The Stream, October 20: Australia Fends Off Agricultural Water Scarcity by Expanding Dams and Irrigation

Water Infrastructure
Australia, Asia, Africa, Middle East

Australia is planning to build more dams and invest in as many as 30 irrigation schemes to provide more water for agricultural production, Reuters reported, citing a new government paper. Per capita water availability from the country’s existing dams has declined more than 20 percent since 1980.

As Thailand prepares to enter the annual rainy season, little progress has been made on infrastructure projects meant to prevent another flooding disaster like the one that devastated the country in 2011, the Bangkok Post reported. Many of the projects proposed in the wake of the disaster have stalled due to public resistance and a government coup.

Electricity blackouts caused by natural gas shortages and low water levels in a major dam resulted in water shortages for Accra, Ghana’s capital, Bloomberg News reported. A steady water supply cannot be guaranteed until the electricity supply is restored, officials said.

Heavy rains in Gaza are raising concerns about flooding and the ability of damaged homes to withstand winter weather, Xinhua News reported. Approximately 30,000 homes were damaged while 18,000 were destroyed during the recent violent conflict between Israel and Gaza.


Just one in 10 rivers in Europe’s Alpine region are healthy enough to maintain water supplies and deal with the effects of climate change, according to a new study by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The rivers form “water towers” that provide water to 14 million people in eight countries, but many have been dammed, altered or ecologically harmed.

Water Scarcity
South America, North America

Copper production in Chile is expected to reach a record high this year, but experts say the industry’s growth will soon stall due to concerns like water scarcity and energy scarcity, Reuters reported. A number of large projects have been blocked in the country as a result of these factors, and may remain blocked until the end of the decade.

Groundwater mismanagement throughout the 20th century led to a water scarcity crisis in Mexico that likely could have been prevented, according to a new book by a Stanford environmental historian, reported. The book says that the Mexican government was warned about the overuse of groundwater as early as the 1930s, and was already experiencing groundwater stress.

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