25 July 2014

This Week in Water

Been wondering lately what's happening with your planet's most precious resource? I'm back after a brief hiatus to give you the 411.

With Israel having invaded and currently occupying much of Gaza, I want to focus on the water angle to this current conflict.

If you've been reading this blog, you are aware that water is always a major issue in the Israel/Palestine conflict. In February, Martin Schulz, European Union Parliamentary President, made the following statement before the Israeli Knesset: "A Palestinian youth asked me why an Israeli can use 70 cubic liters of water and a Palestinian just 17." This prompted a faction led by Naftali Bennett to walk out. Is this true?

Haaretz recently published a fact sheet about the role of water in this corner of the Middle East:
* Israel doesn’t give water to the Palestinians. Rather, it sells it to them at full price.
* The Palestinians would not have been forced to buy water from Israel if it were not an occupying power which controls their natural resource, and if it were not for the Oslo II Accords, which limit the volume of water they can produce, as well as the development and maintenance of their water infrastructure.
* This 1995 interim agreement was supposed to lead to a permanent arrangement after five years. The Palestinian negotiators deluded themselves that they would gain sovereignty and thus control over their water resources.
The Palestinians were the weak, desperate, easily tempted side and sloppy when it came to details. Therefore, in that agreement Israel imposed a scandalously uneven, humiliating and infuriating division of the water resources of the West Bank.
* The division is based on the volume of water Palestinians produced and consumed on the eve of the deal. The Palestinians were allotted 118 million cubic meters (mcm) per year from three aquifers via drilling, agricultural wells, springs and precipitation. Pay attention, Rino Tzror: the same deal allotted Israel 483 mcm annually from the same resources (and it has also exceeded this limit in some years).
In other words, some 20 percent goes to the Palestinians living in the West Bank, and about 80 percent goes to Israelis – on both sides of the Green Line – who also enjoy resources from the rest of the country.
Why should Palestinians agree to pay for desalinated water from Israel, which constantly robs them of the water flowing under their feet?
* The agreement’s second major scandal: Gaza’s water economy/management was condemned to be self-sufficient and made reliant on the aquifer within its borders. How can we illustrate the injustice? Let’s say the Negev residents were required to survive on aquifers in the Be’er Sheva-Arad region, without the National Water Carrier and without accounting for population growth. Overpumping in Gaza, which causes seawater and sewage to penetrate into the aquifer, has made 90 percent of the potable water undrinkable.
Can you imagine? If Israelis had peace and justice in mind, the Oslo agreement would have developed a water infrastructure linking the Strip to the rest of the country.
* According to the deal, Israel will keep selling 27.9 mcm of water per year to the Palestinians. In its colonialist generosity, Israel agreed to recognize Palestinian future needs for an additional 80 mcm per year. It’s all detailed in the agreement with the miserly punctiliousness of a capitalist tycoon. Israel will sell some, and the Palestinians will drill for the rest, but not in the western mountain aquifer. That’s forbidden.
But today the Palestinians produce just 87 mcm in the West Bank – 21 mcm less than Oslo allotted them. The drought, Israeli limits on development and drilling new wells, and limits on movement are the main reasons. Palestinian mismanagement is secondary. So, Israel “gives” – or rather sells – about 60 mcm per year. True. That is more than the Oslo II Accords agreed for it to sell. And the devastating conclusion: Palestinian dependence on the occupier has only increased.
* Israel retained the right of the mighty to cap infrastructure development and rehabilitation initiatives. For example, Israel has imposed on the Palestinian Authority pipes that are narrower than desired, forbids connecting communities in Area C to the water infrastructure, tarries in approving drilling, and delays replacing disintegrating pipes. Hence the 30 percent loss of water from Palestinian pipes.
* 113,000 Palestinians are not connected to the water network. Hundreds of thousands of others are cut off from a regular supply during the summer months. In Area C, Israel forbids even the digging of cisterns for collecting rainwater. And that’s called giving?
* Instead of spending time calculating whether the average Israeli household’s per-capita consumption of water is four times or “only” three times that of Palestinian consumption, open your eyes: The settlements bathed in green, and across the road Palestinian urban neighborhoods and villages are subject to a policy of water rotation. The thick pipes of Mekorot (Israel’s national water provider) are heading to the Jordan Valley settlements, and a Palestinian tractor next to them transports a rusty tank of water from afar. In the summer, the faucets run dry in Hebron and never stop flowing in Kiryat Arba and Beit Hadassah.

12 July 2014

A Tough Week

It's been a tough week.

On July 4th, Wisdoc and I drove 200 miles to Lexington, SC, to pick up a new puppy. We spent a couple hours with the litter, selecting out candidates by—mainly—disposition. We chose this little fellow:

and named him Kona because he reminded us of the color of the sand there. (We visited Wisdomie in Hawaii in June). He rode the three-hour drive home sitting quietly next to our miniature Dachshund, Lily, and Wisdoc.

It didn't take long for Wisdoc plus all the Wiskids to fall in love with him. He's a German Shepherd/Poodle mix. Very sweet and self-possessed.

As readers here will recall, we lost Jake, our beloved Shepherd of 13 years, last Thanksgiving when he succumbed to doggy Lou Gehrig's disease. Jake was a truly great dog and family member. I've written plenty about him here.

Over the years, though, Wisdaughter developed an allergy to Jake. We'd grieved for over 6 months and felt we wanted another big Shepherd-like dog. We did some research and learned that some folks were breeding Shepherds with Standard Poodles to produce a hypoallergenic dog with all the qualities of a Shepherd and the calmness of a Poodle.

We took Kona to our family Vet on Monday afternoon. She found a disastrous heart murmur and told us it was likely inoperable. We were in shock—PTSD-like. It didn't help that it was the same Vet who put Jakey to sleep. We immediately (then and there in the Vet's office) informed the breeder who, likewise, was shocked. After much soul-searching and after seeking a second opinion, we agreed to exchange Kona for the puppy that came in a close second in our disposition testing.

Wisdoc was disconsolate and hardly slept Monday night. She'd already become attached to Kona.

Tuesday afternoon (yes, during yet another World Cup match—this time, the Germany v. Brazil shellacking), we met the breeder about halfway to SC at an exit on I-20. We spent about an hour with the new little fellow, introducing him to Lily. She brought us her Vet's certification of his health this time and assured Wisdoc she would raise Kona as her own pet, letting him live out his days on her farm.

I had no choice but to believe her.

I took the new guy to our Vet on Wednesday, and she gave him a clean bill of health. I told her she owed us some good news.

We had trouble naming the new little boy but eventually, after a debate of what felt like hundreds of group text messages between and among the entire Wisfam, settled on Bruno.

He's a fuzzy 14-week old puppy. Adorable, sweet, playful, and well-related. Black with some brown highlights, a white spot on his chest, and white tufts on his front paws and chin beard. He should grow to about 60-65 lbs (not as large as Jake but large enough). He doesn't shed, and, importantly, Wisdaughter had no allergic reaction to him.

Also, he sleeps through the night!

He's a happy fellow and has adjusted wonderfully well to Sasha (our cat), Lily, Wisdoc, Wesdom (who's home from college for the summer), and, of course, yours truly. He bonded immediately to us and seems to have accepted his place in the pack order around here. He looks me in the eye to see what I want him to do. He is not aggressive with strangers.

We Facetimed Wisdomie in Honolulu for a couple hours, and he enjoyed watching the little fellow play.

It was tough having to give up on Kona. A puppy with a congenital heart condition is a sad thing, especially one you've grown attached to for however short a time. The breeder will no longer be able to breed Bruno's and Kona's sire and dame, and she plans to put them up for adoption. I hope little Kona will be able to live out the rest of his life in the comfort of her farm.

Now, if I can only get Bruno to stop peeing on the rug.

10 July 2014


Great suggestion!

The early version

With an assist from Mitch Easter on Lead.

03 July 2014

This Week in Water

It's been more than a week, I know. Appy polly loggies. Lots to report, so here goes: The "It's-Either-Too-Much-or-Too-Little" Edition:

Rising seas and shrinking coastlines are becoming a problem in the Caribbean and the Atlantic region as well as the Pacific.

Record floods in the U.S. Midwest appear to be part of a larger, longer term pattern.

Flash floods have killed dozens in Northern Afghanistan.

A bipartisan report predicts that up to $100 billion worth of U.S. coastal property will be lost due to rising seas in the coming decades, or so reports that bastion of hippie-dippy commie propaganda: Business Insider.

According to the International Energy Agency, decarbonizing the economy by replacing fossil fuels with renewables will not only halt these warming trends, it will save the global economy upwards of $71 trillion by 2050.

[editorial note: I'm pretty sure these effects are not costed out by the extraction industry's estimates. In other words, the profits of extraction are privatized and the resulting consequential costs are socialized.]

Scientists have discovered a reservoir of water in the mantle beneath the earth's surface that is three times the volume of all the planet's oceans.

Is China trying to "steal" the world's fresh rainwater supply right out of the sky?

Detroit has issued water shut-off notices to 46,000 of its citizens, some of whom are trying to bring this to the attention of the U.N.

Atlanta's water wars are not over, but the Army Corps of Engineers now has this situation well in-hand. [I know I feel better.]

El Nino seems to have postponed the annual monsoon in India sparking fears of drought in the world's second most populous nation.

As if its historic drought weren't enough, Texas's extraction industries are tapping out its underground aquifers.

The fighting in Ukraine is threatening the water supply to over 4,000,000 people.

Nearly half of Europe's water supply is threatened by pollution.

Here's a brief survey of some of the methods of producing fresh water currently being explored. And another.