The Stream, February 14: Major Water Loss Across Middle East

The Tigris and Euphrates’ river basins lost almost as much water as the Dead Sea from 2003-2007, according to a new study from the University of California, NASA and the National Center for Atmospheric Research. The biggest contributor to the loss, Middle East Online reported, was groundwater pumping, especially from wells that were drilled after a 2007 drought.

Desalination’s Expansion
The desalination industry is growing by 15 percent per year, according to a Spanish energy company, a rate that is expected to remain stable. Australia, China, Israel, The United Arab Emirates and the U.S. all have desalination plants, Bloomberg reported, and while they can satisfy part of the growing demand for water, the plants have harmful environmental consequences and can push water-utility prices higher.

Water for Fracking
The Texas legislature turned its attention to hydraulic fracturing’s thirst for water. In a Texas House Natural Resources and Energy Committee meeting yesterday, oil and gas industry representatives downplayed fracking’s water demand, which is a small percentage of Texas’ overall water use. But that percentage can be higher — up to 50 percent — in different locales, StateImpact Texas reported, and the industry’s overall demand for water is rising.

Floods and the Netherlands
As New York Governor Andrew Cuomo launches an initiative to protect floodplains damaged by Hurricane Sandy, a columnist for The New York Times looks to the Netherlands, which he sees as a model for flood control. Through a combination of careful measurement, major infrastructure work, and forced relocation projects the Netherlands works to anticipate and accommodate flood events. The Times author believes they do so successfully.

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.

1 reply
  1. Brian Jackson says:

    Where is all the water going? The Great Lakes are at their lowest points ever. The Florida Everglades aren’t much better, now we read this is going on in the middle east as well. Climate change is reall and if we don’t address these water problems, it’s going to go bad quickly.

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