The Stream, January 22: Saudi Arabia Plans to Build Nine Desalination Plants on the Red Sea

The Global Rundown

Saudi Arabia announces the construction of nine desalination plants on the Red Sea. Authorities find that over half of Karachi, Pakistan’s, water supply is unfiltered. Malawi’s staple maize crop suffers amid dry weather and a worsening pest infestation. Dwindling snowpack in the southwestern U.S. poses problems for the region’s water supply. Commercial fishermen consider suing the U.S. government as pesticide run-off threatens marine species.

“Salmon have been waiting four decades for relief from this poison in many of our rivers.” –Glen Spain, a director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations (PCFFA), in reference to pesticide pollution in waterways across the United States. Commercial fisherman and environmental groups have threatened legal action if the Trump administration fails to add more restrictions on the deadly pesticides. The Guardian

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By The Numbers

9 Number of desalination plants that Saudi Arabia plans to build along the coast of the Red Sea. The $530 million project will be completed in less than 18 months and will have a capacity of 240,000 cubic meters of water per day. Reuters

In context: In water-scarce regions desalination plants are risky investments.

206,000 hectares Amount of maize in Malawi that has been infested by crop-munching  armyworms. An ongoing dry spell is also hampering Malawi’s crop, prompting government officials to lead countrywide prayers for rainfall. Reuters

Science, Studies, And Reports

Snowfall patterns across the southwestern United States are shifting, raising concern about  impacts on water supply. In many mountain basins across the region, snowpack is currently 50 percent lower than average. In the long-term, scientists predict that Western snowpack could diminish by 60 percent in the next 30 years, upsetting water flow to crucial waterways such as the Colorado River. Bloomberg

On The Radar

On a visit to the Pipri Water Filtration Plant, the Pakistani judicial commission on water and sanitation found that over 50 percent on the 140 million gallons of water supplied to Karachi each day are unfiltered. The commission, which was formed to assess government failure to provide potable water, plans to investigate other filtration plants prior to a commission hearing on January 25. Pakistan Today