The Global Rundown
New rivers appear unexpectedly across Argentina, likely due to deforestation and increasing rainfall. Radioactive contamination in Russia’s Techa River dirties the water supply of thousands. Environmentalists warn that coal mining may be impacting the quality of drinking water in Sydney, Australia. Damage to an old pipeline in Thessaloniki, Greece, leaves large sections of the city without water for nearly a week. China commits to spending nearly $300 million on irrigation in southern Xinjiang. Day Zero fears continue to subside in Cape Town after impressive water-saving by the city’s residents.
“It’s been phenomenal. People are proud of what they’ve achieved. The mindset has changed. I think people have been quite empowered to find that they’re capable of living with so much less water without being dramatically impacted.” –Martine Visser, director of the Environmental Policy Research Unit at the University of Cape Town, in reference to water-saving efforts by residents of the city. Data shows that high-income families cut their average water use by 80 percent, while low-income families reduced usage by 40 percent. According to Visser, careful enforcement of water restrictions played a key role in limiting consumption. Los Angeles Times
Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue
What’s Up With Water – April 2, 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 on drought-driven migration in India, water shortages in Mozambique, and the role of water in Iran’s ongoing protests.
HotSpots H2O, April 2: Spotlight on Afghanistan – Fighting has damaged infrastructure and driven numerous Afghans from their homes. At the same time, changes in water availability are spurring more conflict in Afghanistan.
By The Numbers
1.875 billion yuan ($298.92 million) Amount that the Chinese government plans to spend on irrigation improvements in Xinjiang, a huge region bordering Central Asia. Xinjiang is notorious for bouts of ethnic violence, which the government believes are partially linked to a lack of economic development. Reuters
1.2 million Population of Thessaloniki, Greece, which has been without water since Tuesday, March 27, due to pipeline damage. Officials say the aging pipeline has been repaired, but water service will resume slowly throughout the city. The New York Times
Science, Studies, And Reports
Environmentalists fear that coal mining near Sydney, Australia, is beginning to affect the region’s catchments, which provide drinking water to 4 million people. An independent analysis of Sydney’s catchments found “an emerging issue of unquantified loss of surface flows” associated with underground coal mining. There is also concern that some mines are leaking contaminants into the environment. Al Jazeera
On The Radar
New waterways are appearing overnight in Argentina’s crop-growing regions. According to environmentalists, the phenomenon is likely due to clearing forest land to plant soya beans. Unlike deep-rooted forest, soya beans have short roots, which has caused the region’s aquifer to rise. In turn, the area’s permeable soil has begun to collapse, forming channels and ravines. Years of above-average rainfall have also contributed to the new waterways. The Guardian
Russia’s Techa River, polluted by Soviet-era radioactive contamination from the Mayak Nuclear Plant, feeds into a water system that serves hundreds of thousands of people. Although the Mayak Plant claims they now comply with all relevant safety guidelines, there are concerns that the plant continues to dump nuclear waste into the waterway. Al Jazeera
Kayla Ritter is a recent graduate of Michigan State University, where she studied International Relations and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. She is currently based in Manton, Michigan. Kayla enjoys running, writing, and traveling. Contact Kayla Ritter