The Stream, January 20: Australia’s Government Sells Off Murray-Darling Water

For the first time since 2008, Australia’s government will sell some of its water allocations in the Murray-Darling Basin, making as much as 10 gigaliters available to irrigators, the Guardian reported. The decision has been applauded by drought-hit farmers, but members of the Greens political party worry that the sell-off could damage communities and environments within the river basin.

Despite improvements in water conservation in California since the last devastating drought in 1977, the state is again contending with what could become severe water shortages, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency Friday, which could set off a series of stricter water conservation measures around the state.

A new study of Atlantic Ocean currents suggests that a decades-long decline in one current could mean drier summers in the United Kingdom, the Guardian reported. Circulation in the northern Atlantic has weakened by 10 to 15 percent since 2004, but scientists believe it has been weakening since the 1990s and will continue to do so.

Flood levels reached as high as 3 meters in some areas of Jakarta as 30,000 people were forced to evacuate the city, Reuters reported. Efforts to reduce flood risks by creating green space and dredging canals have been slow, and city officials do not expect they will see results for five or 10 years.

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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