07 February 2014

This Week in Water

I'll not be posting about ice skating, skiing, hockey, etc. at the Sochi Olympics. Notwithstanding, it's time once again to review the week's watery matters.

Water in the hotels in Sochi, Russia, "contains something very dangerous." Officials there also know some Western visitors are deliberately trying to sabotage Russia's glorious triumph because "[w]e have surveillance video from the hotels that shows people turn on the shower, direct the nozzle at the wall and then leave the room for the whole day." And we get upset when someone somewhere has a record of what numbers we've dialed. Nice choice, Snowden.

The California drought is not getting any better. In fact, a number of communities could run out of water in two to four months. Sacramento has enacted strict water restrictions as water levels are plummeting. New Mexico and much of the Western U.S. are dealing with similar issues. The causes are complex and do not yield to simplistic, politically motivated responses. (h/t Thunder)

Lake Urmia, Iran's largest lake, has only about 5% of its water remaining. Its groundwater similarly depleted, the country's water shortage is at near-emergency levels.

Lake ice in Northern Alaska has shown a dramatic decline in the last 20 years.

Privatization of water resources has led to increasing inequity of access to water in Egypt. [Hint: Golf courses!] Further unrest may be fomenting throughout the region.

Half of Sao Paulo's water supply will run out in 45 days if there is no rain.

Did you know it takes 42 gallons of water to make a single slice of pizza? 3179 gallons for a pound of chocolate? 1799 gallons for a pound of beef?

Five hundred dolphins died after beaching themselves in northern Peru. No one is quite sure why.

Additional chemicals were found in the Elk River of West Virginia. Officials gave the all-clear to use the water yet residents continued to develop illnesses. Several schools were closed as a result. Feds have launched a criminal probe in the matter. Many are wondering why regulation of such toxic material has been so laissez-faire. This is such a big deal and an on-going issue, I will link to a Google News feed about the matter and encourage you to keep up there.

Duke Energy said upwards of 82,000 tons of coal ash had spilled into the Dan River when a 48-inch stormwater pipe beneath its ash pond in North Carolina broke. "Coal ash 'is known to contain a witch's brew of toxic chemicals, including lead, arsenic, mercury and radioactive uranium.'" The coal sludge threatens the drinking water of Virginia residents in and around Danville, and there is no known way to clean it up.

BP and Chevron have been accused of dumping toxic waste, some of it radioactive, from drilling operations into the coastal waters of Louisiana.

Brain-eating amoebas were found in the waters of Northwest Louisiana, and large quantities of free chlorine, what is referred to as a "chlorine burn", will be fed into Shreveport's water system in hopes of disinfecting the water supply.

Many fear Australia's approval for an India firm to expand a major coal port will hasten the demise of the Great Barrier Reef.

An 5.1 magnitude earthquake hit 34 km east of Japan's troubled Fukushima nuclear plant. Fukushima Prefecture has pledged to go 100% renewable energy. Meanwhile thyroid gland cancers have been showing up in local children. Follow the news feed of this continuing disaster here.

Hormone-disrupting chemicals that have been linked to infertility, birth defects, and cancer have been collected in water samples at Colorado fracking sites.

The EU is taking steps to to monitor water pollution and groundwater levels to protect water quality continent wide.

Oil exploration and increased sea traffic in the newly thawed waters of the Arctic are threatening the survival of the polar bear and other endangered species there.

Sea Shepherd activists forced Japanese whalers out of their annual Antarctic hunting grounds.

Shell Oil was forced to temporarily halt its plans to pursue further drilling in the Arctic when a Federal Court determined that the environmental review upon which the Bush Administration granted its lease was fundamentally unsound.

Arctic sea ice levels were well below long-term averages meanwhile air temperatures were warmer than normal last month.

The West Antarctic ice sheet is thinning at an increased rate.

"The Sea Washed it Away: On the Ground After Typhoon Haiyan."

It is not going to be easy to keep Asian carp and other invasive species out of the Great Lakes, requiring at least 25 years and multiple billions of dollars.

A Mexican fisherman who purportedly survived 18 months adrift on the Pacific Ocean washed up in the Marshall Islands some 8000 miles from home. He claims he survived by drinking rainwater and turtle blood, eating fish, birds, and turtles.

Researchers have produced the first undersea map of the impact crater near the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico that many believe was responsible for the great extinction event that wiped out our predecessor dominant species, the great lizard lords that roamed the Earth some 65 millions years ago.

The dwarf planet Ceres in the asteroid belt of our solar system may contain more freshwater than Earth.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

No one is quite sure why.

I think.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

So here's one of them Snowy Owls everyone is talking about.

I guess they're staying in D.C. and not coming up to visit in the mountain?