I recently returned from a trip to visit our project site in Ceará, Brazil. While our project has included infrastructure construction, the heart of our work is a municipal water plan (PAM) for Milhã, an area in the central region of the state.
According to a recently released report, municipal bonds, which finance a large portion of the nation’s water utilities and infrastructure, may not carry ratings that reflect the growing pool of risk surrounding the nation’s water supply.
Water quantity and quality have generally been considered as separate problems and have usually been treated as such in policy-making and environmental restoration efforts. Increasingly, however, research and experience is beginning to show a strong link between water quantity and quality.
Fracking is an interesting example of a topic we talk about frequency at the Columbia Water Center – the water-energy nexus. In this case, the link relates water quality to energy supply. While fracking in the Marcellus Shale could provide significant supplies of relatively clean energy (natural gas), it also creates a huge risk for groundwater quality.
As temperatures in the Northeast finally begin to ease, we can assess the first heat wave of summer 2010. Here in New York, there was remarkably little drama. Through Herculean efforts, ConEd was able to avoid any serious blackouts or brownouts, and thankfully, there were no health emergencies. Neither were there any major heat-induced public safety disasters.
One thing there was plenty of though, was bottled water.
Earlier this week, PBS”s Frontline ran a story about the PlayPump, a technology that was supposed to bring drinking water to thousands of African communities by harnessing the power of children at play. The title of the Frontline story, “Troubled Water” indicates that all didn’t go as planned with the PlayPump. As Frontline reports, dozens of PlayPumps in Mozambique sit idle, and in many villages PlayPumps have been removed, and hand pumps reinstalled.
I was eagerly anticipating President Obama’s speech last night and very much hoping it would mark a true turning point in the administration’s handling of the crisis. However, like many others, I was sorely disappointed. While the speech used plenty of combative terms (“battle plan”, “siege”) it was completely absent of specifics, both for responding to the crisis and for how to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
Bottled water – “one of the least green and least defensible ripoffs on the market.” Is this a routine quote from one of the usual suspects of anti-bottled water campaigners? Surprisingly, no. It’s from the Economist – the journalistic bastion of free market economics – and is is included in their new special report on water that Julia summarized in an earlier blog post.
Columbia Water Center is working in Mali, Africa, as part of its PepsiCo Foundation funded project to improve rural water use and livelihoods.
The Mali component of the project aims to develop an effective irrigation system to improve agricultural productivity and food security.
Recently, the Obama administration has been getting harsh reviews from some environmentalists for its decision to open several new areas of the US to offshore drilling. Putting this admittedly odd decision aside though, the Thursday April 1 (April Fool’s Day) decision to roll out tough new water quality standards that could severely limit some of the most destructive [...]