The Stream, April 11: Residents of Lanzhou, China Told Not To Drink Water After Benzene Found

Water Pollution
Water utility officials in Lanzhou, China, found the carcinogenic substance benzene present at levels 20 times the national limit in the city’s water supply, Xinhua reported. Approximately 2.4 million residents of the city were told to stop drinking their tap water while authorities search for the source of the benzene, which they say may be chemical waste.

South Africa’s Department of Water Affairs has estimated that cleaning up acid mine drainage and making the water potable could cost the country $US 1 billion, Bloomberg News reported. Doing so could add 150 million liters (40 million gallons) of water per day to the country’s water supply, potentially reducing the need for water imports from Lesotho.

Government and community leaders in El Salvador are fighting Canadian mining company Pacific Rim in court over the opening of a gold mine, a case that has been ongoing since 2009, the Guardian reported. Community groups in El Salvador are trying to pass a law that would ban metal mining in the country completely, citing water quality as one of their primary concerns.

Water Conflict

Insurgents in Iraq are using control of a dam near Fallujah to flood areas that will protect them against government forces, Reuters reported. The actions have also reduced water levels downstream of the dam, leaving less available for irrigation and electricity generation.

Water Scarcity
Three schools in Jamaica have been closed this week due to water shortages and 22 schools have been affected, the Jamaica Observer reported. The cause of the shortages is a decline of water in the primary storage facilities of the National Water Commission.

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