September 2011 Online Update

Research for People and the Planet  

In This Issue
– Reports from World Water Week
– Green Jobs
– A Fracking Mess
– Notes from the Field
– Paperback Edition of Bottled and Sold
– Diversity for Sustainability Intern Interview
– Peak Water Concepts
– Peter Gleick Blogs on Forbes
– In Brief
– Upcoming Events
– In the News

Check Out
Peter Gleick’s Recent Blogs

 When Climate Changes Come and Water Policies Fail. Pray for Rain? 

 

 

Paper Disputing Basic Science of Climate Change is “Fundamentally Flawed,” Editor Resigns, Apologizes 

Water as a Weapon: Qaddafi’s Last Desperate Gamble

Is the U.S. Reaching Peak Water?

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Pacific Institute Reports on World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden

  

CEO Water Mandate Holds 8th Working Conference  


The
United Nations CEO Water Mandate held its 8th Working Conference during World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden on August 25-26. In its capacity as part of the Mandate Secretariat, the Pacific Institute helped organize a number of Mandate-related public seminars including Measuring and Disclosing Water Stewardship Practices, which was co-convened with the Alliance for Water Stewardship, and the seminar Business and the Human Right to Water and Sanitation which was co-hosted with the Institute for Human Rights and Business. The seminars raised awareness around the topics at hand and generated lively discussion and feedback that informed the Mandate’s related workstreams. Other Mandate events focused on providing updates and garnering feedback on the initiative’s current collective action projects including the online Water Action Hub, on-the-ground efforts in South Africa, and collaboration with the apparel industry in Southeast Asia.       

 

Read more about the CEO Water Mandate.


Hilton Foundation Hosts Side Event during World Water Week in Stockholm

 

Water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) professionals, researchers, and donors converged to discuss policies and share experiences at the annual Stockholm World Water Week, themed “Responding to Global Changes: Water in an Urbanising World.” Dr. John Akudago of the International Water and Communities Initiative represented the Pacific Institute.

Dr. John Akudago at World Water Week
Dr. John Akudago is one of three

Pacific Institute staff who attended

World Water Week in Stockholm.

     

The challenges in meeting demand for water and sanitation in the world require all stakeholders to pull resources together. New integrated approaches involving government and private sectors, research institutions, and donor and NGO communities as well as the beneficiary communities are essential in addressing the issues of water resources under the pressures of climate change. Unfortunately, few partnerships, even between partners funded by the same Foundation, have been forged to accelerate progress in the WASH sector.     


In order to promote better interaction among Conr
ad N. Hilton grantees, an event was organized at the Hilton Hotel in Stockholm for grantees and partners attending World Water Week. In a short presentation, Dr. Braimah Apambire of

the Hilton Foundation stated that about 80% of their grants worked toward safe water, sustainability, and water quality issues — the rest went to in-country capacity-building, advocacy, information management, and development of Internet-based tools for their projects in West Africa, India, Mexico, and Ethiopia.

Each of the remaining five foundations presented on their focus areas, including sanitation technologies, climate change, equity, water for productive use, water in disasters. WASH sector organizations also discussed how best to ensure sustainability of WASH interventions, including better monitoring and evaluation, addressing climate change and water quantity and quality, ensuring sustainable technologies, access to spare parts, community capacity-building, and building better governance and accountability, including building government capacity to meet needs. Participants stressed the importance of continual monitoring of WASH facilities in beneficiary communities by governments in order to ensure long-term sustainability.

Read more about the WASH Community Choices Tool.

New Study Launched on Water-Related Green Jobs

 


The Pacific Institute has joined Green for All and American Rivers in co-authoring a report on the job creation potential of implementing green infrastructure strategies. The study will produce the first nationwide assessment of the link between sustainable storm water management techniques and community economic development. A forthcoming report will be released this fall.

 

For more information contact Eli Moore at emoore@pacinst.org.

 

A Fracking Mess  

On June 26, the San Francisco Chronicle published an op-ed by Pacific Institute Water Program Co-Directors Peter Gleick and Heather Cooley calling for more transparency from fracking:

 

Efforts to expand natural gas production through “hydraulic fracturing” or “hydrofracking” are raising tensions across the country. Fracking releases natural gas trapped in underground shale formations by injecting water, chemicals, and sand to fracture the rock and release the gas. Twenty years ago, unconventional gas produced from shales, coal-bed methane, and similar formations made up 10 percent of total U.S. gas production. Today it is around 40 percent and growing rapidly — along with controversy over possible environmental impacts of hydrofracking. Pundits and fracking proponents argue that stronger regulations are unnecessary to protect the public or that opposition to uncontrolled fracking represents a “politicized agenda to stymie U.S. energy production.” This is ideological nonsense.

 

There is no dispute that natural gas is cleaner than coal or oil when burned, or that the nation would be better off if we reduced our dependence on foreign oil. But there is also no dispute that there are serious risks associated with hydrofracking, especially to the nation’s water resources. Two such threats are contaminating groundwater with the proprietary, often secret, mixes of industrial chemicals injected to fracture the formations, and the vast quantities of “produced water” that come up with natural gas and can contain fracking chemicals, radioactive elements, and other contaminants…

 

Read the full op-ed here.

Notes from the Field: Urban Water Sources in Malang and Makassar, Indonesia  by Misha Hutchings
Research Associate, Pacific Institute International Water and Communities Initiative
community_water_source_makassar.jpg
This community water source in Parang Tambung, Makassar serves hundreds of households around the area.

In a tropical country like Indonesia water is available everywhere — pouring down in torrents onto city streets, hovering as mist in rainforests and along the coastline, snaking as rivers from countryside to city, and bubbling up from beneath your feet where you least expect it. Unfortunately, like many countries rich in water resources that are experiencing exponential urban growth, it is difficult for all city residents in Indonesia to obtain access to potable water. In the inland Javanese city of Malang, our first pilot location for the Indonesia WATER SMS Project — to improve water services for the urban poor using crowd-sourced map data from reports that people send using cell phones and email — 80-85,000 households of the 819,000-person population receive direct service from the local water utility, PDAM Kota Malang. This is among the highest connection rates for water utilities in Indonesia. In our second pilot location of Makassar, situated on the western coast of South Sulawesi, the water utility, PDAM Kota Makassar, services 692,308 residents out of a 1.3 million plus population — of these about 60% receive water by pipe distribution. This begs the question: where do urban Indonesian residents get their water when they don’t have access to municipal water services?  


Wells (Indonesian, sumur) and springs (mata air) are used as both primary and utility back-up sources for everything from drinking water — although most won’t admit this to strangers — to washing clothes and watering plants. Signs for bore drilling services are as common as weekend garage sale signs in North American cities. Residents are relying more and more on wells and springs when utility service is interrupted, shut off, or just simply too expensive to provide enough water for all daily household needs.
 

Read the full blog post.

 

Paperback Edition of Bottled and Sold Now Available

 

bottled_and_sold.jpgThousands of people buy plastic water bottles every day, later to throw the bottles out. In his book, Bottled and Sold, Pacific Institute President Peter Gleick shows how water went from being a free natural resource to one of the most successful commercial products of the last one hundred years — and why we are poorer for it.

 

Gleick investigates whether industry claims about the relative safety, convenience, and taste of bottled versus tap hold water. And he exposes the true reasons we’ve turned to the bottle, from fear-mongering by business interests and our own vanity to the breakdown of public systems and global inequities.

 

A new paperback edition of Bottled and Sold is now available online and in bookstores nationwide. For more information on the book and to order your paperback edition click here.  

 

Bottled water is just one aspect of the global water issues Dr. Gleick addresses as one of the experts featured in the new documentary Last Call at the Oasis (see details in Upcoming Events, below). Read Participant Media’s interview with Peter Gleick on the implications of bottled water here.

 

Pacific Institute Interviews the Inaugural Class of Diversity for Sustainability Interns  

  

Diversity for Sustainability Interns from

left to right: Janett Nolasco, Michael Wright, and Dyamond Keith.

This summer, the Pacific Institute welcomed three interns for the inaugural year of the Diversity for Sustainability Internship Program. Dyamond Keith, Janett Nolasco, and Michael Wright worked on a variety of projects under the mentorship of Pacific Institute staff from the Water Program, Community Strategies for Sustainability and Justice Program, and the International Water and Communities Initiative. The following is an interview with Janett Nolasco and Michael Wright during their last week as interns. Ms. Dyamond Keith was unavailable for interview.

 

Q: It’s hard to believe the summer and your internships are coming to a close. When you first came to the Institute, what were you most hoping to get out of your experience here?

 

Michael Wright: When I first heard about Pacific Institute, I didn’t know what to expect because up until that point I hadn’t considered environmental issues very much, mostly concentrating on social sciences in my studies. One of the first things I did when I started at the Institute was learn more about climate change and its effects. I was able to see how climate change affects people and communities on an everyday basis — environmental science and sociology suddenly collided for me and I realized how passionate I was about all of it.

Janett Nolasco: I was very interested in Pacific Institute’s work and excited about the work I would be involved with. I didn’t’ realize just how interested I would be in the project that I worked on and how relevant it was to my studies and interests in Urban Planning and Architectural Design. This summer, I worked on a report documenting leaders in the field of urban agriculture and water management. I learned more about important urban issues and concerns, policy, and design. My experience has helped me understand the interconnectedness between many of the environmental, economic, and food access problems faced by cities like Oakland and Richmond. This summer has motivated to continue to learn and be proactive…

Read the full interview.  

Peak Water Concept Impacts Water Management and Planning 

Pacific Institute President and Water Program Co-director Peter Gleick and International Water and Communities Initiative Director Meena Palaniappan presented Peak Water: Conceptual and Practical Limits to Freshwater Withdrawal and Use at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) in June 2010. A more condensed and modified version of that article was published this month in On the Water Front and describes peak water in the context of global and local water challenges. By understanding the links between human demands for water and peak water constraints, water managers and planners can move toward more sustainable water management and use by moving away from peak limits — which will increase the productivity of water in a more sustainable way.

Read the full article here.

Peter Gleick is Blogging on Forbes.com

  

Dr. Peter Gleick
Pacific Institute President

Dr. Peter Gleick

Pacific Institute President Peter Gleick is now blogging on Forbes. In his first blog post, Dr. Gleick comments on anti-science ideology and the negative implications for the United States saying:   


“The problem is, in part, that acting to reduce the risk of human-caused climate change could lead to policies that are inconvenient for powerful vested economic interests. We thus see a very well-endowed carbon-fuel industry willing to spend vast sums of money to confuse the public, support politicians and organizations whose influence they can buy, malign scientists who speak out, and create alternative “science” that is rejected over and over by independent review and analysis. Rather than have an honest, albeit difficult policy debate about what should be done about climate change, they postpone that debate by trying to discredit the science.”

Read the full blog post  Why Anti-Science Ideology is Bad for America.  

Find all of Peter Gleick’s Forbes blogs here.

Peter Gleick also blogs on the San Francisco Chronicle’s SF Gate and on the Huffington Post.

 

Report from Circle of Blue  

 

Circle of Blue, an affiliate of the Pacific Institute, is the international network of journalists, scholars, and citizens that connects humanity to the global freshwater crisis.
Carl Ganter

Circle of Blue Director Carl Ganter

J. Carl Ganter, director of Circle of Blue, presented the session “Turning Water into News” at World Water Week in Stockholm. Participants, including journalists and NGO leaders, explored the difficulties of obtaining data, finding sources, and making important water and sanitation stories personal and relevant to large audiences. Ganter also participated in CEO Water Mandate and other sessions.

 

Read Water News at Circle of Blue.

 

 

In Brief   

Update on Pacific Institute’s Newest Reports

The Institute’s Municipal Deliveries of Colorado River Basin Water report released in late June provides, for the first time, real numbers on the extraordinary population growth among 100 southwestern cities that depend on water from the Colorado River Basin and on changing water delivery rates by these cities. The report has been downloaded more than 39,000 times – read more about the report and download it here.   


Also released in June, Impacts of the California Drought from 2007-2009 analyzes new data from California’s agricultural, energy, and environmental sectors to evaluate actual consequences of the recent drought for the state. The report — downloaded 35,000 times — focused on three drought-sensitive sectors: agricultural production, energy production, and ecosystem health. Read more and download it here.

 

Focus Group Discussions Commence to Engage WATER SMS Stakeholder Organizations  In August, the Indonesia WATER SMS Project team continued gathering information on the ground in Malang and Makassar to inform the design of the WATER SMS Tool. They began holding focus group discussions with key stakeholder organizations in order to get their perceptions and feedback on the stated needs and desires of residents about access to water. The discussions also aimed to get information on the stakeholder organizations’ needs and preferences for the WATER SMS Tool. Organizations participating in the focus groups include PDAM (local water utility); SKPD (regional government working units); community-based organizations; and researchers from local universities. Read more about the Indonesia Water SMS Project here.   

Pacific Institute Presents Draft Maps to the Oakland Climate Action Coalition
On August 25, Pacific Institute staff met with members of the Oakland Climate Action Coalition (OCAC) to present draft maps that show which Oakland communities could be most affected by local climate change impacts like increased wildfire risk and worsened air quality. OCAC members provided input on the mapping data and assumptions, and discussed how they would make use of the maps in furthering local strategies for community resilience.     

For more information, contact Catalina Garzón at cgarzon@pacinst.org. 

 
Michael Cohen, Senior Research Associate:

presented on Water and Population Growth in the Colorado River Basin at the 18th Annual Urban Water Institute conference in San Diego. Read the report Municipal Deliveries of Colorado River Basin Water 


Peter Gleick, President
:
– participated on a panel at the Security and Sustainability Forum’s
second webinar in the Adaptation and National Security Series,  “Food and Water Adaptations to Protect the National Security in a Changing Climate.”
– spoke at a session on testifying on climate science at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.
– participated in a session to improve the ability of climate scientists to talk to policy makers.
  

Eli Moore, Community Strategies for Sustainability and Justice Program Co-Director:
– presented on a panel entitled “Curbing Sprawl, Protecting Health: Building Housing for the Bay Area’s Most Vulnerable Communities,” sponsored by Urban Habitat’s Boards and Commissions Leadership Institute.

 

Upcoming Events

Pacific Institute President Peter Gleick will be attending the Toronto International Film Festival for the release of Last Call at the Oasis on September 9 in Toronto, Ontario. Participant Media, the company that produced the groundbreaking documentaries An Inconvenient Truth and Food, Inc., turns its attention to the global water crisis in a powerful new documentary that shatters myths behind our most precious resource: water. Last Call at the Oasis exposes defects in the current system, shows communities already struggling with its ill-effects, and highlights individuals championing revolutionary solutions. Dr. Gleick is interviewed in the documentary, establishing the urgency of the global water crisis and its myriad implications.

For more information and tickets in Toronto, go to www.tiff.net. Watch the Online Update for information on future screenings of Last Call at the Oasis. For more information, click here.

-On September 14, Research Associate Matthew Heberger will be presenting at a joint meeting between the Groundwater Resource Association and the American Society of Civil Engineers – Environmental and Water Resource Institute. Heberger will present “Managing Groundwater as if the Environment Mattered: Policy and Management Reform in Western States.” Wednesday, September 14, 5:30-9pm, Silver Dragon Restaurant, 835 Webster Street, Oakland, Calif. RSVP Dinner $35 for professionals ($10 for students); Walk-in: $40 for professionals ($30 for students). RSVP here  by 12pm (Noon) on Friday, September 9.

 

-On September 19, Community Strategies for Sustainability and Justice Program Co-Director Catalina Garzón will present at an all-day training on Federal Transportation Planning for Public Health in Oakland sponsored by Transportation for America and the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network. The training is free and open to the public.

RSVP to Brooke Kuhn at brooke.kuhn@t4america.org by Friday September 9 if you are interested in attending.

 

– On September 22, Catalina Garzón will present on a panel on healthy and just transit-oriented development co-sponsored by the Ecology Center and the Pacific Institute, among others. The event is free and open to the public and will take place from 7-9 pm at the Ecology Center, 2530 San Pablo Ave. in Berkeley, Calif. For more information, go to the Ecology Center website.

 

– On September 28, Peter Gleick will give the Ven Te Chow Award Lecture at the International Water Resource Association XIVth World Water Congress in Porto de Galinhas, Pernambuco, Brazil. The main theme at this year’s Congress is “Adaptive Water Management: Looking to the Future.” Discount rates to the XIVth World Water Congress are still available here.

For more information about the IWRA XIVth World Water Congress, click here.

In the News

– Felicity Barringer of The New York Times Greenblog covers the Pacific Institute article Climate-proofing Transboundary Water Agreements by Peter Gleick and Heather Cooley, which was published in the peer-reviewed journal Hydrological Sciences this summer. Ms. Barringer discusses the potential for climate change to ignite a new round of water wars between climate-affected areas. Read the full article here.  
– In an interview with Business World Online, Peter Gleick discusses the need to better integrate water and energy policies to help find solutions to looming shortages. Read it here

Heather Cooley spoke with the EarthSky broadcast network about promises and problems of desalination in California. Read and listen to the interview hereThe 2006 report Desalination, With a Grain of Salt is the Pacific Institute’s most widely read publication, with 438,000 downloads to date.  Heather Cooley is currently doing new research work on desalination, with a report to be released in 2012.

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