Know Your H2O
Most of us don’t think twice as we turn on the faucet to grab a glass of water, or use the hose to water our gardens. We take for granted that the water will be flowing and that it will be clean and safe to drink. Those simple acts are made possible by an incredible chain of events and water infrastructure that can link an entire state with the ocean, and highlights some of the key environmental issues of our time. Clean drinking water is one of the most rare and precious resources on the earth, yet we typically use it with little regard. Following a drop of our water: from origin, through its use, to disposal - reveals an expensive, and often wasteful journey that makes it clear we could be using water more wisely. Fortunately, we can alter this pattern by using the classic mantra: reduce, reuse and recycle to fundamentally reduce our water consumption and to solve ocean pollution issues at the same time.
The Cycle of Insanity - The Real Story of Water
Download the Cycle of Insanity script here
Learn more about the issues discussed in The Cycle of Insanity
- Water Imports - Southern California
- Water Shortage/Peak Water
- Agriculture - Water Use
- Agriculture - Pollution
- Wetland Destruction
- Impervious Surface
- Groundwater Depletion
- Seawater Intrusion
- Urban Runoff
- Wastewater (Sewer Systems and Wastewater Treatment)
- Wastewater Recycling
- Water Agency Fragmentation
- Residential Water Conservation
- Disposal of Pharmaceuticals
- Ocean Friendly Gardens
- Greywater (1) and (2)
- Low Impact Development and Green Streets
- Stormwater Capture (1) and (2)
- Sea Level Rise - Impacts on Water Supplies and Water Infrastructure
November 15 2013
After nearly ten years of the Surfrider Foundation and local residents raising concerns about plans to build a seawater desalination facility in Huntington Beach, the Coastal Commission finally reviewed the project and sent it back for improvements.
September 20 2013
Desalination is often touted as the solution to our water woes. However, Surfrider begs to differ and suggests that desalination done in an environmentally responsible fashion should only be considered after water conservation and recycling have been exhausted. Check out this short clip from David Zetland of Wageningen University, as he expresses his concerns.
September 06 2013
Five Surfrider chapters from four Hawaiian islands gathered for their annual conference, and learned about Surfrider's Ocean Friendly Gardens Program. A pre-conference meeting with a sister non-profit, and a tour by them after the conference, showed partnership potential on one island. Now, several island chapters are kicking off an OFG program.
August 02 2013
Know Your H2O concepts are gaining traction in Los Angeles as people realize that all water, whether in the form of stormwater or wastewater, is WATER and must be managed efficiently. Check out this 5-minute film from the National Science Foundation and NBC Learn.
July 05 2013
From the earliest development of the western United States, the federal government, was in the business of diverting natural river flows and building dams. The arguably well-intentioned program of building dams has had significant adverse impacts on our coast and ocean. But there has been a mind-shift recently towards dam removal.
June 21 2013
We all learned the rule of "cause and affect" in school; as we look around today there are lots of examples of environmental catastrophes due to the mismanagement of our natural resources. A traditional Florida fishery on the verge of collapse is yet another example of why we need to pursue integrated water management.
May 17 2013
On May 8th, 2013 the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) unanimously approved a new regional MS4 permit implementing a watershed-based approach to stormwater management with an increased reliance on Low Impact Development (LID).
April 26 2013
It’s a basic idea: When it rains, we need to be able to capture that water, store it and then use it later. Today, about half the water from rain that could be used to replenish groundwater basins and increase local water supplies ends up turning into polluted stormwater runoff.
April 12 2013
In an area where combined sewer system overflows are a leading contributor to water quality problems, the City of New York has turned to green infrastructure as a cost-effective solution to multiple problems.
April 08 2013
The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is one of California’s most important laws—not only because it helps protect our environment and “quality of life”, but CEQA also promotes democratic participation in the decision-making process—giving citizens a say in what happens in their local communities. Unfortunately over the past few years, developers and polluting industries have been attempting to weaken CEQA through legislation. If special interests succeed in weakening CEQA, California’s natural resources could suffer from unchecked development, and the public will lose its ability to require developers to address environmental impacts.
March 29 2013
A combination of required replacement of outdated sewage treatment facilities, climate change adaptation (sea level rise), and integrated water management strategies may be evolving towards movement of sewage treatment facilities away from the coast, as well as water re-use and improved water quality discharge.
March 19 2013
Green infrastructure is a cost-effective and resilient approach to our water infrastructure needs that provides many community benefits. As of 2008, the total reported water infrastructure needs for the United States included $63.6 billion for combined sewer overflow control and $42.3 billion for stormwater management. Since only 22% of regulated MS4s are included in this estimate, the need for stormwater management is likely much greater. As communities develop and climate patterns shift, these needs can only be expected to grow. While single-purpose gray stormwater infrastructure is largely designed to move urban stormwater away from the built environment, green infrastructure reduces and treats stormwater at its source while delivering many other environmental, social, and economic benefits. These benefits not only promote urban livability, but also add to the bottom line. Source EPA: http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/greeninfrastructure/gi_why.cfm#WaterQuality
March 12 2013
Surfrider advocates for holistic water supply management through the exhaustion of multi-benefit water supply solutions before implementation of more energy intensive options such as desalination. Many cities in California are beginning to realize desalination is not the answer!
November 21 2012
In what could be the first wave (first set?) of such projects in the United States, the cities of Brownwood and Big Spring in west Texas are constructing Direct Potable Reuse systems to turn wastewater into high quality drinking water,
August 17 2012
Congressman Waxman is one of the most influential members of congress and has rightly earned his reputation as being a mover and shaker. He likes to investigate and uncover issues (just Google his name). So when Surfrider was invited to participate in a press conference with the Congressman to release a report highlighting Congress’s poor coastal voting record, we jumped at the opportunity.
August 10 2012
An international team of researchers from University of California Irvine, University of Melbourne, Scripps Institution of Oceanography and other institutions just published a report which will appear in a special Aug. 10 issue of the journal Science. The report, Taking the “Waste” Out of “Wastewater” for Human Water Security and Ecosystem Sustainability, concludes that changing human behavior and redoubling use of alternatives are critical to breaking the cycle of a ceaseless quest for new water that generates pollution and decimates wildlife, rivers and ecosystems. This is what Surfrider has termed the 'Cycle of Insanity'.
July 20 2012
A funding bill has just been released from a House Committee that proposes drastic cuts to the State Clean Water Revolving Funds. What this means is less money going out to the states to fix broken sewers, maintaining stormwater systems and installing new, green ways of managing runoff.
April 10 2012
For the past two decades the Ventura Chapter has been working on integrated solutions to the problems that face our ocean, waves, and beaches. Learn more about the many programs and campaigns they are leading to protect and restore water quality, water supply and watershed function in the Ventura River watershed.