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Affordable Water May Soon Dry Up
In 2017, a number of new pumped-hydro technologies should achieve milestones. They aim to bring the low cost of the technology to geographies that ordinarily wouldn’t allow it. Here are four you might hear about: Concrete Bunkers, Compress-air bags, Energy Islands and Wind Turbines with water storage. 1/25/17 IEEE Spectrum
Corpus Christi Ends Ban on Drinking Water
Corpus Christi, Texas’ 300,000 residents were warned this week to avoid drinking tap water due to a chemical leak at an asphalt plant. But now officials said the leak may have been reported Dec. 7, a week earlier than originally thought. Officials say they only learned of it Dec. 14. The chemical leaked from a plant run by Ergon Asphalt and Emulsions. City workers have been flushing pipes and limited use of water is being allowed in some areas for showering and washing clothes, but still not for drinking. In other parts of the city, officials say residents can opt to drink the water, if they choose. But there still are sections are urging residents not to use the water at all. AP/New York Times 12/17/16
Despite the potential for flooding and mudslides, storms moving toward California were welcome news for a state suffering from a severe four-year drought. The first of the storms drenched the state on Tuesday, but California's water deficit is so deep after four years of drought that a "steady parade of storms" like these will be needed for years to come, said Mike Anderson, climatologist for the state's Department of Water Resources. NBCSanDiego 01/07/16
The bill signed by President Obama gives toothpaste, shampoo, facewash and other cosmetics manufacturers until July 1, 2017 to stop making products with microbeads and until July 1, 2018 to stop selling the products. The new law is known as the Microbead-Free Waters Act (H.R. 1321) and was introduced by Reps. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and Fred Upton (R-Mich.) Scientists have found evidence of microbeads in numerous bodies of water in the United States, including increasingly in the Great Lakes, the world’s largest source of freshwater. In addition to contributing to the buildup of plastic pollution in waterways, microbeads can be mistaken by fish and other organisms as food. If consumed by fish, the chemicals found in synthetic plastic microbeads can then be passed on to other wildlife and humans. Florida Water Daily 12/30/15
It wasn’t that long ago that Denison University professor Erik Klemetti added a caveat when he taught his students about earthquakes. “When I used to show (seismicity) maps in my intro class, I’d say, ‘Ohio is about as earthquake-free as you get,’??” Klemetti said. “Now, it has a bull’s-eye on it, at least to some degree.”That bull’s-eye, according to a recent U.S. Geological Survey report, is directly linked to hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas and to injection wells for fracking wastewater. The report was the survey’s first large-scale examination of the connection between earthquakes and oil and gas extraction. Geologists identified 17 regions across the country, including the area around Youngstown in northeastern Ohio, that are at higher risk of earthquakes because of oil and gas activities. The report focuses largely on Oklahoma, where magnitude 3.0 earthquakes, once uncommon, now occur nearly every day. This increased seismic activity, the report’s authors say, is directly linked to injection wells, where fracking wastewater is pumped underground at high pressure. Oil and gas activities have created hundreds of earthquakes in Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas and Ohio, the report found. The Columbus Dispatch_5/4/15
Four senior staffers are abruptly leaving the St. Johns River (Fla.) Water Management District, alarming activists who say their knowledge is needed to protect the region’s water supplies. “This is another move to dumb-down the district and erode our water-quality protection,” said St. Johns Riverkeeper Lisa Rinaman, who said there had been rumors of a push coming to clear out key staff.
Robert Christianson, a division director for strategic planning, and Tom Bartol, assistant director at another division who had overseen complicated water supply studies, resigned “in lieu of termination,” letters they filed Tuesday with the agency said. District Chief of Staff Jeffrey Cole also resigned, and Hal Wilkening, a division director whose work included overseeing a plan to supply water to Northeast Florida, filed notice that he was retiring after 32 years at the agency.
The notices were signed the day after the acting executive director, Mike Register, took over the agency’s top staff post, succeeding former head Hans Tanzler. “While I do not believe that it is productive or necessary to expound upon the reasons for the resignations, my decision to accept them was based upon my conclusion that it was in the best interest of the district,” Register said In a written statement.
Activists disputed that, saying the four have about a century of experience between them and their leaving creates knowledge gaps that will hurt the agency.
The water management district controls permits to pump water from the aquifer for homes, businesses and farms in an area covering 18 counties where close to 5 million people live. It’s also responsible for protecting water levels that support Florida’s varied wildlife and plants, and ensuring aquifers aren’t harmed by excessive withdrawals. Serving both goals has become harder over time, particularly in high-growth areas of Central Florida where communities have made plans to tap the St. Johns River as another source of water. Jacksonville.com_ 5/6/15
Virginia’s 21 Republican state senators say a “Waters of the United States” rule targets farmers and could cost the state and landowners untold millions of dollars.
Sen. Ben Chafin, R-Lebanon, called the proposed regulation by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency “an attempted end-run around Congress and two Supreme Court rulings.”
“(It) would significantly expand the scope of ‘navigable waters’ subject to the Clean Water Act jurisdiction by regulating small and remote waters,” the senators stated in a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “By increasing federal jurisdiction over lands, the rule would establish federal power to regulate farming and other land uses,” wrote Chafin, an attorney and farmer who sits on the state Senate’s Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee. FoxNews.com_5/6/15
Amid rising water supply crises, could the parched American Southwest ever get its hands on the world's most abundant and valuable liquid fresh water supply — our Great Lakes? Setting aside the astronomical expense and infrastructure requirements, as a policy matter, a large-scale diversion of Great Lakes water is a virtual impossibility. But that's only because of states and Canadian provinces around the lakes coming together to solidify protections within the last decade.
Don't think the idea of a raid on Great Lakes water is that far-fetched. Plans were in the works to allow a Canadian company to sell Lake Superior water to Asia via tanker ships as recently as 1998. A coal company in 1981 wanted to pipe Superior water to Wyoming to move its semi-liquefied product back to the Midwest. And in 1982, Congress mandated that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study the feasibility of using Great Lakes water to replenish supplies needed for the heavily agricultural Plains states. (It wasn't feasible.) Detroit Free Press_4/19/15
South Milwaukee officials say it might be days before residents can safely drink tap water after a water main break Friday morning caused a citywide pressure drop. Officials warned residents that they shouldn't use tap water because it could be contaminated. Boiling the water won't make it safe, officials said in a news release. The problem occurred when the main feeder pipe from South Milwaukee's water plant broke about 8:30 a.m., city officials said during a news conference. Water pressure throughout the city dropped almost immediately. South Milwaukee officials are concerned that E. coli bacteria could get into the city's water supply. Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel_ 2/5/10
According to a survey by the state's environmental agency, small amounts of discarded drugs were found at three landfills in the state, confirming that pharmaceuticals thrown into household trash end up in water that drains through waste. Although most of Maine does not draw drinking water from rivers where landfill water is present, other states do. Lawmakers in Maine are trying to create a bill that would require drug manufacturers to develop and pay for a program to collect unused prescription and over-the-counter drugs from residents and dispose of them. Scientists and environmentalists have discovered that small amounts of pharmaceuticals end up in drinking water through human excretion in sewers or by pouring leftover medication down the drain. Research has revealed that pharmaceuticals sometimes harm fish and that human cells can fail to grow normally in the laboratory when exposed to trace concentrations of certain drugs. Red Orbit_ 2/8/10
The Legislature has revived a bill vetoed by former Gov. Jon Corzine to delay an anti-sprawl, water quality management rule that gives state environmental officials more control over extending sewer and septic service. The measure would prevent the already delayed water management regulation, adopted in 2008 by the Department of Environmental Protection, from taking effect until April 2011. That rule would allow the DEP to restrict the extension of septic systems and sewer lines, particularly in environmentally sensitive areas, wetlands and rare species habitats. The New Jersey chapter of the Sierra Club said the delay is designed to let developers introduce sprawl projects, win approvals and become exempt from environmental protection rules. The Smart Growth Economic Development Coalition said the rule will stop development even in areas designated in the state master plan for commercial and residential expansion. Newark Star-Ledger_ 2/8/10
Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water officially takes its name from a rock formation in the San Bernardino Mountains. But news that the company, which is owned by the food giant Nestlé, has been pumping spring water out of the San Bernardino National Forest under a permit that expired in 1988 puts the brand more in line with the historic water grab of Lake Arrowhead than with any geological feature.
In the wake of Monday's Orland City Council approval of the proposed Crystal Geyser sparkling water bottling plant, project opponents haven't decided whether they will file an environmental lawsuit. The project was approved by the Orland Technical Advisory Committee in December, and then appealed by two separate groups. The 5-0 vote Monday by the City Council upheld the previous project approval and denied the appeals. Trish Saint-Evens, a member of Save Our Water Resources, said she believes the city attorney did not interpret California Environmental Quality Act rules appropriately. Saint-Evens said her group will meet next week to discuss a suit. The property has long been zoned heavy industrial, said Orland's attorney Tom Andrews during a follow-up interview Tuesday. He said Crystal Geyser matched zoning and code requirements for the area. Chico Enterprise-Record_ 2/3/10
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, Health Canada and Starbucks have jointly announced a voluntary recall of glass water bottles sold by the coffee-shop chain. The recall includes about 11,000 bottles in the United States and 1,200 bottles in Canada, which can shatter when people remove or insert a stopper. Starbucks, based in Seattle, Wash., has received 10 reports of either the stoppers or the water bottles shattering, including eight incidents in which someone’s hand was cut by glass shards. The 20-ounce bottles have the words “Glass Water Bottle” printed on a blue label fixed to the bottle. The bottles were sold for $9 at Starbucks locations nationwide in January. Providence Journal_ 2/2/10
Orland residents belonging to the group Save Our Water Resources (SOWR) will be attending the Feb. 1 meeting of the Orland City Council to speak on behalf of an appeal they filed objecting to the Orland Technical Advisory Committee’s recent approval of Crystal Geyser’s proposal. The Calistoga-based company is seeking approval of the bottling plant on County Road 200 in Orland, on an industrial-zoned parcel that is bordered on three sides by bucolic agricultural-residential land. Prominent concerns are the effects of the water-bottling operation on groundwater supply and the movement of a nearby, PCE-contaminated dry-cleaner plume, as well as the potential for high levels of noise from both plant operations and the daily trips of 25 big-rig trucks to and from the plant. SOWR members are hoping that the Orland City Council will decide to order an environmental-impact report before any further steps are taken toward construction of the plant, which Crystal Geyser says will provide employment for 20 to 25 Orland-area residents. No EIR has been ordered in the nearly two-year period since Crystal Geyser—owned by Japanese conglomerate Otsuka Pharmaceutical—first held meetings, beginning in April 2008, with the Orland TAC. Chico News & Review_ 1/28/10
Low rainfalls in the Murray Darling basin have seen River Murray irrigators granted around only a third of their water allocations for this financial year. But the independent cost-benefit study to be released Tuesday discovered producing water from the desalination plant “would not be a cost-effective way of boosting allocations for irrigators at the current market price for water,’’ according to the State Government. The plant, which sits idle, was built to provide water security for Adelaide during droughts. The study was conducted by natural resource economic consultant, Marsden Jacob. The Essential Services Commission of South Australia advised on costs associated with running the controversial $1.83 billion desalination plant. The Advertiser_7/4/16
In a letter to the California Coastal Commission (CCC) on 8 February 2010, the CARB says, "We do not believe there have been any changes to the project or the assumptions underlying Poseidon's GHG plan, which would change the positions expressed in our August 5, 2008 letter." Poseidon Resources announced that CCC staff have recommended that the commission deny the request made by opponents of seawater desalination to revoke the Coastal Development Permit for the Carlsbad Desalination Project. The commission is scheduled to hear the revocation request when it meets in on 10 February 2010. D&WR_ 2/9/10
The Municipal Water District of Orange County announced Wednesday that it has awarded a $1.05 million contract to Separation Processes Inc. for Phase 3 of the South Orange Coastal Ocean Desalination Project at San Juan Creek. Municipal Water District is partnering with San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, South Coast Water District, Laguna Beach County Water District and Moulton Niguel Water District to try to create a stable new water source to improve supply reliability for all the partners. Currently, South County cities rely heavily on imported water, making them vulnerable to water shortages or reductions in allocations. Phase 3 of the Municipal Water District project should take 18 months, the agency said, and a full-scale desalination plant could be completed in 2016. Orange County Register_ 2/4/10
EPA Broadens Clean Water Regulations
More than 117 million Americans draw their drinking water from streams that may not be protected by the Clean Water Act. The law, enacted in 1972, granted the federal government broad powers to limit pollution in so-called “navigable” waterways like the Great Lakes and the Ohio and Mississippi rivers. A pair of Supreme Court Decisions in 2001 and 2006, however, muddied the waters, making it unclear whether the act also covered smaller bodies like groundwater, headwaters, streams and wetlands that feed those larger waterways. The Clean Water Rule restores some – but not all – of that authority, the EPA and Obama administration said. “Too many of our waters have been left vulnerable to pollution,” President Barack Obama said in a statement. “This rule will provide the clarity and certainty businesses and industry need about which waters are protected by the Clean Water Act, and it will ensure polluters who knowingly threaten our waters can be held accountable.” The rule, he added, was explicitly written to avoid “getting in the way of farming, ranching or forestry.”
The Clean Water Rule reportedly upholds exemptions for agriculture. However, some tributaries that may be dry for prolonged periods but feed larger waterways when flooded will be covered by the new rule, federal officials said. Farmers must pay fees or obtain permits for work that may send polluted water into any body covered by the Clean Water Act. US News and World Report_5/27/15
Drought to Deluge? El Nino's Impact on California
As California farmers face a fourth year of the state’s historic drought, they’re finding water in unexpected places — like Chevron’s Kern River oil field, which has been selling recycled wastewater from oil production to farmers in California’s Kern County. Each day, Chevron recycles and sells 21 million gallons of wastewater to farmers, which is then applied on about 10 percent of Kern County’s farmland. And while some praise the program as a model for dealing with water shortages, environmental groups are raising concerns about the water’s safety, according to a recent story in the Los Angeles Times.
Tests conducted by Water Defense, an environmental group founded by actor Mark Ruffalo in 2010, have found high levels of acetone and methylene chloride — compounds that can be toxic to humans — in wastewater from Chevron used for irrigation purposes. The tests also found the presence of oil, which is supposed to be removed from the wastewater during recycling.
Environmental groups filed a lawsuit Thursday, May 7, seeking an immediate halt to oil and gas development at 2,500 wells across California, saying the state is not doing enough to protect precious groundwater.
The suit seeks to halt emergency regulations issued by the Department of Conservation after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency raised concerns about state oversight of the oil and gas industry when it comes to potential drinking water sources, a hot-button issue as California endures a fourth year of drought. The rules call for industry wastewater injections into federally protected aquifers to be phased out, but environmentalists say it should be stopped immediately. Monterey County Herald_ 5/7/15
California regulators approved sweeping, unprecedented restrictions Tuesday on how people, governments and businesses can use water amid the state’s ongoing drought in the hope of enticing residents to conserve more water. The State Water Resources Control Board approved rules forcing cities to limit watering on public property, encouraging homeowners to let their lawns die and imposing mandatory water-savings targets for hundreds of local agencies and cities that supply water to California customers. Gov. Jerry Brown sought to tighten the already strict regulations, arguing that voluntary conservation efforts have not yielded the water savings needed amid a four-year drought. Brown ordered water agencies to cut urban water use by 25 percent from levels in 2013, the year before the drought emergency was declared. FoxNews.com_5/6/15
In an acknowledgment that some areas have done a better job of conserving water during California's severe, and worsening drought, state water officials on Saturday rolled out a revised water-reduction plan that eases required cutbacks for some communities while increasing mandatory targets for others.
The plan's release ahead of the summer season when water use typically spikes came in the wake of criticism that Gov. Jerry Brown's statewide reduction mandate was too broad and penalized too many communities that have already curtailed water use. San Jose Mercury News_ 4/18/15
As concerns about water scarcity, a growing world population, and mounting pressures from climate change put further strain on our global water resources, so does the MIT community strive harder than ever to promote the importance of water innovation. On April 6, the student-led MIT Water Club hosted the final pitches for its inaugural Water Innovation Prize — an opportunity for MIT students to work in tandem with real-world investment, corporate, and/or entrepreneurial mentors on ventures with application in monitoring and analytics, oil and gas, recycling and reuse, and drinking water and sanitation.
A topsy-turvy week in a federal courtroom in Fresno, Calif., has led to the imposition of water flow restrictions to aid endangered delta smelt in the San Joaquin-Sacramento Delta. Judge Oliver Wanger of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California ruled against irrigators and farmers yesterday in their request for a restraining order to open water pumps on the south end of the delta to maximum capacity. Dead smelt have been salvaged this week at the pumps, prompting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to order the flow restrictions to go into effect this morning under a standing federal biological opinion. The restraining order would have blocked those limits from taking effect for 14 days. New York Times_ 2/11/10
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration launched a new climate service today, a reorganization effort aimed at improving long-range assessments of climate change, sea-level rise and severe weather. The effort is aimed at providing long-term forecasts to assist fisheries managers, farmers, state governments, renewable energy developers, water managers and others. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke likened the new climate shop to the 140-year-old National Weather Service, recounting how weather forecasting helped citizens prepare for the blizzard that slammed the mid-Atlantic region last weekend. The NOAA initiative would bring together existing climate science, currently spread through various branches at the agency. Thomas Karl, currently director of the National Climatic Data Center, would serve as transitional director of the climate service, which would also have six regional directors. New York Times_ 2/8/10
Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell on Thursday proposed new rules to strengthen state regulation of natural gas drilling to protect drinking water supplies and announced the hiring of 68 new inspectors. The measures reflect the Democratic governor's environmental concerns while still aiming to promote development of the massive Marcellus Shale formation. Marcellus is one of four major shale formations that could provide the United States with an abundant energy supply but whose exploitation could be inhibited by regulators. The regulations are designed to prevent the escape of drilling chemicals into domestic water supplies, following numerous local reports of contamination from a process called hydraulic fracturing. Reuters_ 1/28/10
Georgia, Florida, Alabama Water Sharing
Gov. Sonny Perdue announced this morning that he is backing legislation packed with water conservation measures and a study of building new reservoirs as the Atlanta region faces the prospect of losing Lake Lanier as its main source of drinking water. The legislation would force water utilities to detect leaks, require the home building industry to use fixtures that rely on less water and set standards for measuring water use for each unit in apartment buildings. The bill would also make it easier for communities that conserve water to obtain state grants and lower interest loans. And it would set up a study committee to consider building new reservoirs or expanding existing ones. Called the Georgia Water Stewardship Act, the bill stems from recommendations the governor’s Water Contingency Task Force announced late last year. Perdue formed the panel after a federal judge issued a stinging ruling in July against Georgia in its water dispute with Alabama and Florida. Atlanta Journal-Constitution_ 2/3/10
Georgia may appeal a momentous ruling that declared metro Atlanta cannot tap into Lake Lanier to supply most of its water needs, the federal appeals court in Atlanta has decided. In a unanimous decision issued Wednesday, a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals handed Georgia one of its few legal victories of late in the high-stakes, tri-state water dispute. The court agreed with Georgia's legal team that one facet of Senior Judge Paul Magnuson's ruling in July was a "final judgment" that can be appealed. The 11th Circuit said that because all issues in the complex litigation are "inextricably intertwined," it will consider all findings made by Magnuson in his sweeping July 17 ruling. In July, Magnuson found it illegal for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to draw water from the massive federal reservoir formed by Buford Dam to meet the water needs for more than 3.5 million metro area residents. Atlanta Journal-Constitution_ 1/21/10
With nearly $60 million raised so far by Friday's "Hope for Haiti Now" telethon, a spokesperson for UNICEF provided MTV News with a list of some of the items that can be provided:
» Collapsible water containers ($2): Each container holds 10 liters of water and is especially useful for kids carrying water for long distances to ensure that all their water doesn't spill en route from their water supply. It is also very useful for storing clean, safe water for everyday use.
» Water-purification tablets (60 cents for 50 tablets): Each tablet is able to turn 4 to 5 liters of dirty water into water suitable for drinking. Every day, 4,000 children worldwide die because they do not have access to clean water, according to UNICEF.
» Oral-rehydration salts (7 cents for one package): This solution, containing sugar and salt, treats children suffering from dehydration caused by diarrhea. Approximately 3,500 children die each day from dehydration caused by acute diarrhea, according to UNICEF. MTV News/VH1.com_ 1/25/10
After a day in Haiti's quake-shattered capital, sweating in snarled traffic, scrounging for batteries, attending meetings and nearly getting its first water systems built, word that the Louisville was opening its wallets to help was buoying news for relief workers trying to bring pure water to the people here. Edge team members said the $25,000 in promised funds from Louisville would provide fresh water for 50,000 people a day once the $5,000 purification systems were up and running. The team was preparing to turn on the first two water purifiers Friday morning— one at a Salvation Army site filled with homeless survivors and a second serving a clinic that is seeing more than 200 injured or sick patients a day. The next day, the group plans to install a third system at the Haitian Community Hospital, clogged with the injured seeking treatment and short on fresh water. Ahead, the group plans to set up purifier systems in remote towns not receiving aid. Louisville Courier-Journal_ 1/21/10
Key areas of Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince have been heavily damaged by a devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake, United Nations officials said Wednesday, adding that water supplies were cut. 'All municipal water supplies are reportedly shut off,' said Elizabeth Byrs with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, quoting Haitian ministry officials. Nearly 3.5 million people are estimated to be in areas affected by 'strong quakes,' OCHA estimated. In an earthquake, 'what people need urgently, more than food, is water,' said Veronique Taveau with the UN's Children Fund (UNICEF). UN officials said concerns over the water supply were growing along with fears of disease spreads. Deutsche Presse-Agentur/monsters and critics.com_ 1/13/10
Gaza's water shortage worsening, no easy solutions seen
The government’s recently released plan for water pollution sets ambitious goals for cleaning up the country’s heavily polluted bodies of water, a step forward in a long battle against heavy pollution.
To raise awareness of the millions of people across the globe that do not have access to safe drinking water, Radisson Blu hotels around the world will hold Walk for Water events on April 22-24. The events will benefit the “Just a Drop” international water aid charity. Over the course of three days, beginning on Earth Day, April 22,Radisson Blu hotels will invite guests to walk for roughly 35 feet/10 meters carrying ‘jerry cans’ full of water to illustrate the daily struggle millions of people around the globe face in their efforts to access safe drinking water. For every 330-feet/100 meters walked, Radisson Blu will donate the funds to provide one child with safe drinking water for life through Just a Drop. Through these events, Radisson Blu expects to provide more than 280 children with access to safe drinking water. Forimmediatrelease.net_4/17/15
Chennai-based Shivsu Canadian Clear International Limited, a leading water technology solutions provider and manufacturer of mineral water packaging equipments, has become the first Indian company to successfully install Rs 52 crore worth desalination water plant for Iraqi Government. Shivsu's work includes design, manufacture, supply, construction and commissioning of the plant on a turnkey basis, a company release said. The capacity of the plant is 20 MLD (million liters per day). newKerala.com_ 12/28/09
The diesel fuel leak into a tributary of the Yellow River has spread downstream into Shanxi and Henan provinces, contaminating and potentially affecting the drinking water supply of many local residents. The fuel leaking into the Weihe River has reached the Sanmenxia reservoir on the Yellow River in Henan province despite earlier efforts to prevent it from spreading into the main river. China National Petroleum Corp is the owner of the broken oil pipeline. The broken diesel pipeline, which runs from Lanzhou in Gansu province to Changsha in Hunan province, was found leaking in the wee hours of Dec. 30 at a point close to the Chishui River, a tributary of the Weihe River. Su Maolin, deputy director of the Yellow River Water Resources Commission, yesterday refuted the claim by CNPC that the broken pipeline was caused by a third-party construction project, and called for a further probe into the accident after the spill has been tackled. China Daily/XinHua_ 1/5/10
Regional Water Issues
North Carolina's top attorney has rejected a call by his South Carolina counterpart to hold closed-door talks to settle a dispute over waterways that flow through the two states, according to a letter released Friday. Attorney General Roy Cooper said in the note that he wants the discussions in a commission appointed by both states to be open for public input. South Carolina's top attorney, Henry McMaster, had suggested in a December letter to Cooper that the two sides hold confidential discussions. AP/Businessweek 1/22/10
Utah and Nevada officials say they're ready to sign a deal splitting border groundwater in the Snake Valley despite opposition from members of a new Utah advisory board set up to study the plan. The Snake Valley Aquifer Advisory Council met Wednesday at the Utah Capitol to review public comments about the deal, which effectively grants Nevada the water that a Las Vegas utility wants for a proposed pipeline supplying the city. After discussing those comments, board members themselves voiced their misgivings but learned that a final agreement is imminent. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert believes the deal is needed to protect the rights of current water users in the desert valley west of Delta, said John Harja, board chairman and the governor's director of public lands policy coordination. "He is convinced that an agreement is better than none," Harja said. The next step, he said, is to declare an end to negotiations and have Utah Department of Natural Resources Director Mike Styler sign the deal. Herbert's spokeswoman, Angie Welling said the governor's support has nothing to do with Utah's hopes for Nevada's support of a Lake Powell pipeline. "This agreement is not being used as a bargain chip for anything else," she said. Salt Lake Tribune_ 1/7/10
A California judge on Thursday tentatively invalidated a landmark pact to curtail the state's overuse of water and allow other Western states to claim their fair share. The 2003 agreement ended of years of bickering over how to divide the Colorado River between California and six western states: Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. More than 30 million acre-feet of water—enough to cover the state of Pennsylvania a foot deep—would move from farms to cities in Southern California over the 75-year life of the deal. Superior Court Judge Roland Candee ruled in Sacramento that the state improperly agreed to pick up much of the cost of saving the shrinking Salton Sea in the southeastern California desert. Restoring the state's largest lake was a crucial piece of the agreement. The state put no limit on costs, "even if they ultimately amounted to millions or billions of dollars," violating a constitutional limit on assuming debts, Candee wrote. "The Court has no ability to sanction a way to contract around the Constitution," he wrote. The judge will hear arguments next Thursday to decide whether to make the ruling final. San Jose Mercury News_12/10/09
Research and Technology
Researchers have discovered that some of the most fundamental assumptions about how water moves through soil in a seasonally dry climate such as the Pacific Northwest are incorrect – and that a century of research based on those assumptions will have to be reconsidered. A new study by scientists from Oregon State University and the Environmental Protection Agency showed – much to the surprise of the researchers – that soil clings tenaciously to the first precipitation after a dry summer, and holds it so tightly that it almost never mixes with other water. The finding is so significant, researchers said, that they aren't even sure yet what it may mean. But it could affect our understanding of how pollutants move through soils, how nutrients get transported from soils to streams, how streams function and even how vegetation might respond to climate change. The research was just published online in Nature Geoscience, a professional journal. "This could have enormous implications for our understanding of watershed function," said Jeff McDonnell, an OSU distinguished professor and holder of the Richardson Chair in Watershed Science in the OSU College of Forestry. "It challenges about 100 years of conventional thinking." News Release_ 1/21/10
Read the full report
The bi-partisan legislation requires the state’s Department of Public Health to adopt new groundwater replenishment regulations by July 1, and the State Water Resources Control Board and the Department of Public Health to develop other ways that allow the recycled water and storm water to increase the available water supply. Southern California Public Radio_3/1/14
Lake Sonoma has recovered from three years of below-average rainfall, filling up its water supply pool and hitting the flood stage Tuesday for the first time in five years. At 7 a.m. Tuesday, Lake Sonoma had 246,337 acre-feet of water. At the beginning of the year, before a series of storms hit the North Coast, it held 182,090 acre-feet. It is the first time that the water was in the flood pool since New Years Day in 2005, when storms caused flooding along the Russian River. The lake is the primary source of water for 600,000 residents from Windsor to San Rafael. Press Democrat_ 1/26/10
The Environmental Protection Agency last month issued revised permits for oil companies to dump literally rivers of wastewater—including hydraulic fracturing fluids—on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming.
Some of the chemicals the companies have told the EPA they are adding to the wells, or that have been found in the wastewater, include benzene, arsenic and hydrogen sulfide. These chemicals are known to or likely to cause cancer or other serious effects when consumed or breathed in at high enough concentrations. The remote streams of wastewater are used by livestock and wildlife, but not by people as drinking water, creating a regulatory loophole.
High Country News_ 4/14/15
You may not want your wastewater, but one of nature’s curiosities is that there are creatures out there that do. Very tiny little creatures, with questionable taste. Fort Worth’s Village Creek Water Reclamation Facility has found a way to put those microorganisms to good use, capturing the methane they release to power 75 percent of the plant’s energy needs — a bit of ingenuity that has made the site a model of energy-saving success. “We take what nature does and speed it up,” said Jerry Pressley, the facility’s water-systems superintendent. “There’s very much a science to it. We’ve established conditions that favor one group of organisms to do what we want them to do.” Dallasnews.com_4/19/15
Potable water reuse or recycling — purifying wastewater so it can be used as drinking water — eliminates the need for a separate network of purple pipes. However, it also has faced fits and starts in this region because of the “yuck factor” and other reasons. In January, (San Diego) Mayor Kevin Faulconer and some environmentalists formed a coalition to promote potable water recycling. Their name for the concept: the Pure Water Project. From each gallon of wastewater, the city envisions converting 80 percent into ultra-clean water and flushing the remaining 20 percent as waste. The pitch is part of a complex request that needs clearances from federal and state regulators. The plan is to release the repurified water into reservoirs, to be treated again along with incoming fresh water. This plan is called “indirect potable reuse,” as opposed to direct potable reuse, in which repurified water is directly piped back to customers. If all goes well, the city estimates that by 2035 it can produce 83 million gallons of drinkable water per day from the project. That would be about one-third of San Diego’s total potable water consumption by then. UTsandiego.com_ 4/18/15
Commonly used testing methods may underestimate the total radioactivity of wastewater produced by gas wells that use hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to tap the Marcellus Shale, a geological formation in the northeastern United States, concludes a new study. The findings suggest government agencies should consider retooling some testing recommendations and take a fresh look at possible worker exposure to potentially harmful waste, the authors say. But some outside researchers are skeptical that the laboratory study reflects real-world conditions. Sciencemag.org_4/9/15
To get a drink of water at the arena, named The Q, you must stand in line at a concession stand, where you can get a small courtesy cup of water for free or pay $4 for bottled water. Team spokesman Tad Carper said the Cavs took out the fountains in November to reduce the spread of bacteria and viruses that cause H1N1 flu and other illnesses. He said Friday that with health-related decisions like this one, the team takes advice from the National Basketball Association and the International Association of Assembly Managers. However, officials from those organizations said in interviews that they are not recommending that fountains be removed. Local health officials said in interviews Friday that research does not suggest that turning off water fountains is necessary to fight the spread of viruses. Cleveland Plain-Dealer_ 2/8/10
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