The Stream, January 25: Tehran, Iran, Sinking at Alarming Rates Due to Groundwater Pumping

The Global Rundown

Excessive groundwater pumping leads to land subsidence in Tehran, Iran. A government investigation says erratic temperatures and low oxygen levels caused recent fish kills in New South Wales, Australia. Several Indian states plan to tighten groundwater use laws. A dam overflows in Sulawesi, Indonesia, killing at least 30 people. The city of Sydney, Australia, prepares to turn on its desalination plant as reservoir levels dip.

“The approach so far has been: this is my land, so the water below it is mine, and I can use as much of it as I want. But we need to think of groundwater as a common pool resource and look at it from a rights perspective.” –Himanshu Kulkarni, a member of the Advanced Center for Water Resources Development and Management, in reference to declining groundwater in India. In an effort to conserve groundwater, several states are tightening extraction laws, and a countrywide Water Conservation Fee is set to be implemented in June 2019. Reuters

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By The Numbers

60.1 percent Current dam levels in Sydney, Australia, as of Thursday. The city turns on its desalination plant if reservoirs levels drop below 60 percent, which officials say is likely to happen this weekend. The Guardian

9.8 inches (25 centimeters) Amount of land subsidence recorded annually in the western plain of Tehran, Iran, since 2003. Decades of dry conditions have led to heavy groundwater extraction, causing the city to sink at an alarming rate. Associated Press

In context: Tehran Faces Crisis As Iran’s Water Supply Runs Low.

Science, Studies, And Reports

The newest government report on recent fish kills in New South Wales, Australia, claims that an extreme dip in temperature sparked the death of hundreds of thousands of fish in the town of Menindee. On January 4 and 5, temperatures plunged from 46 °C (114 ℉) to 28 °C (82 ℉), which minimized the amount of dissolved oxygen available to fish. The report concludes that this phenomenon, combined with depleted river flows in the Darling River, caused the unprecedented die-off of fish. The Guardian

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On The Radar

The death toll continues to rise following a flood disaster in South Sulawesi, Indonesia. At least 30 people were killed by landslides and an overflowing dam, and 25 people are reportedly missing. Reuters

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