The Stream, June 6: As Tigris River Falls, Turkey Assures Iraq That Ilisu Dam Won’t Cut Off Water Supply

The Global Rundown

As Turkey begins filling an upstream reservoir, the country assures Iraq that it will not cut off water supplies to the Tigris River. India aims to cut heat wave deaths with “common sense” policies, including free water. Pumping groundwater can lead to heightened arsenic levels in irrigation and drinking water, a new study finds. Residents of the Balkans protest against the region’s “dam tsunami.” Climate change and poor management sap water from a once-lush oasis in southeastern Morocco.

“There was plenty of water and grass. People used to own herds of goats. There were a lot of palm and date trees.” –Halim Sbai, a resident of the oasis of M’hamid El Ghizlane in Morocco, in reference to the transformation of the oasis. A few decades ago, the area was lush and green, but climate change and poor water management have the oasis mostly arid. As the oasis dries, many residents are moving to urban areas, exacerbating the desertification. Al Jazeera

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HotSpots H2O, June 4: Thousands Go Thirsty as Fighting Halts Desalination in Derna, LibyaFighting in Derna, Libya, reached “unprecedented levels” in recent weeks, leaving thousands of residents without water, food, and medicine.

By The Numbers

3,000 Number of hydropower plants that are planned in the Balkans, as of 2017. Many of the dams aim to meet renewable energy goals, but also raise flooding risks and pose a threat to river ecosystems. In some Bosnian villages, local protesters and environmentalists are blocking heavy equipment from accessing dam construction sites. Reuters

25,000 Number of Indians who have died from heat waves since 1992, including 2,040 in 2015. As scorching temperatures grip the country yet again, officials are employing low-cost, “common sense” measures, including educational campaigns and free water, in hopes of eliminating heat wave deaths. The Guardian

Science, Studies, And Reports

Heavy pumping from aquifers in the San Joaquin Valley has caused the ground to sink several inches each year. According to researchers at Stanford University, this land subsidence is allowing arsenic to leach into groundwater. Overpumping an aquifer, researchers say, can unleash dangerous arsenic in clays, contaminating irrigation and drinking water. Science Daily

In context: Sinking land crushes California groundwater storage capacity.

On The Radar

Turkey began filling the reservoir behind its Ilisu Dam on June 1, causing water levels in parts of the Tigris River to drop significantly. The Turkish ambassador to Baghdad, however, has assured Iraqis that the dam won’t cut off their water supply from the Tigris River, and that Turkey will release “sufficient quantities of water” to the downstream country. The New York Times

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