96 Million ‘Shade Balls’ Installed to Cover L.A.’s Reservoirs

A California woman, for one, who wants to ease the drought, put disabled vets to work, and make some money

Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.bloomberg.com

>” […] The shade balls of Los Angeles are 4 inches in diameter, hollow, polyethylene orbs […] The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has now dumped 96 million balls into local reservoirs to reduce evaporation and block sunlight from encouraging algae growth and toxic chemical reactions. The balls are coated with a chemical that blocks ultraviolet light and helps the spheres last as long as 25 years. Las Virgenes, north of L.A., now uses shade balls, too. […]

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has encouraged the nation’s water managers in recent years to find ways to cover or contain their resources, to prevent sunlight from reacting with chlorine and possibly creating carcinogens, says Ed Osann, a senior policy analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council. The shade balls shouldn’t pose a pollution problem in themselves, he says, since “everything that comes in contact with drinking water has to be a certified material.” Chase says the balls are designed not to degrade.

The shade balls are a novel way to protect drinking water, and Californians’ latest attempt to adjust to their four-year drought. […]”<

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

Water Waste, Leaking Pipes and Infrastructure Maintenance

Imagine Manhattan under 300 feet of water, not from a flood or rising sea level, but from the 2.1 trillion gallons of water lost from leaky pipes every year. That is nearly 6 billion gallons a day! The majority of leaks are a result of old infrastructure, pressure changes in the water mains, and small household leaks.

Source: theenergycollective.com

>”[…] Infrastructure leaks

About 14-18% of water treated in the United States is wasted through aging and damaged infrastructure, as well as faulty meters. The American Society of Civil Engineers recently gave the US a “D” grade for water infrastructure. Let’s take a look at a few cities around the US.

Chicago wastes about 22 billion gallons of treated water a year, enough to serve 700,000 individual needs for a whole year.The state of California loses about 228 billion gallons a year, which is more than the city of LA uses in a year. On average the state loses 49 gallons a day for every service connection, and Sacramento loses a whopping 135 gallons per connection.In 2013 San Francisco experienced over 100 water main breaks and New York averages over 400 a year.Houston lost 22 billion gallons of water in 2013, 15% of its total water supplyAccording to the EPA we lose about 34 billion gallons of drinking water a day in the United States, about 1/6 of public water systems supply.

Household water waste

Average household leaks can add up to over 10,000 gallons of water a year, enough water to wash 270 loads of laundry. Nationally, household water waste totals over a trillion gallons – or the equivalent of 11 million households’ yearly usage. The most common types of leaks at the household level are worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets, and leaky showerheads. 10% of US homes waste over 90 gallons a day just from these small fixtures. Here are some quick facts:

  • Faucets: 1 drip/second adds up to over 3,000 gallons a year (you can take 180 showers with that water!)
  • a showerhead leaking at 10 drips/minute wastes over 500 gallons a year (that’s 60 loads of dishes)
  • Old inefficient toilets can water up to 13,000 gallons a year
  • Irrigation leaks just the size of a dime will waste nearly 6,300 gallons a month

[…] Fixing easy leaks can save about 10% on your monthly water bill. Replacing that old toilet with a new efficient toilet could save you upwards of $2,400 over the toilet’s lifetime. […]”<

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Water Prices in 2015 Up 6 Percent in 30 Major U.S. Cities

Continuing a trend that reflects the disrepair and shows no sign of slowing, the price of residential water service in 30 major U.S. cities rose faster than the cost of nearly every other household staple last year …

Source: www.circleofblue.org

>” […] The economics of water — particularly the cost of treatment, pumping, and new infrastructure, as well as the retail price for consumers — gained renewed prominence as California and Texas, America’s two most populous states, face historic droughts and water managers seek to rein in water consumption, with price increases as one tool in their arsenal.

The average monthly cost of water for a family of four using 100 gallons per person per day climbed 6 percent, according to data collected from the utilities. It is the smallest year-to-year change in the six-year history of the Circle of Blue survey but comparable to past years. The median increase this year was 4.5 percent. In comparison, the Consumer Price Index rose just 1.8 percent in the 12 months ending in March, not including the volatile food and energy sectors. Including food and energy, prices fell by 0.1 percent.

For families using 150 gallons and 50 gallons per person per day, average water prices rose 6 percent and 5.2 percent, respectively.

The survey results reflect broad trends in the municipal water industry that nearly every U.S. utility must grapple with, according to Andrew Ward, a director of U.S. public finance for Fitch Ratings, a credit agency.

Distribution pipes, which can branch for thousands of miles beneath a single city, have aged beyond their shelf life and crack open daily. Some assessments peg the national cost of repairing and replacing old pipes at more than $US 1 trillion over the next two decades. In addition, new treatment technologies are needed to meet Safe Drinking Water Act and Clean Water Act requirements, and cities must continue to pay down existing debts. At the same time, conservation measures have proven successful. Utilities are selling less water, but they still need big chunks of revenue to cover the substantial cost of building and maintaining a water system. All together, these and other factors amount to a persistent upward pressure on water rates. […]

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Federal Energy Management Program: Online Training – Live & On-Demand – CEU’s

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FEMP trains Federal agency managers about the latest energy requirements, best practices, and technologies through eTraining Courses, First Thursday Seminars, and webinars.

See on apps1.eere.energy.gov

The China Water Crisis: A Global Catastrophe or Wasteful Use?

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Learn how the China water crisis will have significant impact on the balance of the world if not reversed, and how you can help, in this WaterFilters.NET post.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>The New York Times reports:

Beijing has placed its faith in monumental feats of engineering to slake the north’s growing thirst. The South-North Water Transfer eventually aims to pipe 45 cubic kilometers of water annually northward along three routes in eastern, central and western China. All three pose enormous technical challenges: The eastern and central routes will be channeled under the Yellow River, while the western route entails pumping water over part of the Himalayan mountain range.

The estimated cost of $65 billion is almost certainly too low, and doesn’t include social and ecological impacts. Construction has already displaced hundreds of thousands, and issues the like possible increases in transmission of water-borne diseases have not been properly studied. But Beijing’s calculus is political: It is easier to increase the quantity of water resources, at whatever cost, rather than allocate a limited supply between competing interests.  […]

A recent article by The Economist states:

“The Chinese government would do better to focus on demand, reducing consumption of water in order to make better use of limited supplies. Water is too cheap in most cities, usually costing a tenth of prices in Europe. Such mispricing results in extravagance. Industry recycles too little water; agriculture wastes too much. Higher water prices would raise costs for farms and factories, but that would be better than spending billions on shipping water round the country.”

Economically supporting Chinese regions and corporations that commit to better water usage and sustainability practices may help to change the mindset of many within this nation’s government or industries.  In turn, this could lead them towards exploring more realistic initiatives experiencing success in other parts of the world.<

See on blog.waterfilters.net

GE seeks to Clean up Fracking’s Dirty Water Problem

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

GE has demonstrated technology aimed at addressing one of the biggest challenges with fracking: water pollution.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>Concerns about water pollution and other environmental issues related to fracking have led some places, including France and New York State, to block the process. As fracking increases in dry areas and places that lack adequate treatment and disposal options, pressure to block it could grow.

“Water-treatment technology is going to become more and more critical as the industry moves forward,” says Amy Myers Jaffe, executive director of energy and sustainability at the University of California at Davis, and a new member of a GE environmental advisory board. She says the continued use of fracking depends on the “industry getting its act together to do it in an environmentally sustainable way.”

Better water-treatment options could change the way oil and gas producers operate by making it economical to treat water at fracking sites instead of trucking it long distances to large water-treatment facilities or disposal wells. The technology is specifically targeted to places such as the Marcellus shale, one of the largest sources of shale gas in the U.S., where wastewater is far too salty for existing on-site treatment options (see “Can Fracking Be Cleaned Up?” and “Using Ozone to Clean Up Fracking”).

Each fracking well can require two to five million gallons of fresh water, which is pumped underground at high pressure to fracture rock and release trapped oil and gas. Much of that water flows back out, carrying with it the toxic chemicals used to aid the fracking process, as well as toxic materials flushed from the fractured rock.

Producers currently reuse much of that water, but that involves first storing it in artificial ponds, which can leak, and then diluting it, a step that consumes millions of gallons of fresh water. Eventually they can’t reuse the water any more so they need to ship it, often over long distances, to specialized treatment and disposal locations. Transporting the wastewater is expensive, and it comes with a risk of spills. At disposal sites, the wastewater is injected deep underground in a process that can cause earthquakes.

The new technology would make it unnecessary to dilute the wastewater, or transport it for treatment or disposal. […]<

See on www.technologyreview.com

Industrial Energy Management – Contolling Demand & Energy Usage

See on Scoop.itGreen Energy Technologies & Development

Demand-control technology supports multiple approaches for taming energy costs without sacrificing production efficiency.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>Navigant Research argues that efficient energy management will soon be as important as product quality in determining manufacturers’ competitive position within their respective industries. That importance, according to Navigant, is reflected in the compound annual growth rate for industrial energy management software and services.

At its current growth rate, the global market for industrial energy management solutions will nearly double over the next 7 years, going from $11.3 billion in 2013 to $22.4 billion in 2020… <

See on www.plantengineering.com

Water-Smart Power: Strengthening the U.S. Electricity System in a Warming World (2013) | UCSUSA

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

This report shows how the U.S. can build an electricity system that protects our water resources and dramatically reduces global warming emissions.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>The country stands at a critical crossroads. Many aging, water-intensive power plants are nearing the end of their lives. The choices we make to replace them will determine the water and climate implications of our electricity system for decades to come.

Today’s electricity system cannot meet our needs in a future of growing demand for power, worsening strains on water resources, and an urgent need to mitigate climate change.

[…]

Energy-water collisions are happening now, and are poised to worsen in a warming world

  • The heat waves and drought that hit the U.S. in 2011 and 2012 shined a harsh light on the vulnerability of the U.S. power sector to extreme weather, and revealed water-related electricity risks across the country.
  • When plants cannot get enough cooling water, they must cut back or completely shut down their generators, as happened in 2011 and 2012 at plants around the country.
  • Nationally, the 2012 drought was the worst in half a century. Amid soaring temperatures in the Midwest, several power plant operators got permission to discharge exceptionally hot water rather than reduce power output.
  • Electricity-water collisions are poised to worsen in a warming world as the power sector helps drive climate change. Extreme weather conditions that have historically been outliers are expected to become standard fare.<

See on www.ucsusa.org

Renewable Energy or Efficiency for the Data Center: Which first? #GreenComputing

See on Scoop.itGreen & Sustainable News

New advancements in green technology and design are making the idea of a green data center into a reality.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>Without doubt, the facility is a triumph of advanced environmental design and will serve as a template for future construction. Indeed, activity surrounding renewable-based data infrastructure is picking up, with much of it being led by the burgeoning renewable energy industry itself. VIESTE Energy, LCC, for example, has hired design firm Environmental Systems Design (ESD) to plan out a series of data centers across the U.S. that run on 100 percent renewable energy. A key component of the plan is a new biogas-fed generator capable of 8 to 15MW performance. The intent is to prove that renewables are fully capable of delivering reliable, cost-effective service to always-on data infrastructure.

The question of reliability has always weighed heavily on the renewables market, but initiatives like the VIESTE program could help counter those impressions in a very important way, by establishing a grid of distributed, green-energy data supply. In fact, this is the stated goal of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), which has gathered together a number of industry leaders, including AMD, HP and GE, to establish a network of distributed, green data centers that can be used to shift loads, scale infrastructure up and down and in general make it easier for data users to maintain their reliance on renewable energy even if supply at one location is diminished. In other words, distributed architectures improve green reliability through redundancy just as they do for data infrastructure in general.

But not everyone on the environmental side is convinced that renewables are the best means of fostering data center efficiency. In a recent article in the journal Nature Climate Change, Stanford researcher Dr. Jonathan Koomey argues that without populating existing infrastructure with low-power hardware and data-power management technology first, data operators are simply wasting precious renewable resources that could be put to better use elsewhere. For projects like the NWSC and VIESTE, then, renewables may make sense because they power state-of-the-art green technology. But not as an industry-wide solution–renewables won’t make sense until hardware life cycles run their course.<

See on www.itbusinessedge.com

Water in Crisis: A New Paradigm in Power Generation

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The US can affordably and sustainably meet its energy and water needs by pursuing a “renewables-and-efficiency” path, according to a new EW3 report.

Duane Tilden‘s insight:

>The current system of power generation in the U.S., according to EW3, “clearly cannot meet our needs in a future of growing demand for electricity, worsening strains on water resources, and an urgent need to mitigate climate change.”

What’s urgently needed, they assert, is a system of power generation that is much more resilient – one that is not only much less dependent on water, but one that can operate sustainably in a warming climate and, at the same time, help mitigate climate change. With the release of its second report, EW3 advocates making decisions today that puts U.S. society firmly on such a path. […]

EW3′s research team constructed two long-term scenarios in order to better understand and analyze the implications of decisions made today regarding electricity production in the U.S. in terms of water usage and greenhouse gas emissions.

Pursuing a business-as-usual path that would see natural gas combustion growing to account for 60 percent of U.S. power generation in coming decades “would fail to reduce carbon emissions, and would not tap opportunities to safeguard water,” EW3′s research team found. In sharp contrast, both water usage and carbon emissions in the power sector would drop much further, and faster, under a “renewables-and-efficiency” scenario.

Under the renewables-and-efficiency scenario, both water withdrawals and consumption by the power sector would be less than half of today’s levels by 2030. By 2050, water withdrawals would be 97 percent below today’s levels while water consumption would drop 85 percent – nearly 80 percent below the business-as-usual scenario.<

See on www.triplepundit.com