WaterWorld Weekly: March 31, 2011
Transcript of the March 31, 2011, edition of the WaterWorld Weekly newscast...
This following is a transcript of the March 31, 2011, edition of the WaterWorld Weekly newscast.
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Water security weakness exposed
Relief for California drought
Water Prize recognizes research institute
Lawmaker asks Feds to clean up water
Cooling water discussion heats up
Contaminated water in South Korea
In southern California, a water utility wanting to test vulnerabilities in its computer systems, hired a hacker to break in.
According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, it didn't take him long. In one day, hacker and security expert Marc Maiffret and his team were able to infiltrate the system and take control of the water treatment plant's operation system.
Maiffret, who did not identify the water utility, said the weakness was caused by employees logging into the network from their home computers.
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power was quick to issue a statement that it wasn't them. Their system, they said, is in no way accessible remotely.
California Governor Jerry Brown is expected to officially withdraw California's drought declaration after winter storms and snowmelt have provided welcome relief from several years of dry conditions.
Jeffrey Kightlinger, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, said that although long-term challenges still lie ahead, the storms, combined with water conservation efforts, have improved short-term water management concerns.
Timothy Quinn, Executive Director of the Association of California Water Agencies, also said the short-term implications are positive ones, but cautioned residents not to become complacent about the water supply.
"Drought declarations come and go, but they no longer capture the full extent of the state's ongoing water supply challenges," he said.
Last month, the Clean Water America Alliance announced the five winners of its inaugural U.S. Water Prize, recognizing innovative, watershed-based approaches to sustainability.
The Pacific Institute, a nonpartisan research institute that works to advance environmental protection, economic development, and social equity, is one of recipients.
The Institute is at the forefront of water issues -- from water use efficiency to climate change -- informing political debate and elevating public awareness.
Dr. Peter Gleick, president and co-founder of the Pacific Institute elaborates.
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A Nevada lawmaker isn't buying the federal government's claim that contaminated water from a nuclear test site won't reach nearby water supplies.
Republican Assemblyman Ed Goedhart wants the federal government to pay for independent studies of the water supplies near the Nevada National Security Site, where over a thousand nuclear explosions were detonated, above and below ground, from 1951 to 1992.
The DOE said it's already spent millions in groundwater cleanup and monitoring at the site. The agency says the low levels of tritium found there are highly unlikely to ever reach a public water supply.
Still, Goedhart is pushing for the feds to contribute $4 million dollars toward an independent investigation.
Last week, EPA released proposed rules designed to prevent fish and other small aquatic life forms from being sucked into cooling water intake systems.
Every year, billions of eggs, larvae and juvenile fish able to fit through intake screens are drawn into intake systems and eventually killed by heat, chlorination, or other processes.
If adopted, the new rules would subject existing facilities with a design flow of more than 2 million gallons of water a day to an upper limit on fish kills.
Existing facilities using more 125 million gallons of water a day would have to work with state officials to develop "site-specific" Controls.
And finally, new units would have to use closed-cycle cooling systems.
Nobody seems particularly happy about the rules.
Energy companies are concerned about the high cost of compliance and the impact of that on industry, while environmental groups say EPA has 'taken a path of least resistance' by passing the buck to the states.
The proposed rules are open for public comment for 90 days. You can submit your comments online at regulations.gov for docket number EPA-HQ-OW-2008-0667.
Reports out of South Korea say that underground water sources near animal burial sites are showing very high rates of bacteriological contamination.
The burial sites are used to dispose of diseased livestock.
About 3,000 underground water sources across the country were tested. 143 of them showed bacteria levels above water quality standards.
Officials are currently analyzing the results to determine whether the contamination came from leachate from the burial sites or from wastewater from nearby cattle sheds.
For WaterWorld magazine, I'm Angela Godwin. Thanks for watching.