The Stream, December 13: Drought and Food Shortages Hit Malawi

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.

New, detailed maps produced by the United Kingdom’s Environment Agency show that 3 million homes in England are at risk of flash flooding caused by drain backups during intense rain events, the Guardian reported. The maps have fueled more criticism of the UK’s new flood insurance program because it does not take into account homes that will face greater flood risks because of climate change—which is expected to create more heavy rain events and flash flooding.

Italy needs to spend $US 34 billion on water infrastructure upgrades between 2014 and 2018, according to the country’s energy watchdog, Reuters reported. The watchdog suggested that the investments be encouraged through the creation of “hydrobonds” by financial institutions and water companies.

North America
While the oil and gas boom is providing jobs in the United States, there is some evidence that hydraulic fracturing operations—which can be close to residential areas—are leading to steep declines in property values as buyers worry about environmental contamination, Reuters reported. Drilling within a kilometer of a home can reduce its value 16.7 percent if it relies on well water, according to a study by researchers from the Environmental Defense Fund, Duke University and Resources for the Future.

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