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2004 And Finally

Steam engines could be eco hope

British design engineer Glynne Bowsher and his team, the British Steam Car Challenge (BSCC), have almost finished building a super-fast vehicle reminiscent of the Batmobile. They hope the Inspiration vehicle will live up to its name and not only break the 1906 steam-car speed record of 127.7 mph (205.5 km/h), but also inspire thinking about alternative fuels for the future.  BBC News_ 12/28/04

N.C. man offers water from the cup of The King on eBay

Three tablespoons of water from a cup Elvis Presley used during a concert is up for bid on the internet.  Casual fans need not apply.  AP_12/25/04

Santa's workshop under threat from North Pole thaw; Global warming may send elves, reindeer and St. Nick to Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway or Iceland
An eight-nation report by 250 scientists last month predicted the Arctic Ocean could be ice-free in summer by 2100 because of a build-up of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere, mainly from burning fossil fuels in cars or factories. "Santa may have to move from the North Pole within our children's lifetimes," said Stefan Norris of the WWF environmental group's Artic Program. The warming is melting his workshop's ice platform. Superman also has an icy retreat, the "Fortress of Solitude," near the North Pole that could be under threat in a warmer world. Reuters_ 12/22/04

Singapore fights dengue fever with flower pot fines

People who allow mosquitoes to breed in plant pots, damp roof gutters and other stagnant water areas around their homes face a US$60.72 fine for the first offence. The fine will double for repeat offenders. Dengue fever is a sometimes fatal disease that has soared to a 10-year high in the island-state. It's carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito and has become a major international public health concern, impacting Malaysia and Indonesia, among other nations. Straits Times/Reuters_ 12/18/04

'Chinatown' 30 years later: Film's makers recall obstacles overcome to create one of Hollywood's greatest movies, the "film noir" thriller about incest and municipal corruption, the theft of rural water to quench the thirst of booming Los Angeles

Star Jack Nicholson, producer Robert Evans, screenwriter Robert Towne and assistant director Hawk Koch regale industry insiders with the troubles they had. Reuters_ 12/10/04

Tin bath on the cliffs of northern Iceland could give earthquake warnings

People from the town of Husavik have long used the piping hot water, pumped up from 4,900 feet below the earth's surface, to treat diseases like psoriasis. Scientists hope that measuring the changes in its chemical balance will provide a countdown to a quake, something thought impossible until now.  Reuters_ 12/5/04

Feeling faint? Try a glass of water

Ordinary tap or bottled water could help people suffering from low blood pressure who faint while standing, claim researchers from Imperial College London and St Mary's Hospital. According to research published in the latest issue of Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, drinking two glasses of water can raise blood pressure, potentially providing a solution for patients with low blood pressure while standing. Press Release_ 12/01/04

November, 2004

Scottish Water alters report on containing sewage smells: Residents raise a stink

Residents, who have complained for decades about the smell from the sewage works, have pressed repeatedly for the plant’s main tanks to be covered up. The independent Water Research Council, called in to assess the problem, listed covering the tanks as one of the key measures which should be considered. But before the recommendations were published, Scottish Water had the relevant paragraphs deleted from the report. Evening News_ 11/29/04

Water-filled yo-yo tops annual U.S. list of most dangerous holiday toys

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group urged the U.S. Consumer Prtoduct Safety Commission to ban the yo-yo, a soft water-filled ball attached to a long stretchy band that has been banned in some countries and is the subject of hundreds of injury reports. An ACPSC spokesperson said the agency investigated the toy last year and feels a ban isn't necessary because there have been enough safety warnings about the toy. Reuters_ 11/23/04

Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg

It's spelled just the way it sounds. The 45-letter Massachusetts lake is the longest place name in the U.S. New York Times_ 11/20/04 (logon required)

Professional lizard, closed course

To understand how the Jesus lizards scurry across the surfaces of ponds and streams without tipping over, scientists filmed them with a high-speed video camera as they ran across a water tank. National Geographic_ 11/16/04

Water fountain is the biggest sugar sculpture in Britain - and it holds water

Cathy Brown, from Worcester, has crafted a 6.5 ft tall (78 inches) water fountain, made entirely from sugar and melted down sweets. Her creation is on show at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) as part The Sugarcraft and Cake Decoration Show. Ms Brown says she spent 600 hours over a four month period designing and crafting the water fountain. BBC News_ 11/14/04

New York City Marathon's second-place finisher regrets that final drink of water

Olympic silver medalist Meb Keflezighi said slowing down for that last gulp, about two miles before the finish line, might have cost him the race. South Africa's Hendrik Ramaala skipped the last water station -- and won. Keflezighi lost by 25 seconds. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 11/8/04

China hosts World Toilet Summit: Despite promises of flushing and indoor comfort, villagers remain skeptical of anything associated with stink and filth

Most of China's public toilets are squat-style pits with no running water, toilet paper or hand washing facilities. Officials aim to use the summit to help change that, with workshops on such topics as "Toilet Management and Hygiene," "Energy-Saving Measures" and "The Humanized Toilet." Delegates from more than 15 countries will be invited to leave the conference room and do a little fieldwork of their own, with a full afternoon's tour of the city's toilets and related facilities.  Reuters_ 11/5/04

October, 2004

Con man, rain maker or just plain lucky?

One hundred years ago, Charles Mallory Hatfield promised parched Southern California he could make it rain. And rain it did. But not on the Rose Parade, of course. Pasadena Star News_ 10/24/04

Water treatment plants may have unscrupulous publicans to thank for 'beer keg' technology that measures water cleanliness

Breweries use specialized technology to check kegs for diluted beer before paying a refund.The AquaPod is a similar technique developed by an Irish firm to determine how "dirty" water is by analysing the colours in the light reflected from it. The AquaPod could save money by cutting the chemicals needed to clean up water.  BBC News_ 10/18/04

Grease monkey to clean up UK sewer system

Chips the grease monkey, a character created by Northumbrian Water, is touring north-east England, spreading the sewer worker mantra: don't pour oil, fat, including margarine,m butter, lard and cooking oil, down the kitchen sink. Cleaning grease at just one big treatment works costs about £50,000 a year and Northumbrian Water has almost 450 treatment works and 15,500 km of sewers to look after. BBC News_ 10/13/04

And the winner and returning champion is ...

CH2M HILL's Operations Management International, Inc. which took top team honors in WEF's 17th annual Wastewater Olympics. OMI's Fluid Dynamics team from Richmond, Virginia, won the Division 1 competition which tests skills in maintenance, safety, laboratory analysis, process control and collections systems. OMI manages 180 water and wastewater facilities across the U.S. Press Release_ 10/11/04

No Colorado River water was harmed to supply this Las Vegas fountain, eh?

A new import is audacious even by Las Vegas standards: water that serves no purpose other than coursing through decorative fountains, gurgling and then evaporating into dry air. The water comes from Canada, not the Colorado River, a shopping center owner assures visitors. Southern Nevada water regulators levied strict limits on ornamental fountains as part of an aggressive and largely successful conservation effort. Casinos are exempt. Los Angeles Times_ 10/10/04 (logon required)

The power of a name

Arizona's board that picks names for geographic landmarks unanimously rejected a proposal to change Lake Powell's name to Glen Canyon Reservoir. Opponents said the proposal was the first step in trying to decommission Glen Canyon Dam and drain Lake Powell, a prospect that they said could affect water supplies in several western states. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 10/6/04

Businesses want to pull the plug on Santa Fe, New Mexico's 'toilet tax'

The tax is designed to offset water use by new businesses in the desert town. Two years ago, the city passed a law requiring new businesses to install low-volume toilets, which use 1.6 gallons of water per flush as opposed to conventional toilets, which use 3.6 gallons. Businesses complain the tax has outlived its purpose and now it justs boosts the income of plumbers. Reuters_ 10/4/04

Believers bring their aches to bathe in New York City's water

The Bronx grotto, called Lourdes of America, was built in 1939. More than a few visitors believe the water is sprung from a source higher than the Department of Environmental Protection. New York Times_ 10/3/04 (logon required)

Sea of ancient microbes found atop South African mountain; Earth was a young planet when the life forms developed

A mountain more than a mile high in South Africa that rose from the sea eons ago holds the fossils of primitive microbes more than 3.4 billion years old. Dated at 3.416 billion years old, the now fossilized microbes lived beneath the shoreline waters of the ancient ocean. Their presence in the carbon-rich rock indicates how quickly the primitive but still relatively sophisticated living organisms of the mats must have evolved from Earth's earliest emerging life forms, according to Michael Tice, whose report is published in the journal Nature. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 9/30/04

Nudist resort offers showers, water to Florida hurricane victims who lost power and can't pump well water

If free and it's OK to wear clothes. The Sunsport Gardens resort gets its water from the Seminole Improvement District. Anticipating that the resort would share water with the community, the water district, operated by the owners of Callery Judge Farm, is not charging for it as long as the power is out. But, said resort owner Morley Schloss, expect to encounter nudity. Sun-Sentinel_ 9/30/04

Feature: A Lost Boy pursues dream of bringing clean water to villages in Sudan

Fifteen years after Salva Dut fled in terror into the African wilderness, he founded--with help from fellow parishioners at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Rochester, New York--a nonprofit, Water for Sudan Inc., a well-drilling project that has been inching toward fruition over the last year. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 9/25/04

Hot weather, high demand and new technique equal brown water

Stamford, Darien and Greenwich, Connecticut homes and businesses had brown, rusty-looking water pouring out of their faucets and showers the past two days because of a miscalculation by Aquarion Water Co. Although not dangerous, the brown water sent people scurrying for the clear stuff. Stamford Hospital patients washed with bottled water, a coffee shop had to close early and a Laundromat posted a warning. Stamford Advocate_ 9/24/04

NASA awards Northrop Grumman $400 million contract to co-design water-seeking Jupiter space probe

The Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter (Jimo) is part of an ambitious mission to explore the three planet-sized Jovian moons Callisto, Ganymede and Europa, which are thought to harbour oceans of probable water beneath an icy crust. BBC News_ 9/21/04

Feature: Frenchman who can see water beneath the Sahara, he locates wells for the 200,000 refugees who fled the violence of Sudan's Darfur region

Working in his 15th-century chateau in France, Alain Gachet fused together an unprecedented set of maps, including newly released topo- graphic ones from the space shuttle and previously unavailable radar ones that peer 20 yards underground. Now he's put the data into his GPS device. When he says, "Dig here!" aid workers listen. So far, the half dozen wells drilled under his direction have hit water. Christian Science Monitor_ 9/20/04

Built on a waste site for a projected $129 million, Liberty National Golf Course in Jersey City, New Jersey is one of the most expensive ever built

It's a lot of money to sink into anything built on a toxic-waste site. Toxic-waste sites, it turns out, are popular places for golf courses. Wall Street Journal/AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 9/14/04

At war against California's Shasta Dam, Winnemem Wintu Indian tribe turns to old ways

The enemy stands 602 feet tall and weighs 15 million tons. But Mark Franco said he was unafraid. His face painted with black stripes and his head crowned with eagle feathers, the 49-year-old Mr. Franco was at war for the first time in his life. The federal Bureau of Reclamation, in its pressing mission to quench California's seemingly insatiable thirst, would like to raise Shasta Dam by as much as 18½ feet. But the Winnemem, a band of only about 125 members, say enough is enough.  New York Times_ 9/14/04 (logon required)

In the time of cholera

Exactly 150 years ago London was in the grip of a cholera epidemic but within the space of a week in early September a doctor changed medical thinking forever. At that time, the accepted thinking was that it was an airborne disease. Within a week London physician John Snow proved it came from drinking water. BBC News_ 9/13/04

Engineer builds prototype of water-walking robot

With inspiration from nature and some help from research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a team led by Carnegie Mellon engineering professor Metin Sitti built a tiny robot that can walk on water, much like the insects known as water skimmers or Jesus bugs. With a chemical sensor, it could monitor water supplies for toxins; with a camera it could be a spy or an explorer; with a net or a boom, it could skim contaminants off the top of water. Oh, yes. The cost: $10. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 9/10/04

Indian court orders an end to immersion of the Hindu God, Ganesh

The court upheld a petition which said the papier mache idols contain chemicals which pollute the sea and other water sources. Hundreds of idols, big and small, are taken to the sea in Madras at this time of the year.They are immersed and allowed to disintegrate as part of a Hindu festival honoring Ganesh. BBC News_ 9/8/04

Ah, the toilet.
Innovations include urinals designed for women, male urinals with built-in TV screens, automatic seat lifters, talking toilet paper dispensers, toilets that automatically weigh the user and toilets that take urine samples. Now comes the portable toilet seat. Carry it with you for use at rest stops, while camping, traveling in remote areas or attending outdoor concerts. And then there's the flush toilet for the dog. New York Times_ 9/6/04 (logon required)

Town crier uses a trumpet and loud hailer to fight cholera in Cameroon
Emerging at dusk, when the streets are filled with farmers trudging home, boys bearing firewood and little girls carrying buckets of water, the crier sounds his horn and begins. "When you come home after the day's labor in the field, make sure you have a wash," he cries. "Always wash your hands before and after your meals." Cholera is a deadly intestinal infection spread by contaminated water and food. Reuters_ 8/31/04

After a water main bursts in New York City, it's time for the Pipe Detective
Enter Tarlock S. Sahansra, chief of mechanical engineering and quality assurance in the city's Bureau of Water and Sewer Operations. He is the water department's version of a crime scene investigator, a Sherlock Holmes of cast iron failure who has looked into about 5,000 water main breaks over the last decade.  New York Times_ 8/30/04 (logon required)

Japan's hot water scandal spreads: Lucrative hot springs struggle to come clean
Over the past several weeks, Japan's media has been awash in revelations that artificial coloring and even tap or heated well water have been used at some of the country's most famous spas, prompting government investigations and threatening to dampen a budding recovery of the domestic tourism industry. Few things in Japan are considered as sacrosanct as the mineral bath. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 8/25/04

Illinois sues Dave Matthews Band after bus allegedly dumps septic tank waste onto Chicago River tour boat
The lawsuit accuses the band and one of its bus drivers of violating state water pollution and public nuisance laws. It seeks $70,000 in civil penalties. A band spokesman said the bus driver said he didn't empty the 800 pounds of liquid human waste that poured through the metal grates of a bridge. More than 100 people on an architecture tour were showered with foul-smelling waste. The attorney general's office said no one was seriously injured. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 8/24/04

Congress considering National Geologic Trail, a four-state auto route through Ice Age flood path
15,000 years ago cataclysmic flood waters scoured Eastern Washington and carried house-sized boulders from Montana as far away as Oregon. Now Congress is considering whether to create a National Geologic Trail that would stretch from Missoula, Mont., through Idaho and Washington to the Willamette Valley in Oregon and tell the story of the Ice Age floods. The four-state auto route would be the first in the country dedicated to the geology of an area, rather than the human history. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 8/23/04


Where the water once flowed, and alas, the beer did not
Running water has been a part of life on Manhattan Island only since 1842, the year the Croton Aqueduct was completed and, amid much fanfare, water flowed 41 miles from the Croton River in Westchester County, through the Bronx, over the High Bridge into Manhattan and into two reservoirs, located where the Great Lawn of Central Park and the New York Public Library are now. Alas, the ready availability of fresh water was the beginning of the end of New Yorkers' habit of drinking warm beer for breakfast. The New York Times_8/22/04 (log on required)


Erratic water bills on St. Simons Island, Ga. traced to meter reader

Readings fabricated
Residents reported utilitiy bills varying from 4,000 gallons of water one month to 64,000 gallons the next.  Bills as high as $13,000 reported.  Meter reader gets the sack.  The Brunswick News _ 8/19/04.

UK water company tries to cash in on terror fears
A British water company is offering to supply bottled water to its customers who want to stock up in case of a terrorist attack.
Cambridge Water, which serves 110,000 households in the Cambridgeshire area, is offering bottled water at a cost of £2.44 for 12 litres. There's also delivery charge of £10.  The water is offered as a response to government warnings to prepare for emergencies by stocking up on bottled water and canned food. Telegraph _8/18/04

UK restores 17th century farm donkey wheel that supplied water

Donkey wheels were turned by a donkey. English Heritage says the wheelhouse, barn and parts of West Sussex farmhouse date from the early 17th Century. Donkey wheels were common in the 15th Century and are known to have been used as early as the 13th Century. BBC News_ 8/15/04

Scottish Water commissions special study on openness and then refuses to publish it

The report was ordered two years ago and four academics from three universities worked on it for the best of a year. Scottish Water's Cheryl Black said the document was out of date because "I don't think it reflects on how Scottish Water does business today." But one of the authors, David Miller, professor of sociology at Strathclyde University, said that's not true. The academics found Scottish Water had a "reflex aversion to disclosure" and concluded that it had failed to reach most of its targets for openness. BBC News_ 8/10/04

Scotland's new £28million water treatment plant makes water 'just too clean' says Prince Charles at opening of high-tech system

He's right, replies Scottish Water plant manager. Both suggest strict new water regulations kill too many bugs that humans need.  Scottish Daily Record_ 8/3/04

Undrinkable water from Loch Ness sparks unlikely global sales boom on eBay

"It's totally mad, I know. But there are clearly a lot of people out there, particularly in America, who are keen on the whole Loch Ness thing and getting this is clearly the highlight of their day," says Brian Ball, the Englilshman who offers it at a starting price of £3.99 for a half-litre plus £2.38 postage and packing. What's more, a competitor has started selling Loch Ness water on eBay, at a cheaper price than Mr Ball. The Independent_ 8/2/04

Beware the buffelgrass. It hijacks water from trees. University of Arizona press release_ 8/1/04

July, 2004

Clean-water advocate Chris Swain completes eight-week, 315-mile swim of Hudson River
Why? "We're looking for a pristine river, drinkable all the way to Troy and swimmable all the way to the Atlantic, every day of the year."  AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 7/28/04

Water bottles slip by Boston convention security

All containers, including cans, bottles and aerosat sprays, are not supposed to be allowed through security checkpoints, but some screeners have let water bottles through after asking the owner to take a sip from it. The U.S. Secret Service, which is overseeing convention security, is looking into the situation. Said spokesperson Lori Lewis, "There's no way of determining what the substance in those containers really is." Reuters_ 7/29/04

Water parasite causes serious illness for New York Yankees first baseman Jason Giambi

Giambi is expected to undergo more tests and could miss the rest of the season. The Newark Star-Ledger is reporting he's being tested for entamoeba histolytica, a parasite that can cause a potentially fatal condition called amebiasis. It can be transmitted through water and food before poisoning the intestinal lining. Giambi, a former AL MVP, has appeared in just 70 games this season. The 34- year-old slugger is hitting only .221 with 11 homers and 36 RBI. Reuters_ 7/26/04

Just add swamp water — then eat
Filter pack lets soldiers use dirty water or even urine to hydrate dried food rations

Hungry soldiers with limited water supplies and only dried food rations to eat could soon be using dirty swamp water or even urine to hydrate their food.  A recent report in New Scientist magazine says a new technique developed by the US Army allows dried rations packed in a pouch with a special filter to use contaminated water for rehydration.   The filter removes 99.9999 percent of the bacteria and toxic chemicals from whatever liquid is used.  The filter system was created by the same organization that two years ago developed an indestructable sandwich that stays edible for up to three years. MSNBC _7/21/04

Old Michigan water treatment plant just won't quit
Fenton residents will to have to wait a while longer for water from the city's new $8-million treatment plant. Attempts to shut down the old plant and switch on the new were frustrated by "a computer-oriented snafu" that could take up to two weeks to fix. Flint Journal_ 7/17/04 (logon required)

Bigger than a ladybug

Monster raindrops over Brazil and the Marshall Islands delight experts. The biggest raindrops recorded on earth may be a whopping 1 cm in size. It was previously thought that droplets would break up before reaching this size. Average drops of rain are between 1 and 2mm in diameter. The previous largest raindrops recorded - 8mm wide over Hawaii - were reported by researchers in 1986.   BBC News_ 7/16/04

Hey! You! Get off of my cloud

China cities feud over rain-making. One accuses the other of poaching its rain. Cloud-seeding, in which chemicals like silver-oxide are shot into the clouds, brought a good rain to Pingdingshan in dry Henan province. An official in nearly Zhoukou, which also got rain, but much less of it, accused Pingdingshan of intercepting its clouds. BBC News_ 7/14/04

Famous Japan spa in hot water over added colour
One of Japan's best known spa resorts is in hot water after being caught adding chemical bath salts to keep the famous milky colour of its curative springs.  Spa operators charged with adding bath salts to 'keep up appearances.' Getting naked with strangers in one of the hundreds of natural hot spring baths is a national institution in Japan.  Reuters _7/13/04

Welsh tap water - £58 a bottle

A pharmacy is selling an astonishing new cure for a range of illnesses - Welsh water tablets! The bizarre remedy costs up to £58 for a bottle of 100, or just £3.50 for a pack of six. The 'medicine' is said to combat a range of complaints including thyroid problems, nausea and abdominal pain.  icWales _7/11/04

Washington, N.J. ends July 4th water wars. Hey, they almost shrunk Smoky Bear.

The committee that runs the town's Independence Day parade put an end to the traditional water gun fights between the fire department and parade-goers who lined the streets. Smoky Bear's costume was nearly ruined during the soak fest last year.  Express-Times_ 7/5/04 (logon required)


June, 2004

Pisces, this one's for you
Tennessee's Zodiac Beverages, a subsidiary of Baker Energy, is attempting to capture a portion of the world's $23 billion bottled water market by personalizing bottles with the 12 signs of the Zodiac. ''The label will change each month,'' market analyst Saurabh Modi said. ''We could have predictions one month, famous personalities of that sign the next month, random characteristics or love signs.''And if you don't believe in astrology, churches and other organizations can order Zodiac water with their own logo on the label. Jackson Sun_ 6/29/04

Sisters beaten and sexually assaulted in Pakistan water rights dispute
Two sisters beaten, sexually assaulted and they and their six-year-old sister were forced to walk home naked after the quarrel with another family over water rights. Police have detained two men in connection with the assault. The girls' father had quarrelled with one of the alleged attackers last week after he was allegedly denied his turn to get water from a canal. AP/The Herald_ 6/28/04

Bottled water for pets takes off 
Seattle-based Springmill Products Inc. begins marketing chemical-free PetRefresh internationally. Try the Parsley-chlorophyll for pets with breath problems; or fish-flavored (using preservative-free Orange Roughy), targeted to the feline crowd. Chicken and natural-flavor varieties are also available. Big News Network.com_ 6/21/04

Birmingham, Alabama's summertime tip for saving water: skip one flush daily
Alabama's largest water system, the Birmingham Water Works, has more than 750,000 customers in five counties. It estimated more than 1.6 billion gallons of water annually would be saved if everyone gave the commode handle a rest once a day. If everyone in the United States joined in, the water savings would fill a lake one mile long, one mile wide and four feet deep each day, according to the water works.  Times Daily_ 6/17/04

Customer steps in to keep water running when troubled Washington state water utility fails to pay its electric bill
Puget Sound Energy cut power to Trident Utilities water system in the Rainier area, leaving 50 or so Trident customers without water, even though they'd paid their individual bills. Area resident Linda Goold took matters into her own hands, paying the $221.39 delinquent bill, plus a $5 late fee, so she and her neighbors wouldn't go without water. Trident Utilities officials could not be reached for comment. The Olympian_ 6/15/04

Missing Martian water: Where'd it go?

Some may have evaporated, some may be polar ice and some, just maybe, is hiding underground. New York Times_ 6/15/04 (logon required)

Now you see it, now you ...

Suburban St. Louis lake vanishes over the course of days. It's the old water down the sink hole trick.   AP/San Francissco Chronicle_  6/11/04

Back in Grandpa's day...
Aaronsburg, Pennsylvania water district is almost 200 years old and for the past six years, its customers have been under a boil water advisory. At last, it's over. Centre Daily Times_ 6/10/04

Antarctic ancient ice unlocks climate secrets: Forecast for the next 15,000 years--sunny and mild
Global climate patterns stretching back 740,000 years have been confirmed by a three-kilometre-long ice core drilled from the Antarctic, Nature reports. Analysis of the ice proves our planet has had eight ice ages during that period, punctuated by rather brief warm spells - one of which we enjoy today. If past patterns are followed in the future, we can expect our "mild snap" to last another 15,000 years.  BBC News_ 6/9/04

Western U.S. drought uncovers bits of Nevada history
Months after foundations of buildings in the old Mormon town of St. Thomas became visible near Overton, the subsiding water of Lake Mead reveals a concrete water tank from the construction in 1931 of Hoover Dam in Boulder Basin. Since 1998, when the lake was near capacity, the water level has dropped 80 feet. The Hoover Dam reservoir is at its lowest level since 1968, at 1,129 feet above sea level.  AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 6/7/04

Water kidnapped by the Mafia
In Sicily the people are thirsty, but not because they lack water. The Italian island receives 7,000 cubic metres of rain annually, nearly triple what is needed to meet demand. But water trickles away, disappearing into the cracks created by poor management, corruption and the Mafia. IPS 6/3/04

May, 2004
A legal battle over water in southwestern Utah

A newcomer who moved there to get away from neighbors and the government battles a rancher, and the government. Dave Brown claims God led him to a spring. But the question is: Does he have a legal right to use it?  KSL News_ 5/30/04

Los Angeles mayor rethinks trip to Israel

Mayor James K. Hahn was set to discuss trade and security issues on a visit to Israel paid for by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. His office postponed the trip after critics pointed out the City Council raised residential water rates 11% earlier this month in the midst of criticism that the DWP was wasting millions of dollars on public relations, much of it going to Fleishman-Hillard Inc., a giant public relations firm with close ties to Hahn. Los Angeles Times_ 5/27/04 (logon required)

Man swims the Hudson River urging cleaner water
Acupuncturist and Ironman triathlete Christopher Swain said the stunt is intended to encourage corporations, governments, and residents to make the 315-mile river cleaner. Environmental officials say the Hudson is far less polluted than it was 30 years ago, although 197 miles of the river is still a Superfund site.  1010WINS_ 5/26/04

30-year battle for clean drinking water ends in Jacksonville, New York

No more smelly faucets, hauling water or relying on Exxon Mobil's free bottled water. Town finally gets hooked up to municipal supply. So, how to celebrate? Champagne? Or tap water?  Ithaca Journal_ 5/24/04

In Olympics of Sludge
There are many types of New York City championships, but how many are held in a sewage treatment plant? The Operators Challenge is held annually to determine the city's highest-performing sewage treatment workers. And the winning team is...the Jamaica Hackleheads!  New York Times_ 5/16/04 (logon required)

You did what?

Princeton, Kentucky water commission increases rates 40%. Mayor asks entire board to resign. The rate increase is unrealistic, said Mayor Vickie Hughes. "Nobody increases — in municipal government — anything 40 percent."  Princeton, Kentucky Times Leader_ 5/15/04

For 28 cows and precious Arizona water, Wally Klump vows to sit in jail
"Sometimes a man has to die for what he believes in before anyone knowed he truly believed it," says the 70-year-old rancher who refuses to remove cows from federal land. Arizona is expected to grow by 40 percent in the next 20 years and officials wonder where the future's water will come from. Recycled toilet water is one idea. The retirement of ranchers is another. About 20,000 ranchers have their cattle grazing on federal land in the West, and how the land and water regulations are being enforced is the key to their survival or death.  New York Times_ 5/9/04 (logon required)

Caste clash over water

In India, a Dalit man was beaten with sticks, iron rods and axes by seven upper caste Hindu men. The Dalit, once known as "untouchable," had demanded equal distribution of water among villagers in his parched area. Express India_ 5/3/04


April, 2004

'Frankenfish' Rears Ugly Head in Maryland, Again

State workers plan to drain a Maryland suburban lake to eliminate the voracious Northern Snake Head "walking" fish.  Dubbed "Frankenfish" by local residents, the predator appears to survive earlier eradication attempts including poison and electric shocks. Reuters_4/29/04

Wyoming: Movie capital of the West; Or it will be one of these days
Sheridan businessman Bill Dahlin is bankrolling and producing "Thicker Than Water, " the first Western movie to be shot in Wyoming in many years. "You have a rich rancher that has everything but good water rights and he tries to get a hold of another ranch," Dahlin said. Billings Gazette/Casper Star Tribune_ 4/27/04

Some places in the Mississippi Delta are known for the blues. Others gained a reputation for the celebrities they produced. But Greenville, Mississippi, perched on the banks of the Mississippi River, owed its distinction to something quite different: its brown water. And they wouldn't have it any other way. Chicago Tribune_ 4/25/04 (logon required)

What would Abner drink?

Mayor of Cooperstown, New York wants to bottle village spring and call it `Doubleday Water'. And she may launch it at an upcoming Bob Dylan/Willie Nelson concert. The town is home to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Current plans call for the label to feature a picture of the village's baseball landmark — Doubleday Field. Cooperstown Crier_ 4/22/04

British water engineers start out laying a new water main and wind up unearthing Bronze Age site dating to 850 BCE
Dr Peter Spillett, Thames Water's head of environment, quality and sustainability, said: "We are always keen to bring in archaeologists particularly when carrying out ground excavations, as we realise the importance of preserving any findings and their significance to local history." 4/22/04
Ten years after the U.S. Congress imposed restrictions on the amount of water that toilets can use, manufacturers are duking it out to bring innovations to this most basic household item.  

But $5,000 for a toilet? New higher-end offerings are flowing into the market as manufacturers develop better-performing flushing systems. Reuters/Forbes_ 4/16/04

Washington state's Marrowstone Island will get improved water system, whether residents want it or not
One week after declaring a new public-water system all but dead on Marrowstone Island, the Jefferson County Public Utility District yesterday voted in favor of building it.
Debate over the system has divided the island southeast of Port Townsend. While some residents with contaminated wells need a new water source, others fear public water would promote development and spoil their way of life. Seattle Times_ 4/15/04

Ninety-nine year old Greek Orthodox minister gets shock of a lifetime: And it came right out of his water tap

Rev. Basil Constant was billed $5,000 for nine-months of water at his office. Luckily, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection offers a program to help homeowners with one-time only huge bills, caused by leaks or other unexpected occurrences. In the end, his bill was reduced to $640.  WNBC.com_ 4/13/04

Florida Keys holds Easter egg hunt with scuba diving bunny
Diver in a bunny suit hid colored eggs in sand bowls and under ledges -- all of which were under water. Sixteen divers searched the bottom of the Atlantic ocean for the eggs. AP/13 ABC Toledo_ 4/11/04
The ugly side of water in a remote California county
A dustup in the high desert town of Alturas has revived the Old West's mean side, with death threats, fistfights and a sheriff confiscating guns. At the heart of the nasty dispute is water.  AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 4/10/04

When it comes to bottled water, Americans know what they like -- nothing.

It shouldn't taste like anything, smell like anything, look like anything, feel like anything. The European bottled-water drinking public prefers spring water with higher mineral contents, which usually causes a more distinct flavor.  Atlanta Journal-Constitution_ 4/9/04

Bremerton, Washington radio station's April Fools joke gets DJs suspended

The radio station suspended Robin Erickson and John Maynard for one day after they played a three-hour joke that said the Navy contaminated the city's water supply with dihydrogen monoxide -- the chemical name for water. Phyllis Mann, director of Kitsap County Emergency Management, said she and her staff spent about five hours fielding calls from concerned residents. Other city and county agencies also received calls.The Sun Link 4/3/04

April Fool. Radio station reports Bremerton, Washington's water supply was contaminated with dihydrogen monoxide (that's H2O)
Kathleen Cahall, Bremerton's water resources manager, said the prank put a great stress on her staff as well as other city and county agencies because they had to respond to it seriously. She said they received constant phone calls from concerned customers. The Sun Link 4/2/04

March, 2004

Philadelphia brings in dogs to shoo Canada geese from drinking water
Within weeks, the plump fowl that hang out near the Belmont Water Treatment Plant will be toddling frantically away from border collies that are trained to chase but not to bite. Philadelphia Daily News 3/29/04_

Who me? Housework sermon sparks imam boycott
A Muslim preacher in eastern Turkey says he is being boycotted for asking village men to help women carry water from the well. BBC News 3/27/04

Popular Austrian artist's toilet is a tourist attraction in New Zealand

But the popularity of the avant-garde toilet bequeathed by Frederick Hundertwasser is becoming an inconvenience. 3/18/04

In Kentucky, rural water haulers are still a way of life

Glenn Moore doesn't advertise and his company phone number isn't even listed in the phone book. Roughly 13 percent of  the state's population does not have access to a public water system. The Kentucky Post 3/15/04

California town's residents concerned about water contamination from dog park
Bradley Litz has asked the Lodi City Council to take a renewed look at the city's dog park, even calling for an environmental impact report to study not only water quality, but air quality as well. Lodi News-Sentinel 3/13/04

Duel over water kills elderly cousins
Two Mexican peasant farmers, cousins aged 70 and 85, argued for years over water rights and finally faced off in an old-fashioned pistol duel that killed them both, a judicial official said yesterday. Reuters/The Guardian 3/11/04

February, 2004

Wild about water
Sue Morris loves water, not only to drink but to collect in bottles and jars. "It would be cool to follow a molecule of water back to see where it had been," Morris says.

Bakersfield Californian 2/28/04

Roman Paris was not in Paris. But they knew how to build a sewage system.

The historic Paris captured by Julius Caesar in 52 BC lay not on the island in the centre of the modern French capital but in a suburb six miles to the west, according to new archaeological evidence. Ditches drained away waste water and each home possessed its own stone-lined well. AFP/Expatica 2/26/04

No hard feelings. Head of California Water Board is guest speaker to group that is suing him. Happens a lot, he says. KRT/Miami Herald 2/20/04

A 250-year-old underground water system is discovered in India. It's in such good shape, it might help with the area's current water shortage. PTI/ 2/16/04

Mystery solved. A major water leak that baffled an Ohio town for more than a week, finally is located. Broken main in the basement of a burned out building sent 5.6 million gallons down the drain. Chillicothe Gazette 2/14/04

French battle the butts. Skiers toss so many from lifts, it pollutes the water. Cigarette butts under a single lift could contaminate the equivalent of 500 private swimming pools, officials say. AFP/Expatica 2/13/04

Is that water stale? Probably not. But only New Jersey knows for sure. Wall Street Journal/Seattle Post Intelligencer 2/12/04

Water no worry for Americans. Let your thirst be your guide, says National Academies of Sciences. Reuters 2/11/04

British archaeologists discover a 2,000-year-old water main built by the Romans. And it still worked. BBCNews 2/6/04

Guest's request for a glass of water turns British hotel keeper into a Basil Fawlty clone. He gripes about guest spending $32 for a meal and wanting free tap water too.  AP/Yahoo News 2/6/04

Prehistoric 'vampire' fish turns up in water supply for British power plant. And yes, it's alive. BBC News 2/5/04

Thousands of Scottish homes could soon get high-speed internet access from the sewer. Scottish Water pilot program to determine if running cable through the sewer system saves money and avoids tearing up streets. BBC News 2/2/04

January, 2004

Please don't shoot the water tower. Illinois community losing 4,000 gallons of water a day to bullet hole leaks. Water tower ladder too icy to climb for repairs. The Southern Illinoisan 1/31/04

New inventions turn sea and air into drinking water.  Reuters 1/30/04

Washington state prison employee falsifies wastewater records. Nabbed by state ecology investigators.  The Olympean 1/26/04

Is happiness a warm toilet seat? You betcha. And sprayers too. Wall Street Journal/San Francisco Chronicle 1/22/04

King of Tonga gets a taste of Long Beach, California's desalinated water. Pilot project eventually may help world's smallest nation which imports 100% of its drinking water. AP/Mercury News 1/20/04

A $3 million sewage system is cleaning up the trademark stream at Frank Lloyd Wright's Pennsylvania house. More than 140,000 visitors come to the house in the woods each year. AP/San Francisco Chronicle 1/19/04

Weeki Wachee settlement may end Florida legal battle over water utility. But what happens to the mermaid? St. Petersburg Times 1/14/04

BYOB _ water, that is _ at summit between Bush and Fox in Mexico.  AP/San Francisco Chronicle 1/13/04

'Share your bath', Filipinos told. Government worried about water shortage, particularly in Manila.  BBC News 1/9/04

Russian scientists begin study of fresh water lake near the South Pole. Antartic expedition hopes to bring water to the surface for the first time in a million years. They'll also build a sauna. ITAR-TASS 1/6/04



2004 And Finally
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