The Stream, March 27: New Mexico Oil Boom Raises Risk of Water Contamination

The Global Rundown

Increased fracking in New Mexico raises fears of water contamination. Afghanistan faces water shortages as the glaciers of the Hindu Kush mountain range melt. Wales announces a major flood and coastal erosion defense program. A group of sawmillers in Victoria, Australia, call for access to national parks and water catchments. A UN report shows that human activities are leading to a decline in biodiversity, which impacts the world’s water, food, and energy supplies. Conservationists warn that raising the Warragamba dam in New South Wales, Australia, would flood dozens of Aboriginal heritage sites.

“Conditions here are unique. The volumes of water the industry uses are so prolific. The disposal problems are more pronounced. The potential for something to go wrong is higher.” –Ed Martin, assistant commissioner in the New Mexico State Land Office, in reference to recent oil boom in the state. New wells are being drilled at a record pace, raising the likelihood of a toxic spill that could quickly contaminate thousands of acres of underground aquifers. Los Angeles Times

Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue

What’s Up With Water – March 26, 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 Hurricane Harvey’s toxic effects, the lack of safe water in Kenya, and water sustainability in Viet Nam.

HotSpots H2O, March 26: Spotlight on the Water Crisis in Gaza  – The Gaza Strip may soon be unlivable, largely due to the territory’s devastated water supply.

By The Numbers

50 Number of recognized Aboriginal heritage sites that would be flooded if New South Wales’ Warragamba dam was raised, according to conservationists. In 2016, the New South Wales government announced plans to raise the dam by 14 metres to help prevent flooding in outer-western Sydney. Critics of the plan argue that raising the dam will wipe out cultural sites and endangered plant species in the Blue Mountains heritage area. The Guardian

£56 million ($79.7 million) Amount of funding that Wales is dedicating to a flood and coastal erosion defense program. The program will implement “major schemes” in eight areas that are at high risk of flooding. BBC

Science, Studies, And Reports

Human activities are causing a decline in the variety of plant and animal life on Earth, according to more than 550 experts in a set of reports approved by 129 governments. The UN-backed study warned that diminishing biodiversity will jeopardize clean water, food, and energy supplies in coming decades. Reuters

On The Radar

The Hindu Kush mountain range is one of Afghanistan’s key water sources, but rapidly melting glaciers are upsetting the war-torn country’s water supply. The water crisis has left a majority of Afghans without clean drinking water, and the situation is set to worsen as temperatures in the region continue to rise. Al Jazeera

A group of six sawmillers in Victoria, Australia, claim that the state’s national parks and water catchments should be opened up for sustainable logging. The Victorian cabinet meets this week to discuss the future of the state’s timber industry. The Guardian

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