Population growth stirs worries about stress on region’s water supply | ajc.com

 

By Leon Stafford

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

When Colin Cavill began planning the 325-unit Enso Atlanta apartments near Grant Park three years ago, water was at the top of his mind.

Colin Cavill focused on water conservation when he developed the Enso Atlanta apartments in Grant Park, which, among other things, has a saltwater pool and a cistern for  rainwater harvesting that holds over 76,000 gallons.

Phil Skinner, AJC Colin Cavill focused on water conservation when he developed the Enso Atlanta apartments in Grant Park, which, among other things, has a saltwater pool and a cistern for rainwater harvesting that holds over 76,000 gallons.

 

Simply put: The metro’s area’s supply is limited, and he didn’t want to make matters worse.

So Cavill — who says his company, Capital 33, wanted to “help reduce our footprint” — developed the complex as a green project. Toilets and faucets are low-flow, shower heads are water-efficient, and a cistern collects water for the landscaping.

Cavill’s efforts may need to be become the norm as the state struggles with its limited water supply, experts say.

Metro Atlanta grew by 1 million people over the past decade, according to the U.S. census, and water — or lack thereof — could decide its continued strength as a region, the experts said.

“Growth goes where the water is and not vice versa,” said Gil Rogers, senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center.

Larry Neal, a senior principal for Mactec Engineering and Consulting, which has worked with the state on drinking water assessments, said a solution is critical for job growth. If water supply is stretched thin, it could be more expensive for business to tap. That could dissuade prospects from considering locating in metro Atlanta.

“If there is uncertainty,” he said, “it can cause a business to steer away. … You don’t want water to become the limiting factor in any given area.”

The state recognizes the risks. It has authorized the construction of reservoirs, created a Water Supply Task Force and adopted some conservation measures. Many cities and counties in the Metropolitan North Georgia Water Planning District, which includes metro Atlanta, are offering rebates to homeowners who replace older toilets with low-flow models.

One of the biggest challenges remains the state’s dispute with Alabama and Florida over access to Lake Lanier. U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson ruled in 2009 that it was illegal for the Army Corps of Engineers to draw water from the lake to meet the needs of 3 million metro residents. Magnuson set a July 2012 deadline for the states to resolve the dispute. Otherwise, metro Atlanta would be limited to the same amount of water it received in the mid-1970s, when the population was less than one-third its current size. Georgia is appealing the ruling.

“Some of our issues are the litigation and uncertainty about the future,” said Pat Stevens, chief of environmental planning at the Atlanta Regional Commission.

Stevens said that despite the population growth, water use in metro Atlanta is down. She said the population in the North Georgia water district grew 28 percent between 2000 and 2009. Usage, however, was down to 512 million gallons of water a day in 2009, compared with a high in 2006 of 602 million gallons.

A number of factors led to the reduction, including conservation, severe water restrictions during several years of drought and the economic downturn, which may have forced residents to curtail tapping water they could not afford.

Also, 2009 was a rainy year, lessening the need to water yards and gardens.

“It really rained a lot that year. Actually the last year that was more close to our norm was in 2006,” Stevens said. The metro area’s rainfall was 69.4 inches in 2009 and 48.5 inches in 2006.

Alan Wexler, president of Databank Atlanta, a r, said if water were to become less abundant, it could lead to restrictions that would put commercial and residential real estate projects on hold. That happened in the years of drought in 2007 and 2008.

Solving the issue is critical because the economy has stymied real estate growth the past few years. When the recovery comes, no one wants to be sidelined because of water, he said.

“You have so many factors that are fluid right now,” he said.

Population growth stirs worries about stress on region’s water supply  | ajc.com.

More handphones than toilets in India

More handphones than toilets in India.

By RAVI NESSMAN

It is easier for India’s poor to acquire cell phones than gain access to proper toilets.

THE Mumbai slum of Rafiq Nagar has no clean water for its shacks made of ripped tarp and bamboo. No garbage pickup along the rocky, pocked earth that serves as a road. No power except from haphazard cables strung overhead illegally.

And not a single toilet or latrine for its 10,000 people.

Yet nearly every destitute family in the slum has a cell phone.

Outhouse: A boy making his way to a latrine outside his makeshift home at a slum in Mumbai, India. According to the United Nations, more Indians have cell phones than access to a toilet.

India is a country where more people have cell phones than access to a toilet, according to the United Nations. It is a country buoyed by a vibrant business world of call centres and software developers, but hamstrung by a bloated government that has failed to deliver the barest of services.

Its estimated growth rate of 8.5% a year is among the highest in the world, but its roads are crumbling.

It offers cheap, world-class medical care to Western tourists at private hospitals, yet has some of the worst child mortality and maternal death rates outside sub-Saharan Africa.

And while tens of millions have benefited from India’s rise, many more remain mired in some of the worst poverty in the world.

Businessman Mukesh Ambani, the world’s fourth-richest person, is just finishing off a new US$1bil (RM3.08bil) skyscraper-house in Mumbai with 27 floors and three helipads, touted as the most expensive home on Earth. Yet farmers still live in shacks of mud and cow dung.

The cell phone frenzy bridges all worlds. Cell phones are sold amid the Calvin Klein and Clinique stores under the soaring atriums of India’s new malls, and in the crowded markets of its working-class neighbourhoods. Bare shops in the slums sell pre-paid cards next to packets of chewing tobacco, while street hawkers peddle car chargers at traffic lights.

Engrossed: Children watching television in their home in the Rafiq Nagar slum. While millions have benefited from India’s rise, many more remain mired in some of the worst poverty in the world.

The spartan Beecham’s in New Delhi’s Connaught Place, one of the country’s seemingly ubiquitous mobile phone dealers, is overrun with lunchtime customers of all classes looking for everything from a 35,000 rupee (RM2,435) Blackberry Torch to a basic 1,150 rupee (RM80) Nokia.

There were more than 670 million cell phone connections in India by the end of August, a number that has been growing by close to 20 million a month, according to government figures.

Yet UN figures show that only 366 million Indians have access to a private toilet or latrine, leaving 665 million to defecate in the open.

Basic needs

“At least tap water and sewage disposal – how can we talk about any development without these two fundamental things? How can we talk about development without health and education?” says Anita Patil-Deshmukhl, executive director of PUKAR, an organisation that conducts research and outreach in the slums of Mumbai.

India’s leaders say they are sympathetic to the problem. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, an economist credited with unleashing India’s private sector by loosening government regulation, talks about growth that benefits the masses of poor people as well as a burgeoning middle class of about 300 million.

Sonia Gandhi, chief of the ruling Congress Party, has pushed laws guaranteeing a right to food and education, as well as a gargantuan rural jobs programme for nearly 100 million people. But as many as 800 million Indians still live on less than US$2 (RM6.20) a day, even as Mumbai’s stock exchange sits near record highs.

Many fear the situation is unsustainable.

“Everybody understands the threat. Everybody recognises that there is a gap, that this could be the thing that trips up this country,” says Anand Mahindra, vice chairman and managing director of the Mahindra & Mahindra manufacturing company.

Private companies have tried to fill that gap, and Tata sells a 749 rupee (RM52) water purifier for the poor. Mafias provide water and electricity to slum dwellers at a cost far higher than what wealthy Indians pay for basic services.

“For every little thing, we have to pay,” says Nusrat Khan, a 35-year-old maid and single parent who raises her four children on less than 3,000 rupees (RM209) a month and blames the government for her lack of access to water and a toilet.

The government is spending US$350mil (RM1.078bil) a year to build toilets in rural areas. Bindeshwar Pathak, the founder of the Sulabh Sanitation and Social Reform Movement, estimates the country needs about 120 million more latrines – likely the largest sanitation project in world history.

A boy talking on a cell phone in Mumbai’s Rafiq Nagar slum. (Pic right) Salim, a migrant labourer, making a phone call outside his makeshift home. The cell phone frenzy bridges all classes in India.

“Those in power, only they can change the situation,” says Pathak, who claims to have helped build a million low-cost latrines across India over the past 40 years.

Makeshift latrines

In the slums of Mumbai, home to more than half the city’s population of 14 million, the yearning for toilets is so great that enterprising residents have built makeshift outhouses on their own.

In Annabhau Sathe Nagar, a raised latrine of corrugated tin empties into a river of sewage that children splash in and adults wade across. The slum in east Mumbai has about 50,000 residents and a single toilet building, with 10 pay toilets for men and eight for women – two of which are broken.

With the wait for those toilets up to an hour even at 5am, and the two-rupee (14sen) fee too expensive for many, most people either use a field or wait to use the toilets at work, says Santosh Thorat, 32, a community organiser.

Conditions are far worse in Rafiq Nagar, a crowded, 15-year-old slum on the lip of a 44-hectare garbage dump.

Most of the slum dwellers are scavengers who sort through heaps of trash for scraps of plastic, glass, metal, even bones, anything they can sell to recyclers for cash. A pungent brew of ripe garbage and sewage blows through the trash-strewn streets, as choking smoke from wood fires rolls out the doorways of windowless huts. Children, half clothed in rags, play hopscotch next to a mysterious grey liquid that has gathered in stagnant puddles weeks after the last rainfall.

Just beside the shacks, men and women defecate in separate areas behind rolling hills of green foliage that have sprung up over the garbage. Children run through those hills, flying kites.

Khatija Sheikh, 20, splurges to use a pay toilet in another neighbourhood 10 minutes away, but is never sure what condition it will be in.

“Sometimes it’s clean, sometimes it’s dirty. It’s totally dependent on the owner’s mood,” says Khatija, whose two young children use the street. Her home is less than 2m from an elevated outhouse built by a neighbour that drops sewage next to her walls.

Since there are no water pipes or wells here, residents are forced to rely on the water mafia for water for cooking, washing clothes, bathing and drinking. The neighbourhood is rife with skin infections, tuberculosis and other ailments.

A large blue barrel outside a home is filled with murky brown water, tiny white worms and an aluminium drinking cup. To fill up two jerry cans costs between 40 rupees (RM2.80) and 50 rupees (RM3.50) a day, about one-third of the average family’s earnings here.

“If the government would give us water, we would pay that money to the government,” said Suresh Pache, 41, a motorised rickshaw driver.

Instead, it has issued demolition notices throughout the slum, which sits illegally on government land.

Yet the world of technology has embraced the slum dwellers with its cheap cell phones and cut-rate calling plans that charge a sliver of a penny a minute.

Pache bought his first phone for 1,400 rupees (RM97.50) four months ago. Since then, his wife, a ragpicker, found two other broken models as she scoured the garbage dump, and he paid to have them repaired.

He speaks with fluency about the different plans offered by Tata, Reliance and Idea that cost him a total of 300 rupees (RM20.90) a month. Now, when his rickshaw breaks down, he can alert his wife with a call. She uses her phone to tell the recyclers where she is in the dump so they can drive out to her, saving her the time and effort of dragging her bag of scraps to them.

Mohan Singh, a 58-year-old bicycle repairman, says his son uses their 2,000 rupee (RM139) Orpat phone to play music and talk to relatives.

Santosh Thorat, the community organiser, shows photographs of his neighbourhood and videos of a pre-school he started on his Nokia cameraphone, while his second phone rings in his pocket.

Sushila Paten, who teaches at the pre-school, organises a phone chain with her Samsung to instantly mobilise hundreds of people in the streets when violent thugs show up demanding “rent” from the squatters.

In fact, the spread of cell phones may end up bringing toilets.

R. Gopalakrishnan, executive director of Tata Sons, one of India’s most revered companies, says the rising aspirations of the poor, buttressed by their growing access to communications and information, will put tremendous pressure on the government to start delivering.

People already are starting to challenge local officials who for generations answered to no one, he says.

“I think there are very, very dramatic changes happening,” he says. – AP

City of Sacramento, CA offers Rebate for Washing Mashines and High Efficiency Toilets

Source
http://www.msa2.saccounty.net/dwr/scwa/Documents/Media%20Room/Newsletter/WaterSpouts%20Spring%202010.pdf

High Efficiency Toilet Rebate

Rebates for High Efficiency Toilets (HET) are worth up to $175 for residential and $200 for commercial customers.
You must have a toilet flushing 3.5 gallons or greater to qualify. Homes and businesses built before 1992 that have original toilets would qualify.
Details here
http://www.msa2.saccounty.net/dwr/scwa/Documents/Media%20Room/Newsletter/WaterSpouts%20Spring%202010.pdf

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.

10 drinking water scams exposed

The following information was provided by Pete Van Cleave, Water for Life http://www.waterforlifeonline.com/

Everybody is susceptible to being scammed, simply because they want to believe!

Nowhere is this more obvious than in the drinking water business. Politics spawns a lot of lies in the water business since the government is responsible for making tap water. Franchising and exclusive territories also spawn lies.  The internet has spawned much nonsense, too, with it’s uncensored, wild west sort of approach to business. It is truly alarming to see the explosion of internet products claiming to infuse water with magical properties to cure all your ills. These specially altered waters claim to be superior because they’re wetter, oxygenated, clustered, enhanced, magnetized, energized, alkalized, vitalized, or some other pseudoscientific term.  These empty promises simply do not hold water.

We always look for scientific and verifiable data from reliable third parties than can provide the proven facts about the various treatment technologies and how pure water works to support good health.  Education is the only way to battle bogus claims. I have studied water for 20 years and I stand firm in my commitment to bring you the very best possible drinking water and water purification systems based upon the best information available.

Distillation is the only method to produce legally purified water

Since 2002, it is one of three methods to produce legally purified water.  Competitors only selling one thing tend to defend it well, but also get their blinders on regarding other advances.  Biopure Everclean Reverse Osmosis also produces microbiologically pure water according to the NSF without electricity. We believe independence protects consumers best.

Common Reverse Osmosis works as well as NSF Nano filter/Everclean Rinse Reverse Osmosis

Common Reverse Osmosis systems degrade from day one like a filter does. Microbiological contaminants often migrate through the membrane or o-rings. Everclean Rinse Reverse Osmosis prevents the membrane from degrading and keeps the water 100% consistently pure. It costs more, but the value is there because the membrane does not have to be replaced like it does with common RO.  The NSF Nano filter technology gives a non electric system barrier protection against all forms of bacteria for those undergoing chemotherapy, organ transplant, or HIV/Aids.

Throwaway bottles are not a problem because they break down in the landfill.

There is an area of floating plastic trash in the Northern Pacific ocean that is twice the size of the continental United States. Experts tell us that dangerous chemicals from industrial waste stick to the plastics and enter the food chain as it is ingested by birds and marine life.  Americans bought about 50,000,000,000 plastic bottles in 2006 and the cost of energy and pollution is staggering! It takes enough crude oil to fuel 100,000 cars for a year to make a year’s supply of those plastic bottles. It takes 1000 years for these bottles to break down 100%.

Energized, vitalized, living, hexagonal, activated, ionized, and restructured water is purported to slow aging, restore cellular balance, or raise consciousness, and promote world peace.

All scams and hoaxes supported by testimonial evidence which only tries to take advantage of feel good placebo marketing. Absolutely no third party testing or science supports this.

 Oxygenated water enhances performance and post recovery workout.

The grossly overpriced Penta water is priced at $15.00 per gallon.  Perfect water by Amway is priced at $36.00 per case. Infused with 30- 40% more oxygen than ordinary water, it is marketed on the premise that the body can actually absorb oxygen directly into the bloodstream via the digestive system. The only way to get oxygen into the blood is through the lungs.  Trying to get oxygen into your body from water is called “drowning”! Unless you have gills, there is no need to search out water with extra oxygen.  This is a case of pure fraud without physiologic foundation.

 Clustered water is the fountain of youth.

Each year, university researchers on human aging bestow their annual “Silver Fleece” award on anti-aging quackery.  The 2002 recipient was “clustered” water. Water only really clusters when it crystallizes during freezing.

Magnetic water can cure all manner of human ailments.

There is no scientific evidence that water can even be magnetized in the first place.  This scam is at odds with the fundamental laws of physics.

Advanced filters can protect you as well as legal purifiers

Filters do not protect against microbiological or inorganic contaminants. They are often not changed properly, they break down, they dump, they channel, and they produce a declining level of performance the older they get. I often test the water coming out of them worse than the water going into them because they have no automatic shutdown devices.

 Cheap spring or national brand water in 16.9 oz bottles is the answer to tap water problems.  

Teton Springs, Quibell, Lithia Springs, and Big Springs are all local springs that have gone out of business in Georgia in the past 15 years because they failed to protect their customers from microbiological contamination in their water. Crystal Springs, Dasani, and Aquafina have all been cited for contaminants in their water in the past 8 years. We have tested our water against Deer Park, Zephyr Hills, Nestle Pure Life, Crystal Geyser, and every cheap brand sold in the state of Georgia. They all test out with contamination higher than tap water.

Municipal water systems are still keeping our drinking water safe.  Every system using chlorine contains the cancer causing agent trihalomethanes.  63% of waterborne illnesses in the U.S. are directly caused by Cryptosporidium and Giardia cysts, which are city water chlorine tolerant.  Flouride is ineffective and has serious health risks.  The American Dental Association is now warning parents not to use fluoridated water in the preparation of formula. After so many “boil water” alerts, chemical spills, broken water mains, and now AP’s pharmaceutical expose, Municipalities and states are now spending $63 billion dollars a year to try to keep up, but they can’t.  Legal testing requirements and repairs are currently routinely granted waivers. Many municipalities are using the exact same technology that has been in place for 100 years.  TDS levels, by my own testing are double what they were 20 years ago.  Standards are getting tougher as we find out new scientific facts and more contaminants are being discovered.  For example, in January 2006, the standard for Arsenic was reduced from 50 PPB to 10 PPB.  That means the previous standard was off by 500 percent! The distribution system is completely laden with problems: over 237,000 water main breaks in 2006.  The distribution system is coated with dangerous layers of mineral, biological, and chemical deposits that recontaminate the water as it travels in pipes from treatment plant to homes.  We now have over 2100 chemical contaminants in the drinking water that we can test for but we don’t. The EPA estimates there is a gap of $22 billion per year between what is needed and what is done. The fact is that in the next 30 years, every city water supply in the U.S. will reach or exceed it’s expected lifetime, costing the American taxpayer somewhere near $300 billion just to fix the underground pipes. 

Respectfully,

Pete Van Cleave

Water for Life

(770) 578-0600