Thursday, March 26, 2009

Reducing Polluted Runoff Is a Much Better Strategy Than Accepting and Trying to Treat Ever Increasing Amounts of Runoff

"Instead of engineering the stormwater system to deal with increasingly large amounts of stormwater, these low impact development approaches utilize technologies that aim to reduce the amount of stormwater that even enters the system. This is achieved through processes that encourage enhanced infiltration and evaporation processes. Simple approaches such as green roofs, increased tree cover, disconnecting downspouts, and adding more green space can go a long way to reducing the amount of stormwater that enters sewers. [don't forget storm drain systems] And in some circumstances, these technologies can realize significant cost savings for municipalities and building owners." - quote by Subcommittee Chair Eddie Bernice Johnson of Texas.

Click Here for the full story from

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Breaking News - Obama Backhands Toilet to Tap Delegates

15 March 2009, Washington DC.

In February, President Obama issued an official backhander to Toilet to Tap Agitators. This slap came in the form of Title IV of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act via a $1 billion allocation to Water Resources, with at least $126 million going to reclamation and reuse projects.

See below for the page of the bill that describes the allocation, and CLICK HERE if you 1) Like to Read Bills, 2) Suffer from Insomnia.

For an additional amount for ‘‘Water and Related Resources’’, $1,000,000,000: Provided, That of the amount appropriated under this heading, not less than $126,000,000 shall be used for water reclamation and reuse projects authorized under title XVI of Public Law 102–575: Provided further, That funds provided in this Act shall be used for elements of projects, programs or activities that can be completed within these funding amounts and not create budgetary obligations in future fiscal years: Provided further, That $50,000,000 of the funds provided under this heading may be transferred to the Department of the Interior for programs, projects and activities authorized by the Central Utah Project Completion Act (titles II–V of Public Law 102–575): Provided further, That $50,000,000 of the funds provided under this heading may be used for programs, projects, and activities authorized by the California Bay-Delta Restoration Act (Public Law 108–361): Provided further, That not less than $60,000,000 of the funds provided under this heading shall be used for rural water projects and shall be expended primarily on water intake and treatment facilities of such projects: Provided further, That not less than $10,000,000 of the funds provided under this heading shall be used for a bureau-wide inspection of canals program in urbanized areas: Provided further, That the costs of extraordinary maintenance and replacement activities carried out with funds provided in this Act shall be repaid pursuant to existing authority, except the length of repayment period shall be as determined by the Commissioner, but in no case shall the repayment period exceed 50 years and the repayment shall include interest, at a rate determined by the Secretary of the Treasury as of the beginning of the fiscal year in which the work is commenced, on the basis of average market yields on outstanding marketable obligations of the United States with the remaining periods of maturity comparable to the applicable reimbursement period of the project adjusted to the nearest one-eighth of 1 percent on the unamortized balance of any portion of the loan: Provided further, That for projects that are being completed with funds appropriated in this Act that would otherwise be expired for obligation, expired funds appropriated in this Act may be used to pay the cost of associated supervision, inspection, overhead, engineering and design on those projects and on subsequent claims, if any: Provided further, That the Secretary of the Interior shall submit a quarterly report to the Committees on Appropriations of the
House of Representatives and the Senate detailing the allocation, obligation and expenditures of these funds, beginning not later than 45 days after enactment of this Act: Provided further, That the Secretary shall have unlimited reprogramming authority for these funds provided under this heading.

Extra! Extra! Read all About it! Parched Disney Visitors Slurp Sewer Water!

Visitors to Disneyland likely don't know that when they sip from Disney water fountains that the great tasting aqua treat was once streaming through a public sewer. Not to worry though. That sewer water is actually substantially cleaner and more carefully filtered than the water consumed in the average American household. Moreover, the new system providing Disney's water could be the most viable means of drought proofing a state that faces some potentially serious water issues in the coming years.

Read the Article!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Energy and Water Connection? VERY NICE!!

Our leaders are making the connection in legislation - it takes energy to move water, and it might be a good idea to consider that in how our federal policy directs water conveyance. See press release below and links.

Energy-water use connection sought

Friday, March 13, 2009

WASHINGTON — The US Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on March 10 held a hearing on a recently introduced bill that aims to integrate the relationship between energy and water use into national policy decisions.

The bill, known as the Energy and Water Integration Act of 2009, or S 531, was introduced March 5 by Sens. Jeff Bingaman, D-NM, and Lisa Murkowski, R-AK. S 531 would direct the US Department of Energy to develop a framework for the energy-water use study. The Energy Department would be required to consult with the US Department of the Interior and the US Environmental Protection Agency, and then to enter into an arrangement with the National Academy of Sciences under which the Academy analyzes the impact of energy development and production on US water resources.

Dr. Peter Gleick, president of the Oakland, CA-based think tank Pacific Institute, on March 10 testified before the committee in support of the bill. According to a March 10 Pacific Institute press release, Gleick explained how water and energy are linked, how limits to the availability of both resources are beginning to affect one another, and how recognizing this link when developing national energy and water policies can lead to many substantial economic and environmental benefits.

To access the Pacific Institute press release, click here.

To access information about the bill, click here or here.

For related information, click here.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Student Perspective

I am a junior in high school who cares about my future. I try to do my part when it comes to conserving resources and protecting our environment. I do this because I feel that as human beings we are responsible for keeping the planet clean and healthy. We don’t have another planet to live on after we trash this one, so we all collectively need to help keep our planet clean.

Water is a resource that is taken advantage of by students my age every day. I see kids throwing bottles of water on each other for their birthdays and kids who drink half a bottle of water and then throw it away. I am always aware and conscious of how much water I use and I try to conserve as much as possible everyday. I drink filtered tap water from my reusable water bottle and I never buy single use plastic bottles. My showers are usually five minutes or less, and while I lather, I turn off the water. I never keep the water on while I brush my teeth or while I wash the dishes.

Although I do these small things, I can’t say that I see my fellow classmates and friends do the same. An example is my best friend who takes twenty minute showers and keeps the water running while he brushes his teeth. I try to help give him tips on how to work on conserving water, but he finds it to difficult or pointless. That is the kind of attitude most kids at my age have. Unfortunately they feel that recycling and picking up trash isn’t a true solution to anything.

If every kid at my age grew up with the ideas of conservation and ways to help the planet then we would have a much cleaner and different world. Educating kids about where their water comes from and why it is so important to conserve water would benefit them so much. The key is for kids to understand why they are doing something, because if an authority figure wants them to change then odds are they won’t. The reason why water is such a valuable resource in San Diego in particular is because of our climate and location. We only get 10-20 % of our water from rainfall and we rely on the Colorado River and Northern California for the rest. Our weather in San Diego is sunny and dry about 264 days a year. Our climate and location makes us as residents very reliant on the 480 million gallons of water we import each day.

The simplest things a high school student can do are taking short showers, turning off the faucet when they don’t need it on, and to never waste water. I cringe when I see people over watering their lawns or washing down their driveways. It is the equivalent to pouring money down the drain in my eyes. My neighbor is a person who totally overuses water every single day. She washes down her driveway three to four times a week and fills her trash can to the brim and then flushes it into the storm drain every week. I have never understood why she does this but I have asked her before why she does and she responded with, “Because this is a free country!” I couldn’t believe it! I am very wary about my future and my children’s future because our valuable resources are being washed down people’s driveways like my neighbor everyday. So make sure to get the word out to your friends and family about little things they can do to help conserve and reuse water in their everyday lives.

Written by Evan S., a student at High Tech High in San Diego

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Guess what the yellow is....

So, it's not exactly dinner table conversation, but having a conversation about it is important because it's affecting the health of our oceans. What are we talking about? We're talking about keeping sewage, even treated sewage, out of our oceans.

The NY Times has a great op-ed piece by Rose George, entitled "Yellow Is The New Green" and you can guess what the yellow is.... It's a great article because it brings up so many things about what to do with sewage, including re-thinking the way we think about. It turns out, it's not so disgusting after all - in fact, it has a lot of great uses!

If San Diego wants to be a leader amongst California cities, we need go down a greener (or yellower) path, and keep our oceans clean so that the tourist dollars we depend on, keep flowing in.