Archive | Drinking Water

Southwest China Struggles Through Drought

BEIJING, March 25 (UPI) — A drought gripping southwest China for months has affected 62 million people and more than 12 million acres of crops, authorities said.

The provinces hit by the drought since last autumn include Guizhou, Yunnan, Sichuan, Chongqing, and Guangxi, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said Wednesday, China Daily reported. In Guizhou, cloud-seeding helped produce rains the past two days, easing the situation somewhat in some areas of the province.

The report said about 18 million residents and more than 11 million head of livestock in the five provinces also are facing drinking water shortages.

The ministry estimated the direct economic losses so far from the drought at nearly $3.5 billion.

The drought also has caused prices of goods to soar, affecting much of the food chain, including tea, herbs, fruit and grain.

The China Daily report said most farmers in the five provinces must depend on nature as the region has few water irrigation facilities. Since the start of the drought, the provinces have received only half their annual average rainfall.

Separately, sandstorms swept across the country for the past two weeks.

Experts blamed the sandstorms on strong and frequent cold spells, China Daily reported.

The cold spells could produce another six to nine sandstorms in northern China in April and May, the experts said.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Drinking Water, Drought0 Comments

Cyclone Leaves Thousands Without Power

MIDGE POINT, Australia, March 22 (UPI) — Cyclone Ului caused millions of dollars in damage to crops, buildings, roads and businesses in Australia but no serious injuries were reported, officials said.

An estimated 30,000 homes were without power in Queensland, down from 60,000 at the height of the storm Sunday, the Australian Broadcasting Corp. said Monday.

The cyclone crossed north of Mackay with 124-mph winds before weakening to a tropical storm and tracking west over inland Queensland.

About 20 boats were on the bottom of Shute Harbor near Airlie Beach, which was without power and running low on drinking water, the Mackay Regional Council said. In Midge Point, a tidal surge swept water and sand into homes and ripped apart a city park.

The storm, as a Category 3 cyclone, tore off roofs and uprooted large tree throughout the region, Emergency Services Minister Neil Roberts said, estimating the damage in the millions of dollars.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Air, Atmosphere, & Weather, Buildings, Drinking Water, Electricity, Environmental Disasters, Tidal0 Comments

Severe Drought Grips Southwestern China

SHIYANZI, China, March 17 (UPI) — Southwestern China’s drought is so severe the government in some areas is rationing just enough water to keep people alive, officials said Wednesday.

The drought, the worst in memory, has left more than 20 million people short of drinking water in Yunnan and Guizhou provinces.

“The horsebean and rape (crops) has withered in the field and we’re running out of grain in the house,” said Shiyanzi resident Li Shaorong, adding he uses “only a few drops of water every other day” to rinse his eyes.

The drought has devastated crops of fruit, tea, rubber, coffee, flowers and other crops key to the local economy.

The region has seen no rain in six months and some communities since January have been rationing just enough water to keep people alive, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

While China’s southwestern region is experiencing severe drought, the nation’s northern and central provinces have had excessive snow, a change some scientists attribute to climate change.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Air, Atmosphere, & Weather, Drinking Water, Drought0 Comments

Thomas, Etheridge Support Water Initiative

LOS ANGELES, March 10 (UPI) — U.S. singers Melissa Etheridge and Rob Thomas are to take part in the global water initiative Dow Live Earth Run for Water.

Live Earth, organizer of the Dow Live Earth Run for Water; Pacific Sports, race director for the Los Angeles event; and Atlanta Track Club, race director for the Atlanta event, announced Monday that Etheridge will perform live at the Los Angeles eent and Thomas will perform in Atlanta.

The Dow Live Earth Run for Water is a series of 6km run/walks, culminating with water education villages and live musical performances.

“I’m a long-time environmental advocate and believe strongly that it is our duty as a society and as individuals to preserve our planet and its resources,” Etheridge said in a statement. “I want to lend my name and time to this event because the global water crisis is an environmental issue that affects nearly 1 billion people on the planet and through this event we can raise awareness and money to help address it.”

“I am thrilled to be participating in this important event to bring clean, safe drinking water to the women and children around the world walking 6km every day to sustain their families,” Thomas said. “I encourage the Atlanta community to come out on April 18 because together we can make a difference in the lives of so many.”

The events are to take place in nearly 100 cities across 50 countries around the world April 18 to raise awareness and funds to help solve the global water crisis, organizers said.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Drinking Water, Education, Water Efficiency0 Comments

Thousands Without Water in Baltimore

BALTIMORE, March 8 (UPI) — A broken pipe in Maryland’s Baltimore County forced the closing of 11 schools and cut off water for 100,000 people, utility officials said.

The 36-inch, 54-year-old concrete pipe burst Saturday below a stream bed in the Gwynns Falls watershed, initially leaving nearly 100,000 people without water, The Baltimore Sun reported Monday. As of late Sunday, an estimated 40,000 people remained without water.

Schools without water were closed Monday and families were told they could fill containers from an emergency water supply at the Reisterstown Sportsplex. Utility officials said it could be weeks before water supplies return to normal.

Baltimore resident Adel Hizi, who has a 9-month-old baby, said he was considering taking his family to a hotel because dirty dishes and clothing were piling up and he was using store-bought water to empty his toilet.

“It is costing me $7 every time I flush,” Hizi said.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Drinking Water0 Comments

Contaminated Public Water Wells Studied

RESTON, Va., Feb. 11 (UPI) — U.S. Geological Survey scientists say they have discovered how and when contaminants might reach public-supply wells.

The researchers said public wells that supply drinking water to more than 100 million people in the United States are not equally vulnerable to contamination because of differences in three factors: The general chemistry of the aquifer, groundwater age and direct paths within aquifer systems that allow water and contaminants to reach a well.

The wells, however, can be vulnerable to naturally occurring contaminants such as radon, uranium, arsenic and man-made compounds, including fertilizers, septic-tank leachate, solvents and gasoline hydrocarbons.

The USGS study tracked the movement of contaminants in groundwater and in public-supply wells in four aquifers in California, Connecticut, Nebraska and Florida. The researchers said they found the importance of each factor differs among the various aquifer settings, depending upon natural geology and local aquifer conditions, as well as human activities related to land use and well construction and operation.

“Our findings can help public-supply well managers protect drinking water sources by prioritizing their monitoring programs and improving decisions related to land use planning, well modifications or changes in pumping scenarios that might help to reduce movement of contaminants to wells,” said Sandra Eberts, who led the research.

The full report as well as additional information is available at http://oh.water.usgs.gov/tanc/NAWQATANC.htm.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Drinking Water, Water Pollution0 Comments

Report: Water Around Bhopal Plant Polluted

BHOPAL, India, Feb. 7 (UPI) — Water around the long-closed Union Carbide pesticide factory in Bhopal, India, contains high levels of toxic pollutants, researchers say.

The plant was the site of an accidental release of toxic gas in 1984 that killed thousands of people and exposed an estimated half-million to airborne poisons.

The Central Pollution Control Board reports that underground aquifers around the plant are contaminated with benzene and chloroform, the Hindustan Times reported. Both chemicals can cause headache, nausea and, with high exposure, respiratory problems and coma.

“In some cases, the toxins were found to be several hundred times more than the permissible limits in drinking water,” the agency said.

Chemicals remain stored in the plant. Environmental activists like Sunitra Narain, director of the Center for Science and the Environment, accuse the government of failing to deal with the problem.

“The study shows that the site is highly contaminated,” Narain said. “The focus of the government is to dispose of the stored waste and ignore the site’s contamination. This will not solve the environmental problems from emanating from the UCIL factory.”

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Chemicals, Drinking Water, Toxic Substances, Water Pollution0 Comments

Packaged Salad Greens Can Contain Bacteria

YONKERS, N.Y., Feb. 3 (UPI) — Laboratory tests of 208 containers of 16 brands of salad greens sold last summer in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York found bacteria, some very high.

The report, published in the March issue of Consumer Reports and available online at www.ConsumerReports.org, assessed total coliforms and Enterocccous — “indicator organisms” found in the human digestive tract and in the ambient environment — that can signal inadequate sanitation and the presence of disease-causing organisms.

There are no existing federal standards for indicator bacteria in salad greens, but there are standards for these bacteria in milk, beef and drinking water.

Several industry consultants suggest an unacceptable level in leafy greens would be 10,000 or more colony forming units per gram. Thirty-nine percent of samples exceeded this level for total coliforms, and 23 percent for Enterococcus, Consumer Reports says.

The tests did not find E. coli O157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes or Salmonella — potentially deadly pathogens that can be found in food — although it was not expected given the small sample size, the report says.

Many packages containing spinach, and packages within one to five days of their use-by date, had higher bacterial levels. Packages six to eight days from their use-by date generally fared better, Consumer Reports says.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Drinking Water, Food & Nutrition0 Comments

Sydney's $1.7 Billion Desalination Plant

SYDNEY, Feb. 1 (UPI) — A $1.7 billion desalination plant has opened in Sydney, expected to supply up to 15 percent of the area’s water needs.

The seawater reverse-osmosis facility in the southern suburb of Kurnell has been driven by concerns about climate change, Sydney’s inconsistent rainfall patterns and a rapidly growing metropolitan area that attracts some 50,000 new residents each year.

“This is about preparing for Sydney’s expanding population. In the face of climate change, in the face of increasing drought, it is important we are securing Sydney’s water supply,” Kristina Keneally, premier of New South Wales, said during the plant’s opening ceremony Thursday.

The desalination plant is now producing 55 million liters per day of water, which will gradually increase to full capacity, 250 million liters a day. Water from the Kurnell facility will be distributed to 1.5 million people as part or all of their water supply throughout Sydney.

The plant is 100 percent offset by wind energy, and a new wind farm with 67 turbines is now up and running nearby at Bungendore.

Officials say coastal ecosystems will not be adversely affected by the salty discharge deposited back into the sea.

But John Kaye, a Greens MP in the New South Wales state Parliament, said the construction in Botany Bay had stirred up heavy metals that could harm migrating whales. Other sea life, he said, could also be affected by the dumping of saline waste back into the Tasman Sea.

“Sydney’s desalination plant was a huge mistake,” Kaye told the BBC.

“The historical records show we did not need it. The government says it is all powered by green energy, but that could have been used to offset coal generation elsewhere,” he said.

To achieve desalination at Kurnell, seawater is drawn into the system via a large 2.5-kilometer underwater tunnel. After gravel, sand, silt, seaweed and other debris have been removed, high pressure pushes the water through membranes small enough to capture the salt in a process known as reverse osmosis.

The desalinated reserves are then re-mineralized and slightly carbonated, while chlorine and fluoride are added, before being pumped directly into the city’s main supply.

Keneally said the project would add about $100 a year to the average person’s water bill, which would allow the plant to be fully paid off in four years.

“By 2025, global demand for water is predicted to grow by over 40 percent,” she said. “Along with dams, recycling and water efficiency, desalination is one of four key ways to ensure Sydney has enough water in the future.”

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Coal, Drinking Water, Drought, Recycling, Water Efficiency0 Comments

EPA Says Plating Shops Dump Chemicals

CHICAGO, Feb. 1 (UPI) — Metal plating shops are dumping high levels of cancer-causing chemicals into sewers in Chicago and Cleveland, federal regulators said.

The dumping of perfluorinated compounds, or PFCs, likely is happening in dozens of other cities too, a report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said.

The EPA has restricted the use of PFCs in stain-resistant products, such as Scotchgard and Teflon, but the metal plating industry received an exemption in 2007. The industry uses PFCs to suppress fumes during the plating of chrome bumpers, wheels and other parts.

PFCs wash unfiltered through sewage treatment systems into lakes, streams and drinking water, the EPA said.

One Chicago-area plating shop was flushing PFCs into sewers at concentrations of 12,214 parts per trillion when water piped into the factory had just 2.5 parts per trillion, the EPA said. A plating shop tested in Cleveland was flushing PFCs at 54,000 parts per trillion.

The findings could lead to new rules curbing the use of PFCs in plating shops, EPA scientist Kim Harris told the Chicago Tribune in a story published Monday.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Chemicals, Drinking Water, U.S. Federal Government Agencies0 Comments

No Posts in Category
Advertisement