Michigan’s governor-elect names clean drinking water as her top priority. Mining replaces agriculture in India’s drought-stricken Bundelkhand region. Developing weather patterns spell more drought for parched Australia. A major lithium producer in Chile’s Atacama desertannounces a new technology that triples lithium production without using additional water. Zambia’s pivotal Kafue river is at risk of over-extraction, researchers say.
“We are home to 21 percent of the world’s fresh water and we’ve got a lot of communities that can’t drink the water coming out of their tap. So, working on infrastructure in Michigan is at the top of the list.” –Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan’s newly-elected governor, speaking about the importance of clean drinking water. Whitmer will replace Rick Snyder as the state’s governor. MLive
50 percentProportion of Zambia’s electricity that is powered by the Kafue river. The waterway is also a crucial part of the country’s economy. A new report, however, warns that industry, hydropower, and agriculture have maxed out the Kafue, and say the river is at high risk of over-extraction. Phys.org
70 percentLikelihood of an El Niño weather pattern developing soon. Another weather pattern, called the Indian Ocean Dipole, also looks likely to form. According to meteorologists, both these events could shift summer rains away from Australia, which has already endured months of harsh drought. Al Jazeera
Science, Studies, And Reports
U.S.-based Albemarle Corp, a top lithium producer operating in Chile’s water-stressed Atacama desert, claims to have developed a technology for tripling lithium production without using more water. Regulators, however, say the details of the technology are unclear, and rejected Albemarle’s first request to implement the new process. The company is preparing a revised request. Reuters
A decade of drought has forced India’s Bundelkhand region to turn from agriculture to mining. Scientists fear that the mining operations are exacerbating drought, though, by disrupting the region’s groundwater table. Mining has also led to deforestation and other negative environmental impacts. Asia Times
Kayla Ritter is a recent graduate of Michigan State University, where she studied International Relations and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. She is currently based in Manton, Michigan. Kayla enjoys running, writing, and traveling.