Water Shortages

United States Approximately 90 percent of urban streams and 61 percent of rural streams in the United States contain levels of pesticides above thresholds that are considered safe for aquatic wildlife, though they are generally safe for humans, according to a study by the U.S. Geological Survey, Reuters reported. The percentage of contaminated urban streams […]

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Water Supply Water shortages are worsening in Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, where residents are protesting to get water access at least once a week, the Associated Press reported. Drought, population growth and inadequate infrastructure are all contributing to the problem, as current water supplies are sufficient for just half of the city’s demands. Water delivery […]

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Water Shortages India’s monsoon has so far delivered 36 percent less rain than average, and reservoir levels are below their 10-year averages, according to water officials, Bloomberg News reported. If the monsoon continues to perform poorly and dry conditions are compounded by an El Nino weather event, 333 million people in six states could face […]

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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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Drought As California endures a drought that could be the worst in 500 years, federal politicians are wrangling over how best to allocate available water supplies, the San Jose Mercury News reported. You can see Circle of Blue’s reporting on California’s drought and water pollution here. Severe droughts are also threatening water supplies for communities […]

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A heat wave and ongoing drought in Brazil is expected to raise energy prices and could harm crops if the weather continues, while water shortages are a risk in cities like Sao Paulo, Reuters reported. The problems could have political ramifications for Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, who is seeking reelection this year. North America An […]

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While both federal and local government budgets for flood defenses dwindle, the United Kingdom’s government is spending large amounts of money on policies that are counterproductive to flood control, the Guardian reported. Agricultural subsidies that require farmers to keep their land bare of trees, increasing runoff, are just one example of such policies. Africa Improving […]

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Extreme Weather Shortages of water and electricity have crippled Buenos Aires after weeks of soaring temperatures, with some residents living with outages for as long as two weeks, International Business Times reported. The heat has created record demand for electricity, which the country’s power companies and outdated infrastructure have been unable to supply. Heavy rain […]

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Water Supply It is likely that California will record its driest year ever in 2013, and dry conditions are expected to continue for the third winter in a row, USA Today reported. The dry conditions are expected to create water shortages for farmers and will increase the risk of large wildfires next year. An article […]

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Africa A severe drought in Malawi is creating food shortages and forcing women to wait all day in line at boreholes to get what little water they can, IRIN News reported. Some boreholes have dried up and residents are turning to sources that are more likely to be contaminated. Europe New, detailed maps produced by […]

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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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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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“Five hundred times higher than safe levels is not protective of public health,” said Avinash Kar, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, in review of a proposal for a drinking water standard in California, Los Angeles Times reported. The carcinogen hexavalent chromium standard, which will be the first of its kind in the […]

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Water-Food-Energy A drought in Vietnam has uncovered tensions between water users in the country’s energy and agricultural sectors, Radio Free Asia reported. Despite a directive from the prime minister, the operator of a hydropower dam has refused to send more water downstream to drought-hit farms. While South Africa’s mining sector receives much of the blame […]

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Americas Water levels on Lake Michigan and Lake Huron have reached their lowest point since record keeping began in 1918, surpassing the previous record low set in 1964, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. While warm, dry weather has drawn lake levels down, dredging of the St. Clair River has also contributed to a long-term decline […]

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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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China has revealed plans to boost its desalination capacity to produce 2.2 million cubic meters (77.6 million cubic feet) of fresh water each day by 2015, Xinhua reported. The plan also calls for more than 15 percent of the water supply delivered to coastal factories to come from desalinated sea water by 2015. Winter Storms […]

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A 7.3-magnitude earthquake hit off the coast of Japan near the site of the Fukushima disaster, creating a 1-meter (3.2 feet) tsunami, Reuters reported. Neither the quake nor the tsunami caused much damage. In this Guardian blog, George Monbiot questions the United Kingdom’s trial policy of biodiversity offsetting, which allows developers to destroy habitat for […]

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Scientists are beginning to study the ecological function of cities, tracking and measuring the flow of atmospheric gases, water, carbon, and pollutants through the urban ecosystem, Nature reported. The research could be essential for cutting greenhouse gas emissions and creating sustainable cities. Water Levels Global sea level rise is outpacing United Nations projections by 60 […]

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