Floods

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 Supply Reservoir levels outside of Tehran are at a “critical level” and approximately 500 cities across Iran are facing water shortages, according to water officials in the country, Voice of America reported. Officials said water cuts could be imposed for some of the 22 million people served by Tehran’s water supply if consumption is […]

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Hydropower Environmental groups have raised concerns that the population of Irawaddy dolphins in the Mekong River—which now consists of an estimated 85 individuals—will disappear if construction of a dam on the river is completed, Time reported. A report from the World Wildlife Fund says that explosions during the dam’s construction could kill dolphins in the […]

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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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Weather It is becoming more likely that an El Niño weather pattern will form this year, potentially bringing severe drought to places like Australia and India while bringing heavy rains and floods to the Midwest United States and Brazil, Reuters reported. El Niño is caused when surface water temperatures increase in the Pacific Ocean. Hydropower […]

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Water Pollution China plans to spend $US 330 billion addressing polluted water supplies, more than it is planning to spend on air pollution, Reuters reported. The money will go to efforts to prevent pollution, such as wastewater treatment upgrades, and aims to improve water quality 30 to 50 percent. Coal ash released in a spill […]

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Europe The United Kingdom has been suffering a deluge of heavy rainstorms for months, leading to record-breaking floods that have inundated thousands of homes and businesses. In this comprehensive summary report of the floods, the Guardian examines how they might affect the country’s water management and the implementation of climate change adaptation measures. Exploration projects […]

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Pollution Australian government records show that a nickel refinery illegally discharged wastewater into the Great Barrier Reef marine park, introducing hundreds of tons of nitrogen into the environment, the Guardian reported. The company was not penalized, and said the releases were necessary to prevent overflow from the refinery’s tailings ponds during heavy rains. Environmental officials […]

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Political disagreements between Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and Israeli officials have left a new wastewater treatment plant sitting idle, the Guardian reported. The plant is meant to improve water quality in an aquifer that supplies water to Gaza, where most citizens have to buy water from vendors and can pay as much as a third […]

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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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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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Residents and activists living near Sochi, Russia say the construction of Olympic venues has increased flood risks and may lead to the contamination of drinking water supplies, Reuters reported. One house in Sochi collapsed, allegedly due to construction activities that reduced drainage capabilities in the area. Extreme Weather California’s governor is planning to declare a […]

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Climate Change As much of Australia’s southeastern region remains in the grip of a heat wave, experts from the Climate Council caution that such heat waves are only going to become more frequent, Reuters reported. Heat waves that are more intense and last longer will put increasing pressure on water supplies and the country’s major […]

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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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asian-carp

Plans to stop the invasive fish are costly, and most take more than 10 years to complete.

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Climate Change Introducing large quantities of sulfate particles into Earth’s atmosphere in an effort to simulate large volcanic eruptions and keep global temperatures from rising could have the unintended consequence of greatly reducing rainfall in parts of the world, the Guardian reported, citing a new study published in Environmental Research Letters. The study showed that […]

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United Kingdom More plastic than was previously thought is likely flowing down the River Thames and into the North Sea, creating hazards for wildlife, according to a new report from scientists in the United Kingdom, the Guardian reported. Recent studies around the world have suggested that plastic pollution is just as prevalent and harmful in […]

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Extreme Weather Some of the biggest water stories of 2013 involved extreme weather, including the “Himalayan Tsunami” in India, a record-breaking typhoon in the Philippines, and powerful floods and droughts from Canada to Brazil. This photo slideshow published by the Guardian captures some of the most intense weather of the year. Extreme weather events are […]

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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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