Date: 2023-12-04 Page is: DBtxt001.php L0700-CS-NC-W-WATER
NATURAL CAPITAL FRESH WATER WATER, WATER EVERYWHERE ... BUT RATHER LITTLE IS FRESH WATER
WATER ... ESSENTIAL FOR LIFE
FRESH WATER ... A TRUE GIFT OF NATURE
Both industry and consumers are causing water pollution, and both must be part of the solution.
Industry has a singular focus on profit and growth, and anything to do with the environment is seen as a costraint on these metrics.
Consumers want low price and convenience, and the environment is not something that they think very much about.
Industry needs to pay attention to product design and the flows in the system and the life cycle of their products.
Abandoned mines continue to pollute for decades after they are abandoned.
Consumers need more knowledge about the impact of their consumption on society and the environment, and should be incentivized to consume more responsibly.
FOREWORD ... Water - a precious and finite resource.
(from a paper 'Out of the Blue', published by ARUP in
For far too long, here in Britain, we have regarded water as an infinitely available,
inexhaustible, free resource. It isn’t, of course. In reality it is one of the most
precious – and finite – resources that we have. And we depend on it to sustain
life, wellbeing, food and farming, much of industry, and the ecology of our rivers and
lakes. It is a store of essential natural resource that sustains us, and that in turn we need
to steward well, for our own sake and for the sake of future generations.
We were rather forcefully reminded of this in 2012. In many parts of England, in the
first three months of 2012, we were facing the prospect of a serious drought, following
two exceptionally dry winters. Groundwater levels were perilously low. Chalk streams
that wouldn’t normally dry up until the high summer were already dry by February.
Reservoirs had in some cases reached historically low levels. And then in the late spring,
the heavens opened, and it hardly stopped raining for months. We faced eleven major
flooding events, all across the country, through the summer and autumn. In the North
East of England the River South Tyne at Haydon Bridge was at its lowest recorded
March level – 28% of the long-term average – and then suddenly by June it was running
at 406% of its summer average.
Out of the Blue ... New thinking on water, social and natural capital
WATER ... AN OVERVIEW
There is more water than land on planet earth, but only a small part of the water ... something like 1% ... is potable freshwater. Most is saline in the oceans.
Water is vital to life. A human will die after three days without any hydration and freshwater is increasingly scarce.
River Pollution ... Post War Europe
In the immediate years after WWII, Europe started to work on cleaning up the pollution in the great rivers like the Rhine, Danube and others.
River Pollution ... USA
Until quite recently there was very little regulation in the USA to control the dumping of industrial detritus into rivers, and American rivers became huge industrial sewers with almost no health fish and marine life. The United States Environmental Protection Agency was established during the adminsitration of President Nixon in the 1970s and slowly the water quality in American rivers has been improved.
TPB note: I visited the United States as a student for the summers of 1960 and 1961. I travelled extensively and have memories of the river pollution in places like Pittsburgh where the 'river was on fire' because of the red hot slag being dumped into the river from the steel mills, and the Connecticut River that was bright green from all sorts of chemicals discharged from local manufacturing plants. During my travels I passed through Sudbury in Canada where vegetation for miles and miles had been killed by industrial pollution from the smelters, About 25 years in the early 1980s I drewed on Clearwater, a replica Hudson River sailing barge that was operating in support of Pete Seegers campaign to clean up the Hudson River. American rivers are now cleaner than they have been probably in a century ... which is very good news.
NUMBERING AND QUANTIFYING WATER
Every person on the planet needs water to survive. This may be in liquid form or as a part of the food we eat. For men, it's about 125 ounces a day (or 3.7 liters). Depending on the diet, about 25% of the water consumed comes from food. Most people get enough water in the foods and liquids they consume, including less healthy drinks like caffeinated beverages such as soda, coffee and tea. Without any source of hydration a person dies in about 3 days.
In a year, about 600 litres of water is required for a person to stay alive.
The value of water expressed in Standard Life Units (SLUs) may be thought to be 1,000,000 / 600 or 1,330 SLUs/litre.
The price of water is going to depend on supply and demand. The willingness of consumers to buy 'bottled water' suggests that the price of drinking water can be in excess of $1.00 for just 8oz.
The willingness of companies to set up supply chains for bottled water suggests that the money cost of bottled water is substantially less totherwise there would not be corporate investment in this product line. Corporations, however, do not concern themselves with any metrics beyond the profit metric and ignore impact on all the externalities.
TOO MUCH WATER
Water in excess can do big damage. The seriousness of floods has been with us for all of history. There is a flood in the Bible ... and floods through all of history. Too much rain and rapid snow melt causes floods. Undersea earthquakes can cause tsunamis which bring destruction and danger from the sea. Water to drink is good, but too much water from waterboarding is torture. These problem have been recognized for a long time and big flood control systems have been put in place ... in the Netherlands, for example ... On the Thames River in the UK ... on various river systems in the USA ... and so on.
There are many degrees of water shortage. No water at all, and human life is not possible. Drought causes vegetation to die, and then livestock and then people. Most agricultural and industrial activities require water, and without water the process fails. Precipitation ... rain and snow ... is the main source of water. Increasingly this source of water is being supplemented by 'mining' water from ancient aquifers. Using precipitation as a source of water is sustainable, mining water from ancient aquifers is not. Water is a constraining factor in the modern enviro-socio-economic system. Climate change is likely to include significant changes in the patterns of precipitation and therefore the availability of water.
Life requires water to have certain properties. Most living organizations cannot live in water that is too alkaline or too acid. Waste water from most industrail activities contains compounds that result of too much alkalinity or too much acidity, together with dissolved metals and other toxins that are damaging to natural life. Water quality can be improved by a variety of interventions so that the water will sustain life and be used for other purposes, including domestic use which includes drinking water. For much of the industrial revolution rivers were used as open sewers to dispose of industrial (liquid) wastes. Agriculture is another source of water pollution because of the various chemicals now used on a massive scale that flow as runoff into streams and into the broader watershed.
When water is abundant, the use of water is convenient, probably profitable and the negative impact, inconsequential. When water is scarce there is a different dynamic. In this situation water use in one place has a consequential impact in another place. It is vital to rethink the water dynamic so that water use is optimized for all users and not merely the most powerful users or the intitled legacy users. There are two flows in water use through most processes, one is the flow that results in a consumption of the water, and the other is the flow that results in an outflow of water in a more or less polluted condition. The value arising or the value destruction associate with both these flows is material.
One of the characteristics of water is that it is a fluid and it flows. When pollution enters into a stream in a watershed, the pollution flows with the water down through the watershed doing massive damage to the ecosystem as it moves through the system. The need for watershed management has been understood since ancient times. The River Nile is an early example ... because of its great importance to the prosperity of Egypt, the use of Nile water as it flowed from Ethiopia dn Uganda through Sudan (and now South Sudan) was limited. In the United States the Colorado River has been fully exploited, so much so that water no longer reaches the ocean. Water used in New York City comes from a pristine watershed and is great drinking water, while the water flowing into the Chesapeake Bay comes from a watershed that includes abandonned coal mines and other industrial sites and is dangerously polluted ... though less so now than thirty years ago.
WB-GEF-STAP-Ocean-Trash-Marine-Debris ... November 2011
Marine Debris as a Global Environmental Problem ... Introducing a solutions based framework focused on plastic
Prepared on behalf of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel (STAP) of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) by: Richard C. Thompson (University of Plymouth, United Kingdom), Bruce E. La Belle (California Environmental Protection Agency, United States), Hindrik Bouwman (STAP, North-West University, South Africa), and Lev Neretin (STAP)
Companies ... Nestle ... Issue ... Water
Sign the petition ... Tell Nestle CEO Tim Brown: ... “End your irresponsible water profiteering in drought-stricken California. Stop blaming consumers and exercise some corporate responsibility in your water bottling practices.”
Sustainable Stupidity ...
What is good about bottled water? Profits ...
The advertising industry has done an amazing job of misinforming and confusing the public. The goal of advertising is to create unnecessary wants that are profitable while essential needs go unsatisfied.
These Corporate Water Disclosure Guidelines seek to advance a common approach to corporate water disclosure that addresses the complexity and local nature of water resources. In order to achieve this overarching goal, the Guidelines:
• Identify common corporate water disclosure metrics that support harmonization and comparability over time and across companies
• Provide guidance on how companies can assess the water-related topics that are the most relevant to them and their stakeholders (as well as how to report this assessment process)
• Describe how companies can best report activities that are difficult to depict quantitatively, such as policy advocacy or engagement with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), governments, suppliers, and communities
• Align corporate water management with disclosure so as to enable companies to understand which information is most appropriate to report and how to generate water disclosure content
Galli-et-al-2012-Ecological-Indicators - Water Footprint / Ecological Footptrint / Carbon Footprint
Three indicators have been selected to be included in the Footprint Family for use in the OPEN:EU project: Ecological, Carbon and Water Footprint. Beyond the similarity in name, these three methods were selected because of their scope and research question.
The Ecological Footprint is a resource and emission accounting tool designed to track human demand on the biosphere’s regenerative capacity (Wackernagel et al., 1999a, 2002).
The Carbon Footprint measures the total amount of GHG emissions that are directly and indirectly caused by an activity or are accumulated over the life stages of a product
The Water Footprint looks at both direct and indirect water use of a consumer or producer. Three key water components are tracked in its calculation: the blue Water Footprint refers to consumption of surface and ground water; the green Water Footprint refers to consumption of rainwater stored in the soil as soil moisture; the grey Water Footprint refers to pollution and is defined as the volume of freshwater required to assimilate the load of pollutants based on existing ambient water quality standards (Hoekstra, 2009).
Food ... Concentration of Power
Let's put the future of world food supply into the hands of a few big chemical giants. They'll make gobs more money
The use of water for food production is a crisis that is waiting to happen
What exactly is the World Water Forum
Access to Sanitation Reserved for the VIPs at World Water Forum ... It's a perfect statement about the World Water Forum's agenda serving the rich and powerful while the poor are denied access to water.
Storm water pollution
Loving the Puget Sound to Death ...
Four decades after the passage of the Clean Water Act, regulators haven’t kept up with the pollution pressure that growing populations put on America’s shorelines.
Corporate Perspectives On Water ...How are leading companies responding
It is becoming something of a cliché to say that blue is the new green – and yet it is true that many of the most pressing environmental issues do rapidly lead back to water. Remember, it is not climate change that is going to do for us all in the end, but its effects on water – too much, too little, in the wrong places, at the wrong times, too dirty to drink or to use in agriculture or industry.
And when water – that universal human necessity – goes wrong, the effect on humans is far-reaching: thirst, food shortages, rising costs, less energy, civil unrest, land grabs… ultimately wars over watershed regions.
That makes it all the more surprising so few companies are really planning ahead for the uncertain future that faces us.
Typical of the UN ... interesting and high level ... but relatively low utility for impact optimizing action
Securing-Water-for-Food-Reel-Gardening ... 150213
A potentially valuable small initiative ... and likely to fall off the radar very quickly
Parjana Inc ... Energy-passive Groundwater Recharge Product (EGRP®)
The Energy-passive Groundwater Recharge Product (EGRP®) was invented by Andrew Niemczyk in 1997. The EGRP® dramatically increases the rate of infiltration, enhancing natural conditions and improving areas where infrastructure has created impervious areas. The EGRP® helps rebalance groundwater conditions by establishing new ways water can move to, and through, the soil. The EGRP® enhances infiltration by moving water more effectively and efficiently through the soil matrix and into the water table.
Increasingly frequent severe coral bleaching is among the greatest threats to coral reefs posed by climate change. Global climate models (GCMs) project great spatial variation in the timing of annual severe bleaching (ASB) conditions; a point at which reefs are certain to change and recovery will be limited. However, previous model-resolution projections (~1 × 1°) are too coarse to inform conservation planning. To meet the need for higher-resolution projections, we generated statistically downscaled projections (4-km resolution) for all coral reefs; these projections reveal high local-scale variation in ASB. Timing of ASB varies >10 years in 71 of the 87 countries and territories with >500 km2 of reef area. Emissions scenario RCP4.5 represents lower emissions mid-century than will eventuate if pledges made following the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference (COP21) become reality. These pledges do little to provide reefs with more time to adapt and acclimate prior to severe bleaching conditions occurring annually. RCP4.5 adds 11 years to the global average ASB timing when compared to RCP8.5; however, >75% of reefs still experience ASB before 2070 under RCP4.5. Coral reef futures clearly vary greatly among and within countries, indicating the projections warrant consideration in most reef areas during conservation and management planning.
CALL TO ACTION
The evidence is clear: the ocean is a major contributor to the global
economy, but its asset base is being rapidly eroded. To restore the
ocean’s productive capacity before it is too late, the world must take
urgent action. This report charts a clear course for reviving the ocean
economy. The tools to solve the problem are proven: now the world
needs leadership. The first priority must be for all countries to commit
to ramping up the effective conservation of coastal and marine habitat
in their juridictions, and to support a global agreement on sustainable
development at the United Nations that reflects this resolve and shared
responsibility. 2015 is the crucial year to forge this global effort and to
see action to reduce the worst impacts of climate change. These actions
in particular will help to revive the ocean and its powerhouse economy
USA-ICA-Special-Report-on-Global-Water-Security / ICA 2012-08, 2 February 2012 /
Global Water Security / INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY ASSESSMENT / This is an IC-coordinated paper.
Key Judgments: Our Bottom Line: During the next 10 years, many countries important to the United States will experience water problems—shortages, poor water quality, or floods—that will risk instability and state failure, increase regional tensions, and distract them from working with the United States on important US policy objectives. Between now and 2040, fresh water availability will not keep up with demand absent more effective management of water resources. Water problems will hinder the ability of key countries to produce food and generate energy, posing a risk to global food markets and hobbling economic growth. As a result of demographic and economic development pressures, North Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia will face major challenges coping with water problems.
TrueValueMetrics (TVM) is an Open Source / Open Knowledge initiative. It has been funded by family and friends. TVM is a 'big idea' that has the potential to be a game changer. The goal is for it to remain an open access initiative.