The Stream, September 15: Spain’s World Heritage Wetlands In Danger

The Global Rundown

World heritage-listed wetlands in Spain could soon be classified as “in danger” due to drastic reductions in natural water supplies. Civil society groups in Chile are campaigning against water privatization. Wildlife managers in South Africa are set to kill hundreds of animals in a national park due to the country’s severe drought. Water utilities in the United Kingdom warned that droughts in the near future could cost London billions of dollars. A drought in Massachusetts has forced some cities to activate emergency water systems. Scientists and police in Switzerland are analyzing wastewater to track drug use.

“What we need is a transformation away from the private model of water ownership and to recognise water as a human right.” –Francisca Fernández, spokeswoman for the Movimiento por la Recuperación del Agua y la Vida in Chile. According to a recent poll, 74 percent of people in Chile believe the country’s municipal water systems should return to public ownership in order to prioritize the human right to water over private uses. (Guardian)

By The Numbers

350 hippos and buffaloes Number that will be killed in South Africa’s Kruger national park due to a severe drought. Populations of the animals in the park are at record highs, and they are at risk of starving because dry conditions have created food shortages. Guardian

$1.7 million per month Amount Worcester, Massachusetts is paying to activate an emergency water supply due to the state’s worsening drought. Boston Globe

Science, Studies, And Reports

A severe drought in London could cost the city as much as $1.7 billion each day, according to a report released by Water UK, a utility trade association. The report also found that, without significant investment in infrastructure, there is a 20 percent chance of a drought occurring in the next 25 years that would require utilities to use standpipes in order to supply residents. Guardian

Scientists are analyzing wastewater in order to gain insight into drug use patterns in select cities. A recent study published in the journal Forensic Science International, for example, found that heroin use averaged 13 grams a day in the city of Lausanne, Switzerland. Nature

On The Radar

The Doñana wetlands world heritage site in Spain could soon be listed as “in danger” by Unesco, becoming the first national park in the European Union categorized as such. The park has lost 80 percent of its natural water supply through drainage, agricultural use, and pollution from mining. Guardian