The Stream, February 7: India Looks to Solar Power for Agricultural Water Pumps

A switch to solar-powered irrigation pumps could save India $US 6 billion each year in electricity and fuel subsidies, Bloomberg News reported. The government is looking to replace 200,000 old pumps with solar pumps in the next five years, but will require farmers that receive subsidies to buy the new pumps to switch to drip irrigation to conserve water.

A Q & A published by the Guardian asks University of Nottingham plant scientist Erik Murchie about the development and potential benefits of vertical agriculture. As land, water and other resources become scarcer and more of the world’s population moves to cities, growing crops in skyscrapers could offer resource savings—though staples like corn and wheat will likely remain outside.

Drinking Water

Tests of water taken near the site where as much as 80,000 tons of coal ash spilled into North Carolina’s Dan River showed high levels of toxics such as arsenic and lead, according to the environmental group Waterkeeper Alliance, which took the tests. The group said the tests call into question assurances that drinking water supplies downstream are safe, though company tests at the nearest municipal water intakes showed only trace amounts of the substances, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Climate Change
While debate continues about whether extensive flooding in southern England is a product of climate change or poor water management or both, the floods are also continuing, The New York Times reported. One town has been turned into an island for weeks, and residents have endured a slow response from the federal government.

A survey of cities that have hosted the Winter Olympics showed that just more than half of them would likely have enough snow in 2100 to host the event again, The New York Times reported. Warming temperatures are expected to have a significant impact on popular ski resorts around the world as snowpack melts. In Sochi, officials ensured snow would be available by using insulated blankets and snow guns.

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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