Beyond Independence Day or Veterans Day, it's always a great time to thank our nation's veterans for their service and reflect on the sacrifices they and their families have made on our behalf. This year, it's also a great time to add a plea — and an opportunity — for further service in the defense of our country: to take the skills they learned in the military and apply them to the water industry.
Economist Harold Pollack's New York Times article suggesting priorities for your philanthropic work was a fun read for those of us who would love to imagine what we would do with $131 billion. Unlike Pollack, I'm not going to tell you how to give away your money — you earned it, it's yours, and you can do what you want with it.
World Water Day (Thursday, March 22nd this year) does a great job of focusing our attention on water issues. And especially with storms on the East Coast and drought in the West, not to mention the looming possibility that officials will have to shut off the taps in Cape Town sometime this summer, a lot of the messaging around water is pretty much like being smothered in a wet blanket.
Talk about making waves. Cryptocurrency — digital “tokens” or “coins” rooted in computer code and valued for the very fact that they are disconnected from governments and banks — have experienced spectacular rises and falls in recent months. The crypto-economy is already worth hundreds of billions of dollars (REAL dollars!), and it’s anyone’s guess how fast it will grow after that.
Salvator Mundi sold for nearly half a billion dollars. Walter Isaacson’s latest biography is a breakaway hit. Management guru Michael Gelb’s book accessing the thought techniques of history’s most accomplished Renaissance Man — in every literal and figurative sense of the word — is still a bestseller. Almost 500 years after his death, Leonardo da Vinci is still a superstar.
Angelo Mazzei has always thought locally and acted globally. Born and raised in California’s San Joaquin Valley — one of the world’s most productive farming regions — Angelo worked for his uncle’s 10,000-acre farming operation after graduating from college. There he saw a pressing need for a system that would allow farmers to safely and efficiently inject fertilizer into their irrigation water — a task made even more challenging with the 1968 introduction of high-pressure water supplies through the California Aqueduct, a 400-mile-long water conveyance system. A new approach was vital.
Water is the lifeblood of electrical power plants, whether they are water-cooled steam plants or turbine-spinning hydroelectric installations. Regardless of how the facility generates electricity, there is a growing awareness that each power plant is part of its own, unique industrial watershed — drawing water from the environment, altering its contents and temperature, releasing some to the atmosphere as steam, and returning the rest to receiving waters.
With Memorial Day just around the corner, millions of homeowners are pulling the covers off their hot tubs, filling them up and getting ready for summertime relaxation. Hot tubs provide relaxation, ease aches and pains, relax sore muscles, or even — in the case of swim spas — work those muscles instead.
California is home to some of the world’s most creative minds, top universities, productive farmland, groundbreaking industries — and one of the most epic droughts. The state has endured five years of drained reservoirs and groundwater reserves tapped so aggressively that the land subsidence caused by pumping has been literally seen from space. This indicates in no uncertain terms that it’s time to get all hands on deck. Private companies, universities, irrigation and drainage districts, municipalities — it’s time to pull together into public-private partnerships to address water challenges that face California and so many other regions of the world.
This blog is a summary of a presentation I gave at the Water Quality Association’s annual convention in Orlando.
Now that you have returned to the role of private citizen — though, admittedly you are a private citizen with millions of eyes focused on you — I want to encourage you to continue your great work promoting the health of our nation’s children. Your emphasis on exercise and nutrition, jobs and support for veterans, and education have touched millions of Americans of all ages and all backgrounds. Now it’s time to bring in the most common denominator and the first step toward good health — access to clean water.
For years, I’ve been standing on my deck in San Francisco, looking south to Silicon Valley for innovation in water efficiency. But I’m starting to realize that I might have been gazing in the wrong direction. Maybe I need to turn around and look north, over the spires of the Golden Gate Bridge, toward the Emerald Triangle in Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity counties, the hotbed of California’s newly legalized commercial cannabis production.
During the long campaign, you ran on a platform of change, and since the election, you have charted a course toward improving our nation’s infrastructure. I urge you to focus some of that change and a significant portion of those infrastructure improvements on the one issue at the center of survival for all Americans, regardless of whom they voted for — water.
Let’s lift a glass — of water — to celebrate World Soil Day, created by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations to recognize the thin mantle that sustains us. Of course, as a water guy, I look at World Soil Day as a time to highlight the symbiosis of soil and water. As anybody who has been to the barren deserts of China, North Africa or the Middle East knows, soil without water doesn’t produce anything.