South America

A drought in Malaysia has drawn down reservoir levels in the state of Selangor, putting water supplies in “critical condition” and forcing water rationing near the nation’s capital, Bloomberg News reported. Extended drought conditions could have negative consequences for oil palm plantations in the region, but the current dry spell began in early February. South […]

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Hydropower Pakistan aims to develop hydropower dams capable of producing 13,000 megawatts of electricity, which would increase the country’s hydropower output by almost eight times, AlertNet reported, citing government officials. Pakistan currently experiences frequent power outages due to demand outstripping supply, and the country’s industrial sector has suffered as a result. A drought in Sri […]

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Water and Energy At the binational Itaipú hydropower dam on the Paraná River between Brazil and Paraguay, environmental and social activists are working with energy companies to protect and restore the watershed for the benefit of residents and future power generation, Inter Press Service reported. Though activists are not completely satisfied with the program, they […]

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Circle of Blue director J. Carl Ganter recently sat on a panel about water, environment, and food security in Colombia. See his take on this drama’s main characters in photos that he took in Cartegena’s poorest neighborhoods and how they relate to the global picture.

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South America Nearly 400 millimeters (16 inches) of rain pummeled Argentina’s Buenos Aires province, causing widespread floods, power outages and 31 deaths as of Wednesday, the Associated Press reported. The extreme weather has prompted calls for investment in public water infrastructure projects. Tensions are rising in the Brazilian Amazon between government forces and the Munduruku […]

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Fish and Pharmaceuticals A new study in Sweden found that the presence of low levels of human anti-anxiety drugs caused wild European perch to become aggressive and isolated, Reuters reported. Trace amounts of pharmaceuticals can pass through wastewater treatment plants and are found in waters around the globe. Mining Water scarcity and stricter environmental regulations […]

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United States In his State of the Union address yesterday, President Obama promised to take action on climate change, even if Congress refuses. “The fact is the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods — all are now more frequent and more intense,” he said. […]

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Water Supply A new study about Andean glaciers found that the pace of ice retreat in the tropical Andes is “unprecedented,” putting the water supply for many South American communities at risk, the Guardian reported. The study, published in Cryosphere, claims that an average temperature rise of 0.7 degree Celsius over 70 years is behind […]

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Days of heavy rainfall have swollen rivers in the United Kingdom, where nearly 60 flood warnings remained in force Thursday and areas of York were already underwater, the Guardian reported. South America Brazil has the potential to become the world’s breadbasket due to its water resources, argues private investor and author James Dale Davidson in […]

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Food prices This summer’s drought in the United States will cause corn yields to drop 17 percent compared to 2011, according to a new report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Consequently, the USDA expects corn prices to rise 39 percent to $8.90 per bushel. Soybean supplies and prices will face similar consequences, The Wall Street […]

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Low water levels in the Mississippi River have prompted salt water to move up the river from the Gulf of Mexico, Associated Press reported. The Army Corps of Engineers says that salt water is not yet a threat to water supplies in the New Orleans area. Indianapolis and some of its suburbs have seen about […]

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A severe drought has gripped one of North Korea’s breadbasket provinces, raising fears of a worsening food crisis, AFP reported. The country suffers chronic food shortages, often exacerbated by floods, droughts, mismanagement and dwindling international aid. Ensuring food supplies for China’s growing population and economy is expected to be a key goal for Chinese Premier […]

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Chile A glacial lake in Chile’s Patagonia region drained for the eleventh time since 2008, releasing a flood of 200 million cubic liters of water through a hole in the temperature-weakened glacier wall, AFP reported. The Inter Press Service reports on why Chile relies so heavily on hydropower, despite its potential for developing non-conventional renewable […]

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Protesters in Cusco, Peru in 2008 take part in a national day of strike against the government of former President Alan García, who opened up large areas of the Amazon to logging and mining interests.

Large-scale protests over resource extraction have swept the country in recent years, posing significant hurdles to a mining industry that is expected to bring Peru $US 50 billion in future investment over the next decade.

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What are “social-environmental” conflicts? Why are mining projects triggering mass protests in Argentina and Peru? Le Monde reports on the gold rush for South America’s mineral resources and the local response. Agriculture Water pollution from pesticides and fertilizers used in agriculture is costing billions of dollars a year in developed countries and will become worse […]

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A South American drought keeps global grain reserves tight, but it could mean good things for North American corn producers.

A South American drought keeps global grain reserves tight, but it could mean good things for North American corn producers.

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Droughts South-East England is officially in a state of drought, the Press Association reported, citing the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The Guardian has mapped out the affected regions. As rivers and reservoirs in England and Wales are running low after two dry winters, water industry executives have again called for regulatory reforms […]

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A new study into the carbon footprint of shale gas operations adds more fuel to the debate about the technique’s environmental record, the journal Nature reported. According to the report, natural gas operations could leak enough methane to tarnish shale gas’s image as a cleaner alternative to coal. Floods Rivers in Bulgaria and Greece burst […]

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NASA Satellite image of Lake Poyang

Urban waste and falling water levels signaled a rough start to 2012 for some of the world’s largest and most iconic freshwater lakes.

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Growing urban populations, poor infrastructure and unenforced environmental regulations are contributing to the pollution of South America’s Lake Titicaca, the Guardian reported. The pollution threatens fishing and agriculture in the region. Australians should expect to pay 15 percent more for home insurance as the country’s biggest insurer raises premiums to offset a 40-50 percent cut […]

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