When a Greenpeace China rapid response team ventured to a chemical spill site in the Shanxi province, they found that the area’s water supply was dwindling rapidly to support the growing coal production there, reports The New York Times. Much like the water-energy nexus story that Circle of Blue uncovered in other Northern Chinese provinces, the team found that coal and chemical companies are consuming water for their industrial processes at an alarming rate. “By 2015,” cites the article, “water consumption by coal and chemical industry in China’s dry, western areas is set to use up a whopping quarter of the water flowing annually from the nearby Yellow River.” To read more about the water-energy nexus in China, check out Circle of Blue’s ChokePoint:China coverage.
River Linking Project in India Beset by Politics
The Guardian reports that progress on the $140bn project to link together 37 rivers across the country by 2016 is stalled. The cost estimates do not also account for inflation and debt servicing costs, concerning the government and the supreme court. Further, the project has been criticized by environmentalists who call the project a “mindless proposition.” Political parties have seized upon the tumult as an opportunity to sway voters prior to the 2014 national elections.
Australia Turns to Recycled Water, Desal Plant Dormant and Expensive
While the Wonthaggi Desalination Plant idles it’s production, the government of the Australian province of Victoria seeks to undertake a recycled stormwater treatment plant as it’s low-cost replacement, according to Bloomberg. The dormant Wonthaggi Plant costs $1.9M daily in it’s idle state, but the conundrum is that the cost of energy to run the desal plant is high, and water from the plant is more costly to citizens. As an alternative, the government is eyeballing building a recycled stormwater plant to provide non-potable water.
War of Words Over Pennsylvania Frack Site Water Testing
In November of 2012, it was disclosed that the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) omitted reporting the presence of certain chemicals in water sample tests of wells near natural gas drilling sites. Now, The New York Times reports, a meeting between the department and environmental groups has been postponed, which the DEP cited was due to “objectionable” language used by a participating group in a statement released prior to the meeting.
Allison Voglesong is an editorial intern for Circle of Blue based out of Traverse City, Michigan. She holds a BA in International Relations from Michigan State University's James Madison College. Her interests include water pricing, environmental economics and policy, and conflict mediation.
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