One in four of world’s largest cities under water stress

February 15, 2018 by  
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Cape Town, South Africa is rapidly approaching what has been called “Day Zero,” the moment when the diverse metropolitan area of nearly 4 million runs out of clean drinking water . While Cape Town has taken drastic measures to conserve water , it is simply not enough to avoid the imminent crisis. And now, as government and residents prepare for the worst, it’s important to understand which other major cities around the world are also at risk. Lack of water is truly a global problem; one in four of the world’s largest cities are currently under “water stress,” with that number expected to rise due to climate change, human activity, and population growth. Water shortages have the potential to aggravate already unstable political and economic conditions, which is of particular concern in cities such as Cairo . Currently confronting violent extremism and managing ongoing political tension, Egypt is also rated by the World Health Organization as ranking high among middle-income countries on the number of deaths related to water pollution. This is tied to increasing pollution in the Nile River. The United Nations estimates that Egypt will suffer critical water shortages by 2025, exacerbating the potential for conflict. Similarly, São Paulo and Moscow are plagued by pollution due to poor public policy decisions. Fortunately, this means that the problem may be fixable, however entrenched it might be. Related: Venice’s canals go dry following weeks without rain Coastal cities like Jakarta and Miami are facing unique water problems as both attempt to pull freshwater from aquifers. Due to lack of public access to piped water, residents of Jakarta have dug illegal wells, draining the underlying aquifer and actually causing the land to sink. As a result, about 40 percent of Jakarta now lies below sea level. While Miami may not be sinking, its freshwater reserves are suffering from seawater contamination as a result of rapid sea level rise and wetland habitat destruction. Even cities like London are facing a water-scarce future, with severe shortages expected by 2040. Governments can make the necessary policy changes to solve this problem, but they must act quickly. The water crisis is already upon us in many cities. Via BBC News Images via Depositphotos (1) (2)

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One in four of world’s largest cities under water stress

Scientists identify new kind of ice that requires extremely hot temperatures to form

February 8, 2018 by  
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Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Lab in California have discovered a new form of ice known as that is thought to exist within the core of gas giant planets. Published in the journal Nature , this study documents the first observed instance of the so-called superionic ice originally predicted 30 years ago. The ice maintains a solid lattice structure of oxygen atoms with energetic, liquid-like hydrogen ions moving within. While it could only be created on Earth under very specific lab conditions, scientists believe it would be stable under the extreme temperature and pressure conditions found in planets such as Uranus and Neptune . Unlike traditional ice, superionic ice actually requires extremely hot temperatures, combined with intense pressure, to form. Using a technique known as shock compression, scientists created laboratory conditions that match those found on gas giants and successfully prompted water to become superionic. The researchers noted the ice melts at near 5000 Kelvin (K) under pressure levels two million times that of Earth’s atmosphere. “Our work provides experimental evidence for superionic ice and shows that these predictions were not due to artifacts in the simulations, but actually captured the extraordinary behavior of water at those conditions,”  said lead author and physicist Marius Millot. Related: Scientists observe ‘diamond rain’ similar to that found on icy giant planets While the real-world creation of superionic ice is groundbreaking, so too are the simulations that informed the experiment. “Driven by the increase in computing resources available, I feel we have reached a turning point,” explained co-author and physicist Sebastien Hamel . “We are now at a stage where a large enough number of these simulations can be run to map out large parts of the phase diagram of materials under extreme conditions in sufficient detail to effectively support experimental efforts.” The experiment has major implications for planetary science, painting a picture of gas giant cores composed of a thin layer of fluid surrounded by a thick mantle of superionic ice. The findings are especially poignant as NASA prepares for a potential probe mission to Uranus and/or Neptune. Via Gizmodo Images via  S. Hamel/M. Millot/J.Wickboldt/LLNL/NIF

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Scientists identify new kind of ice that requires extremely hot temperatures to form

Circular water management: Still a drop in the bucket

February 5, 2018 by  
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For many large companies, water-related risks are still not a key factor in strategic decision-making.

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Circular water management: Still a drop in the bucket

How much water does a power plant use?

January 30, 2018 by  
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The world’s power plants are thirsty. We just don’t know how much they’re drinking.

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How much water does a power plant use?

The time is now for business to mobilize differently on water

January 26, 2018 by  
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The case for investing in private sector leadership on water is growing stronger by the minute.

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The time is now for business to mobilize differently on water

London to combat plastic waste with network of bottle refill points and fountains

January 24, 2018 by  
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London is taking a swing at plastic waste with moves that offer alternatives to plastic water bottles . Instead of buying another container that could end up in a landfill or the ocean , people in the city could use a drinking fountain or refill reusable bottles under a new scheme. The Guardian reports London aims to install 20 new drinking fountains and launch a bottle refill initiative. The Guardian said mayor Sadiq Khan hopes to tackle the plastic problem with a three-year, £750,000 (around $1,048,395) initiative slated to go before the budget committee of the London Assembly later this week. The drinking fountains and refill effort are part of the initiative, as is a move to stop offering plastic utensils, cups, and bottles at City Hall. Related: The world’s population buys one million plastic bottles every single minute The 20 drinking fountains will be put in place beginning this summer; locations haven’t yet been confirmed but deputy mayor for the environment Shirely Rodrigues told The Guardian that potential sites include bustling shopping areas like Oxford Street or Transport for London’s tube stations. More drinking fountains are also under consideration. The Guardian recently published an investigation revealing disparities in the provision of fountains in the city’s boroughs – some areas, like Barnet and Sutton, reportedly don’t have any at all. Under the bottle refill initiative, set to commence in five areas (yet to be announced) in February and March, businesses would make tap water available to the public. They will be able to locate places providing free tap water via window signs or an app. If the effort is successful, it could launch in the rest of London this summer. One movement working with the mayor is the Zoological Society of London-led #OneLess campaign . They will be supplying fountains and will scrutinize whether or not the moves do reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in the environment. According to #OneLess, “Londoners are among the highest users of bottled water in the UK. The average London adult buys 3.37 plastic water bottles every week – that’s 175 every year per person, and over a billion per year on a city level. Sadly, many of these end up in the River Thames and flow out to the ocean.” Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos ( 1 , 2 )

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London to combat plastic waste with network of bottle refill points and fountains

Bro Ole Scheeren completes art museum near Beijings Forbidden City

January 24, 2018 by  
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Büro Ole Scheeren recently completed Guardian Art Center, a contemporary art museum heralded as the “world’s first ever custom-built auction house.” Located close to Beijing’s historic Forbidden City, this hybrid cultural institution offers mixed-use programming from galleries and conservation facilities to a hotel, restaurants, events spaces, and even integrated public transport infrastructure. Designed to respect Beijing’s traditional urban fabric, Guardian Art Center comprises a series of nested gray basalt stone volumes at its base that echo the scale and materiality of the nearby hutong courtyard houses. The stone volumes are perforated with a varying circular pattern that lets in natural light and glows at night. A “floating glass ring” rests atop the stone base and is clad in a brick-patterned glass facade. “The Guardian Art Center is a lot more than just a museum ,” says Ole Scheeren, principal of Büro Ole Scheeren. “It’s not a hermetic institution, but rather an acknowledgement of the hybrid state of contemporary culture. It is a Chinese puzzle of interlocking cultural spaces and public functions that fuse art and culture with events and lifestyle.” Scheeren adds that the materials share symbolic value with the brick referring to the common people and adjacent hutongs, while the glass references the contemporary city. Related: Ole Scheeren unveils designs for a stunning “sky forest” in Vietnam The building occupies prime location at the intersection of Wangfujing, Beijing’s most famous shopping street, and Wusi Davie, and also sits opposite the National Art Museum of China. Given the site’s historical significance as the place where China’s New Cultural Movement originated, the designs for Guardian Art Center took two decades before passing approval by the Beijing planning bureau and preservation commission. In addition to its ties to both modern and historic design, the large structure can adapt to multiple uses thanks to moveable partitions and ceiling systems that allow for different interior configurations. + Büro Ole Scheeren Images by Buro OS and Iwan Baan

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How Microsoft computes the business case for water stewardship

January 22, 2018 by  
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Microsoft is at the beginning of a journey towards better water management, responding to increasing global water stress due to climate change, population increases and economic development. “How do we bring better orchestration and a more formalized approach to water stewardship for Microsoft data centers, manufacturing sites and real estate offices around the world?” said Josh Henretig, senior director of sustainability at Microsoft. 

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‘World’s first floating kitchen’ is a food truck for the seas

January 22, 2018 by  
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Hungry jet skiers or boaters could soon be able to cruise up to a floating kitchen in Dubai and order food. Aquatic Architects Design Studio (AADS) came up with Aqua Pod , dubbed the world’s first floating kitchen – and Gulf News said it will be coming to the city later this month. Aqua Pod takes the idea of a food truck to the water. The floating structure will make it easy for those in marine crafts to grab a snack. AADS founder Ahmad Yousuf told Gulf News there are two potential ordering systems: in one, a delivery jet ski from the Aqua Pod passes out flags to boats or yachts , and boaters raise their flag to make an order. The delivery jet ski will take orders and deliver food. In the second scheme, people can jet right up to Aqua Pod to place an order – although that system would only work for smaller crafts. Related: Floating Solar Orchid Pods Could Bring Pop-Up Restaurants to Singapore’s Waterfront What food will Aqua Pod offer? Burgers, to start. Yousuf said their client went with burgers because it’s an easy meal to eat, although they might expand the menu to include pizza or desserts depending on how successful the concept is. Electricity will power the floating kitchen. But won’t it leave a lot of litter in its wake? Yousuf told Gulf News the pod “has a built-in system that allows it to collect any trash in the sea. So even if someone makes an order from us and then throws that trash into the sea – which is out of our control – the Aqua Pod can take in all that waste into one of its tanks, which is then discharged afterwards.” The Aqua Pod can easily move around, floating to where the demand is. Yousuf told Gulf News it will start operating in Jumeirah, and reach areas like “Al Sufouh Beach, Kite Beach, and the Palm Lagoon one and two.” + Aquatic Architects Design Studio Via Gulf News Images via Aquatic Architects Design Studio and Christoph Schulz on Unsplash

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Cape Town’s water pipes could run dry by April

January 16, 2018 by  
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Cape Town in South Africa is battling its worst drought in a century – and the city’s water supply is in trouble. Authorities are scrambling to drill boreholes and construct desalination plants, but Day Zero – when water taps run dry – is now predicted to take place on April 21st. Reuters quoted councilor Xanthea Limberg as saying, “At the current rate the city is likely to reach Day Zero on 22 April. There is a real risk that residents will have to queue.” Mayor Patricia de Lille recently moved the date up to April 21. Related: 16-year-old South African girl invents drought-fighting super material from orange peels Dam levels fell under 30 percent in the first week of 2018, according to city officials – but only around 19.7 percent of that water is deemed usable. When the dams hit 13.5 percent, locals will have to start lining up for water. Locals would receive up to 25 liters, or around 6.6 gallons, of water per person per day. Reuters painted a picture of a current test water collection site, where people wait between metal fences to fill containers up via standpipes. The city could introduce around 200 more of these areas. According to Limberg, the situation has grown worse as some people have not limited themselves to 87 liters, around 23 gallons, a day. Reuters said there are many wealthy residents with sprinkler systems and swimming pools. The goal of the authorities is to cut Cape Town’s consumption to 500 million liters, or around 132 million gallons, per day – that’s half the amount the city consumed two years ago, per Reuters. Via Reuters and Agence France-Presse Images via Depositphotos and Marcelo Novais on Unsplash

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Cape Town’s water pipes could run dry by April

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