WaterWorld Weekly: June 2, 2011

June 2, 2011
Transcript of the June 2, 2011, edition of the WaterWorld Weekly newscast.
Click 'Play Video' to watch newscast.

The following is a transcript of the June 2, 2011, edition of the WaterWorld Weekly newscast.

Hi, I'm Angela Godwin, digital media editor for WaterWorld magazine, bringing you this week's water and wastewater news headlines. Coming up...

• World leaders discuss water crisis
• Colorado Supreme Court upholds water rights case
• Scientists make moon water discovery
• Dam release causes fish kill
• Water cooling pumps fail at Fukushima reactor
• Algae mistaken for sewage on Wales beaches

At the InterAction Council's annual meeting in Quebec City, twenty former world leaders, including former US president Bill Clinton, gathered to discuss the world water crisis.

The group said it would establish a panel to bring the issue of worldwide water supply problems to the forefront of the global political agenda.

The group offered twenty-one recommendations for world water management and advocated a new international water ethic.

Other topics of discussion included raising the price of water to reflect its economic value, creating a legal right to water, and making the connection between climate change and water.

The Colorado Supreme Court has upheld a previous court ruling limiting the amount of water that can be transferred from agriculture to municipal use.

Under the decision, the East Cherry Creek Valley Water and Sanitation District is limited to diverting 200 cubic feet per second from the South Platte River to suburbs in southeast Denver.

The case stemmed from a deal made in 2003 between East Cherry Creek Valley and United Water and Sanitation District, whereby United was to acquire agricultural water from a number of irrigation districts and then petition the court to convert it to municipal use.

The decision affects about 800 acre feet of the 6000 that East Cherry Creek Valley moves through its 31-mile pipeline annually.

The judge in the case, Justice Gregory J. Hobbs, said his decision was made to "prevent an unlawful enlargement" of the agricultural water rights that had been transferred.

A team of researchers funded by NASA has successfully measured the amount of water content of lunar magma -- and found it's 100 times higher than previously thought.

Using an ion microprobe, the scientists re-examined a lunar sample of volcanic glass collected during the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.

The researchers studied newly-discovered "melt inclusions," or tiny drops of molten rock that have turned to glass trapped within crystals.

According to the researchers, these types of samples exist throughout the inner solar system, and if sent back to earth, could provide interesting clues about planetary surfaces and interiors.

Excessive late-season snow melt prompted Grand Coulee Dam managers to release high flows from Lake Roosevelt last week. The measure was necessary, said the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, to minimize flood risk to populations along the Columbia River.

But the move was not without some casualties. About 100,000 fish were reportedly killed by nitrogen gas bubbles created by the churning water.

Most of those were farm-raised steelhead living in pens at a local fish farm.

A spokesperson from Pacific Aquaculture estimated it could lose $30 million worth over the coming weeks if the release continues.

But Reclamation maintains it had no choice and had to make room for the unusually high snow pack -- the highest since 1997.

Last Friday a Federal judge agreed when he refused to order reduced flows from the dam. Pacific Aquaculture argued that it was a violation of the Endangered Species Act.

The judge said that, while he was sympathetic, there was not enough evidence that any ESA-protected species had been impacted by the release.

In international news...

Over the weekend, seawater cooling pumps at the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant reactor 5 failed, possibly due to fouling of the parts by seawater, but an official cause is not yet known.

The reactor's core temperature rose from 68 degrees to 93.6 degrees, coming dangerously close the 100-degree safety limit required to maintain cold shutdown status.

Fortunately, repair crews were able to install a back up pump on Sunday.

The Environment Agency Wales has been swamped with reports of sewage and oil washing up on area shorelines.

The pollution, it turns out, was actually algae, formed as a result of unseasonably warm weather and over-abundance of nutrients.

Its brown lumpy appearance prompted concerned beachgoers to report the problem to officials.

While the algae is not pretty to look at, the Environment Agency Wales said it's a natural phenomenon and not toxic to humans.

Nonetheless, they say, contact with the algae should be avoided.

For WaterWorld magazine, I'm Angela Godwin. Thanks for watching.


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