The Stream, January 4: Bolivia Drought Hinders Schools, Hospitals

The Global Rundown

A severe drought in Bolivia is forcing schools to close early and is limiting medical procedures at hospitals in La Paz. The snowpack survey in California is below average, but more winter storms are on the way. A start-up incubator in California is calling for new ideas to confront water scarcity around the globe. Donald Trump’s administration could pave the way for more water privatization in the United States. Snowfall and high water levels may create dangerous flood conditions near camps set up to protest the Dakota Access oil pipeline in North Dakota, according to the state’s governor.

“Trump’s plan and the water industry’s policy wish list both risk delaying water infrastructure repair and expansion where it is most needed. Both prioritize profit over people’s access to water, neglecting those projects not likely to provide economic returns.” –Kelle Louaillier, president of Corporate Accountability International, expressing concern that the Trump administration could open the door for the privatization of more municipal water systems in the United States. (The Hill)

In context: Learn about the pros and cons of one of the world’s most extensive urban water privatization projects in Manila, the capital of the Philippines.

By The Numbers

70 percent of average Latest statewide snowpack measurement in California, which relies on snowfall for much of its water supply. A series of incoming winter storms could soon boost that amount and help provide drought relief. Los Angeles Times

10 percent of normal Amount of rainfall received so far this season in La Paz, Bolivia. A severe drought in the city has interrupted water supplies, school schedules, and medical services, and officials warn it could last through the end of the year. Associated Press

Science, Studies, And Reports

The start-up incubator Y Combinator, based in California, announced a request Tuesday for start-up companies that focus specifically on solutions to water scarcity. “We’re close to a tipping point where technology will let us make clean water extremely abundant and cheap,” it said, calling for ideas ranging from “lower-cost desalination plants, novel purification technologies, smart irrigation systems, mechanisms to reduce water usage, or something completely different.” CNN / Y Combinator

On The Radar

Heavy snowfall and “historic data on the Cannonball River” could lead to dangerous flooding this spring near a camp set up by demonstrators who are protesting the Dakota Access oil pipeline, according to the governor of North Dakota. The governor asked the remaining camp inhabitants to leave during his State of the State address on Tuesday. Reuters