Water Stewardship
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Curated by Bert Guevara
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Why Are So Many Starfish Dying? - YouTube ("disease is killing millions of starfish; should we care?")

Sea stars (starfish) along North America's west coast have been dying at an alarming rate. A syndrome known as sea star wasting disease causes the animal to lose limbs and eventually disintegrate, leaving behind a pile of white goo. Scientists researching the disease have identified a likely culprit, a densovirus that weakens the sea star's ability to defend itself against microorganisms. This discovery, along with sightings of sea star hatchlings in the impacted areas, offer hope for the future of the species.

Bert Guevara's insight:

An epidemic is sweeping the ocean that kills starfish. The danger is that we don't even know what the disease is. A mass die-off can cause an imbalance in our eco-system. This is what happens when our ocean biodiversity is disturbed.

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Groundwater turning toxic with sewage - The Times of India ("a no-win scenario for water users")

Groundwater turning toxic with sewage - The Times of India ("a no-win scenario for water users") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
The recent spate of moderate to heavy rains in the city may have boosted the groundwater levels by at least half a metre, but a new report reveals that the water thus recharged is highly contaminated with fluorides, nitrates and large quantities of iron.

The recent spate of moderate to heavy rains in the city may have boosted the groundwater levels by at least half a metre, but a new report reveals that the water thus recharged is highly contaminated with fluorides, nitrates and large quantities of iron. 
A report on the state's groundwater profile by the Central Groundwater Board (CGWB) says harmful chemicals are present in the water beyond the permissible limits. "It is bad news for the people as the report mentions a rise in the nitrate levels in the water. The basic source of nitrates in water sources is from sewerage, which seeps from improperly built septic tanks," Dr Shakeel Ahmed, chief scientist, National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI), told TOI. 

He said that in an urban agglomeration like Hyderabad, most households have septic tanks, where the sewerage is collected. "But in many cases, we have noticed that the tanks are not built properly. The contractors play it cheap and construct flimsy tanks, which aids in the leakage of sewerage into the aquifers," he said. 
He advised that the people of the city must have septic tanks made out of concrete, whose base is no lesser than four inches thick so as to prevent harmful chemicals from leaking into aquifers. 
Medical experts say there are myriad harmful effects caused by nitrates in water. The symptoms include shortness of breath, and prolonged exposure may even be fatal. However, short term exposure to drinking water with nitrate levels above the prescribed standard is a potential health hazard primarily for infants.

Bert Guevara's insight:

This is not only happening in India. I wouldn't be surprised if this is happening in the Philippines too.


"He said that in an urban agglomeration like Hyderabad, most households have septic tanks, where the sewerage is collected. "But in many cases, we have noticed that the tanks are not built properly. The contractors play it cheap and construct flimsy tanks, which aids in the leakage of sewerage into the aquifers," he said. 

"Medical experts say there are myriad harmful effects caused by nitrates in water. The symptoms include shortness of breath, and prolonged exposure may even be fatal. However, short term exposure to drinking water with nitrate levels above the prescribed standard is a potential health hazard primarily for infants."

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New Study: Waterworld Is Definitely Going to Happen | Mother Jones ("we may all be dead by then, but")

New Study: Waterworld Is Definitely Going to Happen | Mother Jones ("we may all be dead by then, but") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

Here's a bit of depressingly apocalyptic news to kick off your weekend: A new study has found that if humans burn all of the known reserves of coal, oil, and natural gas, virtually all the ice on the planet will melt, inundating the land with up to 200 feet of sea level rise.

The good news is we'll all be long dead by the time this happens. Even at our current rate of carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels, the kind of catastrophic ice loss the study describes won't take place for several thousand years. The exact timing is the hardest part for scientists to nail down; the ultimate outcome, however, is quite certain. One of the study's authors, climatologist Anders Levermann of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, described it as similar to leaving an ice cube on a table in a hot room: You can be confident it will melt, even if you don't know exactly when.

Scientists have been carefully scrutinizing ice in Antarctica for a while now, since so much of the world's water—and thus, potential sea level rise—is locked up there. The most studied section is the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which appears to alreadybe in an irreversible decline and could ultimately produce 10 feet of sea level rise. But Levermann said the study today, published in the peer-reviewed journal Science, is the first to look holistically at ice across the whole of Antarctica. The scientists projected loss of ice in a series of increasingly dire scenarios, based on the total amount of CO2 humans release after today. Ten thousand gigatons of CO2 is roughly what you'd get from burning all the known fossil fuel reserves. Our current rate is about 36 gigatons per year, and rising, so depleting the remainder could take a few hundred years. After that, it would take several thousand more years for the full effect of the warming to take hold.

What's even scarier isn't shown in the chart: Antarctica, Levermann said, "will be the last bastion, the last ice on the planet." In other words, if we reach scenario F, all the rest of the world's ice will already by gone. At that stage, you can kiss most of the coastal cities goodbye (if they're still there, anyway—remember, we're talking about thousands of years in the future).

Bert Guevara's insight:

That dreaded "Waterworld" day will come if we don't change course. The only escape clause available is that most of us will not be alive then, but our grandchildren may live long enough to see it.


"To be sure, there are plenty of reasons to be concerned about climate change in the more immediate future: more extreme weather, droughts, crop failures, and the like. Sea level rise (albeit on a much smaller scale than what is described here) is already taking a toll on coastal communities around the world. But this is a disturbing preview of the long-term disruption caused by our actions. I certainly wouldn't want to be on Earth then:"

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1997 and 2015 El Niño Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies - YouTube ("this video comparison says it all")

A brief comparison of changes in sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies between the major El Niño event of 1997-98 and the El Niño event emerging in 2015. T...

With the inevitable comparisons between this El Niño and the 1997-1998 event — remembered for the incredible rains and mudslides it brought to California (along with Chris Farley’s memorable Saturday Night Live sketch) — Matt Rehme at the National Center for Atmospheric Research’s Visualization Lab, worked up an animation showing the progression of each event from January through August.

"I was a little shocked just how closely 2015 resembles 1997 visually," Rehme said in a statement.

But as any El Niño researcher will tell you, no two El Niño events are alike, and the impacts from this one aren’t guaranteed to be just like 1997-1998.

The most obvious difference between this year and that event, clearly visible in the animation, is the “blob” of warm water off the west coast of North America, a symptom of the relentless high pressure pattern that has kept the West hot and dry over much of the last few years and led to the deep drought in California.

Right now, it is unclear how this warm patch will interact with the typical El Niño impacts (which aren’t guaranteed to materialize). That warmth could mean that any storms that hit drop more rain instead of much-needed snow that could help replenish depleted reservoirs.

Bert Guevara's insight:

This video comparison of the 1997-98 El Niño to 2015 says it all.

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Underwater Pods Can End Global Food Security Problems [VIDEO] ("pest free underwater aquaphonics")

Underwater Pods Can End Global Food Security Problems [VIDEO] ("pest free underwater aquaphonics") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
Underwater pods can be the next frontier in farming.

Off the coast of Noli in northwest Italy lies a revolutionary project that looks straight out of a science fiction movie. Nemo’s Garden is located 30 feet underwater and is composed of a cluster of pods or biospheres. These pods serve as the next frontier in gardening, the Guardian reports.

Nemo’s Garden is currently made up of seven pods that host a variety of plants. At the moment, basil, strawberries, and lettuce serve as the first successful produce grown completely underwater. The technology is so simple, efficient, and sustainable that it really deserves attention on a global scale.

Each pod has eight to ten trays (or around 22 pots) of plants which are cultivated using natural sunlight. The pods are suspended shallow enough to allow sunlight to penetrate. The pods are completely surrounded by water and a desalinating hydroponics system is used to nourish the plants.

It works by evaporating seawater from within the pod and condensing fresh water on the underside of the roof which trickles down to the plant trays. Other hydroponics systems use heating and cooling systems but Nemo’s Garden does not. The very location of the pods provides a suitable and stable environment for its hydroponics to work.

Bert Guevara's insight:

What do you think of this idea -- growing plants in underwater capsules? Check it out and give your comments.

I wonder how the pollinators (bees, butterflies) come into the picture.


Old says, “certain aspects are very appealing, like the sealed environment, no pests to wander in, no disease spores to blow in on the wind, and no slugs. If we assume the underwater [farm] is structurally sound, I think it would be fantastic. It’d be like working in a huge, dry aquarium all day.”

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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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6 reasons why we need clean water for all - The World Economic Forum ("we are not protecting enough")

6 reasons why we need clean water for all - The World Economic Forum ("we are not protecting enough") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
We’re using up our credit on water supply but sustainable industrialization, intact ecosystems and responsible consumption can help to stem the flow

Moreover, meeting SDG6 will require getting the balance right between blue water, known as “run-off” – water in rivers and deep underground in aquifers, which take thousands of years to replenish; and green water – the rainwater falling on land and in soils. In many places, green water is a largely unmanaged supply of water but with the right incentives this water could be harvested more effectively.

 

If groundwater were a bank account, in many places farmers are withdrawing money without knowing the balance and with no idea when the account will run dry. Glaciers, our other savings account, will be quickly emptied by rising temperatures. Agriculture is the biggest user of blue water (irrigation accounts for 70% of blue water withdrawals), but irrigated agriculture only delivers about 34% of agricultural production, implying that 66% of food is grown with “invisible” green water. Drinking water, toilets and washing depend on blue water – 840,000 people die each year because they do not have clean reliable drinking water, while 2.5 billion people lack access to improved sanitation. In developing countries, 70% of industrial waste is dumped untreated into bodies of blue water. The scale of both deforestation and agricultural expansion is immense. We use an area the size of South America to grow our crops and an area the size of Africa for our livestock. 
Bert Guevara's insight:

If we grade ourselves on how well we manage our clean water supply, most of us will get a failing grade. Here are 6 reasons why we have to implement clean water management.

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William Sarni's curator insight, November 6, 2015 5:41 AM
Hard work ahead but within reach if we can leverage technology and innovative partnerships.
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Tuna stocks down 74% – can the world respond in time? : TreeHugger ("tuna-lovers should take a break")

Tuna stocks down 74% – can the world respond in time? : TreeHugger ("tuna-lovers should take a break") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
Tuna and mackerel have been hit hard by pollution and overfishing. But all is not yet lost.

Here's some disturbing news from The Guardian: The World Wildlife Fund and the Zoological Society of London have published new research suggesting fish stocks for the scombridae family of fish—which includes tuna, mackerel and bonito—are down 74 percent since the 1970s.

Whether it's overfishing, marine pollution, loss of coastal habitats like mangroves, or the ever growing threat of climate change and ocean acidification, there are plenty of reasons for this disturbing decline—and I suspect most TreeHugger readers are familiar with the disastrous way that human beings have managed our oceans.

That said, however, there are hopeful signs that folks are beginning to take this seriously.

In separate news, for example, Chile is planning one of the largest marine reserves in the world around Easter Island—ready to encircle 447,000 square kilometres of ocean. And some retailers are beginning to get serious about more sustainable fish. Meanwhile, California just passed a ban on plastic microbeads in personal care products and, earlier this year, Sri Lanka became the first nation on Earth to protect all of its remaining mangrove forests and commit to planting more.

From seals returning to the River Thames to mercury levels in fish declining when we reduced our burning of coal, we've already seen that nature can often come bouncing back once we give it a chance to recover.

But once something is gone, it's truly gone. So we might want to get serious about protecting our oceans before it's too late.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Too much of a good thing? Tuna-lovers should take a break and let the fish recover.


"Whether it's overfishing, marine pollution, loss of coastal habitats like mangroves, or the ever growing threat of climate change and ocean acidification, there are plenty of reasons for this disturbing decline—and I suspect most TreeHugger readers are familiar with the disastrous way that human beings have managed our oceans."

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Cities are finally treating water as a resource, not a nuisance ("turning an enemy into a friend")

Cities are finally treating water as a resource, not a nuisance ("turning an enemy into a friend") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
From Houston to Melbourne, the surprising ways urban areas are dealing with water woes.

Memorial Day barbecues and parades were thwarted this year in Houston when a massive storm dumped more than 10 inches of rain in two days, creating a Waterworld of flooded freeways, cars, houses and businesses, leaving several people dead and hundreds in need of rescue.

But it was a predictable disaster. That’s because, thanks to a pro-development bent, the magnitude of stormwater runoff dramatically has increased as Houston has sprawled across 600 or so square miles of mud plain veined with rivers, sealing under asphalt the floodplains and adjoining prairies that once absorbed seasonal torrential rains and planting development in harm’s way.

Land subsidence from groundwater pumping and oil and gas development and, now, sea level rise and more frequent and severe storms are applying additional pressure from Galveston Bay, which sits just east of the city of 2.2 million.

The good news? Houston already had begun shifting gears, hoping to reduce the severity of future floods by reclaiming 183 miles of natural waterways that snake through the city and 4,000 acres of adjacent green space from industrial areas through a project known as the Bayou Greenways.

The goal is to absorb rain where it falls, reducing the volume rushing into stormwater detention facilities, and to encourage biking and walking as “active transit” in the parks that make up the Bayou Greenways.

With these measures, Houston is beginning to embrace a worldwide trend in urban retrofitting — layering new infrastructure on top of old to help cities weather climate change.

In many places, that includes reducing greenhouse gas emissions: shifting to cleaner energy, making buildings more efficient and improving public transit.

For cities facing increased threats from floods and droughts, it also means adapting to a changing world by finding new ways to manage water.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Climate resiliency is the goal and smart water management is a key.

 

"The extent to which cities are making natural infrastructure an integral part of their water management plans is new, said Katie Arkema, senior scientist at the Natural Capital Project, an early proponent of resilient infrastructure.

"Around the world — from Melbourne, Australia, to China’s “sponge cities” to coastal cities in New Jersey and Belize — urban planners are formally expanding natural stream and wetlands hydrology and ecosystems such as dunes, mangrove forests and coral reefs to better protect communities. Last fall the White House explicitly backed natural infrastructure as a tool to boost climate resilience."

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How can we ensure that we build water & climate resilient cities? ("are mayors concerned about this?")

How can we ensure that we build water & climate resilient cities? ("are mayors concerned about this?") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
As population and economic growth bump up against finite water resources, competition between water uses increases, putting stress on existing water sources.

As population and economic growth bump up against finite—and increasingly degraded—water resources, competition between agricultural, industrial, and municipal water uses increases, putting stress on existing water sources. This stress is felt most acutely in urban areas, particularly among the urban poor.

Moreover, urban water management systems are inefficient, leading to an uneven quantity and availability of water and related services. In addition, urban water management must consider the effects of climate change, including rising temperatures, changes in precipitation patterns, and climate variability, on water resource availability.

Addressing these challenges requires building resilience not only in cities’ physical infrastructures but also in their social architecture, governance structures, financial systems, and ecosystems. A resilient city can adapt to changing conditions and withstand shocks while still providing essential services.

The Water Global Practice of the World Bank is contributing to the effort to build resilient cities through the following approaches:Promoting the integration of a wider resource perspective.Promoting the principles of integrated urban water management (IUWM).Promoting mainstream water in broader city resilience exercises.Promoting decentralized cities
Bert Guevara's insight:

How is Metro Manila's long-term water management plan? If we have more El Niño occurrences, can Metro Manila be always lucky to outsmart drought?


"Building resilient cities requires various sectors to work together to ensure integrated city-wide planning, including effective water resources management. It also requires a careful understanding of the governance system of cities and their place in the intergovernmental system."

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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, 2015 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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