The Stream, March 30: Water and Cities

More than a billion people around the world will face severe water shortages by 2050 as a result of rapid urbanization and climate change, according to a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. India’s six biggest cities — Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad — will be among the most affected, with megacities in West Africa also under serious threat.

California’s governor plans to call an official end to the state’s three-year drought, after heavy snowfall this past winter has replenished the stocks beyond average levels. Will this drive California to fix its water management system?

Amazon drought
Meanwhile, the Amazon has suffered a severe damage from last year’s record drought, with rainforests over an area more than 3.5 times the size of Texas significantly decreasing in greenness, according to U.S. researchers.

Radioactive water
U.S. scientists warn about significant contamination in the groundwater, reservoirs and sea water around Japan’s crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant. The tainted water potentially poses a risk to people’s health, though more information will be needed to accurately assess the exact environmental and health impact.

China has announced higher-than-expected energy intensity and carbon emission reduction targets for 2011, UPI reports. According to this year’s plan, China — the world’s biggest energy consumer and greenhouse gases emitter — will reduce its energy use and carbon emissions per unit of industrial value added output by 4 percent compared to 2010 levels.

The Stream is a daily digest spotting global water trends. To get more water news, follow Circle of Blue on Twitter and sign up for our newsletter.

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