The Stream, May 24: England Could Face Major Water Shortages Due to Leaks, Overuse, and Climate Change

The Global Rundown

England’s Environment Agency warns that the country could see significant water shortages by the 2050s. The replacement GRACE satellites, which monitor changes in the earth’s water and ice, launch from California. Colombia evacuates nearly 5,000 people amid fears that the Ituango Dam could overflow. The U.S. EPA bars reporters from the second day of a conference on perfluorinated chemicals. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, officials and developers in Houston, Texas, debate where to build new homes.

“So much of Houston was built before we knew what we know today. And the weather is changing.” –Carol Ellinger Haddock, director of public works in Houston, Texas, in reference to the high risk of flooding in many of the city’s neighborhoods. Following Hurricane Harvey, which inundated the city with four feet of rain last August, local officials are struggling to balance development and flood protection in the fast-growing city. The Washington Post

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HotSpots H2O, May 21: Drought, Then Floods, Destabilize KenyaIn recent years, water shortages have caused a variety of conflicts in Kenya. Now, deadly flooding could further destabilize the country.

By The Numbers

3 billion litres Water that is lost each day through leaky pipes in England. According to the country’s Environment Agency, England is taking water from the environment at an unsustainable rate, and then losing a third of it to leaks and household waste. These factors, combined with climate change and population growth, could lead to significant water shortages by the 2050s. The Guardian

4,985 Number of people who were evacuated downstream of the Ituango Dam in northern Colombia. Problems with the dam’s filling mechanisms and tunnels are raising fears of a dam break as heavy rains increase water levels in the area. The New York Times

Science, Studies, And Reports

The replacement GRACE satellites, jointly funded by the U.S. and Germany, launched Tuesday from Vandenberg Air Force Base, in California. The satellites will monitor changes in Earth’s water and ice. Their predecessors, which stopped working last year, began gathering data in 2002. BBC

On The Radar

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) blocked reporters from the second day of a summit on perfluorinated chemicals in Washington D.C. Initially, reporters were banned from the first day of the conference as well, a decision which the EPA reversed during the afternoon session. The summit, which ran from May 22 to 23, focused on the EPA’s “actions to date and path forward on PFOA/PFAS.”  The Hill

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