The Stream, February 2: Pakistan Invests in Solar Water Treatment to Bring Water to Desert

The  Global Rundown

The Global Rundown

Pakistan is using solar power to improve drinking water in its desert regions. The United Kingdom is banning fracking in a large area previously open to development, while groundwater pollution concerns are surfacing in California and Minnesota. China released a new rural policy for 2015, including plans for water infrastructure development. The World Meteorological Organization confirmed 2014 as the hottest year on record, and NASA launched a new satellite to measure water in Earth’s soil. Today is World Wetlands Day.

“It is really hardly less than a miracle for us that we can now drink sweet and clean water, for the first time in my entire life.”–Rekha Meghwar, resident of the Pakistan city of Mithi, on a new solar-powered drinking water plant built in the region. Pakistan plans to install 750 of the plants this year. (Reuters)

By the Numbers

By The Numbers

40 percent Shale gas exploration land in England where fracking will be banned, according to new rules that protect national parks, groundwater source zones, and other areas of natural significance. Guardian

14 years Number of the world’s hottest years on record that have occurred since 2000, with 2014 ranking as the hottest ever, according to the World Meteorological Organization. Guardian

Science

Science, Studies, And Reports

China’s newly released rural policy for 2015 includes plans to boost infrastructure development, such as water and alternative energy projects. Reuters

Wastewater from oil wells in California may have been pumped into aquifers in the state’s Central Valley for decades, raising further concerns about groundwater pollution in critical farming areas. San Francisco Chronicle

On the Radar

On The Radar

Deforestation for commercial agriculture in central Minnesota is threatening the region’s aquifers and drinking water supply with nitrogen pollution. Star Tribune

Today is World Wetlands Day, marking the 44th anniversary of the signing of the international Ramsar Convention. Wetlands provide valuable services for both water quality and biodiversity, writes Jacques Trouvilliez, Executive Secretary of the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds. IPS

Following a two-day delay, NASA launched the SMAP satellite into space on January 31. The satellite will measure the amount of water held in the world’s soil. Tech Times

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