The Stream, July 9, 2019: After Month Without Rain, Drought Withers Rice Fields in Indonesia

The Global Rundown

Dry conditions affect more than 100,000 hectares of rice fields across Indonesia. Officials in Ethiopia’s capital begin providing free school meals as drought heightens food insecurity. Mississippi closes all of its beaches as heavy rains spur a toxic algae bloom along the state’s coastline. The U.S. Great Lakes are expected to continue setting record-high water levels throughout the year. Escalating drought in India highlights water inequality between Delhi’s rich and poor. Back-to-back earthquakes in California cause water-main breaks. 

“This is the first time I’ve ever seen anything like this. I mean – they say that it’s happened and you’ve heard about it. But once you’re in it, it’s completely different, it’s terrifying. It’s terrifying.” –Sierra Wood, a resident of Ridgecrest, California, whose home was damaged in a magnitude 7.1 earthquake that struck the state on Friday. Another magnitude 6.4 quake rattled the area just 34 hours beforehand. The quakes caused water-main breaks and other infrastructure damage, but no fatalities. Reuters

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What’s Up With Water– July 8, 2019 — This week’s edition of What’s Up With Water includes coverage on Vietnam‘s water challenges, Europe‘s recent heatwave, and the ongoing water crisis in Chennai, India.

By The Numbers

103,000 hectares Amount of rice fields in Indonesia, spread across more than 100 regencies and cities, that are struggling with drought after more than a month of no rainfall. Around 9,400 hectares have produced no crop at all, according to an official from the country’s agricultural ministry. The Jakarta Post

$10-$15 Amount that wealthy residents of Delhi, India, pay for unlimited piped water each month. Many lower-income residents of the city, however, are forced to rely on trucked-in water, which is growing increasingly expensive as drought grips the country. Some residents report paying $10 a week for their supply, and say that the water is often poor quality. Reuters

In context: 

Delhi Waits For Water
Groundwater Plummets in Delhi, City of 29 Million 

Science, Studies, and Reports

The five U.S. Great Lakes, along with Lake St. Clair, are expected to continue breaking monthly record-highs throughout the rest of 2019. Water levels across the lakes are currently the highest they have been since 1918, when record-keeping began. The Detroit News

On the Radar

Mississippi closed all its beaches to swimming as a toxic algae bloom forms off the U.S. gulf coast. The algae, which can cause rashes, diarrhea, and vomiting, is tied to heavy rains in the U.S. Midwest, which have caused an increase of freshwater in the Gulf of Mexico. The bloom has also killed off the state’s oyster beds. The New York Times 

As drought drives food insecurity across Ethiopia, the government of Addis Ababa is stepping up to provide schools meals for thousands of children in the capital city. Traditionally, the government has given free food to rural areas in dry conditions, but skyrocketing food prices prompted officials in Addis Ababa to begin a meal program in the city as well. Reuters

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