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2011/07/05 global news digest

Main stories - Headlines - Business - Loans and Tenders - Research - Job Vacancies - Events - Projects, Products and Services

EUROPE: Committee warns more must be done to ensure sustainable water use
The European Committee of the Regions has warned that countries must adopt sustainable water use practices or fail in the battle against climate change and its effects. See full news story at:

GLOBAL: Fourth Edition and pharmaceuticals report launched in Water Week
The fourth edition of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Drinking water guidelines was launched on Monday during Singapore Water Week, as was a technical report and information sheet on pharmaceuticals in drinking water.See full news story at:

GREECE: Greek budget crisis reforms impact smaller water operators
With the Greek government seeking to progress its latest round of reforms, evidence is emerging of the extent to which the country’s budget crisis is hitting smaller water operators that together serve more than five million people – almost half the country’s population.See full news story at:

EUROPE: EC report finds fluoride toxicity ‘not proven’
The European Commission has produced a report that looks at the various claims of toxicity and negative effects from use of fluoride and largely finds them unproven, while casting doubt on the effectiveness of adding fluoride to water. See full news story at:   

GLOBAL: Leaders launch sanitation push
UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, UNICEF executive director Anthony Lake, Ugandan Minister of Water and Environment Maria Mutagamba, and Prince Willem of Orange have launched Sustainable sanitation: five-year drive to 2015, a push to speed up progress on the lagging sanitation Millennium Development Goal. The move is the culmination of a resolution adopted last December to ‘redouble efforts to close the sanitation gap’.

US: EPA warns against state-focused water bill
The US EPA has launched an attack on a new bill that has been cleared for debate in the US government, warning that it would ‘overturn almost 40 years of Federal legislation by preventing EPA from protecting public health and water quality’. See full news story at:

UK: Study calls for deeper understanding of water sector GHG emissions
Greater understanding is needed of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from energy use in the water sector if it is to meet sustainability goals, according to a new study from researchers at the University of East Anglia. See full news story at:

CHINA: Planning body mulls desalination-boosting policies
China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NRDC), in tandem with 11 other government departments, is working on guidelines to speed the development of desalination facilities in the country according to Li Jing, the deputy director of the NDRC’s Environment and Resources Department. See full news story at:

JAPAN: Low-level radiation found in Tokyo tap water
Low levels of radioactive caesium have been found in Tokyo’s tap water for the first time since April, but the country stresses that the level was well below the safety limit set by the government. The Caesium-137 registered at 0.14 becquerels/kg in Shinjuku on 2 July according to the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Public Health. National press reported experts as saying the increase was unlikely to be due to new radioactive material being introduced into the water supply because of the absence of other radioactive elements.

US: EPA proposes rule identifying Florida’s failing water provisions
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing a rule that would identify the provisions in Florida’s water quality standards for phosphorus in the Everglades Protection Area (the Phosphorus Rule) and Florida’s Amended Everglades Forever Act (EFA) that the regulator has disapproved and that are therefore not applicable water quality standards for Clean Water Act purposes. The EPA is proposing the rule following its disapproval of these provisions and specific directions to Florida to resolve these deficiencies in the Phosphorus Rule and EFA.

NEW ZEALAND: Drinking water report finds small town water quality issues
New Zealand’s annual drinking water report 2009/10 found that overall microbiological compliance has increased by 4% in population terms during 2009-2010, and that while large supplies serving 10,000 people or more were generally compliant with bacteriological standards, 6% of the population served by registered drinking water suppliers, mostly in towns with populations under 5000, were provided with water that did not comply with the E. coli requirements and 2% had supplies with ‘unacceptable’ levels of E. coli. A further 25% of the population was served with supplies that did not comply with protozoan requirements.

US: EPA and ACE announce extended comment period for draft guidance
The US EPA and the US Army Corps of Engineers have announced that they are extending the public comment period by 30 days for the draft guidance on Identifying Waters Protected by the Clean Water Act. In response to requests from state and local officials, as well as other stakeholders, EPA and the Corps will take additional comment until 31 July.

JAPAN: TEPCO begins recycling cleaned runoff water
TEPCO has announced that it has begun pumping decontaminated runoff water to cool the reactors at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The move follows early teething problems with the plant that last week saw the system shut down just hours after it first started up.

US: EPA convenes Gulf coast task force meeting to discuss progress
At the beginning of last week EPA Administrator Lisa P Jackson convened an official meeting of the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration task force in Galveston, Texas. She was joined by US Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Council on Environmental Quality chair Nancy Sutley. Participants discussed the progress of restoration efforts, ongoing public engagement strategy and international coordination.

US: EPA identifies hydrofracking case studies
The US EPA has identified seven case studies to help with its assessment of the potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources. The sites were chosen following considerable input from stakeholders, including the public, local and state officials, industry and environmental organisations, the regulator says. To ensure the agency maintains its timeline for the study, it will begin field work in some of the regions this summer. The studies will be divided into two groups, and two of the seven sites (in Louisiana and Pennsylvania) were chosen as prospective case studies where EPA will monitor the hydraulic fracturing process throughout the lifecycle of a well. Five retrospective case studies (in Texas, Pennsylvania, Colorado and North Dakota) were chosen and the EPA will examine areas where hydrofracking has taken place for any impact on drinking water resources.

US: Partnership aims to revitalise urban waterways
A new federal partnership has been launched in the US that aims to stimulate regional and local economies, create local jobs, improve quality of life, and protect health by revitalising urban waterways in under-served communities across the country. The Urban Waters Federal Partnership (UWFP) is described as ‘an innovative federal union’ consisting of 11 agencies. The partnership, which is led by the US EPA, the Department of the Interior and USDA, and coordinated by the White House Domestic Policy Council, is called the Urban Waters Federal Partnership. The group will focus its initial efforts on seven pilot locations, and lessons learned will be transferred to other cities around the country.

UK: DWI report reveals serious STS issues
The Drinking Water Inspectorate has issued a report on Severn Trent Services’ Analytical Services in Bridgend that reveals ‘significant evidence of fabricated test results’. As a result of the investigations STS marketing director Rachel Henton resigned and laboratory manager Tim Down had his contract terminated.

UK: Government confirms private sewer transfer
The UK government has confirmed that sewers outside property boundaries will transfer to water company ownership in October. Thames Water has estimated that the cost of the changeover will add £4 ($6) to £14 ($22.6) per year to the average water bill. At the changeover, Thames alone will gain an extra 40,000km of laterals and sewers, an increase of 60% that it believes will add £35 million ($56 million) to its annual operating costs.

SINGAPORE: Sembcorp begins work on Jurong island wastewater treatment works
Sembcorp Industries has begun work on an integrated wastewater treatment plant at Banyan on Jurong island that will serve 16 industrial wastewater treatment customers. See full news story at:

US: Potable water technology market tipped for strong growth
The website has issued a report that says the combined US market for advanced potable water technologies (membrane filtration, ozone, UV and novel oxidation processes) is estimated at nearly $1.9 billion this year and will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 8.2% through to 2016. See full news story at:

EUROPE: Consortium wins funds to research energy-efficient sewage treatment
The European Commission has awarded the END-O-SLUDG consortium €3.5 million ($5 million) to undertake a three year programme of work to research new sewage treatment processes that address European Union energy policies and climate change mitigation strategies. See full news story at:

BAHRAIN: Authority signs contract for water transmission pipeline
The Bahrain Electricity and Water Authority (BEWA) has announced that it will build a 25km pipeline to reinforce the country’s water transmission networks and meet the growing demand for water. See full news story at:

INDIA: Alstom consortium wins hydro contract
A consortium of Alstom and Hindustan Construction Company has been awarded a contract worth over $285 million by Tehri Hydro Development Corporation (THDC) to install a 1000MW variable speed pumped storage hydro power plant on the river Bhagirathi in Uttarakhand state, India. The system will be India’s first pumped storage power plant to use variable speed technology, Alstom says. The company will supply four 250MW variable speed turbine and generator units and other equipment including main inlet valves and control and protection systems.

FINLAND: Pöyry group wins Ras as Zawr contract
Pöyry’s Energy business group has been awarded an Owner’s Engineering Services contract by Saudi Arabia’s Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) for the Ras Az Zawr power and desalination plant. Pöyry’s tasks include helping the client in its review of the EPC contractor’s detail design, and inspection of workshop tests. Pöyry will also undertake site supervision of the contractor’s construction as well as the commissioning and testing for the project. The total value of Pöyry’s work amounts to about €15 million ($22 million) over the next four to five years, the company says.

US: Kiewit chosen for Tampa Bay reservoir capacity upgrade
Tampa Bay Water has chosen design-build company Kiewit Infrastructure Group to renovate a regional reservoir and increase its storage capacity by three billion gallons (11.3M.m3). Tampa Bay Water will now aim to negotiate a contract with Kiewit by 1 August. If negotiations are unsuccessful, the utility will enter negotiations with the second ranked firm, Granite Construction Company.

UK: Northumbria confirms Hong Kong bid
Northumbrian Water has confirmed that Hong Kong’s Cheung Kong Infrastructure (CKI) has issued a ‘non binding indicative proposal’ to buy the company. In a statement it said: ‘CKI is in the preliminary stages of assessing a potential cash offer for Northumbrian Water. There can be no certainty that an offer will ultimately be forthcoming.’ CKI is an investment vehicle controlled by Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing, which already owns a number of UK infrastructure assets including water-only Cambridge Water and a 4.75% stake in Southern Water. Clive Mottram, senior associate at international law firm Eversheds noted in a statement that ‘if CKI is intent on pursuing Northumbrian, it remains to be seen whether Ofwat will specify disposal of its interest in Cambridge Water as a pre-condition to preserve enough independently owned companies to enable comparative competition to work effectively’.

Loans and Tenders
CHINA: ADB provides funding for urban services improvements in Tianshui
The Asian Development Bank is providing a $100 million loan to upgrade urban services and improve living conditions in Tianshui city in Gansu, one of the poorest and least developed provinces in China, according to the Bank. See full news story at:

INDIA: World Bank agrees loan for hydro plant
The World Bank has approved a $648 million loan to THDC India for constructing the Vishnugad Pipalkoti hydroelectric plant on the river Alaknanda, which is expected to generate an estimated 1665 million kWh of electricity each year to help relieve the country’s chronic power shortage.

ANGOLA: World Bank approves funds for institutional development
The World Bank has approved $120 million in additional funding for Angola’s water sector institutional development project. The project aims to strengthen the institutional capacity and efficiency of agencies in the water sector to improve access to water service delivery in nine cities. The project will also involve rehabilitating the water supply production capacity, extending the water distribution systems and increasing the number of domestic water connections in the cities’ urban areas.

KYRGYZREPUBLIC: Irrigation gets boost with additional finance
The World Bank has approved extra financing of $15 million for the second on-farm irrigation project in the Kyrgyz Republic. Of this, $8.3 million is a highly concessional credit, the Bank says, while the remaining $6.7 million is in the form of a grant.  The goal of the funding is to help 34,000 farmers across the country to rehabilitate and manage their irrigation systems and contribute to higher agricultural productivity.

EGYPT: Rural sanitation and sewerage gain funding
The World Bank has approved a $200 million loan to support Egypt’s second integrated sanitation and sewerage infrastructure project in four governorates, two in the Delta region and two in Upper Egypt. The main project aim is to provide about 1.2 million people in the governorates of Menoufia, Sharkeya, Assiut and Sohag with increased access to improved sanitation and sewerage services through the construction of wastewater infrastructure systems in 19 village clusters. The project is to be implemented jointly by the National Organization for Potable Water and Sanitary Drainage and the Holding Company for Water and Waste Water and its four subsidiaries.

CHINA: ADB provides funds for urban infrastructure
The ADB is providing $100 million to China for the construction of new urban infrastructure that will improve living conditions and support the growth of tourism in five remote counties in the country’s north west. The funds will help to build and upgrade roads, water supply, waste management and heating systems for the counties in Altay prefecture, in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, which are among China’s poorest areas. The project will involve expanding the water supply and constructing new wastewater treatment facilities.

CAMEROON: World Bank approves loan for sanitation improvements
The World Bank has approved a $30 million equivalent loan for Cameroon that aims to improve the planning and management of the country’s sanitation sector and to provide access to sanitation services through pilot approaches that focus on low-income neighbourhoods in the main cities, including Douala.

ETHIOPIA: World Bank agrees credit for irrigation improvements
The World Bank has agreed an International Development Associationcredit of $60 million in additional financing to Ethiopia to support its efforts to sustainably increase agricultural output and productivity in the Megech-Seraba and Ribb scheme areas. The objective will be achieved by developing 20,000ha of irrigation and related infrastructure including drainage.

GRENADA / ST VINCENT: World Bank provides funds for climate change work
The World Bank has provided a loan of $47 million to help the Caribbean states of Grenada and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to improve the protection of their buildings from the impacts of climate change and increase their public institutions’ capacity to assess natural risks. The regional disaster vulnerability reduction projects will lessen the economic losses from weak infrastructure, and the risk of loss of life, by retrofitting or rebuilding at-risk structures.

ARCTIC: Data finds seawater temperature decrease that spells trouble
Data from the Catlin Arctic Survey 2011, collected during an eight-week expedition from March to May, indicates the temperature of Arctic seawater below 200 metres depth has decreased by a ‘surprising’ one degree Celsius compared to previous observations. This may conversely be accelerating Arctic sea ice melt, which could have a knock-on effect for the currents that circulate heat and nutrients around the world’s oceans, the researchers warn. Survey research partner Dr Simon Boxall, of the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, UK, says the temperature change indicates that melting Arctic sea ice is quickly circulating into the ocean’s depths and being replaced by warmer seawater from below. Although global ocean temperatures are rising, a layer of fresher water immediately below the sea ice is thought to act as a buffer between the ice and the warmer Atlantic waters flowing into the Arctic Ocean basin at a lower level. It is this buffer level that seems to be disappearing, which would accelerate ice melt.

US: Researchers create more absorptive sand for filters
Researchers have managed to coat sand grains with graphite oxide to create a substance that appears to enable improved filtration compared to ordinary sand. The filtration performance, reported in the latest issue of Applied materials and interfaces, was described as ‘comparable to some commercially-available activated carbon’. The research has been funded by Nanoholdings.

Job Vacancies
Black & Veatch - Project Director
Black & Veatch are looking for a Project Director to provid key leadership and support for growth of the B&V Water business in the north east US. For more information, visit:

Arup - Resident Engineer, Hong Kong
Arup are looking for a Resident Engineer to work on the Harbour Area Treatment Scheme Stage 2A – Upgrading of Stonecutters Island Sewage Treatment Works contract awarded to the company, and the preliminary treatment works. For more information, visit:

Yarra Valley Water - Manager, Sewer Service Reliability
The postholder will be primarily responsible for leading a team of professionals in developing strategies to lower costs, improve service, increase reliability and reduce the impact of the company’s sewer services. For more information, visit:

For information on more job vacancies, visit:

Aquatech Amsterdam 2011
Aquatech Amsterdam will be taking place 1-4 November 2011 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Part of the first edition of International Water Week, the 23rd Aquatech Amsterdam trade exhibition will bring together exhibitors and visitors from the fields of water treatment, transport and storage, process control and automation, and point of use. For more information, visit:

Projects, Products and Services
GE’s introduces next-generation MBR wastewater treatment system
At Singapore International Water Week this week, GE introduced what it says is a next-generation membrane bioreactor (MBR) wastewater treatment technology called LEAPmbr, which, says the company, addresses pressing water quality and operational cost issues faced by owners of municipal, industrial and residential water / wastewater treatment facilities worldwide. See full story at:

Siemens concludes R&D project on low-energy seawater desalination
Having completed its research and development into a new seawater desalination technology, says Siemens, the company is now moving to the product development phase, with a plan to set up a pilot in Singapore by 2013. See full story at:

Poyry awarded contract for the Ras Az Zawr power and desalination plant in Saudi Arabia
Pöyry’s Energy business group has been awarded an Owner’s Engineering Services contract by the Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) for the Ras Az Zawr Power and Desalination Plant. See full story at:  

Next alert: 19 July 2011