Just how old is H2O? A fascinating new study suggests that some of the water molecules we drink and bathe in are way old — as in more than 4.6 billion years old.
That’s older than the solar system itself.
“Our findings show that a significant fraction of our solar system’s water, the most-fundamental ingredient to fostering life, is older than the sun,” study co-author Dr. Conel Alexander, a scientist at the Carnegie Institute for Science in Washington, D.C., said in a written statement, “which indicates that abundant, organic-rich interstellar ices should probably be found in all young planetary systems.” Read more
Extensive drought has Californians thinking twice about running the tap while brushing their teeth or taking that 20-minute shower. But what some people don’t realize is that a huge portion of our water footprint is “hidden,” meaning it’s used for the things we eat or wear, and for the energy we use. Globally, agricultural production accounts for 92 percent of our water footprint. In the United States, meat consumption alone accounts for a whopping 30 percent of our water footprint.
So exactly how much water do the foods you eat require? Which food would win in a water use showdown? We’ve got the answers below, along with some helpful hints about reducing the water footprint of your diet.
All data come from Water Footprint Network’s website and reports on the global average water footprint of different foods. All winners are based on the gallons of water needed to produce a pound of each item or a gallon of each drink.
Tea vs. Coffee
Winner: Tea is the winner at 108 gallons of water per gallon of brewed tea. Coffee requires almost 10 times as much water, using 1,056 gallons of water per gallon of brewed coffee. Read more
Two decades ago, my hometown waterway of Boston Harbor was known as the dirtiest harbor in America. Raw sewage and industrial pollution made fishing and swimming risky at best, and impossible at worst. But today, thanks to cleanup efforts spurred by the Clean Water Act, it’s one of the most visited places in New England, and one of the best spots for recreation.
We know clean water is a health priority, but it’s also an economic necessity. Our communities, schools, businesses, and farms can’t run without it. A cleaner Boston Harbor has meant higher property values, more shipping, and more jobs. In 2012, more than 50,000 jobs in Boston were tied to port activity — from cargo and seafood processing to cruises and harbor tours. Read more
The hottest drink in America is water with bubbles.
Long a kitchen table staple in European households, sparkling water is making inroads in the U.S. thanks largely to Americans’ waning interest in soda. Between 2009 and 2014, the volume of carbonated bottled water sold in the U.S. has increased by 56.4 percent, according to data from Euromonitor International, a market research firm. Soda drinking declined sharply during the same period.
Still, sparkling water sales are a fraction of soda sales. The U.S. soda market is worth about $39 billion, according to Euromonitor. The market for unflavored sparkling water, flavored sparkling water and “functional” water — a category that includes flavored still water and enhanced still water like Smartwater — is just $4 billion. Read more
Remunicipalization is big word for a simple concept: it’s the process of bringing a formerly privatized service or asset back under public control. For residents and taxpayers, remunicipalization is often the logical conclusion after private water corporations fail to deliver on their promises. For corporations like Veoila and Suez that earn profits from taking over municipal water systems, remunicipalization is a major threat to their business model. And that threat is growing every year.
According to a new book from the Transnational Institute and other organizations, the rate of remunicipalization is “accelerating dramatically”:
“Over the last 15 years, 235 cases of water remunicipalization have been recorded in 37 countries, impacting on more than 100 million people. Moreover the pace of remunicipalization is accelerating dramatically, doubling in the 2010-2015 period compared with 2000-2010.”
City leaders and residents across the globe are reclaiming their water systems from private profiteers and ensuring that access to clean water remains a human right for every citizen. Last year activists in Detroit took their case to the United Nations. Since 2003, 33 water systems in the United States alone have been brought back under public control in places as diverse as Indianapolis, IN, Stockton, CA and Cameron, TX. Additionally 10 more local governments in the US are working to remunicipalize water services. Read more