The Stream, August 14: Malaysia Threatens 10-Fold Price Increase in Water Sold to Singapore

The Global Rundown

Malaysia’s prime minister suggests that the country may raise the price of water sold to Singapore by ten-fold in order to pay off debts. The death toll from last week’s earthquake in Lombok, Indonesia, rises above 430. Failing harvests in Afghanistan heighten food insecurity. Kerala, India, places districts on high alert as deadly monsoon rains continue. A NASA study finds that drought impedes the Amazon rainforest’s ability to absorb carbon dioxide. PFAS contamination is found in an increasing number of water systems across the United States.

“They knew they had seeped into the water, and they didn’t tell anybody about it until it was revealed and they had to.” –Lauren Woeher, a Pennsylvania resident, speaking on PFAS contamination in her city’s water system. From 2013 to 2015, EPA testing revealed dangerous levels of PFAS in water supplies in 33 U.S. states, and the chemicals, which are linked to cancer and other illnesses, continue to turn up across the country. Experts say that the EPA must focus on both cleaning up current contamination and regulating new versions of the chemicals. NOLA

In context: Nonstick Chemicals Slipped Into Water, Causing Health, Environmental, Regulatory Mess.

Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue

What’s Up With Water – August 13, 2018 – “What’s Up With Water” condenses the need-to-know news on the world’s water into a weekly snapshot. Coverage this week includes: severe drought in Australia, extreme heat in Europe, and Israel’s changing water strategy.

HotSpots H2O, August 13: Intercommunal Violence Escalates in Ethiopia, Displacing One Million PeopleSince April, intercommunal violence has flared in Ethiopia’s Gedeo and West Guji zones, displacing an estimated one million people. The cause of the violence is unclear, but long-time regional tensions over land and water may be partially to blame.

By The Numbers

2.5 million tonnes Amount that Afghanistan’s 2018 wheat yield is expected to fall below average. After a dry winter, spring, and summer, the country is facing a major shortfall in its staple crops, threatening more than 2 million people with food insecurity. Already, some farmers have resorted to eating seeds that were meant to be planted in the next harvest. Al Jazeera

430 Death toll from a 6.9 magnitude earthquake that rocked Lombok, Indonesia, on August 5. Officials say that the death toll will continue to increase, especially as aid workers gain access to isolated communities. Many Lombok residents are still in urgent need of drinking water, food, and medicine. Al Jazeera

Science, Studies, And Reports

A recent NASA study found that even one year of drought can upset the Amazon rainforest’s ability to absorb carbon dioxide. With adequate rainfall, the rainforest acts as a ‘carbon sink,’ meaning it pulls more carbon from the air than it puts back into it. After a dry spell, however, this capacity can be reduced for years, even if rains return. NASA

On The Radar

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said that the country intends to raise the price of water sold to neighboring Singapore by at least ten times, citing the need to pay off large debts. Current prices are based on a controversial, decades-old treaty between the two island nations. The Seattle Times

Spotlight: India

Follow The Stream for daily coverage on India’s water crisis.

Eight of fourteen districts in southern India’s Kerala state have been put on high alert as deadly monsoon floods continue to displace thousands. At least 34 people have been killed in what officials say is the worst flooding since 1924. Reuters

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