The Stream, February 13: 80 Percent Chance of U.S. Megadrought

The  Global Rundown

The Global Rundown

Scientists are predicting a megadrought in the United States in the next 100 years, and the hospitality industry in Rio de Janeiro is preparing for water shortages during Carnival celebrations. Meanwhile, Pakistan may face a country-wide water shortage in the next decade. Nearly half of Ireland‘s water supply is lost to leaks. Finally, a San Francisco water utility employee made inappropriate use of an empty reservoir.

“We have strategies today to deal with drought — develop more drought-resistant crops, use more groundwater. But if future droughts will be much more severe, the question is whether we can extend those strategies or if we need new ones.” — Benjamin Cook, scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, on a study predicting a megadrought in the United States this century. (International Business Times)

By the Numbers

By The Numbers

49 percent – proportion of Ireland’s water supply lost to system leaks. According to the latest numbers from Irish Water, 800 million liters are lost to leaks each day, which amounts to almost half of the country’s supply. Irish Times

Science

Science, Studies, And Reports

According to a study published Thursday in Science Advances, there is an 80 percent chance of a 35-year or longer drought in the United States by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate. Dubbed a “megadrought”, this phenomenon would parallel the dustbowl of the 30’s, but last much longer. International Business Times

On the Radar

On The Radar

Due to a combination of climate change and poor water management, Pakistan could face a severe water shortage in the next 6-7 years, according to Pakistan’s minister for water and energy. Khawaja Muhammad Asif made his comments at a press conference this week in Lahore. New York Times

Hotels, restaurants, and event organizers are planning for potential water shortages during Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival celebrations this weekend. Although authorities say there is no immediate risk to the water supply, hotel and restaurant groups have jointly planned to make conservation a priority. Brazil’s southeast is suffering its worst drought in 80 years. Reuters

A maintenance planner with the San Francisco water utility was caught urinating into an empty reservoir last month, and will face disciplinary action. No public health risk is posed as the reservoir was not in use at the time of the incident, and water is treated before reaching customers. CNN

 is both a scientist and a journalist, helping to drive Circle of Blue’s reporting with data and research. She holds an MS in Environmental Engineering from Michigan Technological University, and she brings proficiency in ESRI’s ArcGIS mapping software.

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