The Stream, May 30: Taps Run Dry in Shimla, India, After Months of Negligible Rainfall

The Global Rundown

All water sources in the town of Shimla, India, have run dry, leaving the town without water for more than a week. A recent study finds that taller, older forests in the Amazon are better at withstanding dry spells. New research shows that mosquitoes bite more during droughts, heightening the spread of mosquito-borne diseases. Eight regions in China pledge to crack down on air, water, and soil pollution after government probes discover a variety of violations. As drought withers wheat across the U.S. Plains, farmers begin planting cotton instead.

“There is no water in the area for the last one week. The residents were told that supply would be restored on Sunday but nothing happened. The people are agitated about the (government) inaction.” –Sushma Kuthiala, an Indian Congressional councilor, in reference to taps running dry in the tourist town of Shimla, India, where winter and spring precipitation was well below average. Most parts of the city have been without water for nine days, forcing residents to buy trucked-in water at steep prices. The Hindustan Times

Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue

What’s Up With Water – May 28, 2018 – “What’s Up With Water” condenses the need-to-know news on the world’s water into a weekly snapshot. Coverage this week includes: closure of a water-polluting copper plant in India, possible water shortages in England, and water contamination from oil spills in Nigeria.

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By The Numbers

8 Number of Chinese regions committed to cracking down on water, air, and soil contamination after government probes discovered thousands of pollution violations. A second round of government inspections will begin early next year. Reuters

130,000 acres Amount of cotton set to be planted in Kansas, a record-high for the state. Other states, such as Oklahoma and Georgia, are increasing their cotton output as well. The shift toward drought-resistant cotton comes during an ongoing dry spell, which is parching traditional crops such as wheat. Reuters

Science, Studies, And Reports

A recent study by Columbia University found that taller, older Amazon forests are more resistant to dry spells. According to researchers, forests taller than 30 meters were less sensitive to changes in precipitation, and were able to access soil moisture more easily due to older, deeper root systems. These ancient forests play a key role in regulating the climate. Science Daily

On The Radar

Female mosquitoes need blood to reproduce, but they may also use it to stay hydrated, according to a study by the University of Cincinnati. Researchers found that the frequency of mosquito bites increases during droughts. The findings, they say, could help fight outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria, Zika, and the West Nile virus. U.S. News & World Report

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