Chile

Approximately 33 centimeters (13.26 inches) of rain fell in 24 hours on Long Island, New York—a record amount equal to the rainfall the area usually receives in more than two months, Reuters reported. The heavy rain led to flash flooding, closing roads and creating dangerous conditions for commuters. Water Supply San Francisco is faced with […]

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Energy Chile’s president has reiterated her commitment to boosting the country’s energy supplies, including the addition of 865 megawatts of generation capacity from large-scale hydropower projects in the next four years, Reuters reported. However, the permit for Chile’s largest hydropower project was recently cancelled due to environmental and societal concerns. In reaction to a large […]

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The decision pits energy development against river protection in one of the world’s evocative places.

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The Chilean government will decide June 10 whether to proceed with HidroAysen, a group of five dams on two rivers in Patagonia. The Santiago Times reports that the project developers could sue to recover some of the $US 320 million already invested if the government vetoes the dams. Flood Control A water reform law in […]

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Climate Change Large areas of Southeast Asia used for rice production, including crop regions in Bangladesh and Vietnam, could disappear as global sea levels rise, according to a new study that takes into account the melting of the Western Antarctica ice sheet, the Guardian reported. Studies recently found that the ice sheet has been destabilized […]

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Water Suppliers Chile’s president, Michelle Bachelet, is attempting to pass a bill that would restore water as a purely public resource, replacing laws passed in 1981 that allow water privatization, the Santiago Times reported. Activists say that water privatization is hurting some of Chile’s poorest residents. Rain storms and state intervention have relieved pressure on […]

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South America An ongoing drought has raised the prospect of water rationing in São Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, Reuters reported. The city is home to 20 million people and will be one of the sites to host World Cup soccer games in June. Mining companies are slowing down their investments in Chile due to high […]

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A drought in Malaysia has drawn down reservoir levels in the state of Selangor, putting water supplies in “critical condition” and forcing water rationing near the nation’s capital, Bloomberg News reported. Extended drought conditions could have negative consequences for oil palm plantations in the region, but the current dry spell began in early February. South […]

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Drinking Water The quality of drinking water supplies is at risk from increasingly frequent extreme weather, such as droughts, floods and wildfires—especially if they occur in combination, The Sydney Morning Herald reported, citing a new study released by researchers at the University of New South Wales. For example, a large wildfire followed by heavy rain […]

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South America More than $US 40 billion worth of mining projects have been blocked or delayed in Chile, creating a bottleneck for foreign investment that the country’s national mining association has asked the incoming government to address, Reuters reported. Many of the mining projects, including the Pascua-Lama gold mine, have been put on hold due […]

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Mining Barrick Gold Corp, the company behind the massive $US 8.5 billion Pascua-Lama gold mine project on the Argentina-Chile border, said it is suspending construction at the site, Reuters reported. The mine has faced stiff opposition and legal battles due to concerns about its effect on glaciers and water supplies. In Indonesia, coal’s “last frontier” […]

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Water Scarcity Farming communities in northern Chile are concerned about the effect of new, large-scale mining projects on the region’s scarce water supplies, the Santiago Times reported. Though investments by the mining companies have led to improved irrigation infrastructure, distrust remains in these communities. Water flows in West Africa’s Volta River Basin could decline 24 […]

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United States The Department of Energy now says that contrary to a claim made earlier this year, chemicals from hydraulic fracturing in Pennsylvania did not contaminate drinking water aquifers, Bloomberg News reported. The conclusion comes from a National Energy Technology Laboratory study conducted in Pittsburg, the first ever where a drilling company has allowed government […]

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Natural Disasters The Philippines government is cracking down on informal settlements along rivers in Manila, with plans to relocate more than 19,000 families from the settlements to permanent housing projects, AlertNet reported. The settlements, which can impede water flow and drainage during floods along rivers, are seen as a safety risk. Nearly 6,000 people are […]

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Chile denied a recent report on deals to export water to Qatar, ABC News reported. The report included a quote by Chilean Ambassador Jean Paul Tarud saying, “Chile has some of the largest fresh water export capabilities in the world.” Public backlash in Chilean social media followed the report. Chile has been suffering from drought […]

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Water-Food-Energy A drought in Vietnam has uncovered tensions between water users in the country’s energy and agricultural sectors, Radio Free Asia reported. Despite a directive from the prime minister, the operator of a hydropower dam has refused to send more water downstream to drought-hit farms. While South Africa’s mining sector receives much of the blame […]

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A leak was discovered at yet another underground water storage tank used to contain radioactive wastewater from Japan’s damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, The New York Times reported. The country is struggling to find places to store the contaminated water, but has promised not to release it into the Pacific Ocean. A Chilean court […]

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Drinking Water Bacteria A University of Michigan study showed that bacteria found in drinking water can be traced to treatment filters instead of the original aquifers or rivers. The researchers, who studied Ann Arbor, Michigan’s tap water, said their findings could lead to more natural, sustainable water treatment processes and assist engineers in controlling microbes […]

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gold2

Water supplies remain key to the global boom in gold mining, driven by high demand and near-record prices.

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Chile A glacial lake in Chile’s Patagonia region drained for the eleventh time since 2008, releasing a flood of 200 million cubic liters of water through a hole in the temperature-weakened glacier wall, AFP reported. The Inter Press Service reports on why Chile relies so heavily on hydropower, despite its potential for developing non-conventional renewable […]

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