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The Stream, February 28: California’s Water

California’s water is on the brink of a catastrophe, according to a new study by the Public Policy Institute of California. The state is running out of cheap, new water sources, struggling to rein in pollution from agricultural runoff, and piggybacking on a fragmented system of hundreds of local and regional agencies in charge of water supply, water treatment, flood control and land-use decisions.

The New York Times digs into internal and never-reported studies by the U.S. Environment Protection Agency, state regulators and the drilling industry to uncover the lax regulation of shale gas development in the United States. Why are sewage treatment plants that accept drilling waste not testing for radioactivity, and are rivers, lakes and drinking water at risk? On the other end of the spectrum, this article in Foreign Affairs argues that shale gas, now economically viable in the United States, is a boon for consumers and for countries hoping to reduce their dependency on foreign oil. Judge for yourselves.

A federal court in Brazil has suspended plans for the construction of the controversial Belo Monte Dam, slated to become the world’s third largest hydroelectric power station. According to the court, the project has not met environmental requirements. Given Belo Monte’s history of ups and downs, how long will this injunction last?

A glacier on Peru’s Huaytapallana Moutain has shrunk by half in just 23 years, AFP reports. Local experts are blaming climate change and developing a project to declare Huaytapallana a natural conservation area. Glacial melt is a serious concern in the country, where glaciers could disappear as soon as 20 years from now.

The Stream is a daily digest spotting global water trends. To get more water news, follow Circle of Blue on Twitter and sign up for our newsletter.


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