Joerg Barandat – WATERINTAKE 4/2015



April / Mai



Puerto Rico orders water-rationing measures amid dry spell

May 16 2015 … Puerto Rico imposed strict water-rationing measures … that will make daily showers a challenge for tens of thousands of people and force businesses such as restaurants and car washes to brace for a summer expected to be drier than usual … "This is not the time to be filling up pools, washing cars or using hoses to clean," said Alberto Lazaro, executive president of Puerto Rico’s water and sewer company. He said rationing could be extended to an additional 70,000 people if rain doesn’t fall soon. Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla recently declared a state of emergency given the increasingly dry conditions …

Rethinking the water cycle – How moving to a circular economy can preserve our most vital resource

May 15 2015 … three basic beliefs:

• All durables, which are products with a long or infinite life span, must retain their value and be reused but never discarded or down cycled (broken down into parts and repurposed into new products of lesser value).

• All consumables, which are products with a short life span, should be used as often as possible before safely returning to the biosphere.

• Natural resources may only be used to the extent that they can be regenerated.

Even countries with advanced water-management systems violate these fundamental rules. They often fail to purify water before discharging it back into the environment because cleanup costs are high or prohibitive, even when energy or valuable chemicals could be extracted. The substances contained in the water then become pollutants. Equally troubling, any volume of water removed from the system is seldom replaced with return flow of the same quality … We are witnessing significant improvements in membrane-based treatments that separate water from contaminants, allowing for reuse and commercialization at grand scale … Innovators, responsible operators, and committed system developers are spearheading the creation of new technological solutions, pilot cases, and initiatives to improve water management. Many of the technologies are already generating profits or will be soon. These include the bespoke polymers that are created during the biological digestion of wastewater, as well as vapor-transfer irrigation systems that use low-cost plastic tubes that allow water vapor to pass but not water or solutes, making saltwater irrigation possible. Equally important, leaders are also rethinking their institutional approach to water management. Many of their solutions are only being applied at small scale, however, and this must change over the next ten years to meet the water-resource challenge … The shift to a circular water economy holds much promise. It would replace scarcity with abundance and greatly reduce the resources needed to run our global water infrastructure. At some point, a circular water economy might even eliminate rapidly growing cleanup costs because no harmful substances would ever be added to the water supply. Since water is the single most important shared resource across all supply chains, and wastewater is the largest untapped waste category—as big as all solid-waste categories taken together—it is the natural starting point for the circular revolution. The water sector’s advanced technologies and proven record of multistakeholder agreements also lend themselves to circular solutions. We must capture this unique opportunity now, before localized droughts and shortages become a global crisis …

Danke für diesen Lesehinweis nach Berlin! J.B.

Why Food Companies Aren’t Prepared To Deal With Water Scarcity

May 9, 2015 Leading global food companies are failing to account for impending water scarcity in their business plans, a new report finds … Feeding Ourselves Thirsty: How the Food Sector is Managing Global Water Risks looked at how the world’s top 37 food companies, like Coca-Cola, Cargill, and General Mills, are planning for a world with water shortages. The results, according to Brooke Barton, senior director of Ceres’ Water Program, are concerning. “If you look at the science of groundwater depletion, climate change and the math of growing population, we’re coming to the end of cheap plentiful water … By and large, most companies seem to be asleep at the wheel” …

Bezugsdokument: Ceres Report: Feeding Ourselves Thirsty

Damit Malta nicht austrocknet: Expertenkommission fordert Regulierungs- und Tarifsysteme

08.05.15 Malta könnte ohne Importe von Lebensmitteln und die darin enthaltenen virtuellen Wassermengen nicht überleben. Der Inselstaat leidet unter Trockenheit und hat selber knappe Ressourcen. Bei den Importen hängt er auch “am Fliegenfänger” anderer Staaten und deren Wasservorräten. Mal gerade 8 Prozent des als Wasserfussabdruck in Nahrungsmitteln gebundenen virtuellen Wassers stammt von der Insel selbst. Die restlichen 92 Prozent kommen in Importen aus anderen Regionen der Erde. Und da diese auch aus Ländern stammen, die selbst unter Wasserstress oder -knappheit leiden, könnte es eng werden für die Mittelmeer-Insulaner, wenn die global Wasserknappheit zunimmt …

Detroit to study ways to help the poor pay water bills

May 4, 2015 While water shutoffs to Detroit households with unpaid bills are expected to resume within weeks, city officials are still trying to figure out the best way to help poor people stay up-to-date on their bills. Some council members and activists are interested in a plan that sets water rates based on customers‘ income. But officials aligned with the water department and Mayor Mike Duggan are more focused on providing financial assistance to the needy rather than asking customers with more money to pay higher rates … "The real challenge here is understanding who is truly in need and making damn sure we’re helping them — finding a way to help them — as opposed to folks that just aren’t paying their bill and can afford to do it," said Gary Brown, Detroit’s chief operating officer … There are between 20,000 and 25,000 Detroit households currently in shutoff status, deputy Detroit water director Darryl Latimer said today …

Fracking Chemicals Detected in Pennsylvania Drinking Water

MAY 4, 2015 An analysis of drinking water sampled from three homes in Bradford County, Pa., revealed traces of a compound commonly found in Marcellus Shale drilling fluids … The industry has long maintained that because fracking occurs thousands of feet below drinking-water aquifers, the drilling chemicals that are injected to break up rocks and release the gas trapped there pose no risk. In this study, the researchers note that the contamination may have stemmed from a lack of integrity in the drill wells and not from the actual fracking process far below. The industry criticized the new study, saying that it provided no proof that the chemical came from a nearby well …

Know your city’s outdoor water policy as dry summer approaches

May 03, 2015 Salem City has some big, sharp, scary-looking teeth within its outdoor watering ordinance … 99 percent of residents are conservation conscious during a drought. “That 1 percent has got to realize that we have a water shortage and they need to work with us … The heavier fine might wake them up to comply along with the rest of the residents.” How heavy is the fine? As much as $750, and that fine goes toward supplying the offender with a pressurized irrigation water meter. Upon a fourth violation, Salem City will shut off the offender’s pressurized irrigation system for the 2015 season. The second-driest state in the U.S., Utah is also one of the most abusive when it comes to conserving water … Salem isn’t the only municipality getting tough on water conservation violations. Payson’s ordinance for misusing its pressurized water irrigation system can sic an offender with a $750 fine or up to 90 days in jail, or both …

The key to Nepal’s economy is … water

April 29, 2015 Some countries are endowed with vast oil supplies, while others have timber, minerals or coal. Nepal has water, and lots of it. Nestled high in the mountains between India and China, Nepal has 6,000 rivers, huge glaciers, and many of the world’s tallest snow-capped peaks, including Mount Everest. The country’s hydropower potential is simply massive. At peak capacity, Nepal could produce as much power as 20 Hoover Dams, or two hydroelectric plants on the scale of China’s gigantic Three Gorges Dam … "Hydropower development could be a game changer for Nepal," the International Monetary Fund said … So far, Nepal has realized less than 2% of its commercially viable hydropower capacity. The idea is that by generating more power from its rivers, the country will not only be able to meet its own energy needs, but also export electricity to India and China … Right now, Nepal’s economy generates just $20 billion in activity per year — or less than $1,000 per person — making it one of the smallest in the world. Many families live in poverty, and others rely on funding from relatives who work abroad. The unemployment rate is near 50% …

Will Israel’s new water technology yield political gain in the arid Middle East?

April 26, 2015 … For decades, Israel and its neighbors diverted the Jordan’s flow to supply drinking water and water for crops. While the river is down 95 percent from its historical flow, there’s hope that someday, it could return to its former glory. That’s because Israel today has more water than it needs — it’s gone from drought to water surplus in just a few years – impressive anywhere, but especially in the arid Middle East, one of the driest regions in the world … Through a combination of recycling, conservation, and most recently desalination technology — removing salt from salt water — Israel not only has plenty to drink, but potentially plenty to share. And that could be good news for easing tensions in a region where water is often the source of conflict. Israel is already easily the world leader in water reuse — far outpacing the rest of the world, including the United States … Today Israel’s challenge is to do all it can to secure its water independence — and to use that independence to build bridges with its neighbors.

siehe auch:

23.04.2015 Wasser fürs Leben – Der Jordan ist ein wichtiges Reservoir für die Region. Wie geht Israel mit den knappen Ressourcen um?

Invention Turns Salt Water Into Drinking Water Using Solar Power

April 23, 2015 … USAID recently announced the winners of the Desal Prize, part of a competition to see who could create an affordable desalination solution for developing countries. The idea was to create a system that could remove salt from water and meet three criteria: it had to be cost-effective, environmentally sustainable, and energy efficient. The winners of the $140,000 first prize were a group from MIT and Jain Irrigation Systems. The group came up with a method that uses solar panels to charge a bank of batteries. The batteries then power a system that removes salt from the water through electrodialysis … In addition to getting rid of salt (which makes water unusable for crops and for drinking), the team also applied UV light to disinfect some of the water as it passed through the system. Using the sun instead of fossil fuels to power a desalination plant isn’t a totally new idea. Larger solar desalination plants are being seriously investigated in areas where water is becoming a scarce resource, including Chile and California. While proponents hope to eventually could provide water to large numbers of people, the technology is still expensive (though prices are dropping) and requires a lot of intricate technology …

Video: Brewing beer from recycled sewage water

April 20, 2015 Oregon has OK’d what sounds like a far-fetched idea – making beer from sewage water …

California Water Crisis –


Water Woes but not Water Wars: Getting Beyond Fatalism.

09 April 2015 … High modern water engineering has made possible the miracle that is California – not only its heavily populated cities, but its food and agricultural commodity abundance. And such a model inspires the rest of the world to strive for similar outcomes, so we have cotton production in the arid lands of Uzbekistan, and lemons in the Negev desert. Millions of acres of cereal and feed crops are grown around the world in environments transformed from hostile to hospitable by engineering science. But what is the outcome of such miracles of modernity? Aside from enhanced crop production, the most important outcome is the so-called ‘global water crisis’. Make no mistake: despite all of the cries of ‘climate change!’ humans are the architects of this water crisis. Fate is not our master; we are. It is not my main intention here, in this short article, to make an argument for better crop choices (drought resistant and indigenous rather than water-hogging introduced species), or to describe the ways and means of lessening our water use (eat less meat; eat high-nutrition locally grown cabbages not imported California lettuces; eat preserved jams made from local fruits not out of season strawberries imported from California). My main intention is to shine a spotlight on the water crisis and to say that it is a crisis of our own making. Let California stand in as the poster-child for this problem: we have chosen to commandeer water resources and direct them to largely menial ends (almonds, lettuce, strawberries and grapes – crops grown all over the world, all easily substitutable and none essential). Certainly the agricultural industry creates jobs and generates wealth, but it is an industry built on a hydrological fault line where sustained drought has begun to shake the house that high modern technology built. If, as in Australia at the beginning of this Century, the house should come crashing down, we only have ourselves to blame. Post-disaster management suggests that we must ‘build back better’. In my view, this prolonged drought challenges not only Californians but every one of us to reconsider the ends to which we use our water resources. How did we end up on this technological hard path to dependence and vulnerability, made manifest around the production of basically inessential commodities? Rather than defend our rights to produce whatever the market will bear, we should come together to reexamine food and agricultural policy from a sustainability perspective. Eating less meat will not kill you; to the contrary it may make you healthier. Empirical evidence shows that extreme events tend to have different impacts: floods tend to bring people together in cooperative action whereas drought tends to heighten tension and often leads to violent conflict. While it is unlikely that California’s current water problems will lead to such violence in the short term, it is not out of the realm of possibility, barring state intervention through drought relief supports and so on, in the medium to long term. Hard choices face the people of California. Altering embedded practices will not be easy. A serious conversation centered around production must begin now.

Video: California Gov. Jerry Brown wants $10,000 fines for water wasters

April 29, 2015 … Gov. Jerry Brown … called for $10,000 fines for residents and businesses that waste the most water as California cities try to meet mandatory conservation targets during the drought …