Water

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People

The End We Start From – New Movie Starring Jodie Comer

A new movie starring Jodie Comer explores what could happen if a flood takes the UK off-grid.

Directed by rising star Mahalia Bello the film is set in a world that sees London submerged by flood waters. Comer play a mum who tries to find her way home with her newborn child after she’s separated from her family.

The disaster movie almost happened in real life last year, when Storm Henck hit the UK. Its intense rainfall had nowhere to go except to pour into rivers, which burst their banks spectacularly across the country. More than 1,000 homes in England were flooded and some villages totally cut off, with Nottinghamshire, Shropshire, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire worst affected.

This interpretation is supported by figures from the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, which last week revealed that the period between July and December in 2023 was the wettest on record for the UK. As to the reason, there is a simple explanation.

“Climate change is warming the atmosphere,” said Linda Speight of Oxford University. “A warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture so that when it rains, the rainfall is heavier and more likely to lead to flooding. In particular, we know that climate change is leading to warmer and wetter winters in the UK. We will unfortunately experience more winters like this one in the future.”

The film focuses on the love of a mother for her baby, the love between her and her partner, the love between friends and the love of community. “That’s what keeps people going and gives them strength,” said Megan Hunter, auuthr of the 2017 novel on which the film is based.

At the same time, she hopes that The End We Start From will help to raise awareness about the need to act urgently on the climate emergency facing our planet, or we too will face the end of life as we know it.

“If it becomes one of the most important things in the world to all of us, we’ll be able to make the changes we need to,” she says. “We’ve driven things this far with overconsumption, fossil fuels, capitalism: we’ve reached this point of total crisis. But this is where we are. And we need to start from here, from this end point we’ve reached, and create a new future.”

https://off-grid.net/register-renewable-cooperative

London and other cities across the UK are underprepared for the “disastrous consequences” of climate change, with issues including severe flooding and extreme heat posing a “lethal risk” to vulnerable communities, according to a new report. The London Climate Resilience Review, commissioned by mayor of London Sadiq Khan and chaired by Emma Howard Boyd, the former chair of the Environment Agency, issued a series of “urgent recommendations”, including that Whitehall should give councils more funding and powers to adapt to global warming. 

The End We Start From goes on general release

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Water

Simple 5kWh Microhydro System: A Budget-Friendly Guide

A 5 kWh microhydro system offers an affordable and simple way to meet the essential energy needs of a small household.

In places with little or no sun in winter, a year round energy supply is not possible with solar panels alone. Help is at hand for the lucky ones who have access to a stream or river. As well as providing you wlth fresh water, it can also offer you electrical power, without steep costs and complicated setups.

The Nitty-Gritty: Specifications and Costs

Water Intake (Approx. Cost: $100 – $200)
A basic intake structure, or small dam, can be built using affordable, local materials.
Penstock Pipe (Approx. Cost: $300 – $600)
An 8-inch diameter PVC pipe should suffice for this smaller system.
Turbine (Approx. Cost: $500 – $1,000)
Consider a second-hand or smaller Pelton wheel turbine to save costs.
Or an Impulse turbines for a small waterfall or fast-running stream.
A tiny version of this setup can be built for a few hundred dollars using this kind of turbine – https://amzn.to/3EQPPYp (In the UK – https://amzn.to/3t7sxLo)
Generator (Approx. Cost: $300 – $600)
A modest, possibly used, 5 kW generator will meet your requirements.
Tailrace (Approx. Cost: $50 – $100)
A basic channel to lead the water back to the stream.
Control System ( Approx. Cost: $100 – $200)
A basic electronic load controller should be enough for this setup.
Single Car Battery (Approx. Cost: $50 – $100)
One 12-volt car battery can serve as your energy storage unit.
Inverter (Approx. Cost: $50 – $100)
A simple 12-volt inverter should be sufficient.

Total Costs & Charging Abilities
You’re looking at a total cost of around $1,500 to $3,000, which is exceptionally budget-friendly.

Energy Consumption in a Two-Person Household:
Two Laptops
• Total: 0.8 kWh
• Suggested Charging Time: Early morning
Two Phones
• Total: 0.12 kWh
• Suggested Charging Time: Mid-morning
Four LED Lights
• Total: 0.2 kWh
• Usage Time: Evening
Small Rechargeable Brushcutter (Two Hours)
• Total: 0.2 kWh
• Suggested Charging Time: Mid-afternoon
Wi-Fi Battery-Powered Projector (Three Hours)
• Total: 0.9 kWh
• Suggested Charging Time: Late afternoon
Grand Total
0.8 kWh (Laptops) + 0.12 kWh (Phones) + 0.2 kWh (LED Lights) + 0.2 kWh (Brushcutter) + 0.9 kWh (Projector) = 2.12 kWh

By staggering the charging times and usage, you can ensure that all of these appliances and gadgets run smoothly within your 5 kWh limit. This leaves you with extra power to spare for any other activities or unforeseen needs.

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Water

Water Coma Is a Real Thing

Also known as water poisoning, water coma results from intoxication due to a disruption of brain function caused by drinking too much water.
Doing so increases the amount of water in the blood. This can dilute the electrolytes, especially sodium, in the blood.
If sodium levels fall below 135 millimoles per liter (mmol/l), doctors refer to the issue as hyponatremia, and may be fatal.
Hyponatremia is the most common electrolyte disorder — research suggests that approximately 1.7% of people in the United States have the condition. It is more prevalent among people with.
As the condition worsens, individuals may experience symptoms, such as:
• vomiting
• muscle twitches
• seizures

Sodium helps maintain the balance of fluids inside and outside of cells. When sodium levels drop due to excessive water consumption, fluids travel from the outside to the inside of cells, causing them to swell.
When this happens to brain cells, it can be dangerous and even life threatening.
Bottom line: Water intoxication results from drinking too much water. Recovery from overhydration is typically quick, with the symptoms usually subsiding within a few hours of reducing fluid intake. Recovery time from overhydration does vary depending on the person’s height, weight, underlying health conditions, and amount of water consumed.

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Community

Off-Grid farm to double in size – if it can raise money by 26 April

Plotgate Farm in Somerset UK is becoming a remarkable success story for its pioneering, community agro-ecological style of farming.

It was designed from the get-go to be truly sustainable, Plotgate has recently come top in an assessment using United Nations approved criteria.

Founded in 2015 with 23 acres, they have just closed a deal to buy the neigboring 16 acres of land and already raised £175,000 to pay for it. The farm, run by Dan Britton and Amy Willoughby raised most of the money over the past few weeks from locals who already subscribe to their weekly food boxes (plotgatecommunityfarm.org/2-box-trial. Plotgate is paying a return of the CPI – meaning whatever inflation is at the moment they pay the same in interest on the loan, currently 9.5%. They only need another £15,000 to complete their targets, although there may be more funding rounds soon to pay for their most ambitious idea yet.

The land Plotgate just acquired is waterlogged. It sits within the Somerset levels, famously prone to flooding, especially in winter. The levels contain a network of sluices, dams and ditches which has for centuries managed the water in the area to allow agriculture to take place.

“We are planning to return to a forgotten method of farming,” said Dan Britton, a naval architecture graduate who has masterminded Plotgate’s technical development. Their new fields already contain the remains of the array of shallow dugout water courses at regular intervals that allow the higher earth between them to remain dry and fertile – 13 strips in the 8 acre field, each approx 10mx180m.

“Its anybody’s guess, but I think we will see a doubling in yields per acre from the new land – “that means twice the food for the same amount of work,” said Dan who nw sells 100 veg boxes per week for £13 each. Anyone interested in investing can contact via the Plotgate web site or direct to Dan.
Far more important to Dan than the potential profitability is the water remediation – “We are going to clean up the waters of Avalon,” he said.

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Southern Water Gate
Water

No Directors Prosecuted for Deliberate Sewage Dumping by Southern Water

One of Britain’s biggest water companies was fined £90m ($126m) today for deliberate dumping of “billions of litres” of sewage into the North Sea over a 5 year period. But no Directors or other staff were implicated in the proceedings, and none were bound over to ensure that they would receive prison sentences if/when it happens again.
“These offences show a shocking and wholesale disregard for the environment, for precious and delicate ecosystems and coastlines, for human health, and for fisheries and other legitimate businesses that operate in the coastal waters,” said the judge. But the £90m fine compares to annual profits of well over £200m.

The judge said the company had a history of criminal activity for its “previous and persistent pollution of the environment”. It had 168 previous offences and cautions but had ignored these and not altered its behaviour. “There is no evidence the company took any notice of the penalties imposed or the remarks of the courts. Its offending simply continued,” he said.

In 2019, three employees were convicted of obstructing the collection of data by the government-owned Environment Agency, which was investigating raw sewage spilled into rivers and on beaches in south-east England, but none spent a single day in jail.

The case between the environmental regulator and Southern Water, which the company tried to suppress, raised questions about the Southern Water’s corporate governance and why employees would obstruct the agency.

It also puts the spotlight on the regulator’s monitoring of sewage treatment plants and water companies and the extent to which the public can trust assessments of water cleanliness.

Southern Water, which supplies 4.6m customers in Kent, Sussex, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight with water and sewage services, was charged at the same time as the employees but the company was found to be not “criminally liable” for obstruction of the investigation.

Five staff members were convicted in 2018 of obstructing EA investigations between July 11 and 13, 2016 although two of the convictions were overturned on appeal. Several of the employees argued that they were acting under the instruction of the company solicitor not to give data to the regulator, even though the agency is dependent on information supplied by the water companies for its monitoring of sewage outflows.

The court documents cite a “lack of co-operation . . . and in some cases . . . conduct which was clearly calculated to frustrate the inspection”.

In one example, a management scientist said she was instructed by a lawyer to refuse to allow the EA to take documents that would have provided data on sewage outflows from a waste water treatment works.

In another example, a colleague was instructed by a superior “to remove the bagged diaries from the officers’ possession and lock them in his van”.

Marie Bourke, a senior associate at law firm Russell Cooke who was not involved in …

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Surreal tap coming out of a solar panel
Water

All 16 Quarterfinalists in $9 Million Solar Desalination Prize – listed

The lineup for a Solar Desalination Prize has been announced by the US Energy Dept. Our pick is the Solar Aqua Flex: Off-Grid Solar Still from Vanderbilt University, Tennessee.

Its a multistage membrane distillation system made of floating, flexible, layered mats to desalinate water. The mat has a nonporous, heat-absorbing top layer; a water layer that evaporates; a distillate layer where the vapor ends up after moving through a membrane to condense; a feedwater layer; and a conductive layer that heats the feedwater.

There are 16 quarterfinalists  in the $9 million prize competition, providing an additional $1 million in support, designed to accelerate the development of low-cost desalination systems that use solar-thermal power to produce clean water from salt water.

Competitors will receive cash prizes as they advance through each stage of the competition, culminating in a $1 million grand prize for the successful testing and demonstration of a promising solar-thermal desalination system prototype.

Competitors include private companies, nonprofit organizations, academic institutions, students, and researchers at National Laboratories.

To enter the competition, participants had to submit their ideas for a solar-thermal desalination component or system prototype, along with a pathway to commercialization. When their ideas were selected, competitors received $50,000 in cash, advanced to the second phase to form a team, and refine plans for a fully operating solar-thermal desalination system.

The teams selected to advance to the third phase will receive $250,000 in cash and a $100,000 voucher that can be redeemed at a National Laboratory and/or qualified partner facilities to design their systems. While they’re completing detailed designs of their systems in the third phase, teams must also obtain the permitting and approval documentation necessary to build them.

Teams selected to advance to the fourth and final phase of the competition will be awarded a cash prize of $750,000 and another $100,000 voucher. These teams will then build their systems, demonstrate their operation, and validate key performance metrics. The U.S. Department of Energy will determine the winner, who will receive a $1 million cash prize.

Competitors can leverage industry expertise, access private capital, and obtain mentorship and support through the American-Made Network, a group of National Laboratories, incubators, investors, and industry experts. The Network also provides access to local capabilities that will help accelerate the development of their desalination system prototypes.

Competitors

Out of 162 applicants, 19 quarterfinalists from 12 states were selected to advance to the second phase of the competition. They were announced on October 19, 2020. They are:

Heat Storage for 24-Hour Solar Desalination

Location: Arcadia, CA

Project Summary: Element 16 is a small company developing a sulfur-based thermal energy storage (TES) technology to generate low-pressure steam for desalination. Sulfur has a low melting point (105 Celsius) and low cost ($80/ton). By using lower-cost containment materials, this project aims to reduce sulfur TES cost to below $15/per kilowatt-thermal and reduce heat-exchanger costs, to attain a …

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Water

5 Ways To Purify Water in 2 Minutes or Less

By Richard Douglas

Water helps everything grow and thrive – including bacteria, viruses,
and parasites!
Water-related illness is a huge concern, especially for the young and the old, killing
nearly 3.4 million people each year. And once you’re sick, staying hydrated while you’re
“getting sick” is a massive challenge as-is, which becomes that much greater when
SHTF.
Common symptoms from drinking contaminated water are “Montezuma’s Revenge,”
diarrhea, vomiting, cramps. An E coli infection can be fatal and kills here in the US each
year (usually through uncooked meat).
Staying hydrated while your body deals with these contaminants is a real challenge
because you’re pooping and puking all your water up. When SHTF and water supplies
are in limited, dehydration is a serious threat to your health.
For example, I visited Egypt a couple years back to tour the country. Did a bit of hunting with my .338 Lapua rifle which was equipped with a nice long range scope. But while I was there, I got REALLY sick from contaminated water.”

“The oldest method for making water safe to drink is by boiling

But while I was there, I got REALLY
sick from contaminated water. The only way I can describe the feeling is to imagine
eating broken shards of glass. And then setting the shards of glass on fire. It felt like my guts were being cut apart, and nothing helped. It lasted several days – even though I
was taking a very strong antibiotic for it – and basically took me out of commission; I
needed a bathroom OFTEN!
In a SHTF scenario without an antibiotic, good hydration, and a bathroom, I’d have been in some serious trouble. Knowing how to purify water adds to the confident mindset
needed to survive. Here’s a list of what you need to treat, and how. Below this list are
more detailed instructions on how to use these treatment methods to purify water most effectively.
The Bad Guys
The greatest source of water contaminants is a fecal waste. Everybody poops, and it
takes very little fecal waste to make water undrinkable. All of these microbes come from
human and/or animal fecal waste:

Protozoa – several types, including:
● Cryptosporidium
● Giardia lamblia
Boiling kills these bugs. Iodine or chlorine does not. Filtration must have a “cyst
reduction” rated filter, and then is effective.
Bacteria – including:
● Campylobacter
● Salmonella
● Shigella
● E. coli
Boil these bugs to death! Iodine or chlorine will kill these too. Filtration only has
“moderate” success with removing these.
Viruses – including:
● Enterovirus
● Hepatitis A
● Norovirus
● Rotavirus
Filtration will NOT kill viruses! Iodine or chlorine is effective at killing viruses. Here’s a
list of how to use these treatment methods most effectively.
Method #1: Boiling
The oldest method for making water safe to drink is by boiling.
Keeping water at 165 …

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Water

Should I live on a boat?

WHATis it really like living on a canal boat or on the river? So many of us have wondered if it would be a way of avoiding a huge rent bill and staying closer to nature, while holding down a job in the city. The one pictured is a concrete-hulled structure near Shoreham. There is a busy chat going on in The Guardian newspaper.

Here are some of the comments:

buddysparadigm 2h ago
The most important thing that I can’t stress enough: you absolutely have to WANT to live on the water. Secondly, read today’s article on decluttering, boats DON’T have a lot of space, especially narrowboats. Thirdly, be prepared to live frugally, by that i mean not necessarily financially but possession wise. There will be times when money or more importantly, time and in some cases, actual ability to get to where you need to be to get what you need will be severly hampered or in some cases, actually curtailed, eg the floods of 2012/3 winter. Trailing along a very muddy footpath dragging a 20 litre container of water – or worse, poo – can be soul destroying and even if you have a holding tank it needs to be emptied periodically and if you’re stuck somewhere, better have a Porta-potti on standby. Cooking with gas? Oh you will be 99% of the time, got a spare cylinder, is it freezing, hmm, might not give any gas and no, you CANNOT keep it in the warm, it just becomes a waiting fuel air gas bomb.
Okay, the upsides…..see previous comments. I’m in the process of refitting my 24ft 40 year old boat to allow me to spend the occasional period on board and I’m having to draft in help to do this, luckily he’s my brother so cheaper than a professional. This is just for the odd trip, if I had to live onboard full time I’d be looking at a LOT more expense. Finally, did I mention that you have to really, really want to live on the water. Look carefully, DON’T buy from a well known marina up north (W******s) who make a nice living selling overpriced rust buckets to people with a dream of living the boating life as they make their way down to an idyllic life on London’s waterways, all white painted panelling and 3 bits of “artful” furniture, see canalworld forums for unhappy tales of disaster. This missive is not here to put you off, just to prepare you not to be done over by tales of the river bank. Good luck whatever you do.

carolineford 6h ago
My son lived on a boat for a while but boat life wasn’t for him. He missed home comforts – a flushing loo, a shower (he joined a gym), a decent kitchen. He had a boat on a mooring so had to row across …

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Water

Raw Water – big money – but should we take it?

It’s called water consciousness – a movement of people who drink unfiltered, unsterilised spring water and even rain water.

Why? Well, for the supposed health benefits. Devotees of bottled ‘raw’ water claim it has salubrious benefits that are lacking from fluoridated tap water and regular bottled water.

Plus, they say, it’s the H20 version of farm to fork. Call it spring to glass.

Such is the growing popularity of the raw wet stuff in the US that Oregon startup Live Water is able to charge a whopping $36.99 (£26.70) for a 2.5-gallon glass bottle – and then $14.99 per refill.

While grocery stores love the idea of 500% profit margin, a growing number of critics are springing up appalled at the hipsters, splurging cash on what they see as a barefaced con. Aren’t people donating millions of dollars to projects all around the world to make sure people aren’t drinking raw water? said one comment on Reddit

The brand is particularly popular with hipsters in San Francisco, where a grocer describes it as having “vaguely mild sweetness” and “a nice smooth mouthfeel”, according to a New York Times report earlier this year.

Devotees of raw water insist it fills them with health-giving bacteria and minerals not found in treated water, while Live Water is confident its product “has all the healthy minerals and probiotics fully unobstructed” and that “no one has ever gotten sick” from drinking it, not even expectant mums.
However, health and hygiene experts have warned untreated water may contain all sorts of nasty bacteria and parasites that can cause illness – especially if it isn’t protected from contamination by bird droppings or cattle dung. That can mean risk of food poisoning, dysentery and infectious diseases such as cholera. And then there’s the arsenic and radon in some types of rocks found in water sources.
Nevertheless, the de facto leader of the water consciousness crusade, Live Water founder Mukhande Singh (formerly Christopher Sanborn), is adamant raw water is the real thing – not the “dead” liquid that comes from our taps, he told the NYT.

“Tap water? You’re drinking toilet water with birth control drugs in them,” he said. “Chloramine, and on top of that they’re putting in fluoride. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but it’s a mind-control drug that has no benefit to our dental health.” (There is no scientific evidence that fluoride is a mind-control drug, but plenty to show that it aids dental health.)

Another prominent proponent of raw water is Doug Evans, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur. After his juicing company, Juicero, collapsed last September, he went on a 10-day cleanse, drinking nothing but Live Water. “I haven’t tasted tap water in a long time,” he said.

Before he could order raw water on demand, Mr. Evans went “spring hunting” with friends. This has become more challenging lately: The closest spring around San Francisco has …

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Fonder of water vapor firm
Water

Zero Mass Water

A regular supply of drinking water is the holy grail for off-grid living.

If you can get a bare minimum of water and heating of some sort, you can live anywhere. but you would be surprised how many spots that are otherwise ideal do not have an easy water supply – either due to the topography, or local laws.

Now a US startup has come up with a solution that actually works! And its for sale now. At a reasonable price

Zero Mass Water, based in Scottsdale, Arizona, produces $2,000 “hydropanels” that the company claims can capture water vapor from air. One panel can make up to five liters a day, and two of them together could produce enough for a household’s daily drinking and cooking says the company. In theory, someone could drive out to the desert, and live off the grid with water to spare.

A journalist from Wired checked out the gadget – basically a solar panel bolted on to a special membrane that extracts the water vapour, filters it and pumps out 12 liters per day – it works out about $50 per month if you spread it over 10 years, which is pricey but you can take it anywhere and what you get is pure water, untainted by any Utility company, when and where you need it to be.

You have to accept that Zero Mass is just the name of the product. The company’s founder, Cody Friesen, a professor of materials science at Arizona State University says the units weigh 275 pounds (a long way from zero then) and are intended for yards and rooftops, rather than mobile living.
Hydrophilic membranes trap water vapor from air that’s blown across them by a solar-powered fan. The vapor-turned-water then drops and pools and flows through a series of mineral cartridges to make it more drinkable. Because both the landscape and the water vapor in the air are changing all the time, the panels connect to HQ back in Scottsdale via a mesh network, and Zero Mass Water staffers upload predictive algorithms that adjust fan speeds and maximize energy efficiency.

How the Hydropanel Works

The panel contains absorbent material that pulls moisture from the air.

Solar heat causes the moisture to form drops.

The drops collect in a reservoir at the panel’s base.

A pump draws water out of the reservoir and into a tap.

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Coral eggs meet sperm deep under water
Water

Great Barrier Reef – Coral Spawning

The world’s biggest living organism, the Great Barrier Reef, has held its annual Coral Spawning event, with trillions of eggs and sperm simultaneously releasing into the ocean making the underwater world more akin to a snow globe. We have exclusive video footage.

Some of the most extreme and beautiful off-grid locations in the world are around coral reefs – in New Zealand Australia and the Bahamas, as well as Hawaii and elsewhere in the Pacific. but its rare to get shots of the way these reefs grow – known as spawning.

Spawning events and egg production revealed a peak breeding season from November through May, which coincides with temperatures below 30 degrees C. Noticeably fewer spawning events and smaller clutch sizes occurred during the warmer months (30-31.5 degrees C) of June through October. Within the spawning season, egg production increased weakly leading up to the new moon and decreased after the full moon.

About 600 types of coral can be found in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, and all of them come in a variety of shapes, sizes and colors. Despite looking like plants, corals and colonies are very small animals called coral polyps which are clsoely related to jellyfish and come in two common types, hard and soft.

Hard corals act as a building blocks for the Reef that form when colonies of coral polyps produce limestone skeletons to support themselves. In most cases, a hard coral consists of hundreds, thousands, or even millions of individual coral polyps living together as a colony.

Soft corals are flexible because they lack a solid skeleton which means they are often mistaken for plants. Instead, they are supported by tiny limestone spike-like structures called spicules.

The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s biggest coral reef system on Earth stretching 2,300 kilometers from the tip of the Cape York Peninsula to Bundaberg. It is Queensland’s tourism asset with around two million visitors experiencing the reef each year!

For more information on holidays to Queensland go to

https://www.queensland.com/

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