The Stream, June 8: Dramatic Flood Increases Expected For U.S. Coastal Cities

The Global Rundown

Major cities along the coasts of the United States could see a dramatic rise in the frequency of 100-year flood events by mid-century, new research found. The secretary-general of the United Nations called on member countries to increase cooperation on transboundary water issues. Qatar is looking to secure water and food supplies from Turkey and Iran as it faces diplomatic breakdowns in the Middle East. The president of Turkmenistan has suggested that subsidies for water are “ineffective”. A public hearing on the Keystone XL oil pipeline in Nebraska showed an even split between supporters and opponents over water concerns. Heavy rains in South Africa will not end a drought in Cape Town, officials warned.

“Water, peace and security are inextricably linked…I commend this Security Council meeting for highlighting how water is and should remain a reason for cooperation not conflict.” –António Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations, calling on the UN Security Council to work together on transboundary water issues to “ensure water is shared equitably and used sustainably.” (UN News Centre)

By The Numbers

50 percent Proportion of testifiers who opposed the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline at a public hearing in Omaha, Nebraska. Most opposed to the line were ranchers, farmers, and environmentalists concerned about the potential pollution of aquifers. Nebraska is a key battleground for final approval of the line’s route. Omaha World-Herald

250 liters Amount of water, per day, that Turkmenistan subsidizes for its citizens. The country’s president has called subsidies for water, gas, and electricity “ineffective,” putting their future in question. Deutsche Welle

Science, Studies, And Reports

By mid-century, a 100-year flood could occur annually in San Francisco and Seattle, and 10 or more times per year in San Diego and Key West, Florida, according to a study by researchers at Princeton and Rutgers universities that evaluated flood risks under climate change. Overall, the average risk of 100-year floods would increase 40-fold in U.S. coastal areas. Guardian

In context: Interactive Map: U.S. Cities Acting Now to Reduce Water Risk from Climate Change.

On The Radar

Qatar is talking with Iran and Turkey to import water and food supplies, according to an official. The country is scrambling to secure resources amid a diplomatic breakdown with the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Reuters

Officials in South Africa warned residents of Cape Town that a recent rainstorm would not end a drought emergency and that it could take months to refill the city’s reservoirs. The usable amount of water in the reservoirs is currently below 10 percent. Eyewitness News

In context: To avoid drought calamity, Cape Town restricts water use.