6 innovative ways to harvest and harness rainwater

Read the full story at Inhabitat.

From perennially parched California to unseasonably dry Massachusetts, from sea to salty sea, rainwater is a precious resource. As drought rages in East Africa and groundwater systems are stretched to their limits in India, and global climate changes at an increasing rate, water will become an ever more precious commodity driving the new economic and political landscape of the 21st century.  In such a water world, it is rewarding to understand how this resource may be better used. We have outlined six simple steps that individuals and communities can take to harvest and harness rainwater. Take a look.


Not all in favor of using filtered water in Flint

Read the full story in the Detroit News.

An ongoing concern in Flint is whether the most vulnerable populations should drink filtered tap water or rely solely on bottled water.

In late June, the Genesee County Medical Society issued a statement urging pregnant women and children under the age of 6 to use only bottled water for drinking.

It’s a stance that runs counter to that of most government agencies this summer as new rounds of testing have shown Flint’s water continues to improve, although more slowly than desired. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, along with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Genesee County Health Department are backing a directive that all now can drink filtered water in Flint.

‘Heaven’s water’: the launch of Amsterdam’s first rainwater beer

Read the full story in The Guardian.

A group of Dutch entrepreneurs has used their country’s wet weather as a business opportunity by creating a rainwater bitter.

Will Journalists Heed the Lessons of Flint?

Read the full story from the Society of Environmental Journalists.

The lead-laced drinking water debacle in Flint, Mich., became a top national story in December 2015. By January 2016, a Poynter Institute blog headlined: “How the Media Blew Flint.”

Did we blow it? Well, yes and no.

Almost everybody blew Flint.

Earlier warnings and louder watchdogging might have headed off the failures and kept neurotoxic lead out of kids’ bloodstreams. To competent water treatment engineers, to conscientious drinking water regulators, to experienced environmental reporters, none of this should have been a surprise.

Flint was a repeat of lessons taught long ago.

The Time to Invest in America’s Water Infrastructure is Now

Read the full post from EPA.

Communities across the country are facing the immediate challenges of aging and inadequate drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. Most of our country’s underground water infrastructure was built 50 or more years ago, and in some older cities, water mains are a century old. The implications of deteriorating infrastructure can be felt nationwide— each year our country experiences about 240,000 water main breaks, $2.6 billion is lost as our water mains leak trillions of gallons of treated drinking water, and billions of gallons of raw sewage are discharged into local surface waters from aging sewer overflows.

Despite significant federal, state, and local expenditures, infrastructure investment has fallen short. Further, the cumulative investment gap is expected to widen substantially over the next 20 years with federal investments occupying a smaller space. EPA’s Clean Watershed Needs Survey and Drinking Water Needs Survey show that over $655 billion dollars in water infrastructure is needed over the next 20 years to keep pace with projected investment needs.

Bridging the gap between science and policy for water security

Read the full story at Phys.org.

To tackle the challenge of how to effectively educate important stakeholders about ground water in the United States, 11 graduate students from the Earth Institute and School of International and Public Affairs MPA in Environmental Science and Policy program, advised by Nancy Degnan, adjunct faculty at SIPA, were asked to recommend a strategy to improve scientific literacy among policymakers and investors. Working with Upmanu Lall, director of the Columbia Water Center and their client, Circle of Blue, the team came up with a thematically and regionally focused approach. The students won SIPA’s Leous/Parry Award for Progressive Sustainability for their work, and their recommendations are already being implemented.