The Stream, January 31: Water Supplies Shrinking in Iran

Climate change, dam construction, irrigation and groundwater use are causing water supplies in Iran to shrink rapidly, a phenomenon epitomized by the near disappearance of Lake Urmia, The New York Times reported. Lake Urmia is estimated to contain just 5 percent of the water it once held, and though it is a saltwater lake, Iran’s freshwater lakes and rivers are also threatened.

A federal environmental review of the Keystone XL project, a proposed pipeline that would carry crude oil from Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf Coast of the United States, is due to be released as early as today, the Guardian reported. Meanwhile, some landowners along the proposed pipeline route in Nebraska are saying they will not sell land to the pipeline company unless it does more to protect underground aquifers from potential oil spills, Bloomberg News reported.

A proposed dam in Macedonia could lose funding from the World Bank if the organization finds that the project will negatively affect the environment or electricity generation in Albania, where residents have protested the dam, Xinhua reported. Both countries are seeking to use their water resources to create renewable energy and cut fossil fuel use.

A lingering drought in Texas has forced ranchers to significantly reduce their cattle herds, which rely on rain-fed grass, Bloomberg News reported. The total number of cattle in the U.S. is estimated to be at its lowest level in more than 60 years, causing beef production to drop and prices to rise.

Gathering huge amounts of digital information—so-called “big data”—is essential for businesses as they seek to become more sustainable, the Carbon Trust’s John Hsu writes for the Guardian. The big data movement will help companies track not just their own environmental footprints, but those of their entire supply chains.

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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