The Stream, May 4: Water Shortages Will Hit Economic Growth, World Bank Warns

The Global Rundown

Economic growth in many regions of the world will likely suffer from water shortages by mid-century, according to a World Bank report. The mining companies behind a deadly tailings spill in Brazil are being sued for billions of dollars. Amid a severe drought, Zimbabwe is selling wild animals from its parks to relieve pressure on water supplies. Ireland decided to suspend controversial water charges, and Australia set aside funding for state water infrastructure loans in its new budget.

“The government was wrong to back down on Irish water. All the infrastructure is Victorian for the supply of water in Ireland.” –Denis O’Brien, an Irish billionaire, on the government’s decision to suspend water charges that were introduced in 2014. He said Ireland’s water infrastructure needs a $4.6 billion upgrade. (Bloomberg)

By The Numbers

$43.5 billion Amount the mining companies responsible for a 2015 tailings spill in Brazil are being sued for by federal prosecutors. The spill killed 19 people and polluted a river in Minas Gerais state. Reuters

$2 billion Amount allotted in the Australian budget to provide loans to states for water infrastructure improvements. Guardian

Science, Studies, and Reports

Water shortages by 2050 could decrease economic growth by as much as 6 percent of GDP in places like Africa, China, India, and the Middle East, according to a report released by the World Bank. Economic effects from water scarcity in North America and Europe, however, are expected to be minimal, the report found. The Washington Post

On The Radar

As a severe drought continues in Zimbabwe, the country’s park authority announced plans to sell wild animals from national parks to decrease pressure on dwindling water supplies. Officials did not say how many animals they are looking to relocate. Reuters

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