The Stream, February 13, 2019: Puerto Rico Faces Water Rationing as Dry Conditions Spread

The Global Rundown

Seven municipalities in Puerto Rico face water rationing as drought grips the territory. Eighteen million trees died in California over the past year, according to the U.S. government. Australia’s Adani mining company admits to releasing contaminated water into the Caley Valley wetlands during recent flooding. Arizona uses less water today than it did in 1957 thanks to careful water conservation policies. Drought-stricken Ethiopian herders switch to farming.

“Before, our grandfathers, if there was a drought, they traveled nearby and they took water. Now they fight each other … for water and grazing land.” –Turimi Turga, a resident of rural Ethiopia, in reference to the pastoralist lifestyle in her country. As recurring drought reshapes the Ethiopian countryside, many herders are retraining as farmers, a practice that experts say may be necessary as dry conditions continue to devastate cattle herds. Reuters

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By The Numbers

220,000 Puerto Rico citizens who are experiencing drought as abnormally dry conditions impact 76 percent of the U.S. territory. Governor Ricardo Rossello announced that seven municipalities will face water rationing starting next week due to the dry weather. The municipalities rely on the Guajataca reservoir, which was damaged in September 2017 by Hurricane Maria. CBS News

18 million Trees that died in California during the past year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service. In total, 147 million trees have died since the state’s drought began in 2010. The high tree mortality increases wildfire risks, experts say. The Sacramento Bee

Science, Studies, And Reports

Despite ongoing drought, Arizona continues to serve as a model of water conservation. The state uses less water now than it did in 1957, even as the population has increased from 1 million to 7 million. The state’s success can be attributed to water conservation policies regulating groundwater withdrawals, urban construction, and agricultural use. AZ Central  

In context: Saving Water Lowered Rates in Two Arizona Cities.

On The Radar

Australia’s Adani mining company admitted to releasing contaminated water at twice its licensed rate during severe flooding in Queensland last week. A report by Adani concluded that the water would not have any environmental impacts on the surrounding Caley Valley wetlands, but environmentalists are calling for a government investigation into the release. The Guardian

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