Who’s water is it anyway? Robin Autenrieth, Ph.D., P.E. Civil Engineering, TAMU and Environmental & Occupational Health, HSC "Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans" Jacques Cousteau There is the same amount of water on Earth as there was when the Earth was formed. The water from your faucet could contain molecules that dinosaurs drank. Nearly 97% of the world’s water is salty or otherwise undrinkable. Another 2% is locked in ice caps and glaciers. That leaves just 1% for all of humanity’s needs — all its agricultural, residential, manufacturing, community, and personal needs. The average distance that women in Africa and Asia walk to collect water is six kilometers. http://blueplanetrun.org/water In many countries, the water problem is the primary reason people are unable to rise out of poverty. Women and children bear the burdens disproportionately, often spending 6 hours or more each day fetching water for their families and communities. Some 6,000 children die every day from disease associated with lack of access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene - equivalent to 20 jumbo jets crashing every day. In the past 10 years, diarrhea has killed more children than all the people lost to armed conflict since World War II. A person can live about a month without food, but only about a week without water. http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.newscientist.com/data/images/ns/cms/dn5011/dn5011-1_549.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn5011-climate-changeheralds-thirsty-times-ahead.html&usg=__sloiR8QwjRPwWzTSmah3yDbVnk=&h=388&w=549&sz=38&hl=en&start=18&um=1&tbnid=uSk1AfXxdgAO2M:&tbnh=94&tbnw=133&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dwater%2Bin%2Bthe%2Bworld%26um% 3D1%26hl%3Den%26rls%3Dcom.microsoft:*:IE-SearchBox%26rlz%3D1I7DMUS The average total home water use for each person in the U.S. is about 50 gallons a day. The average cost for water supplied to a home in the U.S. is about $2.00 for 1,000 gallons, which equals about 5 gallons for a penny. We never know the worth of water till the well is dry. ~Thomas Fuller, Gnomologia, 1732 Water – • Essential for all life on this planet • Consider how it is used – Humans – Agriculture – Industry – ecosystems A person’s needs Think of the many ways you use water How inconvenient is it to live without access to water? Agricultural needs Agriculture is a major user of ground and surface water in the United States, accounting for 80% of the Nation's consumptive water use and over 90% in many Western States. Irrigation - While just 16% of all harvested cropland is irrigated, this acreage generates nearly half the value of all crops sold. Agriculture accounts for over 80% of water consumed in the U.S. Industrial & Commercial Needs • Energy use – Nuclear – Biofuels • Industry • Waterways – Recreational – Large vessels – Oil & gas Ecosystem needs • Watersheds Far from being useless, disease- ridden places, wetlands provide values that no other ecosystem can, including natural water quality improvement, flood protection, shoreline erosion control, opportunities for recreation and aesthetic appreciation, and natural products for our use at no cost. Wetlands can provide one or more of these functions. • Wetlands – water storage, water filtration, biological productivity Intensified demands on Nature’s Services • More people, more needs, more water – faster flow through or shorter detention in nature to clean water • Connectedness of human activities • If this precious resources is in limited supply – Who is going to get what they need? – Who is going to decide? Politics and Policy Hydropolitics Globally access is one of the biggest problems • U.S. is seeing the tug between agriculture and urban demands • Moving toward a watershed management approach Pressures from People • Urbanization – Sewage w/drugs – caffeine, antidepressants, antibiotics, hormones • Otters w/cat scratch fever – Point sources – Nonpoint – runoff from cities and highways • What goes on your yard ends up in your streams – Stormwater runoff – release of feral butts • Recreational – Small boats exhaust into water, stir up sediments • Shoreline development – wetland destruction – HABs, pathogens Total water withdrawals by category, 2000 http://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/2004/circ1268/htdocs/text-total.html Intensity of freshwater withdrawals Wastewater Typical municipal wastewater treatment plant design Typical industrial wastewater treatment plant design Nature’s services Emerging Contaminants EDCs Veterinary &Human Antibiotics Tetracyclines, Fluoroquinolones, Macrolides, Sulfonamides, others Human drugs Prescription ,Non-prescription Industrial & Household Wastewater Products Insecticides, PAHs, Plasticizers, Detergent metabolites, Fire retardants, Antioxidants, Others Sex & Steroidal Hormones Biogenics, pharmaceuticals, sterols Pharmaceuticals in the water! • What are the public health risks? For adults? Children? Long-term and short-term risks? – no evidence of adverse human health effects – health risk from daily exposure to pharmaceuticals in drinking water are at least hundreds of times lower than the acceptable daily intakes • Major sources – Prescription & over-the-counter therapeutic drugs; veterinary use; manufacturers; hospitals – PPCPs have been identified in most places sampled. Pressures from Agriculture • CAFOs – Eutrophication – Releases of antibiotics, hormones, bacteria • Intensive farming • Runoff – nonpoint source • Chemical use Pressures from Industrial/Commercial Operations • Good job on controlling point sources – Are limits low enough – How clean is clean? – Air deposition is an increasing problem • Need for innovation in design and operation – Life cycle analysis – Minimize discharges of any kind – Minimize wastes generated – Sustainable practices Evidence of environmental effects of these pressures • Invasive species – Intentional and unintentional – Plants, jellyfish, fish • Global warming – Direct effects – Indirect effects • Hermaphroditic organisms • Emergent contamints • ……to name a few SOLUTIONS: Humans • Value water • Water conservation – Appliances: dishwashers, washing machines, toilets, showers – Target highest water demands – Change landscaping • Drip irrigation, indigenous plants, rain harvesting, rain barrels • Reuse water • Fix the infrastructure • Smart Building Grey water harvesting Typical uses for recycled/reclaimed water • Surface irrigation of orchards and vineyards • Landscape impoundments • Groundwater recharge • Wetlands, wildlife habitat, stream augmentation • Industrial cooling processes • Landscape and golf course irrigation • Toilet flushing • Vehicle washing • Food crop irrigation • Potable reuse (typically recharge of groundwater or surface water to augment drinking water supplies) Desalination = removing dissolved salts from water. Most common desalination technologies: thermal and membrane technologies. Thermal process heats saline water to produce water vapor which is then condensed and collected as fresh water. Membrane processes use permeable membranes to separate salts from water: pressure-driven (reverse osmosis or RO, the most common method used in desalination), or voltage-driven (electro-dialysis). Desalinated brackish water can cost about $1.50 per 1,000 gallons, whereas desalinated seawater may cost anywhere from $2.50 to $3.00 per 1,000 gallons or more. New technologies for water purification Solutions: Agriculture • • • • Improved irrigation practices Organic farming Farming where it makes sense Protect watersheds – BMPs – Control runoff Recycled water - used for years to irrigate vineyards at California wineries, and this use is growing. Solutions: Industry • Reduce consumption • Recycle • Life cycle analysis – Modification of process to reduce consumption – New metrics are needed besides money • Public perception and expectations are driving many changes • Financial cost forces change Solutions: Nature • Watershed protection and effective management • Need for agreements between states in use and regulations • BMPs – Cities – highways – Lands connect to water – Nature’s services • Community planning – Rain harvesting – Green spaces Now is the time for innovation! • Water purification – – – – Reverse osmosis Forward osmosis Ceramic pots Solar desalination • Reduced water use • Water recycling • Watershed management – Protection, preservation • Infrastructure improvements TAMU Water Research • • • • • • • • • • Impact of hazardous wastes on waterways Industrial process optimization Petroleum salt waste technology development Water purification technologies GIS and modeling development Sustainable urban development Watershed management Emergent contaminants Biological processes Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) – Funds research – Extension service role – USGS supported TAMU Water Education • Large community of students in science and engineering – Highly interdisciplinary – Undergraduate and graduate studies • Degree Programs – Civil Engineering – Environmental & Water Resources Engineering – Biological & Agricultural Engineering – Other Engineering Disciplines – Water Management & Hydrological Sciences – Ecosystems Science and Management – Other Science Disciplines • Institute for Public Health and Water Research (IPWR) Diverting the Crisis • EDUCATION • Sustainable living practices • Incentives – Economic – Political – Populist pressure You are on the front line with education • Water can be part of every STEM discipline – Physics, chemistry, mathematics, biology • ….and more – Politics, social justice, economics, human health • You have the next generation in your classrooms every day. • You have the power to change the world! Spread the word Be water wise! Thank you! Additional background information Water – the universal solvent! It is composed of two elements, Hydrogen and Oxygen. 2 Hydrogen + 1 Oxygen = H2O Water-related illnesses are the leading cause of human sickness and death. 2.2 million people in developing countries, most of them children, die every year from diseases associated with lack of access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene. Half of the world's hospital beds are filled with people suffering from water related illnesses. These statistics are generally accepted by United Nation, World Health Organization and Millennium Development Goals. An estimated 25% of people from cities in developing countries purchase their water from vendors at a significantly higher price than piped water. In some cases, at the cost of more than a quarter of their household incomes. Geography • In China, India and Indonesia, twice as many people are dying from diarrheal diseases as from HIV/AIDS. • The average person in the developing world uses 2.64 gallons of water a day. The average person in the United Kingdom uses 35.66 gallons of water per day. The average person in the United States uses between 100 and 175 gallons every day at home. • In 1998, 308,000 people died from war in Africa, but more than two million (six times as many) died from diarrheal disease Water Borne Diseases • Waterborne diseases (the consequence of a combination of lack of clean water supply and inadequate sanitation) cost the Indian economy 73 million working days per year. • It is estimated that pneumonia, diarrhea, tuberculosis and malaria, which account for 20% of global disease burden, receive <1% of total public and private funds devoted to health research. The Water Cycle http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.usgcrp.gov/usgcrp/images/ocp2003/WaterCycle-optimized.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.usgcrp.gov/usgcrp/images/ocp2003/ocpfy2003fig51.htm&h=539&w=686&sz=154&tbnid=iEGhwEkBmif7pM::&tbnh=109&tbnw=139&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dwater%2Bcycle&usg=__z7SnebQ_iflMHi7iyq6ZQEoLIss=&sa=X&oi=image_r esult&resnum=1&ct=image&cd=1 One-in-six people in the world lack safe drinking water. That would be 1.1 billion people or roughly one-sixth of the world's population. Water Crisis – Water-related diseases • Water-related diseases – Leading cause of death in the world – 80% of all sickness in the world – http://www.water.org/crisis/ • World Health Organization says that most water projects in developing countries no longer work Water Crisis – Facts • The average American individual uses 100 to 176 gallons of water at home each day. • The average African family uses about 5 gallons of water each day. World Resources Institute, 1998-99 and 1996-97. "A Guide to the Global Environment." • Water quality due to urbanization – http://www.stormwatercenter.net/Slideshows/i mpacts%20for%20smrc/sld015.htm Water Crisis – Texas conditions • Water shortage in Texas – agriculture (livestock and crops) suffers along with residents • Texas relies on groundwater, especially in the west – According to USGS, withdrawals of groundwater at rates exceeding those of natural recharge have reduced supplies http://water.usgs.gov/pubs/fs/FS-043-96/#HDR02 • Conservation is necessary to ensure sufficient water amounts for the future – Suggestions for personal conservation Good websites • FAO Water http://www.fao.org/nr/water/art/2007/flash/10 1/2/gallery1.html For teachers http://www.epa.gov//safewater/kids/teachers _9-12.html Pharmaceuticals in the water! What are the public health risks? For adults? Children? Long-term and short-term risks? • According to the U.S. EPA, "to date, scientists have found no evidence of adverse human health effects from [pharmaceuticals and personal care products] in the environment." [www.epa.gov/ppcp/faq.html#ifthereareindeed] • A study expected to be published this summer "indicates that the health risk from daily exposure to pharmaceuticals in drinking water are at least hundreds of times lower than the acceptable daily intakes (ADI)." ADI is the amount consumed daily without appreciable risk to health. The study's conclusion is that " U.S. drinking water has no health risk and is safe to drink in spite of the detection of trace levels of pharmaceuticals." [Source: Pharmaceuticals in US Drinking Water and Beyond, Rengao, Ph.D., Manager of Water Quality and Research, Louisville Water Company, referring to AwwaRF Study project #3085.] • [Source: www.epa.gov/ppcp/faq.html#quantities] How did the pharmaceuticals get in the water? • The major sources of pharmaceuticals are: – 1) human activity including prescription and over-the-counter therapeutic drugs; – 2) veterinary drug use for both pets and farm animals; and – 3) residues from pharmaceutical manufacturers and hospitals. • According to the U.S. EPA, "pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) are found where people or animals are treated with drugs and people use personal care products. PPCPs are found in any water body influenced by raw or treated sewage, including rivers, streams, ground water, coastal marine environments, and many drinking water sources. PPCPs have been identified in most places sampled. People contribute PPCPs to the environment when: – medication residues pass out of the body and into sewer lines, – externally-applied drugs and personal care products they use wash down the shower drain, and – unused or expired medications are placed in the trash." • [Source: www.epa.gov/ppcp/faq.html#quantities] Save water, save energy • • • American public water supply and treatment facilities consume about 56 billion kWh/year—enough electricity to power more than 5 million homes for an entire year. Letting your faucet run for 5 minutes uses about as much energy as letting a 60-watt light bulb run for 14 hours. By reducing household water use you can not only help reduce the energy required to supply and treat public water supplies but also can help address climate change. In fact: – If one out of every 100 American homes retrofitted with waterefficient fixtures, we could save about 100 million kWh of electricity per year—avoiding 80,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions. That is equivalent to removing nearly 15,000 automobiles from the road for one year! – If 1 % of American homes replaced their older, inefficient toilets with water saving models, the country would save more than 38 million kWh of electricity—enough to supply more than 43,000 households electricity for one month. http://www.epa.gov/watersense/water/benefits.htm We pitch into landfills 38 billion water bottles a year -- in excess of $1 billion worth of plastic. 24% of the bottled water we buy is tap water repackaged by Coke and Pepsi.