Health

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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Water demand from energy producers is driving a rapid increase in global desalination capacity, Bloomberg News reported. This year, total desalination capacity is expected to be 50 percent greater than last year’s capacity, able to produce 80.9 million cubic meters of water. Sea Level Rise Rising water due to climate change could threaten $US 226 […]

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India Many residents in New Delhi, especially those living in unauthorized settlements and poorer neighborhoods, do not have access to a reliable source of piped drinking water despite the city’s adequate supply of water, The New York Times reported. This void in government service has created a profitable black market for companies that bring in […]

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Pakistan’s economic growth was 2.9 percent over the past three years compared to a potential growth rate of 6.5 percent each year, a discrepancy that one expert says is largely attributable to three years of destructive flooding, AlertNet reported. Pakistan lost $US 16 billion due to the floods, which killed more than 3,000 people. Chemicals […]

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Floods The Netherlands’ new ‘Digital Delta’ project, headed by IBM, will collate vast and currently disparate data sets in order to better manage water resources in the country, The Wall Street Journal reported. The 1-year project aims to improve flood prediction and response, but will also provide an information “platform” for water entrepreneurs and scientists. […]

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Water Supply Wichita Falls, Texas is moving forward with plans to recycle its wastewater into tap water, with hopes to produce 5 million gallons per day next year to augment the city’s drought-ravaged water supply, The Texas Tribune reported. As the drought drags on, more communities in Texas are turning to potable-reuse technology; Big Spring’s […]

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Seasonal migrations of poor, rural communities due to shifting rainfall patterns, droughts and floods are increasing, according to a new study by CARE International and the United Nations University, AlertNet reported. The study warns that the migrations could become more frequent and permanent unless action is taken to mitigate climate change or adjust agriculture to […]

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Myanmar’s forests, river systems, and the wildlife they support may face challenges as the country becomes more democratic and open to foreign investment, Yale Environment 360 reports. Early moves suggest the government is taking care to protect the environment, but conservationists worry that a “Wild West” scenario could unfold. Africa Rice crops in western Kenya […]

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Extreme Weather Suburbs, towns and farms outside of Rome flooded Wednesday after the Tiber River overflowed its banks and heavy rains backed up sewers and canals, Reuters reported. Widespread flooding has swamped Italy after strong storms passed through the country last weekend, killing four people. Farmers worry that increasingly frequent and severe flooding, coupled with […]

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An outbreak of Hepatitis E in South Sudan refugee camps has killed 26 people and infected more than 1,000, according to the United Nations News Centre. The virus is spread through contaminated food and water, and the problem could worsen with the rainy season and an influx of more refugees. China’s agriculture minister warned today […]

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