Posts Tagged 'water crisis'

Flow: For the Love of Water

Film director Irena Salina’s documentary entitled Flow: For the Love of Water has been described as water’s version of Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth. The film strives to put a human face on the global water crisis.

“One of the things that became immediately apparent to me was that water is a truly unifying element. We all need it, we all want it and more than anything else in the world it is the one thing that connects us all – Irena Salina.

If you live in or near the Vancouver, Canada area and would like to check out the documentary, it will begin showing on December 12th, 2008 at the Vancity Theatre. Go see it right away because it’s only in Vancouver for a week!

Vancity Theatre

1181 Seymour St., Vancouver

tel. (604) 683-3456

In the meantime, you can check out the website here for more information and background on the people who made the documentary and how it was made.

 

 

flow

Irena Salina’s award-winning documentary investigation into what experts label the most important political and environmental issue of the 21st Century – The World Water Crisis. Salina builds a case against the growing privatization of the world’s dwindling fresh water supply with an unflinching focus on politics, pollution, human rights, and the emergence of a domineering world water cartel. Interviews with scientists and activists intelligently reveal the rapidly building crisis, at both the global and human scale, and the film introduces many of the governmental and corporate culprits behind the water grab, while begging the question “CAN ANYONE REALLY OWN WATER?” Beyond identifying the problem, FLOW also gives viewers a look at the people and institutions providing practical solutions to the water crisis and those developing new technologies, which are fast becoming blueprints for a successful global and economic turnaround.

Water – Use It Wisely: Join the Cause

Water – Use It Wisely knows the importance of water conservation and they know how to get the message out. This Arizona-based organization has won many state, national and international awards for their innovative water conservation campaigns.

wuiw-logo-colorb

Started in 1999, Water – Use It Wisely was launched to promote awareness of the growing water concern in the state of Arizona. Soon after, their water conservation campaign grew to the many of Arizona’s cities.

Today, Water – Use It Wisely is one of the leading water conservation educational outreach programs in the world, with over 400 towns, cities, states, utilities and public and private organizations having adopted their program. Even more impressive, Lowe’s and Home Depot have been featuring the Water – Use It Wisely campaign within their stores for months.

Water – Use It Wisely has been recognized by prestigious awards including; the Telly Awards, Utility Communicators Awards and the Concordia Awards. They know how to get the word out and they recognize the importance for all of us to get involved.

Check out their website here and you’ll find a fantastic portal to a great deal of water-related information, ways to get involved, 100 methods of conserving water, links to other organizations and companies and many other helpful resources. What makes Water – Use It Wisely unique? They not only want to get the word out about water-related issues, but they give you proactive ways for you to make a difference.

We here at WaterDrop are excited to have formed a partnership with Water – Use It Wisely. Like us, they recognize that water affects us all and that we all can make a difference.

TWU Magazine’s Article on WaterDrop

WaterDrop has recently been featured in an article in Trinity Western University Magazine. You can check out the article here. Thanks to everyone at TWU Magazine for helping us get the word out!

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?

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: 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

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

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.

Water Nation

Who do you think uses the most water in the world? Automatically, most of us here in Canada, as well as the rest of the world will look southward to our neighbor, the United States, which happens to be true. Who do you think comes in second? Canada. That is an answer must of us would not expect.

Water: Quietly overlooked.

Canada is a proactive nation when it comes to conservation. We try to drive less, we turn down our fire places and furnaces, we use energy-conserving light bulbs and many other activities, but one blaring aspect that we overlook is conserving water. The Vancouver public maintains an opinion that since it rains here in abundance, that freshwater is readily available in copious amounts. However, consider the fact that we receive a great deal of our freshwater from glacier run-off and we only receive 40 percent of rain water (the rest drains northward to inaccessible regions). We don’t have as much freshwater as you may think. Canada does have an abundance of fresh water, placing third in the world, but that does not mean that water will not be an issue now and in the near future. Even with the world’s third largest freshwater supply, there are currently water issues all over Canada. Most of Canada’s population is centered around the Great Lakes, which is currently having massive water issues. One in three Canadians live around the Great Lakes and water levels there are at a historic low. The conditions are worsening. Canada is having water issues, yet we keep using more and the population continues to boom.

As we have stated in some of our previous blogs, on average, each Canadian uses 335 litres of water, not just in a week, but every single day. That’s 2,345 in a week, 9,380 in a month and 112,560 in a year. Phew! Hold your breath. That’s 49,683,984,000 litres a year for British Columbia’s population alone. Even more mind-boggling is that Canadians as a whole use double the amount of freshwater than Europeans do. There’s more. Guess where water consumption is decreasing? The United States. Now take a guess who’s water consumption is increasing? Canada. Our water consumption has increased nearly 25 percent in the past decade alone and there are no signs of letting up. Think about it this way, we could be using 25,000,000,000 litres a year. If those Europeans can survive on 170 litres a day, than we can do it.

Check out this article from the Vancouver Sun. It is pretty eye-opening.

UPDATE: June 17-2008. Reader Chris Murphy lets us know about this..

How’s this for Canadian Water preservation: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/06/16/condemned-lakes.html

Mining companies get big subsides on the back of Canadian fresh water.

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.


Action

Join Us On Facebook!

Think Outside the Bottle - Take the pledge today!

Water For Life Decade

Add to Technorati Favorites

WaterDrop Archives

del.icio.us tags

Waterdroppers

  • 83,284 friends