How untreated water is making our kids sick: FSU researcher explores possible climate change link

Read the full story from Florida State University.

A Florida State University researcher has drawn a link between the impact of climate change and untreated drinking water on the rate of gastrointestinal illness in children.

Assistant Professor of Geography Chris Uejio has published a first-of-its-kind study, “Drinking-water treatment, climate change, and childhood gastrointestinal illness projections for northern Wisconsin (USA) communities drinking untreated groundwater,” in the Hydrogeology Journal. The study explores the benefits of additional drinking water treatment compared to the risks created by climate change. 

Water quality a problem for rural areas, too

Read the full story in Great Lakes Echo.

The state of water quality in Flint has been of high interest around Michigan and throughout the nation, but rural areas around the state are also struggling to provide safe drinking water.

According to Michigan’s chapter of the Sierra Club, rural areas have been underinvesting in their water treatment needs at a higher rate than cities are.

Webinar: Working With Commercial Landscapes to Manage Irrigation

Thu, Mar 16, 2017 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM CDT
Register at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5105210988750212609

This webinar is co-sponsored by EPA’s WaterSense program and the Alliance for Water Efficiency (AWE). Speaker Markus Hogue, University of Texas (UT) Austin’s irrigation and water conservation program coordinator, will introduce UT Austin’s approach to water management through live dashboard monitoring. AWE will also discuss its Outdoor Water Savings Research Initiative and resources for large commercial landscapes, and EPA will highlight irrigation best practices for commercial and institutional buildings.

 

USDA Announces $252 Million Available for Regional Conservation Partnership Program

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today invited potential conservation partners, including private industry, non-government organizations, Indian tribes, state and local governments, water districts, and universities to submit project applications for federal funding through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).

Through this fourth RCPP Announcement for Program Funding (APF), USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will award up to $252 million dollars to locally driven, public-private partnerships that improve the nation’s water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat, and protect agricultural viability. Applicants must match or exceed the federal award with private or local funds.

“Through unprecedented collaboration, the Regional Conservation Partnership Program has established a new paradigm for working lands conservation that yields unparalleled results,” Vilsack said. “Working together, RCPP projects in every state are demonstrating the ways in which locally-led initiatives can meet some of our most pressing natural resource concerns.”

Created by the 2014 Farm Bill, RCPP connects partners with producers and private landowners to design and implement voluntary conservation solutions that benefit natural resources, agriculture, and the economy. By 2018, NRCS and its more than 2,000 conservation partners will have invested at least $2.4 billion in high-impact RCPP projects nationwide.

For example, three existing RCPP projects bring together more than 40 partners, including USA Rice, Ducks Unlimited, California Rice Commission, the Walmart Foundation and The Mosaic Company, to accelerate conservation on rice lands in six states facing water quality and quantity challenges. These projects, collectively called the USA Rice-Ducks Unlimited Rice Stewardship Partnership, aim to conserve water and wildlife habitat while sustaining the future of rice farming in the United States. With unique technical expertise and needs, each state is leading a partner-driven, local approach to conservation in rice agriculture.

In its most recent RCPP awards, NRCS last month announced that 88 high-impact projects across the country will receive $225 million in federal funding, with more than double that investment from partners. The new Gulf of Mexico – Forest to Sea RCPP project will conserve Florida’s pristine “Big Bend” area along the northeastern Gulf by implementing innovative conservation solutions with private working forest owners. Using an impact investment approach, The Conservation Fund and 12 partners will implement an easement and restoration plan on large forested tracts to address the natural resource concerns while allowing sustainable timber harvesting and maintaining local jobs. The project will serve as a model for further conservation and impact investing in the region and beyond.

NRCS Chief Jason Weller encourages partners to consider conservation finance and environmental markets as they develop RCPP project applications. “The growing field of conservation finance provides opportunities to inject significant investment capital into projects that protect, restore and maintain our natural ecosystems,” says Weller.

USDA is now accepting proposals for Fiscal Year 2018 RCPP funding. Pre-proposals are due April 21. For more information on applying, visit the RCPP website.

Since 2009, USDA has invested more than $29 billion to help producers make conservation improvements, working with as many as 500,000 farmers, ranchers and landowners to protect over 400 million acres nationwide, boosting soil and air quality, cleaning and conserving water and enhancing wildlife habitat. For an interactive look at USDA’s work in conservation and forestry over the course of this Administration, visit http://medium.com/usda-resultsThis is an external link or third-party site outside of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) website..

NOAA 2017 Coastal Resilience Grants

NOAA is dedicated to investing in the tools and resources communities and businesses need to address the impacts of extreme weather and climate-related hazards, as well as to restore coastal habitat to enhance the resilience of coastal ecosystems and the communities that rely on them. NOAA has developed the Coastal Resilience Grants Program to strengthen our economy and provide sustainable and lasting benefits.

This competition represents the integration of two existing grant programs: the Coastal Ecosystem Resiliency Grants Program administered by NOAA Fisheries, and the Regional Coastal Resilience Grants Program administered by NOAA’s National Ocean Service. The competition will fund projects that build resilience, including activities that protect life and property, safeguard people and infrastructure, strengthen the economy, or conserve and restore coastal and marine resources.

The NOAA Coastal Resilience Grants Program will support two categories of activities: strengthening coastal communities and habitat restoration. Applicants can now submit proposals for both categories through the same funding opportunity.

  1. Strengthening Coastal Communities: activities that improve capacity of multiple coastal jurisdictions (states, counties, municipalities, territories, and tribes) to prepare and plan for, absorb impacts of, recover from, and/or adapt to extreme weather events and climate-related hazards.
  2. Habitat Restoration: activities that restore habitat to strengthen the resilience of coastal ecosystems and decrease the vulnerability of coastal communities to extreme weather events and climate-related hazards.

Eligible applicants include nonprofit organizations, institutions of higher education, regional organizations, private entities, and local, state, and tribal governments. The FY’17 Federal Funding Opportunity was modified on February 14, 2017, to state that applicants may conduct projects in the District of Columbia, however may only submit applications for the Habitat Restoration category, as authorized under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act, 16 U.S.C. 1891a and Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. 1535. Typical award amounts will range from $250,000 to $1 million for projects lasting up to three years. Cost-sharing through cash or in-kind contributions is expected. Projects must be located in one or more of the 35 U.S. coastal states or territories.

Pollution Has Worked Its Way Down To The World’s Deepest Waters

Read the full story from NPR.

The Mariana Trench in the northern Pacific is the deepest part of the world’s oceans. You might think a place that remote would be untouched by human activity.

But the Mariana Trench is polluted.

Energy-Water Nexus: The Water Sector’s Energy Use

Download the document.

Water and energy are resources that are reciprocally and mutually linked, because meeting energy needs requires water, often in large quantities, for mining, fuel production, hydropower, and power plant cooling, and energy is needed for pumping, treatment, and distribution of water and for collection, treatment, and discharge of wastewater. This interrelationship is often referred to as the energy-water nexus, or the water-energy nexus. There is growing recognition that “saving water saves energy.” Energy efficiency initiatives offer opportunities for delivering significant water savings, and likewise, water efficiency initiatives offer opportunities for delivering significant energy savings. In addition, saving water also reduces carbon emissions by saving energy otherwise gene rated to move and treat water.

This report provides background on energy for facilities that treat and deliver water to end users and also dispose of and discharge wastewater. Energy use for water is a function of many variables, including water source (surface water pumping typically requires less energy than groundwater pumping), treatment (high ambient quality raw water requires less treatment than brackish or seawater), intended end-use, distribution (water pumped long distances requires more energy), amount of water loss in the system through leakage and evaporation, and level of wastewater treatment (stringency of water quality regulations to meet discharge standards). Likewise, the intensity of energy use of water, which is the relative amount of energy needed for a task such as pumping water, varies depending on characteristics such as topography (affecting groundwater recharge), climate, seasonal temperature, and rainfall. Most of the energy used for water-related purposes is in the form of electricity. Water-related energy is estimated to account for about 4% of the nation’s electricity generation, but many data gaps exist. Also, regional differences can be significant. In California, for example, as much as 19% of the state’s electricity consumption is for pumping, treating, collecting, and discharging water and wastewater.