The Stream, September 25: Water Levels Drop in India’s Ganga River, Fueling Food Shortage Fears

The Global Rundown

Water levels in India’s Ganga River have dropped in recent decades, raising concerns about food shortages. The Royal Dutch Shell company reduces its onshore oil fields in Nigeria, but threats to water remain. Farmers in the Philippines begin a slow recovery process following Typhoon Mangkhut. NASA launches a new satellite that will carefully monitor global ice melt. Flooding from Hurricane Florence continues to swamp the Carolinas more than a week after the storm made landfall. Modern toilets play a key role in diminishing water use in the Western United States.

“Most people don’t realize that if their toilet is more than 10 or 15 years old, replacing their toilet or upgrading their toilet is one of the most impactful ways they can save water. It can save between 200 and 300,000 gallons of water over the life of that toilet.” –Neal Lurie, president of Resource Central, a group in Boulder, Colorado, that install water-friendly toilets in homes. Data shows that overall water use in the western U.S. has dropped in recent decades, despite a boom in population. Experts say this is partially due to the 1992 Energy Policy Act, which mandated that toilets use 1.6 gallons or less to flush. NPR

Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue

What’s Up With Water – September 24, 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: Hurricane Florence’s toxic wake, water shortages in Iraq, and issues with desalination in Israel   

HotSpots H2O, September 24: Yemen at ‘Tipping Point’ of Famine as Violence Obstructs Food, Fuel Access  – Fighting has once again flared near Yemen’s Hodeidah Port, impeding the distribution of fuel, food, and other staples.

By The Numbers

$177 million Damage that was done to rice and corn crops in the Philippines by Typhoon Mangkhut, according to official estimates. Aid agencies warn that many low-income Filipino farmers will struggle to recover from the devastating storm. Reuters

5 to 10 feet Depth of floodwaters that are supposed to hit Georgetown, South Carolina, and surrounding areas due to ongoing rainfall and flooding from Hurricane Florence. No mandatory evacuation orders have been issued, but between 6,000 and 8,000 people are being “strongly urged” to leave their homes. Reuters

Science, Studies, And Reports

NASA recently launched IceSat-2, a satellite designed to precisely monitor the thickness of ice in the Arctic and Antarctica. The $1 billion satellite will orbit more than 1,000 paths every 91 days, using lasers to measure ice thickness down to the centimeter. Previously, researchers have been able to easily track the area of ice, but not the thickness. The Guardian

On The Radar

After decades of onshore spills and other disasters, Royal Dutch Shell is largely shifting its Nigerian oil and gas fields offshore. Oil spills have plagued Nigeria for years, often heavily contaminating rivers and streams. Reuters

Spotlight: India

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

A new study found that, in recent years, groundwater flows into the Ganga River have dropped by 50 percent in summer months. Researchers warn that this could heavily impact irrigation in downstream states, possibly causing food shortages in years to come. Asia Times

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