The Stream, November 13: Drought, Wind, Driving California’s Unchecked Wildfires

The Global Rundown

Drought and wind are key drivers behind California’s growing wildfires, scientists say. A United States judge halts construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. Millions of people across the Caribbean may face food insecurity due to drought. Tumbling water levels in Germany’s Rhine River impact worldwide fuel markets. Hot, dry weather increases water disputes in Central Asia.

“During the summer time, there are daily conflicts over irrigation water. They are usually between villages, sometimes inter-ethnic and people have killed each other over irrigation water.” –Tynar Musabaev, executive director of the Central Asian Alliance for Water, in reference to water disputes between residents of Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. The three countries share the fertile Fergana Valley, but recent drought has complicated water-sharing in the valley. Reuters

Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue

What’s Up With Water – November 12, 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: Last month’s water tanker strike in Chennai, India, and an environmental lawsuit in Ecuador.

HotSpots H2O, November 12: Three-Day Tanker Strike Reveals Water Tensions in Chennai, IndiaPrompted by a court ruling restricting their access to groundwater, private water tankers in Chennai went on strike in October, a move that impacted thousands of businesses and homes.

By The Numbers

2 million Residents of the Caribbean region who faced food insecurity and shortages during the 2013-2016 Pan-Caribbean drought. Although rainfall has improved in recent years, the impact of the drought still lingers in some areas, and meteorologists predict that hot, dry conditions will continue to hurt agriculture in coming decades. Science Daily

1,180 miles (1,900 kilometers) Proposed length of the $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring crude oil from Canada to the United States. A U.S. judge in Montana blocked construction of the controversial pipeline, citing environmental concerns.The U.S. State Department is currently reviewing the judge’s decision. Reuters

In context: Water and climate safety, finance security, drive Keystone XL conflict.

Science, Studies, And Reports

Scientists say that wind and drought are key components in California’s worsening wildfires but not poor forest management, contrary to claims made by U.S. President Donald Trump over the weekend. Several severe fires are blazing, uncontained, across the state. The blazes have left 31 dead and hundreds missing in recent days. The New York Times

On The Radar

Water levels in Germany’s Rhine River continue to drop, disrupting the transporting of coal, steel, grains, and fuel. As winter begins, some countries have begun importing fuel from as far away as Singapore, where prices are far lower. According to meteorologists, the low water levels could last into January. Reuters

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