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The Global Rundown India’s top environmental court has ordered action on harmful river pollution. Indonesia has been slow to reclaim polluted mine areas, an El Salvador city voted to ban mining, and a United States judge issued an injunction to stop federal action restricting Alaska’s Pebble mine. Canada’s oil sands industry pledged to cut water […]

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Health Africa Access to clean water is crucial for both treating Ebola patients in Africa and preventing the spread of the disease, according to the aid agency UNICEF, RT reported. One patient needs an estimated 150 liters of clean water a day, approximately 10 times the amount typically available per capita in Liberia. Water Supply […]

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Water Supply A community in California’s Sierra mountains is concerned that plans to expand geothermal energy production in the area could threaten drinking water supplies, NBC News reported. Residents worry increased pumping of geothermal water could draw down water levels in the community’s cold water aquifer during an ongoing drought. Mexico is building a $US […]

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Asia The South Asia region could lose as much as 9 percent of its annual gross domestic product by 2100 if nothing is done to curtail climate change, according to a new report from the Asian Development Bank, AlertNet reported. Increasingly common extreme weather events are expected to damage infrastructure, agriculture and human health in […]

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China Rules for pilot water trading markets in seven Chinese provinces will be approved by October, Reuters reported. The markets could improve water use efficiency in the country, but some experts have questioned their legality under Chinese law. India India is hoping to forge closer ties with Nepal by offering to help develop hydropower in […]

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Average water flows in Mongolia’s Tuul River have been declining, dropping to 10 cubic meters per second between 1996 and 2012 compared to its historical average of 25 cubic meters per second, The Diplomat reported, citing government meteorological data. The river is important for recharging aquifers that supply water to Mongolia’s capital, Ulan Bator, raising […]

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Water Scarcity Water supplies are increasingly being used as a weapon in conflicts, especially in the Middle East and Africa, Inter Press Service reported. The United Nations has recently expressed concerns about forces in Syria deliberately cutting off supplies to civilians, which it called a violation of international humanitarian and human rights law. Water shortages […]

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Water Shortages A severe water shortage caused by the shutdown of two water pumping stations is threatening supplies for more than 2 million people in the Syrian city of Aleppo, the Los Angeles Times reported. It is believed that the shutdown was an intentional attack by an antigovernment Islamist group, but some think government bombing […]

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Water Contamination Cholera in Haiti’s waterways is a persistent and neglected crisis nearly four years after United Nations peacekeepers allegedly introduced the disease following the devastating 2010 earthquake, The New York Times reported. Clinics treating those affected by the disease have been closing, and large funding shortfalls are leaving communities without necessary water purification tablets […]

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Drought Farmers in areas of New Mexico and Mexico have agreed for the second year to delay their irrigation water deliveries from the Rio Grande until June due to an ongoing drought, the El Paso Times reported. The city of El Paso is also preparing for water conservation measures and could supplement its water supply […]

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Pollution A coal seam gas operation in Australia’s Pilliga forest contaminated groundwater supplies with arsenic, lead and uranium after the facility’s storage ponds leaked, the Guardian reported. The contamination led to a $1,500 fine and calls from environmentalists and farmers to halt the operation, though the company says the groundwater was not part of a […]

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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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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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Bottled Water With sales of bottled water in China expected to reach $US 16 billion by 2017, some economists worry that government involvement in the industry may encourage lower safety standards as local authorities compete to attract investment, Business Insider reported. China recently announced reforms aimed at cleaning up its food and water supplies. An […]

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Health and Sanitation Waterborne diseases caused by water supplies contaminated with sewage are a major threat to public health in Zimbabwe’s capital Harare, according to a new report from Human Rights Watch. The city’s crumbling water and sanitation infrastructure means that many residents are forced to defecate outside, while aging city sewage pipes have burst […]

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Pollution New reforms revealed by China last week point to a shift in priorities that puts more emphasis on issues like environmental protection, rather than economic growth “at all costs”, Reuters reported. In an effort to clean up the country’s water and air, the Chinese government said it will hold local authorities responsible for pollution, […]

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Gaza A wastewater treatment plant serving 120,000 people in Gaza has stopped working after running out of fuel, causing sewage to back up and submerge streets in some neighborhoods, Reuters reported. An Israeli blockade and an Egyptian crackdown on smuggling tunnels have stopped the flow of fuel into Gaza. North Dakota The salty geology of […]

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Climate Change The next report released by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is expected to contain stronger warnings about the security of the world’s food supply, The New York Times reported, citing a leaked version of the report. Previous releases from the IPCC reflected hope that the increased plant growth prompted by […]

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Public Health At least 10 children have been sickened and paralyzed by a polio outbreak in Syria, which World Health Organization officials fear could spread rapidly among young children in the war-torn country and its neighbors, Reuters reported. The disease can spread through contaminated food and water, and many children in Syria are now vulnerable […]

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