Recently in Government & Water Category
The 8 stations are located throughout the city, with an interactive Google map pinpointing their locations. The agency has installed the tap stations to provide everyone with free access to high-quality, great tasting tap water from the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite National Park. The water costs less than half a penny per gallon, is tested over 100,000 times per year, and is held to higher standards and regulations set by than EPA than some bottled water companies.
Tap and hydration stations is a trend that is not unique to San Francisco. They have also become quite popular on college campuses across the U.S. and in other cities.
Photo Credit: "Outdoor Water Stations in San Francisco" from the SF Public Utilities Commission and powered by Google.
- Some water districts have programs that give out free water-saving gadgets like aerators. Check your local water district's website. Aerators are small devices that attach to more modern faucets that maintains water pressure while using less water. According to Envirogadget.com, traditional taps without an aerator flows at around 15 Liters per minute. With an aerator, the volume is cut down to 6 liters per minute. That's a 60% reduction in water!
- Place a blue dye tank tablet in your toilet. If your bowl water turns blue without flushing, you know there's a leak in the tank. San Francisco's Public Utilities Commission gives out free flapper and fill valves to fix the leaks.
- Spend $10 or so on an inexpensive moisture sensor for your garden. It will let you know exactly when your plants may really need watering and when you are just drowning them from the ground up while running up your bill.
- When brushing your teeth, fill a cup with water for rinsing and turn off the tap instead of running the tap or catching water with your hands. It minimizes unused wasted water.
- Four words: low flow shower heads. According to Conservation Warehouse International, pre-1994 shower heads installed in your bathrooms has a 20% higher flow rate than more modern shower heads. The Environmental Protection Agency have noted that showering is the highest water-usage activity in residential homes, which is why it is important to moderate your water usage here. Modern Low Flow Shower Heads are inexpensive and very efficient, which allows you to take the same pressurized shower without the high water flow.
Floridians can now highlight April as a time to conserve our planet's most precious resource. Several counties and municipalities have officially designated April as Water Conservation Month. The St. John's River Water Management District, which contains an 18-county area, is among parts of Florida to also put water use restrictions in effect. In a state where thousands begin their outdoor lawn care and irrigation activities in April, many sources have given Floridians new ways to reduce water use.
The Southwest Florida Management District is asking residents to pledge to conserve water using specific techniques such as replacing high-use shower heads. The American Water Works Association in Florida (AWWA) also offers suggestions for ways residents can conserve through April and beyond.
The state of Arizona is also hailing April as Water Awareness Month and is asking residents to be conscious of the amount of water each person uses. Additionally, there is a calendar of events for Arizona residents who would like learn ways to be more environmentally conscious and participate in community sustainability initiatives.
Even outside states where drought is common, throughout the month of April people begin to use more water for outdoor activities nationwide. By using some of the sources provided for Florida residents, everyone can ensure a more sustainable start to spring.
Photo Credit: "Life in Sunny Florida" by Meaghan Gloede
The proposed solution, announced by Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on March 7th, is a 66 mile underwater pipeline from Turkey's mainland. The pipeline will provide the northern half of Cyprus with 75 million cubic meters of water annually. The planning began in 2010 and the pipeline will be operational by 2013, once the Alakpru Dam is completed in Turkey. This will help the northern Turkish region of the island have access to safe drinking water and will lessen the amount of needed water imports via tankers.
The pipeline project plans have been met with some opposition. The pipeline will only provide additional water resources to Turkish territory and could therefore amplify battles over water resources and increase political tension between Greek and Turkish Cyprus. Many have suggested that unifying water resources between the two halves of the island is necessary in order to ensure that all of Cyrus' people have access to safe drinking water. There is also concern that Turkey's dams will not be enough to end the territory's shortage.
It is likely that as more regions fall prey to serious drought, political battles over water resources will be paramount. We can hope that in Cyprus and elsewhere around the globe, new technology and conservation efforts will lessen the negative impacts of drought and growing population on access to clean water.
Photo Credit: "Drought" by Bert Kauffman via flickr used under the creative commons license
Singapore has turned to recycling sewage and waste water, and millions of the nation's people have accepted this new move as necessary. The country has previously relied on Malaysia and other neighboring lands for water resources, but there has been a push to make Singapore water self-sufficient. Previously, recycled waste water has been utilized for Singapore's industrial needs, but has also begun more frequently running through the tap. In Windhoek, Namibia, sewage purification has been a reality for several decades. With wider public acceptance of the technology, recycling waste water has the potential to end water-rights disputes that are likely to form in nations that often face shortages, such as the US, China, Egypt, and Vietnam.
Recycling waste water for home uses is also present in the US. This method of recycled water is used by NASA for the space station. Toilet-to-tap water recycling has also been a reality in Orange County and San Diego, California since 2008. Finally, nearly 5% of all tap water from Fairfax Water, a company that supplies to more than 1.5 million in Northern Virginia, comes from recycled sewage. Fairfax first began using this method of water-recycling in the 1970's and continues to expand its use.
The obvious barrier to this more drought-resilient technology is public aversion to drinking water that was once sewage. Psychologists have studied the reaction to toilet-to-tap systems and observed that even proving water is safe and clean is not enough to settle the stomachs of citizens who feel they could be drinking pure sewage. In truth, however, recycled waste water might not only be the answer to shortages caused by climate and growing population, but it is also generally cleaner than bottled water. The three stages of water purification used during this process ensure that water quality meets EPA tap water regulations, which are stricter than those placed on bottled water manufacturers. Furthermore, only 10% of this recycled waste water actually comes from toilets, despite the method's nickname. The rest comes from other sources such as showers, sinks, and washing machines.
First, water is filtered through an intricate purification system that removes harmful bacteria. Second, waste water molecules undergo reverse osmosis, which forces incredible pressure upon the molecules that are then pushed through plastic. Lastly, the water is exposed to ultra violet light and small samples of peroxide, eliminating even the tiniest unwanted bacteria. This three step process purifies water to a higher regulatory standard than even popular and expensive bottled spring water.
Should the public learn to accept "toilets to tap", the benefits will be seen world-wide. Water-related conflict will become a worry of the past as each nation could be self-sufficient producers of water resources to support growing population. This technology is also eco-friendly as it directly recycles a precious resource instead of harvesting new sources of water such as through energy-intensive desalination. It could also give more than 800 million people access to clean water who currently live without it. In the future of water purification, we hope to see toilet-to-tap triumph!
Photo Credit: "Glass of Water With Light" by mike_w40 used under the creative commons copyright
Passed in 2008, London's ban on the selling of bottled water at city-owned sites has appeared to be a relatively popular initiative: "I didn't receive any phone calls in the last three years-no complaints, nothing," said Councilman Bill Armstrong. Within the three years of the bottled water ban's existence it has benefited the citizens of London both economically and environmentally. It has reduced the amount of single use plastic containers that enter the London waste stream by an estimated 25%, and the economical tap water substitute has cut the annual expense of drinking water by over $1,000 per citizen.
But the supposedly harmless suggestion to review the bill, by bottled water industry giant Nestle Waters, has councilmen weighing the rationality behind the 2008 ban. Councilman Paul Meerbergen speaks against the ban, calling it "a real step backwards." Those opposed to the ban argue that the bottled water directly competes with sugary beverages, and that removing this healthy option compromises the health of London's citizens.
One of the bill's biggest criticizers, Mayor Joe Fontana, claims that to deny people the opportunity to buy bottled water is "philosophically dumb." But it does not take a philosopher to see that their argument based in maintaining the "citizens health" contains more holes then a pasta strainer.
The city of London, Ontario can easily create a health conscious community without bottled water by implementing and promoting tap water alternatives. The argument of "citizen's health" also ignores the environmental impact of the single-use bottle entirely. Communal water bottle refilling stations are just one of the many ways that London officials can pacify their fears of sugary excess amongst citizens, while creating ecological improvement for their community.
Looking to close its $8 million dollar budget gap, Yale's municipal assembly is urging the city of New Haven, Connecticut to cut out its $32,000 yearly expense on bottled water in favor of low cost, well-regulated and readily available tap water.
The new petition, led by Yale Universities chair of city services and the environmental committee Justin Elicker, would end the supply of bottled water to New Havens municipal offices, which currently receive regular shipments of 5-gallon jugs of bottled water. Recognizing the irony in regards to the 5-gallon jugs supplied to the municipal office, Elicker states, "it is just tap water, filtered a little bit, from Worcester, Mass." If passed the city order would also end the purchase of personal sized bottles of water, which are bought by the city and resold to New Haven public school students.
Calling this proposal a "no-brainer," Elicker reasons that "The way things stand, people perceive they have to pay $1.50 for bottled water every time. But the reality is that tap water is of very high quality, so we need to be teaching our kids that tap water is good and healthy." The city of New Haven has backed up these claims by inquiring local water authorities to conduct numerous tests, which proved the water was in fact of a high purity level and well-regulated.
It has been estimated that New Havens switch to tap water will decrease the cities water expenses from $32,000 to a mere $160 annually. The proposals success would also help reduce the citizen's day-to-day expenses and help to educate the community on the superiority of tap water. Yale alderman Matt Smith added that among the fiscal benefits the environmental benefits of consuming less plastic and reducing interstate trucking give even more reason to support New Haven's tap water proposal.
Hydropower is considered a renewable, low-emissions form of energy. Electricity is generated by moving water and is naturally renewed by precipitation, stream flow, and runoff. The greatest resource input occurs during construction and installation. The plan for the Nu River is part of China's efforts to reduce carbon emissions and get 15% of the country's energy from non-fossil fuel sources by 2020.
Although the project is being hailed as a big step in renewable energy advancements, the dams are being met with many justifiable concerns. First, the plans are expected to displace thousands of people who currently live along the middle and lower reaches of the river, where the dams will be located. Second, the region is home to delicate fish populations and 80 endangered species, including the snow leopard. Finally, the hydropower facilities are expected to greatly disrupt ecosystems, impact biodiversity, and fragment habitats.
The question is whether the environmental costs outweigh the benefits. When plans for the hydropower resource were suspended in 2004, it was because the ecological implications were deemed too severe. As plans now resume, the need for renewable energy development and meeting increased energy demands, which is good for the environment as well as the economy in China, are considered paramount. What is obvious is that battle between big hydro, the government, and conservationists in China is far from over.
Photo Credit: "Nu River" by Tammasak from Flickr used under the Creative Commons Copyright