The Stream, January 14: Policies Undermine Flood Defenses in United Kingdom

While both federal and local government budgets for flood defenses dwindle, the United Kingdom’s government is spending large amounts of money on policies that are counterproductive to flood control, the Guardian reported. Agricultural subsidies that require farmers to keep their land bare of trees, increasing runoff, are just one example of such policies.

Improving access to safe drinking water supplies will be a major focus of Tanzania’s government in the next two years, Bloomberg News reported, citing a speech by president Jakaya Kikwete. The president, pledging more funding to the water and sanitation sector, said that more than 40 percent of Tanzanians living in rural areas do not have access to safe water supplies.

Communities in western Ghana lost connection to their treated water supply in mid-December after a water intake at the treatment plant was clogged by silt, Bloomberg News reported, citing local media. The area is still without treated water, and residents are being forced to find other sources.

Emergency operators and health officials in Victoria, Australia are preparing for extreme fire danger that is expected to last through the week, iol News reported. Drought and heat waves have created conditions reminiscent to those before 2009’s Black Saturday, when 173 people were killed in wildfires.

Southern California may be forced to turn to more recycled wastewater to supplement its drinking water supplies as drought continues, NBC News reported. Surveys of mountain snowpack, which provides much of the state’s drinking water, have shown that water content is currently 20 percent of normal.

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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