The Stream, August 8, 2019: Drought and Pests Kill Swathes of German Forests

The Global Rundown

Huge swathes of German forests are struck by drought and pests. A dam project in Lebanon, funded by the World Bank, sparks controversy and environmental concerns. The United Nations bumps its Zimbabwe aid appeal to $331.5 million. Researchers explores the impact of the Pacific Ocean on drought in the southwestern United States. A study suggests that indigenous knowledge may help cities predict floods. 

“Our forests are massively damaged. Only if everyone unites will we manage the mammoth task that lies ahead of us – to save our forests not only for ourselves but for future generations.” —Julia Klöckner, Germany’s agriculture minister, in reference to the country’s dying trees. Huge swathes of German forest, equivalent to 200,000 football fields, have been devastated by drought and pests this year. The Guardian

Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue

HotSpots H2O: Taps Run Dry for Millions in Zimbabwe’s CapitalHalf of residents in Zimbabwe’s capital are without municipal drinking water as drought and inadequate infrastructure parch the city of some 4.5 million people. 

What’s Up With Water – August 5, 2019 — This week’s edition of What’s Up With Water includes coverage on low water levels in the Mekong River, nitrates in groundwater in Germany, and water pollution from hand grenades at a U.S. military base. 

By The Numbers

1.6 million Population of Greater Beirut, Lebanon, and surrounding areas. A World Bank-funded dam in the country’s Bisri Valley is intended to boost water quality in the area, but residents and activists are fiercely protesting the project, which they say could lead to a variety of environmental issues. It is also being built along a fault line, posing danger in the event of an earthquake. Al Jazeera

$331.5 million New amount that the United Nations is requesting for its Zimbabwe aid appeal. The UN warns that 2.3 million people in rural areas drought-stricken country need aid now, and the number could rise to 7.7 million people in need country-wide by March of next year. Reuters

In context: HotSpots H2O: Taps Run Dry for Millions in Zimbabwe’s Capital

Science, Studies, and Reports

A new study by the University of Washington and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution shows that a large El Niño event, followed by a La Niña, could trigger a multiyear drought in the Southwestern U.S. Traditionally, El Niño years have signaled more rain in the southwest, while La Niña events bring less precipitation, but experts say these patterns are not always accurate.

On the Radar

A study published in the Journal of the British Academy suggests that indigenous knowledge of flood signs could help cities predict impending floods. The research argues that communities, even in urban areas, would benefit from education about natural flood indicators, including knowledge about relevant factors such as clouds, heat, insects, and trees. Reuters

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