The Stream, April 26: Two Kenyan Dams Near Overflowing After Heavy Rains, Threatening Thousands

The Global Rundown

Two dams in Kenya are on the verge of overflowing after heavy rains. A study finds that the thinning of trees in California saved billions of gallons of water from being evaporated into the atmosphere. Water stress deepens across India, where more than 150 million people lack access to clean water. Louisiana restructures its water management plans in preparation for rising sea levels and increased flooding. Australian lawmakers call for an urgent investigation into $180m Murray-Darling basin water buybacks.

“The analysis and reports allege that the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, which manages the purchase of water, significantly overpaid vendors for water in the Warrego catchment, Tandou and the Condamine-Balonne Valley.” –Rex Patrick, an Australian politician, in reference to three water rights buybacks totaling $180m. A group of lawmakers is requesting an urgent investigation into the buybacks, which took place in 2017 as part of the Murray-Darling basin plan. The Guardian

Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue

What’s Up With Water – April 23, 2018 – “What’s Up With Water” condenses the need-to-know news on the world’s water into a snapshot for the start of the workweek. Listen to this week’s edition to hear coverage fracking in Australia, the decline of water privatization in Europe, and efforts by the U.S. Air Force to remediate water pollution in Colorado.

HotSpots H2O, April 23: Spotlight on South Sudan  – Conflict with anti-government rebels has aggravated water shortages in a country where public services are already in short supply.

By The Numbers

163 million Number of people in India who do not have access to clean water close to their homes. Population growth, climate change, water mismanagement, and river-sharing disputes are putting increasing stress on the country’s resources. Reuters

In context: Choke Point: India.

200,000 Number of people who have been displaced by recent flooding in Kenya. Two large dams in the country are on the verge of overflowing amid heavy rains, potentially endangering the lives of thousands more Kenyans. BBC

Science, Studies, And Reports

A report by the National Science Foundation claims that fire-thinned forests in California’s Sierra Nevada forests saved more than 20 billion gallons of water annually between 1990 and 2008. Trees suck in groundwater and release it into the atmosphere, a process called evapotranspiration. According to scientists, too much evapotranspiration affects California’s water resources, especially during hot, dry periods. In recent decades, the rate of evapotranspiration has fallen, largely due to the thinning of forests by wildfires. Science Daily

On The Radar

Lawmakers, community developers, and researchers in Louisiana are crafting improved water management plans for New Orleans and surrounding coastal areas. The Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan addresses issues such as flooding, ground subsidence, and stormwater removal. The state is also developing a Coastal Master Plan, intended to preserve Louisiana’s fragile coastline. Reuters

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