Den Haag today, tomorrow where?

By David Zetland

We are well along the way with our “engagement” in Den Haag/The Hague. In this pilot project, we have been running a survey (in 5 languages!) to ask residents of their OPINIONS of water quality, touring the impressive production facilities of Dunea, the regional water supplier, and talking with Dunea about ways to better engage with citizens, to make it easier to understand how they are getting excellent water at an affordable price (€1.10/m3!)

The CWP has a “hub and spoke” model in which we at “headquarters” in The Hague engage with local citizen groups in a distant city. Those groups will be responsible for collecting information that we can distribute via the CWP website and various social media outlets. In our local pilot, we played both roles to understand a little more of how local dynamics might work. The experience has been quite educational 🙂

We will be posting more on the site about our survey results, ongoing conversations with Dunea, etc., but we’re already looking for partners who can help us on our next city, starting from January 2017.

If you — or someone you know — has an interesting city in mind, then please get in touch. (You can also leave questions or comments here, as we’re happy to discuss all aspects of the project with anyone who’s interested!)

It’s what’s in the water that can kill you!

By Ailish Lalor

Last week, staff from the City Water Project tested several water samples from The Hague for contaminants. We had expected to find traces of bacteria, chlorine, or even sewage contamination — but what we found was much worse.

Dihydrogen monoxide (also known as hydric acid) is extremely dangerous when consumed at high doses. The first aspect we need to discuss is its impact on the environment. It is a major component of acid rain, which contributes to the destruction of forests and creates biologically dead lakes. It’s also one of the gases responsible for climate change, making up 1-5 percent of the atmosphere. It can damage landscapes through erosion of valleys, gorges, and cliffs, leading to deadly landslides. Its presence has been linked to infrastructure collapsing due to corroded, degraded metals. It always causes electrical failures if it gets near electrical components.

Dihydrogen monoxide can also be very dangerous to humans. In vapor form, it causes blisters and severe burns to human skin. It causes suffocation if inhaled. Forensic pathologists often detect its presence in dead bodies.

But we cannot avoid this substance, as it is used in industry as a solvent and coolant, for food processing, in nuclear power plants, in the production of paper, as a fire retardant, in the production of styrofoam, in the distribution of pesticides (even washing won’t get rid of this chemical!), in the treatment of sewage and drinking water, and as an ingredient in fast food and other processed foods.

Worried? Now that we have your attention, let’s reveal that dihydrogen monoxide is just another name for H20. But while water itself may not be dangerous, bad water quality can be life threatening. The City Water Project is working to improve it all around the world. If you are a resident of The Hague, then you can help us by filling out this survey (available in English, Dutch, Turkish, Arabic and Spanish)