White and Fluffy: 5 Facts about the Snow

Hard to believe, but a huge number of people on the planet, have never seen the snow. And for us, no blizzards, drifting snow and a mild winter is not winter at all. The snow never ceases to surprise us, inspires records and sets challenging tasks, and this is what our next Water-gallery is about.

1. How to make a snowman with the size of a high-rise building? When the frost recedes and the snow becomes sticky, many of us wake up a sculptor inside. But not everyone can become world famous like the residents of the city of Bethel (Maine, USA). In 2008 they built the biggest snowman in the world, with a height of 36.6 meters. Skating snowballs here was not enough – hard work on this construction site was needed to fill formworks with snow and to tamp each floor. The giant snowman took 6 thousand tons of snow in total. Lips of tires, Christmas tree hands, eyelashes of skis, 40-foot scarf and a 23-pound pendant in the form of snowflake, and voila, she is ready! She was named Olympia in honor of a state Senator. This legendary monument melted only in July, seven months after the gala opening. Read more

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