The Stream, July 1: Kiribati Buys Land in Fiji as Safeguard Against Rising Sea Levels

The island nation of Kiribati became the first country to purchase land outside of its own territory in response to climate change, buying 20 square kilometers on an island in Fiji, the Guardian reported. Due to rising sea levels—which in some areas of the Pacific and Indian Oceans are increasing 1.2 centimeters a year—Kiribati may need to eventually move its population to the new land.

Despite weakening signals in the Pacific Ocean, Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology predicts that there is still a 70 percent chance that an El Nino weather event will develop later this year, Bloomberg News reported. The Bureau said it is most likely to form in September, though there is a 60 percent chance an El Nino could form in August.

Water management is a critical hurdle in the development of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s quickly growing capital city, Inter Press Service reported. The city is increasingly besieged by floods, yet there is very little capacity for storing the excess water, and polluted runoff becomes a health hazard.

United States
New York’s Court of Appeals, the highest court in the state, decided that local bans on fracking and other methods of gas drilling are allowable as a form of zoning, Reuters reported. Three lower courts reached the same conclusion, supporting the rights of more than 170 towns that have banned gas drilling.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it will likely close a portion of the Mississippi River in Iowa and Missouri, including 11 locks, due to high flood waters, Reuters reported. The flooding is the result of near-record rains in the Mississippi’s northern basin, where an additional 5 centimeters of rain are expected.

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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