Archive for the 'Water News – USA' Category

One Step Closer to Water Conscious Construction

Heard of LEED certified?

It is the standard that house builders try to certify their homes through. It basically means using sustainable and energy conserving products. Really cool stuff.

Locally in Vancouver, the 2010 Olympics have required most of their buildings to be LEED certified, so it is an important standard. But what about water consumption?  Well, recently in North Carolina, the EPA have celebrated the very first water efficient home, built to use 10,000 less gallons than a normal house. Check out the article below, courtesy of our friends at Circle Of Blue.

CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina — As green builders proliferate across the nation, blue buildings are claiming their fifteen minutes as well. This November U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials celebrate the very first water efficient house in the country.

Certified by EPA’s partner program WaterSense, the Briar Chapel Community home uses 10,000 gallons less water than a conventional abode. With less resource-intensive irrigation, efficient internal plumbing and low consumption appliances, builders say the structure saves water from lawn to laundry.

The accomplishment marks an important step toward increased consumer consciousness concerning resource use in the U.S. According to Water Partners International, the average American uses 100 to 176 gallons of water a day. That equals about 30 times the four to five gallons needed to survive. The average African uses 5 gallons.

Canada’s Blue Gold

Canada contains 21 percent of the 0.8 percent of total freshwater in the world. In an article by the Ottawa Citizen, they dub water as the 21st century’s “Blue Gold.” Luckily for Canada, it is one of its most abundant resources. Unluckily for Canada, the statistics are deceiving.

However, with the increasing number of countries worldwide facing water shortages and droughts, the only water that really matters is renewable water resources such as rainfall and snow melt. Canada has less than 10 percent of the world’s renewable water.

Most of this freshwater comes from the Great Lakes, which is already in danger of “over-pumping.” According to the article, even though many people and media sources revile bottled water as wasteful water use (which it is), more H2O is used to create milk, soft drinks, beer and products. Many fear that water is being wasted in the industrial sector, but according to figures, most water drawn from the Great Lakes are used to run hydro electric plants or to cooling resources for industrial processes and immediately returned to the source.

Pollution and invasive creatures threaten the Great Lakes as well. Because large shipping boats dump their ballasts into the lake, they also release hundreds of volatile and invasive creatures, further polluting the water. Frankly, there are also heavy signs of simple pollution from domestic dishwashers and agricultural processes.

With all this in mind, it goes to show that water is building steam (no pun intended) as we lunge head first into this new century. Oil is on everyone’s mind these days, but humanity can survive without oil, we can’t last three days without water. Wasting water is easy, conserving water is easier. You do the math.

Read the entire article here.

California Government Takes the Reigns on Water Conservation

The fires in California continue to rage, but a larger issue looms for the most populous state in the Union: the impending water crisis. The state has been in a drought for two years now and if it continues for another year, it will be the worst drought in California history.

Fire and Water 

The state of California largely depends on water from three primary sources. First, the Sierra Nevada snowpack, the Colorado River and finally the current water-storage system. Each of these sources are facing impending crises.

Here are some facts from an LA Times article By Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dianne Feinstein.

The snowpack, which was measured at only 67% of normal in May, has become dangerously unreliable because of global warming. It is estimated that climate change will cause the state’s snowpack to drop by 25% to 40% by 2050.

The Colorado River Basin just experienced an eight-year drought, and the amount of water that California is allowed to take from the river has dropped by 18% from 2003.

Reservoirs are dangerously low statewide. Lake Oroville, California’s second-largest storage reservoir, will end this year with its lowest amount of water in more than 30 years. Shasta Reservoir, the state’s largest, is at 48% of capacity.

At the same time that our water reserves are low, the courts have ordered restrictions on how much water can be pumped out of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, reducing water supplies by 20% to 30%. Just last week, a judge ordered state and federal regulators to come up with a plan to provide more water for salmon in the delta. This interim plan likely will require more reductions in pumping this winter.

The California population is expected to grow to 50 million within the next decade. The California government is attempting to enact legislation to store water in wet years for use in the dry years. However, Governor Schwarzenegger has admitted “clearly, the state is in crisis. Yet, to this point, we’ve been unable to forge a common path forward.” He knows the issue is one that must be acted upon swiftly. It all starts with a choice and we have the power to make an immediate impact, regardless of location, age, race, sex and occupation.

World News: Our Neighbor is High and Dry

Does it feel that serious water issues and droughts are far away in distant lands like Africa? We don’t have to look any further than California. A mere 14 hour drive from Vancouver, B.C.

California, which is an economic behemoth in the United States, is currently under the worst drought in over 20 years. Droughts come and go, but the key difference here is that development is slowing (and ceasing in some areas) because builders are having a difficult time finding long-term water supplies.

Drought In California

Worst Drought in Decades is Sweeping California

Conserving water does not only have an effect on the environment, but it can affect everyone’s pocketbook. A slowing economy due to a lack of water is a serious issue that effects every single person. Why not take advantage of our resources and maintain an attitude of sustainability to prepare for situations that are happening in California?

It would be wise to take heed to the water issue in California. For example, in California, 1,500 new home projects have been delayed indefinitely due to the fact that “the city doesn’t have enough water to adequately serve the development,” according to Paul Hood, the executive officer of the commission that approves the annexations and incorporations of cities in the Los Angeles region. Yes, Vancouver maybe surrounded by water from the ocean, rivers, lakes and the sky, but we have the chance to prevent problems rather than react to them.

The California governor, Mr. Schwarzenegger, has know turned his focus onto developing water conservation and quality improvement programs and has propsed a $11.9 billion dollar bond for water management investments. California is doing something, but is it too late? We won’t know until much later, but this is for certain, let’s act on the water crisis and not react to it.

More info on the drought can be found here and here


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