Water withdrawals and the ensuing risks

A recent article published by The Economist, titled “Making farmers matter
And monitor, budget, manage—and prosper” provides crucial insight into the problems behind over-drafting our water sources. The article features impoverished farmers in third-world regions such as parts of India and China. The problems involving water issues stem from the low economic status of these regions.
One of the leading causes of disparity in these nations is the lack of sanitary living conditions. For example, over 1.2 people defecate in the open because they have no form of bathroom. This in turn causes a festering source of contagion and diseases. Evidence has shown that poor sanitation and dirty water kills over 5,000 children every day.
This article also delves into the issues that result from improper use of groundwater. While some farms are plagued by a lack of water, others are inundated by excess water. This causes a problem because plant roots need to uptake oxygen. Once soil becomes saturated to a certain point, the roots cannot absorb oxygen, and thus plant productivity drops. On the other side of the spectrum, some farmers do not have access to enough water to sustain their crops.
Some other less well-known issues behind water use and farming include salinity issues as well as other contaminants. For example, some farmers over-water their crops, and let the excess water evaporate. Over time, this method of watering leaves a layer of salts on the soil, which lowers the productivity of crops.
Over-drafting of groundwater sources also presents a major health risk because many underwater sources in India and China contain high concentrations of arsenic and uranium. These chemicals have caused increased cancer rates among villagers as well as arthritis, bone deformities, and mottled teeth and skin. Many farmers are unable to make a living in the best of health, let alone farmers struggling with deformities and malnourishment.
Brian O’Neill
Read more about this issue at: http://www.economist.com/specialreports/displaystory.cfm?story_id=16136354

Ten tips to save over 100 gallons per day

Indoor Tips:
1. If you shorten your shower by five minutes, you can save up to 15 gallons of water every time you shower!
2. By installing faucet aerators and efficient showerheads, you can save an additional 16 gallons per day.
3. Wait until you have a full load of laundry or a full dishwasher before you run your appliances. You can save up to 20 gallons per load.
4. Fix any leaks around your house, or in your irrigation system: this can save up to 15 gallons per leak every day.
5. Retrofit your toilets with efficient versions to save up to 25 gallons per day!
Outdoor Tips:
1. Water your lawn in the early morning instead of midday to reduce up to 20 gallons of evaporated water!
2. Check to see if your lawn needs to be watered by walking on it. If you see your footprints, it’s time to water. If not, the grass does not need more water yet.
3. Save up to 20 gallons per day by reducing water time by only one minute.
4. Cut your watering time by half in fall, and completely stop watering during winter months.
5. Landscape with native plants and save up to 20 gallons per day!
Brian O’Neill

India finally fights back

In a report released on World Water Day, Coca-Cola is being held liable for approximately $48 million in damages. This decision was passed down by a High Power Committee established by the government of Kerala in India. This decision was part of a long-deserved slap on the wrists of Coca-Cola for depleting groundwater basins and other untold environmental damage.
Shut down in March 2004, the bottling plant in Plachimada will finally pay the price. This bottling plant has remained closed for the last 6 years as a result of the strong community action. Environmental activists also helped convict Coca-Cola. As stated in the report, “The Committee thus has compelling evidence to conclude that the HCBPL has caused serious depletion of the water resources of Plachimada, and has severely contaminated the water and soil.” HCBPL is the Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Private Limited, a subsidiary of Coca-Cola.
The Committee has concluded that Coca-Cola shall be held responsible for the damages, and must compensate the people effected by financial losses, health problems, loss of educational possibilities, and pollution in the groundwater. The report clearly stated that the $48 million was not a maximum fine by any means-it was a mere estimate.
I applaud the High Power Committee for taking a stance against Coca-Cola in an attempt to protect it’s people and fight off greedy corporations. It is time that multi-national corporations such as Coca-Cola realize that they can no longer bully poor individuals. The government of Kerala, India has finally demonstrated the power of communal action in response to corporate injustice.
Brian O’Neill
Read more about this issue at: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=18305


The Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010 is a proposed bill that aims to promote growth through incentives for environmental improvements. Senator Wyden (D-OR) is promoting the WYDEN WATERWISE AMENDMENT, which will incorporate water conservation provisions to compliment the pre-existing energy efficiency provisions already in the bill.
Please contact your Senators and make it clear that you support the WYDEN WATERWISE AMENDMENT. Not only will this bill help decrease water use, but it will also create more jobs in the water conservation industry.
Read more about this at: http://www.allianceforwaterefficiency.org/action-alert.aspx
Brian O’Neill