The Stream, February 11: Drought in Haiti Pushes Millions Toward Hunger

The Global Rundown

A three-year drought in Haiti threatens millions of people with hunger, the United Nations warned, while the contaminated water used to grow vegetables in Tanzania’s cities places consumer health at risk. After two years of drought, barges are once again traveling on a key waterway used to transport agricultural products in Brazil. A leak of radioactive water continues at a nuclear power plant in New York, and a drop in hydropower production during California’s drought left consumers paying higher energy bills. U.S. lawmakers moved forward with a bill to improve federal responses to lead-contaminated drinking water, and researchers released a new report outlining ways for cities to finance and implement water infrastructure upgrades.

“I am not ashamed of using this water because we don’t have access to clean piped water.” –Edward Merkior, a vegetable grower in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on using wastewater to irrigate his crops. Contaminated water used to grow vegetables in the city is placing the health of consumers at risk, according to food safety officials. (Reuters)

By The Numbers

3.6 million people Number facing hunger in Haiti after three years of drought, according to the World Food Programme. Reuters

$2 billion Increase in power costs paid by consumers during California’s severe drought due to a reduction in cheap hydropower supplies. Bloomberg

80 percent Increase in the levels of radioactive water leaking from the Indian Point nuclear plant in New York. The contaminated water has seeped into groundwater below the plant. CBS New York ; Associated Press

Science, Studies, And Reports

Cities and water utilities, faced with the daunting task of upgrading aging water infrastructure, should learn from efforts to implement clean energy projects and improve energy efficiency, according to a new report released by researchers at Stanford University. Providing economic incentives, diversifying public and private funding sources, improving the ways funds can be accessed, and using innovative governance tools could help communities finance and implement water projects, the report found. Stanford News

On The Radar

Barges destined for Brazil’s interior, soybean-producing states passed through locks on the Tiete River northwest of Sao Paulo this week for the first time in 20 months, according to local media. The waterway has been closed to barge traffic since 2014 due to a severe drought as well as competing water uses for hydropower production. Reuters

The U.S. House of Representatives almost unanimously passed a bill Wednesday to require federal regulators to notify the public when lead levels exceed certain limits in drinking water. The bill is meant to address regulatory failures like those that occurred in Flint, Michigan. Also on Wednesday, Michigan’s governor asked for $195 million in state money to aid Flint as it recovers from lead-contaminated water. Reuters

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