The Stream, May 11: Dam Bursts in Kenyan Town, Killing 47 in a ‘Sea of Water’

The Global Rundown

A dam in Kenya’s Rift Valley bursts after weeks of heavy rain, killing at least 47 people. Puerto Rico rations water, food, and other supplies in preparation for the Atlantic hurricane season. Mexico and the U.S. states of Arizona and Nevada are likely to see cutbacks in water supply from the Colorado River by 2020. California secures another $650 million in funding for its Delta tunnels project. The Middle East’s first water-saving vertical farm opens in Dubai.

“It was a sea of water. My neighbor was killed when the water smashed through the wall of his house. He was blind so he could not run. They found his body in the morning. My other neighbors also died. All our houses have been ruined.” –Veronica Wanjiku Ngigi, a resident of Solai, Kenya, in reference to the devastation that occurred after a dam burst late Wednesday night. The dam cracked following two days of severe rain, releasing a torrent of water that inundated two villages and left at least 47 people dead. Reuters

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What’s Up With Water – May 7, 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 flash floods in Somalia, rising dam levels in Cape Town, and water stress in Los Angeles, California.

By The Numbers

$16.7 billion Total amount needed to fund California’s controversial Delta tunnels project. This week, the Santa Clara Valley Water District committed $650 million in funding to the project, adding to the $10.8 billion pledged by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California last month. The Sacramento Bee

10 percent Proportion of water used by vertical farms compared to open-field farming. Saudi Arabian entrepreneur Omar Al Jundi  recently launched the Middle East’s first vertical farm in Dubai, U.A.E. The innovative farm grows plants such as kale, basil, and arugula in a controlled indoor environment. Al Jundi hopes that vertical farms will bring sustainable agriculture to the arid region. Reuters

Science, Studies, And Reports

A report by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation warns that the prolonged drought could cut Colorado River water supplies. Projections show a 52 percent chance that water levels in the river’s largest reservoir could fall low enough in 2020 to trigger cutbacks to Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada. The cutbacks, which are governed by a Colorado River water-sharing agreement, become even more likely in 2021 and 2022. The New York Times

On The Radar

Puerto Rico is stockpiling food, water, generators, radios, and other supplies in preparation for the Atlantic hurricane season. The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) says the island now has enough space to store 10 million liters of water, compared with the 800,000 liters that were stored prior to Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island in September 2017. The New York Times

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