The Stream, October 30: African Countries Should “Decolonize” Water Laws, Report Says

The Global Rundown

A recent report calls on African countries to ‘decolonize’ water. An unusually high tide sweeps through Venice, Italy, flooding three-quarters of the city. Pakistan bans Indian TV channels due to water-related tensions. Drought slashes eastern Australia’s crop output to half the twenty-year average. The boil water notice in Austin, Texas, is lifted. Shortages loom in Arizona as water levels in Lake Mead, a reservoir of the Colorado River, continue to decline.

“There’s a sense of concern and urgency by water users throughout the basin.” –Dan Bunk, a river operations manager working for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Water levels in the Lake Mead basin have steadily declined in recent years, threatening the water supply of several states. Water levels are currently at 1,078 feet; if they dip below 1,025 feet, the state of Arizona would lose a seventh of its annual water allotment from the Central Arizona Project. Officials say the dwindling supply will lead to higher water rates and possible rationing. Arizona Capitol Times

In context: Lake Mead Record Low Reflects Changing American West.

Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue

What’s Up With Water – October 29, 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: the European Parliament’s ban on single-use plastics and the boil-water notice in Austin, Texas.

HotSpots H2O, October 29: Amazon River Development Imperils Indigenous Communities  – The Amazon watershed is peppered with conflict, often between developers and indigenous communities.

By The Numbers

156 centimeters (5.1 feet) Water levels in Venice, Italy, following an exceptionally high tide. The water inundated three-quarters of the Italian lagoon city on Monday before beginning to subside. Elsewhere in Italy, flooding and heavy winds left four people dead. AP

53 percent Amount that eastern Australia’s winter crop output will fall below the 20-year average, according to forecasts by the country’s agricultural bureau. Across all of Australia, output is expected to be down 23 percent. Reuters

Science, Studies, And Reports

A report by the Sri Lanka-based International Water Management Institute (IWMI) is calling on African countries to “decolonize” water laws. According to the study, water permit systems based on colonial-era rules have left more than 100 million people in Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe without adequate water. The report recommends a “hybrid approach” to improve water availability, which would recognize existing permits while also boosting water access for small farmers. Reuters

On The Radar

Officials in Austin, Texas, lifted the city’s boil water notice on Sunday afternoon after test results met water quality standards. The boil water notice went into effect on October 22 after flooding washed silt, mud, and debris into the city’s main water sources. Houston Chronicle

Spotlight: India

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

Officials in Pakistan allege that India is damming shared rivers and withholding water as a weapon. India denies the allegations, but tensions between the two countries are high. Last week, Pakistan’s Chief Justice Saqib Nisar re-imposed a ban on Indian TV channels in response to the water-related quarrels. BBC

In context: Crucible in Kashmir: India and Pakistan’s Struggle Over Water.

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