More Salt in Our Water Is Creating Scary New “Chemical Cocktails”

More Salt in Our Water Is Creating Scary New “Chemical Cocktails”

SOURCE: Truthout and The Royal Society Publishing DATE: February 6, 2019 SNIP: Gene Likens has been studying forest and aquatic ecosystems for more than half a century. In that time he’s seen a change in the chemistry of our surface waters — including an increase in the alkalinity and salinity of waterways — something he and his colleagues have dubbed “freshwater salinization syndrome.” Likens coauthored a report published last month that found that not only is salinity increasing in many surface waters, but when you add salt to the environment it can mobilize heavy metals, nutrient pollution and other contaminants that are combining to create new “chemical cocktails” in rivers, streams and...
Water wars: Are India and Pakistan heading for climate change-induced conflict?

Water wars: Are India and Pakistan heading for climate change-induced conflict?

SOURCE: Deutsche Welle DATE: January 25, 2019 SNIP: Yemen, Somalia and Syria are just some of the places where climate change is increasingly regarded as a root cause of violent conflict. But while much of the focus on climate change-attributed conflict has predominantly been on Africa and the Middle East, a potentially even deadlier clash over resources may be looming on the horizon in Asia. That’s because India and Pakistan — bitter rivals over water — both have nuclear weapons in their arsenal. The two countries have a long but strained agreement over sharing water from the Indus River and its tributaries. Waters from the Indus, which flow from India and the disputed Kashmir region into Pakistan, were carved up between India and Pakistan under the 1960 Indus Water Treaty (IWT). The dispute over the Kashmir region — a flashpoint between India and Pakistan for more than six decades — is hugely intertwined with water security. Both countries claim the whole region, but each only controls a part of it. While the IWT has managed to survive the wars and other hostilities, it is increasingly being strained to its limit. Pakistan has accused India of throttling its water supply and violating the IWT by constructing dams over the rivers flowing into Pakistan from Kashmir. A 2018 report from the International Monetary Fund ranked Pakistan third among countries facing severe water shortages. When the rapidly-melting glaciers in the Himalayas, which feed the Indus waters, eventually disappear as predicted, the dwindling rivers will be slashed even...
Climate Change May Be Creating a Groundwater ‘Time Bomb,’ Scientists Say

Climate Change May Be Creating a Groundwater ‘Time Bomb,’ Scientists Say

SOURCE: Cardiff University and Weather.com DATE: January 21, 2019 SNIP: Future generations could be faced with an environmental ‘time bomb’ if climate change is to have a significant effect on the world’s essential groundwater reserves. When there is a change in recharge due to a lack of rainfall, for example, levels of groundwater drop until balance is restored. Lead author of the research, Dr Mark Cuthbert, from Cardiff University’s School of Earth and Ocean Sciences and Water Research Institute, said: “Our research shows that groundwater systems take a lot longer to respond to climate change than surface water, with only half of the world’s groundwater flows responding fully within ‘human’ timescales of 100 years. “This means that in many parts of the world, changes in groundwater flows due to climate change could have a very long legacy. This could be described as an environmental time bomb because any climate change impacts on recharge occurring now, will only fully impact the baseflow to rivers and wetlands a long time later.” “It is essential that the potential for these initially hidden impacts is recognized when developing water management policies, or climate change adaptation strategies for future generations,” Cuthbert...
Pinal County is about to use a lot more groundwater. And, yes, that’s as bad as it sounds

Pinal County is about to use a lot more groundwater. And, yes, that’s as bad as it sounds

SOURCE: AZ Central DATE: December 28, 2018 SNIP: Farmers agreed in 2004 to give up their Ag Pool allotment by 2030. They began formulating a plan to use more groundwater but thought they’d still be able to supplement what they pump with other pools of Colorado River water. This water would become more expensive, the thinking went, but it would still be available. That reality has changed – and rapidly so. The Ag Pool water – and other sources farmers had hoped would lessen their reliance on groundwater – will evaporate under the proposed Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) once a shortage is declared on Lake Mead, likely in 2020. That’s a decade earlier than farmers had expected. There are demands for water that didn’t exist in the 1980s and a sole pot to fill them all. Conflicts are sure to arise. What’s more, farmers in the major irrigation districts say they are planning to fallow about 40 percent of their land in the short term to handle these sudden water cuts. The dust is sure to cause air-quality issues, though no one is sure to what extent. It’s also likely that Pinal County will take a revenue hit, because unused land has less value than what’s farmed (and therefore would pay less in taxes). It would be even worse if fallowed land ends up in foreclosure, because then no taxes would be collected. [It’s well worth reading the whole article. This is just a hint at the water wars in our future we are rapidly heading...
EPA’s New Water Rule will Gut the Clean Water Act

EPA’s New Water Rule will Gut the Clean Water Act

SOURCE: The Intercept DATE: December 7, 2018 SNIP: A new water rule will greatly reduce federal water protections, imperiling drinking water, endangered species, and ecosystems across the country. According to the rule that the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to release next week — some details of which were leaked Thursday — streams that are dependent on rainfall and wetlands not physically connected to year-round waterways will no longer be covered by the Clean Water Act. As a result of the change, an estimated 60-90 percent of U.S. waterways could lose federal protections that currently shield them from pollution and development, according to Kyla Bennett, director of science policy at Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. Alaska and the arid west will be hit particularly hard by the new rule, which will be subject to a comment period before it is finalized. Environmentalists are bracing for what they predict will be disastrous consequences for our nation’s waterways. “For some parts of the country, it’s a complete wiping away of the Clean Water Act,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity. By removing water quality standards and permitting requirements, the rule will open these streams, rivers, and wetlands to being paved over, filled in, or polluted. The result, environmentalists say, may take us back to the days of river fires. “You’ll be able to dump as much crap into them as you want,” Hartl said of our nation’s waterways. “Anyone will be free to destroy them as they see fit.” Even before the new rule goes into effect, more than half of the waterways in the...