The Stream, December 20: Karachi, Pakistan Gripped by Water Shortages as “Mafia” Steals the City’s Water Supply

The Global Rundown

Niagara Falls may receive $20 million to replace its aging sewage treatment plant, which overflowed multiple times this year. Drought threatens to devastate South Africa’s 2018 wine harvest. Residents of Karachi, Pakistan, struggle to get water as the water mafia sells nearly half of the city’s supply. A French company lobbies to take control of the water system in Baltimore, Maryland. A recent report documents the difficulties faced by female farmers in parched Arizona.

“It feels like Christmas today.” –Daniel O’Callaghan, Chairman of the Niagara Falls Water Board, in reference to a proposal by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to spend $20 million on improving the Niagara Falls Wastewater Treatment Facility. The aging sewage plant released stinky black discharge into the area’s water multiple times over the summer. ABC News

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By The Numbers

42 percent Proportion of water in Karachi, Pakistan, that is stolen as it is pumped in from the Indus River. The “mafia” steals the water and sells it to many of Karachi’s 20 million residents. Several poor households have been forced to spend up to a third of their monthly income on the commodified water. Al Jazeera

3.9 percent Proportion of the world’s wine that is produced in South Africa. The 2018 harvest is expected to be the smallest yield in over a decade as drought grips the country. Reuters

In context: Without water, South Africa anticipates a mammoth crop failure.

Science, Studies, And Reports

A recent report details the challenges faced by female farmers in Arizona, who make up 45 percent of principal and secondary farm operators in the state. After years of discrimination in agriculture, these farmers are now struggling to keep their farms afloat amid growing water scarcity. The Guardian

On The Radar

In Baltimore, Maryland, lobbyists have been urging City Council members to allow the French company Suez Environment to take control of the city’s water system. The takeover would produce a public-private partnership, where the facilities would be owned by the city but operated by Suez. Baltimore Sun

In context: Baltimore city council to introduce water affordability package in 2018.