Waterblogged.info is slammed!

fandWWWhat does a water blog worthy of the name do when the editor-in-chief is slogging through the swamp of endless demands that constitutes an annoying yet relatively lucrative day gig? Why, said water blog links to a really great site like Food & Water Watch–and lets said really great site do the heavy lifting.

But Waterblogged.info, asks the intrigued reader, what is Food & Water Watch all about? Say, intrigued reader, isn’t that what About pages are for? So I don’t personally have to explain every little thing to you? I’m on deadline here.

I can say that, unlike the weepy whiners here at Waterblogged.info, the folks at F&WW are activists, and only to happy to help you be one, too.

Good stuff, with a pile of information about all sorts of water issues.

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New York, New York

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Waterblogged.info has temporarily transferred its headquarters to Manhattan in order to gain some perspective on East Coast water issues. We may take in a few shows, visit a couple of museums, go to a few nightclubs, eat too much, and spend a lot of money on souvenirs as well. We are committed to posting something brief about New York water every day. We are going to accomplish this by raiding other blogs.

Coincidentally, Sara Bremen of Urban Omnibus recently wrote us about a fascinating hit on what she calls “that quintessential urban summer pastime of playing in the rushing waters of open fire hydrants.”

She graciously guided us to this entry by Adrienne Cortez, whom she describes as “a landscape architect whose work explores themes of urban sustainability and the use of existing infrastructure as a framework for deploying green technologies.” (Notice how we’re letting Sara do all the work here.)

This article in the NY Times prompted Cortez to rethink the practice:

The article provided a shocking statistic: at full power an open hydrant pumps out 1,000 gallons of water a minute. Uncapping, or opening, the local hydrant for relief from the heat had never struck me as anything more than a fun, and totally accepted, urban practice that had been going on for decades.

But that 1,000 gpm figure stuck in my head. And my curiosity eventually led me to develop nyc: uncapped, a study of the common summertime practice, and, in response to those discoveries, an exploration of alternatives.

She decided that it was an incredibly wasteful and, because it lowers the water pressure of surrounding hydrants, a potentially very dangerous practice. Read her imaginative, possibly even workable, proposal for stopping the waste of gargantuan amounts of water while maintaining an important recreational function.

Is there a right to water?

Does he have a right to that water?

Does he have a right to that water?

I apologize to those who might be offended, but it’s hard to think of a more stupid question. It’s a perverse–and lethally misleading–reversal of the real question: Do some individuals have the right to hoard and otherwise dominate a basic component of life and withhold it from others if they can’t pay for it?

Is there a right to air? This isn’t debated because air cannot as yet be sequestered and treated as private property. Thus there is no motivation to establish an intellectual narrative to support the absurdity that privatizing air and allowing the market to determine its distribution is the only rational approach. (Of course, as long as corporations dominate our lawmaking bodies, our right to clean air remains an open question.)

At this point, corporatism dominates not just the world’s economic network, but pretty much the entire edifice of thinking and discourse–the definition of what life is and should be about. They have us believing an endless array of absurd ideas about ourselves and our relationship to the planet and its resources. But the most laughable fiction is that they are there for us and that they should be entrusted with the stewardship of our most precious, elemental substance and that the insane drive to maximize profit above all other considerations is what should determine its distribution.

Witness this recent editorial from the San Francisco Chronicle (from which I ripped off the title) in which the writer frets that the skittish likes of international water conglomerates¬† Veolia, Suez, and RWE may be frightened off by the specter of a universal right to water and as a result will withhold their water management magic from developing countries. There is so much wrong with this way of thinking–a logical implication, for example, is that definitions of human rights should now be vetted and approved by corporate boards. But let’s just ponder the basic fact that these businesses have a miserable record of failure across the globe.

Look, we–those who inhabit and more or less thrive in rich developed countries and are rarely more than a minute or so from torrents of clean, disease-free water, which is not, by the way, provided by corporations–have the luxury of daintily sipping from our bottles of Evian as we hold heady–and smug and condescending–parlor debates about what should and shouldn’t be a right. If we were suddenly forced to live like billions on the globe–with a meager daily ration of filthy water and watching our children die of malnutrition and dysentery–there would be no question in our minds about a human being’s right to water.

And the winner is. . .

Barack Obama!!!!!!!!!!! Oh, no, wait, not yet. But, soon, real soon, coming to a White House near you. . . .

In the meantime, on behalf of the Waterblogged.info editorial team, I want to congratulate Abigail Brown of Water for the Ages, who has successfully harnessed the innocent wonder and total lack of skill of her inner child to snag the grand (and only) prize for the winning (and only) entry in Waterblogged.info‘s first (and last) coloring contest! Woo-hoo, indeed!

Water Is Cool by Abigail Brown

Water Is Cool by Abigail Brown

Participation was a tad disappointing, but I imagine that after seeing Abby’s entry, other would-be artistes threw up their hands and quietly closed their crayon boxes in resigned acknowledgment of certain defeat. Abby will soon be leafing through her own copy of the information-permeated pages of Tara Lohan’s Water Consciousness, which I will personally bestow on her in an informal ceremony in New Orleans.

Why New Orleans? Both Abby and I have the honor of having been invited to participate in a panel discussion on waterblogging at the American Water Resources Association Conference, to be held this year in the Big Easy. Michael Campana, waterblog guru and the sole proprietor of the essential WaterWired, will moderate, which I guess means he will try to keep us from splashing, bickering amongst ourselves, hogging the discussion, or wandering off topic to talk about President-elect Barack Obama!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Other panelists include:
Robert Osborne, Watercrunch
Noah Hall, Great Lakes Law
Kaveh Madani, WaterSISWEB
Jane Rowan, AWRA Blog, President, AWRA

Water Consciousness!

In previous posts, Waterblogged.info’s summer reading list! Part 1, and Waterblogged.info’s summer reading list! Part 2, we recommended what we believe to be 10 important books about the global water crisis. All great books, but if you want the essential primer about the problems and how you can contribute to solutions*, snag a copy of Alternet’s Water Consciousness. Timely and informative, but also beautiful and accessible, it’s truly a good choice for agenda-driven holiday gift giving. Go here and press that green button that says Buy Now and follow the instructions to the letter.

*For example, a list of 14 Actions You Can Take to Protect Our Water. Don’t search–it’s not there.

Waterblogged.info turns 100 today!

Well, 100 posts that is. The astute reader, no doubt motivated by envy and other soul-destroying emotions, might point out that I had well over 400 days in which to accomplish that. Give me a break. I mean, writer’s block, depression, a lack of focus, and having a life just sometime get in the way. I’m going to celebrate by writing in the first person singular–because why should those nobodies on my editorial staff get any credit–and by taking the day off and letting someone else do the heavy lifting.

That honor falls to Tara Lohan, the prolific managing editor of Alternet. Her latest compendium of water news is here. Check out her newly published book, Water Consciousness, a collection of essays written by her and a slew of noted environmental experts.