Sustainable Practices

Bottled Water: Why It’s Bad for You, the Environment, and Water – Part III

Part III: Why Bottled Water is Bad for Water Welcome to Part III of Bottled Water: Why It’s Bad for You, the Environment, and Water.  In Part III I’ll be looking at the impacts that bottled water has on water itself (and therefore on the communities and environment near this water).  First I wanted to say thanks to everyone that has been commenting on Part I and II.  It’s been great to hear your thoughts and discuss the tragedy whichcontinue reading

APFAMGS: Teaching Farmers to Use Groundwater Sustainably

In an effort to always be learning something new that’s going on in the world of water I spend a lot of time searching the internet and reading various studies and articles.  This week I came upon a very interesting program that was done in the Andhra Pradesh region of India.  The program, which is appropriately called the Andhra Pradesh Farmer Managed Groundwater Systems (APFAMGS), covered 638 villages in seven districts that are prone to drought (Anantapur, Chittoor, Cuddapah, Kurnool,continue reading

Mazhapolima: Keeping Water in your Well Year Round

In regions receiving heavy monsoon rains followed by dry spells people are always looking for ways to take advantage of all that water.  For the people of Kerala, a state in the south-western part of India, the answer has come in the form of Mazhapolima.  Mazhapolima is a community based well recharge program started in 2008 by Mr. Kurian Baby, former District Collector and current Senior Program Officer, South Asia and Latin America team at IRC International Water and Sanitationcontinue reading

Water Heroes: Ma Tsepo Khumbane – Harvesting Rainwater to Grow Crops

This week’s water hero, Ma Tsepo Khumbane, is a retired social worker and development activist who has spent the last 40 years fighting poverty and malnutrition by teaching South Africa’s poor how to harvest rainwater to be used to grow their own crops, as well as speaking out for better sanitation and hygiene practices.  Due to her extraordinary efforts she has received the Katlego Award of Spirit of Hope and South Africa’s Women in Water Award, but maybe even morecontinue reading

Water Heroes: Chewang Norphel – The “Ice Man”

The “Ice Man”.  Sounds like a pretty cool super hero, and he kind of is.  But you won’t find this super hero up on the big screen; you’ll find him in the Himalayas.  The Ice Man is actually 76 year old Chewang Norphel, a retired engineer in India that came up with an ingenious way to provide water to rural villages: artificial glaciers. Chewang grew up in Ladakh, a remote part of India high in the mountains near the Himalayas. continue reading

The SFPUC’s New Headquarters: The Greenest Building in the US?

Yesterday I had the opportunity to tour the new headquarters for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC); a building which they say is one of, if not the, greenest building in the nation.  We will know for sure after they go through the US Green Building Council’s LEED certification, after which they plan to receive a LEED Platinum rating, the highest rating available. First, let me say that the building is beautiful inside and out, but that’s not reallycontinue reading

Pakistan, Flooding, and Agroforestry

Pakistan is a place with an extreme climate that can go from scorching hot to cold pounding rains throughout the year.  The hottest temperature on the continent of Asia and the fourth highest temperature in the world was recorded in Pakistan at 128.3 F.  It also deals with cyclones and tornados with the onset of the monsoon season from April to July.  However, the most devastating climate related event may be the flooding in Pakistan. In 1950 flooding killed 2,910continue reading

Water Saving Technologies: Film Farming

I recently ran across an article on an amazing new technology being introduced in the farming industry called film farming.  This system was released by Dubai-based owners Agricel back in March, but has been in development for a number of years.  Realizing that the world will be facing water and food shortages in the coming years Agricel wanted to come up with a solution, and it looks like they did.  This technology reduces the amount of water and fertilizer neededcontinue reading

Water Heroes: Rajendra Singh – The “Waterman of India”

Welcome to this week’s edition of Water Heroes where we’ll be meeting Rajendra Singh, also known as the “waterman of India”, “bearded man of check dams”, or “elder brother” depending on who you ask.  As a big proponent of traditional water harvesting methods and appropriate technology I was amazed at all that Rajendra has done over the years to help people in India to revive their watershed, and in turn return to their traditional ways of life.  Also impressive iscontinue reading

Water Heroes: Kellogg Schwab

Welcome to another edition of Water Heroes.  Today I’m writing about Kellogg Schwab who is a Professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and Director the JHU Center for Water and Health.  He also went on to start the JHU Global Water Program which combines several disciplines from the school to address issues with water.  Their goal is to find sustainable and accessible solutions to water needs throughout thecontinue reading

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