Water Wives: Men in India Marry Extra Women to Fetch Them Water

Parched regions of India depend on women who take on the time-consuming, inconvenient task of obtaining and carrying water

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In India, monsoons aren’t just a weather system — they’re a lifeline, especially in areas without access to water. As drought threatens the country again this year, Reuters’ Danish Siddiqui looks at how water shortages affect villagers in one parched area of the country: an area in which safe drinking water is so scarce that men take on additional “water wives” to fetch it. Read more

Atlas maps benefit ocean ecosystems

A report mapping the benefits of ocean ecosystems aims to assist governments and businesses in making informed decisions when using marine and coastal resources.

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The Atlas of Ocean Wealth, published last week, compiles data and qualitative information on the benefits of coral reefs, marshes, mangroves, seagrass meadows and oyster reefs. It finds that fish catches are declining, ocean temperatures are warming, sea levels are rising, and extreme weather events are threatening coastal habitats. Read more

Portable device detects toxic blue-green algae in water

Cyanobacteria, more commonly known as blue-green algae, can potentially be quite nasty. Some types of the bacteria produce toxins, which can poison humans or other animals that ingest water in which they’re present. Now, however, scientists are developing a portable sensor that will instantly alert users to the presence of the microbes in water samples.

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You probably wouldn’t need to be told not to swim in this – a particularly scummy cyanobacteria infestation

According to the World Health Organization, cyanobacterial toxins can cause reactions such as skin irritation, stomach cramps, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, fever, sore throat, headache, muscle and joint pain, blisters of the mouth and liver damage. Those toxins can be ingested not only through deliberate drinking of the water, but also via bathing. Read more

Oxijet air shower reduces water use by 50 percent

Low-flow shower heads are a good way to save water, but using one can be a bit like showering with a spray bottle. New Zealand company Felton, in collaboration with Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), has developed the Oxijet – an “air shower” head that injects tiny air bubbles into the water droplets to make the shower feel like it’s at full pressure, yet while using 50 percent less water.

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“Traditional flow restrictors reduce flow and pressure, whereas Oxijet uses the flow energy to draw air into the water stream, making the water droplets hollow,” Dr. Jie Wu, a fluids specialist at CSIRO said. “This expands the volume of the shower stream, meaning you can save the same amount of water, while still enjoying your shower.” Read more

WaterBean purifies tap water to reduce plastic bottle waste

It’s a given that recycling waste products is a good thing. It’s certainly better than sending our trash to landfill where it will sit rotting (or not, in the case of non-biodegradable waste) for decades to come. However, even better than recycling is to not create the waste in the first place. Bottled water is now big business, and more popular than ever before, but bottled water guzzles energy and creates waste that really doesn’t need to be created. The WaterBean portable water filter offers one possible solution to the problem.

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WaterBean is a portable water filter which “purifies” tap water. The word “purifies” is in quotation marks because WaterBean will not turn a dirty puddle into water you’d want (or be advised) to drink. Rather than being designed as a system for people in developing countries to use to make dirty water clean enough to drink, WaterBean is designed to persuade people who currently buy endless bottles of water to stick with one bottle for a long time. Read more