HotSpots H2O, January 9: Somalia’s Instability Intensifies Amid Four Years of Failed Rains

The Global Rundown

Somalia experiences its fourth consecutive failed rainy season, exacerbating the country’s instability. The U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments over two water disputes. Fighting flares in northern Syria, jeopardizing access to water and sanitation. India’s Madras High Court reviews a decades-long water-sharing conflict. In war-torn Yemen, scientists test a satellite-based method for predicting cholera outbreaks.

“The United Nations reminds all parties to the conflict of the legal obligation to take constant care to spare civilians and civilian objects.” — Farhan Haq, UN deputy spokesman, in reference to an upsurge of violence in northern Syria. Hospitals and civilian infrastructure have been targeted, complicating access to water, sanitation, and healthcare. UN News Centre

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By The Numbers

4 Number of consecutive failed rainy seasons in Somalia. Rainfall was expected to bring drought relief in the last three months of 2017, but the country experienced only light showers. The ongoing drought and famine in Somalia are exacerbating the region’s conflict and instability. Relief Web

50 years Length of time since the Thirumoorthy dam was built in Tamil Nadu, India. For decades, local farmers have squabbled over allocating water released from the dam. The Madras High Court will hear the long-standing dispute on February 1. The Hindu

Science, Studies, And Reports

A team of scientists have developed a satellite-based method of predicting cholera outbreaks, which they successfully used to forecast a spike in Yemen’s cholera epidemic. In order to make predictions, satellites monitor temperatures, water storage, precipitation, and land. The information is processed in an algorithm to determine areas most at risk for an outbreak. PBS

On The Radar

Oral arguments over two water disputes began yesterday before the U.S. Supreme Court. The first pits Texas against Colorado and New Mexico in a conflict over the Rio Grande. The second dispute deals with Florida’s accusation that Georgia is taking too much of the water flowing from the Blue Ridge Mountains. The Washington Post