The Stream, November 16: Dismal Water Quality In China Coal Province, Report Finds

The Global Rundown

A third of the surface water in one of China’s top coal-producing provinces is too polluted for any use, according to a new report. A drought in Somalia forced the government to appeal for food aid this week. Food is also scarce in Syria, where years of war have destroyed critical irrigation infrastructure. Florida’s water demand may become unsustainable by 2070 due to development driven by a growing population. Water experts warn that desalination is causing a public health crisis in Israel. Farmers in Jordan are looking to hydroponics to conserve water and grow local crops.

“We don’t lose one drop of water in this system.” –Mohammed Al Barawi, an agricultural engineer in Jordan, commenting on hydroponic farming techniques that could help boost domestic food production even as the region’s climate becomes drier. (Deutsche Welle)

By The Numbers

5 million Number of people in Somalia who are facing food shortages due to a widespread drought. The country’s president sent out an appeal for food and water aid this week. Bloomberg

900,000 hectares Area planted with wheat crops in Syria, about half the area covered by wheat before the civil war. Dry conditions and damaged irrigation systems have contributed to a growing food crisis in the country. Guardian

Science, Studies, And Reports

Waterways in China’s Shanxi province are so polluted that they have “lost functionality” at nearly 30 percent of the sites tested, according to a report by the Shanxi Environmental Protection Bureau. Extensive coal mining activities are one of the factors driving the degradation of the province’s water quality. Reuters

A growing population could double the amount of water used for new developments in Florida by 2070, researchers at the University of Florida found. A failure to curb urban sprawl or implement water conservation measures may create unsustainable demand in the state’s south and central regions. Miami Herald

On The Radar

Water experts in Israel are calling attention to public health concerns related to drinking desalinated water, likening the situation to the “man-made catastrophe” of lead-contaminated water in Flint, Michigan. Studies have suggested that a lack of magnesium and other nutrients removed during the desalination process can affect the heart and lungs. Haaretz