The Stream, March 19: Water Outages in Manila, Philippines, Expected to Last Until May

The Global Rundown

Manila, Philippines, faces its worst water shortages in a decade. California is drought-free for the first time in seven years. An earthquake and heavy rainfall hit Indonesia, triggering deadly flash floods and landslides. Henna crops on Iraq’s Fao peninsula fail due to drought and salty irrigation water. The U.S. National Guard shores up wells serving Lincoln, Nebraska, amid record-breaking floods.

“We’ve never seen, that we know of, it reaching that high.” –Donna Garden, the assistant director of Lincoln Transportation and Utilities, in reference to water levels in Nebraska’s Platte River. Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota are experiencing historic flooding as several rivers reach record-highs, inundating farms, homes, and businesses. Officials say that drinking water in the cities of Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska, remains safe so far. Over the weekend, the National Guard was called in to barricade three Lincoln wells with oversize sandbags. Omaha World-Herald

In context: Historic Missouri River Flood Damages Water Infrastructure.

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By The Numbers

79 Death toll from a magnitude 5.5 earthquake and flooding in Indonesia on Sunday. The two events triggered deadly mudslides and destroyed several homes, roads, and bridges. TIME

425 Peak number of henna farms that were once on Iraq’s Fao peninsula, producing 5,000 kilograms of henna leaves, which are ground into a type of dye. Today, the number of farms is closer to 50 and production has fallen to 300 kilograms. The region’s henna crop, as well as thousands of palm trees, have been devastated by dry conditions and salty irrigation water. Reuters

Science, Studies, And Reports

For the first time since December 2011, California is no longer experiencing drought conditions, according to the latest update from the U.S. Drought Monitor. On January 1, drought was impacting 75 percent of the state, but an unusually wet winter has dramatically eased conditions since then. Seven percent of the state, near the Oregon border, is still classified as abnormally dry. PBS NewsHour

On The Radar

Water shortages in Manila, Philippines, have escalated to the worst levels in nearly a decade. Manila Water Co. Inc., which provides half of the city’s water, has taken responsibility for the crisis, which it says was caused by rising demand, below-average dam levels, and delays in new water infrastructure. Although some service has been restored to 90 percent of affected customers, intermittent shortages are expected to last until the end of May. Bloomberg

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