The Stream, January 15: Water Ranked As Biggest Long-Term Global Risk

The  Global Rundown

The Global Rundown

Water crises pose the biggest long-term risk to global society, according to a report from the World Economic Forum. A plan to build a dam on the Ganges River to augment water supplies in Bangladesh faces opposition from India. Water customers in Britain paid too much for services due to a mistake by a regulatory agency, and Ireland paid millions to help families improve water conservation during the first full year of water charges. A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency assessment of mining risks in Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed was not conducted in a biased manner, the Office of Inspector General found. California’s prosperity depends on a multi-billion dollar project to divert water near the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, Governor Jerry Brown said.

“If we don’t have the project, the Delta will fail, the water will not be available and California will suffer devastating economic consequences. This is not a ‘nice.’ It’s a fundamental necessity of California’s current and future prosperity.” –California Governor Jerry Brown, on a $15.5 billion plan to divert water before the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and reroute it to water users in the state’s South. The plan has faced opposition from groups concerned about its effect on the environment. (The Sacramento Bee)

By the Numbers

By The Numbers

$1.7 billion Amount water companies in Britain made in “windfall gains” because the country’s regulatory agency, which sets price caps on water services, overestimated the companies’ costs. BBC

$102 million Cost of a grant program to help families in Ireland pay for water conservation measures. The grant program coincided with the introduction of water charges in October 2014; water had previously been free. The Irish Times


Science, Studies, And Reports

Water crises are the biggest long-term global risk, according to an annual report released by the World Economic Forum. The report, based on a survey of government and industry leaders who are members of the forum, ranked risks to global society based on their potential impact and the likelihood that they would occur within the next 10 years. Circle of Blue

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency did not act in a biased manner or violate any procedures during its assessment of the risks of mining in Alaska’s Bristol Bay watershed, according to a report by the independent Office of Inspector General. The agency used the watershed assessment to support its actions to restrict development of the proposed Pebble gold mine. EPA

On the Radar

On The Radar

Bangladesh hopes to build a dam on the Ganges River to direct more fresh water to its southwest region, where an encroaching sea threatens drinking water supplies. Neighboring India, however, has expressed concerns that the dam could cause flooding in its territory. Reuters

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