The weekly wash-up (November 18)

The week that was in river and water news – November 18th, 2013

California water atlas seeks to clarify water issues  In California, few issues are as divisive as water. However access to data about groundwater levels, pollutants and who owns the rights to siphon water from rivers and aquifers is difficult to extract from government websites. The New California Water Atlas, contains interactive maps powered by government data. First posted earlier this year is a map comprised of 50,000 records shows who owns water rights, and where. The atlas will grow and change over the years as new information becomes available.

Water Corp fears sewer blockages The West Australian Water Corporation has warned of increasing sewer system blockages and environmentally damaging overflows as growing demand and budget cuts hamper efforts to maintain the ageing network. According to the Water Corp, its system of sewer mains was operating within the relevant guidelines but was coming under increasing pressure and could soon be prone to unacceptable risks. The Shadow water minister said he doubted the Water Corp was struggling to fund maintenance, given suggestions by the economic watchdog that it was overcharging for its services.

Murray-Darling Basin: SA funding threat pressures NSW   New South Wales last year cut its contribution to the MDBA by 60%. South Australia’s Minister for the Murray, is now threatening his state will cut its $26.5 million backing by about half unless New South Wales boosts its funding.

The Nattai River - on of the rivers that supplies Sydney's drinking water. Photo by: Flickr user lockthegate

The Nattai River – one of the rivers that supplies Sydney’s drinking water. Photo by: Flickr user lockthegate

Ban on CSG in Sydney’s water supply catchments   The New South Wales Government has imposed an immediate hold which will stop any activities related to the commercial exploration or extraction of natural gas from coal seams within Sydney’s Special Areas. The hold will be imposed pending a NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer investigation. The “Stop CSG Sydney Water Catchment” groups says “a moratorium in our special areas is fine, but that is only temporary relief and the special areas are only a part of a much greater area that is Sydney’s drinking water catchment”.

Futuristic shower cuts bills by over $1000  In the United States alone 1.2 trillion gallons of water are used every year for showering. A new shower has been designed based on those used in space where astronauts go for years without a fresh supply of water. It works on a “closed loop system:” hot water falls from the tap to the drain and is instantly purified to drinking water standard and then pumped back out of the showerhead. As a result, it saves more than 90% in water usage and 80% in energy every time you shower. This year, the showers were installed for the first time in a coastal bathing house in Sweden.

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