The Stream, June 16: Lima, Peru Outlines Big Plans For Water Supply Projects

The Global Rundown

Officials in Peru say they are looking to finance billions of dollars in water projects to boost supplies in the capital, Lima. Large dams and other man-made water projects often improve water security upstream, but move water scarcity downstream, according to a new study. The energy contained in London’s sewers could provide one-third of the city’s annual heating requirements, industry groups say. A wet spring has brought Lake Michigan to its highest level in 20 years, raising concerns about erosion. A corruption investigation has forced the suspension of the chief executive of Umgeni Water, the primary water supplier for South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province. Scientists in California found that seasonal shifts in water weight can influence the frequency of earthquakes.

“It cannot be that just one person is doing something alone in corruption. There are always more and we are saying that these people must be brought to task.” –Edwin Mkhize, provincial secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, referring to an alleged corruption scandal at Umgeni Water, which supplies water in KwaZulu-Natal province. The chief executive of Umgeni Water was suspended this week pending further investigation. (News24)

By The Numbers

1/3 of London’s annual heating requirements could be met by capturing the energy in its sewer system, according to the Scottish Renewables trade association and the Scottish Water utility. According to some estimates, one liter of wastewater can provide almost 6 watt-hours of heat. Bloomberg

0.45 meters Height above the long-term average that water levels in Lake Michigan could reach this month, the highest in 20 years. The rising water has resurfaced concerns about the erosion of lakefront properties. Chicago Tribune

Science, Studies, And Reports

While large dams and other man-made interventions can benefit water users upstream, they can also exacerbate shortages downstream — effectively causing water scarcity to migrate from one area of a river basin to the next, according to a study published in the journal Nature Communications. The study concludes that these types of interventions, which also include land use change and human water use, have increased water scarcity for 8.8 percent of the global population, while they have alleviated water scarcity for 8.3 percent of the population. New Scientist

Seasonal fluctuations in rainfall and snowpack can influence the frequency of earthquake activity along faults in California, according to a study published in the journal Science. The researchers found that seismic activity responded to shifts in water weight, with some faults becoming more or less active during wet springs or dry summers. Science

On The Radar

Sedapal, the water utility serving Lima, Peru, plans to secure $6.1 billion in financing next year for water projects, including dams and tunnels to transfer water from the east side of the Andes to the capital city. The projects are part of an ambitious plan to provide drinking water to all of Lima’s 10 million residents. Bloomberg

In context: Growth in Lima, Peru’s capital, served without water.