


"Now a new analysis by three ocean scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory not only confirms that the extra heat has been going into the ocean, but it shows where. According to research by Veronica Nieves, Josh Willis, and Bill Patzert, the waters of the Western Pacific and the Indian Ocean warmed significantly from 2003 to 2012. But the warming did not occur at the surface; it showed up below 10 meters (32 feet) in depth, and mostly between 100 to 300 meters (300 to 1,000 feet) below the sea surface. They published their results on July 9, 2015, in the journal Science."

“Overall, the ocean is still absorbing extra heat,” said Willis, an oceanographer at JPL. “But the top couple of layers of the ocean exchange heat easily and can keep it away from the surface for ten years or so because of natural cycles. In the long run, the planet is still warming.”

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Church joins lobby to protect Verde Island Passage ("marine biodiversity center needs protction")

Church joins lobby to protect Verde Island Passage ("marine biodiversity center needs protction") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

An alliance of church people and environmentalists urged President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday to establish a vast conservation area in the “center of the center” of the world’s marine biodiversity .

The Coalition for the Preservation of the Verde Island Passage proposes the creation of protected areas “to secure the safety of this paradise.”

It said the declaration will protect the sea waters and towns facing the straight which occupies more than 1.14 million hectares between the provinces of Batangas, Oriental and Occidental Mindoro, Marinduque, and Romblon.

The appeal was made amid plans for a gold mining operation and a coal-fired power plant in Lobo, Batangas.

Lipa Archbishop Ramon Arguelles said the projects would bring more damage than benefits to the people.

“We want not just a moratorium but a total ban on mining and coal-fired power plant projects in the whole province,” he said in a press conference at a hotel in Quezon City.

He said the campaign has nothing to do with local politics “but for the survival of our race.”

The group asked the government for the revocation and cancellation of all approved mineral production sharing agreements granted in Lobo for mining and eventually, ceasing the issuance of environmental compliance certificates to similar entities.

It also called on the tourism department to declare the Verde Island Passage and the coastal areas of Lobo as tourism zones.

“They have to think [about] the welfare of the people,” said Arguelles. “They want progress, but actually it’s just for some interests and not for the common good.”

Bert Guevara's insight:

The Verde Island area will be better off as a protected area and earn from eco-tourism projects.

 

“We are mobilizing a massive force that will stand up against the raping of the environment because the Verde Island Passage has impact on the global ecology,” he added.

"Lobo officials on Monday have all but killed off the plan for the Php 640 million gold mining project in the face of overwhelming popular opposition and fears about the province’s environment.

"Aside from gold mining, the coalition is also opposing the plan to put up a 600-megawatt coal-fired power plant project in Lobo."

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Business Groups Are Suing The EPA Over Its New Drinking Water Protections ("battle for water access!")

Business Groups Are Suing The EPA Over Its New Drinking Water Protections ("battle for water access!") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
The lawsuit claims businesses will "suffer real economic harm" from the new anti-pollution rule.

Multiple business groups have filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers in an attempt to strike down the federal government’s new water protection rule.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Federation of Independent Businesses, and three other groups sued the agencies Friday over the Waters of the United States rule, which protects two million miles of streams and 20 million acres of wetlands that hadn’t before been regulated under the Clean Water Act. The groups alleged that the rule, which was finalized in May, “disrupts the careful balance” between states’ ability to use and develop water and the federal government’s ability to regulate it.

The EPA and some environmental groups dispute that claim. According to the EPA, the rule protects bodies of water that serve as a drinking source for one out of every three Americans. Groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council have praised the rule, though others like the Waterkeeper Alliance and the Center for Biological Diversity remain concerned that the rule doesn’t go far enough environmentally.

Some business groups have also come out in support of the rule. In May, New Belgium Brewing Company testified in front of Congress, noting that clean water is crucial to beer-making.

“Our brewery and our communities depend on clean water,” said Andrew Lemley, a government affairs representative for the company. “Beer is, after all, over 90 percent water and if something happens to our source water the negative affect on our business is almost unthinkable.”

Bert Guevara's insight:

The battle for water access begins! This is just a preview of similar things to come as water sustainability issues become mainstream.

 

"According to a 2014 American Sustainable Business Council poll, 80 percent of small business owners approved of the protections proposed in the Waters of the U.S. rule, and 71 percent thought that protecting water was “necessary to ensure economic growth.”

"With their lawsuit, the large business groups join coal company Murray Energy and twelve other organizations, including the American Farm Bureau Association, in legally opposing the rule. They also join 22 states that have filed lawsuits, including North Dakota, Alaska, Arizona, West Virginia, and Colorado."

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Scientists predict huge sea level rise even if we limit climate change ("adaptation-only scenario")

Scientists predict huge sea level rise even if we limit climate change ("adaptation-only scenario") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
Climate Central: Study of past sea level changes shows coastal communities may face rises of at least six metres even if we limit global warming to 2C

“Even if we meet that 2C target, in the past with those types of temperatures, we may be committing ourselves to this level of sea level rise in the long term,”Andrea Dutton, a geochemist at the University of Florida and one of the study’s co-authors, said. “The decisions we make now about where we want to be in 2100 commit us on a pathway where we can’t go back. Once these ice sheets start to melt, the changes become irreversible.”

The study examined past changes and laid out a framework for using them to refine our understanding of what the future holds for coastal communities. According to separate research by Climate Central, a 20-ft sea level rise wouldreshape the US coast, causing Louisiana to lose its boot and transforming the Bay Area into the Bays Areas by forming a second inland bay. It would also threaten the world’s coastal nations and megacities.

Sea levels have already risen about eight inches (200mm) compared to pre-industrial times. That rise has helped boost the surge and flooding damage from storms such as Sandy andTyphoon Haiyan, and dramatically increased the occurrence of everyday flooding during high tide in cities from Baltimore to Honolulu.

But sea level rise isn’t going to just turn off after 2100 and according to climate scientists, current greenhouse gases are baking much more than three feet of sea level rise into the system. The world’s oceans, ice sheets and climate are constantly performing an intricate dance. The current rate of warming could have them dancing a different routine forcing ice sheets to accommodate by melting, and sea levels in turn to rise.

Bert Guevara's insight:

There is little time to do so much! Without sounding like an alarmist, there are realities which are really troubling for our children. The older generation can't just wait and watch.


"The most recent projections from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) indicate that if emissions continue on their current trend, sea levels could continue to rise another 39 in by the end of this century."

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DocAten's curator insight, July 13, 5:15 AM

Etude de l université de Floride. 

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Hit by drought and seawater, Bangkok tap water may run out in a month - Yahoo News

Hit by drought and seawater, Bangkok tap water may run out in a month - Yahoo News | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
By Alisa Tang BANGKOK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Bangkok's tap water supply may run out in a month, as the country waits for long overdue rains to replenish sources depleted by drought and threatened by seawater creep, the chief of the...

Thailand is suffering its worst drought in more than a decade. In an effort to maintain water levels in the dams that supply water for agriculture in the provinces as well as taps in the capital Bangkok, the government has asked farmers to refrain from planting rice since last October.

Despite these measures, water levels are critically low in the three key reservoirs that flow into the Chao Phraya River, one of the two main sources of Bangkok's tap water.

Normally, the flow of water from the rains and dams keeps saltwater from the Gulf of Thailand at bay. But during droughts, the saltwater creeps upstream, turning the Chao Phraya brackish.

The seawater can kill crops and threatens the pumping station that siphons off water from the river, about 100 km (60 miles) from the gulf. The waterworks authority produces 5.2 million cubic meters of tap water per day for 2.2 million residential, business and industrial customers, but is not equipped to treat saltwater.

"Some days the saltwater increases, we don't intake the water from the Chao Phraya River. We stop and use the water from the Metropolitan Waterworks Authority stocks of water in canals. We can stop intake for 3 hours," Thanasak said.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Drought and heat waves in so many places! Can you picture a climate that is twice as hot and so much less water?

The present situation in Thailand is a case in point.


"Right now, there is only enough water in the dams to distribute for about 30 more days – if it doesn't rain,"

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LOOK: ‘Scubasureros’ dive for garbage in waters of Hundred Islands ("we need more of them + enforcers")

LOOK: ‘Scubasureros’ dive for garbage in waters of Hundred Islands ("we need more of them + enforcers") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
Not all scuba divers at the Hundred Islands National Park in Alaminos City in Pangasinan were diving for pleasure last weekend—some of them were diving for garbage. The divers, dubbed "Scubasureros," are part of cleanup efforts in the tourist attraction, GMA Dagupan's Jette Arcellana reported Monday.

"Kung ikaw ay regular swimmer lang, parang hindi mo siya mapapansin, parang pag gumamit ka talaga ng gauge natin, yung snorkeling gauge natin, makikita mo talaga yung mga ganitong basura," said city tourism officer Solomon Tablang.
It was the first time the scubasureros dived in Hundred Islands since the management of the park was turned over to the local government in 2005.
During last weekend's dives, the scubasureros collected some 10 bags of trash from each of the eight islands they cleaned up.
Most of the trash they collected included plastic items, which can be potentially deadly to dolphins.
"[A]lam niyo kasi ang plastic, hindi nagde-decay yan, and then yung plastic pag nasa tubig it looks like a jellyfish, kaya ito kinakain ng mga dolphin. At yung dolphin naman, ito ang ikinamamatay nito," said city environment officer Narciso Aragon.
The cleanup was a joint effort of the local government unit, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the City Environment Office, the Coast Guard, the Philippine National Police, and local boat operators.

Bert Guevara's insight:

More tourists = more tourists = more garbage! 

Cleaning up is the heroic thing to do. But have they caught any tourist violators? Why apply "kids gloves" on the irresponsible tourist?

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80% of India's surface water may be polluted, report by international body says - Economic Times

80% of India's surface water may be polluted, report by international body says - Economic Times | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
Even as India is making headlines with its rising air pollution levels, the water in the country may not be any better.

The report, based on latest data from the ministry of urban development (2013), census 2011 and Central Pollution Control Board, estimates that 75-80% of water pollution by volume is from domestic sewerage, while untreated sewerage flowing into water bodies including rivers have almost doubled in recent years. 

This in turn is leading to increasing burden of vector borne diseases, cholera, dysentery, jaundice and diarrhea etc. Water pollution is found to be a major cause for poor nutritional standards and development in children also. 
Between 1991 and 2008, the latest period for which data is available, flow of untreated sewerage has doubled from around 12,000 million litres per day to 24,000 million litres per day in Class I and II towns. 

Experts say there are glaring gaps not just in treatment of sewerage water but also in case of water treatment itself, used in supply of drinking water as well as for kitchen use etc. 
"Though there are standards, the enforcement is very low. Even the amount of water, which is treated, is also not treated completely or as per standards. And there is no civic agency accountable or punishable for that because we do not have stringent laws," says Puneet Srivastava, manager policy- Urban WASH & Climate Change at WaterAid India. 

Bert Guevara's insight:

When the air and water of a country are both polluted, what kind of citizens will they have in the next decade? Where will the poor citizens go?

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Depletion of world’s groundwater raises alarms | Toronto Star ("what we don't see will just run out soon")

Depletion of world’s groundwater raises alarms | Toronto Star ("what we don't see will just run out soon") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
Studies using data gathered from space by NASA have found 13 of the earth’s largest aquifers are being depleted with little or no recharge. The findings have sparked warnings of potentially serious environmental and political consequences.

Underground water supplies are being depleted faster than they can be restored, and more data is needed to determine exactly how much groundwater remains globally, two new studies suggest.

Researchers led by the University of California-Irvine observed 37 of the world’s largest aquifers between 2003 and 2013, and found that 13 were being depleted with little or no recharge to offset water use.

Of this, eight were said to be “overstressed,” showing hardly any natural recharge, while another five were “extremely” or “highly” stressed.

The researchers found that climate change and population growth were making the problem worse. Water depletion, they said, may have negative consequences on sociopolitical situations around the world.

“Given how quickly we are consuming the world’s groundwater reserves, we need a coordinated global effort to determine how much is left,” Famiglietti said.

Groundwater is water that is found in soil or rock layers below the Earth’s surface, as opposed to surface water sources like lakes and rivers. Groundwater basins, known as aquifers, are found around the world.

“The water that we have in those aquifers represents over 95 per cent of the planet’s fresh, available water resources,” said Ken Howard, president of the International Association of Hydrogeologists and a hydrogeology professor at University of Toronto Scarborough.

Bert Guevara's insight:

The problem is happening in the unseen places underneath us. The fact that most of us are "blind" to aquifer behavior, then almost nobody is paying much attention to it. But wait till it runs out; then we scratch our heads.

 

“Without having good information on how these reserves are changing with time, how the water quality is changing with time, that is the sticking point when it comes to properly managing and protecting a resource,” he said.

“It’s out of public sight, and therefore it’s out of political mind. Basically, it’s a hidden resource. Nobody pays any attention to it because for the most part, you can’t see it.”

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How a Town in California Is Trying to Survive Without Water ("last minute solutions may be too late")

How a Town in California Is Trying to Survive Without Water ("last minute solutions may be too late") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
“This is very much a square peg, round hole kind of disaster"

Many homes in Tulare County, unlike other drought-afflicted areas, are not connected to a water system; they rely on private wells supplied by groundwater. And for the past 18 months, these wells have been drying up.

Over the past year, Office of Emergency Services (OES), a county agency responsible with responding to large-scale disasters, implemented a bottled drinking water program, a mobile shower unit and a 2,500-gallon potable water tanks that are placed outside a home and connected directly to each home’s plumbing system.

Despite the county’s efforts, it can take up to six months for a family to receive emergency assistance. Tired of waiting, many families are moving to neighboring towns and out-of-state.

“This is very much a square peg, round hole kind of disaster that doesn’t conform to any plans, any rules, any preconceived format of how disasters work,” said Andrew Lockman, manager of OES.

During a visit to the Central Valley in 2014, President Obama outlined a $160 million in federal assistance aimed for ranchers struggling to feed their livestock and food banks for the communities most affected by the drought.

In July, California dropped more than 31 percent of its usage, surpassing the 25 percent mandatory restriction imposed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Despite the attention and cutback of water usage, the proposed long-term solution of connecting East Porterville to a water system could take 5 to 10 years. Many residents, local leaders and officials fear that the community will be little more than dust by the time a solution is implemented.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Learn from the lessons of history. This is a warning to the world that water will not always be there. Let us all think ahead and use water wisely.


"Despite the attention and cutback of water usage, the proposed long-term solution of connecting East Porterville to a water system could take 5 to 10 years. Many residents, local leaders and officials fear that the community will be little more than dust by the time a solution is implemented."

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COP21: Coral reefs doomed even if climate conference is 'wildly successful' - The Economic Times

COP21: Coral reefs doomed even if climate conference is 'wildly successful' - The Economic Times | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
Peter F Sale warned that coral reefs will not be found anywhere on Earth by the middle of the century, even if December's COP21 in Paris is 'wildly successful,'.

"Even if Paris is wildly successful, and a treaty is struck, ocean warming and ocean acidification are going to continue beyond the end of this century," said Sale. 
"This is now serious; I find it very unlikely that coral reefs as I knew them in the mid-1960s will still be found anywhere on this planet by mid-century. Instead, we will have algal-dominated, rubble-strewn, slowly eroding limestone benches," said Sale. 
"I see little hope for reefs unless we embark on a more aggre .. 

"As well as CO2 emissions, we must also deal with our other insults to the oceans. We have lost 90 per cent of our commercial fish biomass since the 1940's, we are polluting coastal waters, and the great majority of marine protected areas are not being protected," Sale said. 
"Either we agree limits, which means the end of the' high seas', or we let large parts of the seas die," said Sale. 
"Knowing what we are doing, do we have the ethical right to eliminate an entire ecosystem  .. 

Bert Guevara's insight:

Who cares enough for the oceans and sealife? Aren't humans responsible?


"This is a global emergency, which requires us to decarbonise within the next 20 years, or face temperatures that will eliminate ecosystems like coral reefs, and indeed many systems that humans depend on," ...

"At the same time, dealing with non-climate stresses will be vitally important - we must buy time by building resilience in Earth's biological systems, given that even more stringent activities will still result in much warmer and more acidic oceans, than today," Hoegh-Guldberg said. 

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Turtle rescued in polluted Manila Bay ("what's wrong with this headline?")

Turtle rescued in polluted Manila Bay ("what's wrong with this headline?") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
MANILA -- A sea turtle, or pawikan, was rescued by members of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in Pier 13, Port Area in Manila Saturday afternoon.  

 A sea turtle or pawikan was rescued by members of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in Pier 13, Port Area, Manila on Saturday afternoon.

According to PCG spokesperson Lt. Cmdr. Armand Balilo, PCG personnel were making the rounds in Manila Bay when they spotted the turtle.

The turtle was brought to the Ninoy Aquino Parks and Wildlife Center in Quezon City for proper check-up. They will also check whether the animal is wounded or sick, especially since it was found in a polluted area. It will then be released based on the recommendation of experts.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Turtles swim in water, but have to be rescued in Manila Bay! This only shows how bad we have treated our waters.

Do you see the injustice and the insanity?

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Scientists Foresee Losses as Cities Fight Beach Erosion ("short term sand restoration will not do")

Scientists Foresee Losses as Cities Fight Beach Erosion ("short term sand restoration will not do") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
Rising seas, stronger storms and coastal development are taking their toll on disappearing sandy shorelines.

A common solution to beach erosion is beach nourishment, a process that pumps sand from dredging ships offshore to replace the lost sand on the beach. But this process is time consuming and costly and often needs to be repeated every few years to maintain the beach.

“As a short term solution, it’s OK if you’re doing this to allow for changes to be made to reduce the infrastructure and to allow the system to return to quasi-natural state,” Psuty said.

Yet, the motive behind beach nourishment often has more to do with protecting shoreline property and the tourism industry from rising seas than allowing beaches to return to their natural state.

Sea level has risen about eight inches since 1900 as climate change has melted land ice and warmed the ocean, but the rate is projected to increase as temperatures rise. According to  the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, oceans could reach 3-5 feet higher by century’s end and as much as 20 feet higher in the more distant future.

As the waters rise higher, beach nourishment projects are likely going to become more frequent. Nearly 40 percent of the U.S. population lives near the coast. The encroaching ocean could displace millions of people, which may explain why federal and state governments spend millions of dollars each year to restore beaches.

But the price tag for the never-ending battle may soon be too much. The price to nourish a beach can be as much as several million dollars; one project to restore Miami Beach cost the county more than $18 million in 2001.

Bert Guevara's insight:

“In the future, in a lot of places, moving is going to be the only solution,” ...

 

"Other solutions to beach erosion have fallen out of favor. Seawalls and jetties can help, but may eventually cause problems elsewhere on the beach. Offshore breakwaters, or large piles of rocks parallel to the shore that cause waves to break farther out, reduce wave action on the beach, but only in certain areas.

“The very best option to maintain beaches would be to allow them to shift, to respond to the driving forces,” Psuty said. “They’ll only be retained if they’re allowed to migrate. That’s easier said than done, obviously.”

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Cebu’s aquifers running on empty ("when progress is beyond land's capacity, it's time to rethink dev't")

Cebu’s aquifers running on empty ("when progress is beyond land's capacity, it's time to rethink dev't") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
Cebu City’s narrow aquifers, which supply water for a metro area of 12 cities and towns, are now “running on empty.”

Relentless overpumping of these narrow underground reservoirs allowed seawater to seep in, but salt contamination in the mid-1970s was contained along the seafront areas.

Today, the “saline edge” has crept more than 4 km inland, wrecking irreversibly the main source of  water.

The WRC first mapped the salt intrusion in 1976. The saline edge then remained below Barangay Pardo to the south. It snaked through Barangay Labangon, but skirted landmark Fuente Osmeña. To the north, it slumped along reclamation areas by the shoreline in Mandaue City. (See map.)

Today, Cebu pumps double what overdrawn aquifers can recharge. Births and migrants, meanwhile, have jacked up demand on the Metro Cebu Water District, which serves only half the city’s households. More wells spew brackish water.

To keep faucets flowing, the MCWD’s 166-plus wells “mine” the aquifers. So do an estimated 19,000 private pumps. But encroachments into Cebu watersheds persist. The law on conserving rainwater (Republic Act No. 6716 ) has been totally ignored. Concrete and garbage block the recharge by rain.

“We have no water problem,” scoffed Cebu City south district Rep. Tomas Osmeña, who had served for three terms as mayor. Amen, chorused a stamp-pad  city council.

“This is a leadership in denial … by a harem  of eunuchs,” the Cebu Daily News said. “But delusion doesn’t alter reality.”

The stark reality is a “water policy  blackhole.”

Bert Guevara's insight:

Is this a sign that development has overstepped its limit? I don't want to sound alarmist, but this is really bad! Can Cebu set up an alternative water source fast enough to keep up with development?

 

"If no reforms are adopted, Cebu’s groundwater will turn undrinkable. “It would no longer be a question of supply but include the politically volatile issue of quality.”

"There is no substitute for water. When taps run dry, death rates bolt."

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Study Analyses What Happens To Rain Water ("where does rainwater go and how does it return?")

Study Analyses What Happens To Rain Water ("where does rainwater go and how does it return?") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

More than a quarter of the rain and snow that falls on continents reaches the oceans as runoff. Now a new study helps show where the rest goes: two-thirds of the remaining water is released by plants, more than a quarter lands on leaves and evaporates and what’s left evaporates from soil and from lakes, rivers and streams.

“The question is, when rain falls on the landscape, where does it go?” says University of Utah geochemist Gabe Bowen, senior author of the study published today in the journal Science. “The water on the continents sustains all plant life, all agriculture, humans, aquatic ecosystems. But the breakdown – how much is used for those things – has always been unclear.”

University of Utah hydrologist Stephen Good, the study’s first author, says, “We’ve broken down the different possible pathways that water takes as it moves from rainfall [and snowfall] through soils, plants and rivers. Here we’ve found the proportions of water that returns to the atmosphere though plants, soils and open water.”

• 64 percent (55,000 cubic kilometers or 13,200 cubic miles) is released or essentially exhaled by plants, a process called transpiration. This is lower than estimated by recent research, which concluded plant transpiration accounted for more than 80 percent of water that falls on land and does not flow to the seas, Bowen says.
• 6 percent (5,000 cubic kilometers or 1,200 cubic miles) evaporates from soils.
• 3 percent (2,000 cubic kilometers or 480 cubic miles) evaporates from lakes, streams and rivers. 
• Previous research indicated the other 27 percent (23,000 cubic kilometers or 5,520 cubic miles) falls on leaves and evaporates, a process called interception.

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

These are interesting data to understand the behavior of water. Read the whole article and understand.

 

“Getting what’s called Earth’s ‘water balance’ right is the key to understanding how our climate and ecosystems interact,” says Henry Gholz, of NSF’s Division of Environmental Biology. “This new analysis offers an estimate of hard-to-come-by global water measurements: water used by plants and water that evaporates from land. By knowing these amounts, we can better understand how ecosystems, including watersheds, work. In a decade when our reserves of freshwater are declining – in some cases to critically low levels – this information couldn’t be timelier.”

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This Seaweed Tastes Like Bacon. It Could Help Clean The Oceans. ("no fresh water, arable land needed")

This Seaweed Tastes Like Bacon. It Could Help Clean The Oceans. ("no fresh water, arable land needed") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
Researchers at Oregon State University have the food world freaking out over seaweed that supposedly tastes like bacon -- but environmentalists should celebrate, too.

Last week, researchers at Oregon State University announced that they had successfully patented a new strain of red marine algae, known as dulse, that grows extremely quickly and could serve as an excellent source of plant-based protein.

It also, according to researchers, tastes exactly like bacon when it’s fried.

That last fact was enough to set the food world into a tailspin, inspiring a flurry of media coverage touting dulse as a “super seaweed,” “the holy grail of seafood,” and “the unicorn.”

And apart from being a tasty product with a robust international industry (25 million tons of seaweed are harvested annually around the world), Yarish thinks seaweed is a particularly exciting crop because of its ability to extract nutrients from aquatic ecosystems. Basically, seaweed doesn’t just grow in the coastal waters that humans are pumping full of pollutants — it thrives in those environments.

“You’re dealing with a crop that doesn’t require fresh water, it does not require arable land,” Yarish told ThinkProgress. “We’re starting to see in western cultures there are some very interesting attributes of seaweed that fit our needs. One of the major problems that coastal managers have has to do with managing nutrients.”

Nitrogen, primarily from agricultural fertilizers, is an especially common nutrient in coastal waterways, but an overabundance of nitrogen in coastal waters encourages phytoplankton growth and algal blooms, which deplete oxygen from marine ecosystems. Unconstrained nutrient runoff from agricultural areas can lead to coastal dead zones — areas completely void of oxygen — that can rob communities of economic gains from fishing and shellfish harvesting.

Bert Guevara's insight:

"dulse" -- Here is a new seaweed development that may thrive in the Philippines. Fry it and it takes like bacon, without the cholesterol, but has a lot of healthy nutrients.


“You’re dealing with a crop that doesn’t require fresh water, it does not require arable land,” Yarish told ThinkProgress. “We’re starting to see in western cultures there are some very interesting attributes of seaweed that fit our needs. One of the major problems that coastal managers have has to do with managing nutrients.”

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Shocking Photos Reveal How Bad Pollution in China Has Gotten ("is this a river or a dumpsite?")

Shocking Photos Reveal How Bad Pollution in China Has Gotten ("is this a river or a dumpsite?") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
#4 The Yangtze cleanup crew (Image 4 of 7)According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, there has been a 73% increase in pollution in this river in the past 50 years. Wetlands destruction, climate change, sedimentation, among many other problems are to blame.
Bert Guevara's insight:

Pictures speak for themselves.

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Coral Breeding May Help Cooler Reefs Survive (human intervention may sometimes help our corals")

Coral Breeding May Help Cooler Reefs Survive (human intervention may sometimes help our corals") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
Corals that naturally thrive in the hottest tropical waters can be bred with cooler cousins to help them survive global warming.

Corals that naturally thrive in the hottest tropical waters can be bred with cousins in cooler seas to help them survive mounting threats from global warming.

Tests of corals in warm waters on Australia's Great Barrier Reef found they were able to survive bigger temperature rises than those of an identical species in cooler seas 300 miles south, according to a University of Texas at Austin study published in the journal Science.

The study, by scientists in the United States and Australia, raises the possibility of deliberate breeding to pass on heat-tolerant genes to combat climate change, linked by almost all scientists to a build-up of man-made greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

"Coral larvae with parents from the north, where waters were about 3.6 Fahrenheit warmer, were up to 10 times as likely to survive heat stress, compared with those with parents from the south," the scientists found.

And cross-breeding of the corals, of the Acropora millepora species common in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, brought offspring that were "significantly" better at coping with rising temperatures than the cooler southern corals, they wrote.

Corals, which are tiny stony-bodied animals, form reefs that are vital nurseries for many fish and are big draws for scuba-diving tourists.

"What I think is the most viable strategy is simply to transplant adult corals - we make a reef and let then cross with the natural corals," Mikhail Matz, a co-author at the University of Texas at Austin, told Reuters.

Bert Guevara's insight:

This example of man-made coral breeding is a new approach in trying to save corals from warmer ocean temperature. But, scientists are not yet sure if there are no negative side-effects to the procedure.

 

"A United Nations report last year said that there were early warning signs that warm water corals and the Arctic, where ice is melting fast, were among the most vulnerable parts of nature and already suffering irreversible changes because of warming.

The experts cautioned that warmer waters were only one of many problems facing corals - others including pollution and an acidification of the oceans.

"The fact that corals can inherit heat tolerance "is not a magic bullet that will safeguard corals from the multitude of stressors they are currently facing," Line Bay, a co-author at the Australian Institute of Marine Science, told Reuters."

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Swimming with whale sharks in the Philippines - CNN.com ("sharks treated like pets")

Swimming with whale sharks in the Philippines - CNN.com ("sharks treated like pets") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
Feeding sessions keep these underwater giants friendly, but some worry they're getting too friendly

Oslob's reputation as a whale shark spotting area began, it's said, when a tourist noticed their presence in the area and hired a fisherman to take him out to see the big fish.

Since then, its fame has spread.

"People first started coming to see the whale sharks in Oslob around three years ago, in 2012," explains Edgar Mirambel, founder of Island Trek Tours.

Popularity hasn't scared the whale sharks away.

A favorable environment and free feeding sessions -- krill, small fish and sea plants are on the menu -- from local fishermen keep them in the area.

Mirambel explains that Oslob was struggling to rely on farming and fishing until whale shark tourism began to draw the crowds to this sleepy, backwater town.

"The whale sharks in Oslob have been in our waters since time immemorial," she says. "The fishermen feed the whale sharks only to attract them to the water's surface -- it's a small amount of krill, and the feeding stops in the afternoon."

There's concern that feeding sessions leave the whale sharks' passive toward humans and more vulnerable as well as over-dependent on the handouts.

The interaction in Oslob has, however, raised awareness of the endangered fish (whale sharks became a protected species in 2003) across Asia and beyond.

It's also helping the local economy.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Is it wise to feed the whale sharks like pets? What are the consequences for these sea life creatures?

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Scientists Baffled Over Unprecedented Warming of Ocean Off Atlantic & Pacific Coasts ("cause unclear")

Scientists Baffled Over Unprecedented Warming of Ocean Off Atlantic & Pacific Coasts ("cause unclear") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
Oceanographers are puzzled by an accelerated burst of warming sea that threatens the fisheries of the American Atlantic coast. The Woods Hole Oceanographic

Their findings came after analysis of data from sensors—called bathythermographs—dropped 14 times a year from the container ship Oleander, which for 37 years has travelled between New Jersey and Bermuda. Each detector takes the temperature of the water column as it sinks up to 700 meters.

What they were startled to discover was an unexplained, and unprecedented, rise in the water temperatures that may be linked with an equally mysterious sea level anomaly: sea levels are going up, but they are going up faster off the north-east coast of the U.S. than almost anywhere else.

“The warming rate since 2002 is 15 times faster than from the previous 100 years,” says Glen Gawarkiewicz, a WHOI senior scientist and one of the authors of the report.

“There’s just been this incredible acceleration to the warming, and we don’t know if it’s decadal variability or if this trend will continue.”

To make sure of their perspective, the authors compared their analysis with surface data from the Nantucket lightship and other such installations along the coast, from 1880 to 2004. The new study shows that the warming is not just confined to surface waters.

Although there must be some link with the steady rise in atmospheric temperatures because of global warming as a result of human-made carbon dioxide emissions, the oceanographers suspect there may also be another explanation, so far undiscovered.

Off the Pacific coast, meteorologists have been scratching their heads over the appearance in 2014 of a “remarkably” warm patch—1,500 kilometres across in every direction and 100 metres deep—that could be linked to “weird” weather across the continental US that has seen heat and drought in the west and blizzards and chills in the East.


Bert Guevara's insight:

Ocean warming is not easy to explain or to link with global warming, but they are both warming up beyond the traditional earth cycles. Read this article.

 

"A second study in Geophysical Research Letters links the warm Pacific puzzle to the big freezein the eastern states in 2013 and 2014.

Once again, there doesn’t seem to be a direct connection with climate change, but it raises the specter of changes to come.

“This is a taste of what the ocean will be like in future decades,” Dr Bond says. “It wasn’t caused by global warming, but it’s producing conditions that we think are going to be more common with global warming.”

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U.N. votes to create ocean conservation treaty | The Japan Times ("half the planet is w/o protection")

U.N. votes to create ocean conservation treaty | The Japan Times ("half the planet is w/o protection") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
The U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution Friday to develop a treaty for the conservation of marine life in the high seas. The resolution, adopted by

The resolution, adopted by consensus, launches the first global treaty process related to the oceans in over two decades and the first on the protection and sustainable use of animal and plant life in sea areas beyond the territorial jurisdiction of any country.

It authorizes a preparatory committee to meet in 2016 and 2017 and make recommendations on provisions for a legally binding legal instrument under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea — and the General Assembly. It says the 193-member world body will decide in 2018 on convening a formal treaty negotiating conference.

The resolution follows a commitment by world leaders at the Rio+20 environment conference in Brazil in 2012 to address the protection of the high seas.

“The high seas account for nearly half our planet — the half that has been left without law or protection for far too long,” said Sifa Tsenikli of Greenpeace. “A global network of marine reserves is urgently needed to bring life back into the oceans. This new treaty should make that happen.”

Elizabeth Wilson, director of international ocean policy at The Pew Charitable Trusts, said the commitment of world leaders shouldn’t be underestimated. “Launching these negotiations marks the beginning of a new era in ocean conservation,” she said.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Who is protecting the oceans beyond the nations' boundaries? 


“The high seas account for nearly half our planet — the half that has been left without law or protection for far too long,” said Sifa Tsenikli of Greenpeace. “A global network of marine reserves is urgently needed to bring life back into the oceans. This new treaty should make that happen.”

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