YOUR GLOBAL RUNDOWN
- Hundreds of people flee deadly conflict over water in northern Cameroon.
- An Indian reservation in Oregon tests solar distillation technology as a stopgap drinking water measure.
- California’s governor says he will consider mandatory water conservation by the end of September.
A World Meteorological Organization report highlights climate and extreme weather in Latin America and the Caribbean in 2020.
“Latin America and the Caribbean is among the regions most challenged by extreme hydro- meteorological events. This was highlighted in 2020 by the death and devastation from Hurricane Eta and Iota in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica, and the intense drought and unusual fire season in the Pantanal region of Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Argentina.” — Petteri Taalas, secretary-general of the World Meteorological Organization. The WMO’s report on climate and extreme weather showed that 2020 was the second-warmest year on record in South America, while Central America was hammered by hurricanes that affected more than 8 million people.
IN RECENT WATER NEWS
In Case You Missed It:
The implications of the drying American Southwest and the limits to the region’s water supply are steadily becoming more apparent.
The federal government acknowledged the changing conditions on Monday, declaring a Tier 1 shortage for the lower Colorado River basin. The shortage declaration will force Arizona and Nevada, as well as Mexico to further reduce their withdrawals from the river in 2022. California, the other lower basin state, is not affected. The declaration also sets the stage for more drastic measures in the near future since Lake Mead is projected to fall another 30 feet over the next two years.
Hundreds Flee Deadly Water Conflict in Lake Chad Basin
Officials in the central African country of Cameroon said that hundreds of people are fleeing the northern border region with Chad due to deadly conflict over water. Voice of America reports that 18 people were killed and 70 were wounded in attacks between cattle ranchers and fishermen that began in July. Homes have been set ablaze and cows killed. Cameroon officials say that the Lake Chad region is drying, which has spurred competition for resources. A regional governor said that ranchers are upset that their livestock are being trapped in holes dug by the fishermen.
TODAY’S TOP WATER STORIES, TOLD IN NUMBERS
1.6 Gallons Per Day
The Warm Springs Indian Reservation in central Oregon, which is plagued by failing water infrastructure, is turning to solar distillation technology for clean drinking water. Each hydropanel can produce 1.6 gallons of water per day, Oregon Public Broadcasting reports. Jim Souers, CEO of the Warm Springs Economic Development Corporation, says that the panels are a stopgap solution until the reservation can find tens of millions of dollars to sustainably rebuild its broken water delivery system.
In context: The Oregon Community Desperate for Water
ON THE RADAR
California Gov. Gavin Newsom said that he could impose a statewide water conservation mandate, though probably not before the end of September. According to CalMatters, the timeline could be related to the governor’s recall election, which is set for September 14. Newsome has called for a voluntary 15 percent reduction in municipal water use but he has not ordered cuts, as his predecessor Jerry Brown did in the previous drought.
Brett writes about agriculture, energy, infrastructure, and the politics and economics of water in the United States. He also writes the Federal Water Tap, Circle of Blue’s weekly digest of U.S. government water news. He is the winner of two Society of Environmental Journalists reporting awards, one of the top honors in American environmental journalism: first place for explanatory reporting for a series on septic system pollution in the United States(2016) and third place for beat reporting in a small market (2014). He received the Sierra Club’s Distinguished Service Award in 2018. Brett lives in Seattle, where he hikes the mountains and bakes pies. Contact Brett Walton