Water Infographic: Alarming Statistics About Wasted Water in Our Communities

water-infographic-ibm-thumbnailIBM created a water infographic to highlight some alarming statistics about how much water is wasted due to leaks in our water distribution infrastructure. A third of the water infrastructure in the US is 40 to 80 years old. Therefore, replacing this old infrastructure and repairing leaks is estimated to cost $335 billion over the next 20 years. In terms of water waste, not only do the leaky faucets in our homes waste a lot of water, but there is an average of 700 water main breaks each day across the US which wastes a tremendous amount of water. These pipe leaks are also exasperated by drought conditions, currently affecting a big part of the US.

Update: The statistics in this infographic may be suspect. Michael Campana (@WaterWired) researched it a bit in this post and found that dripping faucets don’t waste 27,000 gallons per year, but only 2,700 gallons per year. Read more

Austin Plastic Bag Ban and Its Connection to Water

While it seems like the plastic carryout bag has become synonymous with our Western “convenience” culture, I believe its days are numbered. The practice of carrying out groceries, food, and clothing purchases in plastic bags has become so second-nature for people that most people don’t even think about it or can’t even think about alternatives to plastic bags. Well, residents in Austin better become acquainted with the alternatives to single-use carryout plastic bags because the Austin Bag Ban has begun.

trash9The single-use carryout plastic bag is certainly convenient but its use since the 1960s has definitely taken its toll on the environment. There is so much evidence out there about the affect of these single-use carryout bags on wildlife and sea life that its ban in communities across the world is certainly a welcome step to saving wildlife and sea life from premature death by ingestion of these bags or bag particles. Read more

Oxygen depletion in the Baltic Sea is ten times worse than a century ago

The Baltic Sea is suffering from a lack of oxygen. Poor oxygen conditions on the seabed are killing animals and plants, and experts are now sounding the alarm — releasing fewer nutrients into the Baltic Sea is absolutely necessary.

Oxygen-depletionAfter several years of discussions, researchers from Aarhus University (Denmark), Lund University (Sweden) and Stockholm University (Sweden) have determined that nutrients from the land are the main cause of widespread areas of oxygen depletion. The results were published on 31 March in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Read more

Satellites show ‘total’ California water storage at near decade low

Updates to satellite data show that California’s Sacramento and San Joaquin River basins are at near decade-low water storage levels. These and other findings on the State’s dwindling water resources were documented in an advisory report released today from the UC Center for Hydrologic Modeling (UCCHM) at the University of California, Irvine.

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Responding to Governor Jerry Brown’s recent declaration of a drought emergency in California, a team of UCCHM researchers has updated its research on the state’s two largest river basins, and the source of most its water. The region also encompasses the Central Valley, the most productive agriculture region in the country. The Central Valley depends entirely on the surface and groundwater resources within the river basins to meet its irrigation needs and to produce food for the nation. Read more

Recovering valuable substances from wastewater

Phosphorus can be found in fertilizers, drinks and detergents. It accumulates in waterways and pollutes them. For this reason the German Phosphorus Platform has the goal to recover this valuable, but at the same time, harmful element from water. How this can be done will be shown by researchers at the Hannover Trade Fair / IndustrialGreenTec from April 7 — 11 in Hannover (hall 6, booth J18) where visitors can try out the method for themselves.

Recovering-valuable-substances Using magnets the superparamagnetic particles in the water can be removed along with their phosphorus load.

Not only plants, but also humans and animals need phosphorus, which is a building block of DNA. Many biological processes in our body can only take place if phosphorus atoms are also present. But farmers and industrial enterprises use so much of this element that soil is over-fertilized and waterways are contaminated. Read more