The Stream, August 20: Contaminants Exacerbate Water Scarcity Issues

United States CO2 emissions are the lowest they have been in 20 years, a decline attributable to a shift toward natural gas usage. Some are calling natural gas a temporary fix, however, due to the potentially detrimental effects of natural gas drilling, The Associated Press reported.

Saltwater from the Gulf of Mexico has flowed into the Mississippi River abnormally far this year, extending 90 miles upstream. Thousands of nearby residents are seeking emergency freshwater resources, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Sewage-contaminated drinking water in Damascus, Syria has resulted in diarrhea and disease, with more than 100 cases of E. coli on record. The outbreak occurred amidst escalating political violence, drawing thousands of refugees out of the country and augmenting the already growing number in need of humanitarian aid, Reuters reported.

Meanwhile, heavy rains in Sierra Leone have led to a cholera outbreak, infecting more than 6,000 and causing officials to declare a national emergency. The disease has spread north to Guinea, Mali, and Niger as well, according to AllAfrica.

Food and Drought
Nestlé chairman Peter Brabeck encouraged world politicians to stop using food in the production of biofuels, in a interview with Swiss newspaper SonntagsZeitung. In the face of climate change, Brabeck advised that other organic materials should be used for biofuels creation, Reuters reported.

The price of basic foods like eggs, milk, and chicken in Israel will increase by 14 to 17 percent by the end of this year, while grain prices could double, based on predictions by the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture. 2011 was the eighth consecutive year of drought in the country, but dry conditions on a global scale are also hiking up costs, according to Xinhua.

Weak rains are also affecting crops in India, and sugar growers in Karnataka have been hit especially hard as rivers, canals, and other water sources have dried up during the light monsoon season, The Times of India reported.

This New York Times editorial urges U.S. citizens not to “waste” the drought – or the lessons it can provide about conservation and management.

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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