The Stream, August 1, 2019: Mekong River Drops to Lowest Levels in 100 Years

The Global Rundown

Southeast Asia’s Mekong River is at its lowest levels in more than 100 years. Droughts and floods intensify across Asia, damaging palm oil, natural rubber, rice, and sugar crops. Almost 9 million people in Somalia and South Sudan are facing severe food insecurity. California considers a bill that would require water agencies to notify customers if PFAS chemicals are present in the water supply. Harare, Zimbabwe, a city of 4.5 million, continues to struggle with an acute water shortage.

“It is causing us serious problems. We have to stop ourselves from going to the toilet.”Eneres Kaitano, a resident of Harare, in reference to devastating water shortages in Zimbabwe’s capital city. Harare’s water supply has been shrinking for months due to drought and mismanagement. Two of the city’s four reservoirs are empty, and much of the remaining water is lost due to theft and leaks. In response to the crisis, the government is attempting to secure a $71 million loan from China to revamp the nation’s water system. The New York Times

Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue

U.S. Groundwater Wells Race Towards Bottom —  Well depths are increasing across the country, study finds.

Speaking Of Water With Peter Gleick – California Drinking Water Bill  — A new bill in California directs some $130 million to improve access to clean drinking water for many California residents.

By The Numbers

2.4 million People in California’s Los Angeles, Riverside, and Orange Counties who may be exposed to toxic PFAS chemicals, according to data gathered from the U.S. EPA. California is considering a bill that would make it the first state to require that water agencies notify their customers if PFAS chemicals are detected in their water supply. Desert Sun

8.7 million People in Somalia and South Sudan who are at risk of severe food insecurity, according to the International Rescue Committee (IRC). The group says the food shortage is due to drought and ongoing violence, and say that aid is urgently required. IRC

Science, Studies, and Reports

Scientists say that climate change is behind a new pattern of weather extremes in Asia. The continent has grappled with severe droughts and unprecedented flooding in recent years. The intense conditions have disrupted millions of lives and affected the growth of key global crops such as palm oil, natural rubber, rice, and sugar. Al Jazeera

On the Radar

Delayed monsoon rains in parts of Southeast Asia have left the Mekong River at its lowest level in more than 100 years, experts say. The river is a lifeline for tens of millions of people, and the low water levels could have a detrimental effect on the region. The situation is complicated by a boom in hydropower dams and other infrastructure along the river, which have disrupted flows and driven political tensions. National Geographic

In context: One By One Big Hydropower Dams Disrupt Mekong River’s Free Flow.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply