water4USA-14's blog

NEWS – June 2014 – Texas drought and groundwater recharge, Austin, TX

Where to get the water – where to store the water were overarching themes for the AGWT’s annual Texas aquifer program held in Austin.  An audience of 150 people, comprised mainly of water managers, scientists, engineers, attorneys and water end-users heard thirteen Invited presenters discuss how to maximize water resources by adopting aquifer recharge strategies for storage & recovery using captured storm water, treated “used” water, desalinated brackish groundwater and oil & gas produce water.

            The pervasive drought conditions have put additional stress on groundwater resources in Texas but there is limited capacity for aquifers to buffer the effects of low rainfall over an extended period of time.  More attention is being given to brackish aquifers as potential supply sources for desalination and as direct sources for the needs of hydraulic fracturing operations for enhancing the recovery of both oil and gas. Rapid advances in treatment technologies are transforming the water needs of the oil & gas industry and reducing the likelihood of risks to groundwater.  Texas is facing the challenge of formulating water policy that takes account of changing hydrologic conditions. Conference discussion included consideration of policy options likely to be on the agenda in the next session of the Texas legislature.

NEWS – May 2014 – Water Technology Conference, Fresno, California

Central Valley Groundwater Issues
The American Ground Water Trust partnered with the  International Center for Water Technology by convening the groundwater session for the bi-annual Water Technology Conference in Fresno, California (May 8th) that was attended by over 250 water and agricultural specialists from throughout the Central Valley. The groundwater session included eight presentations:
~ Central Valley Groundwater: The Impact of Drought - Dane Mathis, California Department of Water Resources, Sacramento, CA
~ The Role of Groundwater Computer Modeling in Optimizing Well Production in Times of Drought - Dave Bean, AMEC Environment & Infrastructure, Fresno, CA
~ New Water: Treatment of Produced Water for Surface Discharge and Beneficial Use - Lnsp (Naggs) Nagghappan, Veolia Water Solutions & Technologies, Brea, CA
~ The Information a Water Well Contractor Needs in Order to Decide Whether to Deepen, Rehabilitate or Drill New - Tim Oman, Layne Christensen, Santa Paula, CA
~ Hydraulic Fracturing and Water Resources - Andrew Stone, American Ground Water Trust, Concord, NH
~ Case Study of Rehabilitating A “Dead” Agricultural Well - Todd R. Eden, HERCCHEMTECH, Scottsdale, AZ
~ Central Valley Water Well Rehabilitation: Welljet, Kaweah Pump & Giacomazzi Farms - Charles Carner, WellJet, Camarillo, CA
~ How Variable Speed Drives for Pump Motors Improve Groundwater Management Efficiency - Vahan Bagdasarian, Grundfos Pumps, Fresno, CA

As part of the conference plenary session, Andrew Stone (American Ground Water Trust) made a presentation on “The Limitations of Groundwater as a Cushion Against Drought Impacts” during which he noted that over the last 100 years, irrigation pumping in the Central Valley had led to 150 cubic kilometers of groundwater depletion!


NEWS – May 2014 – Groundwater Law Conference Los Angeles, California

The photograph shows three of the forty attorneys who presented at the American Ground Water Trust’s “Groundwater Law Conference” held  in Los Angeles, CA (May 20-21). Gene Tanaka (Best Best & Krieger); Charles Correll (King & Spalding) and Giulia Good Stefani (Natural Resources Defense Council), spoke on the panel that discussed ongoing litigation associated with hydraulic fracturing and the typical positions taken by private parties, water utilities, state government, environmental groups and the oil & gas industry regarding energy development and water demand.

This two-day AGWT Groundwater Law program provided a comprehensive update on the impact of court decisions and legislation on the use and management of California’s water resources. Twelve panels of lawyers, water managers and regulators discussed the latest legal developments in water resources, water rights, water quality, and groundwater contamination. The conference subject- matter included groundwater basin management and adjudication, water allocation in drought conditions, and the status of industrial pollutant clean-up from a range of chemicals and compounds.

NEWS – April 2014 – State Experts attend AGWT Well Program, St. Louis, MO

The American Ground Water Trust well & pump workshop in St Louis was attended by a large contingent of staff from the state’s Department of Natural Resources, including geologists, well-head protection and public drinking water regulators. In addition, well & pump engineers and contractors from Missouri, Illinois and Indiana were part of the mix of participants.  The technical program, which emphasized how good design and maintenance can bring cost savings for well owners and end-users, was presented by experts from Roscoe Moss, (well design), Shannon & Wilson, (well rehabilitation technology) Yaskawa, (intelligent pump drives) Cotey Chemical, (improving well performance),  Boreline, (flexible drop pipe) and Subsurface technologies, (well maintenance). This well & pump workshop will be offered later this year in Lansing, MI; Cincinnati, OH; Modesto and Lakewood, CA; Jackson, MS; and Richmond, VA.

News – April 2014 – Baltimore Geothermal Innovations Workshop - Third-party Geoexchange Loop Ownership

Third-party ownership of geoexchange (GHEX) loop fields is a new approach for lowering the initial costs associated with geothermal heat pump heating and cooling systems.  This financial tool has been used successfully for several years in the residential solar panel marketplace.  David Neale (picture), Vice President of EnergyWise Partners, described how “thermal power” agreements are structured, and the GHEX loop monitoring options that support these arrangements.  Third-party ownership of the GHEX loop field allows homeowners to avoid the high initial installation cost geothermal heating and cooling (GHC) systems, by simply paying a low monthly payment for the thermal energy consumed.  This payment is much lower than the loan payment required to finance full ownership of the GHC system.  The 30 percent federal tax credit accrues to owner of the geothermal heat pump equipment, which typically is the homeowner.  Groundwater is protected by the GHEX installing company through a consistent installation approach using industry-standard procedures.

Adam Santry, President of Allied Geothermal Well Drilling and Joshua Kresge, President of Geothermal Genius showcased the “all geo” Chesapeake Golf Club Community, North East, Maryland in the last session of the workshop.  This planned community received a “Game Changer” grant through the Maryland Energy Administration in 2013 as a demonstration project of the third-party GHEX loop field ownership model.  They emphasized the importance of proper system design and installation as a fundamental requirement for ensuring the long-term protection of groundwater and optimizing system energy efficiency. 

A CD of the presentations (PDF format) offered at the Baltimore, Maryland Geothermal Innovations workshop is available for a small fee that supports the education programs of the American Ground Water Trust.  Send an email to the Trust for more information.

NEWS – March 2014 – Water Issues and Oil & Gas, Houston, Texas

The photograph shows Liz Fazio, Director, Texas House, Natural Resources Committee, speaking at the AGWT and AIPG (American Institute of Professional Geologists) conference in Houston.  This annual AGWT/AIPG event focuses on Oil & Gas industry issues related to water use, treatment, disposal, conservation and re-purposing. Ms. Fazio’s presentation at the two-day conference was on the State Water Implementation Fund. Other presentations from water and energy experts focused on water treatment and on innovations in hydraulic fracturing technologies.  This annual conference event provides a great opportunity for water interests (end-users and environmental) and energy industry representatives to exchange views and information about the need for effective coexistence of their interests.

News – March 2014 – Doug Dougherty, GEO Executive Director, Keynote Speaker at AGWT’s Geothermal Innovations workshop in Kansas

Doug Dougherty (picture), Executive Director of the Geothermal Exchange Organization (GEO), made the keynote presentation at the American Ground Water Trust’s Geothermal Heating and Cooling Innovations: Design, Financing and Regulation workshop in Overland Park, Kansas in March.  The diverse audience of energy engineers, architects, geo installers, regulators, utility professionals and HVAC manufacturers heard about the advocacy GEO is spearheading in federal and state arenas to get “efficiency” recognized in terms of “energy” of all types rather than as a function of electricity.  This broader view of the energy marketplace serves to empower a larger role for innovative technologies such as Geothermal Heat Pumps.  Ground sourced-based heating and cooling systems are capable of significant contributions to more efficient energy use and smaller carbon dioxide emission footprints when “thermal energy” loads are considered in the fundamental mix of energy consumption in our built environment.  Properly designed and installed geothermal heating and cooling systems not only protect groundwater, but can reduce society’s conflicting demands for energy and water resources. 

A CD of the presentations (PDF format) offered at the Overland Park, Kansas Geothermal Innovations workshop is available for a small fee that supports the education programs of the American Ground Water Trust.  Send an email to the Trust for more information.


NEWS – March 2014 – All about Pumps, Salt Lake City, UT

Groundwater is an important source of supply in Utah. Maintaining water wells and pumps at maximum efficiency is a challenging task for utility managers and operators.  Just a small percentage increase in well and pump efficiency can lead to big reductions in energy use and cost. The American Ground Water Trust workshop program on “Wells and Pumps” held in Salt Lake City provided a training opportunity on the latest technologies and operating best practices.  The program was attended by a range of groundwater consultants, regulators, water providers and end users. Utah is a mining state, and dewatering of mines is often a critical aspect of mining operations.  Effective water well design and the selection and maintenance of high yield pumps can have a big impact on optimizing efficiency and reducing the energy costs for dewatering.  Less electricity used for pumping means less electrical demand from the grid and when calculated nationally, means less water use by the nation’s power generation industry.

NEWS – February 2014 – “Need to Measure in order to Manage”, Ontario, CA

The annual two-day aquifer management conference organized jointly by the Association of Ground Water Agencies and the American Ground Water Trust included presentations and panel discussion about the need to monitor and record data on aquifer levels throughout the state.. Discussion about The California Statewide Groundwater Elevation Monitoring Program (CASGEM) was just one of the topics covered by six panels of experts on the program. Tony Zampiello, (photo) Executive Officer, Main San Gabriel Basin Watermaster and President of the Association of Ground Water Agencies let the panel covering the status of adjudications. Other panels, including drought management, emerging water quality issues and regional water planning challenges were part of the mix of the 24 conference presentations. 

The Conference keynote presenter was Jim Thebaut, (photo), President and CEO of The Chronicles Group, an environmental planner, journalist, Executive Producer of documentaries, educator, world traveler and and a public policy expert.    Jim recently produced and directed the acclaimed documentary video, narrated by actress Jane Seymour, “American Southwest: Are We Running Dry?”  which was shown at the conference. In his keynote presentation he included background to why and how the documentary was made and outlined his perspectives on the water crisis in Southern California in the context of regional and international water issues.

NEWS – January 2014 – Oil & Gas Industry Presentation, Bakersfield, California

AGWT Executive Director Andrew Stone was an invited presenter at the January Bakersfield conference organized by American Business Conferences Ltd. The two-day program focused on minimizing water use and maximizing efficiency in the development and production of light & heavy oil from California shale. Many of the presentations were on flow-back and produce-water treatment technologies and water management strategies already in use, in pilot studies or research development that serve to minimize energy industry need for water and ensure that Pump Jack oil welloil & gas development and production remain environmentally compliant. Additional presentations in Bakersfield were made by energy and water resources regulatory authorities from California state agencies.

Groundwater protection is a core element of the American Ground Water Trust’s mission. As an “honest broker of information,” the AGWT presentation outlined the deeply held views and “public perception” about the environmental impact of oil & gas operations. The real communication challenge is for both sides in the argument to develop an information exchange process that will provide the public and political decision-makers with objective information about the issues, impacts, and potential impacts of oil & gas operations related to water resources.