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Is it really possible to suck moisture out of desert air? November 10, 2011

Posted by WaterWise Consulting in Water & Business, water conservation.
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Yes, it actually is possible to pull moisture out of air—even dry desert air. This process was demonstrated by Edward Linacre from the Swinburne University of Technology. Linacre uses biomimicry to imitate the Namib beetle. This beetle lives in deserts that often receive as little as half an inch of rain per year. The beetle is able to survive in such dry climates by capturing condensed moisture on its back during the cool morning. The beetle has a hydrophilic surface on its back, which essentially catches or snags particles of water that are blowing by on the cool breeze. These molecules then gather other molecules and eventually grow into water droplets.
The device that was designed and built by Linacre uses these same principles to condense moisture from the dry air, and then release it into the ground for plants. Linacre’s device has been shown to produce as much as 11.5 milliliters per cubic meter of air circulates. This process can be slightly altered to deposit condensed water vapor into a bucket or other device to provide clean drinking water. The project was an entry into a contest for the James Dyson Award. Linacre received $14,000 from Dyson. Swinburne University of Technology also received $14,000 as an award for this device.
Brian O’Neill
boneill@waterwise-consulting.com
http://www.waterwise-consulting.com

How do riparian water rights along the Colorado River affect Mexico’s water supply? November 3, 2011

Posted by WaterWise Consulting in Landscape Water Use, Water & Business, water conservation, Water Footprint.
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Loosely defined, riparian water rights state that people who own property adjacent to a body of water may withdraw water from that water source. While this worked well in pre-industrialized nations such as England, where riparian rights were created, these rights do not work as well during the twenty-first century. The main cause of problems with riparian water rights today are that there are more people that live along riparian zones (zones bordering a body of water). This means that more people are withdrawing water now than 100 years ago. To make matters worse, people use more water now than 100 years ago. For example, people often wash their cars in the driveways. People irrigate landscape, which accounts for as much as 50% of their water usage.
What does this have to do with Mexico, you might ask? Well the Colorado River flows from Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado at over 10,000 feet elevation down to the Colorado River Delta in the Gulf of California, Sonora, Mexico. This 1,450 mile journey provides near-limitless access to water. However, most of the Colorado River flows through the United States—not Mexico. By the time the Colorado River reaches its end in the Gulf of California, there is a mere trickle of water. The maximum flow rate has been measured as high as 300,000 cubic feet/second (8,500 cubic meters/second). The minimum flow rate, however, is as little as 700 cubic feet/second. That’s because all of the water has been pumped out or withdrawn for use in the United States. While this may not be a problem for us, it is a problem for Mexico. They need water, too.
Brian O’Neill
boneill@waterwise-consulting.com
http://www.waterwise-consulting.com

When was the last time you thought of a natural disaster in California? October 27, 2011

Posted by WaterWise Consulting in Water & Business.
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Natural disasters are seldom thought of in California, aside from earthquakes. Disastrous earthquakes occur relatively infrequently, in fact. For example, the last “disastrous” earthquake took place on October 17, 1989. That was 22 years ago. Other regions of the Unites States, for instance, must endure natural disasters on a seasonal basis. Some regions face droughts much more severe than those we see in California. Other regions deal with tidal surges, hurricanes, tornadoes, or snowstorms. Should California be worried about natural disasters other than earthquakes? According to the Water Education Foundation, Californians should be prepared for flooding.
The Central Valley, ranging from Redding in the north to Bakersfield in the south has experienced serious flooding in the past. Emmy award-winning producer Stephanie Locher has produced a 30-minute documentary called Overcoming the Deluge: California’s Plan for Managing Floods. This documentary focuses on the past, present, and future flood management techniques and strategies of California’s Central Valley. This short documentary will air on Wednesday, November 9th at 7:00 pm; Friday, November 11th at 4:00 pm; and Sunday, November 13th at 6:00 pm on Sacramento’s KVIE Channel 6.
This documentary includes stories from Central Valley residents who have first-hand experience of severe floods. The documentary also features interviews with water experts from the California Department of Water Resources, The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, The Bureau of Reclamation, The Central Valley Flood management Program, and other environmental groups. The goal of this documentary is to educate interested parties about the sustainable, integrated, holistic flood management plan that is being implemented in the Central Valley.
Brian O’Neill
boneill@waterwise-consulting.com
http://www.waterwise-consulting.com

Don’t forget to adjust your irrigation controllers soon! October 20, 2011

Posted by WaterWise Consulting in Uncategorized.
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Don’t forget to adjust your irrigation system to coincide with the seasons. Many people program their irrigation controllers when they are installed, and then forget about them. While this is undoubtedly the easiest and carefree way, this method is also the most expensive and causes the most problems for plants. Plant water needs biologically fluctuate with the seasons-plants both expect and need more water during the dry season than the rainy season. By programming your irrigation controller and forgetting it, plants receive the same amount of water year-round.
The simple fix for this common problem is programming your irrigation controller to water less (if any, at all) during the rainy season. Ideally, irrigation systems water more as the rainy season ends, and peaks around July or August (in California). From then until about November, the irrigation tapers off until the rainy season provides 100% of the needed water.
Another simple fix for this problem is to install a “smart” controller. A smart controller is one that uses local weather data to automatically alter the amount of irrigation. The smart controllers do this by using local weather data from nearby weather stations to calculate the evapotranspiration rates of each plant type your controller is programmed for. Evapotranspiration rates are the amount of water that effectively flows through a plant, which is directly related to the plant’s individual water need. If you are interested, please visit our homepage for more information on smart controllers, and how WaterWise can help you get one for cheaper, with rebates!
Brian O’Neill
boneill@waterwise-consulting.com
http://www.waterwise-consulting.com

There’s a Tailgate Party in las Vegas! October 3, 2011

Posted by WaterWise Consulting in Uncategorized.
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Come join WaterWise for a Tailgate party in Las Vegas on Thursday, October 6th. See Flyer for details!