Fun Fact Friday: Water and News Related

News/ Previous Post Related:

  • On October 26, 2012 Treasure Island, California were without water service for 12 hour and then required to boil drinking water until Monday, October 29 when the boiling notice was lifted. It appears that a water main ruptured, the cause was aging. The 18in cast iron water main was likely an original pipe part of the infrastructure built in the 1930’s when the U.S. Navy inhabited the island.
  • New York City, Long Island Impose gas rationing system to curb long lines at gas stations. Drivers with license-plate numbers ending in an odd number to get gas on odd days and even license plates numbers to get gas on even days. License plates ending in letters are considered an odd number.
  • Laos approves a mega dam on the Mekong river. One of 14 new dams proposed for the Mekong river.
  • Four teenage girls in Africa have invented a generator powered by pee. Urine is put into an electrolytic cell, which cracks the urea into nitrogen, water, and hydrogen. The hydrogen goes into a water filter for purification, which then gets pushed into the gas cylinder. The gas cylinder pushes hydrogen into a cylinder of liquid borax, which is used to remove the moisture from the hydrogen gas. This purified hydrogen gas is pushed into the generator. 
Water Facts:
  • An adult’s body is roughly made up of 70% water. At birth, water accounts for approximately 80% of an infant’s body weight.
  • Water Intoxication: Drinking too much water too quickly can lead to water intoxication. Water intoxication occurs when water dilutes the sodium level in the bloodstream and causes an imbalance of water in the brain
  • The United States uses about 346,000 million gallons of fresh water every day. The United States uses nearly 80 percent of its water for irrigation and thermoelectric power.
  • Consumption in the United States: “8.6 billion gallons of bottled water.” There are approximately 300 million people in the U.S., so it works out to about 29 gallons per person per year.
  • Approximately 85 percent of U.S. residents receive their water from public water facilities. The remaining 15 percent supply their water from private wells or other sources.
  • Water leads to increased energy levels. The most common cause of daytime fatigue is mild dehydration.
  • There are more than 2100 known drinking water contaminants that may be present in tap water, including several known poisons.
  • According to the EPA, lead in drinking water contributes to 480,000 cases of learning disorders in children each year in the United States alone.
  • Tap water often contains at least as much, if not more, chlorine than is recommended for use in swimming pools.
    • More chlorine enters the body through dermal absorption and inhalation while showering than through drinking tap water
  • Chlorine is a suspected cause of breast cancer. Women suffering from breast cancer are all found to have 50-60% more chlorine in their breast tissue than healthy women.
  • Even MILD dehydration will slow down one’s metabolism as 3%.
  • Drinking five glasses of water daily decreases the risk of colon cancer by 45%, plus it can slash the risk of breast
    cancer by 79%., and one is 50% less likely to develop bladder cancer.
  • A rat can last longer without water than a camel. 
  • The price of bottled water is up to 10,000 times the cost of tap water.
  • Americans spend $4 billion per year on bottled water.

 

Thirst for Clean Drinking Water…. Charles Fishman

Great fact-packed NPR interview of Charles Fishman, author of “The Big Thrust.” Below are some of the fun facts that opened the interview that caught my eye

  • Launch space shuttle: water on the take off platform absorbs sound so that the sound does not rip apart the space shuttle.
  • Microwave oven spins water molecules to about a billion per second to heat food (why microwave pizzas are soggy)
  • Power plants use five times as much water as all residents. The electricity used in homes is about 250 gallons per day while  individual water consumption is only 99 gallons a day. Roughly 10 gallons of water per 1 hour of coal-based energy. 1/6 liters of water goes to leakage
Sin City Case Study:
Patricia Mulroy took control of Las Vegas water usage after having to see that its main source of water was from Lake Mead, is restricted by federal law to extract 300,000 acre-feet of water (lowering Lake Meade by 2-3 feet). Therefore she attempted to change the culture of the inhabitants in Las Vegas by) replacing lawns with zero-scape, making it illegal to let your sprinkler spray on a sidewalk and made it illegal to drain your swimming pool or hot tub into a storm drain. Las Vegas will even pay you $40,000 an acre to remove your lawn (depending on scale). Incentivizing zero-scape (desert landscaping use little to know the water. As a result, Las Vegas has been able to recapture almost all of its water (94% water recycling returning water back to Lake Meade). Las Vegas uses the same amount of water today as it did in 2000 despite a 50% increase in size. The golf course now have water budgets (600 million gallon and decreased by 50%) but still each whole of golf with the new regulations requires 139 gallons of water in Las Vegas.
Turning Point:
Similar quantities of money are spent on bottled (questionable) water ($21 billion annually) as is on maintaining water systems ($29 billion annually). Orlando Florida (Orange County) 25 years ago implemented a grey water system (purple pipe system) for lawn watering, athletic fields, and construction sites. The City has grown by two percent, and the water consumption of water has not had to increase water use. 
Changing Company Mindsets:
IBM now uses water efficiency as a business tool. Ultra pure water uses a tremendous amount of water (12 steps of filtration past desalination) 2 million gallons of ultra-pure water is used per day in an IBM computer chip plant. Reconstructed their water usage in their plants and over ten years they reduced water consumption by a third but in that same period they increased chip production by a third. “The Big Thrust” is on my “to do” list just to see what other solutions and situations Charles Fishman has come across in his research on water.