The Stream, September 26: Tunisia Drought Triggers Protests

The Global Rundown

Farmers in Tunisia are protesting water shortages wrought by a drought and a neglected water management system. Severe drought conditions across Connecticut and other New England states have drawn down rivers and groundwater levels, forcing some communities to impose water restrictions or truck in supplies. Fighting in Aleppo, Syria cut water supplies to 2 million people over the weekend. The company poised to run the Dakota Access oil pipeline had the worst spill record of any operator in the United States over the past six years. Environmental advocates in Iran are garnering support for shrinking Lake Urmia through a social media campaign. A photographer seeks to show how indigenous communities in the Amazon will be affected by a slate of proposed hydropower dams.

“We are thirsty. Give us water, we don’t need work, just water.” –Samir Farhani, a resident of Sbikha, Tunisia. A drought has revealed weaknesses in the country’s water infrastructure and management, and water shortages have triggered protests. Dry conditions could cause $905 million in agricultural losses this year. (Associated Press)

By The Numbers

2 million people Number who lost access to clean water during fighting between government and rebel forces in Aleppo, Syria over the weekend. By Sunday, service had been restored to 80 percent of the city. Reuters

60 hydropower projects Number currently planned for the Amazon Basin. A photo essay by photographer Aaron Vincent Elkaim examines how the dams could affect life for indigenous Munduruku communities. Guardian

Science, Studies, And Reports

U.S. onshore pipelines operated by Sunoco Logistics, the company slated to operate the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline upon its completion, have leaked oil 203 times since 2010, according to data collected by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. The number of leaks was the highest for any operator in the country, though the company said it has improved its pipeline integrity management since 2012. The federal government suspended work on the Dakota Access project in North Dakota earlier this month because of protests by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, which has raised concerns about the potential for an oil spill to contaminate drinking water. Reuters

On The Radar

Declining river and groundwater levels in Connecticut have forced some communities and residents to impose water restrictions or truck in water supplies amid a drought in New England. Almost 70 percent of the state is experiencing “severe drought”, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Hartford Courant

A month-old social media movement called “I am Lake Urmia” is mobilizing people in Iran and around the world to address threats to what was once one of the largest lakes in the world. Lake Urmia has lost 90 percent of its surface area since the 1970s, largely due to dams and water diversions for agriculture and industry. Guardian