The Stream, January 22: New Iraqi PM Promises Clean Water to Basra Residents

The Global Rundown

Iraqs new prime minister promises better water services in volatile Basra. Despite ambitious claims by India’s Water Resources Minister, a 5-year plan to clean the Ganges River lags behind schedule. Urban-rural tensions flare in Arizona as the likelihood of water cuts grows. The government of Botswana urges residents to prepare for drought. Aboriginal communities mourn a lost way of life as rivers across Australia dry.

“This to me is the ultimate destruction of our culture. All people think about now is there’s no water. Aboriginal people were very close to nature and that’s all unbalanced now. There’s no nature to go back to.” –Virginia Robinson, a Gamilaraay elder, in reference to drought’s destruction of Aboriginal livelihoods in Australia. Suffocating temperatures combined with little rainfall are drying rivers across Australia, disrupting the lives of people, plants, and creatures in Australia’s wilderness. The Guardian

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By The Numbers

$3 billion Amount of money pledged by the Indian government to clean up the Ganges River as part of a 5-year plan ending in 2020. A 2018 investigation by Reuters, however, found that only a tenth of the funding has been used, and much of the Ganges remains toxic. Despite this data, India’s Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari insists that the waterway is on track to be 100 percent clean next year. Reuters

65 percent of average Current levels of maize production in North West and Free State, Botswana. Officials in the country are warning citizens to prepare for a period of drought and heightened maize prices. African Daily Voice

Science, Studies, And Reports

A proposed Arizona drought plan is drawing ire from urban dwellers, who say the plan pledges too much funding and water to regional farmers. As part of the plan, the government will help fund farmers in Pinal County as they transition to groundwater pumping in place of water deliveries from the Colorado River. Residents of Phoenix and other Arizona cities, however, feel the plan may be too generous toward the state’s agriculture industry. Arizona Daily Star

On The Radar

Adel Abdul-Mahdi, the new prime minister of Iraq, promised improved water and electricity services to residents of Basra during a weekend visit. Violent protests shook Basra last summer after polluted water sickened thousands. Associated Press

In context: HotSpots H2O: Deadly Protests in Iraq’s Oil Hub Driven by Polluted Water, Government Neglect.

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