The Stream, September 27: Turkmenistan Stops Providing Free Water to Residents

The Global Rundown

Turkmenistan stops providing free water, electricity, and natural gas to citizens. Meteorologists ease Hurricane Florence flood warnings in South Carolina, but urge residents to stay vigilant. Researchers find a quick, easy way to filter heavy metals out of drinking water. India’s water crisis continues to unfold, but scientists suggest new solutions to save the country’s largest cities from running dry. Harris County, home to Houston, Texas, sets aside $14.5 million to create an updated flood plain map. Sewage and toxic chemicals choke waterways in Basra, Iraq, once called the “Venice of the Middle East.”

“It now causes death. It is highly polluted. Different pollutants can be found in the river, including germs, chemicals, toxic algae coupled with unprecedented concentrations of salt almost like that of seawater, rather, it is indeed seawater.” –Shukri al-Hassan, a Marine Science lecturer at Basra University, in reference to Basra’s toxic Shatt-al-Arab river. Decades ago, Basra was likened to Venice, Italy, but now waterways in the city of 4 million are heavily contaminated. The pollution has sent thousands to the hospital and fueled recent protests. Reuters

In context: HotSpots H2O, September 10: Deadly Protests in Iraq’s Oil Hub Driven by Polluted Water, Government Neglect.

Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue

Announcing From Michigan to the Nation “A Groundwater Emergency” from Circle of Blue:

Michigan’s Groundwater Emergency – Groundwater in Michigan is “compromised and deteriorated.”

Fastest-Growing Michigan County Reckons With Groundwater Pollution and Depletion – Ottawa County leaders recognize the need to act on groundwater.

Drip by Drip, Septic Systems Foul Michigan Waters – The state relies on backyard sewage treatment more than most.

Remembering Michigan’s PBB Crisis – Contamination of the food-supply chain in Michigan in the 1970s was one of the worst mass poisonings in U.S. history. The events still resonate today.

Michigan PFAS by the numbers: How much is unsafe? – Confusion runs rampant about PFAS dangers. The federal government and states can’t agree on how much is unsafe for states. Here’s a primer on what’s known so far.

By The Numbers

20 inches Rain that has fallen in parts of South Carolina in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. Although the rains have caused some rivers to overflow, officials say that the flooding will not be as severe as expected. Reuters

$14.5 million Funding that Harris County, Texas, has earmarked for an updated flood plain map. The new maps, which will be complete by 2023, are being created in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, which inundated Houston in August 2017. U.S. News & World Report

Science, Studies, And Reports

Researchers at the University of New South Wales Sydney found that nano-filters made from aluminum oxide and liquid metal gallium can quickly filter heavy metals and oil contamination out of drinking water. According to the scientists, the production of nano-filters is cheap and requires almost no energy. Science Daily

On The Radar

After a quarter century of providing free utilities, Turkmenistan has decided to no longer supply its residents with free water, electricity, or natural gas. The country’s president, Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, said the decision will allow Turkmenistan to better utilize its resources and to develop a free market economy. The New York Times

Spotlight: India

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

From Delhi to Bangalore, major cities in India continue to grapple with an array of water issues, including pollution, shrinking aquifers, and parched waterways. Several cities are expected to run dry in coming decades. Scientists suggest that careful use of the water in India’s floodplains, however, could help avoid disaster in some cities. Other possible solutions include restoring urban waterbodies and implementing check dams. Channel NewsAsia

In context: Booming Infrastructure Poisons Bangalore’s Lakes, Depletes Groundwater.

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