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December, 2005

And now...pure ice

Dublin, Ohio entrepreneur Peter Moenickheim thinks his Aqua Ice, made from purified water, will be a big hit with health-conscious consumers. Aqua Ice is packed in filled and sealed ice trays that consumers can buy at room temperature or frozen. Aqua Ice is made from municipal water, which is sent through a special filtering and purification process, Moenickheim said. It’s sold in packs of 60 or 100 cubes, ranging in price from $3.99 to $9.99, he said. While several companies already sell purified ice in bags, Aqua Ice is the only one to hold a patent on individual cubes that can be stored warm or frozen, he said. Columbus Dispatch_ 12/31/05

Little Falls, Minnesota didn't erase Lindbergh from water tower, research finds

It's been reported many times that the residents of Little Falls were so angry with hometown hero Charles Lindbergh's comments that the U.S. should stay out of World War II that they painted over his name on the water tower. Mary Warner is president of the Charles Weyerhaeuser History Museum in Little Falls. She says water tower story has become a sort of legend, but it's not true. AP/Star-Tribune_ 12/27/05

Book Review: All about ice; Can't live with it, Can't live without it
One approaches Mariana Gosnell's 560-page "Ice" with the queasy feeling that this book, subtitled "The Nature, the History and the Uses of an Astonishing Substance," is less about reading than karmic retribution, perhaps for never having listened in eighth-grade science class. Yet this astonishingly boring-sounding book turns out instead to be an astonishment: an engaging, literate, mischievously written and only occasionally maddening voyage, far beyond everything most readers might possibly have wanted to know about hard water. Illustrated. Alfred A. Knopf. $30. New York Times_ 12/26/05 (logon required)

Aberdeen, South Dakota bottled tap water: It will make you sexy

If people can be convinced to buy bottled water with Donald Trump on it, they certainly would have no problem buying Aberdeen water; even with a little spooty in it. American News_ 12/22/05

Gila River Reservation launches annual holiday to celebrate '04 water deal, the largest tribal water settlement in U.S. history

The Gila River Indian Community holiday, which will be observed annually, commemorates the federal water settlements law signed last December by President Bush. The signing of the Arizona Water Settlements Act of 2004 meant that after decades of lawsuits and negotiations, the Gila River community had established its right to a major supply of water. The water will come from the Central Arizona Project canals and Gila, Salt and Verde rivers. The reservation's main tribe, the Pimas, call themselves Akimel O'odham or "river people" because they have lived and farmed along the Gila River for hundreds of years. They began losing the river water about a century ago to upstream dams. Arizona Republic_ 12/9/05

Brush and flush: Americans retreat to the bathroom for internet privacy

"A significant number of Americans use the computer connection in the bathroom," said Jeffrey Cole, of the University of Southern California Annenberg School Centre for the Digital Future. Since people were unlikely to be surfing in the bath, or while brushing their teeth, Cole concluded many went off into cyberspace while on the throne. "Over half of those who used Wi-fi had used it in the bathroom," said Cole, remarking that he believed some people in busy homes retreated there for some privacy. IOL_ 12/5/05

Bottled water etiquette: Breach shocks Australian judge's sensibilities

Writing in the latest edition of the Australian Law Journal, Peter Young says the next time he lectures on court etiquette there will be "a section headed in bold 'No bottles at the bar table"'. It seems the head of the equity division at the NSW Supreme Court cannot see why counsel cannot make do with the regulation glass and carafe. However, he wrote in his editor's column, earlier this year he looked down from the bench and saw "a green bottle of the type that one gets in restaurants at an astronomical price containing mineral water from an Italian spring. What was I to do? My sensibilities had been shocked."  Sydney Morning Herald_ 12/5/05

Water lines being cleaned following sewage mixup

Fish River, Alabama-- Fairhope Public Utilities employees distributed bottled water and portable toilets to about 35 households in the Dogwood Dells subdivision on Wednesday, a day after discovering a private company's sewage line had been hooked into water lines, contaminating drinking water. Running water will not be available to these homes in southeast Baldwin County for at least two more days as water lines are disinfected and checked to make sure no other sewer taps have been attached, said Fairhope Water and Sewer Superintendent Dan McCrory. It remained unclear Wednesday exactly how long ago raw sewage began making its way into the neighborhood's drinking water through the errant connection. Also uncertain is whether any other sewer connections were made into water lines and just how far the sewage spread through the area's water supply. Mobile Register_12/1/05 (logon required)

November, 2005

Behold the endangered water vole. It lives where?

The number of water voles in the UK has fallen by 90% over the past century, according to Thames Water. But the endangered water voles have created a new home for themselves in an unlikely corner of the Berkshire town of Slough. A 1 km area that Thames Water re-landscaped for wildlife now shows vole droppings and burrowing activity. Their new home is in the Sewage Treatment Works. BBC News_ 11/18/05

The strange case of supernatural water: Florida tested 'Celestial Drops' and guess what - it didn't work

Back in 2001, when citrus canker was blighting the crop and threatening to reduce that vital source of revenue, an interesting — if not quite scientific — alternative was considered. Katherine Harris, then Florida's secretary of state — and now a member of the U.S. House of Representatives — ordered a study in which, according to an article by Jim Stratton in the Orlando Sentinel, "researchers worked with a rabbi and a cardiologist to test ‘Celestial Drops,' promoted as a canker inhibitor because of its ‘improved fractal design,' ‘infinite levels of order,' and ‘high energy and low entropy.'" The study determined that the product tested was, basically, water that had apparently been blessed according to the principles of Kabbalic mysticism, "chang[ing] its molecular structure and imbu[ing] it with supernatural healing powers." The Florida state government is frequently bombarded with new supposed cures and preventatives. Most of them are not tested by the state with government funds. In this one case, at least, it appears that an exception was made. But in a letter to the state government, Wayne Dixon, the head of Florida's Bureau of Entomology, Nematology and Plant Pathology, reported that the "product is a hoax and not based on any credible known science." He added, "I wish to maintain our standing in the scientific community and not allow [the developers of Celestial Drops] to use our hard-earned credibility" to promote their product. MSNBC_ 11/15/05

Ice water, really
North America and Europe are splitting apart, and the crack has filled with water; you can scuba dive between the continents. Iceland isn’t just cold anymore; it’s cool. Iceland grazes the Arctic Circle, but remnants of the Gulf Stream encircle the coastline to create a moderate but volatile marine climate. MSNBC_ 11/14/05

Water vapour main reason for European climate warming - study

The scientists say that rising temperatures caused by greenhouse gases are increasing humidity, which in turn amplifies the temperature rise. This is potentially a positive feedback mechanism which could increase the impact of greenhouse gases such as CO2. The research is published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. The scientists involved have used research networks and weather stations across Europe to measure temperature, humidity and longwave radiation, which plays a key role in the greenhouse effect. BBC News_ 11/12/05

Antibacterial cleaners are not any better than soap and water

Walk into any store selling soap and you'll be overwhelmed by the array of antibacterial products: hand cleaners that don't require water, body washes and soaps in colorful bottles beckoning consumers seeking extra protection from germs. But do these antibacterial products offer better coverage than plain old soap and water? And do they carry potential public health risks?  Last week, an advisory committee of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates antibacterial and antiseptic cleansers as nonprescription drugs, found they are no more effective at preventing infections than ordinary soap and water, based on a review of studies.  The Detroit News_11/8/05

UK's Parliament setting "appalling" example for water use and other environmental issues - Report
Liberal Democrat environment spokesman Norman Baker's report found water consumption was up by 58% since 1997, electricity by 45% and gas consumption by 34%. Since 1997, water usage had risen by enough to fill 28 Olympic-sized swimming pools, run 875,000 baths, take 2,800,000 five-minute showers, or leave the tap on for 13 years. BBC News_ 11/7/05

Mural comments about water, and Los Angeles doesn't like it
The mural, called "Drain," seeks to portray the fact that Los Angeles virtually bought the river in the Owens Valley a century ago and diverted much of its water more than 200 miles south to develop the parched, dusty town that has become the nation's second-largest city. That deft move was depicted, with some Hollywood distortion, in the 1974 movie "Chinatown." What has happened since the mural went up on the side of a commercial building in the Ownens Valley town of Bishop early in October suggests that although the water wars that defined the settling of the West have quieted, the hard feelings remain very much alive. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, one of the biggest property owners around here, is not happy and has retaliated with fury. It canceled a $500 donation to the Bishop Mural Society, which approved the work, and promised in a letter from its regional manager, Gene L. Coufal, to "more closely scrutinize all requests for assistance throughout the Owens Valley," something many in town take as a threat. New York Times_ 11/3/05 (logon required)

October, 2005

Water songs: Drowning in Ron Rash's liquid poetry and prose

Ron Rash, an Appalachian poet and novelist and winner of the winner of the 2005 Southeastern Booksellers Association Award, hypnotizes readers with his stories and poems about water in all its seductive forms. His powerful poem, “Last Service,” relates how a rising lake hungrily devours churches, farms and graveyards in a small Southern town. A stream is the principal character in the lyrical “Fall Creek,” a narrative that embodies the love and history of a young couple, and in the poems “On the Keowee” and “The Men Who Raised the Dead” (“if not from death, from water”), the danger and allure of the water become almost allegorical. Water is the also main character in Rash’s new novel, Saints at the River (Picador, 2004, $14). Metro Pulse_ 10/26/05

Orange County, California Sewage Unit: No place to breathe deep

So much for bringing a little spiritual awareness to Orange County's sewage workers. Blake Anderson, the head of the Orange County Sanitation District resigned Friday after coming under fire for spending about $400,000 on a spiritual-based consulting firm to improve working relations at the agency. Dharma Consulting uses Eastern-inspired teachings and specializes in "awakening the corporate soul," according to its literature. Los Angeles Times_ 10/22/05 (logon required)

Could water be the fuel of the future?

Don't go pouring water into your gas tank yet, but if you've about had it with high petroleum prices, you might be encouraged by a visit to James Robey's Water Fuel Museum in Lexington. The 2,400-square-foot museum is devoted to the history -- and the future -- of water as a source of combustible fuel. The centerpiece is a 1971 Ford LTD that the late Herman Anderson, an inventor from Nashville, Tenn., reputedly converted to burn hydrogen derived from water as fuel more than 20 years ago. Louisville Courier-Journal_ 10/16/05

In the California desert town of Llano, two weeks with no water and neighbors' dispute access to the community well

For the past 14 weeks, this remote desert community has been anything but an oasis for residents: They've been without water the whole time. Not a single drop of water runs from their kitchen or bathroom faucets. They own indoor plumbing, but can't flush their toilets. More than three months ago, they lost access to their water supply in a dispute over property rights and access to the town well. Antelope Valley Press_ 10/15/05


Liverpool to apologize for drowning Welsh valley for drinking water

BBC Wales can reveal that Liverpool council is close to making a formal apology for the drowning of a Welsh valley almost half a century ago. Party leaders on the city council have agreed the wording of an apology to go before the council on 19 October. Tryweryn, near Bala in Gwynedd, was flooded in 1965 to create the Tryweryn reservoir to supply water to Liverpool. The flooding displaced the small Welsh-speaking community of Capel Celyn and caused bitter political controversy. The resolution - to go before Liverpool's full council - will express remorse for the decision to flood the valley and for the insensitive way in which the matter was handled by the authorities. BBC News_ 10/13/05

Thirsty cows damage ancient well in UK

Work has begun to save an ancient well in Gloucester that is being damaged by cattle hunting for a drink. The herds are trampling over land next to 600-year-old Lady's Well, in the Hempsted area of the city, making the ground around the well unstable. Engineers are re-routing some of the water supply into a trough nearby to ensure the well is saved from erosion. BBC News_ 10/5/05

Now that's recycling

A massive drinking water pump station housed inside an elegant granite-and-brick building in Lynn, Massachusetts, is the subject of growing neighborhood scrutiny as city officials move forward with plans to transform it into condominiums with single-family homes constructed on the grounds. The so-called Water Works was built in 1871 and taken out of commission in 1990. Lynn Daily Item_ 10/5/05

Archaeologist wants Colorado site protected from reservoir plan

Evidence of prehistoric campgrounds — one more than 1,300 years old — may be in the path of a proposed reservoir that’s considered a key to providing future drinking water to Colorado Springs. A University of Colorado at Colorado Springs archaeologist says he has uncovered artifacts suggesting three prehistoric “occupations” by ancient nomads at the Jimmy Camp Creek area as early as 665 A.D. To protect the site, Bill Arbogast, the archaeologist who is a research instructor in the UCCS anthropology department, said he will nominate it for listing on the Colorado Register of Historic Places. He’ll submit the paperwork as soon as the city signs off — required because the city owns the land. The site, roughly the size of a football field, is near Jimmy Camp Creek, where Colorado Springs Utilities has proposed a 620-acre reservoir to store drinking water pumped from Pueblo as part of the $2.2 billion Southern Delivery System. Colorado Springs Gazette_ 10/2/05

September, 2005

In U.S., women's hards are cleaner than men, study says

Men are dirtier than women. So scientists confirmed by spying in public restrooms, watching as one-quarter of men left without washing their hands. The worst offenders were at an Atlanta Braves game. In contrast, 90 percent of the women did wash up. The results mark the American Society of Microbiology's latest look at how many people take what is considered the single easiest step to staying healthy: spending 20 seconds rubbing with soap under the faucet. It also explains why these infection experts tend to use paper towels to open bathroom doors. There is no telling what germs the person before you left on the knob. AP/Breitbart.com_ 9/21/05

Just the water hook-up at this house costs $500,000

If you have to ask the price, you can't afford the water in Bolinas, Calif.  A basic water connection in the upscale community north of San Francisco could go for half a million bucks or more. The coastal hamlet has banned new water connections for more than three decades to curb development. But a water meter from a condemned house is being put up for auction by the Bolinas Community Land Trust. Bidding is expected to top $500,000. And that's just for the water hook-up. The buyer will still have to pay for land, construction and a connection to the sewer system for a new home. AZcentral.com_9/21/05 logon required

Missouri lake goes down the drain, again
Little more than a year after it practically disappeared overnight, Lake Chesterfield is dwindling again. The 23-acre artificial lake in this affluent St. Louis suburb drained last year like a bathtub after the plug was pulled. A geologist determined that water had eroded layers of limestone, creating gaps in the bedrock. Residents of the subdivision voted to contribute about $1,000 per home for repairs, spending a total of about $650,000. " I don't think people have the stomach for another $1,000 assessment," said Bruce Colella, chair of the homeowners' association board of trustees. AP/Newsday_ 9/6/05

UK water company fights worm problem
Severn Trent says it hopes it will get rid of a midge larvae infestation at one of its treatment plants in Leicestershire by this weekend.  Many residents spotted the tiny worm-like creatures in their household water supplies. The company said it had had around 230 complaints - and admits 30,0000 homes across the county may be affected. Officials say chironimids are not harmful to humans.  BBC_9/6/05

'When I find myself in times of trouble...' take a shower with the one you love

Homeowners in Australia's drought-affected south-east corner have been urged to shower together and limit their washing periods to the duet singing of a favourite pop song. "I think it's important that to conserve water, people shower together and they sing in harmony," said Queensland state premier Peter Beattie. Beattie divulged that he liked to sing The Beatles' Let it Be, which clocked in at a timely two to three minutes. Sapa/dpa/Cape Times_ 8/30/05

Chemists teasing hydrogen fuel from water

Chemists are several steps closer to teasing hydrogen fuel from water using man-made molecular devices that collect electrons and use them to split hydrogen from oxygen. Virginia Tech graduate students in chemistry will present two posters at the 230th national meeting of the American Chemical Society in Washington, D.C., Aug. 28 through Sept. 1, 2005, describing photochemical processes. Karen Brewer, professor of chemistry, announced at last August's ACS meeting that her group was able to use light to initiate electron collection and deliver the electrons to the catalyst site where they can be used to reduce water to hydrogen. RedNova_ 8/29/05

Scientists swap lab coats for towels to test efficiency of showers
Ten Thames Water staff in Reading, Berkshire, showered beneath nine different showerheads with each shower lasting two minutes. The company says it wants to find the shower "which gives the perfect mix of flow, pressure and comfort but which is still water efficient". In England, showers account for about a quarter of a typical home's water usage. BBC News_ 8/19/05

July, 2005

£42,500 bottle of water snatched
A thirsty thief is being blamed for downing a bottle of water, valued at £42,500, at a literary festival.  The two-litre clear plastic bottle containing melted ice from the Antarctic was devised to highlight global warming by artist Wayne Hill.

American-born Mr Hill said the bottle was clearly a work of art.  He said: "It looked like an ordinary bottle of water. But it was on a plinth, labelled, described and in the programme of the whole festival."  BBC News _ 7/26/05

Fire Captain Uses Department's Water To Spray Lawn

Waste not, want not

A city fire captain is in trouble for improper use of office materials. Captain Kevin Shaffer must repay the department $120 for using a fire truck to water his yard.  All Headline News_ 7/21/05

Dripping water wins £50,000 UK music award
Musician Jem Finer, founder member of The Pogues, has won the inaugural New Music Award for his contemporary sound installation based on dripping water. Finer was awarded £50,000 to realise his Score for A Hole in The Ground which will see a disused mine shaft transformed into a musical work of art. The contemporary artwork is due to go on display in September 2006. The New Music Award allows complete creative freedom and aims to offer a 'no strings attached' opportunity to create an original piece of contemporary British music. BBC News_ 7/13/05

Illinois woman receives $74,000 water bill

Water meter suspect

It's been a hot, dry summer, but Rose Mary Cook knew there was no way she could have used $74,000 worth of water.

The city's utility department claimed Cook used 10 million gallons of water last month, charging her $29,787 for water, $43,581 for sewer, plus $893 for municipal tax.  "Luckily, when I opened the bill, I was sitting down," Cook said. "I could have filled every pool in southern Illinois and still not used that much water."  Washington Post_7/12/05

Review: Prepared to be scared by 'Dark Water'

Just when you thought it was safe to turn on the faucet comes “Dark Water,” a thriller brave enough to tackle a subject that plagues every New Yorker at some time or another: bad plumbing. We kid. It’s actually better than it sounds. AP/MSNBC_ 7/6/06

UK artist told to turn off taps in water protest
A British performance artist whose latest work, a running tap, aims to highlight water loss has been told to turn it off -- and stop wasting water.  But the local utility, Thames Water, has taken a dim view.  Reuters _ 7/4/05

June, 2005

Stinky water safe to drink

Algae in Penacook Lake, Concord's New Hampshire's drinking water supply, is causing a bit of a stinky situation. Water pumped from the Contoocook River into the lake triggered algae growth to spike last week.  While all drinking water is cleaned and treated before it reaches city taps, the process doesn't remove the foul taste and smell of algae from the water.  Officials say that although the water stinks, it is safe to drink. Miami Herald News_6/28/05  Log On Required

In the Desert, a Soul's Journey vs. Water Risk
A tribe aims to remove a treatment plant from the Topock Maze area, which it views as sacred.

In the Mojave Desert, just west of the California-Arizona border, an ancient pattern of lines inscribed on the desert floor marks out the pathway to heaven for a small group of American Indians.  Once covering 50 acres, the so-called Topock Maze is held sacred by the Fort Mojave tribe as a place of final atonement, the destination of a soul's lifetime journey along the Colorado River from Spirit Mountain, 40 miles to the north in Nevada.  These days, however, tribe members say that modern civilization — in the form of a Pacific Gas & Electric Co. water treatment plant — is blocking their road to the afterlife. The tribe claims that the plant, completed but not yet operating, is close enough to a surviving portion of the maze to disrupt their spiritual journeys. It is suing the utility and state regulators in an effort to have the facility torn down or moved.   Los Angeles Times _ 6/21/05 Log On Required

Sanitation problems plague mountaineers in Alaska

Mountaineers who ascend North America's loftiest peak are often brought down to earth by "virus-laden poo" left behind by previous climbers, a medical report says. The unsanitary conditions created by piles of human feces on Mount McKinley can cause diarrhea among climbers, which can lead to widespread problems when combined with the physical stress of a mountain expedition, according to the report in the journal Wilderness and Environmental Medicine. "They think they're going out on a pristine climb and there's virus-laden poo all around them," said Dr. Bradford Gessner, a mountaineer and one of the study's authors. Reuters_ 6/15/05

Could showers soon be a thing of the past?

In the house of the future, UK designers envision sound wave technology replacing water for cleaning jobs. Contact lens cleaners which use sound waves to shake off dirt are already on the market and the technology is being explored for dishwashers and washing machines. BBC News_ 6/1/05

May, 2005

UK company launches in-car toilet

The Indipod, made by Bromsgrove-based Daycar, is aimed at people with bowel and bladder problems, as well as families with small children. The chemical toilet is housed in an inflatable "bubble" which is powered from the car's cigarette lighter. When not in use, it folds away into a bag the size of a suitcase and weighs 8kg. To show the potential of the Indipod, Daycar did a seven-day trip from John O'Groats to the southern tip of Italy without getting out of the car.

The company says that the chemicals break down waste into a "sweet smelling, inoffensive liquid", which can be disposed of at the end of a journey. BBC News_ 5/26/05

Water music nominated for new award

The sound of water as it splashes on bowls down a mine shaft, and the digitally captured sounds of a navigational buoy out in the Atlantic: the howling wind, the heaving swell, the percussive rain, have been shortlisted for the PRS Foundation's New Music Award, in the UK.  The Guardian_5/23/05


Water can help reduce jet lag

Drink water, move around and reset your watch.  Those are some of the tips offered by TravelSmart newsletter for minimizing jet lag.  The newsletter advises travelers to keep hydrated by drinking 8 ounces of water every hour they are in the air. Yes, they'll need to use the rest room after all that liquid, but that will force them to move around the cabin, which helps to improve circulation and prevent blood clots.  Sun Sentinal_5/22/05

Lake disappears, baffling villagers
A Russian village was left baffled Thursday after its lake disappeared overnight.  NTV television showed pictures of a giant muddy hole bathed in summer sun, while fishermen from the village of Bolotnikovo looked on disconsolately.

Officials said water in the lake might have been sucked down into an underground water-course or cave system, but some villagers had more sinister explanations.  "I am thinking, well, America has finally got to us," said one old woman, as she sat on the ground outside her house.  Reuters_5/19/05


UK report highlights Water Vole threat

A major new charity report published today has revealed the water vole is under serious threat of extinction despite changes in farming practice and monitoring.  Conservation charity Mammals Trust UK says the water vole is still seriously under threat and authors have described the water vole as a “contender for the UK’s most rapidly declining mammal”.  Scotsman.com_5/18/05

Water district wants to partly drain Lake Okeechobee to restore plant life

The South Florida Water Management District proposes to rescue the struggling lake by draining it down to 12 feet -- 2.6 feet below its current level and "the bottom end of its healthy range," said district lake division director Susan Gray. The drought would take place by mid-April of 2006 and last 12 weeks, she said.  Officials hope the drought-like conditions -- confined to the lake alone -- will help clear the 730-square-mile lake of long-lingering murk that has killed off much of its underwater meadows. South Florida Sun Sentinal _ 5/12/05

Water shortage in central India causes marriage prospects in one village to dry up

In rural India, it's the duty of women to fetch water and families are reluctant to condemn their daughters to a life of hardship. The only well near Karhod village in Madhya Pradesh state is several miles away, and the women spend hours a day fetching water. Then in summer, the well dries up, causing even greater difficulty, the Economic Times paper reported. In a country where it is quite unusual in rural villages not to have an arranged marriage at a young age, nearly a tenth of the 1,200 residents in Karhod are bachelors between the ages of 25 and 60, the paper said. Reuters_ 5/10/05

In Manhattan restaurants, forget the specials, explain the restroom
New York Times Restaurant Critic Frank Bruni has witnessed many sad things in New York City restaurants. Few had the particular pathos of an elderly man at the Modern who had heard nature's call but could not figure out how - or, more precisely, where - to heed it. Understanding NY restrooms is an exercise in stress, an invitation to exasperation. You tread tortuous paths to befuddling destinations. You encounter too little space or too much whimsy, the funhouse flourishes sowing enough confusion to warrant operating instructions, which a few restrooms actually have. You wish - oh, how you wish - that you never had to go. New York Times_ 5/4/05 (logon required)

If only they'd learn to put the lid down...

Fed up with the mess created by kitty litter and inspired by the cat "Mr Jinks" in the Hollywood film "Meet the Fockers," an Australian woman has invented a toilet training system for cats called the "Litter-Kwitter." Jo Lapidge is flushed with success after teaching her family's Burmese cat, Doogal, to use the toilet. The aim is that fastidious felines should eventually be able to use a normal toilet seat. Reuters_ 5/3/05

Sharing the load: Spanish designer invents washing machine that won't let the same person use it twice in a row

Called "Your Turn", it uses fingerprint recognition technology to ensure the job of loading is not dumped on just one individual. Designer Pep Torres suggests it will make a great Father's Day gift. BBC News_ 5/1/05

April, 2005

Dave Matthews Band settles Chicago case of bus driver dumping human waste on tour boat

The band agreed to pay $200,000 to an environmental fund and take measures to avoid a repeat of the incident, the Illinois attorney general said. The bus was crossing a bridge over the Chicago River last summer when the waste poured through metal grates onto the open deck of an architectural tour boat carrying more than 100 passengers. The band, which was not on the bus at the time, agreed to record when and where its tour buses empty septic tanks. Last month, driver Stefan Wohl was sentenced to probation and community service after he pleaded guilty to reckless conduct and discharging contaminates to cause water pollution. Band spokesman John Vlautin said Wohl has been fired. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 4/29/05

Pumping water in South Africa is child's play

Roundabout Outdoors uses a playground roundabout to power a borehole (well) pump.

The company is hoping to take the concept to other African countries where water infrastructure languishes behind South Africa. The play-pump benefits women and girls in particular who can spend hours each day fetching water. BBC News_ 4/19/05

Never plunge again: American Standard's Champion toilet flushes 24 golf balls

The toilets use a flushing tower instead of a flapper and chain. Many consumers still think of American Standard as a mundane manufacturer of mundane products, but investors no longer do: The stock closed Monday at $43.85, up 43 cents. The Champion resulted from research showing that customers would buy a toilet that they never had to use a plunger on. New York Times_ 4/19/05 (logon required)

UK floods sink popular water crackers

Retailers are reporting a shortage of Carr's Table Water crackers, which are baked at the United Biscuits factory in Carlisle's Caldewgate. The factory was a victim of January floods that devastated parts of Cumbria. United Biscuits say they hope to resume production within four weeks. The factory normally produces 43 million packets a year of the cracker, which first appeared in the 19th century as a refinement of the ships biscuit. BBC News_ 4/13/05

Film Review: 'Waterborne,' an example of a filmmaker turning production limitations into his greatest asset

Writer-director Ben Rekhi tracks three sets of characters over the course of three days after a terrorist act in Los Angeles. Someone has poisoned the city's water system, making it impossible even to take a shower much less drink tap water. Bottled water supplies quickly run low and everyone's temper reaches the boiling point within those 72 hours. Hollywood Reporter/Reuters_ 4/10/05

Earth's oldest known object which showed liquid water existed much earlier than scientists had believed displayed in University of Wisconsin celebration

The tiny speck of zircon crystal that is barely visible to the eye is believed to be the oldest known piece of Earth at about 4.4 billion years old. To create buzz about an otherwise arcane subject, the university planned the daylong celebration of the ancient stone — capped with "The Rock Concert" by jazz musicians who composed music to try to answer the question: What does 4.4 billion years old sound like? AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 4/8/05

India's western state of Maharshtra tells banana and sugar cane farmers they'll lose irrigation water if they have more than two kids

Bananas and sugar cane are especially high water users. If the pending bill is approved into law, it will not apply to farmers who already have more than two children. BBC News_ 4/8/05

Now it's the cold-water wash war

Tide and Purex, two well-known names in the laundry aisle, are going head-to-head with new detergents formulated for use in cold water. Consumers who wash their clothes in cold water instead of warm water could save more than $60 per year, they say. Reuters_ 4/4/05

March, 2005

Top This: Designer sewer lids make their Southern California debut

The era of custom-made manhole covers comes to the Los Angeles-area with a 200-pound clunk. In addition to the word "sewer," cast-iron manhole covers in the community of Hermosa Beach are imprinted with ocean waves, an old-time rancho cattle brand, a modern-day house and a baseball bat, tennis racket and lawn-bowling ball — all wrapped around a stylized Hermosa Beach monogram encircled by a sunburst. Each lid is expected to last 75 to 80 years. Los Angeles Times_ 3/30/05 (logon required)

Giant planets may host superionic water

If you brought such water into a regular room on Earth, it would explode, or "go poof", said Laurence Fried of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. But inside a planet it would be hard as iron and so hot that it would glow bright yellow. Fried presented the work at the American Chemical Society's meeting last week in San Diego, California. news@nature.com_ 3/22/05

See superionic water

Paris' water officials battle the bottle; Pierre Cardin gives local tap water style
The Paris municipality has started distributing free designer carafes in a bid to convince Parisians that tap water is just as good as mineral water. Recent polls revealed that 51% of Parisians drink bottled water. The glass decanters have been created by fashion designer Pierre Cardin and carry the logo of public water company Eau de Paris and the Eiffel Tower. BBC News_ 3/22/05

No money laundering here
A Spaniard who accidentally put his lottery ticket in the wash six years ago can finally claim his 36,000 euros (£25,000) winnings. The lottery organisers had refused to pay out because the winning ticket was presented in many different pieces and they feared a scam, in which lots of lottery tickets may have been washed and then pieced together afterwards to look like one ticket. But microscopic analysis of the pieces showed the edges matched up perfectly and it would be "almost impossible" to have made them from different tickets. Miguel Carnerero bought the ticket, with the winning number 42,169, in 1999 in a bar in the Basque city of Vitoria. BBC News_ 3/18/05

Herring are bubbly company says British scientist who studies how fish communicate

Dr. Bob Batty, who works with the Scottish Association of Marine Science in Oban, is spearheading the research into how herring communicate. The fish swallow air and then squeeze bubbles out of a small opening creating a noise. Dr. Batty's work was nominated for an Ig Nobel award, which recognises science which makes people laugh. He has named the fish noise a Fast and Repetitive Tick (FRT). BBC News_ 3/15/05

Cold-weather reminder: keep drinking water

Ever wonder why an outdoor workout in cold weather doesn't leave you gasping for the water bottle nearly as much as a similar summer exertion? The only difference is that you feel less thirsty in the cold, and that can be dangerous. Washington Post/Pioneer Press_ 3/13/05 (logon required)

Pay-as-you-go: Florida lawmaker seeks toilet paper tax to pay for wastewater treatment and sewer systems

The 2 cent-per-roll tax isn't likely to pass the Republican-dominated Legislature, which frowns on new taxes. Gov. Jeb Bush has questions too. If toilet paper is taxed, he said, people might use less of it. "That's not necessarily a good thing." AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 3/10/05

School dinners around the world; In France, lunch comes with drinking water but watch out in some other countries

BBC News takes a look at what pupils in a selection of countries are eating during their lunch breaks. BBC News_ 3/1/05

February, 2005

Broken water main leads police to pot farm

Police arrested an El Cerrito, California woman, Carrie Pinkerton, 23, and her boyfriend, Nicholas Roman, 20, after firefighters responding to a broken water main on their street found about 100 marijuana plants in her home. The firefighters called police after the wanter ran into the couple's garage and officials trying to stop the flow said they detected an "overwhelming smell of marijuana." San Francisco Chronicle_ 2/26/05

Anglican bishop flushed with success over water saving scheme

Thames Water agreed to send the Right Rev Richard Chartres, Bishop of London, 900 of its “Save a Flush” devices to distribute to General Synod members as he addresses a discussion on an environmental report entitled Sharing God’s Planet. The company is hoping members of the Synod will have them installed in churches and church halls up and down the country. The device is a plastic bag with dozens of tiny holes in its sides with harmless crystals which expand when submerged inside. Dr David Cook, Thames Water’s water resources manager, said: “Installing these devices at local churches and church halls could help make a significant difference, particularly in the summer, when demand for water is at its highest." Scotsman.com 2/16/05

'Drops of Life': Photojournalist's ode to water

Pallava Bagla, 42, an Indian photojournalist whose lens has captured water in its myriad forms, will exhibit his photographs at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington. Documenting the various aspects related to water - its use and misuse, its politics and economics - has been a passion for the photographer for two decades.

Titled "Drops of Life", his exhibition will bring out through photographs the need to conserve the precious life-giving resource. Indo-Asian News Service/Kerala_  2/14/05

Is Florida's water polluted? Ask the damselfly

A form of dragonfly that spends much of its life underwater -- the damselfly -- is one of several tiny creatures the Loxahatchee River District relies on to indicate water quality in the river. And for a dozen years now, the little bugs haven't let them down. Researchers recently installed fake logs in the river's fresh water as part of a $20,000- to $50,000-a-year program to monitor the critters. Damsels in distress will signal water quality problems, said Loxahatchee River District Director Rick Dent. "If the water is polluted, this guy will croak."  Jupiter Courier_ 2/10/05

Dances with water

A 33-member staff keeps the fountains of Las Vegas' Bellagio Hotel impressive and inspiring. And an 8.5-acre artificial lake keeps the water flowing. Las Vegas Review-Journal_ 2/6/05

January, 2005

New York's Oldest

The oldest water pipe in New York City that's still is use is a 16-inch cast-iron main in Greenwich Village that was installed in 1844, only two years after the 41-mile Croton Aqueduct gave New York a central water system. Several weeks ago, workers excavated three, long-unused wooden water mains from Water Street in Manhattan. They are believed to be from 1804. New York Times_ 1/9/05 (logon required)

Irate homeowner accused of causing village of Cassadaga, New York, to lose water supply
Authorities say Kevin Burlingame used a wrench to open a fire hydrant and nearly drained the village of Cassadaga's main water tank of 160-thousand gallons of water. Police found the opened hydrant and followed footprints leading from the scene right to Burlingame's home. He's charged with criminal tampering and criminal mischief. Investigators for the sheriff's department say Burlingame was mad at the village board for ordering him to fix up his property. AP/WSTM_ 1/3/05

A boy named Tsunami

Sitting in a classroom in the capital of India's tsunami-ravaged Andaman and Nicobar islands, his 34-year-old father, Lakshmi Narain Roy, recounted the dramatic events leading to Tsunami's birth, three weeks ahead of time. "After all it is a name everyone will instantly notice and remember." Reuters_ 1/1/05

 

 

 

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