The Stream, March 13: Public Protest Against Singapore Water Rate Increases

The Global Rundown

At least 100 people protested proposed water rate increases in Singapore, saying living costs are already too high. The United Nations asked for billions of dollars to respond to conflicts and droughts that have triggered the world’s largest humanitarian crisis in seven decades. Water utilities in New Zealand are struggling to repair water systems in Wellington and Auckland, where infrastructure has been compromised by earthquakes and storms, respectively. Local environmental activists in Myanmar are working with youth groups to save Inle Lake, which is threatened by deforestation and development. A photojournalism project documents the differences in water use in communities around the developed and developing world.

“I turn on the tap; water comes out. When you work with people who have to collect that water, you really feel the value of that resource. You actually feel it: It’s really heavy to carry.” –Photographer Ashley Gilbertson, commenting on his project to document the daily water usage of families around the world. The project also highlights the disparity between men and women in regard to water collection. (National Geographic)

By The Numbers

1.5 million liters Amount of water leaking daily from water pipes in Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, since the city was hit by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake in November. Meanwhile, residents of Auckland are under water use restrictions until the end of the month after heavy storms washed silt into reservoirs, putting stress on water treatment systems. Radio New Zealand ; New Zealand Herald

100 people Number in Singapore who participated in a protest against planned water rate increases that are meant to fund recycled water and desalination systems. The protesters said the rate increases add yet another burden to residents who already contend with the city’s high cost of living. Reuters

In context: Learn how Singapore turns wastewater into drinking water.

Science, Studies, And Reports

The United Nations is asking for $4.4 billion by July to respond to the “largest humanitarian crisis” the world has seen since 1945. Multiple conflicts and droughts have severely strained food security across Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen, putting 20 million people at risk. Without urgent humanitarian funding and intervention, United Nations officials say famine and starvation will occur. Associated Press

On The Radar

Deforestation, changing rainfall patterns, and invasive species all threaten the future of Inle Lake, the second largest lake in Myanmar. Local activists, however, hope their work with youth groups will bring attention to the lake’s importance and fragility. PRI’s The World