TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 16 – 22 May 2015

May 22, 2015 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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caledonianMary Frances and I are in Edinburgh for the World Water Congress. I am looking forward to it. She will be doing some sightseeing; we are both headed to the Highlands today.

It’ll be great to see Portland water attorney Laura Schroeder here. She will be giving a couple of presentations, including one on Afghanistan. Great – we are 90 miles apart and have to travel almost 7,000 miles to catch up on waterlaura stuff.

I’ll be going dark for much of 22 – 24 May.

To my US friends and colleagues: have a safe Memorial Day, enjoy…and remember.

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‘At my age, I must strike while the iron is available – can’t wait for it to get hot.’ - Unknown (but I will own it)

TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 9 – 15 May 2015

May 15, 2015 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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Good week!

iwraI will be leaving for IWRA’s World Water Congress in Edinburgh, Gwp-logoScotland, on 20 May, then continuing on to Stockholm for a meeting of the Steering Committee of the Global Water Partnership. I might not be posting much on Twitter during that time although I will endeavor to maintain these Friday summaries. 500px-B.B._King_in_2009

R.I.P. B.B. King - and Lucille. The thrill isn’t gone, it’s just moved upstairs.

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“Patience, time and money accommodate all things.” – Spanish Proverb(via @AnnaWSears)

Narvaez Award

AWRA President-Elect Martha Corrozi Narvaez (third from left) recently received the prestigious Achievement Award from the Water Resources Association of the Delaware River Basin. The award was given for her leadership, contributions and commitment to promoting and advancing practices of conservation and sound management of water and natural resources in the Delaware River Basin.

TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 2 – 8 May 2015

May 8, 2015 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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DWW2015Banner801x239You’ve got one day left to celebrate Drinking Water Week. Be thankful that most us in the developed world have access to safe drinking water from our taps. There are still around 3 billion people who don’t have such access. Even in the USA and Canada, not everyone has safe drinking tap water.

There is no excuse for not providing everyone with access to safe drinking water – from their taps, not from bottles. It ain’t rocket science, folks – just takes some money and political will.

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“There’s nothing in the stream that’s good for your cows and there’s nothing your cows do to the stream that’s good for the stream.” - Frank Lucas, @USDA_NRCS (PA), on page 5 of this pub.

Tracy photo

John C. Tracy, AWRA President

May 2015 President’s Column, Water Resources IMPACT

I think I will make a habit of providing a quote for each of my columns, as other people seem to say what I am thinking much more clearly than I can state it. So I would like to start this column with a quote that I found in an article published by the Stockholm International Water Institute “Water Pricing: How to Value Our Most Elusive Resource” that is attributed to Plato (noted philosopher):

Only what is rare is valuable, and water, which is the best of all things…is also the cheapest.

I think this quote sums up quite nicely a contradiction I have been seeing in how we have come to regard water resources in this country. On the one hand, the number of articles, books, and web-pages declaring water as our most valuable resource has grown significantly over the last few decades, with a sampling of the articles that I was able to find just by using a simple web-search listed below:

Reading these articles, and many others like them, would seem to indicate that as a society we are well aware of the value of water, and the absolute necessity to ensure that we develop and maintain reliable, resilient and robust water infrastructure and systems.

However, on the other side of this discussion is the issue the country is now facing, which is an aging, and increasingly unreliable, water infrastructure, which is highlighted by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Infrastructure Report Card. The Report Card indicates that our drinking water infrastructure rates a D, our dams rate a D, our inland waterways rate a D-, our levees rate a D-, and our wastewater infrastructure rates a D.

The overall average grade for our nation¹s infrastructure is rated at a D+, which means that even if we graded on a curve, the nation’s water resource infrastructure would be below average relative to Transportation, Schools, Energy and other Public Services.

This situation is particularly acute in portions of my home state (Idaho) where the Infrastructure Report Card estimates that approximately $890 million in drinking water infrastructure and $1.4 billion in wastewater infrastructure is needed over the next 20 years. Many of these expenditures are needed in smaller rural water and wastewater utilities that are facing an aging infrastructure and an aging workforce, both of which need to be replaced within the next decade. For these municipalities, it is quite clear that if they do not maintain reliable water supply and wastewater systems, they will no longer be viable communities.

This leads me to the question: If water is our most valuable resource, how have we gotten to the point where we don’t seem to be willing to pay to ensure that we can access it reliably?

And of course the follow-up question: How can we convince ourselves to pay more to ensure we have reliable and resilient water systems? I had been wondering about these two questions for a while, and I really did not have any answers. That is, until recently, when I attended an event with a number of people associated with the privatization of water supply, wastewater treatment, and storm water management systems.

One thing that struck me about the event was that a large percentage of the attendees were from the business and financial sectors. When I started discussing the problems associated with improving the condition of our nation’s water resources infrastructure, especially in rural areas, they all agreed that this was a difficult problem that needed to be solved. They also pointed to some innovative approaches that they had seen work, all of which required a significant marketing effort, and the development of some creative financial models.

It is clear that within the water community we engage in many conversations about the physical and biological aspects of the water resource systems, discuss innovative engineering approaches to address water resource challenges, and talk about how to communicate the importance of having reliable water systems to the general public.

However, I realize now that a key voice that is often missing from our conversations about water resources is the perspective that comes from the business sector. This voice can help answer the questions of how the development and operation of our water resource systems can be better marketed and financed to ensure their sustainability.

I think this points to an opportunity for AWRA to expand our water community, and increase the diversity of voices included in our conversations on water. So the next time you are working on developing an agenda for a conference, seminar, webinar, or other activity associated with AWRA, think about reaching out to someone you may know in the financial and marketing communities, and ask them if they would be interested in talking about water.

John C. Tracy ~

TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 25 April – 1 May 2015

May 1, 2015 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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As we welcome the month of May I thought I would introduce this week’s post with an amazing picture of a quadruple rainbow taken on Earth Day. It was photographed in Glen Cove, NY (on my home Long Island) by Amanda Curtis. Story here.


Don’t forget the Nepal earthquake victims - click here.

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“Is the water still safe after you take the electricity out of it?” - Allegedly a common question visitors ask at Hoover Dam (thanks to John Hempel) 

Much has been made of Canadian actor William Shatner’s scheme to pipe freshwater from Seattle down to California for $30B.

I am no pipeline expert, but I doubt that $30B would get the pipeline paralleling Interstate 5  to the Oregon border (c. 165 miles from downtown Seattle), much less to California’s Lake Shasta, perhaps another 450 miles.

And where will the water come from to fill the pipeline, Bill? About half of Washington is now drought-stricken, although the Seattle-Tacoma-Everett area is not yet part of the drought-stricken region. But it could be by early May.

Since Shatner is a Canadian, perhaps he could cajole his countrymen to let us extend New-nawapathe pipeline into British Columbia. Now we’re talking serious water, right? Long live NAWAPA! Maybe the LaRouche folks can help.

Then again, Shatner is from Montreal, and that would likely not endear him to western Canadians.

Here is a recent column by Stephen Hume in The Vancouver Sun.

Methinks Capt. Kirk is seeking some PR with all this.

Jack Ohman’s cartoon from the Sacramento Bee says it all….

 ”If you make a fool of yourself, you can do it with dignity, without taking your pants down. And if you do take your pants down, you can still do it with dignity.” -William Shatner 

TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 18 – 24 April 2015

April 24, 2015 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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Here’s an appropriate cartoon for Earth Day from Joel Pett.


Kudos to my friend and colleague Aaron Wolf, who won one of the prestigious Heinz Aaron-wolf

After great reflection I have added a new category: Bullshit and Crap Detection. What will you find there? Stuff like this item. The current California drought is fertile ground for bullshit and crap detection.

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“A short saying often contains much wisdom.” - Sophocles (thanks @4h2oCharity4h2o)

Aaron Wolf

20th Heinz Award honors Aaron Wolf, AWRA member and professor at Oregon State University, who pioneered water diplomacy to resolve global resource disputes. Photo by Ali Smith.

20th Heinz Award Honors Geoscientist Aaron Wolf, Who Pioneered Water Diplomacy to Resolve Global Resource Disputes

Bringing Science, Problem-Solving and Cultural Sensitivity to Bear, Dr. Wolf Has Helped Change the Course of Water Conflict to Water Cooperation

PITTSBURGH, April 23, 2015—Amid heightened awareness of the world’s limited fresh water supply, Aaron Wolf, is applying 21st century insights and ingenuity, as well as ancient wisdom, to problems that few are paying attention to for the security of the planet. He is the rare academic who has opened new paths in global policy through his unique approach to negotiating disputes over bodies of water—usually rivers—shared by two or more regions.

Today, the Heinz Family Foundation named Wolf, a global authority on water conflict resolution, the recipient of the prestigious 20th Heinz Award in the Public Policy category. As part of the accolade, Wolf will receive an unrestricted cash award of $250,000.

From international water talks in Southeast Asia and Africa to domestic dialog on the U.S.-Canada Columbia River Treaty and elsewhere in the Western United States, Wolf has played a leading role in brokering critical agreements around what is arguably the planet’s most precious resource. His success in blending scientific rigor with humanism to create water cooperation is a case study in how to promote global sustainability and resource security.

“In a world where water is rapidly becoming the most precious of resources and most geopolitical of issues, Aaron Wolf has found practical solutions to protect our water resources and find common ground on water-centered conflicts,” said Teresa Heinz, chairman of the Heinz Family Foundation. “Water issues cross state and national boundaries, and his advocacy has driven treaties and agreements that recognize our competing demands on water resources and the vital importance of protecting those resources from a modern-day ‘tragedy of the commons.’ Brave, innovative and diplomatically adept, he has tackled what may very well become the defining issue of this century and given us a roadmap for how to navigate it.”

A professor of geography at Oregon State University (OSU), Wolf decided early in his career to find a way to break the gridlock that dominated tensions over water rights. He developed a negotiation approach that emphasizes deep listening, with the goal of meeting the shared values of competing users.

Wolf is also working to prepare future generations of scholars and leaders in this field. He joined other leading academics to found a consortium of 10 universities on five continents that seeks to build a global water governance culture focused on peace, sustainability and human security. In March 2015, he announced a partnership among OSU, the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education in the Netherlands and the University for Peace in Costa Rica for a joint Master’s degree program on water cooperation and peace.

“One thing I’m struck by over and over is what people of goodwill and creativity can accomplish, even in situations where everybody feels like they’re going to lose something,” said Wolf. “As I’ve watched the discourse change from water wars to water cooperation and peace, I’ve learned firsthand that people will resolve seemingly intractable problems when they’re given the space and the opportunity.”

Established to honor the memory of U.S. Senator John Heinz, the 20th Heinz Awards this year recognize those who have made significant contributions in five distinct areas of great importance to Senator Heinz: Arts and Humanities; Environment; Human Condition; Public Policy; and Technology, the Economy and Employment.

In addition to Dr. Wolf, the 20th Heinz Awards honored the following individuals:

  • Arts and Humanities: Roz Chast, Ridgefield, Conn.
    Roz Chast, best-selling illustrator and cartoonist, is being recognized for her body of work using humor to soften the anxieties, insecurities and neurosis of modern-day living.
  • Environment: Frederica Perera, DrPH, Ph.D., New York, N.Y.
    Dr. Perera, environmental health researcher at Columbia University, is being recognized for her pioneering research and advocacy efforts on the effects of air pollutants on the health of children in the pre- and postnatal periods.
  • Human Condition: (co-recipients) William McNulty and Jacob Wood, Team Rubicon, Los Angeles, Calif.
    Messrs. McNulty and Wood, founders of Team Rubicon, are being recognized for their leadership in creating a purposeful way for returning veterans to continue their service by engaging them in lifesaving global disaster relief efforts.
  • Technology, the Economy and Employment: Sangeeta Bhatia, M.D., Ph.D., Cambridge, Mass.
    Dr. Bhatia, bioengineer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), is being recognized for her seminal work in tissue engineering, including the first cultivation of liver cells outside the human body.

Winners will receive their awards at a ceremony in Pittsburgh on May 13, 2015.

Now in its 20th year, the Heinz Awards has recognized 123 individuals and awarded more than $21 million to the honorees. For more information about awardees visit

About the Heinz Awards
Established by Teresa Heinz in 1993 to honor the memory of her late husband, U.S. Senator John Heinz, the Heinz Awards celebrates the accomplishments and spirit of the Senator by recognizing the extraordinary achievements of individuals in the areas of greatest importance to him. The awards, administered by the Heinz Family Foundation, recognize individuals for their contributions in the areas of Arts and Humanities; Environment; Human Condition; Public Policy; and Technology, the Economy and Employment. Nominations are submitted by invited experts, who serve anonymously, and are reviewed by jurors appointed by the Heinz Family Foundation. The jurors make recommendations to the Board of Directors, which subsequently selects the Award recipients. For more information on the Heinz Awards, visit

TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 11 – 17 April 2015

April 17, 2015 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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One thing about the California drought – many seem intent upon pointing to others as being ‘water wasters’. It’s also prompted some to produce information like the one in the graphic from colleague Brian Hurd (thanks to Ari Michelesen) at New Mexico State University.

Now you can eat and drink responsibly!




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‘Waste is always water used by other people.’ - Jay Lund, @ucdavis (on NPR)


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