Water Quality

Weather and Water An El Niño weather pattern, in which surface water in the Pacific Ocean near the equator warms, is likely to develop this summer, according to the World Meteorological Organization and other prominent weather agencies, AlertNet reported. El Niño conditions are known for influencing extreme weather around the globe, such as flooding in […]

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China A startup program in China, initiated by the company behind the Taobao Marketplace, seeks to create a map of water quality across the country by allowing residents to purchase water quality testing kits and upload the results with their smartphones, Bloomberg News reported. The results will be aggregated in a map that the company’s […]

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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 conservation has had an unintended consequence in Berlin, where groundwater levels are rising, the Economist reported. The water table, which has risen more than a meter since 1989 in some places, now threatens to flood basements and cellars in areas where approximately 200,000 people live. Water Infrastructure Mexico is directing nearly $US 23 billion […]

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United States Pollution Alpha Natural Resources, a United States coal company, has been leveled with a $US 27.5 million penalty for violating the federal Clean Water Act and has agreed to spend an additional $US 200 million to clean up water pollution from its mines in Appalachia, The New York Times reported. The cleanup is […]

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Australia New South Wales and the federal government of Australia have reached a new agreement about government water buybacks in the Murray-Darling River Basin, capping the buybacks at 1,500 gigaliters, the Guardian reported. The buybacks transfer water rights from farmers and other water users to the government, and are meant to keep enough water in […]

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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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asian-carp

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

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Pesticide Use The U.S. Geological Survey updated its maps of pesticide use in the United States to include preliminary data from 2010 and 2011. The use of glyphosate jumped by roughly 13 percent between 2009 and 2011, according to the preliminary data. Glyphosate, an herbicide marketed by Monsanto under the name Roundup, is one of […]

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Water Pollution The top 10 toxic hotspots in the world are primarily in developing countries in places where people are either processing resources or recycling waste for the developed world, polluting waterways and creating major health concerns, according to a new report released by the Blacksmith Institute and Green Cross Switzerland, the Guardian reported. Among […]

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What Should We Do? Continuing to flesh out a plan he outlined in June, President Barack Obama issued an executive order creating two climate change advisory bodies. The Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience is a federal conglomeration, comprising senior officials from at least 30 agencies. The other is a task force of prominent state, […]

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Drought Zambia and Angola have both lowered their forecasts for economic growth this year due in part to a severe drought, AlertNet reported. The drought has affected the countries’ agricultural industries, which still make up a large share of their gross domestic product (GDP). As drought continues to be a persistent problem in Africa, there […]

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Water Quality Large blooms of algae in Florida’s Indian River Lagoon have destroyed sea grass beds and forced manatees to eat poisonous macro algae that can kill them, NPR reported. The algal blooms are thought to be the result of nutrient-rich water releases from Lake Okeechobee and seeping septic systems. Australia’s government is requiring environmental […]

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Water Quality London’s Thames Tideway Tunnel—a proposed, $US 6.7 billion sewer meant to stop sewage overflows into the Thames River—is not the right solution to the water quality problem, according to a former chief water regulator in the United Kingdom, the Guardian reported. He argues that water utilities should instead be looking at smaller, more […]

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Africa Libya, Chad, Sudan and Egypt have agreed to work together to manage and share the water in the Nubian Aquifer, an ancient water source than runs beneath the four countries, AllAfrica reported. The agreement is meant to improve transboundary water cooperation, protect water quality and biodiversity, and prevent conflict. Colorado Water Quality Concerns Recent […]

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Circle of Blue reporter Codi Kozacek talks with scientists who are uncovering millions of microscopic plastic beads in the Great Lakes.

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Pharmaceuticals in the Water Systems Infographic

Though there still is no continuous national program to properly dispose of the 10 to 40 percent of prescription and over-the-counter medications that go unused, a few local governments in California and Washington are leading the charge to find sustainable funding sources.

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A Little Clarity After years of talk, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released six amendments to the water quality standards that guide how the Clean Water Act is implemented. The amendments do not set numeric water quality targets; they deal with definitions and procedures, such as how to set designated uses for water bodies, […]

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A new document released by the United Nations inventories shared water resources in the Middle East, providing detailed data to encourage cooperative water management, AlertNet reported. The inventory also notes that the region’s water quality is declining. Water Quality A toxic spill in China’s Fu River caused spiking ammonia levels and resulted in thousands of […]

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Despite growing protests to protect the environment and drinking water quality, British Prime Minister David Cameron is pushing for more fracking, promising compensation to communities and lower gas prices, The Guardian reported. “If you look at what’s happening in America with the advent of shale gas and fracking, their energy costs in business and their gas […]

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