Water related news stories

Tale of the tap July 10, 2019 (Story from The Philadelphia Inquirer)

Growing Water July 9, 2019 (Story from Sustainable Waters)

Camden PowerCorps Recruits Youth to Green the City  July 8, 2019 (Story from CivicStory)

Confronting Inequities, Sharing Solutions March 28, 2019 (Story from Penn Today)

Plastic Pollution Causes Mussels to Lose Grip Feb 21, 2019 (Story from ScienceDaily)

Water Innovations for a Hot, Hungry Planet Feb 7, 2019 (Story from Forbes)

River Levels Tracked From Space Jan 31, 2019 (Story from ScienceDaily)

Record Rains Increased Pollution in Chesapeake Bay Jan 10, 2019 (Story from The Inquirer)

Sewage Bacteria Lurking in Hudson River Sediments, Study Finds Jan 2, 2019 (Story from Science Daily)

What Happens When 25,000 Amazon Workers Flush Toilets? December 13, 2018 (Story from New York Times)

Achieving Equity in Lead Poisoning Prevention Policy Making December 12, 2018 (Story from Human Impact Partners)

A Water Crisis in Newark Brings New Worries December 6, 2018 (Story from The New York Times)

National Focus on Affordability November 29, 2018 (Story from US Water Alliance)

Trump is Weaponizing California’s Water Issues November 20, 2018 (Story from Los Angeles Times)

Water Investigators: Dominican Republic November 14, 2018 (Story from GWA Blog)

Why the World Deserves a Better Toilet November 14, 2018 (Story from GatesNotes)

How Did Earth Get Its Water? November 12, 2018 (Story from EarthSky)

Rural America’s Own Private Flint: Polluted Water Too Dangerous to Drink November 8, 2018 (Story from New York Times)

Michigan Governor-Elect Says Clean Drinking Water is First Priority November 8, 2018 (Story from Circle of Blue)

The National Flood Insurance Program will expire in 1 month – On November 30th, 2018 the NFIP will expire. That is, unless Congress can put together another extension – We don’t see reforms coming, though we know what they should be. Some alarming trends have developed in the past decade. Congressman DeFazio introduced a bill that orders the GAO to look at a buyout program for severe repetitive losses. Severe repetitive losses are homes that have been flooded 5 times or more, and there are roughly 30,000 of them. That figure grew by 73% from 1997 to 2011. According to the GAO, about 1% of the properties insured under the NFIP make up more than 25% of claims. Even worse, 22% of premiums paid into the NFIP only account for 40-45% of the full costs of flood damage.

The bottom line – The program needs to focus more on encouraging policy holders to elevate, relocate, demolish or be bought-out through a buy-out program. Without changes, the program will continue to run a loss and taxpayers will continue to fund disasters through enormous supplemental appropriation bills.

November 1, 2018 (Story from Water Log)

Microplastics Find Their Way Into Your Gut, A Pilot Study Finds October 24, 2018, (Story from New York Times)

Mike Bloomberg Names Philadelphia Winner in Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge October 22, 2018, (Story from Bloomberg Philanthropies)

The Physics of Harbor Gates October 22, 2018, (Story from Waterfront Alliance)

Control of Dysfunctional Water Utility Seized October 18, 2018, (Story from Water Online)

New Jersey is the First State to Regulate Toxic PFNAs in Drinking Water September 5, 2018, (Story from The Inquirer)

Where Would Millennials Take The Water Industry August 24, 2018, (Story from Global Water Intel)

Mapping the Ocean With Marine Robots  August 20, 2018, (Story from Penn Today)

Trump is Wrong About California’s Wildfires – But Right About its Water  August 10, 2018, (Story from The Hill Scott Moore)

Holding Local Water Polluters Accountable: How Can You Help?  August 9, 2018, (Story from NEXT Pittsburgh)

Water Supply in a War Zone: A Preliminary Analysis of Two Urban Water Tankers Supply Systems in the Republic of Yemen  August 8, 2018, (Story from World Bank Group, Scott Moore)

Australia Announces Extra $140 Million Aid Package for Drought-Hit Farmers August 6, 2018, (Story from Reuters)

Leveraging Penn’s Expertise to Meet Challenges in the Water Sector August 3, 2018, (Story from University of Pennsylvania Almanac)

The newly launched Water Center at Penn, led by Professor of Practice Howard Neukrug, aims to open an innovation pipeline focused on water. Bridging the gap between researchers and practitioners, the Water Center aims to serve as a regional hub of water expertise

Building a Water Secure Future August 2, 2018, (Audio from Aspen Ideas Festival)

US Water Alliance CEO, Radhika Fox discusses drinking water quality issues, lead, infrastructure, innovative wastewater management strategies and more along with her fellow panelists at the Aspen Ideas Festival.

Is There a New Water Crisis in Michigan? July 31, 2018 (Story from CNN)

On Sunday, Michigan’s lieutenant governor called a state of emergency for Kalamazoo County due to water contaminated with chemicals at more 20 times the threshold set by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

It’s yet another site on a growing list of those around the state contaminated with the chemicals PFAS or PFOA.


Philadelphia Bets Millions That Restoring Mussels in the Delaware River Basin Can Improve Water Quality July 24, 2018 (Story from Stateimpact Pennsylvania)

Freshwater mussels function as nature’s water treatment plants. Each animal can filter up to 600 gallons of water per month. Working together, they can dramatically clean the water of the rivers they live in.

But the Delaware River Basin is running out of them. And the ones left are not reproducing nearly enough. That’s about to change.


N.J. finds PFNAs, ‘chemicals of emerging concern,’ in some recreational fishing waters July 20, 2018 (Story from The Inquirer)

For the first time, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has tested for man-made “chemicals of emerging concern” — often referred to as PFAS — in the lower Delaware River watershed and found the chemicals in multiple locations.

The expanded testing of fish in selected waterways was carried out as part of a regular update of fish consumption advisories, according to a news release issued Thursday.


Why does it Take so Long to Upgrade Philly’s Water Infrastructure July 13, 2018 (Story from PlanPhilly)

There are 3,200 miles of pipes beneath the city, and the current five-year average is 267 breaks per every 1,000 miles. Howard Neukrug said Philadelphia leads the country in terms of determining which sections of pipe to replace. “The problem in Philadelphia and other cities is the amount of pipe we need to replace,” he said.  “If you replace it as a rate of 1 percent a year, of 3,200 miles of pipe, that’s 32 miles a year. Over the course of 100 years, you would have replaced all your pipes. Unfortunately, pipes from the 1960s through today have been replaced at much lower levels, maybe as low as half a percent, which means you are replacing the system on a 200



The Water Wars of Arizona July 20, 2018 (Story from The New York Times)

Aquifers across the globe are beginning to quietly dry up under the compounded strain of increased food production. 
Arizona families had never thought to ask about water quantity when purchasing a home. It wasn’t something you needed to think about in Pennsylvania. There was always water.


Can the Middle East Solve its Water Problem? July 12, 2018 (Story from CNN)

In one of the hottest, driest places on earth, water is so scant it needs to be filtered from the sea.

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is the world’s most water-scarce region, with 17 countries below the water poverty line set by the United Nations.
Much like money spent from an overdrawn bank account, water in the region is being withdrawn faster than it can be replenished, meaning MENA countries are essentially “living beyond their means.”
This is the finding of a recent World Bank report, which outlines how the region can move beyond water scarcity to greater water security.

Singapore International Waterweek: Four new utilities welcomed into the global ‘Leading utilities of the World’ Network July 13, 2018

The water utility sector’s successes are rarely celebrated, but its failures are quickly known. Incidents like the Flint Michigan lead contamination become global news items, but the brilliance of the best performing utilities goes largely unnoticed.

The objective is to create a global network of the world’s most successful and innovative water and wastewater utilities to help drive performance across the sector by recognising achievement, providing a network for sharing ideas, and inspiring others to improve.

Leading Utilities of the World (LUOW) is a network of the world’s most forward-thinking water and wastewater utilities.  Its members represent the gold standard of utility innovation and performance throughout the developed world’s water sector.

LUOW is an initiative of the Global Water Leaders Group, a non-profit organization aiming to create a better story for water worldwide.  Today, there are over 3 dozen member utilities that have received the honor of the “best of”.  The picture, above, represents the dozen plus members of the Network that were in Singapore for International Wter Week in July, 2018.  The next gathering will take place in our own city of Philadelphia in October, 2018, when an additional 5 global utilities will receive the gold standard recognition.

The Water Center at Penn is a major partner of the Leading Utilities of the World.  It’s executive director, Howard Neukrug, also serves as the Chair of the LUOW.  Our goal at the Water Center is to support the peer-to-peer networking of the most innovative water systems in the world and to support the discussion of research needs to solve the world’s greatest water challenges – from water scarcity to contamination to flooding.

New Utilities Added in 2018:

• Queensland Urban Utilities, Australia (represented by CEO, Louise Dudley)

• Houston Water, USA (represented by Director, Yvonne Forrest)

• Water Supplies Department, HKSARG, Hong Kong (represented by Deputy Director, Chau Sai Wai)

• Phoenix Water Services, USA (represented by Director, Kathryn Sorensen)




Trump Administration Finally Issues Report on Toxic Chemicals June 20, 2018 (Story from Politico)

The Trump administration finally released a delayed report on toxic water contamination on Wednesday, months after White House officials expressed fears it would spark a “public nightmare” if released. 

The report by the Department of Health and Human Services shows that toxic nonstick chemicals that have leaked into communities’ drinking water supplies endanger human health at levels the EPA had previously deemed safe


Natural Selections: Small Pocket Park Packs a Big Wallop June 20, 2018 (Story from The Review)

During the heavy rain storms that flooded parts of the city, the newly opened Roxborough Pocket Park on Ridge Avenue sailed through the storm unscathed. This tiny park’s stormwater management system is unbelievable – Truely a model for future parks!


Fine Arts Professor Marries Art and Science on the Schuylkill River Banks June 13, 2018 (Story from PennToday)

For years, Penn Fine Arts Lecturer Deirdre Murphy tucked away the idea of creating an art piece based on a river, long mulling over which of the world’s many rivers could be her perfect muse. 


In Search of Solutions to Detroit’s Water Shutoffs, Could Philly Hold the Answer? June 14, 2018 (Story from

 This is a massive humanitarian crisis,” says Emily Kutil, an architecture professor at the University of Detroit Mercy. Kutil also researches and studies water shutoffs for We the People of Detroit.

Kutil echoes what the United Nations said in 2014, that the shutoffs in Detroit were “contrary to human rights.”

Kutil says there’s a possible solution out there. And it’s already in place in Philadelphia.


Earth’s Dismal Water Future, Mapped June 10, 2018 (Story from Los Angeles Times)


“There have always been geographically distinct classes of water “haves” and “have-nots.” Now, as the map shows, those regions of water security and insecurity are shifting radically.

Climate models predict that changing weather and temperature patterns will cause the world’s high-latitude and tropical regions — the areas that are already wet — to get wetter, while already dry, arid and semi-arid regions will get drier. But those models foresee major changes coming at the end of the 21st century. Our map clearly shows new patterns emerging today. This includes the U.S.: The northern half of the country has become much wetter, while the southern half has become much drier.”

New Report on Philadelphia Drinking Water Quality Released June 6, 2018 (Story from Philadelphia Water Department)

Based on data collected by the department’s Bureau of Laboratory Services throughout 2017, the annual report details test results showing Philadelphia’s drinking water meets or is better than all state and federal water quality standard


Leveraging Penn’s Expertise to Meet Challenges in the Water Sector May 31, 2018 (Story from Penn Today)

“I see the Water Center as something of a think tank, forming a connection between the practitioners in the applied field of water and the technology and science and global interests of the students and faculty at Penn.” – Howard Neukrug, Director Water Center at Penn

What Water Teaches: Wissenschaft in the Age of Sea Level Rise May 29, 2018 (Story from Duke University Franklin Humanities Institute)

University of Pennsylvania Professor, Simon Richter, writes about the future of water and the impact sea level rise has on the arts and humanities

Risk of Water Shortages for England Warns Environment Agency May 25, 2018 (Story from BBC)

England is facing water supply shortages by 2050 unless rapid action is taken to curb water use and wastage. The Agency says enough water to support 20 million people is lost though leakage every day. 

Population growth and the impact of climate change are expected to add to supply pressures.

Grace Mission Launches to Weigh Earth’s Water May 24, 2018 (Story from BBC)

A joint US-German mission has gone into orbit to weigh the water on Earth, sensing the big changes that occur in the hydrologic cycle.  

How to Solve the Global Water Crisis: The Real Challenges are not Technical, but Political May 23, 2018 (Story from Foreign Affairs)

“The real challenges are not technical or hydrological but political and ethical. The world’s water crisis, as it turns out, is really more of an existential one. But it’s one that poses plenty of real-world foreign policy challenges.”   

Could This Low-Cost Device Provide Clean Drinking Water to Those in Need? May 24, 2018 (Story from Smithsonian)

Engineers from the University of Buffalo have created an upgraded solar still that uses carbon paper and the sun to purify water at an unprecedented rate. 

Making Connections and Leveraging Dollars May 11, 2018 (Story from Waterfront Alliance)

Director Howard Neukrug is interviewed at the Waterfont Alliance Conference in New York to talk about urban water sustainability.

South Africa: Iceberg Proposal as New Water Source for Cape Town May 2, 2018 (Story from

Marine salvage expert, Nick Sloane, is proposing a plan to tow icebergs to Cape Town to ease the city’s water crisis!

Water Wins Big in US Federal Spending U-turn!  March 29, 2018 (Story from Global Water Intelligence)

“Contrary to the deep federal spending cuts championed by the Trump administration, the omnibus appropriations bill passed late last week in Congress provides the most significant boost to US water and wastewater funding programmes in nearly a decade.Annual allocations to the flagship Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Fund loan programmes (SRFs) will be increased by $600 million in 2018 – to a total of $2.9 billion – while appropriations to the budding WIFIA programme will be doubled to $63 million…

The Water Center @ Penn Science Cafe on April 10th

Submit an article!

1 + 8 =

Skip to toolbar