Tag Archives: watersheds

Does watershed protection lower the cost of drinking water treatment?

Price JI, Heberling MT. The Effects of Source Water Quality on Drinking Water Treatment Costs: A Review and Synthesis of Empirical Literature. Ecological Economics 2018 Sep 3;151:195-209. doi: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2018.04.014.

Watershed protection, and associated in situ water quality improvements, has received considerable attention as a means for mitigating health risks and avoiding expenditures at drinking water treatment plants (DWTPs). This study reviews the literature linking source water quality to DWTP expenditures. For each study, we report information on the modeling approach, data structure, definition of treatment costs and water quality, and statistical methods. We then extract elasticities indicating the percentage change in drinking water treatment costs resulting from a 1% change in water quality. Forty-six elasticities are obtained for various water quality parameters, such as turbidity, total organic carbon (TOC), nitrogen, sediment loading, and phosphorus loading. An additional 29 elasticities are obtained for land use classification (e.g., forest, agricultural, urban), which often proxy source water quality. Findings indicate relatively large ranges in the estimated elasticities of most parameters and land use classifications. However, average elasticities are smaller and ranges typically narrower for studies that incorporated control variables consistent with economic theory in their models. We discuss the implications of these findings for a DWTP’s incentive to engage in source water protection and highlight gaps in the literature.

Cryptosporidium Infection in Cattle, China

Gong C, Cao XF, Deng L, Li W, Huang XM, Lan JC, Xiao QC, Zhong ZJ, Feng F, Zhang Y, Wang WB, Guo P, Wu KJ, Peng GN. Epidemiology of Cryptosporidium infection in cattle in China: a review. Parasite. 2017;24:1. doi: 10.1051/parasite/2017001.

The present review discusses the findings of cryptosporidiosis research conducted in cattle in China and highlights the currently available information on Cryptosporidium epidemiology, genetic diversity, and distribution in China, which is critical to understanding the economic and public health importance of cryptosporidiosis transmission in cattle. To date, 10 Cryptosporidium species have been detected in cattle in China, with an overall infection rate of 11.9%. The highest rate of infection (19.5%) was observed in preweaned calves, followed by that in juveniles (10.69%), postweaned juveniles (9.0%), and adult cattle (4.94%). The dominant species were C. parvum in preweaned calves and C. andersoni in postweaned, juvenile, and adult cattle. Zoonotic Cryptosporidium species (C. parvum and C. hominis) were found in cattle, indicating the possibility of transmission between humans and cattle. Different cattle breeds had significant differences in the prevalence rate and species of Cryptosporidium. This review demonstrates an age-associated, breed-associated, and geographic-related occurrence of Cryptosporidium and provides references for further understanding of the epidemiological characteristics, and for preventing and controlling the disease.

USGS publishes fictional projections of climate hydrologic effects

The US Geological Survey (USGS), a primary driver of “climate change” dogma, is publishing basin studies based on downscaled General Circulation Models (GCMs). USGS’s Precipitation Runoff Modeling System (PRMS) applies information from the downscaled GCM projections to local watersheds, where impacts of climate change on water availability will depend on local conditions. Prior posts on this blog and other blogs have discussed ad nauseum the scientific limitations of GCM downscaling and the research-nature of these efforts. Planners can believe these projections, but there is no scientific data supporting them.

So far, USGS has applied these models to fourteen basins, including (click on basin for the report):

The quote below from the press release is revealing….we knew there is “not just one response” without having to spend money on fictionalized hydrologic projections….. 

“The advantage of these studies is that they demonstrate that there is not just one hydrological response to climate change: the predictions account for essential local factors that will govern the timing, severity, and type of impact, whether it be water shortage, drought, or flood,” said USGS Director Marcia McNutt.

The USGS claims to be able to project hydrological reponses that should be observable….without having demonstrated the ability of such models to do so on existing data with any degree of confidence.

As typical of USGS reports, they are professionally published and are impressive. But this does not change the limitations of the analyses described. Modeling efforts like this are useful for advancing research…..but not for responsible science-based water supply planning.

Click here for more…..

Source of radioactive iodine in drinking water tied to thyroid patients

One thyroid patient receiving I-131 treatment could excrete enough of the substance to be measurable in a watershed…..but below concentrations of concern. 

Click here for more in Philadelphia….

Santa Ana River (CA) has diverse, resistant E. coli

Ibekwe, A.M., Murinda, S.E., and Graves, A.K. Microbiological evaluation of water quality from urban watersheds for domestic water supply improvement. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2011 Dec;8(12):4460-76. Epub 2011 Nov 30.

Abstract: Agricultural and urban runoffs may be major sources of pollution of water bodies and major sources of bacteria affecting the quality of drinking water. Of the different pathways by which bacterial pathogens can enter drinking water, this one has received little attention to date; that is, because soils are often considered to be near perfect filters for the transport of bacterial pathogens through the subsoil to groundwater. The goals of this study were to determine the distribution, diversity, and antimicrobial resistance of pathogenic Escherichia coli isolates from low flowing river water and sediment with inputs from different sources before water is discharged into ground water and to compare microbial contamination in water and sediment at different sampling sites. Water and sediment samples were collected from 19 locations throughout the watershed for the isolation of pathogenic E. coli. Heterotrophic plate counts and E. coli were also determined after running tertiary treated water through two tanks containing aquifer sand material. Presumptive pathogenic E. coli isolates were obtained and characterized for virulent factors and antimicrobial resistance. None of the isolates was confirmed as Shiga toxin E. coli (STEC), but as others, such as enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC). Pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) was used to show the diversity E. coli populations from different sources throughout the watershed. Seventy six percent of the isolates from urban sources exhibited resistance to more than one antimicrobial agent. A subsequent filtration experiment after water has gone through filtration tanks containing aquifer sand material showed that there was a 1 to 2 log reduction in E. coli in aquifer sand tank. Our data showed multiple strains of E. coli without virulence attributes, but with high distribution of resistant phenotypes. Therefore, the occurrence of E. coli with multiple resistances in the environment is a matter of great concern due to possible transfer of resistant genes from nonpathogenic to pathogenic strains that may result in increased duration and severity of morbidity.

Click here for full paper (open source).


Press Spin: Anything goes to stop oil and gas development in New York

This article in the UK Guardian (click hereshows just how far some activists will go to stop oil and gas development in New York…..now hydraulic fracturing will “poison” New Yorkers…..

Note that the primary basis of this story is a “letter to the editor” , statements by activists, and comments made by a disgruntled state employee…..no rational analysis of the real issues, just rhetorical alarmism……oil and gas development does have impacts….but to say it is the greatest threat to New York City’s drinking water is beyond foolish….there are many more significant threats…. 

And the photograph…..is irrelevant….

25 billion yuan to go for water resource protection in Hebei Province, China

North China’s Hebei province to invest about 4 billion US dollars by 2020 to protect water resources in over a dozen cities and counties around Beijing.

Click here for more…