miércoles, 11 de noviembre de 2015

Talking point: Water

This week's talking point is water. Before getting together with the members of your conversation group, go over the questions below so that ideas flow more easily when you meet up with your friends and you can work out vocabulary problems beforehand.

Which of these ways to collect or process water are you familiar with?
Which of the systems re already in use in your country?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of each system?
desalination plants - dams - underground water collection - 
fog nets - residential water collection tank
Do any areas in your country have problems with water shortages?
What is done about it?
What kinds of water problems have you experienced  in your home or community?
Think of a water-related disaster you remember and talk about it. Mention the following:
event - area affected - damage cost - lives lost - reconstruction done or being done
What's the most you have paid for a bottle of water? Where? How much?
Should we really drink bottled water?
Do you prefer drinking bottled water or tape water? Why?
How much water do you usually drink?
What is your monthly water bill?
Why do you think it is important to clean up polluted rivers and lakes?
What different ways do people use water every day?

To illustrate the point you can watch the National Geographic video below on drought and water shortages in Lompico, California, which is forcing locals to rethink the way they are using water.

1 Lois Henry President, Lompico County Water District Board
Mark Twain said, "Whiskey's for drinking and water is for fighting." We're going to have wars
over water one of these days because water is vital. Here in Lompico, we have about five-hundred
households. It's not really a town, it's just a canyon in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The only business is...
the Water District. It's just a bunch of homes that started off as a resort area. Our claim to fame here is
that Jerry Garcia lost part of a finger in Lompico Creek with an axe.
2 Kevin Collins, Conservation Activist and Lompico Resident
I measure rainfall. We got less than twenty inches this winter. The average here, long term average,
is 45-50 inches. This is a third year of a below average series of winters. So if the stream dries up
since my house is dependent on it for a water supply, I'll have to pay to have water trucked into a fire-
fighting storage tank that I have. The creek hasn't dried up in the 25 years I've lived here, but this is an
unprecedented rainfall year.
3 Andrew Fisher Hydrogeologist  University of California, Santa Cruz
We have clusters of dry years and clusters of wet years as well. There's an additional level of variability
you can now layer on top of all of that which has to do with climate change. One of the big areas of
the planet that's being affected is the hydrologic cycle. There are changes in the way air is moving and
the way water is moving. We see in the San Francisco Bay area, for example, in the last hundred years
there's been an increase in the intensity of storms. So what that means is during a given year, we're now
more likely to get a larger fraction of our rain during a smaller number of events. You tend to get more
run off with those big storms. The streams tend to peak and flood. They tend to deliver more of that
water to the ocean. There's less opportunity for that stream water or the water coming off of hill slopes
to soak into the ground and recharge aquifers.
4 Lois Henry, President Lompico County Water District Board
I've cut my water usage in half. Come on in. One of the things I did to conserve water was to buy a new washer. I collect water in a bucket while the water is heating up and then I bring the water in the house. And then I'll take some of it and heat it up in this teapot and I will take that hot water and wash my dishes. And then I take that water and I water my plants. California Department of Public Health contacted me and said it would be possible for us to get a grant for an emergency intertie with San Lorenzo Water District.
5 Richard Rogers Director of Operations San Lorenzo Valley Water District
They really squeaked by in these last couple of weeks. I mean it was a day away, I think, from trucking
water in. This pipe will climb up approximately 700 feet in elevation to get to the Lompico water
system. Because the state's in an unprecedented drought, we're all having water conservation. San
Lorenzo Valley water starts May 1st with a 20% mandatory restrictions. Lompico, they're in and out
right now, of rationing. When your neighbor knocks on your door and says you need water, you help.
6 John Stipes Fire Chief Zayante Fire Protection District
From maybe October through January there was probably 70 different vegetation fires that were lit in
the county this year, where typically we'd have maybe a dozen. These fuels out here, these grasses out
here, are probably twice as dry right now as they normally are this time of year.
7 Kevin Collins Conservation Activist and Lompico Resident
California's entire landscape has been modified over the last hundred years. It's been plumbed. Every
major river system in the entire state except for one on the Oregon border is dammed and there's a huge
network of aqueducts and gates and pumps that move water from one part of the state to the other.
The farmers are going to be screaming bloody murder this summer because their water allocation just
doesn't exist. And so there will be fights over what's going to happen in the Sacramento Delta. They'll
be accusing conservation advocates of putting them out of business because we don't want the salmon
to go extinct and other species that are blinking out in the delta. There's going to be a huge political
battle this summer in California over who gets what water that still exists.