The Stream, November 6: Hundreds of Tons of Fish “Annihilated” in Euphrates River

The Global Rundown

Water pollution is suspected as the cause of a massive fish die-off near Baghdad, Iraq. A water shutoff continues to impact millions in Mexico City, Mexico, after a shifted water line delayed completion of repairs. Ecuador faces a lawsuit after exploration by mining companies leads to water contamination. Israel hopes desalination will save the receding Sea of Galilee. Lax agricultural regulations pollute groundwater across the Midwestern United States.

“The regulations favor agriculture. When they keep cutting enforcement and people, there’s nobody to keep track of what’s happening.” –Gordon Gottbeheut, a resident of Armenia, Wisconsin, whose well is contaminated with unsafe levels of nitrate. In rural areas across the United States, nitrates and other contaminants are seeping into groundwater, partly due to lax laws regarding water quality and agricultural runoff. The New York Times

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By The Numbers

36 to 40 hours Length of time that repair crews working on Mexico City’s water lines are delayed. The city turned off its water system on Friday to perform repairs, which were supposed to last only 72 hours. A new water line shifted during installation, however, pushing back the resumption of services. Mexico News Daily

6 meters (18 feet) Amount that the Sea of Galilee has dropped since 2004, when it was last full. Israel is hoping to revive the waterbody by boosting the amount of Mediterranean seawater it desalinates, than pumping half that water to the Sea of Galilee. Reuters

In context: Israel’s Mediterranean Desalination Plants Shift Regional Water Balance.

Science, Studies, And Reports

Scientists are trying to determine the cause of a major fish kill in the Euphrates River. Hundreds of tons of carp died suddenly 80 kilometers (50 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraq, in an area where residents have criticized water management. Officials say the “annihilation” of the farmed fish was likely caused by low oxygen levels, agricultural runoff, or wastewater pollution. AP

On The Radar

The Ecuadorian government is facing a lawsuit for granting mining exploration rights without consulting communities. The suit, brought by the local Cotacachi government, calls for an injunction on mining activities in the Los Cedros region until further analysis. Environmental assessments show that mining exploration in the area has already introduced dangerous levels of arsenic, manganese, and copper into regional waterways. Reuters

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