The Stream, February 13: Coal Slurry Spills Into West Virginia River Near Charleston

Little more than a month after a chemical spill shut off drinking water for West Virginia’s state capital, approximately 100,000 gallons of coal slurry has spilled into a creek and another of the city’s rivers, the Charleston Gazette reported. The spill is downstream of drinking water intakes, but it could severely damage the creek and, to a lesser extent, the Kanawha River.

Water Supply
Contending with a severe and deepening drought, California may look increasingly to desalination—a more costly, but more consistent water supply—and to other water technology used in Israel, Bloomberg News reported. A $US 922 desalination plant in San Diego is currently being developed in partnership with an Israeli company.

South Africa’s leaky water infrastructure is the result of rapid expansion of water systems following the end of apartheid and a failure to keep up with maintenance, Inter Press Service reported. An estimated one-third of all municipal water in the country is lost to leaky pipes and theft.

The hottest and driest January on record for southeastern Brazil has left coffee farmers in the world’s biggest producer scrambling to get enough water to their crops, Reuters reported. The drought has helped to push global coffee prices higher, but how much damage will really be done to the harvest is not yet clear.

Farmers grew a record amount of genetically modified crops last year, planting more than 175 million hectares, though some groups question the validity of the industry-produced numbers, Reuters reported. Use of the crops, which are often designed to resist pests and withstand droughts, grew the most in places like Brazil and China.

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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