“Just Don’t Flush It”

This year’s winning short films were announced Sept. 20 at the Intelligent Use of Water™ Film Competition screening in Beverly Hills, CA. The 2011 Audience Choice Award went to

“Just Don’t Flush It” by Brian McAndrew, North Bend, Oregon – check it out!

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Water Supply – or Management – Crisis? The Right Question Will Drive the Right Solution · Environmental Management & Energy News · Environmental Leader

Water Supply – or Management – Crisis? The Right Question Will Drive the Right Solution · Environmental Management & Energy News · Environmental Leader.

Water Supply – or Management – Crisis? The Right Question Will Drive the Right Solution

The majority of public messaging is about the water supply crisis we are facing. It is true that climate change and increasing demand will outstrip safe and reliable sources if we continue down the current path. However, the problem is not a “supply crisis,” but instead a “water management” crisis. One simple example that highlights the problem is California’s current statewide drought emergency declaration and simultaneous flood warnings in communities statewide.

World Water Day is a clarion call to everyone – from individuals to our highest-level decision-makers – to start asking basic questions about the way we manage our precious water resources. Where does the water in your home or region come from? How much do we use and for what? What happens to that water once we’ve used it – often just once? Most importantly, are we managing this life-sustaining resource in a way that results in avoidable waste, intractable adverse impacts on our natural environment, and unsustainable economic growth?

Crisis often drives important reform. Sadly, too often that reform is driven by short-term reactionary solutions, avoiding the need for holistic and long-term sustainable solutions.

The crisis we face is much broader than the narrow focus on increasing water supplies. The challenges facing the southwest, if not every region of the world, offer opportunities for holistic reform of water management. We can, and must, resolve our water supply challenges with integrated solutions that reduce pollution, restore ecosystem services and health to local watersheds, eliminate much of the “embedded energy” in our supply and wastewater disposal systems, and adapt to climate change and the multiple threats it poses.

Does this sound like a Herculean task? It does. But like any effort to reform institutional and complex regulatory problems, the public needs a thorough and honest assessment of the problems, and a clear picture of the solutions. World Water Day can and should be the platform to project this vision. The public will drive reform once we understand, and can visualize, the multiple benefits to our economy, environment and quality of life in our community from integrated water management reforms.

Fortunately progressive planners and individuals are already incorporating pieces of the puzzle, and these successful examples can lead the way to holistic reform. Homeowners are beginning to conserve water and redesign their landscapes to capture rainwater. Cities are implementing Low Impact Development ordinances, creating “green streets,” constructing networks of treatment wetlands and other efforts to restore natural watershed benefits to urban settings. We are taking the “waste” of water and energy out of our sewage treatment facilities through safe and reliable recycled water systems. All of these pieces can be incorporated into integrated management reform that provides a multitude of benefits through sound economic investments.

The predictions of a looming “water supply crisis” only seem dire until we embrace the notion that the coordinated and cooperative efforts by many public agencies who have some authority over managing water, as well as our own efforts at home, can result in reform that integrates solutions to multiple problems. Crisis drives reform – and World Water Day is an invaluable opportunity to illustrate what the reform looks like in our communities and how we end up with a sustainable economy, environment and better quality of life.

Joe Geever is the California Policy Coordinator at Surfrider Foundation. His duties include a broad array of policy education and advocacy, including development and management of Surfrider Foundation’s new program “Know Your H2O.”

Caroma’s 2011 “One Flush Makes a Difference” Promotion – 50% off MSRP

http://www.caromausa.com/2011/02/09/2011_one_flush_makes_a_difference_50_off_promotion.php

2011 “One Flush Makes a Difference” Promotion

Caroma’s 50% off promotion is back! Last year’s promotion was a huge success and this year we’re once again inviting customers to receive a coupon for 50% off the list price of any qualifying Caroma toilet or sink at participating reseller locations*. The 2011 “One Flush Makes a Difference” promotion honors Earth Month and helps bring awareness to all that Caroma does to promote water-efficiency. You have until June 30, 2011 to participate in the promotion and receive 50 % off the list price of any qualifying Caroma toilet or sink.

Can One Flush Make a Difference?

Absolutely! In the United States federal law requires that new toilets must not exceed 1.6 gallons of water per flush (gpf). The high efficiency toilet (HET) category has set a standard in North America with 1.28 gallons per flush (gpf). Caroma’s HET’s go even further: The average flush of the toilets in Caroma’s standard collection is 1.06 gpf, while the Smart Series features an industry breaking 0.96 gpf!

Just think. If just one person uses a high efficiency toilet for one year then they will save around 330 gallons of water (based on the average three times a day flush). Further, if your toilet is from the 1980s, when new toilets were regulated to use 3.5 gallons of water per flush, you would save 2,410 gallons per year by switching to a HET toilet!

The numbers simply add up. If five people replaced their old 3.5 gpf toilet, over 12,000 gallons of water or the equivalent of 300 20-minute showers would be saved. One flush does make a difference, but if 2,000 people with new toilets switched to a HET toilet, in one year you would be able to fill an Olympic sized swimming pool with the water saved: 660,430 gallons! If 822 people using the old 3.5 gpf toilets changed to a Caroma HET toilet, we could fill an Olympic pool with the water saved!

Start Saving. Now you can save money and water at the same time with Caroma’s “One Flush Makes a Difference” 50% off promotion.

*Available through participating resellers only.
Excludes Invisi™ Series, Somerton Smart 270, Sydney Smart 305 One-Piece, Cube Ultra, H2 Zero Waterless and Flow Showerheads. Shipping not included. 50% discount is based off of the list price. Promotion runs from February 14, 2011 through June 30, 2011. Offer available to all North American residents (Canada exempt). Coupon must be present at time of purchase.
 

Click here to see Participating Dealers – if you are in Georgia, contact ecoTransitions.

All floor mounted models also qualify for the various toilet rebate programs in the US!

San Fransisco Rolls out tap water refilling stations

http://www.inspiredwater.org/2011/02/san-fran-rolls-out-global-tap-water-refilling-stations/.


Those who live in San Francisco may have noticed strange new contraptions located around the city. These metal boxes are the new official “tap water refilling stations.”

The “refilling stations” are a project of the Department of the Environment, the Public Utilities Commission and Global Tap and are designed, according to the press release, “to promote free access to San Francisco’s great tasting tap water.” There are currently seven stations located around the city, but they plan to have a total of 15 units installed.

“People take for granted what’s in front of them, and that’s definitely the case for tap water,” said Tyrone Jue, spokesman for the PUC. “We need to remind people every chance we get that bottled water just isn’t necessary.” According to the PUC, the city’s tap water costs $.003 per gallon versus $1-$4 per gallon of bottled water. And it’s much better for the environment since it doesn’t come in plastic bottles.

Live in SF? Find your nearest refilling station here.

To learn more, visit here and here.

Best and worst bottled water brands by Shine

http://shine.yahoo.com/event/green/best-and-worst-bottled-water-brands-2436818/

By Lori Bongiorno

(Photo: B2M Productions / Getty Images)(Photo: B2M Productions / Getty Images) 

How much do you know about the bottled water you drink? Not nearly enough, according to a new report released today from Environmental Working Group(EWG). “Bottled water companies try hard to hide information you might find troubling,” says Jane Houlihan, senior vice president of research for the Washington D.C.-based research and advocacy group.

[Read more: Cities with the best (and worst) tap water]

EWG analyzed the labels of 173 unique bottled water products and company websites to determine if companies disclose information on where water comes from, how or if their water is treated, and whether the results of purity testing are revealed. The nonprofit also looked at how effective (and advanced) any water treatment methods are. Researchers followed up by calling dozens of bottled water companies to find out which ones willingly tell consumers what’s in their bottles.

The Environmental Protection Agency says on its website that consumers have the right to know where their water comes from and what’s in it so they can “make informed choices that affect the health of themselves and their families.” Tap water is regularly tested and consumers can find their local water info online. That’s not necessarily the case with bottled water, which is not required to disclose that information to consumers. “Bottled water is a food product and every one of these companies is complying with federal law,” says Tom Lauria, of the International Bottled Water Association.

[Video: The story of bottled water]

More than half of the bottled water products surveyed failed EWG’s transparency test –18 percent didn’t say where their water comes from, and another 32 percent did not disclose any information on treatment or purity of water.

Only three brands earned the highest possible marks for disclosing information and using the most advanced treatment methods available – Gerber Pure Purified WaterNestle Pure Life Purified Water, and Penta Ultra-Purified Water.

On the other end of the spectrum, these six brands got the worst marks in EWG’s report because they don’t provide consumers with the three basic facts about water on product labels or their company website – Whole Foods Italian Still Mineral WaterVintage Natural Spring WaterSahara Premium Drinking WaterO Water Sport Electrolyte Enhanced Purified Drinking WaterMarket Basket Natural Spring Water, andCumby’s Spring Water.

How does your bottled water brand stack up? Here’s a look at the 10 top-selling* U.S. brands:

1.     Pure Life Purified Water (Nestle), EWG grade = B

2.     Arrowhead Mountain Spring Water (Nestle), EWG grade = C

3.     Aquafina Purified Drinking Water (Pepsi), EWG grade = D

4.     Dasani Purified Water (Coca-Cola), EWG grade = D

5.     Deer Park Natural Spring Water (Nestle), EWG grade = D

6.     Ice Mountain Natural Spring Water (Nestle), EWG grade = D

7.     Ozarka Natural Spring Water (Nestle), EWG grade = D

8.     Poland Spring Natural Spring Water (Nestle), EWG grade = D

9.     Zephyrhills Natural Spring Water (Nestle), EWG grade = D

10.  Crystal Geyser Natural Alpine Spring Water (CG Roxane), EWG grade =  F

Filtered tap water received the best grade (an A) from EWG because if you change your filter regularly, EWG says it is purer than bottled water, plus it saves money (bottled water can cost up to 1,900 times more than what flows from your tap). Drinking tap water also takes less of a toll on the planet. EWG offers plenty of tips for filtering your tap water so that you can drink the healthiest water possible.

[Related: Giving up bottled water saves a shocking amount of money]

What should you do when bottled water is your only option? “While our top choice is filtered tap water, when you do need to choose bottled water, we recommend brands that tell you what’s in the water and that use advanced treatment technologies like reverse osmosis and micro-filtration,” says Houlihan. Advanced treatment technologies remove pollutants that other methods don’t. You should look for bottled water products that tell you where the water is coming from and how pure it is.

Here are the results for all 173 bottled water brands included in the report. You’ll find that some less popular brands rank even lower than our list of top-sellers.

The advice to drink filtered tap water can seem confusing when there are often reports about the contaminants found in municipal water supplies. Just last month, for example, EWG announced that cancer causing hexavalent chromium (chromium-6) is in 31 cities’ tap water. Houlihan says chromium-6 is as likely to be in your bottled water as it is in your tap water and we need action from the federal government on this. She points out that a reverse osmosis filter can remove the worrisome contaminant. You can guarantee its removal in your home supply, but in many cases you don’t know what’s in the bottle you’re drinking from.

*Sales rankings from the Beverage Marketing Corporation.


Do toilets go to heaven? by http://www.bluegranola.com/

Toilet –> Tile –> Trendy.

One rarely ponders the life and death of a toilet. Just like some kids ask if dogs go to heaven, I wonder where toilets go when their lifespan is up. For some of them, the answer is a Whole Foods juice bar. Fireclay Tile, a Northern California-based ceramic tile company, uses recycled materials such as porcelain from local used toilets to create its product. According to their website, “All products are handmade within Fireclay’s day-lit, open air factory where the company reuses everything including clays, glazes and waste water.”

toilet1 1024x768 Toilet   > Tile   > Trendy

Ok, pause. Why is going around collecting old toilets and making them into counter tops for yuppies important?

Answer: Throwing away large clunky items like toilets contributes to our problem of overflowing landfills. Instead, we should do everything we can to waste less and reuse more. Turning a toilet into a tile does just that because by reusing the porcelain, Fireclay lowers the amount of pollution that would otherwise be emitted by creating all new material from scratch. Also, the company only uses things it can find from nearby sources which significantly reduces its carbon footprint.

Point is- recycling, reusing, and buying local does not only apply to soda cans, plastic bags, and vegetables. People are creating innovative ways to do their part for the planet all the time using their own unique talents. Cool.

 

The Story of Bottled Water

The Story of Bottled Water by Madeline Ostrander, senior editor of YES! Magazine.

Worried about what’s in your tap?

That’s exactly what the water bottling industry hoped when it developed brands like Dasani, Perrier, and Poland Springs, which promise to be “natural,” “pure,” “clean,” even “sexy” alternatives to tap water.

But the very companies that market those brands, like Nestlé and Coca Cola, are putting public water supplies in jeopardy in communities both in the United States and overseas. They’re selling us a product that is often not any cleaner than tap water, and is a lot pricier.

Bottled water is a scam. The simplest way to understand why is to watch a new, short film released today by the creators of The Story of Stuff. Like its predecessor, The Story of Bottled Water uses simple language and surprisingly charming stick figures to walk you through the perils of the bottled water economy. “Bottled water costs about 2,000 times more than tap water,” says Annie Leonard, the film’s narrator and director. “Can you imagine paying 2,000 times the price of anything else? How about a $10,000 sandwich?”

The Story of Bottled Water film still

Bottled water often comes straight from the tap, sometimes with a little filtering, sometimes not. It is not necessarily safer. For instance, in 2004, the Coca-Cola company had to recall all of its Dasani water from the United Kingdom, after officials discovered the water exceeded the legal limit for bromate, a carcinogen. The Environmental Working Group recently tested 10 brands of bottled water—on average, they contained eight chemical pollutants, no better than tap water.

But there’s something even more insidious about the way that the bottled water industry preys on our public water systems and tap water. Water is both the most basic of human needs and a product of nature. It can’t actually be manufactured, so bottling it up and selling it always means removing water from a public source. As the bottled water market has taken off, we’ve seen public water fountains begin to disappear. Meanwhile, citizens in rural towns have begun to take notice that water-bottling companies are trying to sell off water that actually belongs to them. Communities like Barnstead, New Hampshire have fought hard to keep Nestle from bottling and shipping away their local water.

China’s Living Water Garden
Photo essay: Chengdu’s most popular public park is is a 5.9 acre inner-city natural water treatment system.

We’ve gotten used to thinking we have more than enough water to go around in this country, but it’s not true. According to experts like Peter Gleick, the United States is facing a water crisis that will only get worse in coming years. Already major water supplies like the Ogallala Aquifer and Lake Mead, which together supply water for millions across the Southwest and Great Plains, are in big danger of running dry. Climate change is going to alter everything we know about water—how much stays in our reservoirs, how much snow falls in the Sierras, how our rivers flow, and how much we have available to drink, irrigate our crops, and water our lawns. When we let a private company control, bottle, or sell our water—whether it’s Coca-Cola or the private water operator Thames—we’re giving up some measure of control over our health, environment, lives, and futures.

In May, YES! Magazine will unveil a full issue about how to protect our water and keep it clean and accessible. You’ll read about radical breakthroughs in contentious Western water wars, about a community that bought its water back from private control, about farms that are learning how save water by taking care of soil, and about ways to get all the water you need, even if you live in the heart of the desert.

In the meantime, you can celebrate World Water Day by watching The Story of Bottled Water, and read more about campaigns to protect water in our online and magazine coverage.


Madeline Ostrander

Madeline Ostrander is senior editor of YES! Magazine.

Interested?
Life, Liberty, Water by Maude Barlow
A global water justice movement is demanding a change in international law to ensure the universal right to clean water for all.