War and Water in Syria

Water availability in Syria has been cut in half since the conflict there began nearly four and a half years ago, and millions of people around the country endure “long and sometimes deliberate interruptions to their water supplies,”  according to a United Nations report.

In a report about the scarcity of water in Syria, Unicef said it had recorded 18 deliberate cuts to the public water supply in the northern city of Aleppo this year. “Taps in some communities were left dry for up to 17 days in a row — and for over a month in some areas of the city,” the report asserted, accusing antagonists in the conflict of “using water to achieve military and political gains.”

Unicef estimated that 2.3 million people in Aleppo, 2.5 million in Damascus and 250,000 in the southern city of Dara’a are suffering water shortages. When water has to be brought in, children are often sent by their families to carry water, a practice that has led to the deaths of number children  who have been killed while collecting water.

Further, the group warns, the cuts have forced families in Damascus, Dera’a, Aleppo, and other areas to “have to rely on dirty water from unregulated and unprotected groundwater sources, exposing children in particular to the risk of contracting diarrhea, typhoid, hepatitis, and other diseases.”

In addition to the “deliberate” cut offs, fighting has exacerbated the shortages by causing severe damage to pipelines and other water infrastructure where workers are unable to carry out the repairs.

Gazette’s Famous Water Picture Series: The Waterfall at Jajce

Jajce is a city and municipality located in the central part of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the confluence of the rivers Pliva and Vrbas. It was originally built in the 14th century.

Jajce is famous for its beautiful waterfall where the Pliva River meets the river Vrbas. The waterfall was thirty meters high, but during the Bosnian war, the area was flooded and the waterfall is now 20 meters high. The flooding may have been due to an earthquake and/or attacks on the hydroelectric power plant further up the river.

Low water pressure in your home may have an easy solution

If you get your water from a city water system that puts out plenty of water pressure but the pressure in your home isn’t what it should be, here are some possible causes to consider.

Debris and mineral buildup in pipes

Sand, dirt and pollutants can enter your home’s pipes when a water main fractures. Even without a fractured line, your pipes are susceptible to mineral buildup from the deposits that water leaves behind when traveling through your home. Even a small amount of sediment can create a blockage in your home’s plumbing.

The solution to this piping problem is to examine a section of the pipe to determine whether mineral buildup is the problem. If this is the case, plumbing chemicals that break down and flush the debris can solve the problem more often than not. (more…)

 Plain old lawn grass is our nation’s largest irrigated crop

Grist reports that the largest irrigated crop in the United States isn’t corn or soy or marijuana or cotton or even presidential candidates. It’s grass.

It us now estimated that there are more than 63,000 square miles of lawn in the U.S., an area  three times larger than the land occupied by any irrigated crop in the United States. And while grass can act as a carbon sink by pulling carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, its positive effects are cancelled out by the amount of water required to keep lawns alive.

One report says that lawn maintenance uses up to 235 gallons of water per person per day  and adds emissions from fertilization and operation of mowing equipment. In most regions, outdoor water use accounts for 50 to 75 percent of total residential water use.

In spite of an increasing national awareness that growing and mowing our largest irrigated crop is a terrible way to go, people are still  getting arrested for not mowing and lawn mower sales are rising smartly.

Reference: Grist.


 The Pure Water Occasional for August 24, 2015

In this mid-August Occasional, you’ll hear about Chinese cave graffiti, scary pipelines, the Merlin, El Niño, shade balls, and bladder tanks. Read about the Gold King mine, the Poland Springs crash, the sinking bridge, and the Endbridge pipeline. Learn what affects the price of water, how hospitals cope with drought, and who was caught stealing water from a fire hydrant. Read about the Animas River, the Cuyahoga River fires, E. coli in Konawa, a giant straw in Lake Mead, the daily water consumption of  Sydney, Australia, plus America’s biggest irrigated crop and America’s biggest cash crop. You’ll see Lake Mead shrink before your very eyes, marvel at California’s new shower head requirement, and thrill to Pure Water Annie’s discussion of undersink water filters and Gene Franks’ impassioned defense of reverse osmosis tanks. And, as always, there is much, much more.

The Pure Water Occasional is a project of Pure Water Products and the Pure Water Gazette.

To read this issue on the Pure Water Gazette’s website,  please go here.  (Recommended! When you read online you get the added advantage of the Gazette’s sidebar feed of the very latest world water news.)

You’ll sing better. (more…)

Going Tankless

by Gene Franks

Since I started using, building, and selling residential reverse osmosis units in the early 1990s, there have been repeated efforts to get rid of the much maligned bladder tank that’s a standard feature.

Small reverse osmosis units need a storage tank because they make water very slowly. Without a tank, a typical undersink RO unit would put out only a small trickle of water when the thirsty user opened the faucet. Most of us aren’t patient enough to wait several minutes to fill a water glass, much less a couple of hours to fill a spaghetti pot. The function of the bladder tank is to collect and store the trickle produced by the RO unit so that when you put your glass under the spigot the pressurized tank can supply enough water to fill your glass quickly. Or even your spaghetti pot.

The standard RO tank has a small air charge that pushes water out of the tank when the countertop spigot is opened. As the tank fills, the pressure in the tank increases and the RO unit has to work harder and harder to pack water into the tank. As the tank fills and pressure increases, the RO unit’s efficiency decreases dramatically.  (more…)

Gazette Numerical Wizard Bea Sharper brings you up to date on the current water news in numbers.

 Mid-August, 2015

Percentage of trash found on Australian beaches that is plastic — 75%.

Highest level of microcystin recorded this summer in the Toledo Lake Erie area, in parts per billion – 2.5.

Gallons of contaminant-laden water dumped into the Animas River by the Gold King mine spill– 3,000,000.

Miles of Colorado’s streams that are impaired by mining related impacts – 1645.

Rank of marijuana among the cash crops grown in California – #1.

Percentage of marijuana consumed in the US that is now grown in drought-ridden California—70%.

Estimated value of California’s annual marijuana crop – $11 billion.

Value of California’s second most valuable cash crop, milk and cheese – $6.9 billion.

Approximate number of separate water districts and agencies that regulate California’s use of water—3,000.

Daily per person consumption of water in Sydney, Australia – 83 gallons.

In Irvine, California – 193 gallons.

Rate in inches per month at which land is sinking in the San Joaquin Valley due to overpumping of water wells — 2.

By CDC estimate, the number of people hospitalized each year in the U.S. with Legionnaires’-related ailments — 8,000 to 18,000.

Gallons-per-minute pemitted for shower heads under California’s new Tier 1 regulation – 2.

Years in which Los Angeles and New York City respectively imposed the same 2 gpm limit on shower heads– 2009 and 2010.

Pure Water Gazette’s proposed time limit on songs that can be sung in the shower –2 minutes, 15 seconds.

Facts about Legionellosis

Water treatment consultant and author Dr. Joseph Cotruvo recently called Legionaries’ Disease, or Legionellosis, “the most important waterborne disease in the United States.”

According to Dr. Cotruvo, Legionellosis has been a reportable disease only since 2001. The disease is not caused by ingestion of the water, but rather by inhalation of aerosols such as during showering or from inhaling blow down from cooling system heat exchangers, or probably even humidifiers. Those at particular risk are the elderly and especially people with impaired immune systems such as those who are hospitalized and in extended care facilities.   (more…)

Undersink Water Filters: Better than they used to be.

By Pure Water Annie

Gazette Technical Consultant Pure Water Annie explains how undersink water filters have improved in recent years.

An undersink water filter is a treatment device that is inststalled under the kitchen sink but dispenses its treated water on the sink top. This is a very practical and efficient arrangement because it leaves the countertop uncluttered but allows plenty of equipment space for excellent filtration.

Several improvements in recent years have made undersink filters extremely effective, practical, and easy to install and service. These include

  1. The replacement of copper and galvanized undersink piping with flexible connectors.
  2. The improvement in filter housing and cartridge designs that allows installation of more compact and easy-to-service filtration units.
  3. The improvement in filtration technology that allows targeted treatment of many more problem contaminants. (more…)

Sludge to Energy: A Dallas Recycling Success Story

The City of Dallas is cleaning waste water, making energy and saving money – all at one plant on the south side of the city.

The Southside Waste Water Treatment Plant receives and cleans about 50 million gallons of dirty water a day. It is water that originates in homes and businesses – down the drains, sinks, toilets and showers – into the sewer system, and piped to the plant.

Through a multi-step process, the water is cleaned – almost to drinking level – then fed back into the Trinity River.
“We try to eliminate as much as possible – the food waste, the grease. It impacts our infrastructure and makes the water itself harder to treat,” said Jesse White, the plant manager at Southside. (more…)