The Stream, July 21: Citizens Calling for More Government Assistance During Floods and Droughts

The Global Rundown

Scientists in Israel are pulling water from out of thin air. Farmers in Australia remain out of luck when it comes to government subsidized drought insurance. Farmers in Afghanistan, however, are benefiting from government sponsored programs. The United Nations and South Korea have teamed up to support impoverished women in Viet Nam. Violence connected to water is beginning to break out in the United Kingdom. And indigenous people in Canada are struggling under the weight of frequent flooding.   

“This will be our fourth evacuation in the span of ten years. We can’t keep doing this.” –Fabian Head, band councillor for the Red Earth Cree Nation. Fabian and other members of Canada’s First Nation are calling for stronger flood mitigation measures, starting with the construction of more barriers and dykes. Provincial officials, however, say any construction would have to be paid for and approved by the federal department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs. (CBC News) 

By The Numbers

70 percent Amount of the world’s predicted 10 billion people who will be living in cities by 2050. With more people coexisting over less land as water levels rise, experts are turning to communities like Venice, Italy, and Thiland’s Bangkok Floating Market for solutions. Advances in building materials, energy sources, and communications technology are all also causing people to think about the future of waterbound urbanizationCNN

63,000 Number of farmers across Afghanistan who have benefited from the country’s $215,000 Irrigation Restoration and Development Project. 300,000 previously unusable hectares have been redeveloped and are now producing crops. The project is supported by the World Bank Group’s International Development Association. World Bank

$300,000 Cost of a recently signed Republic of Korea-UN Women agreement which will benefit 15,000 women and girls in 7,500 impoverished Vietnamese households affected by drought. Funds will support sanitation and disease prevention. Because of prolonged drought and saltwater intrusion, women spend an additional two to three hours collecting water and are at increased risk for illness. Viet Nam News

Science, Studies, And Reports

Researchers are working to develop less energy intensive methods for extracting water from air. An important goal, as the International Organization for Dew Utilization indicates the atmosphere’s water vapor content is comparable to all the liquid freshwater available on the planet. Scientists at the Israel Institute of Technology report they have developed a new approach that may use up to 65 percent less energy than current methods.

A recent report commissioned by the Australian government rejects drought insurance for farmers as “uneconomical.” Landowners had hoped the report would spur the government to begin subsidizing drought insurance, a change they feel would provide them the security to invest in increased output, and to remain competitive against Asia’s fast-growing food market. The report concluded that because 80 percent of post-drought government aid is applied to segments of the agricultural sector, insurance is unnecessary. Reuters

On The Radar

A police officer and several UK citizens were stabbed during water related riots on the nation’s hottest recorded day of the year.  Authorities remain unsure what caused the social media organized gatherings to turn violent. In addition to the stabbings, police in riot gear were assaulted and private property was damaged. CBS News


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