A World of Water for World Water Day - 3/22/2012

This year’s World Water Day theme of “Water and Food Security” has embedded water written all over it. According to the UN, “Each of us needs to drink 2 to 4 litres (0.5 to 1.1 gallons) of water every day. But it takes 2,000 to 5,000 litres (528 to 1321 gallons) of water to produce one person’s daily food.” It’s easy to see where a region facing water scarcity could also easily face food insecurity. In looking to the future, the UN has identified numerous challenges [PDF] between water and food, including:

  • A rising and shifting demand for food;
  • Increased risks from climate change;
  • Yields limited by the gender gap;
  • Scarce water resources;
  • Increasing competition for water; and
  • Degraded land and water resources.

These are big challenges, and as the population grows the demand for water will continue to grow. Not only will we need more water to use directly from a tap for things like drinking and bathing, but also to produce more food and consumer goods as well as more electricity from power plants, which also draw a lot of valuable water. Much of that future water use will come in the form of groundwater withdrawals increasing the need to evaluate and properly manage that very precious resource.

There are a lot of entities out there competing for our water. Planning and managing wisely with all these uses in mind is the only way to ensure that there will be enough for us all. According to the UN there are actions we can all take to cope with population growth and ensure access to nutritious food for everyone:

  • Follow a healthier, sustainable diet;
  • Consume less water-intensive products;
  • Reduce scandalous food wastage: 30 to 50 percent of food produced worldwide is never eaten and the water (and energy) used to produce it is lost; and
  • Produce more food, of better quality, with less water.

Reference: Ecocentric Blog

i2O: An Intelligent Grid For Water Systems That Could Save Millions Of Gallons
We’re all careful not to make our showers too long, and not to leave the  faucet running, but municipal water waste occurs massively on an  institutional level as well. i2O is a centralized water control method  that directs the distribution and pressure of an entire water system.  Sure, it sounds like Plumbing 2.0, but this is actually a good example  of a disruptive technology.
Bringing our utilities up to date and improving local adjustments  (like reverse charge from solar panels, grid-independent entities, and  so on) is essential to keep our cities operating at peak efficiency.  Sounds a bit robotic, I know, but the fact is that as cities worldwide  grow denser and larger, existing municipal utility management systems  simply aren’t going to cut it.
And really, as there is so much overlap between water control and,  say, internet traffic routing and smart electricity grids, that it’s  inexcusable for a modern city of a million people to have anything but a highly sophisticated, predictive, data-rich utility management system.
More information about the i20 system can be found on their website.
ecardona, TechCrunch

i2O: An Intelligent Grid For Water Systems That Could Save Millions Of Gallons

We’re all careful not to make our showers too long, and not to leave the faucet running, but municipal water waste occurs massively on an institutional level as well. i2O is a centralized water control method that directs the distribution and pressure of an entire water system. Sure, it sounds like Plumbing 2.0, but this is actually a good example of a disruptive technology.

Bringing our utilities up to date and improving local adjustments (like reverse charge from solar panels, grid-independent entities, and so on) is essential to keep our cities operating at peak efficiency. Sounds a bit robotic, I know, but the fact is that as cities worldwide grow denser and larger, existing municipal utility management systems simply aren’t going to cut it.

And really, as there is so much overlap between water control and, say, internet traffic routing and smart electricity grids, that it’s inexcusable for a modern city of a million people to have anything but a highly sophisticated, predictive, data-rich utility management system.

More information about the i20 system can be found on their website.

ecardona, TechCrunch

(via smarterplanet)

Startup Weekends aren’t just sweeping the nation, they’re sweeping the globe!

We live in a time where anything is possible and anything can be built - as long as we can bring together the right people around the right ideas.

Startup Weekend is a global initiative that brings together passionate individuals with unique skill sets and experiences, then challenges them to turn their ideas into reality over the course of a weekend.

This film captures the journey of two participants at Startup Weekend in Toronto: Ronan Levy (Delirious App) and Eugene Woo (Vizualize.me), and explores what it means to live the life of a startup entrepreneur.

More information:
toronto.startupweekend.org/
startupweekend.org

https://twitter.com/#!/startupwkndto

Renewable Oil Production Technology? Really neat project by Solazyme!
Now this is a really neat project. Solazyme’s renewable oil production technology allows us to do in a matter of days what it took nature millions of years to do.
The indirect photosynthesis bioproduction process uses microalgae to convert biomass directly into oil and other biomaterials, a process that can be performed in standard commercial fermentation facilities cleanly, quickly, and at low cost and large scale.
This renewable oil and bioproducts technology has manufactured thousands of gallons of oil and hundreds of tons of biomaterials that are tailored not only for biofuel production, but also as replacements for fossil petroleum and plant oils and compounds in a diverse range of products from oleochemicals to cosmetics and foods.
Read more about Solazyme’s work here: http://solazyme.com/
Reference: smarterplanet

Renewable Oil Production Technology? Really neat project by Solazyme!

Now this is a really neat project. Solazyme’s renewable oil production technology allows us to do in a matter of days what it took nature millions of years to do.

The indirect photosynthesis bioproduction process uses microalgae to convert biomass directly into oil and other biomaterials, a process that can be performed in standard commercial fermentation facilities cleanly, quickly, and at low cost and large scale.

This renewable oil and bioproducts technology has manufactured thousands of gallons of oil and hundreds of tons of biomaterials that are tailored not only for biofuel production, but also as replacements for fossil petroleum and plant oils and compounds in a diverse range of products from oleochemicals to cosmetics and foods.

Read more about Solazyme’s work here: http://solazyme.com/

Reference: smarterplanet

PlantLab’s vision of the future of farms: No Sunlight, No Windows, Less Water, & Better Food. via smarterplanet
You’ve heard of paint by numbers? Get ready for feed-the-world by numbers. Dutch agricultural company PlantLab wants   to change almost everything you know about growing plants. Instead of   outdoors, they want farms to be in skyscrapers, warehouses, or   underground using hydroponics or other forms of controlled environments.   Instead of sunlight they use red and blue LEDs. Water? They need just   10% of the traditional requirements.
At every stage of their  high tech  process, PlantLab monitors thousands of details (163,830  reports per  second!) with advanced sensors to create the perfect  environment for  each individual type of crop. In short, they create a  high tech ‘plant  paradise’. See it in action in the videos below,  followed by plenty of  pics of their tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, etc.  PlantLab’s  revolutionary approach to agriculture may be able to  leverage math and  science to create a better food supply for the  world’s escalating  population. Fresher, local, more efficient…and they  supposedly taste  better too!
Source: Singularity Hub

PlantLab’s vision of the future of farms: No Sunlight, No Windows, Less Water, & Better Food. via smarterplanet

You’ve heard of paint by numbers? Get ready for feed-the-world by numbers. Dutch agricultural company PlantLab wants to change almost everything you know about growing plants. Instead of outdoors, they want farms to be in skyscrapers, warehouses, or underground using hydroponics or other forms of controlled environments. Instead of sunlight they use red and blue LEDs. Water? They need just 10% of the traditional requirements.

At every stage of their high tech process, PlantLab monitors thousands of details (163,830 reports per second!) with advanced sensors to create the perfect environment for each individual type of crop. In short, they create a high tech ‘plant paradise’. See it in action in the videos below, followed by plenty of pics of their tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, etc. PlantLab’s revolutionary approach to agriculture may be able to leverage math and science to create a better food supply for the world’s escalating population. Fresher, local, more efficient…and they supposedly taste better too!

Source: Singularity Hub

"A nutritionist may see malnutrition but not the seasonal indebtedness, the high cost of medical treatment, the distress sales of land, and the local power structure which generate it. A doctor may see infant mortality but not the declining real wages which drive mothers to desperation, still less the causes of those declining real wages. Visibility and specialization combine to show surface symptoms rather than deeper combinations of causes. The poor are little seen, and even less is the nature of their poverty understood."

— An excerpt from “Rural Development: Putting the Last First" by Robert Chambers.

Monitoring the Scope & Benefits of Fairtrade Report

These charts and graphs are from “Monitoring the Scope and Benefits of Fairtrade,”  an 80-page report that covers everything from the country with the highest number of Fairtrade farmers (Tanzania with 148,200), to the total area of land under cultivation with Fairtrade products (1,184,400 hectares), to the most popular Premium projects (production and processing investment).

Click here to download the entire report (PDF)…

Reference: fairtrade:

Learning from Failure - David Damberger at TEDxYYC

International aid groups make the same mistakes over and over again. At TEDxYYC David Damberger uses his own engineering failure in India to call for the development sector to publicly admit, analyze, and learn from their missteps.

His company he mentions in the video is Ethical Ocean

        (riskynpretty)

Urban Water Needs: Can we keep up?

Matthew Laws and Hal Watts, a recent graduate and current student of the Royal College of Art, recently created this rather clever data visualization to convey projected water consumption. "Urban Water Needs: Can We Keep Up?" is a real-life take on topographical bar graph infographics—a fresh analogue approach,” according to Watts and Laws—earning a runner-up nod in Visualizing.org’s World Water Day Challenge.
 -
Combining their engineer’s precision with creativity honed at the London Royal College of Art, Matt and Hal first designed a world map entirely out of cheap kitchen sponges. They then poured water onto each country in amounts proportional to that its expected urban water consumption in 2030. Elegantly literal, the sponges grow in height according to how thirsty the country will be, generating a stark topography of future needs for urban domestic water.
-
As more people crowd into ever-expanding cities over the next 20 years, those cities will experience huge increases in the demand for domestic water - the kind used for cooking, cleaning, sanitation as opposed to industry and agriculture. It’s easy to see that the needs will not be equitably distributed. As Matt and Hal note, “While this will have little impact on some countries, others will need to develop large new infrastructures. Some countries will be able to afford this more easily than others.”
-
(Matthew Laws and Hal Watts)

via Core77
roomthily:

Urban Water Needs: Can we keep up?


Matthew Laws and Hal Watts, a recent graduate and current student of the Royal College of Art, recently created this rather clever data visualization to convey projected water consumption. "Urban Water Needs: Can We Keep Up?" is a real-life take on topographical bar graph infographics—a fresh analogue approach,” according to Watts and Laws—earning a runner-up nod in Visualizing.org’s World Water Day Challenge.

 -

Combining their engineer’s precision with creativity honed at the London Royal College of Art, Matt and Hal first designed a world map entirely out of cheap kitchen sponges. They then poured water onto each country in amounts proportional to that its expected urban water consumption in 2030. Elegantly literal, the sponges grow in height according to how thirsty the country will be, generating a stark topography of future needs for urban domestic water.

-

As more people crowd into ever-expanding cities over the next 20 years, those cities will experience huge increases in the demand for domestic water - the kind used for cooking, cleaning, sanitation as opposed to industry and agriculture. It’s easy to see that the needs will not be equitably distributed. As Matt and Hal note, “While this will have little impact on some countries, others will need to develop large new infrastructures. Some countries will be able to afford this more easily than others.”

-

(Matthew Laws and Hal Watts)

via Core77

roomthily: