Box Designed to Regrow Plants in Deserts Could Save Drought-Stressed California Wineries

Pieter Hoff, a lily-grower-turned-inventor, took a good look at how seeds grow in dry areas — specifically looking at the way seeds distributed by birds can take root based on the protection and fertilization of the excrement with which it is mixed. Taking a cue from biomimicry, he created the Waterboxx, a highly intriguing way for plants in dry areas to have enough moisture to take root and survive. While it is intended for regrowing vegetation in dessert areas, it could also be a big boon for California wineries who also need to figure out ways to use as little water as possible on vineyards.

Biofuels: does the U.S. have enough water to support large production?

The oil spill sludge building up on the Gulf Coast and the offshore drilling moratorium is a constant reminder of oil dependence, environmental dangers of domestic drilling and the need for alternative fuels. Particularly fuels for transportation since that’s where we use 70 percent of domestic and imported petroleum supplies. Of course, any oil related crisis requires a close look at alternatives such as liquid biofuels.

Read more…

Shift to ‘chloramines’ brings water concerns

When the Babson drinking water treatment plant reopens this summer after months of state-mandated emergency repair work, it will employ a new chemical disinfectant system intended to prevent a repeat of last year’s bacteria crisis.

But a group of residents fear the new chemical disinfectants, called chloramines, could actually make Gloucester drinking water more dangerous.

Citing a body of Internet-posted research and grassroots campaigns across the country to stop the spread of chloramines, the residents, led by local nurse Pat Murphy, are calling for the city to delay the switchover.

Read more…

San Diego County Water Authority sues wholesaler for overcharging

The San Diego County Water Authority board voted unanimously in a special meeting Thursday to sue its primary supplier of water, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

The Water Authority, which purchases its water wholesale from Metropolitan and then sells it to San Diego County member agencies, said in a written statement that it believes the way Metropolitan structures its rates resulted in a $26.6 million overcharge to the Water Authority in 2010, and will result in a $230 million overcharge in 2021. The board authorized its attorney to file the lawsuit, but left the door open for additional negotiations with Metropolitan.

Read more…