The Stream, November 17: Overuse of Groundwater Puts Spanish National Park At Risk

The Global Rundown

Excessive groundwater use threatens to drain the marshes and lagoons in Spain’s Doñana National Park. Rural communities in Sri Lanka face scarce land and water resources after the end of the country’s civil war. The mayor of Flint, Michigan extended an emergency declaration over lead-contaminated water. A court decision on the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline in North Dakota may come sometime in January. Researchers in California are exploring drip irrigation methods for rice paddies to conserve water.

“The fact of the matter is we still cannot drink our water without a filter. We cannot let this story die until the problem that was caused through no fault of our own has been fixed.” –Karen Weaver, the mayor of Flint, Michigan, after extending the city’s state of emergency declaration due to a continuing lead-contaminated water crisis. State and federal emergency declarations, however, ended in August. (The Wall Street Journal)

By The Numbers

January 19, 2017 Day that a U.S. federal judge may decide to allow or deny the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline to cross underneath Lake Oahe in North Dakota. Associated Press

4 square kilometers Area of Kattankudi, a town in Sri Lanka where 53,000 people now live. Overcrowding and climate change have placed more pressure on land and water resources as families return to communities they were forced to leave during Sri Lanka’s civil war. Reuters

Science, Studies, And Reports

Unsustainable groundwater use is drying up the marshes and lagoons that make up Spain’s Doñana National Park, a World Heritage site, according to a report by the World Wide Fund for Nature. The report found that it could take 30 to 60 years for the aquifer to recover, even if groundwater use is curbed.

On The Radar

Farmers may one day be able to water their rice paddies using drip irrigation, rather than flooding the entire area. Israeli researchers are currently testing the water conservation method on a farm in California. ABC