The Global Rundown
A quarter of the world’s population is at risk from shrinking glaciers and depleted mountain water supply, a new study warns. Zambia’s drought is now the worst in a century, officials say. Planned water shutoffs in Baja California, Mexico, are suspended, but water supplies in the region remains critically low. Floods and landslides in New Zealand strand 1,000 tourists. Australian media publishes “day zero” dates for several coastal cities.
“I hope we get the beautiful summer rain that we are used to in Sydney and the coastal areas. I hope we get some east coast lows. But we have to look at the evidence. We have to look at the inflows, we have to look at the outflows, but this is what the plan says at the moment.” –Melinda Pavey, the water minister in New South Wales, Australia, in reference to current water shortages in the state. Local media published a recent list of “day zero” dates for coastal cities, predicting that some could run out of water as soon as January and February 2020. Pavey urged residents not to panic, saying that predictions were based on a worse-case scenario of no rain and no changes in water use. The Guardian
Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue
Atmospheric Rivers, Conveyor Belts of Extreme Moisture, Rack Up Heavy Flood Damages in Western United States — Researchers estimate $1 billion in flood damages annually in last 40 years from atmospheric rivers.
What’s Up With Water – December 9, 2019 — This week’s edition of What’s Up With Water includes coverage on water shortages in Bali, the driest spring in Australia ever recorded, and the impact of drought on Zimbabwe’s cattle bank.
HotSpots H2O: Rivers Run Dry in Bali as Tourism, Drought, Overwhelm Water Supply — The Indonesian island is in the midst of a drought and water is running out fast, pitting local water needs against those of the powerful tourism industry.
By The Numbers
1.9 billion People who are at risk from shortages in mountain water supply, according to a new international study published in the journal Nature. Rising global temperatures and increasing demand are depleting mountain glaciers, snowpacks, and waterbodies, which could prove detrimental to a large portion of the world’s population. The Guardian
1,000 Foreign tourists trapped on New Zealand’s South Island after severe storms sparked flooding and landslides. The violent weather cut off access to a handful of small west coast towns, which are waiting on food and water deliveries. Meteorologists say the storm system is now moving northward. The Guardian
Science, Studies, and Reports
Tijuana and Rosarito, two cities in Baja California, Mexico, recently underwent a two-week water rationing program after the region’s El Carrizo dam dropped to critically low levels. Additional water shutoffs were scheduled for the rest of December, but have now been suspended after rainfall also boosted levels in the dam. Local officials say water stress remains a key concern throughout Baja California, however. San Diego Tribune
On the Radar
Dry conditions are continuing to overwhelm Zambia, which the government says is now experiencing its worst drought in a century. Zambian President Edgar Lungu said the severe dry spell is “a stark reminder of what climate change is doing to our environment.” The drought has slowed the well-known Victoria Falls down to a trickle. Reuters
You Are Leading the Transformation
Circle of Blue persists because of people like you, recognize that water is our greatest vulnerability, and our greatest asset.
Together, we are informing the world’s most important decisions.
We are a non-profit. There are no ads. No paywalls.
We rely on your support to sustain Circle of Blue’s extraordinary level of trusted journalism, research, and engagement, enabling students and leaders alike to define water’s future. Thank you.
Kayla Ritter is a recent graduate of Michigan State University, where she studied International Relations and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. She is currently based in Manton, Michigan. Kayla enjoys running, writing, and traveling. Contact Kayla Ritter