August 2007

Cool Clear Water Kickoff


Bottled Water & Energy
Research on Tuolumne
Aspen Ideas Festival
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Colonial History and India’s Water Woes
San Francisco, Calif.  

Meena Palaniappan examines the history that led to the vastly different sanitation conditions in Third World and Euro-American cities. 5:30 p.m. reception, 6:00 program. Reserve tickets


Port of Oakland Air Quality Improvment
Oakland , Calif.

The 2nd meeting of the task force providing input to the Port of Oakland’s Air Quality Improvement Plan will be held at Waterfront Plaza Hotel, 10 Washington Street, Oakland, from 1-7 p.m. Stakeholders, especially West Oakland residents, are welcome. For more information, contact the Institute.

Energy & Water
San Francisco, Calif.
Heather Cooley will discuss the relationships between water, energy, and climate change at a noon Commowealth Club talk. Reserve tickets


West County Indicators Project Steering Committee Meeting
Richmond, Calif.

The next Steering Committee meeting will be held from 5:30-8 p.m. in Richmond. Participants will review potential environmental, economic, and community health indicators and discuss their usefulness for community change. This meeting will be the last opportunity for new participants to become core committee members. For more information, contact us.


Future of the Salton SeaSan Francisco, Calif.

California’s Salton Sea covers an astonishing 360 miles, yet without a restoration project, it will transform from California’s largest lake into an economic, health, and environmental hazard. This Commonwealth Club panel, including the Institute’s Michael Cohen, will address the impending hazard.  Reserve tickets.




Fresh Water in 21st Century Challenges Us All

Gleick Kicks Off Water Series

CCWImages of the transformative power of water in West Africa and an expert’s hope for the future brought a capacity crowd to San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club on August 1 for “Fresh Water in the 21st Century.” Kicking off the Cool, Clear Water series, Dr. Peter Gleick, Pacific Institute President and co-founder, addressed the world’s freshwater challenges.

“Around the world, over 1 billion people still lack access to safe water. Millions perish from preventable water-related diseases,” said Gleick. “We have the knowledge and the tools to change this. In the 21st century, we have an obligation to provide safe, clean water and sanitation to the world’s people.”

Water Is KeyThe event also featured the photography of Gil Garcetti from his new book, Water is Key, which documents the impact a safe water source can have West African communities. Signed first editions of Water Is Key are available for purchase from the Pacific Institute (while supplies last).


  Water Bottles in ’06: 17 Millions of Barrels of Oil

Bottled WaterWhat is the environmental cost of bottling water for U.S. consumption? The New York Times editorial page recently tackled this question, citing a source that found the energy used in bottling alone could power 100,000 cars for a year. Unfortunately, that figure underestimates the energy use by a factor of ten.According to the Pacific Institute’s analysis, more than 17 million barrels of oil were used to make the billions of plastic water bottles American’s consumed in 2006. That figure that does not include the energy used to fill, transport, chill and dispose of the bottles. Much of that water was tap water, refiltered and packaged for purchase.”The U.S. has some of the best water in the world, yet we’re paying a huge premium and making a big mess to drink it from a bottle,” said Institute Communications Director Ian Hart.For more information on the economic and environmental costs associated with bottled water, read our fact sheet.

In US, Tap the Responsible Choice


HCooleyThe San Francisco Public Utilities Commission projects that it will need 14% more water to meet the region’s needs by 2030. They have proposed diverting more water from the Tuolumne River — 25 million gallons per day — to help meet this need. The Tuolumne River Trust asked the  Pacific Institute to conduct an analysis of the SFPUC proposal. The Institute released its assessment in July, finding that the SFPUC overestimated future regional water demand and underestimated the potential for cost-effective conservation.

“The SFPUC’s proposal encourages water waste,” said Institute Senior Associate Heather Cooley (above). “The proposed conservation programs fail to incorporate technologies and policies to promote wise water use – despite the fact that agencies throughout the state have shown that these efforts are cost-effective.”

  Research Bolsters Case for Conservation
River Withdrawals Questioned


  Ideas, Fiji Water Flow at Annual Aspen Festival
Gleick Talks Softly, Carries Refillable Water Bottle


Fora.tvPacific Institute President Dr. Peter Gleick and Circle of Blue Director J. Carl Ganter, rubbed elbows with Bill Clinton and Karl Rove at last month’s third annual Aspen Ideas Festival. The two water experts presented “The Future of Water,” a multimedia presentation on the world’s freshwater crisis. The pair discussed the state of the problem and the most promising solutions, including the roles of journalism and quality research.


As an aside, ample quantities of Fiji bottled water were provided free to attendees. Gleick and Ganter opted for Pacific Institute 20th Anniversary water bottles, filled with high quality Rocky Mountain tap.


In Brief

Gordon Nominated for Port of Oakland Post; Letters of Support Welcome
Oakland, California Mayor Ron Dellums has nominated Margaret Gordon to the Port of Oakland’s Board of Commissioners. Gordon is the West Oakland Environmental Indicator’s Project co-founder and co-coordinator. The Oakland City Council will vote on her confirmation in September. Letters of support for Ms. Gordon are welcome.


New Reports Highlight Canadian Water Solutions
The Canadian environmental organization Pollution Probe has recently released two reports that may be of interest to Online Update readers. The reports are available free online: Towards a Vision and Strategy for Water Management in Canada (PDF) and Mainstreaming Climate Change in Drinking Water Source Protection Planning in Ontario. (PDF)  The latter report focuses on ways in which consideration of the impacts of climate change must be built into – or mainstreamed in – source water protection planning. The case region is Ontario, but the approach is likely broadly relevant in other regions and watersheds.