Are We on the Path to Peak Water?

Ensia_infographic_peak_waterMany scientists and experts fear that humanity is reaching the point of peak water — the point at which freshwater is being consumed faster than it is being replenished or available. In the infographic above we take a look at the amount of water use around the world. Can we cut back before we reach the point of no return? Read more

Edward Burtynsky’s stunning photos document our complicated relationship with water

Edward Burtynsky has long been one of TreeHugger’s favorite artists. Known for his large-scale photographs documenting the many ways humans have left our mark on the natural landscape in unnatural ways, such as oil consumption, agriculture and mining, the Toronto-based photographer’s latest collection is called Water and shows the role water plays in ecosystems, energy, cultural practices and disasters.

burtynsky-water-pivot-irrigation “While trying to accommodate the growing needs of an expanding, and very thirsty civilization, we are reshaping the Earth in colossal ways. In this new and powerful role over the planet, we are also capable of engineering our own demise. We have to learn to think more long-term about the consequences of what we are doing, while we are doing it. My hope is that these pictures will stimulate a process of thinking about something essential to our survival; something we often take for granted—until it’s gone.” Read more

Make a water powered flashlight

Instructables user, and TreeHugger favorite, ASCAS has created another great clean energy project that is simple to make and super useful too. Here’s what he had to say about the water powered flashlight: water-flashlight

“The flashlight runs 30 minutes continuously with tap water and 2 hours with saltwater. Not bad for a single celled prototype. This thing also works well with calculators, clocks & radios. Remember, adding a second cell triples the glow and lighting time! Read more

Peak Water and Food Scarcity

At the international level, water conflicts among countries dominate the headlines. But within countries it is the competition for water between cities and farms that preoccupies political leaders. Neither economics nor politics favors farmers. They almost always lose out to cities.

Peak-Water-and-Food-ScarcityIndeed, in many countries farmers now face not only a shrinking water supply but also a shrinking share of that shrinking supply. In large areas of the United States, such as the southern Great Plains and the Southwest, virtually all water is now spoken for. The growing water needs of major cities and thousands of small towns often can be satisfied only by taking water from agriculture. As the value of water rises, more farmers are selling their irrigation rights to cities, letting their land dry up. Read more

How Water Filters Work

When you’re wading in a cool mountain stream, and you can see your to­es in the sand, you assume the water’s safe to drink. But even water that looks perfectly clear may harbor a variety of bacteria, parasites and protozoa that can make you very ill. You can’t tell from smelling or taking a small taste whether water is safe to drink. Even water from spigots in campgrounds may not be. When you’re camping, unless there’s a sign that specifically states that water is safe to drink, you should take precaution and treat it.

water-filter-1Portable water filters are probably the easiest and safest way to treat water for drinking. There are many choices in water filters. The least expensive may cost less than $20, while more expensive filters can cost several hundred. For the average user, it’s possible to find a perfectly functional water filter for less than $100. Read more