The Stream, June 14: Singapore Insulated From Drought

The Global Rundown

Singapore is now able meet its own water needs without relying on outside supplies from Malaysia, where a drought this year caused shortages. Recovering water levels at hydropower dams in Venezuela have prompted the government to scale back electricity rationing. Australia’s prime minister announced plans for a fund to reduce nutrient runoff that is harming the Great Barrier Reef. Sri Lanka filed its first claim under a new national insurance plan to respond to last month’s severe floods. The authors of a new study estimate global carbon dioxide levels could reach critical levels for climate change in the next two decades. Water bills are set to decline in Sydney, Australia under a new pricing scheme.

“We are winning!” –Luis Motta, Venezuela’s electricity minister, in a Twitter post about the easing of electricity rationing across the country as hydropower reservoirs recover. Restrictions on work hours for public workers will be scaled back, and schools will return to normal schedules, according to the minister. (Reuters)

By The Numbers

$738 million Amount Australia’s prime minister said he would allocate to a fund to protect the Great Barrier Reef from agricultural runoff and nutrient pollution. The money would come from the budget of Australia’s Clean Energy Finance Corporation, which promotes renewable energy and energy efficiency. Reuters

$3-4.8 million Estimated annual cost to Sri Lanka’s economy from extreme weather, a driving factor in the country’s decision to purchase natural disaster insurance for the first time this year. Severe floods last month triggered the first claim under the plan. Reuters

$74 Average drop in annual household water bills in Sydney after a new pricing system takes effect, though individual savings will vary by the amount of water used. The Sydney Morning Herald

Science, Studies, And Reports

Levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere continue to register above 400 parts per million, a threshold reached last year, and are unlikely to go below that number again, according to a study by the Met Office. Scientists believe levels must be limited to 450 parts per million to avoid the worst effects of climate change, but the new study’s authors say the planet could reach that limit in 20 years. Guardian

On The Radar

Through a combination of desalination plants, water recycling, and catchments, Singapore now has the ability to fulfill its water needs without relying on outside sources, according to government officials. Singapore still has an agreement to buy water from Malaysia until 2061, when the city state’s water demand is expected to be double its current needs. Bloomberg