Archive for the 'Water News – Global' Category

No Water Gets No Attention

In a revealing article on Canadian Maude Barlow by Embassy Magazine, the newly minted senior adviser on water to the UN General Assembly, lets loose on what has driven her for the past 23 years: Water. With her new position, she is seeking to position water-related issues into the global forefront, alongside poverty and food issues.

Since WaterDrop started this blog, we’ve been continually seeking the information to show that water is a growing crisis that is looming underneath the world’s radar. Ms. Barlow frankly states that more deaths are caused by water-borne diseases than by war, traffic accidents and HIV combined. These alarming facts are true and the water crisis receives very little attention.

I find it astounding that in both this country and the United States, there was another federal election with not one mention of water. I find it astounding. I mean in the U.S., there are seven states in absolute crisis now. To me it’s such a disconnect and it’s still the biggest problem we have.

Ms. Barlow strives to ensure the clean water that we currently have is protected and that the private sector does not have the power to dictate costs over those who need pure, clean water the most. She believes that technology is not the answer to the question.

Can we protect the sources we have as best as we can or are we going to cavalierly destroy them and then assume technology will clean it up?

Check out the full article here.

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Canada’s own Maude Barlow named senior UN water advisor

Maude Barlow, a world-renowned water activist and Canadian, has been named the senior water advisor for the United Nations. She will be working closely with Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann, president of the 63rd session of the United Nations, to bring the water issue into a global light.

She is attempting to work with the United Nations to introduce a three-pronged plan.

Three goals: Use the incredible talent, research and resources that exist at the UN and give it direction, a vision and cohesion. Second: To shift the power balance around water from institutions like the World Bank and World Water Forum and give them transparency at the UN General Assembly. And third, he is supportive of the principle of the universal right to water. We will be unveiling a plan on Dec. 10, which is the 60th anniversary of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights – Maude Barlow.

Check out the full article here. It’s a great article with Ms. Barlow expressing great concern on the growing global water crisis. Not only does she talk about the water of the world at large, but the impact Canada has on the world’s water supply. Why don’t we prevent a problem before it begins? Canada is not impervious to water problems, there are growing water scarcities all over the country.

You can check out a documentary on water that recently came out here. The film is called “Flow” and has  been featured in film festivals all across the world (with Sundance being one of them). Maude Barlow is featured heavily in this film. The documentary asks us a vital question: can anyone really own water?

World News: China Relocates Population Due to Water Crisis

Just six weeks before Beijing launches the 2008 Summer Olympics, the city is facing a massive water crisis that might force residents to move to surrounding cities. In the coming decades, the city will start resettling it’s residents to nearby cities with adequate water supplies.

 

Beijing may be headed towards an economic collapse due to the current water crisis.

According to Grainne Ryder, policy director with the Canadian-based Probe International, predicts that Beijing could run out of water in five to ten years. Ryder also warns that along with running out of water, the city will be forced into an economic collapse.

More alarming is that Beijing is now relying on groundwater for the city’s sustanance because the local rivers and reseviors are drying up. The groundwater was originally slated to be used during emergencies such as natural disasters or wars.

For the full article, please click here

Water and Corporate Social Responsibility

WaterDrop often highlights some of the negative water news going on throughout the world, and this is because in general, most events paint a fairly bleak outlook on the state of water. Droughts, sanitation, pollution, and countless other issues are beginning to break through mainstream media.

But what about the other side of things? What are people and companies doing to make a difference?

GE Goes Blue with a Purification Plant in China

With the latest greenification trends sweeping business and politics, it is sometimes difficult to take companies seriously when their “green” initiatives seem to be aimed at creating an image boost rather than tangible results. But this is not always the case.

General Electric, the giant corporation with businesses ranging from manufacturing jet engines to commercial lending, started up it’s ‘Ecomagination‘ program 3 years ago, and has made significant inroads to being a more sustainable company. Recently, GE has shifted it’s attention on water. It aims to cut its water usage 20 percent by 2012, a move that should reduce its annual operating costs by $15 million to $20 million. Lorraine Bolsinger, vice president of Ecomagination, said in a recent interview to Reuters, “There is going to be a price on water that is going to reflect its scarcity, and today it doesn’t.

Global company Coca-Cola also has saved over 18.6% of its water usage since 2003.

But what about smaller local companies? Is there anything they can do?

Being a water sustainable company can be as simple as adding toilet bags to company toilets, or low flow aerators for taps. If you are business or an individual that has taken water saving intitives, WaterDrop would love to hear from you. Please send us your information as well as your story and we will profile you in an upcoming post.

waterdropmovement@gmail.com

World News: Desparate Times In New England

I found an interesting article today about New England opening a desalinization plant despite its seemingly abundant water resources. The full article can be found here

Desalinization Plant

Desalinization Plant in New England

Despite abundant lakes and good rainfall, weak groundwater resources have crimped economic growth in some areas. As a result, the first big New England desalination plant turning brackish (salt water, fresh water mix) into fresh is expected to go online in Massachusetts this month.

That surprises some people, but not Robert Tannenwald, an economist and director of the New England Public Policy Center at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Two years ago he did a study showing that New England – contrary to public perceptions – is not at all water-rich region, but one that needs to manage its water supplies more carefully and look for new sources.

“There’s still a general mind-set [in New England] that water as a resource is not in scarce supply – but it is,” Mr. Tannenwald says. “We waste a lot of water. There’s a lot of leaky pipes around here. So economics has to kick in and water has to be priced accordingly for the waste to stop.”

Tannenwald’s statement about the general mind-set of New Englanders, is not just limited to the north eastern United States. Living in the very water rich environment of Vancouver, it is sometimes easy to slip into this mentality. However, with Canada’s fresh water resources limited, it is important to note that Vancouver and Canada as a whole are not impervious to a water scarcity.

Metro-Vancouver is expected to grow 34% to just under 2.9 million people over the next 20 years, and our fresh water supply will have to keep up. In the article, the author points to economic growth as the main motivator for the desalinization plant, as without it, New England’s economy would not be able to expand. It would truly be a shame for Vancouver to have to go through the same scenario, limiting it’s economic potential for a situation as preventable and responsible as water conservation and sustainability.

Can Water Go Green?

In an article by the New York Times, Fiji water is overhauling their marketing strategy to “Go Green.” Fiji water claims to be the purest of all bottled water . They claim to be artesian water. By definition, this is water that comes from a source deep within the earth. The water is thus protected by many layers of clay and rock. This water source is protected from air, which prevents it from being exposed to environmental pollutants and other contamination.

The world’s purest bottled water company still needs an image-adjustment?

However, with this still in mind, Fiji water is going through a major overhaul to gain an image that they are going green. Admittedly, they are taking steps to lessen their carbon emissions. For example, they are shipping not only to Los Angeles, but to Philadelphia as well, a move that lowered carbon emissions. This re-evaulation stems from media pressure. However, the bottled water industry is still seeing exponential growth annually. Some 3 billion bottles were sold last year. For this year, a 14 percent growth is projected. People just can’t get enough of bottled water, but why are bottled water companies trying to tailor their images to be green? Because they know there is a looming water crisis and having a wasteful image does not bode well for the their financial future.

Check out the article here.

Water and China – The Effects of Hosting an Olympic Event

With the 2010 Olympics fast approaching here in Vancouver, I began to wonder what effects the games will have on our watershed, what with over 500,000 people estimated to come for the event, alongside 6700 games participants, and 10,000 media correspondents, this makes for very large strain on our water system.

What are Vancouver's Olympic Plans?

Is Vancouver’s Watershed Prepared for the Olympic Strain?

I stumbled upon a post over at watercrunch, that outlines all the efforts China has undertaken to prepare them for the Bejiing Olympics. Here is a list of some of the initiatives the world superpower is undertaking. For a complete list check it out here.

  1. China is building 14 new wastewater treatment facilities, with the goal of increasing waste water treatment to 90 percent in both the city center and surrounding towns.
  2. China had a goal to increase sufficient water treatment for tap water from 42 percent in 2001 to 70 percent in Beijing. The tap water goal has been scaled back to focus only on the Olympic Village, postponing potable tap water for the whole city until after 2008.
  3. The national stadium drinking water project will use pretreatment and reverse osmosis to provide over 500 gallons per minute of drinking water (~500,000 bottles of water per day).
  4. A rainwater recycling project at the national stadium will recycle rainwater using underground pools and water will be re-used for landscaping, fire-fighting, and cleaning ( Capacity is about 80 tons per hour). This is a first for China.
  5. Qinghe Water Reuse Project—the largest municipal wastewater membrane reuse project in China—will supply water for the Olympic lake, landscaping, and non-drinking water applications in the Olympic Village.
  6. More than 150 million cubic meters (39.6 billion gallons) of water are being diverted from the Yellow River through a network of canals stretching across three provinces to refill a lake south of the historically drought-stricken Chinese capital.

As you can see, this is no small undertaking, and it is clearly going to take a huge toll on China’s already drought-strained resources. My question, as a local Vancouverite, is how much impact are the Olympics going to have on our water supply and what are the long term effects?

I am in the process of discovering this information and I will post more once I find out. In any event, it will be interesting to watch the success or failure of China’s water system will be on showcase when millions tune in for the event in 56 days.


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