News Index

2005 International Water News

January-to-June, 2004 International News

2003 International News 


2004 International News July to December


Special section on Indian Ocean tsunami

December, 2004

Russia plans laws in 2005 to crack down on industry pollution for the first time

It will force offending companies to invest in clean technology rather than pay fines, said Yuri Trutnev, the natural resources minister. Trutnev also said the ministry would build new reservoirs to improve water supply. Reuters_ 12/31/04

Uzbeks official says central Asian states must  compromise over water resources

Mr Sergei Samoilov, who is the deputy chairman of the state committee for nature protection, said the region's two main rivers, the Syr Darya and the Amu Darya, could meet the needs of everyone in the area. But it was unfortunate there was still no agreement on the prices which states charged each other for water and fuel. Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan disagree over the use of the Syr Darya's waters. BBC News_ 12/30/04

Aid teams rush from Europe to stricken south Asia after devastating tidal waves; Safe drinking water needed
Anything less than an urgent response would add many more deaths to a toll already above 11,000, aid officials said. Pope John Paul II urged the international community to help after an 8.9-magnitude earthquake off the Indonesian island of Sumatra -- the largest in 40 years -- triggered tidal waves up to 20 feet high that obliterated villages and seaside resorts in six countries across southern Asia. He said the "enormous tragedy" had saddened the Christmas holiday. The International Red Cross in Geneva appealed for donations of $6.7 million in cash, relief goods or services for the next six months. Jasmine Whitbread, international director of the aid group Oxfam, warned that without swift action, more people could die in the aftermath. "The flood waters will have contaminated drinking water and food will be scarce," she said. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 12/26/04

How the tidal wave or tsunami developed. It traveled at more than 500 miles an hour. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 12/26/04

"Lost Boy" poised to complete mission to tap clean water in southern Sudan
One of the thousands of "Lost Boys of Sudan" who spent over a decade fleeing war and famine before landing in America, Salva Dut returns to the Sudan Jan. 9 with $94,000 to drills wells in his home province of Tonj, one of the poorest places on earth. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 12/24/04

China cities raise water price
More than half of Chinese cities raised their water prices this year, aiming to fight the country's severe water shortage by raising citizen's water-saving awareness. The most outstanding example was Beijing. It was the ninth water price hike for the city in the past 14 years, making Beijing's water most expensive in the country.  China Daily _ 12/25/04

Pakistani water crisis reviewed
In the past four years Pakistan has been dealing with an increasing water crisis due to little rainfall in the monsoon season.
The country's rainfall level is 41 per cent less than normal. Water availability for winter crops has falled by almost 50 percent this year.  Dawn _ 12/25/04

Newmont Mining admits emitting mercury in Indonesia water and air, denies health impact
The acknowledgment by Newmont Mining Corp. is the latest setback for the company in its six-month battle to defend against pollution allegations at its gold mine. Indonesian police have accused its local subsidiary, Newmont Minahasa Raya, of dumping heavy metals into Buyat Bay, causing residents to develop skin diseases and tumors. In a statement faxed to The Associated Press, the Denver-based company insisted that it had adhered to all "appropriate standards" and that at no time "did any test or monitoring data show that there were health impacts to employees or the community as a result of operations." Newmont was responding to an article in The New York Times saying that an internal report from 2001 warned that the mine in Buyat Bay on Sulawesi island was putting tons of toxic mercury into the environment. The internal report also said the company wasn't abiding by its public claims that it was upholding U.S. environmental standards, the Times said. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 12/22/04

Mexican water authorities pay about US$120,000 to 110 indians who threatened to block Mexico City's water supply if they weren't compendsated for flood damage
The 2003 overflow at the Villa Victora dam, which supplies water for Mexico City, ruined crops planted by five Mazahua communities. In September, the Indians demanded compensation for those losses and blockaded a water treatment plant, a move that temporarily threatened to interrupt city water supplies.  AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 12/22/04

Austrialian water wasters face penalties
Some of Melbourne's (Australia) biggest companies have ignored calls to save water, forcing the state government to consider mandatory limits and price rises to curb use.   Herald Sun  _12/21/04

Water quality in China's most polluted river, the Huaihe, gets worse

Only 57.8 percent of the water now is considered safe for domestic, industrial or agricultural use. The figure is about 15.5 percent points less than last year, according to the environment surveillance center on the Huaihe River. Tests show only 35.5 percent of the water can be used as domestic water, 17.8 percent in industry, 11.1 percent in irrigation and 35.6 percent in none of the above. Experts attribute the degeneration to scarce rainfall in the Huaihe River basin recently, preventing fresh water from diluting pollutants, which the towns and cities continue to discharge into the river, despite a 10-year government cleanup effort. XinHua/ChinaView_ 12/19/04

Philippine town leader leaves bride at the church; E-coli outbreak in town's water supply forces him to replace management of water district

At least four people have died and more than four hundred have been hospitalized as a result of the diarrhea epidemic which began in the town of Moalboal November 23. Government officials issued a cease and desist order against the Moalboal Water District. To prevent the water supply from coming to a halt, Moalboal Vice Mayor Alex Pocong presided over a special town council session that gave the mayor the authority to run the water system. Pocong was supposed to be at church getting married when he was called to the emergency town meeting. His delayed wedding took place as soon as he rushed from the meeting back to the church. The water district will get new chlorinating equipment. The Freeman_ 12/19/04 

Afghanistan suffers through 7th year of drought, the most debilitating in living memory

Government and foreign aid officials warn that despite outside help and a good harvest last year, the country is living on the brink, with nearly 40 percent of the population below subsistence levels. Wells, rivers and canals have gone dry. The World Food Program estimates that three quarters of a million people in the country are in "severe distress" because of an acute shortage of drinking water. New York Times/San Francisco Chronicle_ 12/17/04

Philippines moves to avert Manila water crisis in the aftermath of destructive typhoons

Metro Manila residents were urged to conserve water and avoid wastage now or face possible shortage due to the damaged Umiray-Angat Tunnel. The 13-kilometer tunnel that diverts water from the Umiray River in General Nakar in Quezon Province, to Angat Dam in Norzagaray, Bulacan, was severely damaged by logs and debris that were carried by mudslides in the wake of three typhoons that hit Southern Luzon and Central Luzon last week. Metro Manila gets up to 30 percent of its water supply from the Umiray River that is channeled through the tunnel and delivered to Angat reservoir. Today/ABS-CBNNews_ 12/12/04

World Bank approves $200 million water, sewer and roadway loan to Argentina

But bank officials said money for the country's economic recovery would stay frozen until the government resumed its stalled International Monetary Fund loan program. Disruptions in IMF programs normally affect loan disbursements from other global lenders. World Bank financing for infrastructure projects in Argentina have however been unaffected and the new loan will help improve roads, and water and sewage services in the province of Buenos Aires, the bank's country director Axel van Trotsenburg said. Reuters_ 12/7/04

Bulgaria to spend $1.64 Bln on new water treatment stations in next decade

Upgrades required to join the EU
Bulgaria, which is expected to join the European Union in 2007, needs a total of leva 2.4 billion ($1.64 billion) to complete its net of waste water treatment stations, an official said Sunday. Environment Minister Dolores Arsenova said Bulgaria has so far built one-third of the stations it needs to match the EU environmental standards.  Bulgarian News Network _12/5/04

U.S.-based Newmont Mining Corp.'s chief executive Wayne Murdy's top priority is to stop criminal charges against his company and its executives in Indonesia

Indonesian prosecutors said they expect to file charges under environmental laws against six Newmont executives and Newmont's local subsidiary over allegations that waste from one of its mines polluted the waters of a bay off an Indonesian island, contaminating the food chain and making villagers sick. The case looking into allegations surrounding mercury and arsenic levels in the waters of Buyat Bay, off Indonesia's Sulawesi Island, has alarmed foreign miners over the growing difficulty of doing business in the Asian archipelago's outlying regions and investment in the sector has slumped. Newmont, the world's top gold producer, denies its mine contributed to pollution in Buyat Bay, which lies 2,200 km, (1,400 miles) northeast of Jakarta.  Reuters_ 12/4/04

Punjab starts releasing water in Rajasthan
Punjab has started releasing water to the Indira Gandhi Canal System in Western Rajasthan following Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's intervention. The Bhakra-Beas Management Board has allotted adequate water to Rajasthan as per its stated demand for the month of December.  Press Trust of India  12/4/04

Dow Chemical Given Poison Well Water
A group of activists delivered to Dow Chemical a container of poisoned well water from the Bhopal gas disaster site to mark the 20th anniversary of the world's worst industrial accident in India. Chanting 'we want justice now', the group of environmentalists, lawyers, doctors and human rights campaigners demanded the US chemical giant accept responsibility for the tragedy, compensate victims and help clean up the site. 

Sify News _ 12/4/04

Somalia's angels of mercy provide drinking water in absence of a government

Abdoulkadir Hassan Issa runs the Isaf Water and Electricity Supply company in a Mogadishu suburb providing running water to 800 families. "We are doing this to provide a public service until the government comes," he says. "Then they can provide water and electricity or they might give us a contract and then we could continue. That's what we'd really like." Mr Abdoulkadir says they used to use an open well but some customers complained about their water quality, so they dug a bore hole and add chlorine to prevent infection.  BBC News_ 12/1/04

South Asia stares at looming water crisis

Millions of farmers in South Asia have grappled with crippling droughts in some areas and devastating floods in others for years now. According to U.N. estimates, about 2.3 billion people in about 50 nations will be saddled with severe water shortages by 2020 because of global warming. Reuters_ 12/1/04

November, 2004

Getting the most out of the world's water

From Finland to Brazil to Vietnam, innovative water treatment techniques improve the quality of local supplies.  BBC News_ 11/29/04

U.S. mining giant Newmont Mining Corp. faces off against Indonesian police, activists over water pollution claims

Employes of the Denver-based Newmont were jailed for a month during a police investigation of villager accusations that water pollution from the company's gold mine killed fish and sickened residents. The company points to studies like one by the World Health Organization to back its contention that its methods are safe.  AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 11/28/04

BBC News Special Report: By 2025, two-thirds of the world's population will live in water-stressed countries. Can we solve the world's water problems? BBC News_ 11/27/04

No sign of El Nino in Pacific for now - Scientists

Sea temperatures in the southeastern Pacific show no sign of bringing extreme "El Nino" weather conditions in the next two months, Peru's Maritime Institute (IMARPE) said. "The forecast for the southeastern Pacific in the next two months is normal," IMARPE President Hugo Arevalo told a news conference following a meeting of scientists from Colombia, Ecuador, Chile, Peru and the United States. Reuters_ 11/23/04

Sheikhs in the United Arab Emirates lead Muslims across the parched country in prayers for rain

Demand for water has far outstripped supply in the UAE in recent years and the country has the highest per capita consumption in the world. The UAE also is believed to be the world's largest producer of desalinated water. Praying for rain is an ancient ritual in Arabia, dating back to the time of the Prophet Muhammad. BBC News_ 11/23/04

Melbourne, Australia to impose permanent water restrictions effective March 1 to protect city water supplies

Water Minister John Thwaites said permanent restrictions were needed despite recent good rain. Fines of $1000 will be imposed on residents who break the water restrictions, and $2000 for repeat offenders. Herald Sun/ 11/23/04

Perchlorate contamination of water wells speeds connection of Israeli community to national water supply

The project should be completed within three months. Recent examinations by the Health Ministry and the Water Commissioner's Office (WCO) revealed relatively high levels of perchlorate in the wells serving Ramat Hasharon, apparently originating from a nearby TAAS-Israel Industries factory. The chemical, a derivative of perchloric acid, can harm the functioning of the thyroid gland, especially in pregnant women and children and, in extreme cases, cause cancer. Jerusalem Post_ 11/16/04

BBC News Investigation: Toxic waste contaminating the water supply around Bhopal, India

Four thousand people died after an explosion and toxic gas leak at a pesticide factory owned by US company Union Carbide in 1984. Union Carbide India Limited was responsible for cleaning up the site. But BBC samples of drinking water from a nearby well found levels of contamination 500 times higher than the maximum limits recommended by the World Health Organization. Union Carbide disputes the test results saying when it handed the site back in 1998 it "found no evidence of groundwater contamination." BBC News_ 11/14/04

The Kimberly region of Western Australia has enough water to supply Perth and beyond - ex water minister

Ernie Bridge, a former Western Australia minister for water resources and now chairman of the lobby group Watering Australia, is backing a WA Government proposal for a feasibility study into a 2000km canal or pipeline from the Kimberleys to take water to the parched Perth metropolitan area.  AAP/ 11/15/04

Environmentalist condemns Kimberly water canal plan ABC online_ 11/15/04

European Commission raids some of Europe's biggest producers and importers of sinks, taps and other bathroom fittings, seeking evidence of price-fixing

The Commission said the raids, carried out with national authorities, spanned five countries, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. Europe's largest fittings manufacturer Grohe Water Technology, owned by buyout firms Texas Pacific Group and Credit Suisse First Boston Private Equity, said it had been raided. Rival Hansgrohe, majority owned by the U.S. Masco Corp., said it too had been raided. The Commission makes cracking down on cartels one of its highest competition priorities, and in September doled out a 222 million euro ($285.5 million) fine on Europe's main makers of copper plumbing pipes for more than a decade of price-fixing. Reuters_ 11/11/04

Communities in rural Ontario, Canada get extended deadline to meet new water standards

The stringent water-treatment regulations were introduced in the wake of the devastating Walkerton, Ontario, E. coli outbreak in May 2000 that killed seven people and sickened 2,500 others. Many small communities have complained they couldn't afford to meet the new rules by the deadline, which for some would have come as early as Dec. 31. Canadian Press/Canada.com_ 11/8/04

Australia in grip of water crisis; Green gardens and dishwashers could become luxuries beyond the reach of most households

There is a warning that some of Australia's major cities could run out of drinking water. Much of this arid continent is in the grip of one of the driest periods in living memory and water supplies in many Australian cities cannot cope with rapid population growth. The recycling of water, desalinisation plants and the harnessing of storm water - which often, and rather frustratingly for many Australians, simply flows into the sea - are options. BBC News_ 11/8/04

European space probe to 'pump out' water for manned lunar base

The European Space Agency (ESA) Smart 1 probe will survey the lunar surface in minute detail to find sites where there might be ice. Such a discovery would make it far easier for humans to build a base on the moon because ice would provide a source not just of water, but also of the hydrogen and oxygen from which water is made. This would avoid the need to ferry constant supplies of water and oxygen from earth, which could prove to be so expensive that the venture would be unsustainable. London Sunday Times/Times of India_ 11/8/04

Link between water, poverty ignored speakers tell WaterNet Symposium

The vital role of water in the alleviation of poverty has not been given the attention it deserves, a recent survey of national Poverty Reduction Strategy papers by the Global Water Partnership (GWP) indicates. The symposium focuses on integrated water and resources management (IWRM) and the millennium development goals under the theme 'Managing water for peace and prosperity'. Speakers said not enough attention was paid to the urgent needs of sufficient clean water for domestic use, proper sanitation facilities and water to produce food. The Namibian/allAfrica.com_ 11/4/04

Pakistan's minister for Water and Power approves national water policy to carry the nation through 2025

The policy will be submitted to the cabinet by the end of November for approval. The policy would ensure sustainable use of water with due consideration to the environment, quality of life, ability to pay and participation of all stakeholders. The key policy recommendations are provision of safe drinking water, additional storage for year round crops, storages to overcome drought years, prevention of saline intrusion in fresh groundwater, to develop a comprehensive water law and develop cheap hydropower. Daily Times_ 11/5/04

Cholera kills 1,663 in Africa so far this year

Some 71,600 cases have been reported in Africa since January and Cameroon, Chad and Mali have been particularly badly affected, according to Claire-Lise Chaignat, coordinator of the World Health Organization's (WHO) global cholera task force. In 2003, there were 108,000 cases and 1,884 deaths, she said. Africa had been free of cholera, an intestinal infection spread by contaminated water and food, for more than a century when the disease hit western regions in 1970. Reuters_ 11/3/04

Lahore, Pakistan to get its first water treatment plant

A delegation from the Spanish Consortium for Water discussed with local leaders the company’s provisions in sewerage systems, water treatment, solid waste, electric and construction services. The head of the delegation said that the company would send experts within two weeks for completing a technical and commercial survey for the installation of the plant. A plant is needed to deal with 4,000 tons of waste a day. Daily Times_ 11/3/04

October, 2004

More than half of the towns and cities in the Philippines' Cebu Province have no access to safe drinking water

According to a study by the Department of Interior and Local Government and the German Technical Cooperation (GTZ), the province will need more than P25 billion to implement two phases of a suitable water supply, sewerage and sanitation project. In a related development, the Cebu City Council this week approved the allocation of over P6 million for the construction of 92 artesian wells, aside from tanks and water reservoirs, especially in mountain barangays. Sun Star_ 10/31/04

Malaysia to proceed with privatisation of Selangor water to avert financial woes

The government will proceed with privatisation of the water supply without waiting for formation of the proposed National Water Services Commission. Energy, Water and Communications Minister Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik said receivables to three water treatment plant operators had soared to RM2.3 billion, and were rising by RM55 million each month. Other water problems, including quality of water supply and supply interruption, were also worsening due to ageing pipes, he said. The Edge Daily_ 10/26/04

Newmont Mining Corp. says vindicated in second Indonesia study of water pollution

The world's largest gold producer is accused of causing pollution at its Indonesian operation and five of its employes have been in police custody since last month. Newmont said an Indonesian government study showed that Buyat Bay is not polluted and the fish are healthy.

The study is in line with one released earlier this month that was conducted by the World Health Organization.  Reuters_ 10/19/04

Once notorious for its mismanaged drinking water system, Walkerton, Canada, will become national water system training center

The centre was one of 10 recommendations made by Justice Dennis O'Connor's inquiry into the tainted water tragedy in May, 2000, that killed seven. Toronto Star_ 10/14/04

BBC News Feature: Paying the price for China's growth

The sheer scale of China's economic transformation is matched only by the size of the new challenges and dangers it has created. None is bigger than the threat to the environment. Fly west from the capital and you get a bird's-eye view of perhaps the most serious threat of all. Dusty beds of dried-up rivers run through endless grey hills and deserts below. More than half China's citizens face serious problems of water shortage or contamination. BBC News_ 10/14/04

India hosts two-day conference on water quality

The contamination of ground water due to arsenic, fluoride and nitrate along with water quality related health issues, community based water quality monitoring/surveillance and research & development are on the agenda. Secretary of Water Resources, Shri V.K. Duggal said the objective is to prepare a national action plan to address the water quality issues. India Press Information Bureau_ 10/13/04

Sydney, Australia firefighters refuse to use recycled water

They told the New South Wales Fire Brigade they will not use recycled water to extinguish fires until they are assured it is safe. Firefighters will ignore the few fire hydrant systems connected to recycled water and use instead clean water hydrants provided alongside. Union spokesman Darryl Snow says Sydney Water warns people not to shower in recycled water and firefighters feel there is no point risking their health by using it. Mr Snow expressed concerns over the risk of firefighters with cuts or abrasions using recycled water. ABC News Online_ 10/11/04

London's water supply could 'dry up' within a decade as demand outstrips supply

The London Assembly's Environment Committee said two hot summers and a dry winter could also reduce the city's water supplies to "critical" levels. Thames Water, London's biggest supplier, said it has a campaign to get customers to be more efficient. About 70% of London's water comes from the River Thames and the River Lea in east London. The rest comes from boreholes. Thames Water hopes, if it gets planning permission, to open a desalination plant in Newham, east London, by the end of 2007. It also is looking at another storage reservoir to be located in south-west Oxfordshire. BBC News_ 10/11/04

Two Chinese water engineers kidnapped in a remote Pakistani tribal region near the border with Afghanistan - officials

The Chinese were in one of the five vehicles enroute to the Gomalzam dam project in South Waziristan, the rugged region where Pakistani troops have been battling to flush out hundreds of Al-Qaeda-linked militants. Channel News Asia_ 10/10/04

Bulgaria's President Georgi Parvanov vetoes bill that requires water users to pay for all water wasted due to unrepaired conduits

Parvanov insisted that only 25% of the losses should be shared out to the people. Novinite.com_ 10/10/04

Bangladesh project to supply arsenic-free safe drinking water to villagers

The main objective of the five-year project titled "Drinking Water Supply From Irrigation Deep Tubewell" is to ensure round-the-year supply of potable water to each household in remote villages. Necessary infrastructures are being installed in 250 villages under the three administrative districts and the works of 70 installations have already been completed. BSS/The New Nation_ 10/10/04

Newmont Mining Corp. says vindicated in Indonesia water pollution case; five employes still in custody

Newmont, battling pollution allegations in two countries, said it was vindicated by World Health Organization (WHO) report concluding Indonesian villagers were apparently not sickened by mercury it was accused of dumping from its gold mine there. However, police said they were passing the case to prosecutors, who could charge six company officials accused of dumping toxic waste. On another front, Newmont, the world's No. 1 gold producer, suffered a setback in Turkey, where a court rejected its appeal to reopen a gold mine accused of soil contamination. Reuters_ 10/7/04

Star Wars technology helps Darfur find water
Satellite technology first developed as part of Ronald Reagan's "Star Wars" programme in the 1980s is now being put to use to find water supplies in crisis-hit western Sudan and Chad. French scientist Alain Gachet adapted elements of Star Wars - designed to counter the threat of a nuclear attack on America by using satellites to pinpoint missile launches - to locate sources of water beneath the Sahara. The technology is proving highly useful as region struggles to cope with the fallout from the Darfur crisis in Sudan, with thousands of refugees heading over the border into Chad. BBC News_ 10/5/04

Perchlorate contaminates well used by more than 15,000 in Israeli town of Ramat Hasharon

he pollutant, used to produce rocket fuel, originated from a nearby Israeli Military Industries factory where polluted waters are poured to purification pools. The chemical had probably permeated from there into the ground water. Haaretz_ 10/4/04

Saudi Arabia launches nationwide water conservation campaign

Four million free accessories in tool kits will be given away; the accessories are easy to use and are expected to reduce water consumption by 30 percent. The Kingdom will require a capital investment averaging nearly $2 billion per year for the next 20 years to meet projected water demand. Saudi Arabia has established 30 desalination plants on the Red Sea and the Arabian Gulf at a total cost of SR54 billion and is the world’s largest supplier of desalinated water. Arab News_ 10/3/04

September, 2004

Governments need to act to avert water crisis

Strong action is needed to avert a global water crisis that has deprived a billion of the world's poor of drinking water and killed millions through diarrhoea, an international expert warned. A massive amount of work was required by governments to increase water efficiency in the same way they addressed the energy crisis of three decades ago, said Professor Frank Rijsberman, general manager of the multilateral government-backed International Water Management Institute in Sri Lanka. Reuters_ 9/29/04


Head of Newmont Mining Corp., Chief Executive Officer Wayne Murdy, defends environmental record of the world's largest gold producer; operations charged with polluting water in Indonesia

Newmont employees there have been arrested over allegations that a mining subsidiary dumped waste in a bay in North Sulawesi province, polluting the water. The Denver-based company also negotiated earlier this month with authorities in northern Peru to end a blockade of a Newmont-owned mine by local farmers who accused it of causing pollution to drinking water. Reuters_ 9/28/04

Pakistani government urged to expedite a water treaty with Afghanistan

The Technical Committee on Water Resources (TCWR) asked the government to sign an agreement so it can finalise its assessment of water availability in Pakistan. Plans by India to build a dam could at least temporarily impact Pakistan's water supply. Daily Times_ 9/28/04

Indonesian police hold Australian Newmont Mining Corp. manager in water pollution case

Indonesian police detained Phil Turner, manager for production and maintenance at the Minahasa mine, the fifth employee to be held over pollution allegations, a company spokesman said. The unit's American president has also been called in for questioning over accusations the Minahasa gold mine has polluted the waters of Buyat Bay and made people ill. Denver-based Newmont, the world's largest gold miner, has strenuously denied the accusations by villagers in North Sulawesi province. National police spokesman Paiman said no decision had been made on whether to also detain Richard Ness, the unit's president. Reuters_ 9/24/04

Southern Africa faces water, food crisis - World Bank study

Funded by the World Bank and other donors, the Southern African Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (SAMA) is the first in a series of regional checkups of the planet's health launched by the United Nations in June, 2001. It examined 19 African countries on or below the equator. Bob Scholes, one of the study's authors, told Reuters the water situation was most serious in Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, South Africa and Malawi. Reuters_ 9/22/04

Indonesian police detain four Newmont Mining Corp. employes after questioning about water pollution

Scientists hired by the company and government officials sampled water taken from the same source, but ended up with very different results. "Ours came back normal. Theirs came back higher in mercury and arsenic than we've ever seen," said company spokesman Doug Hock in Denver. The mine was closed in August and the company has been carrying out normal reclamation work. Three of the staffers are Indonesian and the other, mine general manager Bill Long, is American. Reuters_ 9/22/04

WHO issues new clean water guidelines to prevent drinking water contamination and illnesses

Only 50 percent of the world's population has access to running water at home, with the rest relying on wells or rivers, according to the WHO. The guidelines include instructions on ensuring reservoirs or wells avoid the risk of contamination from human and animal waste, as well as basic advice like regular changing of water filters. Reuters_ 9/21/04

Indonesian police to question head of Newmont Mining Corp. subsidiary over water pollution claims

The company has strenuously denied the allegations, but said all those summoned would appear for questioning. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 9/21/04

Feature: Frenchman who can see water beneath the Sahara, he locates wells for the 200,000 refugees who fled the violence of Sudan's Darfur region

Working in his 15th-century chateau in France, Alain Gachet fused together an unprecedented set of maps, including newly released topo- graphic ones from the space shuttle and previously unavailable radar ones that peer 20 yards underground. Now he's put the data into his GPS device. When he says, "Dig here!" aid workers listen. So far, the half dozen wells drilled under his direction have hit water. Christian Science Monitor_ 9/20/04

Newmont Mining Corp. resumes operations at Peruvian gold mine after agreement ends blockade by local farmers who allege mining pollutes local water

The Denver-based miner said the agreement lifted the blockade of its Minera Yanacocha mine near Cajamarca in northern, Peru, where operations were scaled back earlier this week. Representatives from the mine, community and Peruvian government agreed to set aside the drilling of a gold deposit until further studies can assess any impact on Cajamarca's water supply. Reuters_ 9/17/04

Sydney, Australia has just over two-year water supply; new use restrictions may be needed

Sydney will run out of water in 118 weeks if dam levels keep falling and the drought continues. Utilities Minister Frank Sartor said Sydney's dams were at only 43.1 per cent capacity and the city had just over two years of water left. 9/18/04

Australia's $500 million federal-state water agreement unravels

Farmers and environmentalists were dismayed that the plan to rescue the Murray River fell apart. The agreement was reach at the Council of Australian Government's meeting in June.   The Australian_ 9/17/04

United Nations says more effort needed to curb world population growth, stress on environment and water supplies

UN member nations agreed at a landmark 1994 Cairo meeting on a wide-ranging plan that said birth control and other measures were essential in the battle to improve the plight of the poor and hungry, especially in developing countries. Population growth is "increasing stress" on the environment amid global warming and water shortages. AFP/Daily Star_ 9/15/04

Peru's Yanacocha temporarily cuts mining after 12,000 farmers protest alleged water contamination

Yanacocha, Latin America's largest gold mine, is controlled by U.S.-based Newmont Mining Corp. with Peru's Buenaventura as a partner. Despite the temporary cutbacks, the company said gold production would not be immediately affected. Reuters_ 9/15/04

India-Bangladesh end two-day meeting on water sharing without a major argeement

Senior officials decided to set up a joint committee to narrow the gaps on highly technical issues in the next three months. But no new date was fixed for the next round of talks. India and Bangladesh share at least 54 common rivers and have an agreement on the Ganges but want a long-term deal on other sources. BBC News_ 9/15/04

Worst floods in decades hit Bangladesh capital of Dhaka

The navy has been called on to help drain the city, utility and telephoe services are out in the worst hit areas, trains have stopped running and food markets and businesses are shut. Officials are concerned sewage will contaminate drinking water. In July, the rest of the nation experienced its worst floods in six years which left 600 people dead and more than 100,000 ill from water-borne diseases. BBC News_ 9/14/04

Peru won't halt gold mining that protesters claim threatens water supplies

Officials said judicial authorities, not government agencies, would have to overturn permission granted to Latin America's top gold miner, Minera Yanacocha, to explore its Cerro Quilish deposit. Yanacocha says the project will not contaminate water supplies and blames drought for shortages. It is controlled by U.S.-based Newmont Mining Corp. with Peru's Buenaventura as junior partner. Thousands of Peruvians stopped work and marched through the northern town of Cajamarca 530 miles (856 km) northeast of Lima on Wednesday, shutting banks, markets and public transport, demanding the permit be revoked, police said. Reuters_ 9/9/04

Newmont Mining Corp. denies report its gold mining polluted Indonesian waters and caused villages to become ill

Responding to a front-page story in Wednesday's edition of The New York Times, Denver-based Newmont said in a statement that its Minahasa mine in North Sulawesi, Indonesia was never a threat to local residents. According to The Times, an Indonesian government panel reported on Aug. 31 that Newmont had illegally disposed mine waste laced with arsenic and mercury into the ocean. The paper reported that Indonesia's environment minister said Newmont might face criminal charges.  Reuters_ 9/8/04

Ugandan army ends hostage drama at the water ministry

Ugandan troops stormed the water ministry in central Kampala to free two women who had been taken hostage. The two hostage-takers, who were armed with pistols, were arrested and driven away at high-speed. There were unconfirmed reports the hostage-takers opposed moves to allow President Yoweri Museveni stand for re-election in 2006. But speaking to the BBC's Focus on Africa programme after the siege police spokesman Asumane Mugenyi said this speculation was "not true".  BBC News_ 9/8/04

Peru farmers threaten a strike claiming Latin America's largest gold mine is damaging water supplies

Yanacocha, which is majority owned by U.S-based Newmont Mining Corp., temporarily halted exploration at its rich Cerro Quilish deposit but locals say they want mining activities at the site banned, at least until conclusive hydrological studies are carried out. Locals, many of whom are subsistence farmers, blame Yanacocha for the shortage of water in the Andean province of Cajamarca, and fear that a gold mine at Quilish could poison water supplies. But Yanacocha says a regional drought is the reason for the lack of water, not mining activities.  Reuters_ 9/7/04

'Once-in-a-century' floods kill at least 161 in China

The toll is expected to rise from floods in southwest China that were unleashed by five days of torrential rain. The Yangtze River near the Three Gorges Dam, the largest hydro-electric project in the world lying to the east of the flood-disaster zone, was expecting the largest flood peak in more than 100 years after continuous rain in the river's upper reaches, Xinhua news agency said. Reuters_ 9/7/04

Analysis: China's water supply in danger of drying up
The Chinese government, the World Bank and the Washington-based Worldwatch Institute all have warned recently that increased water consumption in China's growing towns, coupled with reckless industrial and agricultural use, are rapidly exhausting the nation's already-strained water resources. San Francisco Chronicle_ 9/5/04

Romania says heavy metal from gold mine spilled into Cisla River causing neighboring Ukraine to cut water supplies to five towns
Cisla is a tributary of the Viseu river, which flows into the Tisa river which flows into Ukraine and then into Hungary. Four years ago, the mining town of Baia Mare, near the border with Hungary, was the site of an ecological disaster after a dam at a local gold smelter collapsed and spilled lethal cyanide and heavy metals into the Danube river. Reuters_ 9/5/04

Water disputes becoming a political hot potato

Describing inter-state water disputes as sensitive and delicate, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh voiced confidence that once the Supreme Court gives its advice on the Punjab water sharing, issue, the necessary steps will be set in motion. Times News Network_ 9/5/04

Greek water threat ignored; Thessaloniki officials knew main pipe was corroded, expert says. 
As a Thessaloniki prosecutor yesterday launched an investigation into the collapse of the public water supply in Greece’s second largest city, experts say that the local water board had known for at least four years that the main pipe serving the city was dangerously corroded.  Kathimerini _9/4/04


Water consumers urged to complain
In Jakarta the customer is king, so the saying goes, and Jakartans should not hesitate to file complaints to tap water companies if there are problems with the service, the firms say. However, customers should not expect clean water during repair work to pipes, they said.  The Jakarta Post_ 9/4/04

Taiwan water cuts cause massive losses
The week-long water shortage in Taoyuan County has caused damage estimated at NT$10 billion (US$285.7 million) to industrial infrastructure in the county's industrial zones -- as well as the death of one water company official due to heart failure.  Taipei Times_9/3/04


August, 2004

Israel pumps water from Lake Kinneret at record rate to prevent winter floods along the Jordan River and Dead Sea
Officials of the water company Mekorot said the excess Lake Kinneret water is providing domestic, agricultural and industrial water for areas like Jerusalem, Beersheba and Arad that normally receive supplies from other sources. Some of the additional water being pumped from the Kinneret is replenishing the coastal and mountain aquifers, the giant underground reservoirs, that are still depleted after years of over-pumping.  Jerusalem Post_ 8/29/04

First U.N. environmental evaluation of North Korea finds polluted water
North Korea's rivers and streams are filled with runoff from factories, its forests are depleted and a reliance on coal energy has created severe urban air pollution, the United Nations said in its first report on the communist nation's environment.   AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 8/27/04

No El Nino developing quickly: UN agency

Fears of a new El Nino, a phenomenon that brings extreme weather patterns, are unfounded despite unusual ocean temperatures which often herald the devastating weather anomaly, the World Meteorological Organization said. The report may ease concerns that another El Nino, which in the past has caused billions of dollars of damage through droughts and floods, is forming. U.S. government forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration sat they expect a weak El Nino pattern to develop by the end of August.  Reuters_ 8/26/04

Cholera kills 54 in Sierra Leone and spreads to areas with few medical facilities
Sierra Leone, a former British colony struggling to get back on its feet after a decade of civil war which ended in 2002, has been virtually free of cholera for three years. Cholera is an intestinal infection spread by contaminated water and food which can quickly cause severe dehydration and death. Torrential rains in rundown areas of the capital, Freetown, with poor sanitation have helped the disease take hold. Reuters_ 8/27/04

Water 'wake-up call' from UN
The world is on target to meet the clean drinking water goals, but population growth will probably outstrip the improvements. This would leave 2.4 billion people drinking unsafe water in 2015. BBC News_ 8/26/04

U.N. report: World meeting goals on safe drinking water but falling behind on sanitation
About 2.4 billion people will likely face the risk of needless disease and death by the target date of 2015 because of bad sanitation, the World Health Organization and UNICEF said in a joint report. "That's an unnecessary and stupid waste of human life," Philip O'Brien, head of UNICEF's Geneva office, said while presenting the 33-page report. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 8/26/04

South Asian peoples’ network for water to face river linking
A two-day consultation of river linking ended in Dhaka yesterday with a call for the creation of a South Asian network of people for water to prevent large intervention on rivers that risk the integrity of river basins on which life, livelihood, culture and civilization depend. The consultation attended by experts and activists from India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan.  The New Nation  _8/22/04

Amarinder Singh : watered down
Do Indian states have sovereign rights over river waters?

Even though Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh has claimed that it is within the sovereign rights of the state to regulate the use of water in its rivers, riparian states do not have untrammelled rights over their waters. US decision in 1896 to restrict the flow of the Rio Grande rejected by the international community as precedent. Times News Network_ 8/22/04

Australiam dams have state's back to wall
Safety upgrades to Wivenhoe Dam were delayed because the State Government was worried that its commitment to pay 40 per cent of the bill might set a costly precedent for the estimated $880 million in similar projects required throughout Queensland.  Documents obtained by the Opposition show that the South-East Queensland Water Corporation, SEQWater, became so frustrated at the delay that it decided to start work and demand money later. _8/23/04


Philippine water board hit for continuing to deny farmers irrigation water
Farmers in the Bulacan and Pampanga region of the Philippines continued to lambaste the National Water Resources Board (NWRB) for its continued failure to provide irrigation water although the level at the Angat Dam reservoir has improved over the past few weeks. Fall harvest in doubt.  The Manila Times   _8/21/04

Pakistan water committee prepares report on new dam construction.
Pakistan's Parliamentary Committee for Water will meet  August 23 to prepare a report on the construction of dams to be presented to President General Pervez Musharraf.  Tension among regional committee members and opposition groups have delayed meetings and progress.  'Megadam' may be in the offing.  Daily Times _8/21/04


Scientists Say Risk of Water Wars Rising
E xplosive global population growth and widespread complacency contribute to water strife, scientists say.
Scientists at the World Water Week conference which began on Sunday in Stockholm said that ignorance and complacency were widespread in wealthier countries. "We have had oil wars," said Professor William Mitsch. "That's happened in our lifetime. Water wars are possible."   Reuters_8/20/04

The 'water mafia' is draining India.
"We have all heard the prediction that wars may soon be fought over water. In India, it has already begun."

The "water mafia" is not a crime syndicate at all. Rather, it is a group of desperate and determined people, hot and thirsty Indians, tired of surviving on a few minutes of running water a day. BBC_8/19/04


Mineral water festival held in Baishan
A city in Northeast China has been labelled one of the world's leading mineral water resources.
Baishan, in Jilin Province, was named "International Mineral Water City" by the International Foundation for the Protection of Drinking Water. At the foot of the Changbai Mountains, Baishan stores 8 billion cubic metres of water. The area is 83 per cent covered by forest.  China Daily _8/20/04

Nigerian federal government awards N2.3 billion Otta water contract
The Nigerian federal government has awarded N2.3 billion contract to Reynolds Construction Company (RCC) for the rehabilitation and expansion of Otta water supply scheme in Ogun State. Minister of Water Resources, Alhaji Muktari Shagari, who signed the contract said the project was born out of government's determination to make clean potable water, available to all Nigerians.  This Day (Lagos) _ 8/19/04

Israel and Palestine must resolve the water problem together
Water resources in the Israeli-Palestinian context are trans-boundary issues. Israelis and Palestinians share both groundwater and surface water. In the Israeli-Palestinian conflict water allocation remains a disputed issue but, surprisingly to most people, not an impediment to progress in peace talks. The Daily Star _8/19/04

Australian irrigators without water
UP to 200 Campaspe system farmers face the prospect of starting the irrigation season with zero water allocation.
Local water allocations in the Loddon and Campaspe river systems are at zero per cent. The water authority said the Campaspe system continued to worsen and significant rain was needed to restore catchments. The Advertiser_8/19/04

25% of New Delhi, India's potable water samples unfit for drinking

The city's Municipal Corporation of Delhi reported that 170 of 681 samples taken from various points (beginning at the source of water until its delivery to consumers) in the city were found by a laboratory to be "unfit" for drinking. PTI/Times of India_ 8/15/04

Eastern Cuba's worst drought in 40 years affects thousands in Holguin city and surrounding towns
Authorities went on alert in Holguin, Cuba's fourth largest city, in July 2003, when rain failed to fill reservoirs. Two months later one of the city's three reservoirs dried up, then another in May when rainfall was 40 per cent below normal. Although things have improved lately with more frequent rains, it will be weeks before reservoirs and wells are replenished. Faucets run empty, and most wells dried up long ago. AP/Jamaica Observer_ 8/10/04

Dirty water provokes hepatitis E outbreak in Darfur's teeming refugee camps

The outbreak of the viral liver infection, for which there is no vaccine, comes early in the rainy season and could herald other, more deadly epidemics, according to the World Health Organization and Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders). Hepatitis E, caught from dirty water or food, typically strikes people between the ages of 15 and 40 and kills five per cent of victims. It is especially dangerous for pregnant women. Aid workers have warned of cholera, dysentery and malaria outbreaks in Darfur, where more than one million people have been displaced by a conflict that began early last year. Reuters_ 8/9/04

British drinking water aid and 1,000 latrines reach 60,000 in Sudan refugee camp

The aid, helped by the UK charity Oxfam, is the latest to be funded by a UK public appeal to help about 2 million people displaced by war. Refugees have fled fighting between rebels and the government-backed militias, collectively known as the Janjaweed, who are accused of a campaign of terror. BBC News_ 8/8/04

80,000 in Malaysia petition federal government for cleaner drinking water

A memorandum, entitled Call For a Prompt Solution To Unsatisfactory Water Supply and Services in Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, outlined the frustrations of consumers getting poor quality water, the lack of pressure and the frequent disruptions of water supply.

The disgruntled groups were led by the Selangor Malay Chamber of Commerce. Among those who signed the petition were hawkers, traders, coffeeshop and restaurant operators, laundry operators, manufacturers and other consumers.  The Star_ 8/6/04  

Flooding forces hundreds of thousands of tons of raw sewage into the River Thames running through central London

The Environment Agency said 600,000 tons of untreated sewage overflowed into the river as London's Victorian-era sewers were overwhelmed by torrential rains. The river is Europe's cleanest urban river. Environmentalists have long complained that the city's aging sewer system -- which carries both foul sewage and excess rainfall -- is in disrepair, outdated and increasingly unable to cope with both the rising population and climate change. Reuters_ 8/4/04

South Africa's Western Cape faces 10-30% water supply cuts in drought

The cuts will be accompanied by sharp increases in municipal water tariffs for households, businesses and industry, and the introduction of tough water restrictions. Large areas of the province are in the grip of a one in 10-year drought and the dams in the Western Cape's water supply system stand at 41 percent of capacity - their lowest level ever for this time of the year. Cape News_ 8/4/04

Malaysia to set up watchdog agency to regulate water and wastewater services

The move is a part of efforts to bring water management under federal jurisdiction, said Energy, Water and Telecommunications Minister Lim Keng Yaik. The ministry hopes to establish the National Water Services Commission by early next year. Star/Asia News Network/Straits Times_ 8/2/04

Scotland's 2002 water bug scare was cash down the drain
It forced 150,000 people to boil their water and costing more than £2.5m. But now public health experts have labelled the exercise a waste of time. The official instruction was issued by a crisis management team of health and water board officials after raised levels of the potentially harmful cryptosporidium organism were detected in the water supply. It subsequently emerged that no cases of illness were recorded as a result of the contamination because the strain involved was not harmful to humans. Scotsman.com_ 8/1/04

Beijing raises water prices again to force conservation

In addition, institutional users in the capital, including the military command headquarters, will subject to reduced quotas for water consumption, which will be lowered by 10 to 15 percent, said Bi Xiaogang, deputy director of the Municipal Water Affairs Bureau. The new round of price hikes is meant to promote economizing water use in Beijing, where water resources have been shrinking rapidly over the past years. People's Daily_ 8/1/04

July, 2004

Volunteers try to deliver food and medicine to tens of millions as water-borne illness spreads through flood-plagued Bangladesh

The death toll was at least 473. Water-borne disease has sickened nearly 90,000 people, the government's Health Directorate said, and caused at least 58 of the 473 deaths. AP/Globe and Mail_ 7/30/04

Special Report: The challenges of water in Saudi Arabia

Arab Countries get only 2 percent of the world’s rainfall and have but 0.4 percent of the world’s recoverable water resources. Total water resources of the 22 Arab states is less than 150 billion cubic meters. An even greater shortage looms. Washington Report on Middle East Affairs_ July/August 2004

Huge Zimbabwe water project may affect Mozambique

An agreement on diverting the waters of the Zambezi river is about to be signed in Malaysia on Saturday, although there has been no public discussion on the matter in Mozambique, a country whose vital interests could be seriously affected by any significant lessening in the flow of the Zambezi. The project is to take water from the Zambezi and pump it over 450 kilometres to the Zimbabwean city of Bulawayo and other parts of Matabeleland province. According to the Malaysian news agency Bernama, the signing will be to set up a 600 million US dollar joint venture between an unnamed Malaysian company and the Matabeleland Zambezi Water authority. AllAfrica.com_ 7/30/04

Pakistan and India begin two days of talks to resolve water sharing row over New Delhi's decision to construct a dam in disputed Kashmir

The talks on Wullar Dam on the Jhelum River are part of an eight-point agenda chalked out by the rival neighbours to resolve their disputes. The 1960 Indus Basin Treaty gives India full rights over the eastern Beas, Ravi and Sutlej rivers, while Pakistan gets water rights on the western Indus, Chenab and Jhelum rivers. The agreement, guaranteed by the World Bank, forbids India from interfering with the flow of the three rivers feeding Pakistan, but allows it to generate electricity from them. Geo_ 7/30/04

UK's South West Water named by the Environment Agency as one of the worst polluters in England and Wales

The company was prosecuted 10 times last year for pollution offences and ordered to pay £41,000 in fines by magistrates. In the Agency's environmental performance table it shares the bottom spot with Southern Water. But South West Water says the agency's figures are misleading and its record is among the best in the country. Southern Water, on the other hand, said it was 'sorry' for polluting and announced a five year refurbishment programme. Southern Water, which collects waste water from nearly two million homes in the South East, has pledged to plough £542m into its sewage operation. Official figures show it is the fourth most penalised business in the country, with fines of over £73,000 this year. BBC News_ 7/27/04

Two-thirds of Bangladesh under water; floodwaters, disease and snakebites killed 58

The death toll from monsoon flooding across all of South Asia neared 950. The new deaths in Bangladesh came as rivers around the capital Dhaka burst their banks, leaving 40 per cent of the city of 10 million people under water. "There is no pure water here. The water in the street is dirty," said local resident Amena Begum, who was sheltering in a school.  AP/Sydney Morning Herald_ 7/27/04 (logon required)

Flood-hit Dhaka, Bangladesh reels from water crisis

More than two million city residents are in acute drinking water crisis as supply has become contaminated. Water pumps, pipelines stretching over a few hundred kilometres and many reservoirs have gone under water, posing a serious threat to public health. Authorities have started to rush safe drinking water to the affected people by boat and rickshaw-van. Many have already been attacked with diarrhoea and typhoid. Pipelines have leaked and water now reeks of sewage. Daily Star_ 7/26/04

Cherrapunji, India is the world's wettest city, and still they're thirsty

Cherrapunji receives an average of 37.5 feet of rain a year, a drenching that rots food, peels paint and has earned the area the dubious distinction of recording more annual rainfall than anywhere else on the planet other than an uninhabited peak on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. Despite the downpours, Cherrapunji's people don't have enough water. All the rain lands on arid, deforested and stony ground. There's no local reservoir to hoard it, so it runs downhill, plunging over the precipitous cliffs at the edge of town and onto the plains of Bangladesh below. To make matters worse, Cherrapunji's few water tanks are rusted and cracked, as are the pipelines that are the conduit from remote springs and aquifers to the homes of the community's 12,000 residents. Los Angeles Times/Seattle Times_ 7/25/04

WACOS criticises 'unfair' water charge plan
The Western Australian Council of Social Service (WACOS) says it is dismayed by a new push to charge everyone more for water in summer, enabling those who can afford it to avoid sprinkler restrictions.  WACOS executive director Lisa Baker says the plan's basic notion of unlimited water for the rich strikes at fundamentals of democracy.  ABC Online _7/22/04

Kalam refers water crisis to Indian Supreme Court

India's President today referred to the Supreme Court the controversial law passed by the Punjab Assembly annulling water-sharing agreements with its neighbouring states. The Statesman _7/22/04

Weight of water set off New Zealand quakes, expert suggests
The weight of floodwater in the eastern Bay of Plenty is believed to have triggered the swarm of earthquakes that have rocked the region. Since Sunday the area has experienced hundreds of earthquakes. They began after more than 250mm of rain fell in 48 hours. Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences duty seismologist Martin Reyners said the weight of the floodwater - estimated at up to a billion tonnes - could have triggered the quakes. New Zealand News _ 7/22/04

Minister calls for views on water industry
Scotland's voters are urged the public to have their say on the future of the water industry amid growing anger over large increases in domestic and business water bills. Minister Ross Finnie launched two consultations, one on how much different groups of customers should pay and a second on Scottish Water’s future investment plans. _ 7/21/04

Indian states' water dispute escalates
The government could be forced to intervene this week in a dispute over water sharing between two of the country's most important farming states. Resolution of the dispute between the "breadbasket" states of Punjab and Haryana is seen as a test of the national government's promise to reform bureaucracy. Punjab has backed out of an agreement to share water with neighboring states, a move some fear could cause other states to hoard water. Haryana state threatened at the weekend to cut off drinking water supplies to neighbouring New Delhi, India's capital, in retaliation at national government inaction in the dispute. London Financial Times_ 7/19/04

Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala threatens Delhi water supply unless Punjab lawmakers restore water sharing agreement

Chautala said if Punjab does not reverse its decision, Haryana will be compelled to scrap the Yamuna Water Accord, which could cause a serious water crunch in Delhi. The Punjab Legislative Assembly terminated its water sharing agreements with three neighbouring states.  PTI/Daily Times_ 7/17/04

U.N. sends food and water purification tablets to Bangladesh to avert cholera and dysentery
About 12 million people in South Asia -- from Bangladesh to India and Nepal -- have been affected by torrential rains that are reportedly the worst in 15 years, according to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).  Reuters_ 7/16/04

European Commission warns Northern Ireland government to clean up waste water or face fines
The commission says rivers and coastal waters designated as sensitive are not being properly protected from discharges of urban waste water. Authorities received a similar warning a year ago, but nothing has been done. The commission warns that action must be taken this time or the issue will be taken to the European Court of Justice - which could result in the government being heavily fined.  BBC News_ 7/16/04

Tajikistan appeals for international aid after torrential rains leave a million people without drinking water
The heavy rain cut off water supplies to the capital Dushanbe, washed away roads and raised worries of a typhoid outbreak. Earlier, Dushanbe residents reported seeing thick, dark liquid flowing from water taps after days of heavy rain. Medical experts said it was dangerous to drink this water.  Reuters_ 7/15/04

High levels of radioactivity found in South Israel groundwater

Scientists say it's caused by water washing away a naturally-occurring radioactive metal, radium, from underground rocks. The Ben Gurion University research said there was no link to the nearby Dimona nuclear plant. There was no direct danger to human health, because the water is salty and is not normally used for domestic purposes. BBC News_ 7/14/04

Tourism destroying wetlands and threatening water supplies in the Mediterranean: WWF report
It warns tourist numbers set to reach 655 million people annually by 2025 will strain supplies further. France, Greece, Italy and Spain have already lost half of their original wetland areas, the report claims.  BBC News_ 7/15/04

Punjab water bill rocks parliament
New Delhi:Punjab’s abrogation of water-sharing accords with neighbouring states on Tuesday rocked Parliament. Opposition leaders stalled proceedings demanding immediate intervention by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to deal with what they said a constitutional crisis and an assault on federalism by Congress-ruled Punjab. Sify News _7/14/04

Lagos needs $2.5bn for water scheme
About $1.8 to $2.5 billion is the total sum required for the adequate provision of potable water in Lagos, through an improved water scheme, according to state government officials.  The present water supply meets only 40 per cent of demand in Lagos state.  This Day (Lagos) _7/13/04

EC warns 13 nations on water pollution
The European Commission has warned several member countries they have failed to comply with European Union rules on dealing with water pollution.  Those countries must adopt implementing laws within two months or face prosecution before the European Court of Justice. The United Kingdom, Portugal, and Italy are among those cited.  Voice of America News _ 7/8/04

End in sight for Chennai's water mess
Concerned over the acute scarcity of drinking water in Chennai and other cities, the government proposed to install the first large desalination plant near Chennai in the state sector. Finance Minister P Chidambaram said that more such plants would be installed along the Coromandel Coast. Press Trust of India_ 7/8/04

British Columbia facing worst drought in 400 years

Dr. Reese Halter, the president of Global Forest Science, says prolonged drought conditions have created the most dangerous conditions for coastal forest fires since the 1580s.  CBC News_ 7/7/04

Antarctica's Lake Vostok may be two basins separated by a ridge with water undisturbed for thousands of years
Hidden beneath some two miles of ice, Lake Vostok is a liquid body of water roughly the size of Lake Ontario. Researchers hope to sample the lake for signs of microbes. Researchers from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University and the University of Tokyo reported their findings in a recent issue of Geophysical Research Letters.  AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 7/7/04

Monsoons arrive but India's South Delhi colonies cry for water
Residents of the city's upmarket colonies are overflowing with complaints. Areas go for days in a row with no running water. Times of India_ 7/7/04

Water main break leaves 17,000 households in Montreal suburb without clean water
The city says it needs two days to clean out the system and also warns that boiling tap water is useless. Officials say it will be at least Wednesday before tap water is again safe to drink. CTV_ 7/5/04

Severe drought depletes South Africa
About R68-million has already been spent on drought relief, mainly for animal fodder for small-scale farmers and drinking water. And it is anticipated that a further R100-million would be required to provide relief until the end of December.  IOL_ 7/5/04

Australia warned of water crisis if it fails to cut greenhouse gas emissions: Report
The report by the Australian Climate Group says an increase in the average temperature of just one or two degrees Celsius could devastate farmland. It says the solution is to cut greenhouse gases by 60% by 2050. Australia, which has one the world's highest gas emissions, has not ratified the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.  BBC News_ 7/5/04

Africa launches $14 billion water fund
The African Development Bank (AfDB) said the move aims to break the cycle of water shortages, famines and reliance on outside help. Demand for clean water is expected to grow faster than in any other country, leaving 500 million people without access by 2025, research suggests. BBC News_ 7/2/04

Quarter of Sydney, Australia's water out of reach
Sydney has seven months of water supply in its catchment system that cannot be used because the equipment to pump it out does not reach the bottom of the dams. As Sydneysiders brace for further water restrictions, the New South Wales Government has proposed a plan to lower the pumps to reach the approximate 350,000 megalitres of unused water. It is understood the plan would cost about A$500 million. The Australian_ 7/2/04

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