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Peaceful Orca Resting line

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A northern resident killer whale pod (orcas) enjoying a beautiful sunset in a resting line in Johnstone Strait, British Columbia, Canada.

Photographing killer whales for almost 25 years gave me many opportunities to get a good insight of an orca’s life. I saw them jumping (breaching), spy-hopping and racing, I saw transient killer whales chasing and killing dolphins but I also saw transients play….

Source: Natural Resources Library

Source: Water Industry News

Voices from Flint: Life without Water

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Pastor Will Morgan reflects on Flint’s Water Crisis.

By Jacob Wheeler

“Is this economic racism?” asks Pastor Will Morgan, a lifelong Flint resident, General Motors retiree and reverend of the Apostolic Church, which has become a water distribution point for residents on Flint’s impoverished east side.

“This poor community has just been raped over and over and over. Water is a human right. This is unfathomable in America. This is crazy.”

Morgan offers a history lesson of Flint’s woes since GM packed up and left town, taking tens of thousands of jobs with it. The economic depression; the soaring murder rates; the state’s imposition of an emergency manager on Flint; the closing of two of the city’s four public high schools (as in Detroit, plaster falls from the rafters, and rats stalk the halls); water rates that were raised five different times; the putrid water that was too corrosive for General Motors, and too risky for Governor Rick Snyder’s own staff, but deemed good enough for Flint residents to drink.

“Because this is Flint, an economically depressed, and mostly black community, this was allowed to go on,” Morgan says.

The five cities under state receivership, he adds, are all Democratic strongholds, whereas Michigan is controlled at all levels of government by Republicans.

Morgan is working with other African American churches in Flint to distribute bottled water. Donations are mounting. A semi-truck came last week from Kansas City; water donations came from a motorcycle group in Detroit; Boston called, too. But he recently saw an elderly woman in an electric wheelchair trying to navigate a snow-covered street with a case of water in her lap. The sight convinced him that the fire stations and the National Guard were not doing enough to distribute water.

“We want to target those who cannot get out,” Morgan says. “We also can’t forget about the undocumented immigrants that are here. They’re not going to knock on anyone’s door, so you’ve got to go find them.”

In the void left by local and state government, churches are stepping up. One of Morgan’s mantras is “If they’re hungry, feed ‘em. If they’re naked, clothe ‘em.”

Morgan’s 4-year-old granddaughter, Malia Rae Brackett, broke out in rashes from bathing in the water. He compared her skin lesions to the Flint child on the cover of TIME Magazine. “She has eczema and her skin broke out after she was playing outdoors. At first we thought it was because of the sun.” Finally, the water’s taste and smell convinced the family to stop using it.

Morgan, himself, limits his showers to three minutes so that the high chlorine count in the water doesn’t burn his skin.

He considers the $US 28 million that Snyder and the legislature have allocated to Flint, and the influx of bottled water, to be nothing more than a Band-Aid.

“The governor says we have a $US 500 million surplus, and he only releases $US 28 million? Shame on you. Shame on you for usurping the rights of people,” Morgan says.

As told to Jacob Wheeler.

Photo by J. Carl Ganter.

Student journalists at the White Pine Press, the student-run newspaper at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City, contributed to Circle of Blue’s reporting in Flint.

The post Voices from Flint: Life without Water appeared first on Circle of Blue WaterNews.

Source: Water News

Source: Water Industry News

I Walk the Beach in Winter

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By Phil Colarusso

Empty, cold, windy, the beach in the winter. I walk down a deserted shore with the waves rumbling next to me. Little evidence of life except for a stray gull or a few eider ducks diving just beyond the surf zone. The wind whips sand particles stinging as they hit my face. Walking into the wind takes some effort.BeachinWinterpicPhil

Geographically, this is a beach I visit often, but it is a very different beach than the one I walked on in the late fall. Winter storms, wind and waves have continued with their eternal reshaping of the landscape. Large sections of sand dunes have eroded in one of the winter storms. The constant wind redistributes clouds of sand along exposed sections of beach. Sand grains collect in clam shells, behind clumps of dune grass or debris, any place that allows relief from the vigorous wind.

In my lifetime, I’ve seen nature’s reshuffling of this beach dozens and dozens of times. As I stroll along the shore, I contemplate the fate of a grain of sand. How many times does a single grain of sand get moved in its life span? How far does it travel in its lifetime? I envision the grain of sand being blown down the beach by the wind and moving in and out on a wave or with the tide. The one constant for a sand grain is motion. The one constant for most beaches is change. With climate change triggering sea level rise and more intense storms, this current rate of change will also change.

It’s time to turn back and as I retrace my steps from the way I came; the wind is now at my back. With the wind at my back, nature doesn’t seem quite as violent.  The waves coming ashore don’t look as big.  A gull floats effortlessly above me on the wind exerting no effort at all, appearing at peace. The deeper message seems pretty clear, we need to work with nature not against it. Are we as a society, sand grains being blown around haphazardly by the wind or are we the sea gull who can adapt and use that same wind to our advantage? In the distance, three wind turbines are visible on the horizon.


About the author: Phil Colarusso is a marine biologist in the Coastal and Ocean Protection Section of EPA’s New England office, and is an avid diver

Source: EPA Science Water News

Source: Water Industry News

Infographic: The Age of U.S. Drinking Water Pipes — From Civil War Era to Today

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Water main ages reflect the nation’s growth

The American Water Works Association calls it the Replacement Era. An estimated 1.9 million kilometers (1.2 million miles) of distribution pipes supply Americans with drinking water. Many of them are nearing or have past retirement age. A big investment — perhaps as much as $US 1 trillion over the next two decades — must be made to replace them.

Age, however, is only part of the story. The deterioration of any particular pipe depends on a bundle of pressures: What material are the pipes made of? Cast iron, ductile iron, polyvinyl chloride, or, occasionally, wood? Each has a different lifespan. What are the chemical properties of the soil and water? Some are more corrosive. What is the climate? Cycles of freezing and thawing or drought can weaken pipes.

The need to replace these pipes, most of which have a useful lifespan of more than 75 or 100 years, will continue to grow. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency forecasts that the rate of replacement will rise until 2035, as national investment in water mains peaked in the boom years after World War II.

The graphic below shows the percent of current water mains installed by decade. The patterns reflect America’s growth. Older pipes weave beneath the colonial cities on the East Coast. Philadelphia, for one, still uses water mains installed before the Civil War.

Cities that grew fast in the latter half of last century have newer systems. More than half of San Antonio’s water mains were laid in the ground between 1980 and 2010 — which seems appropriate given that its population grew by 70 percent in that period.

Water mains United States drinking water infrastructure infographic Kaye LaFond Circle of Blue

Graphic © Kaye LaFond / Circle of Blue
The percent of current water mains installed by decade for five U.S. cities. Click image to enlarge.

The post Infographic: The Age of U.S. Drinking Water Pipes — From Civil War Era to Today appeared first on Circle of Blue WaterNews.

Source: Water News

Source: Water Industry News

Groundwater guru urges water interests to talk to scientists

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Well owners, water agencies, conservationists and others with an interest in how and where water flows need to tell scientists their needs and goals so that modeling of complex systems such as aquifers can better inform policy decisions, said a leading hydrologist who spoke Thursday in Angels Camp. … [Ty] Ferre’s appearance in the multipurpose room at Bret Harte High School is one of 100 talks he will make at sites around the world this year as 2016’s Distinguished Darcy Lecturer. 

Source: California Water News feed

Source: Water Industry News

Blog: Delta Narratives, Part 4

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“Stories matter. Contemporary neuroscience fairly certainly supports our basic intuition that individual human beings construct their identities out of stories, and what is true for individuals is also true, though usually in a more complex way, for cultures,” writes Dr. Gregg Camfield in his report, Writers and Artists in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Source: California Water News feed

Source: Water Industry News