The Stream, October 4: Australia Endures Its Driest September on Record

The Global Rundown

Drought-stricken Australia experiences its driest September on record. Norsk Hydro announces that it will close Brazil’s Alunorte, the world’s largest alumina refinery, which illegally dumped untreated wastewater earlier this year. Humanitarian workers fight to access remote communities in earthquake-hit Indonesia. The Asian Development Bank grants a $240 million loan to provide drinking water in West Bengal, India. A half-degree of warming could have detrimental impacts on global water supply, a new study suggests. Bangkok fights land subsidence with anti-flooding parks.

“When I was young I liked floods. I pushed my little boat out and the road became a canal, it was such fun. But after 2011 everyone was like, ‘Oh. What used to be childhood fun has become a disaster.’ And it’s getting worse.” –Kotchakorn Voraakhom, a Thai architect who designed Centenary Park, which sits atop massive underground water containers. The containers, plus a large pond in the park, can hold up to a million gallons of water. The underground storage helps to abate heavy flooding, which is becoming more likely as Bangkok sinks and sea levels rise. The Guardian

Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue

Infographic: Household Wells in the United StatesThirteen percent of Americans, some 42 million people, use a household well for their water supply.

HotSpots H2O, October 1: Protestors Fight Privatization In Water-Stressed El Salvador — Many residents, especially those in rural areas, lack steady access to safe water.  

By The Numbers

1.6 million People impacted by Indonesia’s recent earthquake and tsunami. Aid workers remain cut off from some of the island’s remote areas, and the United Nations warns that the “worst-affected” regions may not have been reached yet. In the city of Palu, where relief efforts have been focused, many residents are still without water, food, and shelter. BBC

4,700 People who will lose their jobs due to the shutdown of Brazil’s Alunorte, the world’s largest alumina refinery. The refinery has been operating at half-capacity since March, when it illegally dumped untreated water during heavy rains. Reuters

Science, Studies, And Reports

If global temperatures rise by 2°C (3.6°F) above pre-industrial levels versus 1.5°C (2.7°F), an additional 117 million people could face potential water shortages, according to a new study. Scientists say that the half-degree difference could have major impacts on global water supply and the distribution of freshwater.

On The Radar

Parched conditions continue in Australia, which recorded its driest September on record this year. The country’s cropland is completely devastated after months of drought, and below-average precipitation is expected to continue over the next three months. Reuters

Spotlight: India

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

India and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) agreed to a $240 million loan intended to provide safe drinking water to three districts of West Bengal. The funding will aid 1.65 million people in Bankura, North 24 Parganas and Purba Medinipur, where arsenic, fluoride, and salt contaminate large portions of drinking water. Business Standard

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