The week that was, 11/28-12/4/2010

Posted on | December 5, 2010 | No Comments

The marshes of Plum Island Estuary are among those predicted by scientists to submerge during the next century under conservative projections of sea-level rise. Location: Rowley, Massachusetts. Photo: Matthew Kirwan / US Geological Survey

Coastal wetlands provide critical services such as absorbing energy from coastal storms, preserving shorelines, protecting human populations and infrastructure, supporting commercial seafood harvests, absorbing pollutants and serving as critical habitat for migratory bird populations. — Many coastal wetlands likely to disappear this century, US Geological Survey press release about Limits on the adaptability of coastal marshes to rising sea level, a newly published report on climate change modeling in Geophysical Research Letters, December 1, 2010
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The bottled-drink company on Monday said it closed its operations in the South Pacific country that is the source of the company’s name and its sole product, citing a massive tax increase imposed by the Fijian government … Fiji Water is owned by Southern California billionaire couple Lynda Resnick and Stewart Resnick, who are well known in Los Angeles, where the company has its headquarters. They also own POM Wonderful LLC, which came under fire earlier this fall when the U.S. Federal Trade Commission sued, alleging that the pomegranate-juice maker’s advertisements contained “false and unsubstantiated claims” about the juice’s health benefits. — Island’s tax gives Fiji water a bad taste, Wall Street Journal, November 30, 2010
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During a similar, yet less pitched, fight in 2008, Fiji Water likewise shut down temporarily and sent its employees home. Back then the government backed down. This time, officials have made it clear that that wouldn’t happen: Before the company changed its mind about the tax, Prime Minister Voreqe (Frank) Bainimarama said that Fiji Water should sign off on its land leases as soon as possible so that the government can proceed with finding a new company to manage the water. — Fiji Water closes, fires workforce … re-opens? Mother Jones, November 30, 2010
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Following discussions today with Fijian officials, FIJI Water will reopen its bottling plant, effective Wednesday morning, Dec. 1, at its regular start-up time of 8 a.m.  Through our discussions, we have also agreed to comply with Fiji’s new water tax law. — Fiji water to reopen plant, Fiji water company statement, November 30, 2010

No milk today. My life has gone away. — Drought-adapted lyric from a 1960s Herman’s Hermit’s song being played by radio stations in Israel, Prices rise as drought conditions worsen in Israel, National Public Radio, December 2, 2010

The Southwest is in the throes of one of the strongest La Niña events in the last 60 years. Based on past La Niña events, the probability for dry winter conditions in many regions in the Southwest is likely, particularly southern portions of Arizona and New Mexico, while the chances for above-average precipitation is close to zero. — La Nina Drought Tracker, December 2010

Reclamation workers last winter lining the Drop 2 (now Brock) reservoir. Source: Federal Bureau of Reclamation

Brock Reservoir, named for a farmer and agricultural researcher in California’s Imperial Valley, was not built to store water long-term. On any given day, it could be the largest body of water for miles in any direction, or it could be two empty holes in the ground. — New reservoir to save water from escaping to Mexico, Yuma Sun, November 30, 2010

“An unlimited water supply for the future in Petersburg-Colonial Heights and surrounding counties is assured with the adoption of an ordinance setting up an Appomattox River Water Authority.” — Fifty-year-old quote from the Petersburg Progress-Index, Region’s thirst for water on pace to outgrow Lake Chesdin’s capacity, Progress-Index, November 29, 2010

“Sana’a will be the first capital in modern history to run dry.” — Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Yemen: Think things are bad now? Don’t let it run out of water, Christian Science Monitor, November 30, 2010

The report sketches a picture of water demand growing faster than expected, water-saving measures that are not really working, many rivers from which no more water can be extracted, and no place where another large dam can be built. — Extreme water crisis for city in 2016, [South African] Cape Times, November 29, 2010, via ProQuest

'Moon and Waves' by Suzuki Kiitsu, part of "Flowers of the Four Seasons," in its last week at the Berkeley Art Museum. Click on the image to be taken to the listing.

It does not matter whether the millions of people living here would be hit by a water crisis by 2014 or 2019, the point is that unless the impasse is resolved soon, the taps could run dry. —Malaysia’s water politics,” The Star, December 5, 2010*

“It’s very likely that the number of exotics that we haven’t caught is probably in the ballpark, if not larger, than the number that we have caught.” — Andrew Cohen, director of the Center for Research on Aquatic Bioinvasions, What lurks beneath: Bay Area’s battle with invasive species in ballast water, Bay Area News Group, November 28, 2010

“Since when does the state pass a law and you have unlimited time to put it in place?” — Florida homeowner James Gahagan on slowness of his community to adapt “Florida friendly” landscaping, Beacon Woods, homeowner clash over landscaping, St Petersburg Times, December 5, 2010*, via Reddit Water

Is water quality 1 percent of the problem, 5 percent of the problem, 20 percent of the Delta problems?  — Stan Dean, district engineer for the Sacramento Regional County Sanitation District, Viewpoints: Water wars hinder sound decision making, Sacramento Bee, December 3, 2010

Sixty percent of the municipal wastewater dumped into the Delta comes from the Sacramento plant, which is the only major sewage treatment plant in the Delta that has not installed — or is not installing — an advanced sewage treatment system. — Regulators set to address Sacramento Delta’s biggest sewage plant, Contra Costa Times, December 4, 2010

Because, like the Frisco Bay it's written for, it's beautiful. Click here to hear Otis Redding sing 'The dock of the bay'

In rural areas where phosphorous and chemical runoff is a major problem, Maryland plans to plant hundreds of thousands of acres of crops to filter water, regulate the flow of water and build fences to keep livestock waste from passing into rivers. — Maryland submits plan to clean up the Bay, Washington Post, December 5, 2010

“In theory, you could have a big flood one month and a serious drought later and still meet [Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s] target. But that won’t protect the bay because critters come into the bay at different times of year. There is an absence of timing.” — Myron Hess, manager of the Texas water program for the National Wildlife Federation, Critics of water plan say it hurts Galveston Bay, Houston Chronicle, December 4, 2010

If fish are going, how come they’re still around? — New reports show that overfishing and ocean acidification are on the rise, Time, December 3, 2010

“Water is not carbon. Whatever you might say about the validity of carbon credits, it will be extremely hard to have that amount of success in the water area because, volumetrically, one volume of water has a different meaning in one part of the world versus another.” — Pacific Institute program director Jason Morrison, Water footprinting to deal with demand for supplies, New York Times, November 29, 2010

The system also would put a dollar value on pollutant levels for over-the-limit firms which, in theory, would make them consider reducing their output. — Water plan eyes swap to offset pollutants, Chattanooga Times Free Press, November 29, 2010

“They make a great play of corporate responsibility with pictures of children in their annual reports, but they hold back information which affects children who go paddling in rivers.” — Environmental lawyer Guy Linley-Adams, ‘Water rats’ win right to keep pollution secret; A tribunal has backed the water companies’ policy of not saying where raw sewage is discharged, Sunday Times (UK), via ProQuest

“There is no crisis.” — George S. Hawkins, District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority, Officials try to ease alarm about lead in DC water, Washington Post, December 2, 2010

[California Gov.-elect Jerry] Brown’s plan says “beneficiaries or users of water infrastructure projects should pay their share of the costs of those projects. The projects must be cost-effective and make long-term sense.” — Water wars back for Brown, Fresno Bee, November 27, 2010*

“If we don’t have statewide vision, we will do the unthinkable, which is become less of an agricultural state and become a state where water usage is for residential and municipal use.” — Colorado Governor Gov. Bill Ritter, Water committee urges Colorado to take a bigger role, the Colorado Springs Gazette, December 1, 2010

“The state has recognized that the buy-and-dry and the current rate of agricultural transfers is not acceptable.” — Coloradan Travis Smith, Radical remedies advised for state’s water crisis, Pueblo Chieftain, December 2, 2010

Triton and the nymph: Some saucy French neo-classical work discussed by the New York Times. Image source: Wikipedia.

The Louvre curator also places side by side the plaster model of a young girl in supposedly Greek drapes molded by Augustin Pajou in the 1760s as a symbol of “Water,” and Jean Goujon’s 1549 bas-relief on the Fontaine des Innocents in Paris that Pajou’s work closely follows. — At the Lourvre, vivid and varied imaginings of antiquity, New York Times, December 3, 2010

“… the ruling leaves senior water rights holders without protection from improper junior uses during times of scarcity and frustrates the will of the Legislature.” — New Mexico attorney general on Tri-State Generation and Transmission Authority vs. D’Antonio, Pair of water cases headed for state’s high court, Santa Fe New Mexican, December 2, 2010

For California water news, go to Aquafornia, the newsfeed of the Water Education Foundation. For San Diego stories, try Groksurf’s San Diego. Or, for all things fresh water, do check in with WaterWired. A personal favorite site is On the public record, which I would bookmark whether I followed water or not because it’s so damn smart.

*Several stories are from the week that is.

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