The Pure Water Occasional for August 18, 2014

In this mid-August Occasional, you'll hear a lot about the familiar "F" words (fracking, flooding, and fertilizer). You'll learn about eating iguanas and living in a home that's regularly knee-deep in water.  There's news of a proposed canal across Nicaragua, driving tips for flooded roadways, a protest against Slide the City, and a beautiful pictorial essay about the mighty Ganges. The virtues of graywater and walking not on but in water. New products with catchy names like Mur-lok, Aquasorb, Katalox, and Filtrex. And. as always, there is much, much more.

The Pure Water Occasional is a project of Pure Water Products and the Pure Water Gazette.

To read this issue on the Pure Water Gazette's website,  please go here.  (Recommended! When you read online you get the added advantage of the Gazette's sidebar feed of the very latest world water news.)


Nicaraguans told to eat iguanas as drought threatens food crisis

Lizard diet ridiculed but Central America’s poorest country is facing hunger because of poor harvests and rising food prices

by Sam Jones

Nicaraguans struggling to afford meat as the country suffers its worst drought in 32 years should consider raising and eating iguanas, a government expert has suggested.

The advice comes amid warnings that Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador could require levels of humanitarian aid not seen since the aftermath of hurricane Mitch 16 years ago, as poor harvests and rapid increases in the prices of staple items threaten a food crisis.

“Breeding iguanas brings two benefits,” said Guillermo Membreño, a land management expert. “Not only does it supply dietary protein, it also offers a commercial use for the animals.”

A boy holds up an iguana for sale on the highway in the north of Managua. Nicaraguans are being encouraged to eat the reptiles as a nutritious alternative to more conventional meat.

Iguanas, he added, contained 24% protein compared with 18% in chicken.

Although Nicaragua’s environmental laws forbid the hunting of iguanas between 1 January and 30 April each year, the lizards can be kept for food and even exported under certain circumstances.

“Farming iguanas – and not hunting them in forests – is a good way to deal with the food shortages caused by the prolonged drought,” Membreño told the government-run online newspaper La Voz del Sandinismo.

“Even if you’ve only got 10 iguanas, you’ve got something that offers food – and cash if you sell the iguanas for their meat, their skins or as pets.”

He also suggested people grow moringa trees, which require little water and the leaves of which can be used as a highly nutritious animal feed.

survey conducted by another Nicaraguan newspaper found that the cost of 15 of the 19 basic items in the average shopping basket – including such staples as beans, corn, tomatoes and peppers – had risen over the past week.

However, the government’s suggestions met with a mix of scorn and ridicule from some Nicaraguans.

I was going to have an iguana for breakfast, but it ran away. I was going to have beans, but they’re up to 37 [Nicaraguan córdobas] a pound today,” tweeted one.

Another, mocking the Sandinista government’s motto – Christian, socialist, caring – posted a picture of an iguana with the caption:“Anyone fancy a caring mini-Godzilla?”

Despite the humour, the situation in Central America’s poorest country is growing increasingly serious. According to the national livestock commission, Conagan, the drought saw 2,500 cattle starve to death last month, while a further 600,000 of Nicaragua’s 4.1m livestock are on the verge of starvation.

On Monday the drought’s effect on crops and food prices ledNicaragua’s central bank to cut its economic growth outlook and raise its inflation forecast. The bank said it expected growth in gross domestic product to be between 4% and 4.5% this year, down from the 4.5% to 5% it forecast in the spring.

A day later the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (Fewsnet) released an alert highlighting the risk of widespread food shortages in the region next year.

“As a result of projected poor harvests in 2014, the reduction in coffee-sector income for day labourers, and a more rapid than usual increase in the prices of some staple foods, extremely poor households across large areas of Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador will experience a rapid deterioration in their food security in early 2015,” it said.

With the drought and the forthcoming El Niño affecting both the livestock and fishing industries – and coffee rust disease ravaging the crop on which the region is heavily dependent – Fewsnet warned that “atypically high” levels of human assistance would probably be needed to avert a food crisis.

“Depending on the performance of rainfall and markets over the coming months, the number of people in need of assistance could be the largest since hurricane Mitch in 1998,” it said. “Governments and their partners should begin response planning immediately to protect livelihoods and household consumption over the coming year.”

Source: The Guardian

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Stirring Portraits of People Forced to Live in Flooded Homes

by Jakob Schiller


Every year, from June through October, Jashim Salam’s house in Chittagong, Bangladesh, floods. Not once, or twice, but five or six times—per month. It’s like that throughout the city, where several million people live alongside the sea. The water flows in from the Karnaphuli River, pushed beyond its banks by the rising tide of the Bay of Bengal.

This is a recent phenomenon, one many blame on climate change and rising seas coupled with the annual monsoon season. Residents have had to adapt and adjust to the enormous hardships of a life too often lived under water. Salam has been documenting just what it’s like for him and his neighbors. The photographer has produced two series about the flooding. Water World offers an intimate look at life in his neighborhood during a flood. Water World 2 is a powerful series of portraits of people standing in their homes, or in the streets of their communities, surrounded by water.

The portraits are meant to show just how absurd life has become. But it also offers a timeline of sorts. He’s photographed children who have grown up with the flooding and consider it, if not normal, than at least a regular thing. But subjects his age—Salam is 35—and older appreciate how radically their lives and communities have changed. His portraits are both beautiful and shocking. For most, the idea of living knee-deep in water for days on end is incomprehensible.

“It’s very annoying and the people are very fed up,” he says.

To cope, Salam raised the floors on his ground-level home and built walls and other barriers to keep the water at bay. Even so, it always finds a way in. It’s ruined his furniture, shut down his bathroom, and polluted his well, forcing him to boil his water or buy bottled water. Even with these precautions, his wife and their 8-year-old daughter were sickened by the last flood.

“I have been living here for almost 35 years and even my parents have never seen this kind of water level in the city,” Salam says. “If it goes on like this and the water level increase for the next couple of years, maybe I have to shift my own home because I can’t fight every day with flooding water.”

Still, Salam insists he’s luckier than some because he could afford beds tall enough to keep his family off the floor. Less fortunate families sleep on the ground, so when the water comes in they have nowhere to rest at night.

Although the photographer concedes he’s never run across a study directly linking the flooding to climate change, he cites a World Bank study that says Bangladesh will be among the countries most affected by rising temperatures and dwindling polar ice. People will have to contend with higher temperatures, stronger cyclones and rising seas that could wipe out 40 percent of the usable land in Southern Bangladesh by the 2080s. Salam discusses these issues with the people he photographs, hoping to raise awareness of the issue. Most people tend to blame the flooding on poor urban planning, which plays a role in the problem. But he wants them to know there are larger factors in play.

Eventually, Salam hopes to publish his work in a book and exhibit it internationally, perhaps in conjunction with similar projects. He knows the problems facing Bangladesh aren’t unique to the country, and wants to contribute to a growing conversation about how to prevent disasters like this in the future.

“We’re fed up with the flooding,” he says. “We can’t stay like this forever.”

Source: Wired.  See the original for more pictures of perpetually flooded homes.

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Water News for the week of August 18, 2014

There’s still a lot we don’t know about fracking chemicals. A new study, presented Wednesday at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society, says that out of 190 commonly used compounds, hardly any toxicity information is available for a whopping one-third of them. In addition, another eight fracking fluid compounds, the researchers found, are proved to be toxic to mammals.

Water in the West: The west gets thirstier as water supplies dwindle. The Colorado River Basin is facing a battle of sorts as Colorado works to create a water plan. It's a battle against time and against competing water needs, both here in Colorado and in lower basin states including Nevada, Arizona and California. The article features a good explanation of the Colorado River Compact of 1922 and explains the relationship between drought and energy costs.

New York town gets entire summer's worth of rain. A storm dumped an entire summer's worth of rain on parts of Long Island, leading to a fatal crash Wednesday and stranding drivers on roads flooded with door-handle-high water.

Delhi to take foreign specialists help to solve water paucity. As the city grapples with water scarcity, Lt Governor Najeeb Jung on Friday said that the Delhi Government will take technical help from specialists from across the globe to set up a 40 MGD water treatment plant.

189 drought maps reveal just how thirsty California has become. More than 80% of California is in extreme drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, and the state's condition isn't expected to improve. The Drought Monitor has shown an increasingly red California since 2011, the last time the drought map was clear.

Farm fertilizers contaminate watershed that supplies Columbus' drinking-water. The headwaters of Big Walnut Creek, the namesake of the watershed that supplies drinking water to more than half of Columbus customers, including suburban residents, begin here, between cornfields and trees. Farm runoff has become a key issue in Ohio during the past few weeks.

Ineffective Regulation Leads to Major Water Pollution

More than 1 million gallons of manure flowed from a small farm for months, say Marathon County officials, quickly filling a storage tank the size of a small basement, then trickling into a wetland and eventually entering the Little Eau Pleine River on the far western edge of the county.

The fine? $464.10.

In 18 other environmental cases involving farms since 2008, forfeitures levied by the Department of Natural Resources have often exceeded $30,000. In 2009, one farm paid forfeitures and other penalties totaling $85,000, according to DNR records of cases tracked for farms under 700 milking cows.

The farm is owned by Patrick Willcome and his brother Damian of Spencer. According to records in the case, the farm has 115 milking cows and other cattle.

Officials say there have been no reported fish kills in the case. Manure can contaminate waterways with bacteria and introduce excessive levels of nutrients, such as phosphorus, that can produce algae blooms and consume oxygen that is needed by aquatic life.

Phosphorus pollution has emerged as one of the state's most challenging water pollution problems, and in the most extreme cases, such as in Green Bay and Lake Winnebago, excessive nutrients have created "dead zones," bereft of oxygen.

Environmental groups have complained about weaker environmental enforcement under Gov. Scott Walker's administration. Enforcement by the DNR under Walker was lower in the first three years of his term compared to other administrations going back to 2000.

Read the rest in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Nicaragua's canal project pushes forward despite economic, environmental questions. It’s a centuries-old dream that may finally become reality: a trans-oceanic waterway across Nicaragua, which could redefine the future of the Western Hemisphere's second-poorest country. But if this possibility has Nicaragua’s leaders already tallying the potential benefits, not everyone is celebrating.


In face of drought, critics say 'Slide the City' doesn't hold water. More than 6,000 people have signed an online petition to stop "Slide the City" from setting up on Olive Avenue on Sept. 27, saying it is "extremely irresponsible" for any city in California to allow an event featuring a giant water slide to take place given the record dryness being felt across the state.

Beware of Rushing Water

According to the National Weather Service, more deaths result from drowning due to flooding than any other severe weather event. That’s because rushing water is a tricky thing — is it 1 inch or 1 foot? Is there debris being deposited in the road that can damage the car or the tires? How powerful is the rushing water? There’s no way to know until it’s too late.

Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger vehicles, causing the loss of steering and control; 1 foot of water will cause most vehicles to float; and 2 feet of rushing water can sweep away almost all noncommercial vehicles — including sports utility vehicles and pickup trucks.

Now add in reduced visibility from the storm and slick road conditions, and trying to cross a flooded roadway is a recipe for disaster.

Despite the number of rainy days, the ground remains very dry and is not absorbing rain as quickly as we might expect. The result is runoff coming off the mountain and across roadways. The nice thing about rainy days, besides giving us a short respite from the heat, is there is an easy way to handle rushing water on the roadway — don’t drive through it.

Excerpted from The East Arizona Courier.

A dog trapped in the Richmond, CA water treatment plant has been rescued.

A new exercise program that is based on walking in water has been shown to be more successful than any other in helping patients with osteoarthritis. The program his resulted in significant lowering of pain and improvements in balance and mobility. Details were published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.

This week the Water Quality Association of America released a not-very-informative statement on Cyanotoxins.

Water in the West: Conservation measures take center stage. The agriculture industry in Colorado has a bull’s-eye on it as the state creates its Water Plan. Municipalities want to buy up senior agriculture water rights to secure supplies that can meet the demands of population growth — it’s known as “buy and dry” — and being that the agriculture industry uses more water than any other, it has found itself at the center of the discussion.

In Haridwar, Hindus come to the banks of the holy Ganges daily to perform aarti rituals with song, flames, and prayer. (Click picture for larger view.)

In northern India, there is a river with over a hundred names. It starts in the Garhwal Himalaya and drops over 14,000 feet from the terminus of the Gangotri Glacier before marching some 1,550 miles to the Bay of Bengal. For nearly a billion Hindus in India and beyond, it is more than a river. It is the extension of the divine—Lord Shiva. Not only does it transport the prayers of believers visiting its waters, but it also provides sustenance for hundreds of millions of people, vast industry, agriculture, and endangered wildlife like the Bengal tiger and the susu, a blind freshwater dolphin. For Indians it is most commonly known as Ma Ganga—Mother Ganga. For Westerners, it is the Ganges, one of the most sacred of the world’s rivers. Read National Geographic's beautiful presentation of the Ganges, 


Graywater — how does it fit?

 Excerpted from an article by Doug Pushard 


What is graywater? It is the water that has been used by a household, except water from the kitchen sink and toilets. Water from these two sources is called black water and requires special treatment. The state publishes a terrific graywater guide that covers graywater uses and provides some wonderful diagrams of its capture and use. It can be found

It is legal in New Mexico to use graywater on your landscaping. No permit is required if the graywater produced is less than 250 gallons per day and certain guidelines are followed. At this time, it is neither legal nor recommended that you mix graywater and rainwater storage. It can be done with a permit, and the graywater will need to be filtered prior to storage. For most residences, this is apt to prove too expensive, but for commercial entities that produce a lot of graywater, it should be evaluated.

Graywater is better for our landscapes than regular drinking water. It has little to none of the chlorine left in it and is rich in nutrients. Graywater use on plants can also eliminate the need for fertilizers, thereby saving you money on both your water bill and gardening costs.

Graywater definitely needs to be part of our water conservation. Unlike rainwater, graywater is very consistent. It is generated every day and usually in a very consistent amount. The city of Santa Fe estimates that graywater accounts for about 40 percent of the water used inside the house.

If every household in Santa Fe could use graywater for irrigation, it would cut our summer water demand by nearly 20 percent!

Of course this is not possible. For existing houses, it would be difficult or prohibitively expensive to capture and reuse all 40 percent. However, if it were required for all new construction, then over time it would begin to have an impact on our water demand. If it was incentivized by the state, county or city for remodels, then even if only 10 percent of Santa Fe remodels captured 50 percent of the graywater from the houses, it would still have a significant impact on our potable water use for outside irrigation.

Graywater reuse is one of the alternatives being implemented in cities across the country, most notably in Tucson, Ariz. In that city, graywater reuse is required in all new homes.

Graywater use is one of several strategies necessary to maintain our future water security. Together with rainwater harvesting and moving to more drought-tolerant plants, we can go a long way toward having a secure water supply for generations to come.

Doug Pushard, founder of the website www.Harvest, has designed and installed residential rainwater systems for more than a decade. He is a member of the Santa Fe Water Conservation Committee, a lifetime member of the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association and an EPA WaterSense Partner.

Source: The Santa Fe New Mexican.

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New Products from Pure Water Products

 Mur-lok fittings have two O-rings.  (Actual Mur-lok fittings are black and white. The transparent housing was made only to illustrate the double O-ring configuration. We've been using Mur-loks for several years on products that we build and service locally.)

We've been using Mur-lok quick-connect fittings for several years on our own products, although our website has sold only "name brand" John Guest connectors.  Now we're offering Mur-loks in both white and UV-resistant black in popular configurations in 1/4" and 3/8" and a few in 1/2" fittings. Mur-loks are unique double-o-ring fittings that are virtually leak proof.  And, as a reminder, we stock replacement o rings and collets for quick connect fittings.  The parts on the o ring page areMur-lok parts but they fit both John Guest and Mur-lok.

We've recently added Filtrex coconut shell carbon blocks in popular standard sizes, from drinking water to "whole house" applications. We have both the CloraGuard (high chloramine reduction) and  FX-VOC Greenblock (low cost coconut shell block for general purposes) series.  The 4.5" X 20" FX-VOC is rated for whole chlorine reduction of 55,000 gallons at 7 gpm, making it an excellent choice for whole house residential city water applications.


We have added two new high quality filter media to backwashing  filter offerings.

Jacobi coconut shell catalytic activated carbon (branded Aquasorb-CX-MCA) is a premium product for treatment of hydrogen sulfide and iron in well water as well as chloramine in city water. (It can be substituted upon request for Centaur coal-based catalytic, our standard product for chloramine and hydrogen sulfide applications.) Jacobi carbon is clean and durable. Very hard coconut shell carbon can be expected to have a longer service life than coal-based carbon.  We added Aquasorb-CX-MCA because of customer requests.

Katalox Light is a high activity medium for treatment of iron, manganese, and hydrogen sulfide in well water.  Relatively light, it is a more versatile performer than Birm, and it is easier to backwash and maintain than Filox. We've added it to our offerings in standard unsupported iron filters as well as our premium iron/hydrogen sulfide products, the  single tank aerators and  AerMax units.  (Katalox Light is available now, but it isn't yet on our website.)

Coming soon: Enpress cartridge tanks.

Sprite Shower Filters.  You'll sing better.



 Please visit our RO Parts Page for tanks and accessories.  We also have dedicated parts pages for countertop water filters, undersink filters, and aeration equipment.  We stock parts for everything we sell.

Thank you for reading.  Please come back next week.

Places to Visit on Our Websites in the meantime.

Garden Hose Filters.  Don’t be the last on your block to own one.

Model 77: “The World’s Greatest $77 Water Filter”

Sprite Shower Filters: You’ll Sing Better!”

An Alphabetical Index to Water Treatment Products

Our famous whole house Chloramine Catcher

Pure Water Occasional Archive: Sept. 2009-April 2013.

Pure Water Occasional Archive: April 2013 to present.

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