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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Economist Intelligence Unit: Waterless in 2030?

(via: Water Efficiency Journal)

A recent study by the Economist Intelligence Unit (sponsored by Oracle) reveals that if water utilities plan on meeting water supply, large-scale infrastructure investments must be made—or else demand will outstrip supply by 2030.

The study, entitled “Water for All?”, compared the water resource management strategies of 10 countries—the US, Canada, UK, Australia, France, Spain, Brazil, Russia, India, and China—and surveyed 244 water utility managers and executives, including 20 “in-depth” interviews with water executives and independent experts. The participants’ answerers led researchers to conclude that while water providers are optimistic about their ability to meet future demand, that ability will be amplified or hampered by government action and consumer education. And all water purveyors will have to “think outside the box.”

“The leading overall response to water stress in the future is expected to be a sharp focus on demand management,” explains a statement released by Oracle in relation to the report. “This represents a shift in utilities’ traditional emphasis on continuing to supply increasing quantities of water in response to increasing demand.”

Meanwhile, developing countries have a tougher row to hoe. The study’s survey of water resource management strategies in the developing world reveals that climate change and erratic weather patters will increasingly influence the creation and maintenance of infrastructure in those countries.

“Utilities in the developing countries, in contrast, are more likely to focus on rolling out or expanding basic infrastructure,” states the report.

Other key findings:

* Increased water stress by 2030. Due to growing demand for water, caused by increasing populations, changing climate patterns, and wasteful consumer behavior, 39% of executives surveyed believe that the risk of national water demand outstripping supply by 2030 is “highly likely,” while 54% believe such a risk is moderately likely. Failure to address this could result in significant economic, social, and health implications.

* Barriers to conservation. Forty-five percent of utilities—especially in developed markets—see wasteful consumer behavior as their biggest barrier to progress, while another 33% believe tariffs are too low to stimulate greater investment. In developing countries, a lack of capital for investment tops the list (41%), while worries over climate change stand third overall (34%).

* Encouraging consumer engagement. Half of respondents (49%) believe pricing structures need to be changed to encourage conservation, while under four in 10 water utilities think water prices must be held down to ensure fair access to water for all (38%). With consumer behavior being the biggest barrier to conservation, it is critical for water utilities to engage with consumers to overcome this challenge.

* Increased investment. Almost all respondents stated that they are increasing investment to meet supply challenges (93%), with more than one in five (22%) increasing investment by 15% or more within the next three years.

* Innovative industry. Prompted by necessity, the water sector is becoming an increasingly prominent innovator, due to the implementation technologies such as smart meters and desalination solutions. For instance, one-fifth of water utilities in developed markets regularly evaluate new technologies, compared to one-third of developing countries. However, more water utilities must improve their ability to identify and implement such advances, with over one-third (36%) unaware of the innovation options available to them.

* Stumbling blocks. Drought and increased water pollution are seen by respondents as the biggest risks faced by water utilities, and are considered the most likely to occur. Similarly, half of respondents polled felt that that information and support from government bodies is lacking; while 43% recognize they must develop their management techniques to more precisely model future water availability or rainfall.


ENS: U.S., Canada Update Great Lakes Water Quality Protections

U.S., Canada Update Great Lakes Water Quality Protections (via Environment News Service)

WASHINGTON, DC, September 7, 2012 (ENS) – Provisions to deal with aquatic invasive species, habitat degradation and the effects of climate change are featured in the newly amended Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement signed by U.S. and Canadian officials today in Washington. The amended agreement…

BuffaloNews: Great Lakes system faces serious threats

Column by Douglas Turner for Buffalo News

July 23, 2012

WASHINGTON – Looking south from Bay Beach, Ont., it seemed as though one could walk all the way across Lake Erie south to Sturgeon Point, N.Y. The Great Lakes system, recording its lowest levels in more than a half-century, is under severe and continuing stress from global warming.

The effect on one-fifth of the world’s surface supply of fresh water is obviously opposite from that on the oceans, which are gradually rising.

The system is meticulously surveyed by at least three American agencies, but it is not really governed as it should be to safeguard it from predators, foreign and domestic. Rather, it is overseen under a 103-year-old treaty, fashioned with Canada when it was still part of the British Empire.

The binational International Joint Commission, with its immense bureaucracy, monitors and advises governments on water diversions and channel levels. But the IJC could not protect the lakes from generations of toxic industrial waste dumping that killed the commercial fishery and came close to making the system unswimmable. It cannot protect it now.

The 1960s environmental movement and the wholesale flight to Asia of industry from the lakes basin was what temporarily rescued the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River basin.

But new threats to shallow Lake Erie, in particular, are massive. They include:

* The opening in 2014 of the massive new Canadian water tunnel above Niagara Falls, which will enable Ontario to match the New York Power Authority’s increased diversions for hydro purposes.

* Unloading of a volatile new phosphorous runoff from the 120-mile Maumee River near Toledo, Ohio, creating huge new beds of poisonous algae, according to an article in the Voice, a Montclair, Mich., weekly. This is a direct threat to the lake’s revived sports fishery.

* The reported signing by Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich of a bill that could, according to environmental critics, allow industry to withdraw millions of gallons a day from Lake Erie.

The bill is similar to one sought by Ohio’s Chamber of Commerce that Kasich vetoed last year, after appeals from Rep. Brian Higgins, D-N.Y., and former Ohio Gov. Bob Taft.

It is unclear whether other Great Lakes governors or Canada can block the Ohio law under a 1990 international compact. But it is designed to be immune from challenges by environmentalists.

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NDRC: Testing the Waters: A Guide to Water Quality at U.S. Vacation Beaches

via: Grist: Here’s just how dirty that beach water is

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) has released its annual “Testing the Waters” report, an overview of the nation’s beaches.

You’ll want to read this before taking a dip.

Over the 22 years the NRDC has created the report, 2011 saw the third-highest levels of beach closings and advisory days. What does that mean? What, exactly, would you be swimming in?

Most beach closings are issued because beachwater monitoring detects unsafe levels of bacteria. These unsafe levels indicate the presence of pathogens — microscopic organisms from human and animal waste that pose a threat to human health. The key reported contributors of these contaminants are (1) stormwater runoff, (2) sewage overflows and inadequately treated sewage, (3) agricultural runoff, and (4) other sources, such as beachgoers themselves, wildlife, septic systems, and boating waste.

Oh, neat. Here’s how that pollution has varied as a cause of beach closures over the years:

Click to embiggen.

The organization also compiled a list of the worst-offending beaches, those that repeatedly had bad, polluted water. That data includes this caveat:

It is important to note that while a high percent exceedance rate is a clear indication of contaminated coastal recreational waters, it is not necessarily an indication that the state’s beachwater quality monitoring program is deficient or fails to protect public health when beachwater quality is poor.

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AWWA announces ACE12 green ribbon recipients

Via: Environmental Expert

May 22, 2012

DENVER, CO — The American Water Works Association (AWWA) has announced the recipients of its 2012 Green Ribbon Award.  Recipients will be designated with a green ribbon on their exhibit booth during AWWA’s Annual Conference and Exposition (ACE12) at the Dallas Convention Center in Dallas, Texas, June 10-14.

Criteria for the award included either an ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems certification, or a combination of environmental programs, policies and initiatives.  Based on the criteria, recipients were determined by AWWA’s Manufacturers/Associates Council.

Recipients of the 2012 Green Ribbon Award are: ADS LLC; Akzo Nobel – International Paints; AMCO Clear®: A Division of GFS Chemicals, Inc.; Capstone Metering LLC; Clarion Lubricants; Data Flow Systems; EBAA Iron, Inc.; Fairmount Water Solutions; Ford Meter Box Company Inc.; GF Piping Systems; HOBAS PIPE USA; Kruger Inc.; Layne Christensen Company; Mitsubishi Electric; Monroe Environmental; Motion Computing; Mueller Co.; MWH Constructors, Inc.; Neptune Technology Group Inc.; NO-DES, Inc.; NSF International; Orica Watercare Inc.;  PAX Water Technologies; Performance Pipe, a division of Chevron Phillips Chemical Company LPlive;  POLLUTION EQUIPMENT NEWS / Rimbach Publishing Inc.; PSI/Pikotek; Sigelock Systems, LLC; Tetra Tech; The Chlorine Institute and Trojan Technologies.

For more information about ACE12 and a full list of exhibitors, please visit www.awwa.org/ACE12.

Circle of Blue: 2012 Water Prices in 30 Major U.S. Cities

released Monday, 14 May 2012

The price that Americans pay for water is rising faster than the cost of any other utility service in the United States — be it gas, electricity, or telephone charges.

According to the newest report in an ongoing national survey conducted by Circle of Blue, water prices in 30 major U.S. cities rose 18 percent over the last two years and 7 percent in the past year.


2012 Water Prices in 30 Major U.S. Cities | Water quality | Scoop.it