The Stream, July 28: Olympic Athletes Heading For Dirty Water
The Global Rundown
Athletes headed to Brazil for the Olympics will have to contend with dirty water. Nepal is dealing with the fallout from monsoon-triggered landslides. The water level of the Sea of Galilee in Israel is sitting dangerously low for many Palestinians. Scientists from Belgium say they have found an effective way to turn urine into drinkable water. New research reaffirms the accuracy of climate change modeling. A city in India is going to start putting its wastewater to work. Also in India, the National Green Tribunal may move to protect a vital ecosystem.
“Nowhere in the world is there an example of such a natural ecosystem providing a vital municipal service to a city. We need to take steps to bolster and encourage the processes that strengthen the wetlands rather than raise roadblocks.” –Dhrubajyoti Ghosh, special advisor to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, on the Kolkata wetlands. The wetlands function as the world’s largest organic sewage treatment system, and double as a vegetable garden and fishery for local communities. (The Third Pole)
By The Numbers
11 centimeters Current water level in the Sea of Galilee above a “red line” that, if reached, would require Israel to stop pumping water from the reservoir to avoid ecological damage. While much of Israel’s water comes from desalination, Palestinian citizens who are not connected to the Israeli water grid are deeply concerned. The Economist
25 years Time experts from Rio de Janeiro now say it would take to clean the city’s Guanabara Bay by 80 percent — a goal the city originally planned to reach before it hosted the 2016 Olympic Games. The international sporting event begins next week, and boats are still hauling trash out of the water by the ton. STAT
45 Number of people who have been killed in Nepal during recent landslides triggered by heavy monsoon rains. Hundreds more have been displaced, while flooding has made roadways inaccessible. Helicopter crews, soldiers and volunteers in rubber boats are all working to rescue those who are stranded and to provide food and aid. VG News
Science,Studies, And Reports
A new study recently published in the journal Ocean Sciences appears to confirm that current climate modeling is an accurate indicator of rising ocean temperatures. The study’s research team used new techniques and large-scale computer modeling to compile temperature measurements from seldom sampled areas and depths of the ocean. Results indicate that the warming planet has gained 0.75 Watts per square meter since 1992, or the equivalent of 5.4 trillion continuously running 60-watt light bulbs. The Guardian
Scientists in Belgium have created a solar-powered machine to turn urine into drinkable water. After being collected and heated in a solar-powered boiler, the liquid is distilled through a membrane which removes 95 percent of the ammonia. Nutrients including nitrogen and potassium are also separated out. The device was recently tested at a 10-day music and theater festival, during which researchers were able to collect 1,000 liters of water. The team hopes to install larger versions of its machine in other public places. Engadget
On The Radar
South of New Delhi, the city of Gurgaon is concerned about its falling groundwater levels. It is now planning to use treated sewage water from its two treatment plants to hydrate its public parks and green spaces. Currently, much of the 200 million liters of water treated each day is simply piped out to the Yamuna River. Experts expect this plan will free up more potable water, some of which is currently being used to water green spaces, for citizens. The Times of India
Circle of Blue contributor
Nick is interested in the social and political instability caused by growing global resource scarcity. He is also the director of communication at On the Ground, an international aid and development NGO that supports sustainable community development in farming regions.