Daniel Stellar, Author at State of the Planet

A Milestone Worthy of a Party: the Municipal Water Plan in Brazil

I recently returned from a trip to visit our project site in Ceará, Brazil. While our project has included infrastructure construction, the heart of our work is a municipal water plan (PAM) for Milhã, an area in the central region of the state.

by |December 20, 2010

Risky Business 2: Municipal Bonds?

According to a recently released report, municipal bonds, which finance a large portion of the nation’s water utilities and infrastructure, may not carry ratings that reflect the growing pool of risk surrounding the nation’s water supply.

by |November 4, 2010

Can We Have Our Water and Drink It, Too? Exploring the Water Quality-Quantity Nexus

Water quantity and quality have generally been considered as separate problems and have usually been treated as such in policy-making and environmental restoration efforts. Increasingly, however, research and experience is beginning to show a strong link between water quantity and quality.

by |October 28, 2010

Let’s Take a Break: NY Senate Passes Moratorium on Hydraulic Fracturing

Fracking is an interesting example of a topic we talk about frequency at the Columbia Water Center – the water-energy nexus. In this case, the link relates water quality to energy supply. While fracking in the Marcellus Shale could provide significant supplies of relatively clean energy (natural gas), it also creates a huge risk for groundwater quality.

by |August 6, 2010

Beat the Heat, but with Bottled Water?

As temperatures in the Northeast finally begin to ease, we can assess the first heat wave of summer 2010. Here in New York, there was remarkably little drama. Through Herculean efforts, ConEd was able to avoid any serious blackouts or brownouts, and thankfully, there were no health emergencies. Neither were there any major heat-induced public safety disasters.

One thing there was plenty of though, was bottled water.

by |July 8, 2010

The PlayPump: What Went Wrong?

Earlier this week, PBS’s Frontline ran a story about the PlayPump, a technology that was supposed to bring drinking water to thousands of African communities by harnessing the power of children at play. Now dozens of PlayPumps in Mozambique sit idle, and in many villages PlayPumps have been removed, and hand pumps reinstalled.

by |July 1, 2010

Obama’s Oil Speech: What Wasn’t Said

I was eagerly anticipating President Obama’s speech last night and very much hoping it would mark a true turning point in the administration’s handling of the crisis. However, like many others, I was sorely disappointed. While the speech used plenty of combative terms (“battle plan”, “siege”) it was completely absent of specifics, both for responding to the crisis and for how to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

by |June 16, 2010

Beyond Market Economics?

Bottled water – “one of the least green and least defensible ripoffs on the market.” Is this a routine quote from one of the usual suspects of anti-bottled water campaigners? Surprisingly, no. It’s from the Economist – the journalistic bastion of free market economics – and is is included in their new special report on water that Julia summarized in an earlier blog post.

by |May 28, 2010

Irrigation project success in Mali

Columbia Water Center is working in Mali, Africa, as part of its PepsiCo Foundation funded project to improve rural water use and livelihoods.

The Mali component of the project aims to develop an effective irrigation system to improve agricultural productivity and food security.

by |May 20, 2010

Good News from EPA – No Fooling

Recently, the Obama administration has been getting harsh reviews from some environmentalists for its decision to open several new areas of the US to offshore drilling.  Putting this admittedly odd decision aside though,  the Thursday April 1 (April Fool’s Day) decision to roll out tough new water quality standards that could severely limit some of the most destructive… read more

by |April 13, 2010