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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The American Museum of Natural History’s road show

The American Museum of Natural History never sits still, literally. Yesterday, in a post that sports a title longer than the actual content, we pointed out NYC-based museum’s online iteration of their physical exhibit, Water: H2O=Life.

Figuring that water is at least as popular as the Rolling Stones (and possibly even older), they have taken Water: H2O=Life on an international tour. The globe-trotting extravaganza is part of a larger program of traveling exhibits.We learned of this from long-time reader* Kai from a NYC-based environmental group called GRACE. We don’t know what the acronym GRACE stands for yet, but the organization represents with a wonderfully designed web site featuring some delightful ummm. . .features. Check out The Meatrix, a multiple-award winning animation about the meat industry.  Says Kai:

As member of a supporting organization that put together the American Museum of Natural History’s interactive map of the NYC watershed, go to the traveling water exhibit H2O=Life to find out more on water issues, hydrology, and other resources: http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/water/

The traveling exhibit may end up in a city near you, so check out this link for more info: http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/water/?section=visitorinfo

*Full disclosure: “Long-time reader” is possibly misleading because this may be the first time that Kai has ever laid eyes on Waterblogged.info, but we certainly hope it’s not the last.

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.

Act of congress: water saving tips from Senator Boxer!

We can’t help but be flushed with pride here at Waterblogged.info’s California headquarters as we read and re-read the personal correspondence sent to us by the Best. Senator. Ever.

She sent a recent photo, referred to us as “friend,” and–obviously aware of our influence in water-wonk circles–she included links to a page of web-based resources for water conservation measures. Unbelievably, as busy as she is, she apparently put it all together herself: From her email:

I have compiled some water conservation suggestions that I hope you will find useful. Some are remarkably simple, and many will help you save money while saving water. The most important fact is that the sooner you begin saving water, the better. Acting now will provide more savings in the long run.

I hope you will visit the water conservation page on my Senate website by using this link to learn more about water conservation and how to get started.

Most senators would leave this kind of thing to their staff. But not our Babs.

The good legislator provides hand-crafted links to a lot of useful information, including a history of drought in California, which takes us back 11,000 years–to the beginning of the Holocene epoch–roughly the era of human mucking about on the planet.

Hold the gang at the next beach bash breathless by explaining that from a deep time perspective, 11,000 years is nothing–it goes by like this ! (Snap your fingers.) Refer drunken doubters to this site. Tell them to ignore the cheesy animated logo and scroll down to the good stuff–a number of graphic representations of geologic time (like the one on the left). Tell them to look for the Holocene and explain they might have to squint.

Treehugger: Green water, greywater, blackwater, and Snow White

The truly essential green site, Treehugger, published the guide, How to Green Your Water, way back in 2006, and by golly if it doesn’t still seem relevant now, so many, dancing-snow-whitewb.jpgmany months later. It’s a fantastically well-organized, handy, and dandy resource for learning water basics (and not-so-basics) as well as how not to be a water hog.

We’ve embedded the guide’s intro and navigation below. Tips for drips, anyone? That and other easy ways to conserve in the Top 10 tips. Just what the heck is the water cycle, anyway? See Getting techie. (Hint: It’s not a setting on your washing machine.) And speaking of washing machines, see the “Dig deeper” section for appliances designed to save water. Perk up your party patter by memorizing the By the numbers section, and we guarantee you will not go home alone. What’s up with greywater and blackwater? Top 10 tips again. And while you’re there, learn why you’re an idiot if the big problem in your life is choosing just the right bottled water to match your lifestyle. (BTW, For some reason the intriguing Questions you weren’t afraid to ask link is dead.)

(What’s Snow White got to do with this? Nothing except that the guide’s home page has a link to an article purporting that “. . .Walt Disney was a secret environmentalist, inserting subliminal messages into his cartoons.”)

Introduction to and navigation for How to Green Your Water:

There is no resource more precious than water. There is also no resource that is misused, abused, misallocated, and misunderstood the way water is. Safe drinking water, healthy and intact natural ecosystems, and a stable food supply are a few of the things at stake as our water supply is put under greater and greater stress. The picture might look grim, but opportunities to be more efficient abound. Many people have had water-saving etiquette pumped into them at one point or another, so hopefully we can make a good case for conserving the stuff with practical, everyday water-saving strategies as well as some more high-tech approaches.

Guide Navigation

Top Ten TipsBigger OptionsBy the NumbersGetting TechieCase StudiesFurther InformationQuestions You Weren't Afraid to AskGet IT!

New water crisis documentary: FLOW (For the Love of Water)

If this new documentary about the global water crisis (link is to five Flash trailers) and the threat of privatization of water doesn’t frighten you, you are:

  1. catatonic
  2. dead
  3. Jack Bauer

    Oh wait, you may also be Jeff Siegal. [After being terrified by the trailers, check out our page of web resources on water privatization from our slowly-but-surely growing Getting Serious with Waterblogged.info series.]

    From the documentary’s site:

    With an unflinching focus on politics, pollution and human rights, FLOW: For Love of Water ensures that the precarious relationship between humanity and water can no longer be ignored. While specifics of locality and issue may differ, the message is the same; water, and our future as a species, is quickly drying up.

    Below are two video segments about the documentary from Pacifica Radio’s essential Democracy Now. Each features clips from the movie and commentary by water expert/activist extraordinaire, Maude Barlow. Barlow, a Canadian—who was probably moved to action by the water profligacy of her fellow citizens (see Waterblogged.info’s Canada: Water hogs of the planet)—is the co-author of the water privatization exposé, Blue Gold, and has recently published The Blue Covenant, described by its publishers as

    “. . .a powerful response to this trend [privatization] : the emergence of an international, grassroots-led movement to have water declared a basic human right, something that can’t be bought or sold for profit.

    (Here is a link to a pdf bluegold2.pdf, a 67-page, very readable white paper with a bibliography, which appears to be a summary of the book’s arguments.)

    Water goes mainstream: two water-related items from the Onion

    Onion Radio News’s anchor, Doyle Redland, reports that the beverage redland.pngindustry was “rocked by a new poll” showing that “disease-free water tops the list of world’s favorite beverages.” The astute journalist muses that “many of these people might want potable water for the purpose of adding flavored powders.”

    This recent Onion infographic lists the approaches taken by eightgfx_waterman.gif American cities to obtain or conserve water. Waterblogged.info strongly endorses Atlanta’s move to impose legislation mandating that people be composed of only 45 percent water, but nonetheless recommends that the law be revisited after the drought is over. (The graphic at left shows the current legally-required 75 percent; Atlanta’s mandate would put the water level at mid-pelvis.)