Celebrate Earth Day Every Day

Earth Water Alliance Celebrates Earth Day Every Day

Puerto Rico Water Filter Distribution

Our partners in Puerto Rico are still super busy with several projects and programs concerning water quality and disaster resilience. After Hurricane Maria, Earth Water Alliance provided 200 Sawyer Point One bucket water filters to 19 regions throughout Puerto Rico.

We are currently in discussions with Surfrider Foundation Rincón regarding expanding their water program in western Puerto Rico. An integral part of that program during the relief work was community awareness talks about water quality, filter distribution, and expansion of their water testing to include wells, streams and springs that people were using for household water sources. They tested and distributed various filters or treatment methods including Sawyer, Lifestraw, DIVVY system, and several chlorine-based methods.

Surfrider Foundation Rincón distributed about 1,000 and were very happy with the performance of the Sawyer Point One model. They report that it is fine for most uses. They were a bit concerned about its ability to handle smaller microorganisms since Puerto Rico had a close call with an epidemic of leptospirosis and there is no field test or easy lab detection method for that bacteria yet. For sites or areas where they were encountering high levels of bacteria they recommended the chlorine & boiling routine or use of the more expensive Sawyer .02 filter.  Since the price is higher for that model it is better suited for use at a neighborhood/barrio level.  Conclusion: because lepto bacteria and some other pathogens have a radial diameter of about .05 microns, there is a statistical chance the Sawyer Point One might not catch all of them.  But, in most cases they concluded the Point One was perfectly appropriate, and they are still very interested in continuing to distribute them as part of their continuing water quality effort.

Puerto Rico’s Sustainable Agriculture Movement

Currently, only 15 percent of Puerto Rico’s food is grown locally; everything else is imported. Considering the island’s tropical climate, with four growing seasons and fertile terrain, that statistic is especially shocking. Add the doubled cost of goods—tacked on by the Jones Act, a century-old maritime law that requires all ships entering any U.S. land or territory be built and crewed by American citizens, and requires punitive fees of foreign vessels—and it simply doesn’t make sense. Right now, Puerto Rico is basically GMO headquarters; there are more permits for transgenic seed experimentation than anywhere else in the U.S. or its territories. Meanwhile, iconic staples like rice and beans are almost entirely outsourced. The island is a food desert.

Puerto Rico’s growing sustainable agriculture movement involves a network of grassroots organizations and projects throughout the island to support farmer’s market, organic seed distribution, community gardens, restaurants using locally sourced ingredients, and the introduction of sustainable agriculture in classrooms. The shift toward local agriculture means the island is closer to autonomy.

Local organizations like Resiliency Fund, Guagua Solidaria, Proyecto Semiteca, Huertos Comunitarios y Permacultura Urbana – Viejo San Juan, and Surfrider Fondation Rincónare restoring and rehabilitating local farms, building latrines, pruning guava trees, setting up rainwater catchment systems, implementing solar energy, teaching polyculture and crop diversity, collecting and distributing heirloom seeds, supporting farmers markets, developing seed libraries, and providing workshops. Recently, 27 public school teachers in San Juan area participated in a program that included an introduction to permaculture design methodologies and the integration of seed libraries into garden and landscape designs.

Navajo Reservation – Smith Lake and Baca, NM

Five years ago, DigDeep began planning a well at Smith Lake, NM. They needed an additional source of clean water to serve hundreds of families without running water or toilets. Thousands of people across the US came together to make this dream a reality, but unfortunately the site theydrilled was dry. (Note: the driller did not drill where EWA dowsed but instead drilled where access was easier for their equipment.)

Subsequently, DigDeep found an old abandoned well near the elementary school, tested the water, and have now rebuilt that well. The well water is pristine and the location will provide an additional water source that is closer to many of the homes they serve. Current work at the site involves building the well house, constructing a 10,000 gallon holding tank, and install electicity, public taps, a driveway, and fencing.

Earth Water Alliance is a proud supporter of the Baca, NM water distribution expansion project which will provide more reliable and timely distibution of clean drinking water to the people of the Navajo Nation.

Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota

The Pine Ridge Reservation is flooded! The aftermath of Winter Storm Ulmer, which hit the Midwest on March 13th, is still wreaking havoc on the territory.

It’s been reported that over 1,500 tribal citizens were displaced from their homes and 75-100 structures were damaged by the flooding. 500 people remain without access to potable water, culvert systems are plugged, and roads are impassable. Pine Ridge now faces millions of dollars of damage. Recovery will take a long time and the tribe is woefully understaffed and under-resourced.

The Lakota People’s Law Project has set up shop at tribal headquarters in Pine Ridge to join the effort. They are in the process of assembling a group of qualified professionals (engineers, skilled laborers, heavy equipment operators, grant writers, etc.) to help untangle the complicated web of prerequisites coming from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the State of South Dakota that must be met before they will provide assistance. They will need help from these institutions to navigate the waters ahead.

Dowsing and Intuition in the Classroom

Earth Water Alliance is assisting fellow intuitives and dowsers who are teaching basic dowsing and intuitive knowing at elementary and secondary schools.

Join us on our journey as we celebrate Earth Day Every Day!

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House, Senate OK Colorado River drought plan, capping years of debate

House, Senate OK Colorado River drought plan, capping years of debate

WASHINGTON – Two weeks after water officials told Congress there was urgent need to approve the Colorado River drought contingency plan, the House and Senate both passed a plan Monday and sent it to the president’s desk.

If signed by President Donald Trump as expected, it would be the culmination of years of negotiations between the seven states in the Colorado River Basin on how much each state can draw from the river if Lake Powell and Lake Mead drop to crisis levels. Read more

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What’s happening with the Colorado River Drought plans?

‘Done’ isn’t done: What’s happening with the Colorado River drought plans?

by Luke Runyon and Bret Jaspers of KJZZ, published 7 February 2019

“The seven states that rely on the Colorado River for water haven’t been able to finish a series of agreements that would keep its biggest reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, from dropping to levels not seen since they were filled decades ago.

Five states — Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Wyoming and Nevada — are done. So is northern Mexico. But California and Arizona failed to meet the federal government’s Jan. 31 deadline to wrap up negotiations and sign a final agreement.”

Read the full article at Cronkite News published by Arizona PBS.

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UN Sustainable Development Goals Report 2018

According to the United Nations: “The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2018 found that conflict and climate change were major contributing factors leading to growing numbers of people facing hunger and forced displacement, as well as curtailing progress towards universal access to basic water and sanitation services.” Read the report.

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Global Water Scarcity

We live on a planet covered by water (9.25 million trillion gallons), but more than 97 percent is salty, and nearly 2 percent is locked up in snow and ice.iThat leaves only a fraction of one percent of the earth’s total water supply to grow our crops, provide for industrial use, and supply drinking water. Unfortunately, these available water reserves are already strained – surface supplies are shrinking and groundwater is being depleted faster than it can be replenished. It is estimated that by 2025 almost two billion people will live in areas plagued by water scarcity and two-thirds of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed regions. By 2050, one in 5 developing countries are expected to face water shortages.

At present, about 4.5 billion people live within an impaired water resource, 780 million people live without clean drinking water, and more than one-third of Africa’s population and 25 to 33 percent of China’s population lack access to safe drinking water.ii

Thirty-three countries depend upon other nations for a majority of their renewable water while only nine countries account for 60 percent of the world’s natural freshwater.iiiOne hundred and twenty river systems in the world flow through two or more countries. Almost two-thirds of the world’s countries have rivers flowing into their territories from upstream countries and there are 276 transboundary river basins. Seven countries share the Amazon river basin in Southern America region; eight countries share the Mekong river basin in the Southern and Eastern Asia region; eleven countries share the Nile river basin in Africa; and nineteen countries share the Danube river basin in Europe.iv

Currently, approximately 9 percent of countries experience absolute water scarcity, 6 percent experience water scarcity, and 10 percent are under water stress.vEighty nations now have serious water problems that are expected to become severe within twenty years.

Drought affects more people than any other type of natural disaster. Although droughts are not new, their increasing frequency and severity throughout the world in recent decades has heightened impacts resulting in massive famines and migration, conflicts and unrest, and food shortages and price increases. Since these shifts in population and resources are global concerns, we will need to approach drought in new, inventive ways.vi

In the world’s driest places, fossil water is becoming as valuable as fossil fuel. This ancient freshwater was created eons ago and trapped underground in huge reservoirs, or aquifers. And like oil, no one knows how much there is.

More than two billion people worldwide rely on wells for their water. As water tables continue to drop, many of them devote countless hours to collecting and hauling this valuable resource.viiBringing fossil water to the surface may cause other water quality issues. When aquifers are depleted, they can be subject to an influx of surrounding contaminants such as saltwater—a particular problem near coastal areas.

Also, like oil fields, depleting fossil water aquifers too quickly can reduce underground pressures and render large quantities of water essentially irretrievable.viiiGroundwater in aquifers between layers of poorly permeable rock, such as clay or shale, may be confined under pressure. If such a confined aquifer is tapped by a well, water will rise above the top of the aquifer and may even flow from the well onto the land surface. Water confined in this way is said to be under artesian pressure, and the aquifer is called an artesian aquifer. There is no problem if the water is withdrawn slowly, but human population has exploded threefold and water use has risen even faster. Of the 37 underground aquifers measured, one third was seriously stressed, with little or almost no natural replenishment.

Technological advances are helping scientists get a handle on just how much water can be found in a given locale. For instance, the European Space Agency’s AQUIFER project uses satellite imagery to estimate water resources from space and help aid trans border management, according to geophysicist Stefan Saradeth. In Northern India, scientists used NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) to measure aquifer usage. When underground reservoir levels change, they slightly alter Earth’s gravitational field—just enough to be detected by GRACE satellites 300 miles (480 kilometers) above the surface. That data is used to map water use. In northern India, they produced a disturbing picture. The NASA study found that humans are using more water than rains can replenish, and area groundwater levels declined by an average of one foot (30 centimeters) per year between 2002 and 2008.ix

Although fossil water can currently fill critical needs, experts warn, it’s ultimately just a temporary measure until conservation measures and advanced technologies become the status quo. Ensuring adequate food and water for all and achieving sustainable rural development and livelihoods for current and future generations all hinge upon the responsible management of our natural resources.

Footnotes:

Underground “Fossil Water” Running Out published by National Geographic May 8, 2010

ii Glogal Majority Water Shortages ‘within two generations’ published by theguardian.com May 24, 2013; The Coming Global Water Crisis published by theatlantic.com May 9, 2012; and Photogallery 0,29307,1724375_1552669,00 published by Time.com

iii Review of World Water Resources by Country published by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

iv Did you know published by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Water aqua stat infographics published by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Paving the way for National Drought Policies published by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

vii Time Magazine photogallergy 0,29307,1724375_1552667,00

viii Underground “Fossil Water” Running Out published by National Geographic May 8, 2010

Water Wars Threaten America’s Most Endangered Rivers published by National Geographic April 12, 2016

Photo courtesy of dreamstime_xxl_82956819 creativecommonsstockphotos

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EWG’s Tap Water Database

According to the Environmental Working Group’s drinking water quality analysis of 30 million state water records, water utilities’ testing has found pollutants in America’s tap water. EWG’s database shows results of tests conducted by the water utility, as well as information from the U.S. EPA Enforcement and Compliance History database (ECHO).

Enter your zip code at EWG’s database to find out whether your water is in compliance with federal health-based drinking water standards.

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The Global Water Crisis | How Much Water Do We Really Use Everyday?

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