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February 2006: Volume 48, Number 2

Regional News: United States, Asia, Middle East, Australia

United States

President George W. Bush has signed the Water for the Poor Act of 2005 into law. The new law came as a result of tremendous bipartisan support in both the House and Senate and creates an opportunity to save hundreds of thousands of lives by extending safe water to those most in need, the U.S. non-profit organization Water Advocates said. It also makes drinking water and sanitation a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy and directs the State Department to come up with an overall strategy to be implemented by the U.S. Agency of International Development (U.S. AID).

The Michigan Court of Appeals has ruled in favor of Nestlé Waters in a dispute about the beneficial use of water bottled at their Ice Mountain facility in Stanwood. The company had been forced to halt bottling operations at the plant after state officials and environmental activists argued that the bottling plant was drawing resources from the regions already limited water availability for sale out of state. The court, however, said that bottled water is a proper and beneficial use of water in Michigan and that lower courts did not properly apply the states groundwater protection rules under the Michigan Environmental Protection Act, the Soft Drink Letter reports.

Products previously sold under the names Flowmatic Systems and Alamo Water Refiners will now be sold exclusively under the name Watts Water Quality & Conditioning Products, Watts Water Technologies, Inc. announced. This includes the complete line of residential and commercial water quality improvement products, such as water conditioning equipment, backwashing filters, reverse osmosis systems, membranes, membrane housings, cartridges, cartridge housings, fittings, tubing, faucets, storage tanks and a complete line of stainless steel filter housings and cartridges for industrial filtration. Watts Water Quality & Conditioning Products are available from three distribution centers, located in North Florida, San Antonio, Texas and Phoenix, Ariz., in addition to stocking distributors located worldwide.

Carbon Enterprises Incorporated has purchased the manufacturing equipment of Lang Filter Media. The new company, CEI Anthracite (a subsidiary of CEI) will have updated equipment and facilities to manufacture, including a 26,551-square-foot office/warehouse space and the manufacturing plant that sits on 2.6 acres. The new plant will be able to make product with a uniformity coefficient as low as 1.3. CEI Anthracite will provide sieve analysis and uniformity coefficient information for every order that is shipped. The General Manger for the new facility will be Bob Dalvet and Sales Manager will be Liz Corch. They were selected due to their many years of experience and commitment to customer service.

Royal Spring Water Inc. has received two letters of intent worth a combined total of $12 million for their Artesian water, the Soft Drink Letter reported. The ROIs include a three-year contract with Crystal Splash for six million dollars and another with Conquest for more than six million dollars. This brings the value of Royal Spring ROIs to more than $28.5 million for the next three years.

How many water cooler units are there in the United States? What are the growth prospects for the home and office delivery (HOD) of water in the coming years? A new report from Beverage Marketing on the U.S. HOD and filtered water market is now available. Documenting a variety of aspects of the industry, the report includes profiles of leading companies and includes Beverage Marketings exclusive projections for the category with in-depth analysis, assessments of major market factors and upcoming issues facing the industry. The report is available at www.beverage marketing.com

Pentagon and White House officials are drafting new guidance for toxic site cleanup officials, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal in December. This will establish a perchlorate cleanup standard for federal pollution sites at 24 ppb. The U.S. EPA has proposed that a safe level of the rocket fuel chemical would be one part per billion, which would have significant effects on the Pentagon and its defense contractors. Perchlorate has been found in the water in 35 states. The new guidance is still under review at the EPA. The arms industry appears to believe even 24 ppb is too strict a limit.

The U.S. EPA has issued the External Review Draft Nanotechnology White Paper, a road map that identifies critical questions that must be addressed in order for the nation to reap the potential environmental and economic benefits of nanotechnology in a variety of fields, including drinking water treatment and groundwater remediation. The paper also deals with risk management of possible negative impacts of the new technologies. To review a copy of the white paper, visit www.epa. gov/osa/nanotech.htm

The agency has also finalized two related drinking water protection rulesone that reduces the risk of disease-causing microorganisms from entering water supplies and another that requires water systems to limit the amount of potentially harmful disinfection by-products that end up in drinking water. Signed on the 31st anniversary of the Safe Drinking Water Act, the rules were first proposed in Aug. 2003 and were developed from consensus recommendations from a federal advisory committee comprised of state and local governments, tribes, environmental, public health and water industry groups.

The American Society of Civil Engineers is beginning work on a new hydraulic conductivity standard to provide standard guidelines and practice documents for statistical spatial estimation and spatial averaging of hydraulic conductivity using geostatistical theory. It will provide valuable information on the analysis, design and planning of groundwater systems and infrastructure. The association has coordinated a committee to develop the standard and is currently seeking applicants. For more information, call Eileen Boeing at (703) 295-6338.

The City of Carlsbad, Calif., has published its final report on the environmental impact of a new desalination plant in the city. Poseidon Resources Corporation, which is providing the facility investigated by the Final Environmental Impact Report for the city, said environmental research has been compiled since May 2005 and includes a comprehensive overview including input from more than 60 interested individuals and organizations. The report did not identify any significant, unavoidable impacts for both the construction and ongoing operation of the plant related to 13 different areas studied including noise, traffic, growth inducement, air and water quality, land use, public utilities and natural resources.

Asia

With greater efforts to preserve the environment and strict government regulations on the quality of effluents disposed, companies have realized the urgent need for efficient water treatment. The overall market for water treatment chemicals showed a steady growth of 10 percent. The trend is expected to be the same in the future as well, driven by export-oriented industries such as mining, food processing, chemicals and petrochemicals, textiles and others. Competition in this market is characterized as being extremely fierce, with about 250 producers seeking preeminence. About 40 percent of the market is dominated by the organized sector, largely multinationals and large-scale domestic companies like Thermax and Ion Exchange Ltd.

Pionetics Corporation has announced a joint venture with Elantec of Beijing, China under which the two companies will manufacture and sell the LINX Drinking Water System for the Chinese market. Elantec, which has about 20 percent of the Chinese market for water purification systems, brings significant market presence for the new LINX system. The companies are projecting sales of 50,000 LINX systems this year and up to 150,000 in 2007.

The Chinese Government has acknowledged that about 300 million people living in rural areas of the nations countryside have little or no access to safe drinking water, the Associated Press reports. After drought, the most common threat to clean drinking water is chemical pollutants and other harmful substances that have seeped from manufacturing facilities to neighboring agricultural communities. But the problem of clean water access is not limited to agrarian areas, said the official Xinhua News Agency, which noted that 90 percent of Chinas cities have polluted groundwater. Even in Shanghai, the countrys biggest and wealthiest city where local waterway cleanups are common, the citys tap water is yellowish and smelly

Middle East

The Middle East region is about to enter a water crisis. According to the World Bank, there is one percent of accessible fresh water and five percent of worlds population in Middle East and North Africa regions. The reuse and recycling of wastewater is a viable solution. Fady Juez, General Manager of the Metito Group, said, There are some great regional success stories in regard to proactive water strategies where the government is supporting the private sector. For example, Abu Dhabi has already combined wastewater and water under a unified strategy. Another example is how the World Bank has set up Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt as a private sector development. But more is needed, with the most immediate need being for governments to encourage multi-use real estate developments to reuse water.

Abbas Shafiei, the deputy energy minister for water and sewage affairs in Tehran, Iran, has announced that 31 water supply projects are due to become operational in 2006. He further announced that 800,000 new connections would be delivered in the urban and rural water and wastewater sector next year. The deputy also said that the production capacity of the potable water would be increased to 440 million cubic meters by the end of the Fourth Socioeconomic and Cultural Development Plan (2005-2010) through implementation of 115 water supply projects across the country.

Australia

The Water Industry Capacity Development Coordinating Committee (WICD), a collaboration of a variety of regional and national water trade associations, interest groups and researchers, has met initially to discuss better coordination of training and professional development for the water industry nationally, the Australian Water Association reports. It will provide governance and strategic direction for the initiative and has set up an internal Reference Committee to provide technical support for the WICDs activities.