Oceanside Star: Water out of thin air

Via: Water out of thin air / Oceanside Star, January 23, 2014

A Vancouver company wants people to consider getting cheap, potable water from a widely available source: air.

Splash Water For Life has created two atmospheric water generators: one for industrial use and one for home use.

The residential water generator looks like your typical water cooler, except there is no big blue bottle on top and it’s not connected to the building’s water supply.

“The air goes into an air filter at the bottom of the machine and the water gets sucked out of it [through condensation],” the company’s Elliot Mashford told a group of curious residents at Errington Hall on Monday. “Water then gets pumped through five filters, including UV filtration.”

Air quality has no effect on the generated water quality, thanks to the many filters.

Mashford and Splash Water’s Karson Hutchinson were in Errington at the invitation of Arrowsmith Water Management owner Larry Crawford, who said he was blown away by the technology.

“It’s going to be very important technology,” he said.

Mashford and Hutchinson call it “disruptive technology” because it can stop people from relying on bottled water.

The residential water generator can produce up to eight gallons of water per day. The water is recirculated throughout the day to keep it fresh.

The generator runs on both electricity and diesel fuel at a cost of between 3-8 cents per gallon.

The industrial model can produce up to 11,365 litres of water per day.

Splash Water For Life executive vice-president and inventor Phil Fraser came up with the idea during a board meeting a decade ago.

“He saw somebody dump the water from a dehumidifier in the room and thought there should be a way to use that water,” Hutchinson said.

Fraser raised $5 million in financing over 10 years while he worked on successive models. After putting together the 18th model he felt confident enough to go to market.

The residential model is priced at about $1,000, while the industrial model’s price varies according to specifications. The filters need to be changed every year or so at a cost of less than $200.

The only catch is the water generator can only be used in regions where the relative humidity is between 40 per cent and 100 per cent.

“Eighty per cent of the world’s population lives in regions where the machine could work all year,” Mashford said.

On Vancouver Island, he said, the relative humidity rarely drops below 80 per cent.

The machine’s only byproducts are warm and cool air, which can be used to regulate the temperature of a room.

“At our North Vancouver showroom, we used it to control the temperature in our showroom,” Mashford said.

Atmospheric water harvesting has next to no effect on the environment, he said. If every home on Earth used the water generator, it would cause only an estimated 0.0002 per cent drop in water vapor levels in the atmosphere.

The company started selling the generators about 10 months ago. One of the machines is part of a permanent display at the Telus World of Science in Vancouver.

For more information, see http://www.splashwaterforlife.com.

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RBC Blue Water Project: $2.3 Million in Funding Announced

via PR Newswire:  2013 RBC Blue Water Project Leadership and Community Action Grants announced

June 14, 2013

RBC awards $2.3 million in funding to protect water in cities and towns around the globe

TORONTO-RBC today announced the recipients of the 2013 RBC Blue Water Project Leadership and Community Action Grants, totalling more than $2.3 million in funding for water protection and preservation programs. Awarded on the fourth annual RBC Blue Water Day, the grants support 123 organizations spanning seven countries, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Singapore, Jamaica and Turks and Caicos Islands.

“Water is the lifeblood of our planet and vital for our social and economic wellbeing,” said Gord Nixon, president and CEO, RBC. “Since the RBC Blue Water Project was established in 2007, we have committed more than $38 million in grants to some 650 organizations around the world working to protect our most precious natural resource, including the grants we’re announcing today. We are honoured to support the important efforts of this year’s grant recipients, whose projects reflect our new focus on urban water issues.”

In December 2012, the RBC Blue Water Project announced a shift in focus to address a significant, emerging issue that is relevant to the majority of RBC employees and clients – protecting and preserving water in towns, cities and urbanized areas. The 2013-2014 Leadership and Community Action Grants are funding programs that improve urban water quality and efficient use, enhance storm water management and protect and restore urban waterways.

“By 2050, three quarters of the world’s population will live in cities,” explained Alexandra Cousteau, RBC Blue Water Project Ambassador and National Geographic Emerging Explorer. “With more people, our urban water resources will become even more strained than they are today. The 2013 RBC Blue Water Project Leadership and Community Action Grant recipients are working to solve some of the most critical water issues facing our growing communities and helping to ensure we have the clean water we need for the future.”

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CNW: 2013 Recipients of Excellence in Water Stewardship Award

Via: Canada Newswire, March 22, 2013

Council of the Federation Announces First-ever Recipients of Excellence in Water Stewardship Award

OTTAWA, March 22, 2013 /CNW/ – On the occasion of World Water Day, the Council of the Federation (COF) announced today the recipients of the Excellence in Water Stewardship Award. The award recognizes outstanding achievement, innovative practice and leadership in the area of water stewardship. This award is presented to organizations, partnerships, businesses, institutions, and community groups in each province and territory across Canada.

Stemming from the Water Charter, adopted by Premiers in August 2010, Premiers have established this new award in recognition that water is critical to human and ecosystem health. A sustainable water supply ensures our communities are liveable and economically viable whether they are large urban centres or remote or rural communities.

“On behalf of all Premiers, I want to congratulate the first-ever recipients of the Council of the Federation Excellence in Water Stewardship Award,” said Nova Scotia Premier Darrell Dexter, Chair of the Council of the Federation. “These awards are an important mechanism for change as they bring deserved recognition to the champions of water stewardship and inspire all Canadians to take action.”

The recipients of the 2013 Council of the Federation Excellence in Water Stewardship Award are:

Alberta Urban Municipalities Association – Alberta
Okanagan Water Stewardship Council – British Columbia
Lake Winnipeg Foundation – Manitoba
City of Moncton Automated Water Meter Reading Project – New Brunswick
Atlantic Coastal Action Plan (ACAP) Humber Arm – Newfoundland and Labrador
Sambaa K’e Dene Band – Northwest Territories
Clean Annapolis River Project – Nova Scotia
Centre for Water Resources Studies – Nunavut
City of Kitchener Impervious-area Based Stormwater Utility and Credit Policy – Ontario
Winter River-Tracadie Bay Watershed Association – Prince Edward Island
Regroupement pour la protection du Grand lac Saint-François – Québec
Lower Souris Watershed Committee Inc. – Saskatchewan
Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council – Yukon

Each recipient receives a glass award, a monetary prize and a certificate signed by the Premier of their province or territory.

Further information about the Excellence in Water Stewardship Awards can be found at http://www.councilofthefederation.ca.

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Postmedia: Projects focus on water stewardship

via: Projects focus on water stewardship, CAPP, Postmedia, Feb. 28, 2013

When energy producer Encana was seeking water management strategies for its Two Island Lake hydraulic fracturing operations in British Columbia’s Horn River Basin, the primary goal was to have the least-possible impact on surface water.

“We were fortunate to identify the Debolt formation, a deep, non-potable aquifer containing saline water, unsuitable for human or agricultural use,” says Mike Forgo, Encana’s Vice-President of Business Services & Stakeholder Relations. “This type of formation is not available in many areas of B.C.”

The discovery led to a project with peer company Apache to design and build the Debolt Water Treatment Plant and develop the formation as a water source reservoir – the first of its kind in Canada.

It took a great deal of innovation and collaboration to tap this unique resource, but the effort brought a significant payoff. Some 98 per cent of water needed for both companies’ operations at Two Island Lake now comes from this saline source.

Combined with systems that allow for full recovery and re-use of fracturing fluids, the result is a development with minimal draw on surface water and a low environmental footprint.

The strategy that led to the Debolt find is helping to lower surface water use in other areas of the province. In the Montney play in northeastern B.C., Encana is currently developing a water-handling and distribution hub using subsurface water sources.

“We understand that unconventional resource development is water-intensive,” Mr. Forgo says. “Encana, and the oil and gas industry, is taking proactive steps to address concerns and produce in as responsible a manner as possible.”

THE TRUCK STOPS HERE

In keeping with its global objective, Shell Canada is constantly developing new technologies and processes to conserve water in all of its operations, and it is working with communities to address challenges and concerns.

When the company began operations west of Dawson Creek, B.C., the local community raised two issues: water use and truck traffic. Shell listened to the concerns of citizens and developed a water management strategy which focuses on recycling as well as a partnership with the City of Dawson Creek for a reclaimed water facility. This facility processes sewage waste water from the community that was formerly released into Dawson Creek.

A 48-kilometre pipeline from the plant transports the treated water to Shell’s operations in the Groundbirch gas field, where it is combined with recycled production water and used in the hydraulic fracturing process. The result is the virtual elimination of the use of surface water.

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CBC: Water shortages hitting record-dry B.C.

Water shortages hitting record-dry B.C.

CBC News

Posted: Oct 6, 2012 10:24 AM PT

Abbotsford firefighters had to truck in water from the city's airport to fight a wood-chip fire Thursday night.
Abbotsford firefighters had to truck in water from the city’s airport to fight a wood-chip fire Thursday night. (CBC)

Southwestern B.C.’s long spell of dry weather is having serious effects on water supplies from the Sunshine Coast, to the Gulf Islands and beyond.

On the Sunshine Coast, northwest of Vancouver, a lake that supplies much of the summer water supply is 80 per cent empty.

Restrictions have been ramped up to “stage four,” meaning residents are not allowed to water their gardens, lawns or even wash their vehicles, said manager Dave Crosby.

“I’ve been in this organization for 33 years and we have never gone to stage three or four,” Crosby said.

On the Gulf Islands, some wells have already run dry, while other are being monitored closely for contaminants.

Low water levels could allow seawater or even arsenic to enter wells, according to Mary Cooper, of the Mayne Island Integrated Water Systems Society.

Cooper said it will take years before the aquifer, where wells draw their water, has recovered.

“It’s going to take two year to get that water down to the aquifer,” Cooper said. “In about two years from now, you’re going to see a lot of dead trees. That’s the first thing that gets hit is the flora, so now we’re looking at a fire hazard.”

Vancouver Island restrictions soon

The next two weeks will be crucial for water supplies in almost all Vancouver Island communities and if the dry spell continues, they too could impose watering restrictions.

Things aren’t much better on the mainland.

In Abbotsford Thursday night, crews battled a wood chip fire with flames almost 20 metres high and firefighters had to truck in water from the airport to keep the fire under control.

“This is about the driest I’ve seen at this time of the year and the fire risk is extremely high, even though we’re getting colder nights,” said assistant Abbotsford fire chief Dave Rivett.

Despite the record lack of rain, Metro Vancouver isn’t anticipating any problems yet.

Reservoir levels are at about 60 per cent capacity, which is average for this time of year, thanks to last winter’s snow and a wet spring and early summer.

G&M: Sewage as energy

Sewage as energy: an essentially unlimited resource

Francis Bula for the Globe and Mail, Tuesday July 10, 2012.  via: LinkedIn

B.C. is leading the way in using one of mankind’s most renewable resources to heat its buildings – sewage.

The trend started when both Vancouver and Whistler decided to create neighbourhood energy-generating plants (district-energy systems) for their Olympic villages. They became the first cities in North America to use sewer systems to provide heating and hot water.

The heat is extracted from liquid waste only – it is too difficult and expensive to use solid waste for this purpose.

Several developers and municipalities in the region, including Vancouver, North Vancouver and Richmond, are looking at jointly developing new sewage-powered, district-energy systems.

“There are different sources for district-energy systems, but sewage heat is sometimes the most attractive one,” said Jeff Carmichael, Metro Vancouver’s manager for utility research. “Especially if it’s nearby, it’s cheaper.”

He has developed a draft policy, to be voted on Wednesday, that sets out the rules for allowing other entities to access its systems.

There’s one enormous advantage to sewage as an energy source: it never stops. “The sewage just keeps on coming. It’s essentially an unlimited resource,” said Mike Homenuke, an engineer with Kerr Wood Leidal. That’s the firm that designed the Whistler system, which runs on treated effluent, and is working on potential projects for Metro Vancouver and the Capital Regional District on Vancouver Island.

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CBC: Sewage used as fertilizer sparks B.C. blockade

Protesters set up blockade to stop trucks carrying biosolid fertilizer
CBC News, Feb 22, 2012

A group of concerned residents in the Salmon Valley, near Prince George, is refusing to let a local farmer spread treated stabilized human sewage on his fields.

The residents are blocking city dump trucks carrying biosolids from driving down a frozen gravel road to the farmer’s property, where the sewage will be stored and then spread on his fields in May or June.

“That’s the last thing we want to do is stand there and stop a trucker from making money, but we have to live out here,” said protester Linda Parker. “We have not got a choice, we are being told it’s going to come through, or you’re going to jail!”

‘The regulations and their own material says there is potential for water contamination from biosolids.’—Protester Andy Angele

Parker and others are concerned about water contamination and smell.

“I need to know, is it going to seep into the waterways, is it going to be harmful for the environment out here? There’s no tests that have been brought to us. We were not brought documents stating ‘this is what it does, this is what it’s for,’ ” said Parker.

Tuesday morning RCMP officers told the residents to dismantle their blockade, and Prince George city officials told residents their concerns would be addressed at a city meeting that afternoon.

But afterwards, Parker said, she and others still weren’t satisfied.

“They have not said anything to us, they will not give us answers,” said Parker.

Andy Angele says residents plan to keep blocking the dump trucks until an independent review is held, looking at the effects of spreading stabilized human sewage on agricultural land.

“The regulations and their own material says there is potential for water contamination from biosolids. They said more than 20 or 30 times in the regulation that there is potential for biosolid problems.”

The City of Prince George maintains the use of biosolids on farms is safe, and will continue to work with the concerned residents.