Flooding

Residents of Gaza should begin rationing their water, warned local officials after Israeli strikes severely damaged Gaza’s only power plant, Reuters reported. The plant, which supplies two-thirds of Gaza’s energy and powers many water pumps, could take a year to repair. Extreme Weather An ongoing drought in Brazil has drawn down water levels in Sao […]

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Improvements to Delhi’s water supply system, assessments of canals that will link major rivers, solar pumps for irrigation wells, and a proposal to clean up the Ganges River are all included in the first budget from Narendra Modi, India’s newly elected prime minister. Of those initiatives, the Ganges garners the largest piece of the pie, […]

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Europe More cities in France are starting to return to public water supplies, pressuring private water firms that control 60 percent of the country’s water market, Reuters reported. The trend follows Paris’ decision to ditch its private water system five years ago, and is allowing cities to negotiate for better prices with their private suppliers […]

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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 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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One in four cities with a population greater than 750,000 is water stressed, a figure lower than earlier estimates of 40 percent of such cities, according to new research. Fewer urban areas are exposed to water stress because cities can afford to build canals and pipelines that transfer water from distant basins, an economic reality […]

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Both sides of Congress passed a $US 12 billion water infrastructure package last week. The 532-page Water Resources Reform and Development Act is a doozy. It hands out money, defines policies, and orders new studies. The highlights: Project planning assessments, called feasibility studies, will be capped at three years and $US 3 million dollars, codifying […]

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Extreme Weather Regions of Bosnia and Serbia experienced the heaviest rainfall event in 120 years of records this week, with more rain falling in one day than in several months, Reuters reported. The rain led to widespread flooding that has killed three people and cut electricity to at least 100,000 households. Tropical cyclones are moving […]

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IMG_5347

Report calls for new Himalayan development policy; stirs political battle in New Delhi.

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Business and Water Scarcity A $US 130 million water treatment plant in Witbank, South Africa is recycling 30 million liters of water a day from a coal mine to supply drinking water for approximately 80,000 people in the city, Bloomberg News reported. The mine and treatment plant are operated by Anglo American, but other mining […]

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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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China A startup program in China, initiated by the company behind the Taobao Marketplace, seeks to create a map of water quality across the country by allowing residents to purchase water quality testing kits and upload the results with their smartphones, Bloomberg News reported. The results will be aggregated in a map that the company’s […]

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An American landslide as a global metaphor.

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To the pile of existing state and federal legislation that provides drought and disaster relief to California and the U.S. West, add two more bills. First, a bipartisan contribution from two Northern California congressmen. John Garamendi, a Democrat, and Doug LaMalfa, a Republican, are using the drought to justify a new reservoir in their territory. […]

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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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Energy A grant worth more than $US 70 million is at stake when the World Bank decides whether or not to go ahead with initial funding for the Inga 3 hydropower project in the Democratic Republic of Congo—a decision that has now been postponed indefinitely, International Rivers reported. Nongovernmental organizations have raised concerns about the […]

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Drought As California endures a drought that could be the worst in 500 years, federal politicians are wrangling over how best to allocate available water supplies, the San Jose Mercury News reported. You can see Circle of Blue’s reporting on California’s drought and water pollution here. Severe droughts are also threatening water supplies for communities […]

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For the first time since 2008, Australia’s government will sell some of its water allocations in the Murray-Darling Basin, making as much as 10 gigaliters available to irrigators, the Guardian reported. The decision has been applauded by drought-hit farmers, but members of the Greens political party worry that the sell-off could damage communities and environments […]

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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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