Water

The net-zero martini: How Bacardi’s uses biomass to distill gin

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

As increased emphasis on sustainability transforms the way businesses manage economic, environmental and social risks, individual companies are seeking out new ways to gain global competitive advantages and achieve long-term stakeholder value.

Bacardi, the world’s largest privately owned spirits company with some 200 brands in its portfolio, provides one example of how that process is playing out with is premium gin offering, Bombay Sapphire.

How Much Water Do You Use? Help ProPublica Investigate Water Use in the U.S.

Thirty-one states have water supplies dipping below normal. Droughts have formally been declared in 22 of them. How we use water has never been more important, especially in the American Southwest, where drought conditions are the most severe in a generation — and could last another 1,000 years.

The vast majority of the water we use goes toward generating power (41 percent) and nourishing agriculture (37 percent). But one in 12 gallons of water is consumed at home.

That’s a small but critically important slice of the water used to make the nation tick. And it’s a slice that every single person in the United States can directly control.

As part of a two-year project examining America’s water crisis, ProPublica is teaming up with CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism to gather data on how Americans use and consume water at home. We’d like to know what you use. Grab your water bill. Complete the ProPublica survey. We’ll tell you how you stack up to your neighbors.

Water vs. climate: How to prioritize sustainability risk

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

For all the progress on climate change still left to be desired, the issue has managed to evolve into something of a poster child for corporate sustainability efforts.

Sure, sustainability strategies progressively have integrated a wider range of related issues — deforestation, air pollution, waste — and water in particular is starting to attract some much-needed attention. The problem: There’s a long way left to go, and not much time to adjust course when it comes to impending shortages.

The impacts of water scarcity already are starting to chip away at profit margins and look likely to wreak more havoc as we continue to increase water use. Water crises already top the World Economic Forum’s Global Risk report (see WEF Risks-Trends Interconnections Map).

While interconnected climate and water issues both provide big opportunities for savvy businesses to shift strategies in a way that bolsters both sustainability efforts and the bottom line, the reality is that companies often must evaluate the benefits of tackling disparate environmental risks.

So, when making a decision on where to invest your environmental bucks, where should businesses concentrate their efforts — on climate change or on water?

Undrinkable: Many Along Texas Border Still Live Without Clean, Safe Water

Read the full story from the Texas Tribune.

Along the Texas-Mexico border, nearly 90,000 people are believed to still live without running water. An untold number more — likely tens of thousands, but no one is sure — often have running water of such poor quality that they cannot know what poisons or diseases it might carry.

EPA Designates Mahomet Aquifer as “Sole Source” of Drinking Water in East-Central Illinois

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced a decision to designate a portion of the Mahomet Aquifer system as a sole source aquifer. More than half of the population in east-central Illinois relies on the Mahomet Aquifer system as a source of drinking water.

The Safe Drinking Water Act gives EPA authority to designate all or part of an aquifer as a “sole source” if contamination of the aquifer would create a significant hazard to public health and there are no physically available or economically feasible alternative sources of drinking water to serve the population that relies on the aquifer. The designation authorizes EPA review of projects that receive Federal financial assistance to assess potential for contamination of the aquifer system that would create a significant hazard to public health.

The Mahomet Aquifer system is an underground layer of water-bearing sand and gravel that fills a wide bedrock valley in an area that includes 14 east-central Illinois counties. The aquifer system provides about 58 million gallons of drinking water each day for 120 public water systems and thousands of rural wells that serve about a half million people in Illinois.

EPA’s public comment period on the designation began on March 13, 2014, and closed on June 12, 2014. EPA held public hearings on May 13 in Champaign and on May 14 in Morton. Following a review of public comments, EPA prepared a Responsiveness Summary which addresses comments and answers questions. The decision goes into effect when it is published in the Federal Register.

The Responsiveness Summary and other relevant documents will be available to the public at EPA’s regional office, 77 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago; Champaign Public Library, 200 W. Green St., Champaign; Bloomington Public Library, 205 E. Olive St., Bloomington; Pekin Public Library, 301 S. Fourth St., Pekin; Havana Public Library, 201 W. Adams St., Havana; and Watseka Public Library, 201 S. 4th St., Watseka.

For further information, go to www.epa.gov/region5/water/gwdw/mahomet