Friday, April 29, 2011

UCR on iphone

For those of you who are anxiously awaiting WeTap for iphone (like I am), Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper just released their own, iphone-ready app that helps keep you updated with news about their organization, and the major river feeding Atlanta.  The app features news, events, maps, ways to get involved, and (my favorite part) the sound of the river.  Download it - UCR.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Get involved! Smartphones and public water

The Pacific Institute in California is releasing a new smartphone app called "WeTap."  Read about the project here:

As Americans drink more and more bottled water (up from an average of one gallon per person in 1980 to around thirty gallons per person today, according to Peter Gleick) the public drinking fountains we used to take for granted are falling by the wayside.  This app lets users map public drinking fountains, helping people find a non-bottled drink of water when they need it, as well as raising awareness about the state of our public drinking fountains and urging municipalities to maintain water fountains.

Get involved!  Download the app when it becomes available, and start mapping your local drinking fountains.  While there isn't an iphone version of the app yet (it will only be available on Android) this is a great idea.  Water should be a public resource - lets work together to keep it that way.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day!!

Hello Water People-

Sorry it's been a while - I was at the American Society for Environmental History conference last week.  I got to see the Salt River (see the picture above), meet with representatives from Arizona State University's Decision Center for a Desert City,  and listen to the most cutting edge historical research on water, rivers, and other environmental topics.  It was a blast!!

In honor of Earth Day, I'd like everyone to think about the water system that we take for granted.  Take the quiz at and see if you can live on the 30 liters a day available to many people around the world - only 30 liters for drinking, cooking, sanitation, bathing.  FYI - the average American uses 262 liters a day.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Fishman's new book on Water

Today on NPR's "Fresh Air," host Terry Gross interviewed journalist Charles Fishman about his new book, The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water.  You can listen to the interview and read an excerpt from the book at :

After listening to the interview, it sounds like Fishman hits many of the major points that we need to address in Atlanta - water used in energy production, lawns, recycled water and "purple pipes," increased metering and tiered pricing structures  . . .    I wonder if he has anything to say about agriculture?  Or Georgia in particular?  I'm looking forward to reading the book!

Friday, April 8, 2011

The current issue of "Atlanta INtown" features a few articles on Atlanta's drinking water.  The articles are worth glancing through, but don't really say anything new.  If you can't pick up a hard copy, you can find it online at

On another note, a friend forwarded this article to me this week:

Is anyone familiar with this technology?  I'd like to know more about it.  It seems a system like this could work well in a humid, water-strapped Georgia as a last resort, especially since desalination is not an option here like it is on coastal California.  The water produced is on the expensive side, not to mention buying the apparatus in the first place.  How can you monitor safety/water quality?  What would be the environmental impact of using these on a large scale?

Though the article is from a few years back, Watermills are supposed to be available to the public this year.  Yet for now, I'm sticking to tap water.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Peak Water

For those of you interested in learning a bit more about what "peak water" is, Peter Gleick of the Pacific Institute does an excellent job explaining the basics.  This concept is applicable in California, Georgia, and around the world.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Drought is Over (for now)

                                                           Photo of CA Sierras by chucklepix

No, this is not an April Fools joke.  Things are looking good on the water front - Lake Lanier is full, and with this year's massive snowpack in the Sierras, California's Governor has officially declared the three-year drought in that state over.  Here's Governor Brown's proclamation:

But this does not mean we can get complacent.  Though our water supply levels are deemed sufficient for the short-term, another drought is a fact of life for both Georgia and California.  Now is the time to start putting conservation and efficiency measures in place, and to come up with a sustainable plan for Georgia's water future.