India’s new government changed the official name of the environment ministry to the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, the Economic Times reports. Observers are hopeful that the name change will lead to domestic development policies that alleviate poverty while reducing carbon output.
India’s new water minister, meanwhile, pledged to make good on her boss’s campaign promise to clean up the Ganges River, DNA India reports. It is not yet clear how the new leaders plan to succeed after decades of failed government initiatives to reduce pollution in the country’s holiest river.
A record-smashing drought from 2006 to 2011 in Syria helped set in motion rural-to-urban migrations, unemployment, and food shortages. These complex economic, social, and political interactions led to Syria’s still-churning civil war, argues water expert Peter Gleick, in a peer-reviewed paper published in the journal Weather, Climate, and Society. Climate change will reduce water availability in the future, thereby increasing the risk of conflict and underscoring the importance of better water management, Gleick claims.
A Jordanian official told the Jerusalem Post that water cooperation between Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority cannot wait on long-stalled peace talks. The three countries signed an agreement in December to share water from a desalination plant on the Red Sea and use some of the briny waste to fill the shrinking Dead Sea.
Brett writes about agriculture, energy, infrastructure, and the politics and economics of water in the United States. He also writes the Federal Water Tap, Circle of Blue’s weekly digest of U.S. government water news. He is the winner of two Society of Environmental Journalists reporting awards, one of the top honors in American environmental journalism: first place for explanatory reporting for a series on septic system pollution in the United States(2016) and third place for beat reporting in a small market (2014). He received the Sierra Club’s Distinguished Service Award in 2018. Brett lives in Seattle, where he hikes the mountains and bakes pies. Contact Brett Walton