The Stream, August 5: Aging Oil Pipelines Contaminate Russia’s Water

The Global Rundown

Small, but chronic oil spills from deteriorating pipelines are contaminating waterways in Russia. Connections between fresh groundwater and coastal waters in the United States pose a pollution risk to both, according to a new study. Historically high water levels along the Nile River have triggered widespread flooding in Sudan. Reservoir levels in India continue to rise due to the monsoon, while three years of drought have drawn down water supplies in Israel’s Lake Kinneret.

“The pipelines are very worn out, they’re left over from the USSR. The oil companies have realized they’re losing a lot of oil and are starting to replace them, but it’s laughable. They need to do much more.” –Vasily Yablokov, a Greenpeace research projects coordinator, on the 1.5 million metric tons of oil that are spilled in Russia each year. The cumulative effect of many small spills is the contamination of waterways in the Komi Republic, where aging infrastructure is primarily to blame. (Guardian)

By The Numbers

13 provinces Number in Sudan that have been affected by flooding along the Nile River, which is at its highest levels in more than a century. Reuters

45 percent capacity Water levels in India’s major reservoirs over the past week, marking a significant increase as monsoon rains continue. The levels, however, are still below the 10-year average. Reuters

Science, Studies, And Reports

Ocean waters along approximately 12 percent of the U.S. coastline are vulnerable to contamination from nutrients and other pollutants that infiltrate fresh groundwater zones that are linked to the sea, according to a study by researchers at Ohio State University. The study, which mapped the connections between groundwater and coastal waters, also found that fresh groundwater reserves are susceptible to saltwater intrusion along 9 percent of the country’s coastline. Ohio State University

On The Radar

Declining water levels in Lake Kinneret have some local officials concerned that flows could drop in the Jordan River, despite assurances from the Israel Water Authority that they will not. A spokesperson for the authority blamed the low lake levels on three years of drought, but said releases to the river will continue. The Jerusalem Post