The Stream, June 26: Venezuela Military Seizes Key Caracas Water Points, Forces Residents to Pay for Water

The Global Rundown

The Venezuelan army seizes control of major water points in the capital Caracas and forces residents to pay for water. Workers rush to contain a crude oil spill in Iowa’s Rock River before it contaminates drinking water. The United Kingdom plans to examine the water footprint of the country’s “fast fashion” industry. China temporarily shuts down a popular lakeside tourist destination due to water quality issues. Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad looks to renegotiate a decades-old water agreement with Singapore.

“It’s an ugly situation that keeps getting uglier. The little one cries when I pour the bucket of cold water on him, but at least we still get something. My family that lives higher up the mountain hasn’t had water in months.” –Odalys Duque, a resident of Venezuela’s Petare slum, in reference to a military takeover of key water points in the country’s capital Caracas. Water in the socialist nation is supposed to cost almost nothing, but the army has seized access points and commandeered water trucks, cutting off supply to many and forcing others to pay steep prices. Bloomberg

In context: Venezuela drought aggravates instability.

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By The Numbers

230,000 gallons Amount of crude oil spilled into Iowa’s Rock River after a freight train derailed on Friday. Workers are rushing to contain the spill amid fears that it could contaminate drinking water in Omaha, Nebraska, which lies 150 miles downstream. Reuters

40 million Number of tourists who visited China’s Erhai Lake in 2016. Last year, the government ordered a temporary shutdown of businesses on the lake as untreated sewage and an algal bloom tainted the area’s once-pristine waters. Restaurants and hotels, which were ordered to undergo environmental inspections, remain shuttered as clean-up efforts continue. Al Jazeera

Science, Studies, And Reports

British lawmakers plan to investigate the environmental impact of the United Kingdom’s “throwaway” fashion industry, which experts say is wasting valuable resources and causing heavy carbon pollution. The industry makes billions of cheap, quick turnover clothing items each year, a practice which has an enormous water and carbon footprint. The Guardian

On The Radar

Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad hopes to renegotiate a 1962 water-sharing agreement which allows Singapore to draw more than half of its water from Malaysia at a fixed price. Singapore is resistant to any changes, saying that both sides must continue to “fully comply” with the existing agreement. The New York Times

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