The Stream, December 19: Water Quality Declines in Gaza Aquifer

The Global Rundown

The condition of Gaza’s coastal aquifer continues to deteriorate due to a combination of population growth and political pressures. The largest glacier in East Antarctica is thinning, raising concerns about its potential contribution to sea level rise. Countries in sub-Saharan Africa could see some of the worst economic effects from climate change due to their reliance on agriculture. Australia’s government says it remains committed to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, and will fund key water agencies indefinitely. Scientists are urging Canada and the United States to keep a close eye on phosphorus levels and invasive Asian carp to safeguard water quality in the Great Lakes.

“Ecologically speaking, the damage to the aquifer is getting worse, and studies have been showing a steady increase in water salinity.” –Adnan Ghosheh, a senior water and sanitation specialist for the World Bank, referring to the Coastal Aquifer in Gaza. He said excessive groundwater pumping is to blame, but other experts say the aquifer’s deteriorating condition has much to do with Israel’s tight control over water and other resources in the region. (teleSUR, Haaretz)

By The Numbers

15 countries Number in sub-Saharan Africa that are considered to be at “high” or “extreme” economic risk from changing rainfall and temperature patterns, largely because they rely heavily on agriculture, according to the Climate Change Exposure Index. Reuters

63 to 80 billion tons Mass lost each year from the ice shelf of the Totten glacier in Antarctica due to warming ocean waters, scientists have confirmed. The melting ice sheet could have serious implications for global sea level rise. The Washington Post

Science, Studies, And Reports

The United States and Canada need to closely monitor both invasive Asian carp populations and discharges of phosphorus into the Great Lakes, according to scientists who advise the International Joint Commission, the agency that oversees waterways shared between the countries. Tracking these two issues is key to providing clean water for drinking and recreation, they said. Associated Press

In context: Learn more about the most important water stories in the Great Lakes region.

On The Radar

Australia’s federal government will continue to indefinitely fund the operational costs for cornerstone water agencies, including the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, according to the latest budget update. The country’s agriculture and water minister said the government “remains committed” to the contentious Murray-Darling Basin Plan, which aims to restore water flows in the rivers. ABC

In context: Learn about the Basin Plan and Australia’s water management challenges in Circle of Blue’s ‘Biggest Dry’ series.