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Governance

News
  1. Facing the Global Freshwater Crisis (Scientific American)
      "As demand for freshwater soars, planetary supplies are becoming unpredictable. Existing technologies could avert a global water crisis, but they must be implemented soon."

      "Not surprisingly, staving off future water shortages means spending money—a lot of it. Analysts at Booz Allen Hamilton have estimated that to provide water needed for all uses through 2030, the world will need to invest as much as $1 trillion a year on applying existing technologies for conserving water, maintaining and replacing infrastructure, and constructing sanitation systems. This is a daunting figure to be sure, but perhaps not so huge when put in perspective. The required sum turns out to be about 1.5 percent of today’s annual global gross domestic product, or about $120 per capita, a seemingly achievable expenditure."

      "Unfortunately, investment in water facilities as a percentage of gross domestic product has dropped by half in most countries since the late 1990s. If a crisis arises in the coming decades, it will not be for lack of know-how; it will come from a lack of foresight and from an unwillingness to spend the needed money." 08-08

  2. Virtual Water Footprints (Waterfootprint.org)
      Describes the concept of virtual water footprint in the world economy. 08-08

  3. Water Footprints (Waterfootprint.org)
      "People use lots of water for drinking, cooking and washing, but even more for producing things such as food, paper, cotton clothes, etc. The water footprint of an individual, business or nation is defined as the total volume of freshwater that is used to produce the goods and services consumed by the individual, business or nation."

      "The water footprint of a nation shows the total volume of water that is used to produce the goods and services consumed by the inhabitants of the nation. Since not all goods consumed in one particular country are produced in that country, the water footprint consists of two parts: use of domestic water resources and use of water outside the borders of the country. The water footprint includes both the water withdrawn from surface and groundwater and the use of soil water (in agricultural production)." 08-08

  4. Water Footprints of Nations and Foods (Waterfootprint.org)
      "With every step of food processing we loose part of the material as a result of selection and inefficiencies. The higher we go up in the product chain, the higher will be the virtual water content of the product. For example, the global average virtual water content of maize, wheat and rice (husked) is 900, 1300 and 3000m3/ton respectively, whereas the virtual water content of chicken meat, pork and beef is 3900, 4900 and 15500m/ton respectively." 08-08

Papers
  1. "The Future Is Drying Up" (New York Times)
      "When I met with [current Secretary of Energy] Chu last summer in Berkeley, the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada, which provides most of the water for Northern California, was at its lowest level in 20 years. Chu noted that even the most optimistic climate models for the second half of this century suggest that 30 to 70 percent of the snowpack will disappear. 'There’s a two-thirds chance there will be a disaster,' Chu said, 'and that’s in the best scenario.' " 10-10

  2. -Study: Millions in the U.S. Drink Dirty Water (MSNBC News)
      "More than 20 percent of the nation’s water treatment systems have violated key provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act over the last five years, according to a New York Times analysis of federal data."

      "That law requires communities to deliver safe tap water to local residents. But since 2004, the water provided to more than 49 million people has contained illegal concentrations of chemicals like arsenic or radioactive substances like uranium, as well as dangerous bacteria often found in sewage."

      "Regulators were informed of each of those violations as they occurred. But regulatory records show that fewer than 6 percent of the water systems that broke the law were ever fined or punished by state or federal officials, including those at the Environmental Protection Agency, which has ultimate responsibility for enforcing standards." 12-09

  3. America's Water Infrastructure Crisis (USNews.com)
      "Rep. Earl Blumenauer called for a Clean Water Trust Fund at a rally today in support of buttressing America's aging infrastructure."

      "Organized by Food & Water Watch, the rally highlighted a number of ills facing the country's water and sanitation systems. The average American pipe is 33 years old, while 72,000 miles of pipe are 80 years or older. Holding up today's Washington Post with a story detailing how a failed water main impeded efforts to fight a fire in a city neighborhood, group President Wenonah Hauter announced that it's 'time Congress does something about the water infrastructure crisis we're facing.' " 10-07

  4. Atlanta Faces Possible Empty Faucets (New York Times)
      "For more than five months, the lake that provides drinking water to almost five million people here has been draining away in a withering drought. Sandy beaches have expanded into flats of orange mud. Tree stumps not seen in half a century have resurfaced. Scientists have warned of impending disaster."

      "And life has, for the most part, gone on just as before."

      "The response to the worst drought on record in the Southeast has unfolded in ultra-slow motion. All summer, more than a year after the drought began, fountains blithely sprayed, football fields were watered, prisoners got two showers a day and Coca-Cola’s bottling plants chugged along at full strength. In early October, on an 81-degree day, an outdoor theme park began to manufacture what was intended to be a 1.2-million gallon mountain of snow." 10-07

  5. China and Others Running Out of Water (New York Times)
      "The North China Plain undoubtedly needs any water it can get. An economic powerhouse with more than 200 million residents, the region has limited rainfall and depends on groundwater for 60 percent of its water supply. Other countries have aquifers that are being drained to dangerously low levels, like Yemen, India, Mexico and the United States. But scientists say the aquifers below the North China Plain may be drained within 30 years."

      "'There’s no uncertainty,' said Richard Evans, a hydrologist who has worked in China for two decades and has served as a consultant to the World Bank and China’s Ministry of Water Resources. 'The rate of decline is very clear, very well documented. They will run out of groundwater if the current rate continues.' " 09-07

   
   


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