World Water Day is a great time to reflect on how precious every drop of water is, particularly when much of the world does not have access to clean, safe, drinking water. According to a report by World Health Organization (www.who.int), half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas by the year 2025. Given these facts, it’s easy to see how critically important it is that we think about ways to reuse wastewater. newterra (www.newterra.com), a leader in modular water, wastewater, and groundwater treatment solutions, is working hard to expand global access with innovative, safe, and efficient water treatment technology.
Cat Tales / Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority / Winter/Spring 2017
The lack of rain was the lead story in the previous edition of Cat Tales and continues to create headlines – and headaches – for folks living within the CRCA jurisdiction.
As of the writing of this article, in early December, officials with the Cataraqui Region Water Response Team had deemed that the region was still in a moderate drought situation, downgrading it on Nov. 15 from severe where it had been for much of the summer and fall. That action came about after there was a significant amount of rainfall in mid-October helping stream flows and groundwater to rise to levels where supply was barely meeting demand. At this level, officials still recommend that water users practice conservation with at least a 20 per cent reduction in normal usage. As recently as Nov. 2, the ‘severe’ tag was still in place.
The summary in the new report also states, “Increasing bioenergy crop cultivation poses risks to ecosystems and biodiversity” (WGIII).
The report lists many potential negative risks of development, such as direct conflicts between land for fuels and land for food, other land-use changes, water scarcity, loss of biodiversity and nitrogen pollution through the excessive use of fertilizers (Scientific American).
The International Institute for Sustainable Development was not so diplomatic, and estimates that the CO2 and climate benefits from replacing petroleum fuels with biofuels like ethanol are basically zero (IISD). They claim that it would be almost 100 times more effective, and much less costly, to significantly reduce vehicle emissions through more stringent standards, and to increase CAFE standards on all cars and light trucks to over 40 miles per gallon as was done in Japan just a few years ago.
A warming planet doesn’t just mean melting ice caps, rising waters and other environmental problems, according to Professor Guzman. It also means the potential for never-before-seen migration, famine, war and disease. This is not a phenomenon that we have to wait for as it is already happening. Prolonged droughts, massive flooding and food shortages have already become the norm in certain parts of the developing world.
Montreal Gazette / Michelle Lalonde / 06 October 2016
Quebec City Mayor Régis Labeaume says he gets “the chills” when he recalls incidents that have threatened his city’s drinking water supply, because they remind him of the vulnerability of Quebec’s rivers and waterways and the terrible burden of responsibility on municipal leaders to ensure safe drinking water.
Labeaume was addressing the AquaHacking 2016 Summit Thursday at Montreal’s Palais des Congrès, an annual conference gathering several hundred water experts, technological experts, decision-makers and citizens to find solutions for protecting waterways, with a focus this year on protecting the St. Lawrence River.
There is now compelling evidence to show that humanity’s impact on the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and wildlife has pushed the world into a new geological epoch, according to a group of scientists.
The question of whether humans’ combined environmental impact has tipped the planet into an “Anthropocene” – ending the current Holocene which began around 12,000 years ago – will be put to the geological body that formally approves such time divisions later this year.
The new study provides one of the strongest cases yet that from the amount of concrete mankind uses in building to the amount of plastic rubbish dumped in the oceans, Earth has entered a new geological epoch.
The Transition Towns movement aims toward veering away from excessive consumption – to deal with the conjoined problems of peak oil and climate change – but also in the belief that we may create an essentially more contented society, through building strong and resilient local communities. We will get to know our neighbours better, because we shall all need one another in the time to come.