Drinking Water

Extreme Weather Extreme flooding along the Madeira River in the Amazon basin, which killed 60 people and displaced 68,000 families this year, was the result of massive deforestation in Bolivia and Peru, according to a scientist who was previously the head of the Inter-American Development Bank environmental division, IPS reported. His assessment contradicts the views […]

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Water Pollution Water utility officials in Lanzhou, China, found the carcinogenic substance benzene present at levels 20 times the national limit in the city’s water supply, Xinhua reported. Approximately 2.4 million residents of the city were told to stop drinking their tap water while authorities search for the source of the benzene, which they say […]

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Water conservation has had an unintended consequence in Berlin, where groundwater levels are rising, the Economist reported. The water table, which has risen more than a meter since 1989 in some places, now threatens to flood basements and cellars in areas where approximately 200,000 people live. Water Infrastructure Mexico is directing nearly $US 23 billion […]

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Water Supply Impoverished neighborhoods and a refugee camp east of security barriers in Jerusalem have dealt with very little water service for the past three weeks, according to a petition submitted to the High Court by Israel’s Association for Civil Rights, the Jerusalem Post reported. Water infrastructure in these areas has been neglected, according to […]

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Pollution Officials have found 131 dead pigs in China’s Ganjiang River near Nanchang, and are still recovering more carcasses, Bloomberg News reported. Drinking water in Nanchang has been tested and is safe, according to tests, but the incident is once again raising concerns about food and water safety a year after dead pigs were found […]

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Natural Disasters The annual economic cost of natural disasters in China nearly doubled in 2013, costing the country $US 69 billion, Reuters reported. The most expensive disasters were floods and mudslides, followed by earthquakes and droughts. An extended period of heavy rainstorms and floods in the United Kingdom has taken a toll on the country’s […]

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Agriculture A switch to solar-powered irrigation pumps could save India $US 6 billion each year in electricity and fuel subsidies, Bloomberg News reported. The government is looking to replace 200,000 old pumps with solar pumps in the next five years, but will require farmers that receive subsidies to buy the new pumps to switch to […]

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Drinking Water An initiative to install water filters in 65,000 restaurants in Mexico City aims to improve the safety of drinking water, and consumers’ confidence in it, the Associated Press reported. The city’s drinking water has a bad reputation for being contaminated, which experts say often happens in the distribution systems between water treatment plants […]

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Water Scarcity A worsening drought in California has left 17 mostly rural communities with just 60 to 120 days of remaining water supplies, according to the state, the San Jose Mercury News reported. Drinking water officials are looking at everything from desalination to trucking in water from other areas to sustain the communities if their […]

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Some communities in the Philippines still don’t have access to reliable sources of safe water, despite months of relief efforts following Typhoon Haiyan, AlertNet reported. Aid agencies have been hindered by wet, stormy weather, but even the water trucks and tanks that they have been able to supply are temporary solutions to the water problem. […]

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In an effort to cut red tape for businesses, 73 percent of the United Kingdom’s environmental rules are being changed or removed, the Guardian reported. The overhaul is expected to save businesses $US 1.6 billion over five years. China After achieving record grain production in 2013, China aims to become completely self-sufficient for its grain […]

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Approximately 100 million people living in rural China do not have access to safe drinking water, a problem driven in part by polluted groundwater, Xinhua reported. In response, some rural communities on Hainan Island are installing “ultra-filtration membranes” to filter out viruses and dissolved compounds, a technology that China believes could be used across the […]

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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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While both federal and local government budgets for flood defenses dwindle, the United Kingdom’s government is spending large amounts of money on policies that are counterproductive to flood control, the Guardian reported. Agricultural subsidies that require farmers to keep their land bare of trees, increasing runoff, are just one example of such policies. Africa Improving […]

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Water Pollution A chemical foaming agent used to process coal spilled into the Elk River in Charleston, West Virginia Friday, prompting a tap water ban for approximately 300,000 people and the declaration of a state and federal disaster, CBS News reported. Stores in the area quickly sold out of bottled water, and the National Guard […]

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Some manufacturers are beginning to improve the water and energy efficiency of their Asian factories to save money and resources, even though government regulations often do not require the changes, The New York Times reported. An Intel factory in Vietnam, for example, is planning improvements that will reduce its water consumption by as much as […]

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Drinking Water A new device is capable of removing 95 percent of the arsenic in water within five minutes by using organic material like barley husks or coconut shells as a filter, the Guardian reported. Non-government organizations in Canada and Bangladesh are working to install the device in Bangladesh communities, where arsenic poisoning is a […]

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Water Supply Tropical forests act like sponges that trap water during storms, making them critical to protecting surrounding areas from excessive runoff and flooding, say scientists from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Phys.org reported. By looking at changes in land use in Panama, the researchers found that tropical forests are much more efficient at trapping […]

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Climate Change Under a worse-case scenario in which global temperatures rise 4 degrees Celsius, most of the world would experience interrelated stresses to water, agriculture, ecosystems, and public health, with 18 percent of the population experiencing “severe pressure” in each category, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, […]

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