The Stream, March 8: Toxic Lead

Syria launched the construction of a $2.1 billion irrigation project on the Tigris River to transfer 1.25 billion cubic meters (330 billion gallons) of water to the drought-stricken eastern region of Hasaka, where much of the country’s oil, gas, wheat and cotton industries are concentrated, Bloomberg reports.

Lead poisoning linked with illegal gold mining has killed 400 children in northern Nigeria since November, equaling the death toll between March and October, according to Reuters. High concentrations of lead in the air, soil and water are common in the region, where impoverished farmers unearth high amounts of toxic substances while digging up in open mines.

At least 13 percent of the American Indian population doesn’t have access to clean drinking water or wastewater disposal, according to a U.N. official who’s examining safe drinking water and sanitation standards in the United States.

Water conservation will be among China’s top priorities in 2011. The central government plans to spend two-thirds of its 5.4 trillion yuan budget ($827.6 billion) to boost education, health care, social security and job creation, as well as improve agriculture, water use, transport and environmental protection.

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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