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The Stream, September 17, 2021: Contaminated Drinking Water Kills Several Children in India

YOUR GLOBAL RUNDOWN

  • The deaths of seven children in India have been linked to unhygienic conditions and illegal drinking water pipe connections.
  • In the American West, hydroelectricity threats force federal officials to release water from surrounding reservoirs to fill Lake Powell, while climate change threatens celebrated California
  • The Shoal Lake First Nation in Canada has clean water for the first time in over two decades.
  • Tensions between Ethiopia and Sudan over water and land could culminate in armed conflict, one academic argues.

The U.S. Section of the International Boundary & Water Commission swears in a new commissioner.

“She is no stranger to the IBWC, to water issues and positions that perfectly represent the concerns of climate change, water and wastewater issues, technical assistance, program and grant management and sustainable infrastructure.” – Doña Ana County Manager Fernando R. Macias. The U.S. Section of the International Boundary & Water Commission swore in Maria Elena Giner as commissioner this week, according to Border Report. In her new role, Giner will oversee joint water resources between the United States and Mexico and enforce boundary treaties.

IN RECENT WATER NEWS

In Case You Missed It:

‘The Opportunity is Now’: Water Advocates View Upcoming UN Climate Conference as Moment of Relevance – Water was overlooked in past global climate talks. Advocates are focusing on the Glasgow meeting to highlight water’s indispensable climate role.

Dam Battles Converge on Cambodia’s 3S Rivers – The rivers are an ecological bounty in the Mekong watershed. But technical reviews pay little attention to environmental costs of dam building.

Drought in the American West

Your need-to-know drought coverage for the week. 

Hydroelectricity Threats Force Federal Officials To Fill Lake Powell With Water From Surrounding Reservoirs  

Amid threats to hydroelectricity, the Bureau of Reclamation issued an emergency action to release water from reservoirs higher in the Colorado River watershed in order to raise levels in Lake Powell and maintain hydropower. NPR reports that some of that water is coming from reservoirs like the Blue Mesa in Colorado, which is already less than 38 percent full. The releases this year are expected to raise the lake by three feet. If snowpack and water runoff remain low again next year, officials say the federal government could take more from Blue Mesa and other reservoirs.

Climate Change Is Threatening Beloved California Salmon

California officials reported that between 14,500 and 16,000 dead Chinook salmon have been found in an area 100 miles north of Sacramento. The state’s salmon population is plummeting thanks to severe drought and record-setting temperatures, which officials say threaten future generations. The Independent reports that other threats to the celebrated California species include the Shasta Dam, which cuts fish populations off from the cold Sacramento River waters.

  • Why it matters: Before the founders of the Family Water Alliance began installing metal screens at the end of the big pipes that draw water from the Sacramento River to irrigate Colusa County’s rice and vegetable fields, seasonal salmon runs often included sizable helpings of fresh fish flopping in the brown dirt of farm furrows. The pumps that transported water were powerful enough to suck migrating fish into the pipes and toss them out the other end, typically startled and very much alive. Hundreds more fish screens have been installed on northern California’s other salmon spawning rivers. The result is that in the struggle to sustain California’s imperiled chinook, coho, and steelhead fishery, hundreds of thousands of spawning adults, newly hatched fry, and migrating juveniles

TODAY’S TOP WATER STORIES, TOLD IN NUMBERS

24 YEARS

For the first time in 24 years, Shoal Lake 40 First Nation on the Ontario-Manitoba border has clean water. CBC reports that the first nation celebrated the opening of its first centralized water treatment facility this week. Although Shoal Lake 40 sees the completion of the $33-million facility as victory, 32 First Nations across Canada still face boil water advisories as of August 28.

7 CHILDREN

The Haryana government in India said this week that the deaths of seven children can be linked to contaminated drinking water, the Indian Express reports. Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Rajeev Arora said officials discovered a leakage in the drinking water pipeline, and say the cause of the children’s sickness – which ultimately led to their deaths, can be attributed to unhygienic conditions and illegal drinking water pipe connections.

ON THE RADAR

In an opinion piece for Al Jazeera, lecturer at both Harvard and Boston University Christopher Rhodes said rising tensions between Ethiopia and Sudan over land and water control could lead to armed conflict. Rhodes argued that the combination of centuries-long disputes over a portion of land known as al-Fashqa and failed negotiations for the filling and operating of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) have the potential to boil over into deadly conflict. The risk of war between the two countries in the Horn of Africa comes as Ethiopia deals with itss own internal humanitarian crisis: In the Tigray region, conflict between the federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front has grown into a de facto civil war.

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