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Thursday, November 29, 2012

"Prior to now there'd been 30 to 40 different estimates of how the ice sheets are changing, and what we realised was that most people just wanted one number to tell them what the real change was."

Posted by DAVID
 Published on Thurs, Nov 29, 2012
Posted by DAVID
Published on Thurs, Nov 29, 2012

The statement is memorable. Here is an interesting article on the adaptation of the planet to climate change.
Obviously, the big issue or rhetoric in this article has to do with the scientific agreement (or disagreement) with climate change and it's effect on the rise in sea level.
This represents the some of the earliest scientific findings on this subject.:
What I think is most interesting in this case is the fact that researchers took this long to develop factual information. But aside from this, it is quite interesting that the global trends are in favor of the concept of global warming.
Important to note - rise in sea level does NOT mean an increase in fresh water supply... please review our RESEARCH section to understand why.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Posted by ANGELA
Published on Tues, Nov 13 2012

Hey dudes,

I found this website that constantly tracks the statistics of world consumption on a daily basis, it's pretty neat. It has readings for the Government & Economics, Society & Media, Environment, Food, Energy, Health, and even Water! (Convenient for us, but a little depressing considering the current crisis.) It also has a continual tracker of the world's fluctuating population, a huge factor in consumption rates.

For each statistic they provide a link for more information. For example, the statistic for water consumed this year, provides a link to the International Food Policy Research Institute's, "Global Water Outlook to 2025".

Worldometers Link


Posted by DAVID
Published on Tues, Nov 13 2012

I came across an interesting post today regarding how an increase in coastal flooding is impacting the design of our coastal cities. The blogger calls for designers to make "resilient cities" that can resist and reduce the impacts of natural disasters and problems of infrastructure.

This morning, Baltimore wakes up to two existing infrastructure problems, as another water main break happened yesterday in town, coupled with a water main break from this weekend. The infrastructure from this system is past due - in most cases over 100 years old. And some 4000 miles of pipe laid throughout the city grid would take billions of dollars to fix. So, it has to be prioritized as to the replacement - choosing when and where to begin can be an overwhelming task. To date, the city seems to be behind in these efforts, trying to catch up to the damage being caused rather than getting ahead of it.

When we think of "resilient cities", the idea of buoyancy comes to mind... a city that can float rather than flood. The concept is obtuse in many ways, but with sensible infrastructure it may not be that off base.

One can imagine systems that are allowed to flood - even capable of handling large amounts of overflow - that would provide relief for other, more susceptible portions of the urban grid. The movement of water throughout the city - whether it be sewage or storm water, which both tend to be dated infrastructures in American cities - needs to be considered holistically. This will require new ways of imagining the city in the future, with large portions of land dedicated for "part-time" use as overflow regions, as regions for filtration, and as regions that allow the presence of water to be continuous. Having landscapes dedicated to this function will provide relief in unexpected ways - particularly on the restoration costs, post-disaster.

At any rate, here is a link to the blog entry from Irina Vinnitskaya on

And here is a link to the report mentioned in her blog by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD):

Saturday, November 10, 2012

4 Recommended Books About Water Insecurity

Posted by ASHLEY
Published on Sat, Nov 10 2012

Have you've just found out about water scarcity and feeling overwhelmed, shocked, and hopeless? Yet are you still hunger for knowledge, but don't know where to start? Then pick up these 4 books I recommend for learning more about water insecurity.

No particular order, but my diverse selection offers photography that captures the effects of water scarcity, organizations and individuals campaigning for water, and statistics on the amount of water we use. If you're well versed in this issue I hope these suggestions supplement your understanding.

1.World Changing: A User's Guide for the 21st Century 

There are two editions of book, one produced in 2008 and the other in 2011. Both editions are comprehensive in covering environmental challenges faced by communities, cities, and businesses. In the first edition flip to page 186 for facts on water usage and page 286 on the water conditions of slums. Also the books are part of a online network that wants to improve the living standards of 5 billion people through sustainable, innovative design. Check out this post on the World Wildlife Federation's 2010 Living Planet Report that studied humanity's demand on natural resources.

2. Climate Refugees by Collectif Argos
The Collectif Argos consists of 10 photographers, journalists, and writers who document on the changes happening in our world. In Climate Refugees they document with captivating photography and thoughtful reporting the people who are uprooted by flooding and desertification or the depletion of plant life and loss of top soil in a once fertile area. I recommend the "Bangladesh: Sundarbans, the great overflow" chapter since it shows the effect of flooding and rising sea level, soil salination or the increase of salts in the soil, and lack of fresh water on humanity.

3. Water Wars: Privatization, Pollution, and Profit by Vandana Shiva 
Vandana Shiva is a scientist and environmentalist who has written several books on corporate globalization's consequences on food supply, water, and women. In Water Wars she explores how  corporations are privatizing water and shrinking the communal right to water. In this interview on the Voices of the Sacred Feminine podcast at 8:33 she recalls how in 2004 a group of women in India shut down a Coke Cola plant that was mining and polluting local water.

4. Waterkeeper Alliance Magazine
Ok, this isn't a book, but this magazine chronicles the current water campaigns of the Waterkeeper Alliance. Waterkeepers are the guys who are fighting for your right to clean water. On the blog I've followed their trial against Perdue and a Berlin, Maryland farm for allegedly polluting a ditch that leds to the Chesapeake Bay. The lastest issue celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act which is a law that prohibits any discharge of pollutants without a permit and allows citizens to have the right to enforce this as private Attorney Generals. Organizations cite that legislation often when suing corporations for polluting bodies of water.

Now that you're armed with knowledge, join the fight for clean water for all. For those learned in this topic, which books do you recommend for learning about water insecurity? Leave a comment below or tweet your response to @watertruckmica.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Posted by ANGELA
Published on Wed, Nov 7 2012

Hey guys!

Big news today! A 60-inch water main has broken just a block from MICA's campus here in Baltimore.  The event occurred this morning around 8AM at the intersection of Charles St. and E 21st, just a block north of North Ave. This is just one of many water main ruptures that has occurred within Baltimore within the past 6 months.

In July, a 20-inch main broke at the intersection of Light and Lombard, causing major flooding and  traffic detours in downtown Baltimore. This break inflicted a major inconvenience on travelers, as well as businesses within the area that lost quite a bit of business as a result of the rupture. Even later in July, another 20-inch main broke within a sinkhole on Monument St.  Due to its proximity underground, within a sinkhole, the water did not cause flooding on the streets, but continued to erode the land below the sinkhole, increasing its size and potential danger for further collapse.

Just days ago, reports surfaced of two large water main breaks, both in Northeast Baltimore.  Today's events, though shocking, are hardly surprising. It has been reported that Baltimore experiences nearly 1000 water main breaks a year. Philadelphia, a city nearly twice the size of Baltimore, services around 750 breaks a year. This increase in structural failure is due in part to the increasingly dated infrastructure of Baltimore's water system. Some of these pipes, including the one which ruptured in the intersection of Light and Lombard are estimated to be roughly 100 years old!

Baltimore City is currently in the process of solving these issues, as just yesterday Question J was passed as a result of the election. Question J, a charter amendment, deals with Stormwater Utility within the city. The resolution is described as follows: 

"Resolution No. 12-04 for the purpose of establishing a financially self-sustaining stormwater utility; authorizing supplemental legislation to implement the provisions governing water, sanitary wastewater, and stormwater utilities; correcting, clarifying, and conforming related language; and providing for a special effective date."

Question J was passed yesterday as a result of the election, voting statistics are as follows: 

Question J - Create stormwater utility
 164 of 294 precincts reporting 55.8%   Percent Votes

For the Charter Amendment                      85.8%    110,918
 Against the Charter Amendment             14.2%    18,386

Here is a link to the report dealing with the water main break that occurred earlier today. The video is quite startling, especially viewing it with an understanding of the water crisis today. To see that much water wasted, rushing through the streets, understanding the affects that it has on the environment as well as the community. 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Presidential Candidates Environmental Policies

Posted by HAYLEY
Published on Tues, Nov 6 2012

Hey guys!

Election day is here!!! I hope you guys all make it out to the polls, and take action. It's up to our generation to steer our country away from disaster, both environmental, fiscal, and otherwise. Since this blog is about water, heres some facts about the candidates and their stance on the environment. This is the voting record of all the candidates on environmental issues, so theres no need to weed through any rhetoric or typical political *ahem* b.s. Once you look at it its pretty obvious which candidate i'll be voting for, and who you'll vote for if your a champion of the environment.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Ecological Impact of Anheuser-Busch Sandy Water Donation

Posted by ASHLEY
Published on Mon, Nov 5 2012

I was really surprised by Gil's post about the Anheuser-Busch's drinking water donation to Hurricane Sandy victims. I was at first cynical about the heavy branding of the can (They want to know that you know who is sending the water) and the ecological burden of 1,056,000 cans in a disaster situation. For me it echoed David's post about a weakened infrastructure's inability to pick up and remove waste.

Then I dug into Anheuser-Busch's recycling efforts and came across the video below that illustrates their commitment to water conservation.

I do give them credit for recycling up to 99% of solid waste in their factories each day, but its up to the end user whether that aluminum can will end up on the ground or in a recycling bin. I fear that waste management systems in New York and New Jersey are still overburdened to handle this issue. 

Also Anheuser-Busch credits their Cartersville, Georgia factory, the same one that's bottling emergency water, for being their most water-efficient brewery. In this 1 day effort has their water consumption changed compared to regular production? I'll investigate the details on their donation further.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

From Beer to Water

Posted by GIL
Published on Sat, Nov 3 2012

An Anheuser Busch plant  in Cartersville, GA for one day cans drinking water to Super storm Sandy victims

Friday, November 2, 2012

Fall Asleep to the Sound of Clean Water

Posted by ASHLEY
Published on Fri, Nov 2 2012

Can't go to bed? Then enjoy this hypnotic video of the waterfalls and streams of Yosemite National Park. Episode 18 of a 22 part video series that features Yosemite's astonishing natural elements and animals.

Besides beautiful imagery the park rangers express their mission to educate visitors about their role of preserving clean water. The water that flows out of the park goes on to irrigate the Central Valley of Southern California. Described as a "breadbasket of the world" this agricultural hotspot depends on the  park's water flow. From the video I pulled this cheesy, yet relevant quote about the individual responsibility for water security.

"No single raindrop thinks it's responsible for the flood."

Each of us will have to care about the state of our water. A single moment to consider and understand water scarcity might feel insignificant, but you need that strength in numbers to improve the health of our water. And seeing clean water flourish in a waterfall is awe-inspiring. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Posted by ANGELA
Published on Thur, Nov 1 2012

Hey guys!

Hope everyone weathered the storm in a safe manner!

I was perusing the internet for articles detailing the aftermath of the hurricane, and came across a very interesting one on NASA's website. The article describes NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission, or TRIMM satellite. The satellite was active during hurricane Sandy, taking measurements from outer space of the sheer amount of rain that deposited during the storm. 

The image below details the measurements through the path of the storm. The highest measurements of rainfall occurred over the Atlantic Ocean, not reaching land. Here in Baltimore we experienced roughly 120-130 mm of rainfall. This translates into about 4.75-5.15 inches of rain. 

As we learned from our visits with Baltimore's own Waterkeeper, Tina Meyers of Blue Water Baltimore, such a rapid increase in rainfall can have devastating effects on the Chesapeake Bay, as well as the watershed's entirety. Storms often carry excessive amounts of rainfall that overwhelm the drainage systems in the city, often causing sewage to leak and pollute the environment. As well, the rapid water runoff carries bacteria and pollution into local waterways, which eventually lead to the bay.

There are several precautions that citizens can take prior to a large storm such as Sandy that will help to prevent this sort of occurrence. Tasks like collecting any visible litter from the ground in your neighborhood will keep this trash from being swept away, eventually residing in the bay. Clearing out storm drains clogged with trash helps as well, as this will prevent flooding, and the build up unsanitary water. For more information on what to do prior to a storm, you can visit Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper's Facebook page. ( Facebook - Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper ) They're very good at posting helpful reminders in a relevant time period.