We all can do our part for the planet

Reduce and Reuse: Surprising insights from UC Berkeley Professor Sedlak on what makes a city more water resilient

Cities are becoming thirstier  a 50 percent increase in urban water demands is anticipated within the next 30 years. Rapid urban population growth, economic expansion, and competing demands are increasing thirst and tightening the availability of water in areas where water scarcity is already a reality.
 
In a bid to develop concrete solutions for a water scarce future, the World Bank launched the Water Scarce Cities Initiative (WSC), to bolster awareness of integrated and innovative approaches to managing water resources and service delivery.     

Professor David Sedlak

Here, Professor David Sedlak, co-director of Berkeley Water Center at the University of California at Berkeley and Deputy Director of the National Science Foundation’s Engineering Research Center for Reinventing the Nation’s Urban Water Infrastructure (ReNUWIt), shares his thoughts on the initiative. Dr. Sedlak brings a wealth of experience spanning water quality, urban water issues, and environmental chemistry (learn more about his research and experience). He will continue the conversation on water-resilient futures alongside other experts and practitioners during the upcoming Water Scarce Cities panel discussion at Stockholm World Water Week.

 
Can you tell us about your background, including your experience with water and where it all began?
 
Sedlak: Growing up in New York and being educated in New York, Wisconsin and Switzerland, I had little experience with water scarcity prior to my arrival in California 23 years ago.  I immediately discovered that in California, every drop of water belongs to someone.  I also learned that California’s cities were pursuing innovative approaches for managing the water cycle: recycling wastewater, harvesting urban stormwater and pushing water use efficiency to new limits.  As a researcher interested in water quality and the development of more effective treatment systems, I was fascinated by the challenge of turning sewage and urban runoff into drinking water.  Within two years of arriving at UC Berkeley, I was studying new classes of drinking water contaminants that are unique to water reuse and working with forward-looking utilities to develop ways to ensure that potable water reuse systems would be safe.
 
How are you involved with Water Scarce Cities?
 
Sedlak: Over the last two decades, we have learned a lot about how cities can transition from the old model, in which cities invest in expensive, new sources of imported water, to a more resilient and sustainable approach.  For the past seven years, I have been part of the efforts of the US National Science Foundation’s ReNUWIt research center to translate the lessons learned in California’s cities to other parts of the United States.  Given the tremendous international needs, we have joined the Water Scarce Cities Initiative to share our experiences and learn from others who are struggling with water security. 
 
What have been the most surprising findings of your research?
 
Sedlak: When we started working on potable water recycling [converting sewage into drinking water], I thought that it was a niche approach to water supply that would not be widely adopted outside of Southern California in the foreseeable future.  But as more cities struggled with expensive or unreliable water supply projects just as the pioneering projects in California proved to be successful, interest in potable water recycling has grown.  In the United States, potable water reuse is emerging as one of the main options for securing reliable water supplies.  Our research has shown that we have the technological ability to reliably and safely convert sewage into drinking water.  Going forward, if we hope to expand beyond the world’s wealthiest coastal cities, we will need to figure out how to reduce the cost of the process while maintaining its reliability and safety.   
 
What is the one important piece of advice you would like to share with global Water Scarce Cities?
 
Sedlak: Creating sustainable water supplies that can meet the challenges of the 21st Century will require a change in mindset.  Our water institutions evolved during a period when water supply, urban drainage, and wastewater collection and treatment were handled separately and with little interaction with the community.  If we hope to take advantage of the latest technologies for enhancing water security, we need to rethink all aspects of urban water management.
 
What key challenges have you encountered in your work with urban water scarcity?
 
Sedlak: Among the many challenges that we have faced in our work on urban water systems, the fact that no two situations are exactly alike is probably the greatest challenge.  For example, a treatment wetland that is effective in one city cannot be built in another because the land is too expensive.  Or a reverse osmosis treatment process that was cost-effective in a coastal city is impractical 100 km inland because there it is too expensive to treat and dispose of the concentrate produced in the treatment process.  These technical challenges combined with the idiosyncratic differences among the institutions responsible for water management means that every project poses different challenges and requires the sharing of knowledge and experience.
 
What will you be discussing at the upcoming Water Scarce Cities panel in Stockholm?
 
Sedlak:  In Stockholm, I will discuss three distinctly different approaches to water reuse and urban drainage that we have studied.  After examining some of their strengths and weaknesses, I hope to initiate a conversation about how these might be applied to rapidly developing cities struggling to simultaneously address water, sanitation, and urban drainage needs.
 
How do you envision the future of Water Scarce Cities, and how do you think the Water Scarce Cities initiative contributes to global challenges? 
 
Sedlak: I am hopeful that the WSC Initiative will initiate an era of sharing and discovery that will facilitate the transition to more secure and sustainable water systems worldwide.  The world’s rapidly growing cities are going to make massive investments in water infrastructure over the next three decades.  With this Initiative, we have an opportunity to make sure that we build the infrastructure and institutions that we need for our future.
 
In your opinion, what role can experts like yourself play in working with water scarce cities in addressing the challenges they face?
 
Sedlak: In addition to sharing their experiences, experts can provide advice on proposed projects, enhance credibility, and assist in capacity building.  Increasingly, water professionals are recognizing that they are part of a global community.  By experiencing the challenges, successes, and failures that take place all over the world, we all play an important role in advancing new ideas.

Join the Water Scarce Cities panel discussion at Stockholm World Water Week!


Editor’s Note:
To learn more about how the innovative management of water scarcity in places like Malta can serve WB client countries, read more about WSC in Las Vegas and MaltaMarrakeshOrange County, and about the overall Water Scarce Cities Initiative and its events.

[Read More …]

New Block. Now What?

If you’re in the exciting situation of having just purchased a block of land, we know you’ve got a lot on your mind. Your thoughts are racing ahead to building a family home, landscaping, adopting pets, having your family over for barbecues, afternoons spent on the verandah—BUT WAIT. There’s one thing you should consider before

[Read More …]

New Block. Now What?

If you’re in the exciting situation of having just purchased a block of land, we know you’ve got a lot on your mind. Your thoughts are racing ahead to building a family home, landscaping, adopting pets, having your family over for barbecues, afternoons spent on the verandah—BUT WAIT. There’s one thing you should consider before

[Read More …]

Release of 2017 EJSCREEN Update

By Matthew Tejada

One of the best parts about working for environmental justice at EPA is that we constantly have the opportunity to engage with people from all walks of life across the United States. We hear from county commissioners, road builders, city planners, elected officials, professors, tribal leaders, and of course we hear from community members and community based organizations on a whole host of issues impacting their health, their environment and their quality of life. Over the years, it has been heartening to hear what communities have learned, and could achieve, when they used EJSCREEN.

EJSCREEN was released to the public to provide a common starting point for engagement and mutual understanding when discussing environmental justice issues. It provides people with a tool to consider impacts, to ask better questions, and to bring a deeper level of transparency to important data. EJSCREEN’s use has continually grown since it was publicly released. In two years, it has been used over 200,000 times, and we have constantly worked to make sure that the tool evolves to meet the needs of its ever-expanding user base.

I am excited to announce that EJSCREEN has some important new enhancements.

  • We improved our water indicator to show water bodies potentially impacted by toxicity and water pollution.
  • At the request of many of our local government and planning users, we have added municipal level boundaries.
  • We have included new and improved layers on schools and public housing.

And we have of course updated all of the tool’s environmental and demographic indicators with the most recently available data.

Over the past year, we have focused on expanding the ways we engage with our users. We completed an in-depth user survey to gain greater insight for improving EJSCREEN in the future. We are also generating case studies so users can learn how others use the tool in their work.

The range of uses is impressive. In New Jersey, transportation agencies are using EJSCREEN to inform initial planning for new road projects. A North Carolina-based community group used EJSCREEN to identify air-quality concerns and potential environmental threats to adjacent neighborhoods. And EJSCREEN helped Coeur D’Alene, Idaho identify vulnerable areas for greater outreach and consideration. These examples point to why environmental justice is important and how making good data transparent puts environmental justice into action.

To help our many users understand the tool and its updates, we will be hosting a series of webinars with EPA EJSCREEN experts on August 21, September 7 and September 14.

We hope that you will test out EJSCREEN to see how it can serve your needs and provide us feedback on how we can continue to improve it. You can also subscribe to the Environmental Justice ListServ so that you can receive updates on our upcoming EJSCREEN activities.

We look forward to hearing from you – and in the meantime, we hope you find the new version of EJSCREEN as useful as we do!

About the Author: Matthew Tejada is the Director of EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice.

[Read More …]

Release of 2017 EJSCREEN Update

By Matthew Tejada

One of the best parts about working for environmental justice at EPA is that we constantly have the opportunity to engage with people from all walks of life across the United States. We hear from county commissioners, road builders, city planners, elected officials, professors, tribal leaders, and of course we hear from community members and community based organizations on a whole host of issues impacting their health, their environment and their quality of life. Over the years, it has been heartening to hear what communities have learned, and could achieve, when they used EJSCREEN.

EJSCREEN was released to the public to provide a common starting point for engagement and mutual understanding when discussing environmental justice issues. It provides people with a tool to consider impacts, to ask better questions, and to bring a deeper level of transparency to important data. EJSCREEN’s use has continually grown since it was publicly released. In two years, it has been used over 200,000 times, and we have constantly worked to make sure that the tool evolves to meet the needs of its ever-expanding user base.

I am excited to announce that EJSCREEN has some important new enhancements.

  • We improved our water indicator to show water bodies potentially impacted by toxicity and water pollution.
  • At the request of many of our local government and planning users, we have added municipal level boundaries.
  • We have included new and improved layers on schools and public housing.

And we have of course updated all of the tool’s environmental and demographic indicators with the most recently available data.

Over the past year, we have focused on expanding the ways we engage with our users. We completed an in-depth user survey to gain greater insight for improving EJSCREEN in the future. We are also generating case studies so users can learn how others use the tool in their work.

The range of uses is impressive. In New Jersey, transportation agencies are using EJSCREEN to inform initial planning for new road projects. A North Carolina-based community group used EJSCREEN to identify air-quality concerns and potential environmental threats to adjacent neighborhoods. And EJSCREEN helped Coeur D’Alene, Idaho identify vulnerable areas for greater outreach and consideration. These examples point to why environmental justice is important and how making good data transparent puts environmental justice into action.

To help our many users understand the tool and its updates, we will be hosting a series of webinars with EPA EJSCREEN experts on August 21, September 7 and September 14.

We hope that you will test out EJSCREEN to see how it can serve your needs and provide us feedback on how we can continue to improve it. You can also subscribe to the Environmental Justice ListServ so that you can receive updates on our upcoming EJSCREEN activities.

We look forward to hearing from you – and in the meantime, we hope you find the new version of EJSCREEN as useful as we do!

About the Author: Matthew Tejada is the Director of EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice.

[Read More …]

Release of 2017 EJSCREEN Update

By Matthew Tejada

One of the best parts about working for environmental justice at EPA is that we constantly have the opportunity to engage with people from all walks of life across the United States. We hear from county commissioners, road builders, city planners, elected officials, professors, tribal leaders, and of course we hear from community members and community based organizations on a whole host of issues impacting their health, their environment and their quality of life. Over the years, it has been heartening to hear what communities have learned, and could achieve, when they used EJSCREEN.

EJSCREEN was released to the public to provide a common starting point for engagement and mutual understanding when discussing environmental justice issues. It provides people with a tool to consider impacts, to ask better questions, and to bring a deeper level of transparency to important data. EJSCREEN’s use has continually grown since it was publicly released. In two years, it has been used over 200,000 times, and we have constantly worked to make sure that the tool evolves to meet the needs of its ever-expanding user base.

I am excited to announce that EJSCREEN has some important new enhancements.

  • We improved our water indicator to show water bodies potentially impacted by toxicity and water pollution.
  • At the request of many of our local government and planning users, we have added municipal level boundaries.
  • We have included new and improved layers on schools and public housing.

And we have of course updated all of the tool’s environmental and demographic indicators with the most recently available data.

Over the past year, we have focused on expanding the ways we engage with our users. We completed an in-depth user survey to gain greater insight for improving EJSCREEN in the future. We are also generating case studies so users can learn how others use the tool in their work.

The range of uses is impressive. In New Jersey, transportation agencies are using EJSCREEN to inform initial planning for new road projects. A North Carolina-based community group used EJSCREEN to identify air-quality concerns and potential environmental threats to adjacent neighborhoods. And EJSCREEN helped Coeur D’Alene, Idaho identify vulnerable areas for greater outreach and consideration. These examples point to why environmental justice is important and how making good data transparent puts environmental justice into action.

To help our many users understand the tool and its updates, we will be hosting a series of webinars with EPA EJSCREEN experts on August 21, September 7 and September 14.

We hope that you will test out EJSCREEN to see how it can serve your needs and provide us feedback on how we can continue to improve it. You can also subscribe to the Environmental Justice ListServ so that you can receive updates on our upcoming EJSCREEN activities.

We look forward to hearing from you – and in the meantime, we hope you find the new version of EJSCREEN as useful as we do!

About the Author: Matthew Tejada is the Director of EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice.

[Read More …]

Corporations Face Economic Impact of Water Scarcity

Global climate change is the hot topic of our daily conversations these days. Drought stricken cities, groundwater depletion and storm water contamination are all challenges that will continue to be hotbeds of discussion. While we as individuals are concerned for our future of water and how it affects our daily lives, we often forget about the implications of water scarcity for our industrial needs and economic stability. Water is used in every facet of business. Industries that produce metals, wood, paper, chemicals, gasoline, oils, and most other products all use water in some part of their production process. Every industry utilizes water in some capacity. Industry depends on water, much like agriculture and domestic households depend on water. Industrial reliance on water makes it essential to preserve water in every aspect possible and make sure water pollution is kept at minimal levels.

Over the past decade, water treatment manufacturers have made huge technological strides that now make it possible to treat wastewater for a variety of industrial reuse. Even in developing countries, industries are moving towards wastewater reuse and source separation. The treatment of separated effluents is also gaining more attention globally. Wastewater reuse potential in different industries depends on waste volume, concentration and characteristics, best available treatment technologies, operation and maintenance costs, availability of raw water, and effluent standards.

The reality is that we haven’t even begun to solve our challenges with water consumption, conservation, and reuse but there are ways to begin to change the way we look at and consume water. According to a study put out by the EPA, there are five top ways that industries can approach the way we utilize and change the way we use water in industrial applications. 

  • Water reduction in the process (for example, less water consumed per unit produced)

  • Energy reduction in operations (addressing the “water cost of energy”)  

  • Enhanced monitoring and automated control of water use  Increased vigilance and control of indirect water consumption (for example, leaky pipes, running hoses, vehicle cleaning, dust suppression)  

  • “Fitness-for-use,” which involves treating water and wastewater to the minimum needed for the specific purpose in an industrial process, including using water in progressively less demanding processes  

  • Water reuse, which requires both energy and additional capital investment.

When looking at our water crisis now most can agree that it’s not going to get any better anytime soon. There are approaches that we must begin to look at as alternatives to the status quo. If our industries along with our communities can work together on water conservation and reuse initiatives we might have a fighting chance for the future.

Interested in learning more about a wastewater treatment and reuse system that is revolutionizing how we treat wastewater? Contact us today. 

Learn More

[Read More …]

Corporations Face Economic Impact of Water Scarcity

Global climate change is the hot topic of our daily conversations these days. Drought stricken cities, groundwater depletion and storm water contamination are all challenges that will continue to be hotbeds of discussion. While we as individuals are concerned for our future of water and how it affects our daily lives, we often forget about the implications of water scarcity for our industrial needs and economic stability. Water is used in every facet of business. Industries that produce metals, wood, paper, chemicals, gasoline, oils, and most other products all use water in some part of their production process. Every industry utilizes water in some capacity. Industry depends on water, much like agriculture and domestic households depend on water. Industrial reliance on water makes it essential to preserve water in every aspect possible and make sure water pollution is kept at minimal levels.

Over the past decade, water treatment manufacturers have made huge technological strides that now make it possible to treat wastewater for a variety of industrial reuse. Even in developing countries, industries are moving towards wastewater reuse and source separation. The treatment of separated effluents is also gaining more attention globally. Wastewater reuse potential in different industries depends on waste volume, concentration and characteristics, best available treatment technologies, operation and maintenance costs, availability of raw water, and effluent standards.

The reality is that we haven’t even begun to solve our challenges with water consumption, conservation, and reuse but there are ways to begin to change the way we look at and consume water. According to a study put out by the EPA, there are five top ways that industries can approach the way we utilize and change the way we use water in industrial applications. 

  • Water reduction in the process (for example, less water consumed per unit produced)

  • Energy reduction in operations (addressing the “water cost of energy”)  

  • Enhanced monitoring and automated control of water use  Increased vigilance and control of indirect water consumption (for example, leaky pipes, running hoses, vehicle cleaning, dust suppression)  

  • “Fitness-for-use,” which involves treating water and wastewater to the minimum needed for the specific purpose in an industrial process, including using water in progressively less demanding processes  

  • Water reuse, which requires both energy and additional capital investment.

When looking at our water crisis now most can agree that it’s not going to get any better anytime soon. There are approaches that we must begin to look at as alternatives to the status quo. If our industries along with our communities can work together on water conservation and reuse initiatives we might have a fighting chance for the future.

Interested in learning more about a wastewater treatment and reuse system that is revolutionizing how we treat wastewater? Contact us today. 

Learn More

[Read More …]

Corporations Face Economic Impact of Water Scarcity

Global climate change is the hot topic of our daily conversations these days. Drought stricken cities, groundwater depletion and storm water contamination are all challenges that will continue to be hotbeds of discussion. While we as individuals are concerned for our future of water and how it affects our daily lives, we often forget about the implications of water scarcity for our industrial needs and economic stability. Water is used in every facet of business. Industries that produce metals, wood, paper, chemicals, gasoline, oils, and most other products all use water in some part of their production process. Every industry utilizes water in some capacity. Industry depends on water, much like agriculture and domestic households depend on water. Industrial reliance on water makes it essential to preserve water in every aspect possible and make sure water pollution is kept at minimal levels.

Over the past decade, water treatment manufacturers have made huge technological strides that now make it possible to treat wastewater for a variety of industrial reuse. Even in developing countries, industries are moving towards wastewater reuse and source separation. The treatment of separated effluents is also gaining more attention globally. Wastewater reuse potential in different industries depends on waste volume, concentration and characteristics, best available treatment technologies, operation and maintenance costs, availability of raw water, and effluent standards.

The reality is that we haven’t even begun to solve our challenges with water consumption, conservation, and reuse but there are ways to begin to change the way we look at and consume water. According to a study put out by the EPA, there are five top ways that industries can approach the way we utilize and change the way we use water in industrial applications. 

  • Water reduction in the process (for example, less water consumed per unit produced)

  • Energy reduction in operations (addressing the “water cost of energy”)  

  • Enhanced monitoring and automated control of water use  Increased vigilance and control of indirect water consumption (for example, leaky pipes, running hoses, vehicle cleaning, dust suppression)  

  • “Fitness-for-use,” which involves treating water and wastewater to the minimum needed for the specific purpose in an industrial process, including using water in progressively less demanding processes  

  • Water reuse, which requires both energy and additional capital investment.

When looking at our water crisis now most can agree that it’s not going to get any better anytime soon. There are approaches that we must begin to look at as alternatives to the status quo. If our industries along with our communities can work together on water conservation and reuse initiatives we might have a fighting chance for the future.

Interested in learning more about a wastewater treatment and reuse system that is revolutionizing how we treat wastewater? Contact us today. 

Learn More

[Read More …]

PIONEER FAMILY- DEALERS SANDY AND ROB HUGHES

Sandy and Rob Hughes of Divine Water Tanks, sell Pioneer Water Tanks from Brisbane, QLD. However, most of Sandy and Rob’s customers are scattered throughout a much wider region, stretching from the Gold Coast to the Sunshine Coast—and also inland as far as Charleville and Tambo! “It must be the exceptional customer service that attracts customers from

[Read More …]