Posts Tagged "Clean water"

Facing extended drought, Texas policy makers focus on water planning

Posted by on Jan 13, 2013

An article in today’s New York Times paints a surprising picture of bipartisan support for planning in Texas–a state known for neither planning nor bipartisanship. With a two-year drought continuing and being called the third-worst in the state’s history (the worst was in the 1950s), there is interest in tapping the $2 billion rainy day fund to address infrastructure improvements to grapple with water shortages. Currently, according to the article, “As Texas Bakes in a Long Drought, Water Becomes a Focus for Legislators,” there are eighteen public water system in...

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Hand Pumps: An Option for Back-Up Water Pumping

Posted by on Oct 25, 2012

Last month Jerelyn and I enjoyed a four-day vacation in Maine—a combined trip to visit family, explore Acadia National Park, and go to the Common Ground Fair—my first visit there in two or three decades! The highlight of the Common Ground fair for me was coming across a little company, Bison Pumps, based up near Fort Kent, Maine (in WAY northern Maine) that makes really slick hand pumps. These pumps are sort-of like the ones our grandparents used, but they’re built with much greater precision and work much better. Why hand pumps are important Here in rural Vermont—like rural areas...

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Fundamentals of Resilient Design #8: Water in a Drought-Prone Era

Posted by on Sep 14, 2012

Periodic drought is something that a significant portion of the U.S. will have to get used to in the coming decades. Climate scientists tell us that while precipitation will increase overall with climate change, certain regions, including the American West, will see increased frequency of drought. I certainly saw that last year, when I spent six weeks bicycling through the Southwest, from San Diego to Houston. Most of the 1,900 miles I covered had seen barely a drop of rain since the previous fall. Statewide, Texas had an average of just 15 inches of rain in 2011—barely half of the typical...

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New York City’s (Lack of) Resilience

Posted by on Sep 11, 2012

There’s a great article in today’s New York Times, “New York is Lagging as Seas and Risks Rise.” In a nutshell, with 520 miles of shoreline, New York City is highly vulnerable to rising sea level and storm surges, and the City isn’t doing enough to address its vulnerabilities. The City is already working to expand protective wetlands, install green roofs to limit runoff, encourage property owners to elevate mechanical equipment, and elevate subway ventilation grates (see photo). I was actually involved in the City’s Green Codes Task Force a couple years ago to address such...

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Fundamentals of Resilient Design #1: Making the Case

Posted by on Aug 24, 2012

I thought a lot about resilience last year, during a six-week sabbatical bike ride through the Southwest. I covered a little over 1,900 miles, most of it over land that hadn’t seen a drop of rain since the previous fall; some of those areas—mostly in Texas—still hadn't received significant precipitation months after my return home.

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