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Water: Garden Friend….and Foe? – Water, Relative Humidity, and Plant Diseases

Watering can and vegetable garden

Water: Garden Friend….and Foe? – Water, Relative Humidity, and Plant Diseases

We all know that water is essential for life and that we have to ensure our landscapes, gardens, and houseplants all have a sufficient supply of the stuff.  Forget to water your garden during a hot, dry spell and it could mean disaster for your plants.  But water can also create issues for plants, usually when it is in an overabundance – water helps spread and develop diseases on foliage and excess soil moisture can damage roots, creating opportunities for root rots and other diseases.  How do you meet the water needs of the plant while also avoiding issues associated water?  Understanding how water affects disease organisms will help, along with some tried and true Integrated Pest Management Strategies.

Water and Pathogenic Microbes

Both bacteria and fungi require water to grow and reproduce.  Most do not have a mechanism to actively take up and manage water, so they uptake water mainly through osmosis.  This means there must be some form of water present for those microbes that are actively growing and especially for processes like reproduction which use not only a lot of energy but might also be required to carry spores in order to spread.

File:Septoria lycopersici malagutii leaf spot on tomato leaf.jpg -  Wikimedia Commons
Septoria leaf spot, a common fungal disease of tomato that requires water for initiation and development.

Both pathogenic microbes and beneficial (or neutral) microbes require water to thrive.  It is one side of what we refer to as the disease triangle.  Water (along with temperature) are major components of the “favorable environment” side of the triangle, with the other sides being a plant capable of being infected and a population of pathogens capable of infecting.  Those last two sides meaning you have to have a population of the pathogen big enough to initiate or sustain an infection and a plant that can actually be infected by that pathogen.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Mississippi Claims Memphis is Stealing its Groundwater, Supreme Court to Decide

Mississippi Claims Memphis is Stealing its Groundwater, Supreme Court to Decide

A long standing battle between states over water rights is headed to the Supreme Court.
Water Stress Map

The battle over water rights is heating up. Please consider the State of Mississippi v. City of Memphis and Memphis Light, Gas, and Water now on the Supreme Court Docket.

Mississippi’s complaint alleges that MLGW has “forcibly siphoned” off its water to the tune of billions of gallons. Compl. ¶ 23. And that without modern pumping technology none of that water would be available to Tennessee. Id. at ¶ 24. To make matters worse, Mississippi says Tennessee has removed groundwater far beyond “the water’s natural seepage rate.” Id.

Evidence of Tennessee’s heist, Mississippi claims, can be seen in “substantial drop in pressure and corresponding drawdown of stored water in the Sparta Sand” and the “cone of depression” that extends into north Mississippi. Id. at ¶¶ 25, 30. Because Tennessee is allegedly stealing water at such a rapid rate, Mississippi must now drill wells to substantially greater depths. Id. at ¶ 54(b). Naturally, that practice has increased the costs on Mississippians who rely on the Aquifer for their groundwater.

Mississippi now seeks both declaratory relief and money damages for the taking of its groundwater. The declaratory judgment would establish Mississippi’s “sovereign right, title and exclusive interest in the groundwater stored naturally in the Sparta Sand formation” which would not be available to the Defendants without pumping. I

Analysts Favor Tennessee

This suit has been brewing for years. But analysts strongly favor Tennessee.

For example, the University of Chicago Law Review writer Joseph Regalia says Mississippi’s Plea to the Supreme Court That It “Owns” Its Water and That Tennessee Is “Stealing” It Is Just Wrong.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Hundreds Arrested at Line 3 ‘Treaty People Gathering.’ Water Protectors Vow To Continue Until the Pipeline is Canceled

Indigenous activists in Northern Minnesota occupied sites of Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline, seeking to disrupt construction. The action puts national attention on an issue that President Biden has tried to ignore.
Water protectors are seeking to stop construction of Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline. Credit: Oil and Gas Action Network.

Nearly 200 people were arrested on Monday while protesting the Line 3 pipeline, a long-distance tar sands pipeline that runs across Indigenous land and threatens food and water resources, including the headwaters of the Mississippi River. Indigenous and environmental groups, and even some elected officials, condemned the aggressive use of a helicopter to disperse protesters.

More than 2,000 people began gathering at an undisclosed location in Northern Minnesota over the weekend, answering a call from Indigenous Anishinaabe people and a coalition of environmental groups to disrupt the construction of the pipeline.

The “Treaty People Gathering” kicked off on June 7, when hundreds of water protectors arrived at construction sites where Enbridge, a Canadian pipeline company, is ramping up construction of the Line 3 pipeline, which began in June after a several-month hiatus due to weather.

The direct action aims not just to delay and disrupt construction, but also to ratchet up the pressure on the Biden administration to intervene. Biden has avoided a public position on the issue, but growing national attention on the protests could make ignoring the water protectors increasingly difficult for the administration. The silence is all the more glaring as Biden has positioned himself as a champion of both climate action and Indigenous rights.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Ranchers Sell Off Cattle And Farmers Idle Hundreds Of Thousands Of Acres As America’s Drought Emergency Escalates

Ranchers Sell Off Cattle And Farmers Idle Hundreds Of Thousands Of Acres As America’s Drought Emergency Escalates

In my entire lifetime, this is the worst that drought conditions have ever been in the western half of the country.  During the past 20 years, the amount of territory in the West considered to be suffering from exceptional drought has never gone higher than 11 percent until now.  Today, that number is sitting at 27 percent.  The term “mega-drought” is being thrown around a lot these days to describe what is happening, but this isn’t just a drought.  This is a true national emergency, and it is really starting to affect our food supply.

Just look at what is happening up in North Dakota.  The vast majority of the state is either in the worst level of drought or the second worst level of drought, and ranchers are auctioning off their cattle by the thousands

“Normally this time of the year, we’re probably looking at 400-600 head and a lot of times would be every other week,” said former auctioneer Ron Torgerson.

On Sunday and Monday, more than 4,200 head of cattle were sold at Rugby Livestock and Auction.

Needless to say, ranchers in North Dakota don’t want to get rid of their cattle, but the drought has pushed prices for hay and corn so high that many of them simply have no choice.

One of those that has already been forced to sell a large number of cattle is rancher David Bohl

As the drought continues, the price of hay and corn has gone way up. It’s more expensive for ranchers to try and supplement feed than it is to sell the cattle.

Bohl has already sold 200 of his head in the last month.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“Water, water, everywhere…

“Water, water, everywhere…

Did it rain enough last night to water your garden? Have you started running the sprinklers and aren’t sure if they’re running enough? Perhaps you’re not sure that new drip system you installed is doing its job. Or maybe you just want to be more efficient and careful with your water use. How can you know moisture is getting deep enough into the soil to benefit your plants. Is there an easy way to find out?

Yes there is – a simple soil probe will do the trick.

A soil probe can be anything long and sturdy enough to penetrate the soil at least 12 inches (~30 cm.). Handmade soil probes, long screwdrivers, skewers, even the spit from an old rotisserie grill will all work.

A probe made of metal will work best and for safety it should have a handle of some sort. If there’s no handle you should wear sturdy gloves when using it. This set of  22″ screwdrivers was purchased at the local outlet of a national low cost tool franchise. It meets all the requirements and is inexpensive. Plus it’s a set so there’s one for you and one to share!

While you only need the probe to go 12″ into the soil it’s helpful if the probe itself is longer, if only for convenince. The probes are shown here with a yardstick for scale. (Yardstick = 36″=~91.5 cm.)

So you now have a soil probe, how do you use it to measure soil moisture depth? Easy-peasy.

Insert the probe straight into the soil at the spot you want to test. You’ll need to use firm pressure but don’t force it into the soil. The soil will pass through moist soil but stop when it hits dry…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Worst Drought in 91 Years Turns Brazil Into Hot Spot for LNG

  •  State-run oil company is seeking liquefied natural gas cargoes
  •  Water crisis curbs hydropower supplies across South America

As hydropower output declines, South America’s most populous nation is turning to the super-chilled fuel to keep lights on for its 212 million people. Brazil has already imported a record number of LNG cargoes just from the U.S. this year while state-run oil company Petrobras SA is tapping the spot market for another four.

The drought comes as the nation — which boosted its ability to import LNG in 2014 to avoid blackouts during soccer’s World Cup — is facing declining gas production from major supplier Bolivia. The conditions are also affecting other countries in South America, with Chile seeking to buy LNG and traders speculating Argentina could be next.

Brazil's Thermal Power Rises as Hydro Slides

“South America is running out of hydropower because of dry weather, and I wouldn’t be surprised if buyers all across the region were buying more LNG,” said Henning Gloystein, global director of energy and natural resources at consultants Eurasia Group. “Besides Southeast Asia and India, South America is a growth area for gas demand.”

Hydropower currently accounts for about 70% of Brazil’s electricity mix, and the lack of rainfall has forced the country to import 34 U.S. LNG cargoes over the past six months to bridge the power-supply gap, shipping data compiled by Bloomberg show. That eclipses the 17 sent to Chile and four to Mexico, which has long been the top buyer of U.S. LNG in the Western Hemisphere. Brazilian imports are approaching levels typically seen only from buyers in Asia and Europe.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Not just another drought: The American West moves from dry to bone dry

Not just another drought: The American West moves from dry to bone dry

The American West is having a drought. So, what else is new? And, that’s just the point. The American West has been in an extended drought since 2000, so far the second worst in the last 1200 years. Here is the key quote from the National Geographic article cited above:

In the face of continued climate change, some scientists and others have suggested that using the word “drought” for what’s happening now might no longer be appropriate, because it implies that the water shortages may end. Instead, we might be seeing a fundamental, long-term shift in water availability all over the West.

That is what climate scientists have been warning about all along. The problems we are now experiencing are not just cycles or fluctuations—although those continue to be important—but rather, permanent changes in the climate (that is, on any timeline that matters to humans).

I wrote about this drought when it was only 10 years old. (For a sense of how bad it is now, see the U.S. Drought Monitor.) Back then it did not seem that residents and businesses were taking it seriously, even if some water officials were. There have been ups and downs in the intervening years, but mostly downs.

There is a reason that most major cities are located near water and not in arid regions. Water is heavy, fluid and not easily transported—though vast and expensive water projects do just that. Water cannot be easily created from its constituents elements, oxygen and hydrogen. Oxygen is abundant everywhere on Earth. But hydrogen in its elemental state is not readily available and must be extracted from other sources such as natural gas. The cost of manufacturing water is prohibative or we’d likely be doing it already.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

California declares drought emergency across vast swath of state

Majority of counties now under emergency declaration as California faces extensive dry spell and dwindling water supply

Houseboats are dwarfed by the steep banks of Lake Oroville last month in Oroville, California.
Houseboats are dwarfed by the steep banks of Lake Oroville last month in Oroville, California. Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California has expanded a drought emergency declaration to a large swath of the nation’s most populated state amid “acute water supply shortages” in northern and central parts of California.

The declaration, expanded by Governor Gavin Newsom on Monday, now includes 41 of 58 counties, covering 30% of California’s nearly 40 million people. The US drought monitor shows most of the state and the American west is in extensive drought just a few years after California emerged from a punishing multiyear dry spell.

Officials fear an extraordinary dry spring presages a wildfire season like last year, when flames burned a record 6,562 sq mi(16,996 sq km).

The declaration comes as Newsom prepares to propose more spending on short- and long-term responses to dry conditions. The Democrat last month had declared an emergency in just two counties north of San Francisco – Mendocino and Sonoma.

The expanded declaration includes the counties in the Klamath River, Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and Tulare Lake watersheds across much of the northern and central parts of the state.

The Sierra Nevada snowpack, which provides about a third of the state’s water, was at just 59% of average on 1 April, when it is normally at its peak.

This year is unique in the state’s recorded history because of extraordinarily warm temperatures in April and early May, the administration said. That led to quick melting of the Sierra Nevada snowpack in the waterways that feed the Sacramento River, which in turn supplies much of the state’s summer water supply.

The problem was worse because much of the snow seeped into the ground instead of flowing into rivers and reservoirs, the administration said.

A neighborhood sign in San Anselmo, California. State residents are being urged to conserve water.
A neighborhood sign in San Anselmo, California. State residents are being urged to conserve water. Photograph: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Wildfires Are Contaminating Drinking Water Systems, and It’s More Widespread Than People Realize

Wildfires Are Contaminating Drinking Water Systems, and It’s More Widespread Than People Realize
Fire in one part of a community can contaminate the water system used by other residents, as Santa Rosa, California, discovered after the Tubbs Fire. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

More than 58,000 fires scorched the United States last year, and 2021 is on track to be even drier. What many people don’t realize is that these wildfires can do lasting damage beyond the reach of the flames – they can contaminate entire drinking water systems with carcinogens that last for months after the blaze. That water flows to homes, contaminating the plumbing, too.

Over the past four years, wildfires have contaminated drinking water distribution networks and building plumbing for more than 240,000 people.

Small water systems serving housing developments, mobile home parks, businesses and small towns have been particularly hard-hit. Most didn’t realize their water was unsafe until weeks to months after the fire.

The problem starts when wildfire smoke gets into the system or plastic in water systems heats up. Heating can cause plastics to release harmful chemicals, like benzene, which can contaminate drinking water and permeate the system.

As an environmental engineer, I and my colleagues work with communities recovering from wildfires and other natural disasters. Last year, at least seven water systems were found to be contaminated, suggesting drinking water contamination may be a more widespread problem than people realize.

Our new study identifies critical issues that households and businesses should consider after a wildfire. Failing to address them can harm people’s health – mental, physical and financial.

Wildfires make drinking water unsafe

When wildfires damage water distribution pipes, wells and the plumbing in homes and other buildings, they can create immediate health risks…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Next on the List of American Catastrophes? A Western Megadrought

Next on the List of American Catastrophes? A Western Megadrought

I’ve written many articles for The Organic Prepper about the coming food shortages. Not just in the United States but all across the world. Food isn’t the only thing that is soon going to be in short supply.

Fresh, clean water appears to be one of the prime shortages facing humanity today. And this problem is only going to get worse in the future. The American West is facing a water crisis not seen since the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl days. Ironic, since we’re also seeing a lot of similarities to the Great Depression, too.

This past year saw drought in the American West deepen

According to research published in the Journal Science, portions of the United States entered the beginning stages of megadrought. From the Columbia University site:

All told, the researchers say that rising temperatures are responsible for about half the pace and severity of the current drought. If this overall warming were subtracted from the equation, the current drought would rank as the 11th worst detected — bad, but nowhere near what it has developed into.

“It doesn’t matter if this is exactly the worst drought ever,” said coauthor Benjamin Cook, who is affiliated with Lamont and the Goddard Institute for Space Studies. “What matters is that it has been made much worse than it would have been because of climate change.” Since temperatures are projected to keep rising, it is likely the drought will continue for the foreseeable future; or fade briefly only to return, say the researchers.

“Because the background is getting warmer, the dice are increasingly loaded toward longer and more severe droughts,” said Williams. “We may get lucky, and natural variability will bring more precipitation for a while…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Saudi Arabia Goes the way of the Garamantes. Google Earth Confirms the Collapse of the Water Supply 

Saudi Arabia Goes the way of the Garamantes. Google Earth Confirms the Collapse of the Water Supply 

In 2008, I noted the decline in Saudi Arabian water production and I published an article in “The Oil Drum” titled “Peak Water in Saudi Arabia.” Using a simple version of the Hubbert model of resource depletion, I noted how the supply of “fossil water” had peaked in 1990 and had been declining ever since. This is the typical behavior of “fossil” resources: they tend to peak and then decline. It had already happened to the ancient Garamantes, inhabitants of central Sahara, who had developed sophisticated technologies of water extraction during the 1st millennium BC. That had allowed them to prosper for about one thousand years, but then depletion had its revenge and they vanished among the sand dunes. Something similar (but probably much faster) is going to happen in the Arabian peninsula. 

The old Hubbert model was developed to describe the cycle of extraction of crude oil. It may be oversimplified if you want to use it for detailed predictions. But, as a quick tool for understanding the situation of the production of a non renewable resource, it tells you a lot of what you need to know. That first stab of mine on water production in Saudi Arabia turned out to be correct.

It is impressive how, today, you can use Google Earth to look at the situation “from above.” You can see the collapse of the agricultural fields as depletion progresses. Here are the images of an irrigated area for a region East of Al Jubail, in Saudi Arabia,  26°48’29.60″N and  49° 8’47.58″E.

Let’s start with an image of the desert in 1984. There is absolutely nothing there:

One year later, 1985. Someone has started extracting water and irrigating the land. There are two active fields there.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The real value of water

Valuing Water is the theme of the 29th World Water Day this year. Valuing Water and Enabling Change also happened to be the theme of the Annual Report of the World Economic Forum’s 2030 Water Resources Group (now hosted by the World Bank) last year.

Clearly, no one who ever had to go without a glass of water for a few hours on a hot summer day needs to be told how invaluable water is. In fact, we all know that water is essential for life itself. There is the truism water is life! So, why this emphasis on “valuing” water?

According to the World Water Day website, “The value of water is about much more than its price — water has enormous and complex value for our households, culture, health, education, economics and the integrity of our natural environment. If we overlook any of these values, we risk mismanaging this finite, irreplaceable resource.” The Special Rapporteur on Right to Water is even more clear: “Beyond the issues of pricing, this topic includes the environmental, social and cultural value people place on water. For instance, in daily life, water can mean health, hygiene, dignity and productivity. In cultural, religious and spiritual places, water can mean a connection with creation or community. And in natural spaces, water can mean peace and preservation. Water means different things to different people in different settings.”

However, policy makers tend to focus only on the economic value of water, almost forgetting all else. The idea of treating water as an economic good is not that old. It was first articulated in 1992 at the International Conference on Water and Environment (ICWE), as one of the four Dublin principles, which said:..

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Shiney Varghese, water, institute for agriculture and trade policy,

 As temps rise, so do water protector arrests

AITKIN COUNTY, Minn. — Spring is bringing the heat to opponents of the Enbridge Line 3 tar-sands oil pipeline, as levels of arrests and citations for demonstrations against the private Canadian infrastructure project rise faster than at any time since construction began on it in December.

The toll on the self-proclaimed water protectors stands at more than 200, higher than for any oil pipeline opposition in the country since the Dakota Access Pipeline resistance of 2016-2017. As ground and waterways continue to thaw, increased numbers of opponents and arrests are expected.

Not all detentions in the escalating law enforcement suppression response are legal. Take Michele Naar-Obed’s recent arrest for example. She was held in custody three nights for what turned out to be a junk warrant claiming her attendance at a March 3 public action violated the conditions of her release from a previous Line 3-related charge.

Michele Naar-Obed outside Aitkin County jail, March 19, 2021COURTESY // Resist Line 3

Officers issued dozens of citations at the event, a gathering to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the 1991 Line 3 oil spill in Grand Rapids, Minn. In the disaster, the line now being replaced burst and spilled 1.7 million gallons of crude oil onto the frozen Prairie River. The calamity vies with that of the Enbridge Line 6B rupture, — which flushed another million or so gallons into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River in 2010 —, for the title of largest inland oil spill in U.S. history.

“I’m being accused of breaking the law for participating in First Amendment activities,” Naar-Obed told sympathizers outside the Aitkin County Jail as she went in to contest the warrant and request an audience with a judge.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Justine AndersonEsperanza Project, water, water protectors, protests, global warming, climate change, resilience.org, 

Water is Life. Can We Protect It?

From West Texas to Jackson, Mississippi, tens of millions of people struggled through late winter storms that froze pipes, broke water mains, and cut off electricity. They froze without showers, toilets, or washing machines — let alone drinking water — for days or even weeks.

The irony that Texas, the state built on fossil fuels, was completely unprepared for extreme weather disasters shouldn’t be lost on anyone.

Fossil fuel and utility firms have long plied state officials with money. In turn, officials failed to regulate utilities, weatherize their grid, or create programs to weatherize homes — much less upgrade the state’s decaying water infrastructure.

This extreme weather disaster gave Americans a glimpse of the daily reality of billions who struggle to protect their water from polluting corporations.

In our travels, we’ve seen these fights up close — they’re harrowing, but also inspiring. As we in the United States face similar struggles, we might take some encouragement from others who’ve won local, national, and global fights to protect their water.

In particular, we’ve spent countless hours with people across El Salvador, where drought has taxed the river system that provides water for over half the country’s population. Over the past two decades, this river system was threatened by a giant mining company that wanted to mine gold near the rivers.

Gold mining uses toxic chemicals like cyanide that poison water. But a global mining company attempted to buy public support by launching flashy PR campaigns, funding local projects, and hiring expensive lobbyists.

Beyond offering these few carrots, they also carried a large stick. When the Salvadoran government paused new mining licenses to study the issue, the mining companies filed lawsuits against the government under the rigged rules that govern investment across borders.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

, OtherWords, water, infrastructure, 

David Schindler, the Scientific Giant Who Defended Fresh Water

David Schindler, the Scientific Giant Who Defended Fresh Water

Among the world’s greatest ecologists, his boreal research has touched all of our lives.

The first time I met David Schindler 30 years ago, he occupied an office the size of a closet on the eighth floor of the zoology building at the University of Alberta.

Piles of scientific papers erupted about the room like academic volcanoes. So much paper obliterated a desk that Schindler perched his computer on a TV tray. He didn’t like cities, and drove to work every day from Wildwood, Alta., 100 kilometres west of Edmonton. There he and his wife Suzanne Bayley were correctly known as “dog people.” They owned 85 sled dogs.

But that’s not what dumbfounded me. Schindler just didn’t look or behave like a university professor. People commonly mistook the lake ecologist for a rig worker or a farmer. The short muscular man could lift a car, ride a 10-dog sled team over 5,000 kilometres of terrain every winter, wrestle a group of men down a stairway (yes, he did that at Oxford University), hunt a moose and happily down a bottle of whiskey with no noticeable effects.

And then there was the peerless, cutting-edge science. By the age of 50, Schindler was one of the world’s top freshwater ecologists. Politicians and bureaucrats feared him because he wielded scientific evidence the way a Samurai swung a sword. His groundbreaking research on phosphates, acid rain, climate change, UV radiation and transboundary pollutants had rattled governments in North America and Europe and driven important policy changes around the world.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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