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Water Shortages

Water Access North America, Middle East, Africa Two experts from the United Nations found that water shutoffs to Detroit residents unable to pay their water bills are a violation of human rights, the U.N. News Centre reported. The experts visited the city over the weekend, where as many as 3,000 water customers are being disconnected […]

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Water Supply A new program will allow residents of Angola’s capital, Luanda, to use their mobile phones to locate community water taps that sell water much cheaper than private vendors, Bloomberg News reported. The city is the fastest growing in sub-Saharan Africa, but many of its residents lack access to a piped water supply within […]

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U.S. Water Infrastructure The U.S. federal judge overseeing Detroit’s bankruptcy will not impose a requested 6-month moratorium on water shutoffs for city residents who are behind on their water bills, The Detroit News reported. Judge Steven Rhodes said there is no law guaranteeing residents a right to water service, and called the water shutoff plan […]

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Water Shortages Water levels in the primary reservoirs that supply Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city, have reached just 7.6 percent of capacity—worse than before the city’s utility tapped the “dead” water volume at the bottom of the reservoirs in May, Bloomberg News reported. The city is now turning to the very last level of water […]

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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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