The Stream, December 17, 2019: Regulator Cracks Down on U.K. Water Firms, Demanding Cuts to Bills

The Global Rundown

The United Kingdom’s water regulator cracks down on water firms, calling for average cuts of £50 ($66) on customer bills over the next five years. Residents in parts of South Africa’s drought-stricken Eastern Cape have been without water for months. Rains fend off creeping drought in California. Dams levels in Namibia tumble to less than 20 percent capacity. Ongoing drought in Ethiopia forces hundreds of thousands from their homes. 

“Displacement has many drivers. Drought is a factor, and one that will be exacerbated by climate. Climate change may change key seasonal rainfall which will have the most impact on people’s lives.” –Daniel Yeo, an independent expert of climate and water issues, in reference to the interplay between drought and displacement in Ethiopia. The drought has devastated livestock herds in the country and forced many pastoralists into camps, with no clear path for the future. Reuters

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By The Numbers

15,000 Residents of Adelaide, South Africa, some of whom have been without running water for seven months. Farmers in South Africa’s Eastern Cape say it’s been at least five years since the area has gotten a large downpour. The parched conditions are now causing livestock culls, poor harvests, and water cuts.

19.3 percent Nationwide dam capacity in Namibia, compared to 35.6 percent a year ago. The country is experiencing its worst drought in a century, and left a third of Namibia’s population facing food insecurity. Reuters

Science, Studies, and Reports

Industry regulator Ofwat is cracking down on water firms in England and Wales, pushing the firms to address festering problems with leaks, water quality, and expensive bills. The regulator says firms need to lower customer water bills by £50 ($66) over the next five years, as well as invest in improving performance. BBC

On the Radar

A majority of California slipped into “abnormally dry” conditions in November, but recent rainfall has pushed the state back out of drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Now, only the northernmost part of the country is abnormally dry, and wet conditions are expected to continue. Sacramento Bee 

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