The Stream, October 25: Israel Remains Water Stressed Despite Government’s Efforts

The Global Rundown

Despite extensive measures to improve water security, prolonged drought threatens Israel’s water supply. Droughts wipes out enough crops to feed over 80 million people every day for a year, according to a World Bank report. Following months of flooding, six villages in Bihar, India, experiment with improved methods of flood insurance. Chinese scientists develop a strain of rice capable of growing in salt water, an agricultural breakthrough that could feed millions. In Michigan, a Detroit water main break upsets water supply and halts hospital operations.

“No one imagined we would face a sequence of arid years like this, because it never happened before.” –Uri Schor, a spokesman for Israel’s Water Authority, in reference to four years of drought that have left the country water-stressed despite the government’s best efforts. Sustained drought has overtaxed the country’s array of desalination and wastewater treatment plants. Reuters

In context: Israel’s Mediterranean desalination plants shift regional water balance.

By The Numbers

17 million Number of people in Bihar, India, who were affected by flooding in August and September, including countless farmers. In response to the devastation, the Sri-Lanka based International Water Management Institute (IWMI) plans to pilot a new flood insurance project which will insure 200 farmers in six villages. The project aims to bring greater speed and accuracy to flood insurance, which has proved ineffective for many farmers in the past. Reuters

81 million Number of people who could hypothetically be fed every day for a year with the crops that are destroyed by droughts. The World Bank, which published this estimate, described drought as a poverty trap with “shockingly large and often hidden” impacts. Reuters

Science, Studies, And Reports

Researchers in China claim they have reached a major agricultural breakthrough following the development of several commercially-viable rice strains that can grow in salt water. If successful, saltwater cultivation could boost China’s total rice yield by 20 percent, providing food for 200 million citizens. The Independent

On The Radar

A water main break in Farmington Hills, Michigan, has prompted a boil water advisory for a dozen different Detroit communities. Two area hospitals canceled elective surgeries and transferred some patients due to limited water resources caused by the water main break. The Great Lakes Water Authority hopes to resolve the situation by Thursday or Friday. CBS News