The weekly wash-up (November 4th)

The week that was in river and water news – November 4th, 2013

California river restoration an uphill battle   The upper San Joaquin’s once abundant salmon run began diminishing in the late 1800s because of mining, dams and other man-made diversions. Eight years of work has been undertaken so the river can carry enough water to allow spring and fall runs of Chinook salmon. But reversing years of mismanagement isn’t cheap or straightforward. Land  subsidence means engineers must figure out how to make the river run uphill. And farms, barns and roads are in the way of a river that wants to return to its marshy expanse.

Mammoth Pool reservoir on the San Joaquin River, California. Developments such as these have contributed to the decline of salmon populations. Photo by: Richard E. Ellis.

Mammoth Pool reservoir on the San Joaquin River, California. Developments such as these have contributed to the decline of salmon populations. Photo by: Richard E. Ellis.

Murray River’s “threatened” listing may be overturned  The listing of the Murray River as a threatened ecological community may be overturned, with the Environment Minister undertaking a review of the listing process. The former government’s independent Threatened Species Scientific Committee considered the nomination, and opened it to interested parties for their views. The listing has angered irrigators who say they weren’t consulted.

How much water goes into making a bottle of water?   The International Bottled Water Association says 1.39 litres. That compares with the global averages of a litre of soda, which requires 2.02 L of water,  a litre of beer (4 L), and wine (4.74 L). But water activists say the IBWA study does not calculate a true water footprint which  includes all freshwater used in production, including the water used for packaging. The water used in packaging could be up to six or seven times what’s inside the bottle.

Water experts want mines put on hold  In an open letter to the federal Environment Minister, 13 water science experts from across Australia urged the government to reject any mining proposals that would adversely impact water supplies in communities. The experts say no coal mines should be approved until a cumulative impact assessment of how coal mines in the Galilee Basin effect water resources is under undertaken and complete. They say mining and coal seam gas extraction can damage aquifers, rivers and water catchments.

Plans to ‘harvest’ floods could hold water for Darwin  The Northern Territory Government is investigating a number of projects to increase Darwin’s water supply. Work has begun on testing the feasibility of harvesting wet season flood flows from the Adelaide River. Long-standing plans to build the Upper Adelaide River Dam, (5km upstream of the Adelaide River township, Marrakai Dam (south-east of Darwin) and converting Manton Dam (south of Darwin) are all being reinvestigated.
Fogg Dam on the Adelaide River floodplain where more river regulation is proposed. Photo by: Bidgee

Fogg Dam on the Adelaide River floodplain where more river regulation is proposed. Photo by: Bidgee

Making stores ‘water neutral’: a new standard for supermarkets?   Sainsbury’s brand new store in Weymouth is pitched as the most sustainable Sainsbury’s in England. On site technology such as a rainwater harvesting system, and water-efficient technologies reduce water usage by 70%. The remaining 30% that the retailer requires for operational use is then offset through a water saving partnership with two local schools. This enables the company to claim its water footprint is neutral.

Increase water use efficiency says India’s president   India is home to 17% of the global population but has only 4% of its water resources, and so it is vital to focus on water use efficiency, President Pranab Mukherjee said recently. The President said that in the past, focus was laid primarily on augmenting the quantity of water available without giving due attention to the manner in which the water will be used or managed. “A paradigm shift from water resource development to integrated water resource management is now necessary,” he said.

Advertisements