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land grabs

Water Scarcity Agricultural diversions, dams and climate change have led to the loss of 85 percent of the water in Lake Urmia, a lake that once covered 5,000 square kilometers, Bloomberg News reported. Iran’s president said the country is initiating efforts to restore the lake, which are expected to take 10 to 15 years to […]

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Food Production Countries like Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which rely heavily on food imports due to a lack of water and arable land within their borders, are shifting their agricultural investments from developing countries in Africa to developed countries in Europe and North America, Reuters reported. Political instability and a backlash over “land grabs” in […]

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To kick off World Water Day 2013, the United Nations released an analytical brief about global water security and the global water agenda. The report includes a working definition of “water security” as “The capacity of a population to safeguard sustainable access to adequate quantities of and acceptable quality water for sustaining livelihoods, human well-being, […]

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Oxfam has urged the World Bank to stop its support of large-scale land investments, the Guardian reported. The land purchased by international investors could grow enough food for 1 billion people, but is instead being used to grow biofuels or is left idle, according to a report Oxfam released Thursday. Researchers are hoping to gain […]

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Large-scale foreign investment in Africa’s farmland is a threat to the continent’s water supply and water access, according to a new report from the nonprofit organization GRAIN. The report asserts that the global rush to control agricultural land is also a rush to control water resources. Rivers The world’s ten most populous river basins, most […]

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Infrastructure Government officials in Alberta, Canada are telling people downstream of an oil spill to stay away from the Red Deer River, according to the Calgary Herald. Plains Midstream Canada estimates roughly 475,000 liters (125,000 gallons) leaked from one of its pipelines on Thursday. In April 2011, the company reported a spill of more than […]

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Switching to a low-carbon global economy could create a net gain of between 15 and 60 million new jobs around the world, according to a report from the United Nations Environment Programme, the Guardian reported. Iran has rejected a Chinese company’s bid to build the country’s proposed Bakhtiari dam, which would hold 4.8 billion cubic […]

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Energy and Climate The world’s top scientists are urging governments to look at water and energy as a single, linked issue and say that growing demands for both resources is one of three major global dilemmas, the Guardian reported. How dirty are Canada’s oil sands? Reuters looks at Europe and Canada’s battle over how to […]

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Climate change is causing the global water cycle to accelerate and intensify faster than previously thought, with the possibility that it could intensify 16-24 percent by 2100, according to a new study published in the journal Science, Nature reported. This means that dry areas of the globe will become drier, while wet regions will likely […]

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Policy & Accountability Pollution, political unrest and corruption are contributing to the chronic water shortages in Nigeria and Ghana. PBS Newshour followed two local journalists as they investigated the challenges of bringing clean drinking water in two of the biggest and richest countries in the region. Allegations by a former integrity officer at the U.S. […]

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South Australia has become the third Australian state to agree to the federal government’s tightened approvals process for future coal seam gas and large-scale coal mining projects, Platts reported. Water Security Germany has offered to help resolve the water disputes in Central Asia and to invest in water-saving solar and wind energy in the region, […]

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Climate Change Australia should brace itself for higher temperatures and more weather extremes, such as intense rainfalls and droughts, according to a government report. The more chaotic weather will be an especially big challenge to miners and farmers, who are already building bigger holding dams for flood waters and altering cropping practices. About 3.7 million […]

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Africa A massive relocation program in Ethiopia is pitting village farmers against the government and land investors racing to secure prized agricultural land and water, PBS Newshour reported. Drought is likely to return to Somalia and other parts of the Horn of Africa over the next three months, climate scientists have warned, according to IRIN. […]

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Reuters tells the story of a Chinese “cancer village” that is testing the reach of China’s laws against environmental pollution. Meanwhile, a Beijing-based environmental lawyer looks 10 years back, at a disappointing decade for environmental litigation in China. Did China really intend to create an agricultural colony in Mozambique or make the Zambezi Valley into […]

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Companies are not taking water security seriously when preparing their financial projections, according to some investors who fear that supply chains could be severely impacted by a lack of water, Bloomberg News reported. Ports on Lake Victoria are having trouble accommodating boats as water levels continue to drop, falling as much as 5 meters, AlertNet […]

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Prices for farmland in the United States are rising as water-strapped countries like China turn to foreign sources for their grain, Forbes reported. China plans to boost its domestic grain production by expanding its man-made rain programs, according to the 12th Five-Year Plan, China Daily reported. Livestock production needs to become more efficient to provide […]

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Water management trails climate change on companies’ agenda, despite significant near-term risk and opportunity, according to the Carbon Disclosure Project’s (CDP) Water Disclosure global report. Two percent of the global gross domestic product (GDP) should be invested in 10 industries — including water, agriculture and energy — to start making the global economy more sustainable, […]

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Proper Property Rights A United Nations committee working to establish guidelines for land rights has negotiated and agreed to about 70 percent of the items on its working list, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development. The U.S. government is chairing the committee, which is seeking to bring some order to what critics call […]

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Invasive Asian silver carp are in North Dakota for the first time, the state’s Game and Fish Department confirmed. The carp — which are spreading through the Mississippi and Missouri river systems — eat plankton and greatly disrupt aquatic ecosystems, The Jamestown Sun reported. Rushing aid to drought-plagued Tuvalu will not help the country unless […]

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Drought-stricken Texas is desperately behind and short of funds to meet the goals of a 2007 blueprint to guarantee the water needs of its rapidly expanding population, Associated Press reported. More than four years after the latest water plan was published, Texas has allocated just $1.4 billion of the $53 billion needed to build the […]

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