Brett Walton, writing at the blog Circle of Blue www.circleofblue.org points up the huge potential consequences of a newly pending lawsuit by the Des Moines Water Works that may affect both the reach and enforcement of the 1972 Clean Water Act.
The impending court action seeks to require three counties in Iowa to apply the same federal permitting process to certain types of farm pollution that industrial facilities must follow. The post quotes Graham Gillette, chairman of the Water Works board: ‘I don’t think any voluntary system will work. If we had adopted a voluntary system for air in the 1960s and 1970s, New York City would still look like Beijing today. We need some basic and achievable standards.’
Water news and alerts continued to receive notice throughout 2014. Severe drought as well as dramatic flooding again topped U.S. headlines. My personal Top Water Wishes for the New Year include a quick look back at some of the important water stories that streamed through our offices this past year.
In a recent news story about the stalled Maryland nutrient program which is showing little outcome since 2008, The Baltimore Sun points up some of the concerns of environmentalists and other opponents of nutrient trading, settling on a lack of scientific verification and general lack of interest by landowners in the voluntary state run program. Among the claims in the story are fears that ‘privatizing environmental cleanup is ripe for fraud.’
All this comes as neighboring Virginia’s pollution trading program moves ahead and is touted for its “innovative market-based approach” to cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay. >Read More
California’s Proposition 1, known as the ‘Water Bond,’ passed in November’s election. The measure provides for $7.5 billion to fund water projects and programs addressing water conservation and recycling, groundwater cleanup and water storage — all pressing concerns as California continues in a deep drought.
Ever wonder about the value of the Chesapeake Bay and its streams and wetlands? An analysis recently released by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) finds that the economic benefits provided by nature in the Chesapeake Bay watershed will total $130 billion annually when the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint is fully implemented.
The peer-reviewed report, produced by economist Spencer Phillips and CBF Senior Scientist Dr. Beth McGee, compares the value of those benefits in 2009, the year before the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint began being implemented, to the benefits that can be expected as a result of fully implementing the Blueprint. >Read the Full Report via Chesapeake Bay Foundation
For nearly twenty years, Trout Headwaters and its clients have focused considerable energy and investment on trout habitat restoration. Our work has been to restore cold water habitats across the U.S., increasing biodiversity and restoring ecological function. Over this time unfortunately we have been witness to lots of invasive management and restoration techniques which damaged stream and wetlands systems, including inappropriate hatchery stockings. Some of these damaging so-called “restoration” projects were simply accidents or catastrophes (depending on scale) others have been part of some accepted ill-informed management strategy. See “Rotenone? 1952 Called and Wants Its Fisheries Management Strategy Back” for a pertinent example.
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy writes in the Huffington Post: “To have clean water downstream in our rivers and lakes — and enjoy the economic growth clean water brings — we need healthy headwaters upstream. In fact, a recent survey found that 80 percent of U.S. small business owners favor including small streams and headwaters in federal clean water protections, because every business in America needs clean water to thrive.” >Read the Full Op Ed
Sandra Postel writes recently in the blog Water Currents: “It’s a sad truth that many major rivers – the blue arteries of the Earth – no longer reach the sea. Our demands for water – to drink, grow food, produce energy and make all manner of material things – have sapped streams of their flow and ecosystems of their vitality. The web of life, of which we are a part, is fraying.”
It’s this fact that has given rise to a new initiative being backed by some big partners. Change the Course is being piloted in the iconic and heavily depleted Colorado River Basin, which provides water to some 40 million people and 4 million acres (1.6 million hectares) of irrigated land. With its conservation partners and sponsors (including Disney, Coca Cola and others), the effort has helped return 2 billion gallons (7.6 billion liters) to rivers throughout the watershed, as well as to the Delta, once one of the world’s great desert aquatic ecosystems. >Learn More http://changethecourse.us/
Wallace Nichols organized the annual “Blue Mind” conference in 2011 and has recently released his new book “Blue Mind” combining personal stories and research to describe the healing power of water. In a recent interview with the Washington Post, Nichols explores how stepping out of our stressful lives and back into nature changes our minds and bodies. “Oftentimes it leads to feelings of connectedness and that can lead to innovative thoughts. Early humans seek a place to call home and seeing a place overlooking the ocean or river realized it makes them happy,” he said.
Brett Walton posts that water scarcity has driven prices upward 33 percent since 2010 and that the price of water rose again in 2014 about six percent on average according to a survey of water rates in some 30 major U.S. cities. Water providers, he notes, are changing the structure of rate schedules, altering both monthly fees and volume fees in order to enable utilities to deal with dropping revenues resulting from water conservation. In some cases explicit policies promoting water conservation have meant that less water sold is less money paid to utilities. >Read More via http://www.circleofblue.org/waternews/2014/world/price-water-2014-6-percent-30-major-u-s-cities-33-percent-rise-since-2010/