The Stream, May 12: South Africa Unveils Plans To Pursue Desalination

The Global Rundown

South Africa will begin developing desalination plants in its coastal communities as it combats one of the worst droughts on record. India’s Supreme Court admonished states for failing to respond adequately to a severe drought that is affecting millions of people. Water use in Qatar rose drastically over the past decade as its population grew. Electricity systems in the United Kingdom are at great risk from floods, according to a new report. Toxins left in the wake of an expansive wildfire in Alberta, Canada will be washed into rivers when rains return, scientists warned.

“An ostrich-like attitude is a pity, particularly since the persons affected by a possible drought-like situation usually belong to the most vulnerable sections of society. The sound of silence coming from these states subjects the vulnerable to further distress.” –India’s Supreme Court, in a judgement rebuking the states of Haryana and Bihar for not declaring a disaster amid a severe drought. (Reuters)

By The Numbers

70 percent Increase in water use in Qatar between 2006 and 2013, a time period in which the population doubled. The National

Science, Studies, And Reports

Electricity systems in the United Kingdom are not adequately prepared for flood events, putting lives at risk when outages disrupt communications and transportation networks needed for emergency assistance, according to a report by the Royal Academy of Engineering. The report called for more reviews of what could happen in the event of major power outages during floods. Guardian

On The Radar

South Africa, working with Iran, unveiled plans to develop desalination capabilities for all of its coastal communities. The agreement comes amid a severe El Nino-linked drought that has destroyed harvests and drawn down reservoirs across the country. Reuters

Toxins, including lead and mercury, released during a large wildfire in Alberta will wash into waterways like the Athabasca River when rains return to the region, according to scientists. The fire has burned 230,000 hectares of land near Fort McMurray, the heart of Canada’s oil sands production. Guardian

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