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.

Click here for the weekly water news summary.

“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!




Click here for the weekly water news summary!

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


April 13, 2015 | Posted by Susan Scalia
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Wigington discusses the nature of JAWRA multidisciplinary water resources journal articles.

Featured Collection –  Conservation Effects Assessment Project:

Rittenberg et al. present a conceptual framework that relates agricultural Best Management Practice (BMP) effectiveness with dominant hydrological flow paths to improve nonpoint source pollution management.

Boll et al. modify the Water Erosion Prediction Project Model (WEPP) to simulate subsurface flow and associated hydrologic processes.

Brooks et al. present an approach, based on the WEPP model and a pesticide transport model, to identify dominate hydrologic flowpaths and critical source areas for a variety of pollution types. The approach is used to assess BMP effectiveness.

Kurkalova reviews the cost-effective placement of best management practices in a watershed.

Other Technical Papers:

Lisle et al. discuss whether or not rapid assessment protocols should be used to judge sediment impairment in gravel-bed streams.

Lackey and Stein evaluate alternative statistical survey designs for monitoring wetland area and detecting changes over time in California.

Mateus et al. examine the hydrologic sensitivity of a Pacific Northwest river drainage basin to climate and land use changes.

In the first of two papers, Flynn et al. present a model-based approach for developing large river nitrogen and phosphorus criteria. In the second paper, Suplee et al. describe criteria development processes using the approach.

In companion papers, VanLandeghem et al. evaluate associations of physicochemistry and nutrient attributes of Texas Upper Colorado River basin reservoirs with invasive, harmful alga Prymnesium parvum.

Fleming et al. develop and test a super-ensemble artificial intelligence flood-forecast model for a Pacific Northwest river.

Lyon et al. evaluate the ability of the Catchment SIMulation (CSIM) hydrologic model to describe seasonal and regional variations in river discharge over the entire Baltic Sea drainage basin.

TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 4 – 10 April 2015

April 10, 2015 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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Lots of news on the California drought, with everyone Caweighing in. If you’re tired of reading about it, think of the Californians, who are living through it.

skiThese images  - including Tom Toles’ cartoon – speak volumes.

Click on them to enlarge them.

Click here to access the water summary!


“In my view, this prolonged drought challenges not only Californians but every one of us to reconsider the ends to which we use our water resources.”- Larry Swatuk, University of Waterloo

JAWRA Seeks Associate Editor, Water Quality

April 6, 2015 | Posted by cmccrehin
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The Journal of the American Water Resources Association (JAWRA) is seeking a new associate editor (AE) in water quality. The successful candidate for this position should have expertise in one or more of the following areas:

  • processes and interactions controlling water quality,
  • monitoring of water quality, or
  • prediction of water quality.

JAWRA water quality papers commonly deal with, but are not limited to, nonpoint sources of nutrients, evaluation of best management practices for water quality improvements, and water temperature issues. Water quality manuscripts submitted to JAWRA span a wide range of spatial scales and often focus on reporting large-scale research.

AEs serve as primary advisors to the editor-in-chief and their responsibilities fall into two primary areas: supervising reviews of manuscripts and recruitment of journal articles.

The new AE can expect to handle 8 to 15 manuscripts per year. All manuscripts are processed online using the ScholarOne Manuscripts™ system, with the AE selecting reviewers and, when reviews return, making a recommendation to the editor-in-chief. AEs are encouraged to seek out qualified authors in their subject areas and encourage them to submit journal articles to JAWRA. These could be individual submittals or featured collections of topically related articles.

Associate editors are volunteers who earn our heartfelt thanks and are invited to our annual AE luncheon. Serving as an AE also offers the opportunity for an individual to make a difference in advancing the publication of cutting-edge multidisciplinary water resources research. The term of an AE is three years, which may be extended by mutual agreement.

Interested individuals should e-mail a statement-of-interest and a CV to Dr. Parker (Jim) Wigington, JAWRA editor-in-chief, at

The position will remain open for applications until at least April 30, 2015.

Dumping Seawater in the Desert – Solving Iran’s Water Shortage?

April 5, 2015 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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Many of you know that I am fond of featuring ‘water transfer mega-projects’ involving the transportation of huge amounts of water across large distances. I have posted a number of times about NAWAPA and NARAThe subject has even produced some April Fool’s Day posts.

Iran_topo_enThat’s why I jumped at the chance to examine another mega-project, this one sent to me by Mahmoud Shahbodaghi, an Iranian-American structural engineer in New York. He proposed the work back in 2009 in this online article.

In his brief article, Shahbodaghi speculated upon increasing Iran’s water supply by pumping seawater into Iran’s Lute and Namak (also known as Kavir, I believe) Deserts to create two huge lakes covering about 161,000 square kilometers (10% of Iran’s area) or about 62,000 square miles (a bit bigger than the US state of Georgia) that could store as much as 31 trillion cubic meters (about 25 billion acre-feet) of water. That’s about 1,000 fullLake Meads!

Below is the photo Shahbodaghi sent with his email. There are three lakes instead of two – the top two are the Kavir and Lute Deserts. The body of the water on the lower left is the Persian Gulf. The mountains to the right of the  Persian Gulf are the Zagros Mountains, which create a rain shadow effect. Not shown are the Alborz Mountains, between the Caspian Sea and Tehran and regions south. Those mountains create a barrier to moisture-laden air blowing south from the Caspian Sea, forcing it upward and producing a rain shadow on the leeward side.

For the proposed project the rain shadows are a plus. After the atmosphere dumps its liquid cargo on the mountains, the air blowing down the leeward slopes has a high evaporative demand, culminating in high evaporation from the saltwater lakes and potentially increased precipitation. Think Nevada, the driest state in the USA, bordered on the west by the Sierra Nevada. Too bad it has no mega-lakes to produce enhanced precipitation.


Shahbodaghi realizes that he is proposing a daunting engineering feat that would likely have serious environmental and other consequences. I cannot comment on the piping and pumps – that’s not my forte.  The energy to move the water is available, but at what cost in terms of GHGs and money that could have been spent on other works?

He notes that earthquakes from the water’s load on the land and flooding are potential hazards. In my view the former is a real concern, since this region is tectonically active.

I won’t address the social and environmental problems that the scheme will produce. Reducing your country’s land area by 10% might be a non-starter.

Shahbodaghi wanted to know a few things from me:

Is there a chance that there will not be increased rainfall?  Will there be so much evaporation that salt content will rise rapidly?  Is there a chance to contaminate existing underground waters with saltwater? Can a Regional Climate Model be built to evaluate such future conditions?

Always a chance that the rainfall will not increase. You need more than atmospheric water. The air has to be cooled and condensation nuclei must also be present. Clouds, anyone?

My concern with the precipitation (rainfall) is not whether it will be increased, but where will it go? It might not fall where it is supposed to fall. It may fall outside the boundaries of Iran or evaporate before it hits the ground. Or maybe fall back on one of the lakes or the sea.

My other issue with the rainfall is will it be water usable to humans? In other words, will it become runoff (streamflow) or groundwater recharge? This gets to my issue with some proponents of precipitation enhancement: they are often content to trumpet increased precipitation but neglect the disposition of it. Does it translate into increased streamflow or groundwater recharge? My former cloud-seeding colleagues (1970s – 1980s) at the Desert Research Institute often had trouble demonstrating whether their cloud seeding really paid off.

The lakes will likely leak and introduce a lot of saltwater into the subsurface. Much of this could migrate to aquifers, rendering them useless for human consumption. A lot of salt could be deposited in the vadose zone, rendering it useless for crops should the land ever be reclaimed for agriculture.

The evaporation can be calculated given hydrometeorological conditions. Obviously a land-atmosphere-climate model should be constructed to predict what could happen (with uncertainties quantified). That task is above my pay grade.

My gut feeling tells me that this challenging, fascinating project won’t produce the desired results. But it would make for a number of interesting theses/dissertations in diverse fields.

Iran really needs to learn to live with what it has, and consider better management – water pricing, etc. Or call David Zetland.

Turkmenistan proposed something like this years ago, but not on this scale. They were going to use irrigation return flow to create a lake in the Karakum Desert. For what reason, I’m not sure. Because they could, probably. Then Turkmenbashi died and all was forgotten.


Comments are welcome.

“Judge a man by his questions rather than by his answers.” - Voltaire 

TGIF! Weekly Water News Summary, 28 March – 3 April 2015

April 3, 2015 | Posted by Michael "Aquadoc" Campana
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Another April Fool’s Day has passed so for another year, we are all safe from the likes of me and others who make feeble attempts at humor.

I did learn of an age-old Canadian custom that reveals itself each 1 April: iconic Lake Louise is drained and the bottom repainted so that a new crop of tourists will enjoy that beautiful turquoise water. O, Canada!

Lake Louise

Oh, boy – baseball is upon us!

Now click here to enjoy the weekly water news summary!

“Water is the driving force of all nature” — Leonardo da Vinci (tnx @HelenaOnline)

BILLY BOB COUNTY, TX (UPI). In a lavish 1 April 2015 press conference at hislickens Billy Bob County ranch, Texas corporate raider-turned water entrepreneur-humanitarian T. Bone Lickens (shown here drying wet money, his favorite pastime) announced the biggest deal of his storied career: he and partners Bush Family Development (BFD) and Mexican billionaire Carlos Gordo have succeeded in gaining control of the freshwater resources of South America’s Guaraní aquifer, which underlies parts of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay (see blue area on map).

mapThe aquifer system represents the greatest stock of liquid freshwater in the world. According to a recent World Bank report, Draining the Guaraní Aquifer: Saving the World’s Sorry-Ass Parched Butt, there is ‘more damned water there than you can shake a stick at.’ That’s a direct quote from economist Hugh Jeego.

Lickens’ spokesperson Phil Dert announced that the consortium, known as GASP (Guaraní Aquifer Security Project), would protect the aquifer from ‘water profiteers’ who would ‘seek to enrich themselves while destroying the world’s greatest freshwater resource.’ Dert also noted that Nestlé WatersSuez Environnement, and Veolia Water were ‘minor partners’ in GASP.

When asked who died and made him water king and protector of the aquifer, Lickens replied, “No one, son, it’s because I’ve got the cojones and the dinero.

CheneyDert also said that former Vice President Dick Cheney will be Chair of GASP’s Water Board and have overall responsibility for the project along with prime contractor Halliburton. Operations Director is former USACE engineer Alberto ‘Al’ Muerzo, who was responsible for the Corps’ Colorado River Access Project (CRAP)He will be assisted by Dr. Desmond ‘Des’ Ayuno. Matt Pulroy, formerly of the Southern Nevada Waste Authority, will be responsible for GASP’s community and public relations.

BFD’s interests will be managed by Neil Bush, whose financial skills are said to rival the peacemaking and diplomatic Neil%20bush-thumbskills of his brother, former President George W. Bush. Spokesperson Robin Banks Bush phonestated: “Neil Bush is rightly credited with providing the Federal government with the experience it needed to cope with the recent financial meltdown. Neil Bush is honored to be a part of BFD and GASP.”

Gordo, arguably the world’s richest man, was not present but his spokeswoman, Ima Perra, told the assembled dignitaries and journalists that Mr. Gordo was proud to be part of GASP. His recently-acquired engineering firm, ABRIL-TONTO, headed by former Universidad de Taco Grande engineering dean Dr. Ricardo ‘Dick’ Cabeza, will have a major GASP role.

JabbaWhen asked if Gordo’s (shown here) presence was simply to add a ‘brown face’ to the project, Perra became visibly agitated and barked, “WTF? Mr. Gordo is involved because he has more goddamned money than all those toothless Texas crackers combined!”

Rumors of gringos taking control of the aquifer’s water have swirled about for years; now, the piñata’s been smashed and the goodies have been spilled. It has been known that the Bush family has purchased huge tracts there, ostensibly to raise cattle and build gated communities for disaffected upscale (are there other kinds?) Republicans, but others have alleged more nefarious purposes, such as allowing Democrats to live in the communities.

Images“This is just another example of water imperialism by the private sector, eh?” alleged Anita Fixx, head of the Frostback Follies Forum, a group of disgruntled Canadians who feast on rumors, misinformation, Molson’s, and back bacon. Fixx, shown here (left) with two of FFF’s hosers (board members) (below),hosers added, “It’s even more despicable that the Americans are involved, eh? Since they couldn’t steal our precious Canadian water they have resorted to bamboozling the poor and downtrodden of Latin America, eh? Take off!”

When asked how the water would be marketed, Lickens said that most of the water would be shipped north via a mammoth tunnel, drilled by huge boring machines currently being made Tunneling machinein China. He noted this will be the world’s largest engineering project and take years to complete. Energy will be generated by local geothermal resources and wind. Lickens chuckled, “Everyone knows that South America blows.” Lickens proudly noted, “The project will put most of Latin America to work, so there will be no more illegal immigration to the USA. Furthermore, through Gordo’s political connections, the Mexican drug cartels will  have exclusive contracts to supply drugs to the workers.” Lickens added: “They will all make plenty of money and have too much work to be fighting amongst themselves. So now the little woman and I can once again visit our favorite Mexican city, Ciudad Juárez, without packing AK-47s.”

Dert added that Nestlé Waters will bottle a small amount each year, and market it under the name Guaraní Gold. The Nestlé rep, Rob N. Steele, said that, in keeping with Nestlé’s  humanitarian focus, it has paid the Guaraní Indians a lifetime annual royalty amounting to 5 USD per person and a case of one-liter bottles, which the Indians will be allowed to fill once per year from a designated spring. He declined to detail the roles of Veolia and Suez, although he did mention that they would have ‘oversight’ and ‘sustainability’ roles.

Journalists have noted that there has been nary a peep from Latin American leaders about this, save The-three-stooges-2
for Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro (shown here between two of his ministers), who commented through a spokesman: “As leader of the Bolivarian Revolution, I have far more important things to worry about, like a country that is going down the tubes and getting my bus driver’s job back.” Paraguayanhitler President Heinrich Himmler, Jr., (left) was questioned about the deal upon leaving church, commented, “Grundwasser? Was ist das?”

This decidedly muted response suggests that large amounts of money may have changed hands, a charge vigorously denied by both the Lickens and Gordo camps, although a smile was noted on Ms. Perra’s face.

6a00d8341bf80a53ef00e54fee0ac08833-800wiLickens said that the project would begin once long-delayed World  Bank funds of $100B are received. Additional financial backing is by AIG, Shitibank NA, Banco de Brasil, and Goldman Suchs. No mention was made of the total amount of money involved, nor how the water was acquired. One wag noted that former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio ‘Little’ Lula (shown above) is driving ajugs new Bentley and Argentinian President  Cristina ‘Jugs’ Fernández de Kirchner (shown here) is sporting some new ‘assets.’

[Disclosure notice: this is fictitious. See some previous April Fools’ Day posts: 1 April 20071 April 20081 April 2009.]

Happy April Fools’ Day!     ¡Feliz el día de tontos de abril!

“You can take the boy out of the Catholic high school but you can’t take the Catholic high school out of the boy.” –my long-suffering spouse


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