Water Journal : Water Journal September 2013
water september 2013 10 CrossCurrent International Scientists have devised a better way to protect groundwater from acids, heavy metals and toxic chemicals, helping to secure the Earth’s main freshwater supply. The advance is a major step towards shielding groundwater from mining, industrial and domestic waste, all of which can contaminate the water for decades. A team led by Professor Derek Eamus at The National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training (NCGRT) and University of Technology Sydney (UTS) has developed a cheaper and more efficient way to test the optimal design of ‘store-release covers’ – layers of soil and plants that prevent water from leaking into the waste and contaminating the aquifers underneath. Peak oil has generated headlines in recent years, but the real threat to our future is peak water. There are substitutes for oil, but not for water. We can produce food without oil, but not without water. In looking at water and our future, we face many questions and few answers. Could the world be facing peak water? Or has it already peaked? Go to Australian Policy Online website to read more. An international team of researchers has showed that water purification membranes enhanced by plasma-treated carbon nanotubes are ideal for removing contaminants and brine from water. The study paves the way for the next generation of portable water purification devices, which could provide relief to the 780 million people around the world who face every day without access to a clean water supply. The team included Dr Zhaojun Han and Professor Kostya (Ken) Ostrikov from CSIRO’s Plasma Nanoscience Laboratories. The 2013 World Water Week Report, Cooperation for a Water Wise World – Partnerships for Sustainable Development, provides input into the discussions at the 2013 World Water Week in Stockholm. The report focuses on some of the key opportunities and challenges to effective cooperation over trans-boundary waters, in the private sector and for environmental protection. WaterAid Australia has welcomed the historic decision of the United Nations General Assembly to declare 19 November as World Toilet Day to help boost efforts to bring sanitation to all and end open defecation. Adam Laidlaw, Chief Executive, WaterAid Australia, commented: “WaterAid welcomes this recognition of the global sanitation crisis, and the need for the UN and member states to take action. This is not just the creation of another UN day, but a sign that governments recognise that toilets for all are essential for saving children’s lives.” Australia is a major partner for Timor-Leste in water, sanitation and hygiene. Under our Timor-Leste Strategic Partnership for Development, making sure people have access to clean water and basic sanitation is a big focus and one where we have achieved a lot together. Timor-Leste is on track to meet its Millennium Development Goal target of 75 per cent coverage for rural drinking water by 2015, one of the few it is likely to meet. The International 2013 savewater!® photographic competition is calling for budding photographers to share their photographs that illustrate the value of water and conserving it for the future. The photographic competition is designed to recognise creative talent with water conservation imagery as the key focus. There are three categories: Junior Student (up to 12 years old), Senior Student (13 to 17 years old), and Open. Competition closes September 30. National The National Irrigators’ Council has claimed to be disappointed about the lack of consultation surrounding the Government’s decision to list as “critically endangered” the “River Murray and associated wetlands, floodplains and groundwater systems, from the junction of the Darling River to the sea” and the “Wetlands and inner floodplains of the Macquarie Marshes” was made after the Prime Minister had called the election. The Federal Water and Environment Minister, Mark Butler, says he listed the Murray River as critically endangered because of a loss of biodiversity. He says data collected over five years reflected an understanding in the scientific community that action needed to be taken. Federal Water Minister, Mark Butler, has announced locations where the Commonwealth Environmental Water Office (CEWO) will recruit local engagement officers to increase the ability of Basin communities to contribute to environmental water management. Minister Butler said local engagement officers have been placed in locations close to important environmental watering sites and would be tasked to work with a range of water, environment and community organisations in their region. Recent changes to income tax law now mean that taxpayers have a choice in how water infrastructure improvements are treated for income tax purposes. It applies to taxpayers who are eligible participants in a sustainable rural water use and infrastructure program. They can choose to have their eligible payments treated as either ordinary income, in which case they can include the payments and any related capital gains and losses in their tax return; or non- assessable non-exempt income (NANE), in which case they do not include the payments in their income tax return. To find out more go to www.ato.gov.au/water New environmental safeguards aimed at protecting water resources could be ditched before they are applied to more than a handful of coal and gas projects, with a new analysis showing nearly 40 developments have yet to be assessed for their impact on water. A study by the Lock the Gate alliance, a coalition of anti-coal seam gas campaigners, shows that of 43 coal and gas developments likely to impact water supplies, just four of them have had the so-called “water trigger” assessment applied to them. Third pipe schemes (recycled non-potable water) have a risk of cross-connection with drinking water pipes, causing taste/odour complaints and creating potential health and public perception issues. A new project funded through the Australian Water Recycling Centre of Excellence and Smart Water has recently commenced to address this issue by incorporating UV fluorescence detection. 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Water Journal August 2013
Water Journal November 2013