The Stream, January 23: Improving China’s Rural Drinking Water

Approximately 100 million people living in rural China do not have access to safe drinking water, a problem driven in part by polluted groundwater, Xinhua reported. In response, some rural communities on Hainan Island are installing “ultra-filtration membranes” to filter out viruses and dissolved compounds, a technology that China believes could be used across the country.

Herders in the mountains near Cusco, Peru are building rain-fed reservoirs, much like those used by the Inca, to guard against changing rainfall patterns and drought, the Guardian reported. They are also collecting weather data to help inform climate models, which predict parts of the region could receive 15 to 30 percent less rainfall by 2030.

A plan proposed by United States House Speaker John Boehner to divert restoration water flows away from the San Joaquin River Delta to sustain farms in California’s Central Valley has been met with criticism from conservationists and democrats, ABC News reported. As California suffers one of its worst droughts in years, Boehner called the restoration flows an act of favoring “fish over people”.

Hydraulic Fracturing
A hydraulically fractured well in Poland is close to kicking off Europe’s first commercial shale gas production, Bloomberg News reported. Hydraulic fracturing, which uses large quantities of water and can generate large amounts of wastewater, has been a subject of fierce debate in the European Union, with some countries banning the practice or placing moratoriums on shale drilling.

Meanwhile, debate over hydraulic fracturing is ramping up in Australia, The New York Times reported. Australia’s low population density and available infrastructure both favor shale gas production, but the country is also one of the most arid in the world—a big constraint for fracking.

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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