For millennia, man has yearned to block the sun (with black plastic balls). If an un-covered public water reservoir contains bromide, sunlight will combine the bromide with the chlorine used for reducing bacteria -- thus poisoning the water with carcinogenic bromate. Blocking the sunlight is the answer, but building a permanent cover for a huge reservoir is very costly. The solution for LA-area reservoirs, a few years ago: cover the entire water surface with millions of floating "bird balls", in effect turning the reservoir into a 10+ acre ball pit. [more inside]
"California has a decision to make. We either brace ourselves for long-term [water] cuts that threaten our economy and our very way of way of life, or we invest in a solution to fix the [San Francisco Bay] Delta and expand our water toolbox so we can meet future challenges head-on.” [more inside]
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) published their latest Infrastructure Report Card in 2005. America's infrastructure got a D. The ASCE estimate that it will cost $1.6 trillion over a five-year period to bring the nation's infrastructure to good condition. They also have a Critical Infrastructure blog. [Via Gristmill.]
Roads To Riches (or We've Got a Bridge in Brooklyn to Sell You--Seriously) -- Why investors are clamoring to take over America's highways, bridges, and airports—and why the public should be nervous.--...a slew of Wall Street firms—Goldman, Morgan Stanley, the Carlyle Group, Citigroup, and many others—is piling into infrastructure ... Assets sold now could change hands many times over the next 50 years, with each new buyer feeling increasing pressure to make the deal work financially. It's hardly a stretch to imagine service suffering in such a scenario; already, the record in the U.S. has been spotty. ...
"[Vitek] Boden had waged a three-month war against the Scada (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system of Maroochy Water Services in Australia beginning in January 2000, which saw millions of gallons of sewage spill into waterways, hotel grounds and canals around the Sunshine Coast suburb." A 2002 Washington Post story on possible al-Qaeda attacks also mentions the Boden case: "Specialists in cyber-terrorism have studied Boden's case because it is the only one known in which someone used a digital control system deliberately to cause harm."