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Bethesda Stormwater Pond Wins National Award

by Aaron Kraut | March 24, 2014 at 4:10 pm | 675 views | 1 Comment

Completed Stoney Creek Stormwater Pond (file photo)A Montgomery County project to capture pollution from downtown Bethesda before it hits Rock Creek will be honored at “the Academy Awards of the engineering industry” in April.

The county’s Stoney Creek Stormwater Management Pond, a 1.3-acre pond that captures runoff from 204 acres of the Bethesda Central Business District and NIH campus, will receive the 2014 Engineering Excellence Award from the American Council of Engineering Companies.

The project, from the Department of Environmental Projection, actually sits on a six-acre site just south of the NIH campus and just west of Woodmont Avenue.

The county completed the $2.5 million project last May. It includes two underground chambers for capturing trash and pollutants washing downstream from Bethesda, subsurface aerators to enhance pond water circulation and native trees, shrubs, herbaceous plants, grasses and wetland vegetation.

Environmental planners say the project, which began in October 2010, will treat stormwater from parking lots and developed areas that would have otherwise ended up in a tributary of Rock Creek.

The award ceremony is set for April 29.

Save The Trail Group Decries ‘Personal Attack’ Over $500 Fence Fine

by Aaron Kraut | March 10, 2014 at 1:05 pm | 1,618 views | 19 Comments

The controversial fence under construction in May 2013, photo via Wayne PhyillaierA group opposed to Purple Line construction on the Capital Crescent Trail says a Purple Line supporter is behind a $500 county-levied fine against its president, who built a new backyard fence last summer in the county-owned trail right-of-way.

Last week, we told you the story of Ajay Bhatt, president of the Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail and a Chevy Chase resident whose home backs up to the Georgetown Branch extension of the trail.

Bhatt, an ardent critic of the Purple Line as currently proposed, built a new fence around his property, except Montgomery County found the fence to have been built illegally, about 18 feet on to its property. The county’s right-of-way includes the trail and is set to be handed over to the state for construction of the 16-mile light rail system.

Wayne Phyillaier, a Silver Spring resident who supports the Purple Line because it would include a rebuilt trail, documented Bhatt’s fine and upcoming appeal in a blog post.

On Friday, Bhatt provided this response from the Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail group, which indicates Phyillaier prompted a county investigation into the fence:

We are responding to a recent personal attack on our President, Ajay Bhatt. As most of you know, Ajay resides along the trail in a home owned by his family since 1977, and his family has enjoyed the trail immensely. Many homes along the trail include fences, sheds, and similar structures that overlap the county right-of-way — a holdover from when the railroad owned the land. A fence has been at Ajay’s house since the late 70s, and it has been replaced at least three times since then. In an effort to pull attention away from the real issues with the Purple Line, Wayne Phyillaier, an active Purple Line booster and blogger, complained about the fence and the county subsequently responded with a citation. Mr. Phyillaier is not a neighbor and has no legitimate interest in this particular fence. Ajay properly sought and received a permit for the fence and is exercising his legal rights to resolve this issue in the most common sense way. FCCT has raised many significant concerns regarding the proposed Purple Line, many of which are detailed in our response to the Final Environmental Impact Statement. These are the real issues that affect everyone, and we welcome respectful discourse on these topics from all interested parties.

Last week, Phyillaier told us he wouldn’t have written about the fence, had it not been for its new construction by a resident who clearly knew the history of the trail right-of-way.

The controversial fence today,photo via Wayne Phyillaier“It’s the most recent construction that I know of,” Phyillaier said. “I don’t think it’s necessary for the county to start going through and ripping through all these old fences and old tool sheds. There’s really no public good in ripping them out or confronting the property owner. I think it’s important that the county confront Ajay or anyone else who is doing new construction.”

Behind homes in Chevy Chase that back up to the trail, there are many fences and sheds that are technically in the county-owned Georgetown Branch right-of-way.

Many were built before Montgomery County purchased the right-of-way for a potential transit line in 1988, some as far back as the 1950s. That has caused confusion and frustration among some homeowners whose backyards back up to the trail.

The trail used to be a CSX rail line.

It’s unclear what permit Bhatt received for the fence construction. There’s no record of a permit issued in 2013 for his property in the county’s Public Right of Way records. There is no record of a Residential Construction Permit issued for his property in either 2012 or 2013.

Photos via Wayne Phyillaier

Building Managers, Developers Push Back On Environmental Bills

by Aaron Kraut | February 12, 2014 at 1:00 pm | 281 views | No Comments

Bethesda office buildingSome commercial real estate developers aren’t so keen on a package of environmental bills in front of the County Council, specifically one measure that would require building owners to measure their energy efficiency and ensure their energy efficiency equipment is working properly.

At a Council committee public hearing Tuesday on a package of 13 environmental bills, a few commercial real estate representatives testified against the idea of the benchmarking measure and a separate bill that would require new commercial buildings to meet Silver LEED certification.

Councilmember Roger Berliner, who introduced the bills in January, defended his proposals by saying they are modeled on laws in other jurisdictions. Berliner has support from the majority of the Council on all 13 bills. The Berliner-chaired Energy Committee will hold a worksession on the measures on Feb. 26.

“Montgomery County is in a double-dip recession the likes of which it’s never seen. The federal government’s impact in Montgomery County will be declining in the next 20 years, which means we’re going to need to rely heavily on private sector growth for our economy,” said Charles Nulsen, president of the Bethesda-based Washington Property Company. “We have an A- grade in environmental stewardship. We have an F in economic stewardship. We should concentrate on pulling that economic grade up to a C.”

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Green Internship Fair Kicks Off Saturday

by Aaron Kraut | February 5, 2014 at 2:20 pm | 73 views | No Comments

Bethesda Green Fields of Green Internship FairBethesda Green’s Fields of Green Internship Fair is back for another year this Saturday morning.

The nonprofit and business incubator will host a slew of green-minded organizations looking for interns interested in the environmental sector.

The event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Bethesda Green headquarters (4825 Cordell Ave., second floor above Capital One Bank).

Groups looking for interns will include the Student Conservation Association, EarthShare, Calleva Outdoor Adventure Camp & Farm and Montgomery County’s Department of Environmental Protection.

For more information, visit Bethesda Green’s website.

Image via Bethesda Green

Bethesda Restaurateur Hoping More Restaurants Will Go Green

by Aaron Kraut | January 28, 2014 at 3:25 pm | 169 views | No Comments

Chef Tony's restaurant (file photo)Chef Tony’s owner Tony Marciante knows small restaurant owners don’t typically have much extra time to spend tinkering with things like LED lightbulbs and composting.

So Marciante is getting together with Bethesda Green to create what he said is a low-pressure, low-stress group of Bethesda restaurateurs dedicated to making their restaurants more energy efficient and less wasteful.

Marciante is looking for founding members for GRAB (the Green Restaurant Association of Bethesda) for an inaugural meeting next month and a number of events to get the group off the ground.

In Bethesda, known for its restaurants perhaps as much as anything else, Marciante said the group could help make significant green improvements with some small changes.

“The reality is, the greater benefit is from small restaurants doing a little bit, because there are more small restaurants that probably aren’t doing anything,” Marciante said. “One of the things is this isn’t a maniacal, all-or-nothing type deal. It’s really just trying to collect whoever is willing to listen and show them the benefits of going green, of making some strides in that direction.”

Marciante said he recently learned of a financing program with Pepco that will allow him to swap out old equipment for five pieces of new, energy efficient equipment.

Bethesda Green lists a number of ways – tax breaks, incentives, biofuel, waste oil and smart purchasing included — restaurants can be more green and cut costs.

“Anything is good. My two cents in the whole thing is this stuff is important, but we’re hoping to just make some strides in that direction,” Marciante said.

Officials Want Montgomery County To Regain Lead In Environmental Policy

by Aaron Kraut | January 27, 2014 at 3:25 pm | 133 views | No Comments

Philip Henderson of the Natural Resources Defense Council speaks at a Monday press conference as Councilmember Roger Berliner looks on

Six county councilmembers on Monday voiced their support for a package of energy and sustainability laws they say will put Montgomery County back in the lead when it comes to environmental policy.

Bethesda Councilmember Roger Berliner said he had the support of the majority of the Council on all 13 bills in a legislative package to be introduced Tuesday. The bills include measures to make installing solar panels easier, a requirement that new commercial buildings meet LEED Silver standards and a requirement that the county government up its use of renewable energy.

“It’s pretty simple really. If we want to help our planet, improve the quality of life in Montgomery County and foster a green economy here, we need to use less energy and more clean energy,” Berliner said.

With Berliner were representatives of national and local environmental organizations, County Executive Isiah Leggett’s director of Environmental Protection and five Council colleagues. A few talked about how fortunate they felt to represent an area where solar panels, electric vehicle charging stations and renewable energy aren’t a highly divisive topic.

“I want to say how good it is to be in Montgomery County, where these issues are not debatable, where being out front, doing the right thing on the environment is not something that’s subject to divisive debate,” Councilmember Marc Elrich said. “The climate change issue is real and somebody has to be serious about it. I really firm believe that this has more and more become about local solutions, that people are going to look at Washington and say, ‘You do not have the right to condemn us to a future that we don’t want to be a part of.’”

One bill would require that at least half of the county’s electric power usage be supplied by renewable energy sources by fiscal year 2015 and that all of it come from renewable energy sources by fiscal year 2020. The existing law, promoted by a few current members of Council, requires 30 percent come from renewable sources.

“We were among the first counties in the nation to adopt a renewable energy portfolio of our own,” Councilmember George Leventhal said. “At the time, in the last decade, we were actually the largest purchaser of clean energy in the eastern United States. That’s not true anymore. The recession intervened and Montgomery County is no longer in the forefront.”

“What people need to understand is Montgomery County has been deep into this game,” Councilmember Nancy Floreen said.

Other bills would give a preference to certified green businesses in contract bids with the county, create an Office of Sustainability in the Department of Environmental Protection and require the county to go with a company that provides LED lights in its next street light contract.

Kateri Callahan, president of the Alliance to Save Energy, said Arlington County saw energy savings of 75 percent after installing LED street lights.

Berliner will take part in a discussion with U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and other energy leaders on Tuesday. Berliner said his goal is to garner support for local initiatives in the absence of national energy legislation.

Berliner Bills Would Add Sustainability Requirements

by Aaron Kraut | January 17, 2014 at 3:25 pm | 226 views | 4 Comments

Councilmember Roger Berliner (file photo)Councilmember Roger Berliner (D-Bethesda-Chevy Chase) will introduce a package of 13 bills next week to make installing solar panels easier, require new commercial buildings meet LEED Silver standards and get the county government to up its use of renewable energy.

Berliner, an energy lawyer who chairs the Council’s Transportation and Environment Committee, said at a town hall meeting on Wednesday that the package is meant to reflect “a community that embraces sustainability as a core value.”

In a memo to Council colleagues (see PDF below) he said the recent minimum wage increase by the group inspired him to step up efforts in the environmental protection realm.

“We need to use less energy and cleaner energy. Period. This package of bills is taken in many instances from what other leading jurisdictions are doing — from Chicago to Seattle to California and New York states,” Berliner wrote. “They are a mix of leading by example, rewarding green businesses, supporting market forces, adopting more exacting standards, and holding our county government accountability.”

The bills cover solar panel use, new regulations for county government and requirements for private property owners.

One zoning change would allow solar panels to extend two feet into the side or rear setback. Another zoning change would require all new buildings to install one electric vehicle charging station for every 50 parking spaces.

At the meeting on Wednesday in the Town of Chevy Chase, Berliner indicated he had support for the package of bills from County Executive Isiah Leggett. Some of the bills would impose new laws on the county government.

In 2008, the Council passed a similar package of laws with the formal goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Montgomery County by 80 percent by 2050.

Berliner said it’s now time to hold county government more accountable in that mission.

One bill would require the county’s Department of Permitting Services to establish an Office of Sustainability to monitor and improve its policies for sustainability. Two of the bills would require DEP to come up with a faster and cheaper way to permit solar panels and electric vehicle charging stations.

Another would require the county’s Department of Transportation to contract with an LED lighting company for all county streetlights after its current contract expires.

The package would also require all new commercial buildings to meet existing county standards for Silver LEED certification.

The rest of the package is described in a fact sheet, provided below.

PDF: Berliner Environmental Package, memo and fact sheet

Bethesda Green Incubator Launches Home Energy Rating

by Aaron Kraut | December 9, 2013 at 3:25 pm | 314 views | No Comments

Example of a Savenia home rating, for a home on Glenbrook RoadA Bethesda company that analyzes energy costs has added home buying to its portfolio, with the goal to provide buyers with the long-term hidden costs of their lighting, water heater and appliances.

Savenia Labs, a company in the Bethesda Green business incubator, last week launched its Savenia Home Ratings. The company is working with local realtor Jane Fairweather and homebuilder Sandy Spring Builders to calculate the value of energy-saving appliances, lighting and other improvements before someone buys or sells a home.

The information is based on water and electricity rates in the home’s zip code. Home sellers or builders can enter the product model numbers into Savenia’s database to see how they match up. Savenia then will provide a gold, silver or bronze home rating and details on environmental impacts and costs of proposed upgrades.

The company says upgrading lighting, appliances and a water heater up front can save tens of thousands of utility costs over 15 years.

Savenia previously partnered up with local hardware store Strosniders to attach a carbon footprint rating to appliances by incorporating how different areas produce the electricity being used to power different products.

For example: The company can take a coffee maker, gather market data such as how long people typically leave a pot of coffee on a hot plate, test the electricity output and determine that $25 product may cost a consumer $100 to use in the long run. Savenia then provides that information to retailers in the form of an energy rating label displayed on the store’s shelves.

It’s something Savenia founder John Jabara says consumers are paying closer attention to, which could attract them to sellers or home builders who are willing to make energy-saving adjustments.

“Now, buyers can make more informed buying decisions and sellers can finally get credit for investments in efficient products,” Jabara said in a press release.

Farm to Freezer, ‘Recyclo’ Among Green Award Winners

by Aaron Kraut | October 28, 2013 at 3:20 pm | 95 views | No Comments

Cheryl Kollin, who runs Farm to Freezer, shows off some of the produce her crew of volunteers prepared in JulyA Bethesda woman with an innovative idea for excess food and a Chevy Chase man known as “Recyclo” were among the five winners of this year’s Bethesda Magazine Green Awards.

Cheryl Kollin, who started the Farm to Freezer program this year, won the business or nonprofit category. Kollin, 56, organizes volunteers who purchase squash, eggplant, green peppers, zucchini and other vegetables from a Silver Spring farmers market, then partially cook the produce for freeze storage at the Manna food bank.

The idea is to fill in the large gap between excess, wasted produce and the underfed of Montgomery County who desperately need nutritious food options, especially over the winter months.

It was a similar partnership last year with homeless prevention nonprofit Bethesda Cares that got Kollin and her Full Plate Ventures nonprofit started.

Chevy Chase resident Brian Detwiler won the Green Award for “individuals who are actively promoting and living a green lifestyle,” for essentially putting his money where his mouth is. Detwiler is the owner of a Honda Fit EV, an electric car. His home has solar panels and he walks to bikes to work in downtown Bethesda.

That has led to the “Recyclo” nickname.

“There are only a couple of people who call me that,” Detwiler told Bethesda Magazine. “It’s kind of a playful thing, but it gives me hope that my actions may inspire other people to see that recycling is not that much trouble. It takes such a little effort to change your lifestyle.”

Bethesda Magazine hosts the award show and annual gala with nonprofit Bethesda Green.

Other winners include the Founding Farmers restaurant in Potomac, the Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy in Rockville and Abt Associates, which has offices in Bethesda.

[Bethesda Magazine]

Bethesda Green’s Jabara Named Maryland Entrepreneur Of The Year

by Aaron Kraut | October 17, 2013 at 3:30 pm | 146 views | No Comments

From left to right: Savenia Labs employee Braeden Bumpers, founder John Jabara and employee Greg Taylor with a Maryland Incubator Company of the Year award, via Bethesda GreenOne of the Bethesda Green business incubators first members has been named as the “Maryland Entrepreneur of the Year” by a state group dedicated to clean energy.

John Jabara, founder of Savenia Labs, won the award on Wednesday. His company, started in 2009 in the incubator, provides energy ratings for popular appliances and will introduce a carbon footprint rating based on energy rates in specific places with specific products.

The idea is that shoppers in difference cities might choose completely different products if they knew how energy costs will add up over the lifetime of the appliance. Savenia clients can download comparable energy ratings, customized by zip code for costs and environmental impacts.

The Maryland Clean Energy Center, created in 2008 to help reach the state’s 20 percent renewable energy goal by 2022, presented the award.

Jabara’s first retail client was Stronsiders Hardware. His company now provides energy rating labels for products in Ace Hardware stores in Northern Virginia, D.C. and Baltimore.

He’s since moved to providing data to large companies and universities looking for information on their own electric use.

Bethesda Company Releases Water Pricing Research

by Aaron Kraut | September 19, 2013 at 1:10 pm | 110 views | No Comments

Savenia water pricing databaseA Bethesda Green incubator company this week unveiled a database of water prices from across the country it says can help families save serious money.

Savenia Labs, which provides energy ratings for popular appliances, on Wednesday gave a sneak peak of its WaterSavvy-DB product, a database of water pricing by zip code. The idea is for the pricing information to go into energy ratings for dishwashers and washing machines, which can help consumers save money.

Savenia found that more than 60 percent of the average water bill comes from sewer and administrative fees. There are many ways a water bill can be calculated, but an average family of four pays $32 a month for sewer costs, $30 for actual water and $19 for administrative fees.

The most expensive water was in Atlanta, where an average family spends $2,600 a year or $221 a month on water bills. That’s almost 10 times more than people in Wilmington, Del., which was found to have the cheapest water pricing at $23 a month. The average household pays $80 a month and where people pay more or pay less isn’t always obvious.

Savenia found cheap water prices in the Southwest (where water is scarce) and expensive water in areas where water is thought to be plentiful. Sewer costs seem to drive the differences.

Here’s what the water pricing could mean in a practical scenario, from Savenia’s blog:

Using this data, Savenia found that shoppers in different cities would choose completely different appliances to save money depending on local water and electricity prices. Take the example of two families living in different states looking to buy a washing machine. One family, in Hilo, Hawaii, pays some of the country’s highest electricity rates but comparatively low water prices. The other family is in Seattle, WA, with high water prices, but comparatively low electricity rates. They’ve narrowed down their options to these two similarly sized Energy Star washing machines from well-known brands:

  • The Whirlpool WTW4880AW, 3.4 cu. ft., retailing for $600 (144 kWh/yr, 7743 gallons/yr)
  • The GE GWFH1200DWW, 3.56 cu. ft., retailing for $800 (181 kWh/yr, 5582 gallons/yr)

In Hilo, the family would save about $300 over their washing machine’s lifetime by purchasing the Whirlpool, while the Seattle family would save about $300 by purchasing the GE model. Drastically different decisions based on local utility pricing. If electricity or water prices go up over time they would save even more.

For now, the company is offering its energy ratings to retailers in the D.C. and Baltimore metro areas. The company’s first client was Strosnider’s Hardware in Bethesda and it’s now placing ratings on products in local Ace Hardware stores.

Green Business Incentive Could Net Investors As Much As $25,000

by Aaron Kraut | July 25, 2013 at 3:15 pm | 94 views | No Comments

Green Business Certification Program Ride On bus ad (file photo)Montgomery County’s Department of Economic Development is hoping to attract green businesses to the area with an incentive program that will reimburse investors as much as $25,000.

The Green Investor Incentive Program is now accepting applications from investors in businesses that provide green products or technologies. The program was approved in April by the County Council and County Executive Isiah Leggett appropriated $500,000 to fund the program.

The concept comes out of the county’s 2010 Green Economy Task Force, which recommended more incentives for companies in the green sector.

Individuals and investment firms that have invested in qualified green companies from July 24, 2013 until the end of the year are potentially eligible for some of this year’s $500,000 appropriation, which will be allocated disbursed next April. The program will be first come first serve, and investors will have until January 15, 2014 to submit their applications.  Qualified investors cannot be pension or retirement funds, and can not have an ownership stake in the company prior to investing.

“The program will help us cultivate a larger group of investors so that green business solutions and products that are conceived here can develop and grow into successful Montgomery County-based companies,” county Economic Director Steve Silverman said.

To qualify as a green business, a company must provide a green product or technology, have its headquarters in Montgomery, have been in business for less than 10 years and employ fewer than 50 people.  The company also must be a certified B-Corporation, Montgomery County Certified Green Business, or have earned a similar designation.

Visit the county’s Economic Development site for more information.

10 Tips For ‘Greening’ Restaurants

by Aaron Kraut | June 18, 2013 at 3:15 pm | 126 views | 5 Comments

Bethesda Green is launching a program to survey and educate Bethesda’s roughly 200 restaurateurs about “greening” moves including installing LED lighting and switching to sustainable packaging for leftovers.

According to a report from the Environmental Protection Agency, about 80 percent of energy use in restaurants goes to waste because of inefficient kitchen appliances, lighting, HVAC systems and bathroom appliances. The environmental nonprofit hopes to connect some Bethesda restaurants with Pepco rebates for switching to LED light bulbs and provide guidance with other tips:

1. Separate and compost all food waste.

2. Recycle all paper, cardboard, plastic, glass and aluminum, and place ins in easily accessed locations.

3. Reduce energy usage through regular equipment maintenance, the reduction of appliance idling time and by switching to LED lighting.

4. Make the switch to sustainable packaging for leftovers and take-out orders.

5. Buy local! There are numerous farms all around the DC area, and fresher produce tastes better on the plate.

6. Reduce your water usage and your bill!

7. Give back, contact food banks and leftovers to those less fortunate.

8. Practice waste reduction across the board — write specials on a chalkboard, buy beverages in bulk, use refillable condiment containers.

9. Convert your used oil to biofuel.

10. Be green and clean — buy multipurpose supplies made with natural materials.

Video via Comcast Newsmakers

Bethesda Green Incubator Company On Cusp Of Nationwide Exposure

by Aaron Kraut | June 18, 2013 at 2:25 pm | 130 views | 1 Comment

From left to right: Savenia Labs employee Braeden Bumpers, founder John Jabara and employee Greg Taylor with a Maryland Incubator Company of the Year award, via Bethesda Green

John Jabara’s Savenia Labs was one of the first companies in Bethesda Green’s incubator when it started in 2009.

Four years later, the company that provides energy ratings for popular appliances is offering a new service and is on the cusp of going nationwide.

The concept helped Savenia win Best Environmental/Energy Company at the recent Maryland Incubator Company of the Year awards. Jabara and his staff buy a batch of appliances or electronics, test how much electricity those products use at a lab at the University of Maryland and integrate that information with energy costs in different areas.

Savenia will also attach a carbon footprint rating to the appliance by incorporating how different areas produce the electricity being used to power different products.

For example: The company can take a coffee maker, gather market data such as how long people typically leave a pot of coffee on a hot plate, test the electricity output and determine that $25 product may cost a consumer $100 to use in the long run. Savenia then provides that information to retailers in the form of an energy rating label displayed on the store’s shelves.

“Winning the award is a great milestone as we go forward in the process of rating lots of new products,” said Jabara, a Bethesda resident. “We will basically identify the most popular products, buy those products ourselves without any manufacturer influence, come up with a user profile and see how much electricity it will use.”

Jabara’s first retail client was Stronsiders Hardware. His company now provides energy rating labels for products in Ace Hardware stores in Northern Virginia, D.C. and Baltimore.

Today, Savenia launched another service. After requests from large companies and universities looking for information on their own electric use, Jabara’s company will now provide subscription-based access to a datbase with its ratings and cost information on various appliances.

The goal is to one day offer the ratings label service nationwide in big box retailers, though Jabara said the company isn’t quite there yet. Savenia’s office is still in the Bethesda Green Incubator, above the Capitol One Bank on Cordell Avenue.

“Once you hit a certain point, you’re expected to move up and on,” Jabara said. “We’ll be there soon.”

Photo via Bethesda Green

Reel Film Festival Doc Examines African Clean Water Issue

by Aaron Kraut | June 14, 2013 at 10:05 am | 77 views | No Comments

"This Is Normal," a documentary on water issues in a Zambian village, will be shown during the Reel Water Film Festival in Bethesda on Saturday

The stories of a rural villager with eight kids and no clean water to provide them, an American approaching retirement who wants to make meaning of his life and a young Zambian well-digger struggling to provide for his family are normal in many ways.

It’s when the stories intersect, as director Derek Watson shows in his short documentary “This Is Normal,” that positive change happens.

In this case, it’s the introduction of a cheap, but effective manual well-drilling method to a Zambian village that before relied on a freshwater lake for a water supply that was slowly killing its residents. The documentary will be featured during Saturday’s 2nd Annual Reel Water Film Festival at the Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club.

It will screen during the “Afternoon Splash” session of the event, from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The festival will feature a number of documentaries dealing with water issues and a host of local environmental groups.

“People are blown away by this,” Watson said. “We just completely take clean water for granted. We just turn on the faucet and don’t think about it. We don’t even fathom that most of the world lives without that. Even 100 years ago, that didn’t exist in America but we’re just so far removed it.”

Watson, an Oklahoma-based documentary filmmaker, spent two weeks in an island village on Lake Bangweulu in northern Zambia to chronicle how a lack of clean water is normal there.

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