Thursday, July 31, 2014

New Zealand water subsidy

Water is important because it is the easiest we can take care of our body. Water is important for our overall health and well being and any way to get clean drinking water is an issue facing the world. 

Water subsidies not only affect the United States but all over the world as well such as New Zealand.  On July 30 the associate health minister approved $9.3 million to help improve drinking water supplies in 22 small communities in southern New Zealand. This approval was part of the 2013/2014 Drinking Water Subsidy Scheme. This approval is also towards the smaller water suppliers because larger water suppliers already have safe drinking water. Though these small communities only house around 17000 people, it would still make a big difference. Some clauses part of the DWSS are that $10 million will be available until 2015 and paying 85% of the cost. The deadline to apply for this scheme is February 28, 2015 and in order to be eligible, your population must be between 25-5000 and have a deprivation of clean drinking water.

For more information 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Governor of California Declares a State of Emergency as Drought Continues

As the state of California continues to dry up, Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency, as the region suffers through the "most persistent droughts on record" (EPA). California residents have watched Folsom Lake dry up right before there eyes:

How Bad Is California's Drought? This Bad

Farmers are now scrambling to save their crops, if they haven't lost them already. A drought like this can mean a food shortage and a major hit on the economy, as farmers, markets, and stores will lose business without the crops. This will also cause a rise in the cost of foods that are available, making already tough economic times even tougher.

You might be wondering what the farmers can do in such a difficult time? Farmers in other regions have been developing solutions, or at least aides, for their crops. Closed loop sprinkler systems are one way that farmers can use technology to control soil moisture, reducing unnecessary water waste. High tech sensors do the watering for the farmer, ensuring the plants only get as much as they need, not as much as the farmer might think they need. A super savvy option is a recirculating farm, also known as aquaponics. This combines fish farming with agriculture to reduce waste, runoff, and a eliminates a need for fertilizer.

This handy chart from, shows how the process works:

In the midst of despair and uncertainty, we must turn to innovation to help increase sustainability.
For more information on the topic and ways you can help, click here  or here.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Tips For Saving Water in the Bathroom

As seen throughout the news and as we've previously noted, California is facing a serious drought and its government is advising citizens to use water wisely, to avoid as much waste as possible. But even if you’re not from a drought-stricken area, conserving water in any way you can is beneficial for your community and your wallet alike.

One of the key areas to focus on in your home is the bathroom. Here, there are three main sources that you should keep in mind.

Showers and tubs: Low-flow showerheads cost some money up front, but they save water and money down the line. Conventional showerheads flow about 5 gallons of water per minute, while low-flow showerheads halve the flow at 2.5 gallons per minute. That’s a big difference! 

Beyond that, be mindful of how long you remain in the shower. You can probably get the job done more quickly than you realize. Baths should be seen as occasional treats, as they use around 35-50 gallons of water while a 10 minute shower with a low-flow showerhead only uses about 25 gallons. 

Sinks: Just like with showerheads, low-flow faucet aerators save gallons of water at the sink. It’s also a good idea to wash your hands with cold water instead of hot, as waiting for water to heat up runs more and more down the drain. Also, leave the water off when brushing your teeth! (Maybe your grandmother has told you this before--she’s right.)

Toilets: Again, low-flow is the way to go. Regular toilets use water than any other utility in the house. Older toilets use 5-7 gallons per flush, while low-flow models use as little as 1.5 gallons. The difference is immense. Beyond that, the old adage of “if it’s yellow, leave it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down” rings true. To conserve water and save money, keep in mind these small sacrifices whenever you can.

Friday, July 25, 2014

California Water Subsidies

Interactive Water District Map

Water is so essential for everyday life, that it is becoming more expensive and scarce. However according to the Environmental Working Group, central farms in California will receive up to $416 million dollars’ worth of water through a subsidy. This news is the first time individual recipients will receive contracts through taxpayers. However the down side of this contract is only for large farms instead of family owned farms. This reason behind this is because large farms are the biggest users of water, using up to one fifth of California’s water. Since large farms were the biggest users of water, the cost of water was about 2% less than drinking water.  “Water districts' records of individual recipients of subsidies are shielded from the public by state law but the EWG investigated this because the public has the right to know where their water is going and to make future decisions about California’s water.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

American Icon is Losing its Luster

The Hoover Dam: The first of its kind and once the largest hydroelectric power plant in the world. Providing electricity to more than 8 million people throughout Arizona, Nevada, and California; a massive feat as such requires massive amounts of water. That water is running low.

Lake Mead is a man-made reservoir; the product of adding the Hoover Dam to the majestic Colorado River. Once an awe-inspiring feature along the Colorado River, it has definitely seen better days.

To view more images of Lake Mead follow this link.

The Hoover Dam was built to prevent potential floods from the mighty Colorado River, only one of which has occurred since the dam's construction, and to allocate water to the surrounding areas. This water allocation is intended to provide power for three states and irrigation for over 1,000,000 acres of crops. Tasked with providing electricity and irrigation on such a large scale, the dam became an American icon. Due to the ongoing drought that the southwestern US has been experiencing for nearly 14 years, water levels have reached historic lows since the dam's dedication in 1935.

The water level has dropped more than 130 feet! Not only has this meant extra work for the National Park system charged with running Lake Mead, it has brought extra hazards to those who recreate there, and it brings uncertainty for the future of the dam and the people who so desperately depend on it.

As with the preservation of any water way, efforts to save Lake Mead come in the form of water, electricity, and other natural resource conservation. The once luscious landscape, full of estuaries and life, is now cracked and arid. Once home to plants and animals that relied on floods for the nutrients they provided to the area, is now home to four endangered species and abandoned marinas and boats.

To learn more about how you can save Lake Mead and others like it, please visit

Saturday, July 19, 2014

More Water Use

You would think a water subsidy would save water but in fact it is having the opposite effect. So what does it mean when we are using more water? Well first there are the threats towards aquifers, streams, and our drinking water. This is happening all over the United States becausse as long as there are farms, there would be irrigation of land.

When the Environmental Quality Incentives Program first created the bill in 1996, they thought it would save water through sprinklers and pipelines. However studies have shown this irrigation equipment is increasing the depletion of water. Other studies have shown that farmers are using irrigation to grow more groups instead of reducing the amount of water. It seems like farmers are not using the subsidy payments to increase irrigation.

Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and Tom Udall of New Mexico propose towards legislation “that water saved by taxpayer-financed irrigation systems would stay in underground water tables or streams and not be used by farmers to expand their growing operations.”

So why should we care about all this wasting water? Well water is an important part for our crops and lands and if we want to see mother earth grow into its potential, then we better start acting now.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Water Conservation Taught the Hard Way

Source: San Jose Mercury News

Towns all over California are facing severe water shortages. Earlier this year, Gov. Jerry Brown told Californians about the need to conserve water, but hardly anyone listened to the plea. When words aren't enough, can large fines be the wake-up call that Californians need?

The Water Resources Control Board is proposing new regulations to curb water waste, with fines that reach up $500 per day. This is no small number, an amount that could even mean missing your rent or house payment for a month. Broken water sprinklers, excessive lawn-watering, irresponsible car-washing with a hose, and other outdoor uses like decorative fountains would be in the scope of these new regulations. The Control Board hopes to work with localities to monitor such usage. The government is hoping to avoid a drought similar to the one in 1976 and 1977. Statewide conservation measures helped cut down water consumption by about 20 percent. But can the same measures work nearly 30 years later in a state that has grown so exponentially in population?

"Having a dirty car and a brown lawn should be a badge of honor because it shows you care about your community," says Felicia Marcus, the water board's chairwoman. This becomes one of the key questions to conservation efforts; how many small comforts would you be willing to give up to serve the greater community?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

All Dried Up

This California town is facing a harsh reality: they are out of water. Conditions have recently become so bad, that citizens have to pay to have water trucked in. This is assuming there is a place for them to store it. Towns drying up are more common than one might think, and the scary truth is that is will become more and more frequent as temperatures rise. With global warming comes rainfall pattern changes, increases in temperatures, increased storm events, and sewer system overloads. To add to the issue, population growth means higher water needs and demands. This leads to higher costs from the water companies and restrictions. Water bans will become frequent and regular occurrences. How much will you enjoy your lawn and garden when you are not allowed to water it? How will you break the news to your kids that they cannot play in the sprinkler on the hot summer days? Perhaps you like to keep your new car nice and clean and prefer to wash it by hand once a week? Not going to happen with water bans and restrictions. Slowly but surely, our resources are running dry.