The Stream, February 5: Drought Emergencies Put Water Supplies at Risk Around World

As California endures a drought that could be the worst in 500 years, federal politicians are wrangling over how best to allocate available water supplies, the San Jose Mercury News reported. You can see Circle of Blue’s reporting on California’s drought and water pollution here.

Severe droughts are also threatening water supplies for communities around the world.

Sao Paulo, Brazil could lose half of its water supply within 45 days if rains do not relieve an intense drought that is drying up water supplies in the region’s Cantareira water system, Bloomberg News reported. Outside of the city, which is the largest in South America, industrial production is also being hit by the lack of water, and purification costs are rising as river levels drop.

At least two communities in Queensland, Australia have floated the possibility of evacuating if drought conditions do not improve, the Australian reported. Though water supplies from dammed lakes are currently sufficient, local officials say they “have to talk about the worst case scenarios”.

At least 400 families were evacuated from communities below a dam in Zimbabwe after cracks were found in the dam wall, and 4,000 more will likely be asked to leave, Xinhua reported. Heavy rains and rising water levels have put pressure on the dam, which is still under construction.

The World Bank is proposing a $US 1 billion project fund to map mineral resources across Africa in order to provide more detailed information to mining companies and governments, Reuters reported. The bank believes having more information will allow governments to better negotiate with mining companies and plan infrastructure development and water allocations.

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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