The Pure Water Occasional for July 15, 2015
In this full summer Occasional, you’ll meet Annie Edson Taylor, Arundhati Roy, Sam Patch, Tom Sellek, and Swami Chaitanya. Hear about Nestle’s plan to sell Columbia Gorge water, teeth of the Romundina fish, Lake Texoma drain sluices, a garden hose assault in Tennessee, and free wastewater in Fresno. Learn what broccoli, cannabis, beef, and almonds have in common. New findings on fluoridation in New Zealand, water terrorism in Kosovo, a really weird fish in the depths of the Antarctic, and vinyl chloride in Indiana. Hear the truth about peeing in the pool, the top ten women’s water polo schools, and the rank of water among the world’s risks. B. Sharper reveals stunning facts about bottled water. On the eve of National Garden Hose Day, Pure Water Products’ spiffy new garden hose softener hits the market. And as always, there is much, much more.
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.)
From the Pure Water Gazette’s Great Water Pictures Series
Annie Edson Taylor and Her Famous Barrel
Annie Edson Taylor (October 24, 1838 – April 29, 1921) was an American adventurer who, on her 63rd birthday, October 24, 1901, became the first person to survive a trip over Niagara Falls in a barrel.
Annie Edson Taylor’s trip over Niagara Falls in a barrel brought her some attention for a short time but never the fortune she hoped for. Here’s an account of the event from history.com.
After her husband died in the Civil War, the New York-born Taylor moved all over the U. S. before settling in Bay City, Michigan, around 1898. In July 1901, while reading an article about the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, she learned of the growing popularity of two enormous waterfalls located on the border of upstate New York and Canada. Strapped for cash and seeking fame, Taylor came up with the perfect attention-getting stunt: She would go over Niagara Falls in a barrel.
Taylor was not the first person to attempt the plunge over the famous falls. In October 1829, Sam Patch, known as the Yankee Leaper, survived jumping down the 175-foot Horseshoe Falls of the Niagara River, on the Canadian side of the border. More than 70 years later, Taylor chose to take the ride on her birthday, October 24. (She claimed she was in her 40s, but genealogical records later showed she was 63.) With the help of two assistants, Taylor strapped herself into a leather harness inside an old wooden pickle barrel five feet high and three feet in diameter. With cushions lining the barrel to break her fall, Taylor was towed by a small boat into the middle of the fast-flowing Niagara River and cut loose.
Knocked violently from side to side by the rapids and then propelled over the edge of Horseshoe Falls, Taylor reached the shore alive, if a bit battered, around 20 minutes after her journey began. After a brief flurry of photo-ops and speaking engagements, Taylor’s fame cooled, and she was unable to make the fortune for which she had hoped. She did, however, inspire a number of copy-cat daredevils. Between 1901 and 1995, 15 people went over the falls; 10 of them survived. Among those who died were Jesse Sharp, who took the plunge in a kayak in 1990, and Robert Overcracker, who used a jet ski in 1995. No matter the method, going over Niagara Falls is illegal, and survivors face charges and stiff fines on either side of the border.
The Tide Has Turned. The Age of Dams Is Over, But Politicians and Bankers Still Love Big Money Projects
Indian Novelist, Political Activist, Essayist, and Film Director Arundhati Roy Is Probably the World’s Most Passionate and Most Famous Opponent of Large Dams.
“What have we done to this beautiful desert, to our wild rivers? All that dam building on the Colorado, across the West, was a big mistake. What in the world were we thinking?”–Senator Barry Goldwater, reflecting late in life on his earlier support of the Glen Canyon Dam Project.
Dams are a relic of the Industrial Age, a brute-force solution to water scarcity that sets off a cascade of environmental collapses, from the upstream tip of the reservoir to the river’s mouth and beyond. They’re particularly ill-suited to the era of extremes — heat waves, floods and droughts — that climate change has brought on. High temperatures intensify evaporation from reservoirs. Massive floods threaten dams with overtopping and breaching. Droughts defy the very reason for dams’ existence: They drop reservoir levels, wasting the “capacity” that goes unused, and cause hydroelectric output to dwindle.–Jacques Leslie.
To learn “How Not to Fix California’s Water Problems,” please read Jacques Leslies’s excellent study of the current push to build even more dams in the LA Times.
Is Weed the New Almond?
by Anna North
Broccoli, beef, and perhaps most notably almonds have all come under fire in the past year for sucking up too much of California’s scarce water. Now you can add another crop to the tally of alleged water-guzzlers: marijuana.
A raid last week in California’s Mendocino, Humboldt, and Trinity Counties targeted marijuana growers not for growing the drug per se but for their illegal water use, reports Josh Harkinson of Mother Jones. Mr. Harkinson also writes that marijuana uses about six gallons of water per day per plant, while the notoriously water-intensive cotton uses just ten gallons per plant for the whole season.
Some have put marijuana’s water consumption lower or higher than the six-gallon figure. According to an analysis by Swami Chaitanya, a member of the Mendocino Cannabis Policy Council, which advocates for sustainable cannabis farming, an eighth of an ounce of marijuana takes 1.875 gallons of water to produce. That’s much less than it takes to produce a pound of beef (1500 gallons, according to Mr. Chaitanya), a bit less than it takes to grow a head of broccoli (5 gallons), and a bit more than it takes to grow a single almond (1 gallon).
Whether or not Americans will now give up weed the way some have been boycotting almonds is an open question. Ultimately, though, individual consumption decisions are less important than California’s ability to sustainably regulate its water — which, with respect to weed, it’s trying to do.
The California water board, along with the state’s Department of Fish & Wildlife, is developing a system of permits that would require cannabis growers to properly manage pesticide runoff and construction waste and get authorization to draw and store water. The goal is to mitigate the environmental impact of marijuana cultivation, and to get growers out in the open where their water use can be measured and regulated.
The regional water board for California’s North Coast, which includes Humboldt County, is set to adopt the permits in August, with the Central Valley likely to follow suit later this year.
The state isn’t doing a great job of measurement even when it comes to licit water use, but bringing weed growers into the state’s water system would help.
So would legalizing marijuana. As Samantha Page notes at ThinkProgress, growing weed for medical use is legal under California state law, but growing it for recreational use is “in a gray area of law enforcement.” Illegal growers tend to plant in remote wooded areas in Northern California, where the waterways are habitats for endangered and threatened fish species.
“Cannabis farming doesn’t happen out in the woods in Humboldt County because that’s a good place to grow things,” said Cris Carrigan, the director of the state water board’s office of enforcement. “It happens because you can hide there.”
If growing weed became fully legal in California, growers might shift to places where their crop’s environmental impact was less severe — especially since, absent the threat of raids, growing in the woods isn’t necessarily cost-effective.
Getting a permit system in place now will prepare California for the potential of legalization in the future, said Mr. Carrigan.
And it might make one of California’s most famous crops a little kinder to the state’s drought-stricken environment.
Source: New York Times.
Gold Standard Fluoride Review Contradicts New Zealand Advice
A new review just released by the Cochrane Collaboration, internationally acknowledged as the gold standard in evidenced based reviews of health science, confirms doubts over the benefits of fluoridating water supplies in modern developed countries like New Zealand.
The Cochrane Review finds the science does not support claims that water fluoridation is of any benefit to adults, nor that it reduces social inequalities, nor that it provides additional benefits over and above topically applied fluoride (such as in toothpaste), nor that tooth decay increases in communities when fluoridation is stopped.
These are all arguments used by our health department in promoting the procedure.
The review is not convinced that studies showing that water fluoridation reduces decay in children are applicable to today’s society either, as nearly all the studies used in calculations (dating back to the 1940’s) were conducted prior to the availability of fluoride toothpaste and other sources of fluoride which we have today, and were at high risk of bias.
These findings are completely at odds with last year’s Royal Society review , which our government refers to as justification for promoting fluoridation.
The Cochrane Review was not charged with investigating the health risks of water fluoridation, other than the harmful effects on teeth.
Here it found that 40% of children in fluoridated areas have dental fluorosis, developmental damage to the tooth structure caused by fluoride overdose.
Fluoride has been shown to affect brain development and thyroid function in low doses, and was classified as an endocrine disruptor by the landmark review on health effects of fluoride by the top scientific body in the U.S., the National Research Council (published in 2006).
It is of concern that while fluoridation promoters proclaim the science is settled, and base their policies on unreliable studies, the properly conducted gold standard systematic reviews stress the need for better research to be done.
The Cochrane Review findings support statements previously made by FIND, an independent dentist group looking at fluoridation in New Zealand, and reinforce their call for a national moratorium on water fluoridation, and an independent investigation into the policy in this country.
“It’s important to consider what the implications could be of a health department allowing such a policy to continue when it is not backed by the weight of scientific evidence” says FIND spokesman, Dr. Stan Litras.
Source: Fluoride Action Network.
Water News for early July, 2015.
National Garden Hose Day is August 3, and it falls on Monday this year, so enjoy your three-day weekend!
In the past century, there have been 54 confirmed shark attacks on the North Carolina shore. In the past month, there have been seven. Read theories about why shark attacks are increasing and how you can avoid being a victim in The Daily Beast.
Peeing in Swimming Pool Will Make You Blind
Well, not really, but it may burn your eyes. Water Technology reports that two persistent myths about swimming in pools simply aren’t true. One is that a chemical dye in pool water will discolor the water if you urinate in the swimming pool. There ain’t no such chemical. The other is that chlorine in the pool water burns your eyes. Actually, what burns your eyes are compounds formed when chlorine in the water reacts with urine, sweat, and body oils in the pool.
Water—either too much or too little—is the world’s number one risk.
Water crisis is the most pressing risk worldwide.
World Economic Forum’s risk report this year listed water as the No. 1 risk. We know in the next decade, two to four billion people will be devastated either because of too much water or too little. Ninety per cent of all disasters worldwide are water related. We have to change or 40 per cent of the world will be devastated.
Primitive teeth seen in the Romundina fish.
The earliest teeth were not individual structures, but rather tough, bumpy plates that ancient fish used like sandpaper to crush and shred their food. Now, a new study reveals that for at least one species those so-called tooth plates didn’t form all at once: They expanded gradually with the accumulation of toothlike tissue as the fish grew in size. That’s the conclusion of the first detailed analysis of the tooth plates of a 400-million-year-old creature known as Romundina stellina, an armored fish that may have been among the first animals to sport teeth. A Science article explains it all.
Lake Texoma is being drained like a bathtub.
One of the largest reservoirs in the US, Lake Texoma lies on the border of Oklahoma and Texas and is formed by the buildup of water at Denison Dam on the Red River. When the water levels get too high, as they have in recent weeks, the Army Corps opens sluices, called floodgates, at the bottom of the lake to drain the water into the river. The flowing water creates cyclonic action, much like a tornado, which is widest at the top and tapers down at its tip. Read the report.
Airline’s drinking water fails hygiene tests. An investigation has been launched after drinking water on board 14 Cathay Pacific aircraft – around 10 percent of its entire fleet – was found to be tainted.
The EPA is looking for the source of a vinyl chloride intrusion into the water source of 55,000 residents of Kokomo, Indiana.
The city of Beijing has rolled out a plan for a 230 kilometer network of waterways that improves the urban ecosystem and helps quench the thirst of the capital’s 20 million people. The big problem is where to get the water, and treated wastewater seems the most likely source. Read all about it at Caixin Online.
The Antarctic toothfish is a predator that usually lives in eternal darkness, somewhere between 1 and 2 kilometers below the ocean surface. They can grow up to 2 metres in length and can live to be 40 years old. It is a voracious predator that feeds on different fish, squid and shrimp.
There is a never-ending war being waged in the deep, dark Antactic between the collosal squid and the giant toothfish. Read about it in the New Scientist.
Fresno Wastewater Reclamation Program Provides Free Water for Citizens
Fresno Public Utilities customers can obtain free wastewater for certain uses through the city’s first extracted water fill station, according to Fresnobee.com.
While the water can’t be consumed as drinking water, it can be used for irrigation and washing cars, noted the article. Customers will not pay anything for the water, but they must transport it themselves.
The program began for commercial customers at the end of June, and it started for residential customers July 8, stated the article. The service will aid in the city’s goal to cut drinking water consumption by 28 percent. Click here to read the entire article.
Actor Tom Selleck was unjustly accused of stealing water.
Five terror suspects were arrested in a suspected water plot in Kosovo.
According to ABC News, Kosovo authorities say they have cut off the water supply to tens of thousands of people in the capital after police arrested five suspects linked to the Islamic State group who allegedly were planning to poison a reservoir.
Pristina’s water authority says the water supply was stopped early Saturday “because of security issues” and that water samples are being tested for any suspicious substances.
Police say officers patrolling the Badovac reservoir saw three of the men, whose identities haven’t been revealed, behaving suspiciously. The reservoir supplies almost half of Pristina, a city of more than 200,000 people. Another two suspects were arrested elsewhere in Kosovo.
Police have been on alert in recent weeks after Kosovo-born volunteers appeared on IS propaganda videos warning of imminent attacks against targets including water supplies.
A water bomber crashed while fighting a fire in British Columbia. The pilot survived the crash.. Details and video.
Water Is Money
Provide something others really need that you have in abundance. That’s called a win-win. Wall Street even has a technical word for it: arbitrage. One item is currently in very short supply in the western part of our country: water. With a California drought leading to tough water restrictions, that liquid is an asset. And here in the Northeast, where I live, we’ve got lots of it.
Read the NY Times essay on Liquid Assets.
California farms are using drilling wastewater to grow crops. California’s epic drought is pushing Big Oil to solve a problem it’s struggled with for decades: what to do with the billions of gallons of wastewater that gush out of wells every year.
Man wanted in water hose assault
Editorial Note: It is unfortunate that the event reported below happened at all, but it is doubly unfortunate that it took place on the eve of National Garden Hose Day (coming up Aug. 3). At a time when water hoses are being viewed with suspicion as contributors to water waste from excessive irrigation or recreation (having too much fun), the use of a water hose as a weapon could in today’s volatile political atmosphere lead to talk of banning or limiting garden hose ownership. Since there is no constitutional amendment whose meaning can be bent to protect garden hoses, efforts to restrict or even ban garden hose sales are not out of the question. And while the incident reported below is only a single event, copycat crimes are common, and an outbreak of several weaponized garden hose events could certainly lead to talk of restricting or requiring registration of garden hose ownership. We must resist such efforts. The Gazette urges restraint. A single bad actor should not be allowed to tarnish the names of the millions of responsible garden hose owners worldwide who water their lawns, wash their cars, and fill their kiddie pools with their garden hose and never even think of beating someone up with it. — Hardly Waite.
A 64-year-old Maryville man is wanted after reportedly attacking his ex-girlfriend Thursday outside an East Lamar Alexander Parkway business.
Maryville Police officers were dispatched to the business at 5:23 p.m. Thursday after a 52-year-old woman reported being attacked by her ex-boyfriend. The man fled in a vehicle as officers responded to the business, according to the police report.
When officers arrived, they found the woman covered in blood, the report said. Officers noted seeing blood in her hair and on her face, neck, chest and arms.
The woman told officers she was outside the business watering flowers when her ex-boyfriend showed up. The two began arguing about their failed relationship, and the woman said she told the man to leave. He refused to go, so she sprayed him with water from her garden hose, she said.
The man reportedly grabbed the garden hose, which had a metal sprinkler attached to the end, and proceeded to hit the woman across the head and face with it. The assault left the woman with a large cut over her eye and several small cuts on her face, police said.
First responders treated the woman at the scene. Officers visited the man’s residence, but did not locate him. Police took out a warrant for his arrest on a charge of aggravated domestic assault.
Article Source: The Maryville (TN) Daily Times for July 11, 2015.
A global crisis of water quality looms
By Asit K. Biswas
A major global concern at present is that the world will run out of water to meet the needs of its burgeoning population. Since water is needed for every aspect of life, the fear is that there will not be enough water for an estimated 9.3 billion people by 2050 and their numerous water-related needs.
However, the most pressing global water problem of the future will be water quality and not quantity. The quality of water is progressively deteriorating in nearly all the countries of the world.
Even in developed countries such as the United States and United Kingdom, the situations are not very rosy. According to the US Environment Protection Agency, 40 per cent of the surveyed rivers are not fit for swimming and fishing. It estimates 850 billion gallons of untreated discharges flow into water bodies annually, causing seven million illnesses each year.
In London, whenever there is more than 2mm of rain, untreated raw sewage flows into the River Thames. This occurs once a week. Each year, 30 million tonnes of raw sewage are discharged into the Thames.
Read the rest of the article, in which Singapore is held up as a model city in managing its waste water and drinking water.
A petition is being circulated in an effort to stop Nestle’s plan to bottle and sell scenic Columbia Gorge water. Details.
Gazette Numerical Wizard Bea Sharper brings you up to date on the current water news in numbers.
Bottled Water Facts
Based on Professor POU/POE’s “Bottled Drinking Water” piece in the July 2015 Water Technology.
Percentage of US tap water that is used for drinking and cooking– <1%.
US bottled water sales for 2013, in gallons – >10 billion.
US bottled water sales for 2013 in dollars – >$12.3 billion.
Percentage of bottled water consumed in the US that is imported – 10%.
For comparison, the daily drinking water production (tap water) of the city of Chigago – > 1 billion gallons.
US per capita consumption of bottled water in gallons – 32.
Factor by which Mexico’s per capita bottled water consumtion exceeds US consumption—2.
Percentage of US bottled water consumption is for “still” (non-carbonated) water—90%.
The most popular size bottle for home/office water delivery—5 gallon.
Overall per gallon cost of bottled water–$1.23.
Typical cost of tap water in the US per 1,000 gallons – $3 to $4.
Minimum TDS (total dissolved solids) required for bottled water to be classified as “mineral water”–250 ppm.
Total number of recalls of bottled water reported between 1989 and 2011 – 6.
Just in time for National Garden Hose Day (August 3), Pure Water Products announces its stunning new Garden Hose Water Softener.
A small, portable softener with infinite applications. Mobile homes, RVs, car washing, window washing, solar panels, spot-free patio rinse. Use it anywhere you can hook up a garden hose. It regenerates with table salt. A perfect gift for National Garden Hose Day. Please read full details on our main website.
Please visit our RO Parts Page for tanks and accessories. We also have dedicated parts pages for countertop water filters, undersink filters, and aeration equipment. We stock parts for everything we sell.
Thank you for reading. Please come back next week.
Places to Visit on Our Websites in the meantime.
Garden Hose Filters. Don’t be the last on your block to own one.
Model 77: “The World’s Greatest $77 Water Filter”
”Sprite Shower Filters: You’ll Sing Better!”
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