You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2008.

Half of the world’s poor suffer from waterborne disease, and nearly 6,000 people – mainly children – die each day by consuming unsafe drinking water.

LifeStraw® water purifiers have been developed as a practical way of preventing disease and saving lives, as well as achieving the Millennium Development Goal of reducing by one-half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe water by the year 2015.


Know H2O is an education initiative from Play Pumps International. The site offers information for students and teachers about water through a variety of educational activities

“Is bottled water safer than the water that comes out of our taps?” This and other important questions are taken up in the Frontline/World www site in a specific section concerned with bottled water. Users can “click on the water bottle to learn more about this $22 billion business, and read what non-governmental organizations, bottled water companies and environmental groups have to say about the fastest-growing beverage industry in the world.” Click on the link below to find out what is in your water bottle.

Published: June 22, 2008
The New York Times

CANTON, Mo. — The levees along the Mississippi River offer a patchwork of unpredictable protections. Some are tall and earthen, others aging and sandy, and many along its tributaries uncataloged by federal officials.

he levees are owned and maintained by all sorts of towns, agencies, even individual farmers, making the work in Iowa, Illinois and Missouri last week of gaming the flood — calculating where water levels would exceed the capacity of the protective walls — especially agonizing.

After the last devastating flood in the Midwest 15 years ago, a committee of experts commissioned by the Clinton administration issued a 272-page report that recommended a more uniform approach to managing rising waters along the Mississippi and its tributaries, including giving the principal responsibility for many of the levees to the Army Corps of Engineers.

Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, June 14, 2008; Page A01

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa, June 13 — The sun finally broke through the layers of clouds on Friday, a reassuring presence after a week of rain. But as residents in and around this eastern Iowa city surveyed their waterlogged landscape, they did not like what they saw.

“It looks like Katrina,” said a man in a pickup truck who declined to give his name. He was stuck in traffic that was at a standstill for 10 miles on the interstate north of the city, gazing at the Quaker Oats factory and buildings sitting in several feet of water.

Locals said the flood that hit Iowa’s second-largest city is far worse than the deluge of 1993. About 25,000 residents have had to leave, and hundreds of homes and businesses have been damaged, many of them severely.

By Maria Sudekum Fisher

GULFPORT, Ill. (AP) — Floodwaters breached another levee in Illinois on Wednesday and threatened more Mississippi River towns in Missouri after inundating much of Iowa for the past week.

The breach in Meyer, in western Illinois, forced the evacuation of the town of 40 to 50 people and threatened its farmland, Adams County Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Julie Shepard said. Authorities patrolled the town Wednesday morning to make sure no one was left behind, she said.

Officials monitored levees in other Mississippi River towns in Illinois and Missouri in hopes that they would hold.

The Summer 2008 copy of the Northern Now magazine features a story about our own Manny Hernandez. Below you will find a link to the newsletter (PDF). Among other important stories you will find a feature on Manny and his global humanitarian work with ceramic water filters. Once you download the magazine, go to page 12 (page number revealed at bottom of screen) to see the article on Manny and his work.

Bravo, Manny.

We held our most recent Filter Friday yesterday. We created one large filter and build and fired a small wood kiln to fire two mini filters. Our intention was to build a small kiln that we could fire in a short amount of time for use with demonstrations, workshops, and other educational events. We started using tightly rolled newspapers as the fuel and then switched to wood. The firing lasted a little less than three hours and the filters almost reached a low bisque temperature. The pyrometer reading was 1300 degrees F which is about 700 degrees C; not quite hot enough for all organic matter to have burned out (based on this firing and temperature chart), and therefore, not quite the bisque temperature we wanted. A longer firing should help get us there. We are looking forward to building and firing the next one.

Here are some images of the kiln, the firing, and the filters. We used soft bricks given to us by Joy Pottery in Bryan, Texas. Joy Pottery dismantled their gas kiln (the kiln where we fired the previous mini filters and large filters) and is in the process of building a new kiln shed for their new gas kiln. We will use the bricks for the mini filter wood kiln and a larger kiln either here for our local kiln or as part of our project in the Colonias.

The mini filters seem to filter water at the proper filtration rate of about two liters per hour, although their surface in some places becomes a bit soft.

Here are a few excerpts from the R L Wilson www site (

R L Wilson, P.C. is a San Antonio law firm dedicated to aggressively advocating our clients’ interests in a wide array of civil and administrative legal matters throughout the State of Texas. While we maintain a fervent interest in water law, our practice is varied and we represent a diverse assortment of interests…

Mark Twain is credited with saying “Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fightin”. These words are as true in South Central Texas as anywhere.

Water is our most valuable resource, and has become increasingly scarce with the Texas population explosion. Naturally, ownership, control and use of this resource carry tremendous legal and financial implications. Meanwhile, multiple layers of governmental regulation have made acquisition, development, marketing, use and transmission of water increasingly complex. Navigation of this web of regulation requires experienced and knowledgeable legal counsel…

PERRIS, Calif. — As California faces one of its worst droughts in two decades, building projects are being curtailed for the first time under state law by the inability of developers to find long-term water supplies.

Water authorities and other government agencies scattered throughout the state, including here in sprawling Riverside County, east of Los Angeles, have begun denying, delaying or challenging authorization for dozens of housing tracts and other developments under a state law that requires a 20-year water supply as a condition for building…

“Businesses are telling us that they can’t get things done because of water,” Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, said in a telephone interview.

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