The Stream, October 19: Afghans Displaced by Drought Die Due to Harsh Winter Conditions

The Global Rundown

In Afghanistan, harsh winter conditions begin to kill people displaced by drought. Residue from an oil spill earlier this month reaches the coastal waterways of the French Riviera. A high-risk dam near Dallas, Texas, is being closely monitored amid record rainfall. Abnormally low water levels in British Columbia, Canada, pose problems for wildlife. A landslide in Tibet blocks the headwater of India’s Brahmaputra River, leading to flood alerts and an evacuation. The world’s two largest lithium producers drain water reserves in Chile’s Atacama desert.

“When people ask me, ‘Is the water going to run out?’ I tell them, ‘The truth is, we don’t know.” –Mariana Cervetto, a Chilean hydro-geologist, speaking about underground saltwater reserves in the country’s Atacama desert. Two major lithium producers, the U.S.-based Albemarle Corp and Chile’s SQM, rely heavily on the desert’s groundwater, but recent data shows that the companies may be extracting water faster than it can be naturally replaced. Reuters

Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue

U.N. Climate Report: Water Extremes, Unevenly Distributed, Worsen With More Heat More floods and droughts in a warmer world. But certain regions will be worse off than others.

HotSpots H2O, October 15: Special Report on Yemen’s Water Crisis — Water and electrical infrastructure have been targeted repeatedly, leaving millions of Yemenis without clean water.

By The Numbers

50 percent Amount that water levels in British Columbia’s Nass River have been below normal during the past month. Water levels across the northern and central areas of the province are low, impacting salmon runs and migrating ducks. CBC

527 feet Water level in Lewisville Lake, a reservoir upstream of Dallas, Texas, as of Wednesday. The Lewisville Lake dam was the subject of scrutiny in 2015, when officials detected signs of seepage under the dam and some feared that the structure was weakening. Currently, water levels behind the dam are 5 feet above average after days of heavy rainfall, and are being monitored closely. Dallas News

Science, Studies, And Reports

Drought in Afghanistan has displaced an estimated 260,000 people over the past year, and many now live in tents or other poorly constructed shelters. Harsh winter conditions have already led to the death of a few small children, and the freezing temperatures are expected to continue in coming weeks. Relief Web

On The Radar

An oil spill that occurred earlier this month off the coast of Corsica, France, has reached the coastal waterways of the French Riviera. A clean-up mission is underway, and volunteers are working to contain the oily residue. Reuters

Spotlight: India

Follow The Stream for daily coverage on India’s water crisis.

A landslide in Tibet on Wednesday morning blocked the Yarlung Tsangpo, the headwater of India’s Brahmaputra River. The blockage has created a lake, which has risen to a height of 130 feet. The lake prompted evacuation of 6,000 people in Tibet, and also poses a threat to downstream Indian communities, where flood alerts have been issued. The New York Times

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