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January-to-June, 2004 International News

June, 2004

More than 20,000 refuse to evacuate towns in India to be flooded by new river dam
The Indira Sagar dam in Madhya Pradesh state is one of 29 being built on the Narmada river. The government says the dams will bring drinking water to 40 million people, generate electricity and irrigate land. But environmentalists and activists accuse the government of seizing land by force without any compensation. BBC News_ 6/30/04

Aral Sea's man-made catastrophe recorded in DNA
A new study found high levels of DNA damage that could explain the region's abnormally high cancer rates. This comes as the latest estimates say the Aral Sea is receding so rapidly it could vanish within the next 15 years. Once the world's fourth largest inland body of water, the sea has been drained by a poorly managed irrigation system that supplies water to cotton crops. BBC News_ 6/29/04

Engineers urge Irish government to begin charging for water use
The Institution of Engineers of Ireland says that a water charging regime, based on full cost recovery from all consumers, should be phased in over a five-year period to mitigate the impact on domestic consumers. The IEI made the comments in a submission to the Government entitled 'Delivering Water Services for the 21st Century'.
RTE_ 6/29/04


Sisters beaten and sexually assaulted in Pakistan water rights dispute
Two sisters beaten, sexually assaulted and they and their six-year-old sister were forced to walk home naked after the quarrel with another family over water rights. Police have detained two men in connection with the assault. The girls' father had quarrelled with one of the alleged attackers last week after he was allegedly denied his turn to get water from a canal. AP/The Herald_ 6/28/04

Australia's plan to save the country's rivers, hit by the worst drought in 100 years

Proposal calls for reduction in water drawn for irrigation and a system of tradeable water rights. Australia is the world's highest user of water per person despite being the driest inhabited continent. At the core of the 10-year water plan is a strategy to save the nation's longest river system, the Murray-Darling, which runs north-south through four states and is the lifeblood of Australia's most important farmlands. Reuters_ 6/25/04

Namibia government to subsidise water for poor
Minister of Agriculture, Water and Rural Development Helmut Angula told the National Assembly that Government was committed to paying for the water supply of those who could not afford to pay, including pensioners. Angula's statement comes in the wake of a report in The Namibian last week that 2,000 destitute people living in Windhoek's Goreangab area intended taking the State to court to fight for free water. Namibian_ 6/23/04

India and Pakistan begin talks on  dispute over Baglihar hydropower project on the Chenab river being built in Indian-administered Kashmir

The talks aim to capitalise on a new warmth between the nuclear-powered rivals. Control of Kashmir lies at the heart of half a century of animosity between the south Asian neighbours and is the cause of two of three wars fought between them. The Chenab river is one of many that flow into Pakistan from India and Islamabad has raised objections to the design of the Baglihar dam saying it would affect water flows downstream. India says the 450-megawatt power project does not propose to store water and adheres to a river water sharing treaty between the neighbours as well as global norms.  Reuters_ 6/22/04

Taiwan and Russia join in water research pact

They'll exchange information on hydrology, freshwater resource management and related technologies. CNA/Taipei Times_ 6/22/04

United Arab Emirates may be heading for 'major drought’
A study by the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry shows that groundwater levels in the country have dropped at a rate of one metre every year for the past 30 years and may soon dry out altogether. Water extraction far outstrips replenishment as consumption in the UAE and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are the highest in the world. The situation is compounded by the drying up of freshwater wells and contamination of groundwater in coastal areas. Officials emphasized the need for immediate conservation, more dams and use of treated and desalinated water. Khaleej Times_ 6/20/04

Cuba gripped by worst drought in decade
It's dried up reservoirs and stunted crops, including sugar cane for next year's harvest, officials and industry sources say. Authorities on the Communist-ruled island are scrambling to get water to residents in central and eastern parts of the country and to limit damage to agriculture. Reuters_ 6/18/04

Sydney, Australia water company ditches plans for $110 million recycling pipeline
Officials said there wasn't a big enough market for the water in the drought-hit region.
The plan, under investigation for four years, was originally billed as a key part of Sydney Water's Waterplan 21, its blueprint on how to make Sydney's water use sustainable by 2021. Sydney Morning Herald_ 6/19/04 (logon required)

Unsafe water and sanitation a major cause of child and young teen deaths in eastern Europe, says World Health Organisation (WHO)

Environmental hazards such as pollution, unsafe water, poor sanitation, lead poisoning and injuries are the cause of one third of child and adolescent deaths in Europe, Turkey and the former Soviet Union. The WHO report says 100,000 deaths and 6 million years of healthy life are lost each year in children and adolescents from birth to 19 years of age in 52 countries in the European region.  Reuters_ 6/17/04

Spain wrestles with water needs for its southern resorts and the high cost of shipping supplies from the north

The country has the lowest rainfall in Western Europe, it consumes the most water per capita after Italy. Even so, water prices here are among Europe's lowest.  New York Times/Seattle Times_ 6/13/04

South Africa struggles with the needs of the poor for water and the needs of the water company for income
With new investment from foreign companies, Johannesburg Water needs to make a commercial return. But during the apartheid years, a campaign not to pay for essential utilities became part of political protest. It has been hard for the ANC government to change that: After all, during Apartheid, non-payment for water was an effective political process. BBC News_ 6/13/04

Hospitals in Canada's Calgary region to get special water treatment after deadly legionella bacteria found
The risk of contacting legionnaires' disease from drinking water from fountains is extremely low, since the bacteria lives in the hot-water taps. Until silver-copper ionization units are installed, the bacteria is killed by heating the water to about 82C. CP/Canada.com_ 6/10/04

Taiwan arrests three for supplying a poisonous compound to water districts instead of disinfectant: They're accused of bilking at least 16 cities and counties of millions of dollars
Agents of the Investigation Bureau under the Justice Ministry charged them with supplying the Taiwan Water Company with poisonous industrial polyaluminum chloride (PACl) instead of the far more expensive regular PACI. The intake of heavy metals like PACl over a long period of time may cause black foot, which is a form of arsenic poisoning, as well as loss or damage to neurons that may lead to dementia. China Post_ 6/10/04

In sweltering summer heat, China sounds alarm bell over water shortages
The bad news is that China's water supply is under greater pressure than ever, and the even worse news is that the situation will go on deteriorating until 2030, when the population peaks at 1.6 billion, the China Daily said. China is much more wasteful in its use of water than most other countries, even though it has far fewer resources than the world average, according to the paper. ChannelNewsAsia.com_ 6/8/04

Pakistan charges four water and health officials with "negligence and incompetence" after tainted water kills 38 in Hyderabad city
More than 4,000 people reported gastroenteritis problems. The problem began when provincial irrigation authorities released water from overflowing Manchar Lake, 130 kilometers (81 miles) northwest of Hyderabad, into the Indus River, the key source of the city's water supply.  AFP/Yahoo_ 6/7/04

Water price hikes expected in Beijing
For an unprecedented reform of its water pricing system, a public hearing was held Thursday in the capital on major water price hikes, apparently making residents and businesses brace up for the increases. Price of water to be raised by 30 percent on average.  China Daily_6/3/04

Water Kidnapped by the Mafia
In Sicily the people are thirsty, but not because they lack water. The Italian island receives 7,000 cubic metres of rain annually, nearly triple what is needed to meet demand. But water trickles away, disappearing into the cracks created by poor management, corruption and the Mafia. IPS 6/3/04

Saudi Arabia needs massive investment for water security
A capital investment averaging nearly $2 billion per year for the next 20 years is needed in order to meet projected water demand for Saudi Arabia.  Loay Al-Mussallam, deputy minister for planning in the Ministry of Water and Electricity (MOWE), gave the figure during a review of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to bridge the gap between future supply and demand. He outlined the main objectives of the MOWE as providing access to clean water for all at a reasonable price, connection of sanitary services to all households and safe disposal of wastewater to protect the environment and water resources. Leakages account for 25 to 35 percent of water loss.  Arab News_ 6/3/04

India, Bangladesh agree to resolve water sharing issues amicably
India and Bangladesh agreed that pending issues pertaining to sharing of water resources would be resolved amicably.
The understanding was reached at a meeting visiting Bangladesh Foreign Minister M Morshed Khan had with Water Resources Minister P R Dasmunsi. Web India_6/2/04

Sydney, Australia in danger of becoming a dustbowl by the end of the year
Tougher water restrictions – including a complete ban on hosing gardens – could be introduced by October if no significant rainfall is received in the next four months. Sydney's dam levels are at 49.8 per cent and falling 0.5 per cent a week. The long-term forecast for rainfall is also bleak, with a less than 50 per cent chance of above average rain being recorded in the next six months. Sydney Daily Telegraph_ 6/2/04

Israel-Palestinians agree to study Red Sea-Dead Sea canal

Jordanian Water and Agriculture Minister Hazem Nasser told the Jordan Times that Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authorities had reached an initial agreement to conduct a feasibility study, financed by the World Bank, to build the canal. It would replenish the highly saline Dead Sea, the lowest body of water on Earth, whose existence is threatened as Jordan, Israel and the Palestinians divert for agriculture the Jordan River which feeds it.  AFP/Daily Star_ 6/1/04

May, 2004

Australia, the "wide brown land," faces water crisis from excessive use in cities

Residents of the world's most arid inhabited continent have done little to curb water usage despite the worst drought in living memory, with households in the desert-dominated country still using water at a rate 30 percent higher than the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development average. The problem is most acute in large cities, such as Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, which account for well over two-thirds of Australia's population of 20 million. Proposed solutions fall into two categories: massive engineering projects to dramatically increase water supply or initiatives to reduce demand and ensure water is used more efficiently.  AFP/Taipei Times_ 5/31/04

Mexico City faces water crisis as 20 million crowd into suburbs
More than a million residents of the Mexican capital and surrounding area depend on a roving fleet of water trucks, or "pipas," to meet their basic need for water as the capital faces a deepening crisis. Once a thriving Aztec citadel set on a broad highland lake, Latin America's largest city is threatened with outages, rationing and an angry population as the water needs of its growing population outstrip hard-squeezed supplies. The city is sinking into the soft, drained lake bed as its aquifers collapse. It has a hemorrhaging distribution network and is forced to buy around a third of its raw water from neighboring river basins to supplement the ever-expanding metropolitan area's needs.  Reuters_ 5/30/04

Pakistan water plant chlorinator for fatal contamination area 'out of order for 10 months'
A World Health Organization team is testing the waters. Pakistani officials said since the chlorinator hasn't been working, they've purified the water with bleaching powder and other chemicals. HiPakistan.com_ 5/27/04


Feature: Liberia's struggle for water
Fourteen years of civil war have left Liberians without regular electricity and water. Homes are without piped water and heavily-clogged sewer tanks have started to burst on the streets of the capital, Monrovia, causing pollution. Hand pumps are the main source of drinking water in the 200-year-old capital.
BBC News_ 5/25/04

At least 11 dead near the Pakistani city of Hyderabad from contaminated drinking water
The polluted water was discharged earlier this month from a lake into the river Indus. Health department officials say that hundreds more people have been made sick because of the dirty water, but the source of the contamination isn't clear. BBC News_ 5/25/04

Beijing, China to raise water prices 20 percent to discourage waste and ease 'serious shortages'
The hike is the third in the past couple of years and prices are expected to keep rising, Xinhua cited the Beijing Waterworks Group as saying. The city of about 13 million is predicted to face a water shortfall of up to one billion cubic metres by the time it hosts China's first Olympic Games in 2008. High demand combined with low supply, a poor infrastructure and lack of public awareness are blamed for the shortages, officials said.  Straits Times 5/24/04

Drought requires increased water restrictions set for Sydney, Australia
Warragamba Dam, Sydney's main source of drinking water, is at 46.2 per cent. More than 70 per cent of New South Wales is now in drought and, in Sydney, last summer was the fourth hottest on record, with rainfall below average. NineMSN.com_ 5/24/04

South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki promises all households will have running water within five years
He also presented plans for a massive public works programme to employ thousands of South Africans.  BBC News_ 5/21/04

Feature: American Red Cross and Chlorine Chemistry Council bringing clean, safe water to Central America
Around the world, a child dies every eight seconds of a water-related disease. Water and sanitation projects implemented in communities throughout South America are not only bringing a safe and sustainable water supply to remote areas, but are also working to improve overall hygiene and sanitation.  Reuters Foundation_ 5/20/04

Water tension rising between Canada and U.S.: population growth puts more pressure on shared lakes and rivers
"Water issues between the U.S. and Canada are becoming increasingly central to our relations -- and tensions are increasing," said Peter Gleick, co-founder and president of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment and Security in Oakland, Calif. Globe and Mail_ 5/17/04

Ontario, Canada to adopt North America's toughest standards for water staff: Report
The required courses for new and current operators come four years after the Walkerton tainted-water catastrophe where seven people died and 2,500 more fell ill in May 2000 after deadly E. coli was washed into the town's water supply. Canadian Press/The Star_ 5/16/04

World Bank approves $100 million for water supply and sanitation projects in Ethiopia
The credit and grant will be used to assist towns and rural communities to plan, construct, and maintain improved water supply facilities, and build the capacity of local governments, regions and private sector actors to effectively manage decentralized water supply and sanitation delivery. allAfrica.com_ 5/12/04

Work on Jordan's $125 million Zara-Maeen water treatment project begins
Partially funded by the USAID, the Zara-Maeen treatment plant will provide 47 million cubic metres of potable water to Greater Amman and the Dead Sea resort areas, benefiting two million people, officials said. Jordan Times/MENAFN.com_ 5/12/04


Jordan to host first international water demand management conference
Some 1,500 participants from 30 countries, 600 of whom are water experts, will convene at the Dead Sea on May 30 to go over 100 working papers on the future of diminishing global water resources, water officials said. MENAFN.com_ 5/10/04

Andes drought leaves Lima, Peru thirsty
Millions are without water for twelve hours every night between 1700 and 0500. The restrictions are likely to last through Peru's winter until December. Lima is on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, but the coastal strip is desert and the city's eight million people get their water from the mountains over 160km (100 miles) away.  BBC News_ 5/9/04


Guadalajara is symbolic of the severe water problems facing many regions of Mexico

Mexico's often haphazard approach to water-management policy is also under scrutiny. A controversial dam outside Guadalajara is criticized by government watchdogs, local Green Party politicians and professors who say the project is a colossal boondoggle, environmentally unsound and based on faulty research. Los Angeles Times_ 5/9/04 (logon required)

2004 Stockholm Water Prize goes to Danish and U.S. scientists for work on how lakes and wetlands function

The winners are Professors Sven Erik Jørgensen, Danish University of Pharmaceutical Sciences in Copenhagen, and William J. Mitsch, Olentangy River Wetland Research Park at The Ohio State University in Columbus. The Stockholm Water Prize was established in 1990 by the Stockholm Water Foundation and is presented annually in honour of outstanding achievements in water science, management, action or awareness building. It can be awarded to the man, woman, institution, organisation or company whose applied research or direct action increases knowledge of the water environment.  Press Release_ 5/7/04

Ontario, Canada's rural roads, bridges and water systems get C$900-million boost
The funding will help small towns and rural communities comply with drinking water standards, improve sewage treatment and waste management, fix local roads and repair bridges, as well as help address other health and safety priorities. It's aimed at communities with populations of less than 250,000. Canadian Press/Ottawa Citizen_ 5/6/04

U.S. calls off desalination plant and another water project in Gaza because of October bombing of embassy convoy
U.S. officials have expressed displeasure over the failure of Palestinian police to arrest those responsible for setting off a remote-control bomb next to a U.S. Embassy convoy in Gaza that killed three American guards, the first fatal attack on U.S. officials there. The projects, worth tens of millions of dollars, have not been officially canceled, an official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. However, bids will not be taken, effectively freezing them at an early stage. AP/San Francisco Chronicle_ 5/6/04

Spain puts last touches to new Ebro River water diversion plan
Spain's government will finalize next week cheaper alternatives to a scrapped multi-billion euro plan to divert the country's longest river to irrigate parched regions, the environment minister said. The plan, touted by the previous conservative government as the answer to Spain's historic water problems, would have rerouted the Ebro with 600 miles of pipes taking water from the fertile northeast to the arid south. One of the first acts of Spain's new socialist government last month was to scrap the plan -- to the delight of green groups that criticized it as an ecological disaster. Reuters_  5/3/04

April, 2004
U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee probes allegations of corruption in World Bank water projects
Projects under review include the Yacyreta Dam on the Argentina-Paraguay border, the Lesotho Highlands Water Project and projects in Cambodia, according to letters obtained by Reuters. Reuters_ 4/27/04

Malaysia's Ranhill seeks commercial deal to sell water to Singapore
The engineering and water firm says it submitted a water sale proposal to the Malaysian government early this year and is waiting for a response. The deal would be negotiated between private companies from both sides of the Causeway, and not on a government-to-government basis. Channel NewsAsia_ 4/27/04

Glaciers in Himalayas receding at alarming rate
There is an urgent need to put in place a better management system at the international, national and state levels to conserve the depleting water resources, which is the main source of life and agriculture in the northern plains of India, said Prof S I Hasnain, top glacier expert and Vice-Chancellor of Calicut University. PTI/The Hindu_ 4/27/04

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham to push U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell for International Joint Commission review of North Dakota's Devils Lake water project
The commission will only begin work if there is a joint request. Manitoba fears the Devil's Lake scheme could send polluted water and foreign species into the province via the Red River. CP/cnews_ 4/26/04

Turkmenistan: Desalination of drinking water needed, UNICEF reports
Thousands of rural people in the northern Turkmen province of Dashoguz and parts of neighbouring Lebap province lack access to clean drinking water, while those in Dashoguz have to consume high salinity water in periods of low water flow, resulting in serious health implications. IRIN news org_ 4/26/04

Alberta, Canada gets report next week on how the energy sector uses water
Alberta's Environment Minister Lorne Taylor is already saying that the energy sector and other industries must curb the amount of water they remove from the natural cycle.
Farmers, environmentalists and others have harshly criticized companies that pump huge volumes of fresh water underground to recover oil and gas because this water is never recovered. Calgary Herald_ 4/24/04

New South Wales, Australia government warns water restrictions will be tightened by June if dam levels supplying Sydney's Water do not improve soon
Dam levels dropped to just over 52 per cent this week, with the month so far the driest April since 1997. ABC News online_ 4/24/04

Quebec, Canada to require water meters to reduce waste: Users to be charged for water used
Industries, businesses and institutions will be the first users that will be forced to install water meters next year, Environment Minister Thomas Mulcair announced. Water meters will be required in homes across the province a few years later. CP/cnews_ 4/24/04

Procter & Gamble Co. to sell new water purifier in Haiti and Pakistan as part of new Safe Drinking Water Alliance aided by $1.4 million grant from U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
P&G's contribution is a newly developed PuR Purifier of Water product, which it will sell in Haiti and Pakistan. It's the first time Procter is marketing a brand to a nonprofit group. Other members of the Alliance include Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health/Center for Communication Programs, CARE and Population Services International. Cincinnati Business Journal_ 4/19/04
Activists say accelerated large dam projects funded by the World Bank harm the environment and people who live near them
The report was published on Earth Day by the International Rivers Network and presented as the IMF and World Bank hold their spring meetings in Washington. Richard Uku, spokesman for the World Bank's infrastructure branch, said the bank is indeed reinvigorating its development of water, communications, sanitation, energy and transportation infrastructure. The agenda is outlined in the Infrastructure Action Plan released in September 2003. Reuters_ 4/22/04

Rocky Mountain glaciers that feed Calgary, Alberta's water system are shrinking so quickly they meet the city's demand for water in 30 years

Officials call for increased conservation, including adding water meters to all homes.CP/CNEWS_ 4/21/04

Stockholm International Water Institute warns amount of water used to produce food must be reduced or the world's malnourished are in jeopardy
Entitled "Water More Nutrition Per Drop," the study was launched by Sweden's government and produced with SIWI and the International Water Management Institute. AP/Seattle Post-Intelligencer_ 4/20/04

Malaysia government minister wants temporary halt to privatization of water projects
Projects should be studied for issues such as the inability of state governments to pay private companies for treating water. Sun/Dow Jones_ 4/19/04

Britain singled out in report to UN for reneging on water pledge: Leading charities say lofty commitments ignored as budgets decline and aid is tied to trade deals
The report is designed to embarrass heads of state who made lofty commitments at the UN world summit in 2002 but have done little since. The Guardian_ 4/18/04
Decades-old drinking water dream comes true in India: Water from the Krishna River reaches the southern city of Hyderabad
An initial 25 million gallons of treated water was pumped through a 116-km pipeline linked to the existing distribution system. IANS/newkerala.com_ 4/17/04

New Spanish government to overhaul controversial river diversion plan
Environmentalists and residents of the parts of Spain that would lose water have fought the 4.2 billion euro ($5.2 billion) project approved under the outgoing conservative government. Reuters_ 4/15/04

Water, sanitation, housing focus of next week's UN development commission's annual session
More than half of the hospital beds in the world are filled with people afflicted by water-related illnesses, and 3 million to 4 million people die each year from waterborne diseases, according to the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development. UN News Center_ 4/15/04

Water supplies are running out in Nouakchott, the desert capital of Mauritania, where it rains on average six days each year
Unless the government builds a pipeline to bring fresh water from the Senegal river 200 km to the south, or a desalinisation plant to distil drinking water from the nearby Atlantic Ocean, its taps will eventually run dry. allAfrica.com_ 4/15/04

Oman to privatize water, electricity networks
The new law will be part of the government's drive to allow foreign investors to own existing power stations, the official said, adding that the sultanate's three largest plants are to be offered to the public. AFP/Daily Star_ 4/14/04

Full dams will not end Sydney, Australia's water restrictions
Some form of water restrictions will become permanent, even after dam levels return to normal, the Utilities Minister, Frank Sartor, said yesterday. Although the exact nature of the restrictions had not been decided, there may be a permanent ban on watering gardens during daylight. Sydney Morning Herald_ 4/15/04
Sydney, Australia faces higher costs and tougher water restrictions as storage levels approach critical lows
The changes would extend current restrictions to a ban on the watering of lawns and gardens on all but three days of the week. A 1 per cent increase in water bills would fund more water conservation programs. Sydney Morning Herald_  4/14/04

World Bank, Dutch to provide $100 million to develop water resource management in Bangladesh
The WB has recently informed Bangladesh of the details of the proposed project titled Water Resources Development Project. UNB/Financial Express_ 4/14/04

World lags on U.N. clean water goals despite financial benefit
The benefits in better health and faster growth would dwarf the huge costs, the head of a U.N. commission said on Tuesday. Yet only about 50 percent of developing nations are on track to meet the goal of halving the proportion of people with no access to fresh water by 2015, currently 1.2 billion people or a fifth of humanity, Boerge Brende told Reuters in an interview. Reuters 4/13/04
Pakistan's government to create a National Water Council to resolve nation's water problems
Prime Minister Zafarullah Jamali will preside over the council and its members will include all provincial chief ministers and concerned ministers.  Daily Times_ 4/13/04

Asian Development Bank grants $195 million loans to Viet Nam's water and healthcare projects
The two loans will help alleviate a water shortage in the south and improve health services in the central highlands. VNAnet_ 4/8/04

Melbourne, Australia water running dry
Melbourne's water storages are less than half full after dropping by 9.599 billion litres this week. AAP/The Australian_ 4/8/04

Bhutan seeks a national water policy
The draft policy states that water is a “finite” natural resource essential for agriculture, hydropower and industrial development - the three avenues for socio economic development in Bhutan. The policy also spells out water user interests and priorities, conflict resolution among different water users and water resources development and management. Kuensel online_ 4/7/04

Coming soon to New Delhi: Portable plants to treat water
Although the city water board has nine water treatment plants, residents have often complained of poor water quality. The mobile plants will be treating water where and when required. Times of India 4/06/04

Ghana vs The World Bank: Is there a better way than water privitization?
One experiment combines government water supplies with local control. Time magazine 4/5/04

Millions in Bangladesh face acute water crisis as groundwater drops
According to the experts of the Water Supply Authority (Wasa), the water level of the city has dropped to a record 60 metres from surface and is increasingly becoming unreachable for the 382 deep tube wells operating in the city areas. Daily Star 4/4/04
Snow melt eases Vladivostok drought
The first time this year, the reservoirs are filled with water, but not lose it.Old pipes blamed for 20-30 percent water loss. ITAR-TASS 4/2/04

Bangladesh army called out to watch water supply
Depletion of groundwater level and frequent power failures in the dry season that halt operation of water pumps increases the shortfall in water supply. In the past, local ruffians in many areas obstructed water supply either by taking over operation of the pumps or capturing water lorries, and sold water cashing in on the dry season crisis. A section of staff was allegedly involved in the mischief for monetary gains. Daily Star 4/1/04

March, 2004

EU Parliament approves compromise law forcing polluting companies to pay for cleanups
EU nations wanted to avoid forcing industries to have insurance against pollution risks. Under the compromise such guarantees will be voluntary for at least six years, when the EU will again consider a mandatory scheme. The directive sets out rules holding polluters liable for damage they cause to wildlife, natural habitats, water resources and contamination of land that threatens human health. AP/San Francisco Chronicle 3/31/04

Sewage, garbage threaten health and beauty of paradise islands
Rising sea levels, over-fishing and water shortages already trouble the Maldives, Barbados, Tuvalu and 42 other member states of the association of small island states. An estimated one in twenty people who go into the sea around the world get sick because of untreated waste water, a U.N. environment program report said. Reuters 3/30/04

Arid Saudi Arabia will launch a major conservation drive this summer to cut water use in homes; agricultural use is a whole other issue
A round one million homes -- roughly a third of all Saudi households -- will receive a displacement bag to reduce toilet flush and special aerator taps to cut water flow. But big groundwater agricultural users need more study. Reuters 3/30/04

Water-sharing with Afghanistan: 1921 treaty with Kabul no good, says Pakistan's Foreign Office
The treaty between Afghanistan and the government of British colonial India in 1921 does not contain enough detail to form the basis of a water treaty between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Pakistani Foreign Office has concluded. Pakistan Daily Times 3/29/04

South African youth honoured for raising water management awareness
The awards are presented to schoolchildren who produce and convey inspiring messages to the public about water and sanitation through theatre and arts, such as drama, cultural music, poems, praise singing and drawing. 3/29/04

Regional drought drops Mekong River to its lowest level in Cambodia in a decade
The world's 12th longest river snakes through Tibet, China, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Terra Daily 3/29/04

Okinawa begins nightly water rationing
Water service to all homes and businesses, including military installations, will be turned off from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Stars and Stripes 3/28/04

European Union looks at a pipeline to transport Alpine spring water from Austria to Spain or Greece

Not everyone thinks its a good idea. But the EU is seeking ways to combat droughts in southern countries. BBC News_ 3/27/04

New Delhi police plan for "water riots"
The city is witnessing the hottest March since 1985. With the water and power situation worsening by the day, the Delhi Police are stepping up preparedness for the aftereffects of acute water shortage. Times of India 3/26/04

Strike off for U.K. water employees
Anglian Water workers have called off a strike after the company deferred plans to contract out activities and agreed to hold talks with employees. BBC News 3/25/04

For China, the world's biggest nation, water may well become its biggest problem
Around 400 of China's 669 cities are confronting water shortages; 110 are currently forced to impose severe restrictions on water use. So how is China handling the crisis? Huge public works projects and help from foreign companies. Straits Times 3/24/04

Chinese dams and drought blamed as Mekong River level drops to lowest in history
Figures from the Mekong River Commission (MRC), a joint Lao, Cambodian, Thai and Vietnamese body set up to oversee the health of the 3,000 mile waterway, confirm that in some places the river is flowing close to rock bottom. Reuters 3/24/04

UN commends Nigeria for getting clean water to 50% of its population
The World Bank, the European Union and the British Department of Foreign and International Development (DFID)will contribute a total of $475 million dollars for small and medium water projects in the six geo-political zones of the country. 3/24/04

EU agrees funds of EUR 500 million for clean water projects
The European Union has agreed to set up a special Water Facility to promote clean water and sanitation for people in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. Edie 3/24/04

World Water Day

New U.N. Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation created to mark World Water Day
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said the goal is to galvanize global action.
Former Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto of Japan has agreed to serve as Chair. The board also includes eminent persons, technical experts, and others with proven experience in inspiring people, moving the machinery of government, and working with the media, the private sector and civil society. Press Release 3/21/04

Poor sanitation a huge killer of children, UNICEF says on World Water Day
More than 5,000 children die every day from diarrhoeal diseases, often in areas hit by man-made or natural disasters, the head of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) says in a message to mark World Water Day, whose theme this year is water and disasters. Press Release 3/22/04

Mexico to host 2006 world water summit, bringing the weeklong meeting on water scarcity to the Americas for the first time.
The fourth World Water Forum will focus on providing clean water and sanitation to the world's poor - a major problem in relatively water-rich Latin America. AP/Miami Herald 3/22/04

UK water workers set to strike
Workers at Anglian Water are to go on strike for the first time in 18 years in a dispute over changes to their pension scheme. Disruption to the public will be kept to a minimum, but there will be problems for some customers. Evening News 24 3/22/04

Years of drought takes its toll on Beijing
After five straight years of drought, Beijing's municipal bureau of water resources has an emergency supply plan to cut water use beyond basic domestic and key industrial consumption needs. This year, the thirsty city has also started to limit development of industries such as textiles and paper-making that use high levels of water. AFP/China Daily/Straits Times 3/20/04

Africa plaqued by cholera outbreaks
Almost 300 people have died from cholera in Africa since December last year and more than 14,000 became ill. The disease is spread through poor sanitation and unsafe water. Business Day 3/19/04

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reminder: World Water Day is March 22
Providing water and sanitation in conflict zones around the world has been an official ICRC priority since its Water and Habitat Unit was set up 20 years ago this year. Press Release 3/19/04

Bankers, not tanks, will settle Nile water row
Armies of engineers and financiers will slake the thirst of a war-ravaged region where generations of leaders have tended to arbitrate access to water at the point of a gun. Reuters/Times of India 3/19/04

Pakistan to spend $3.5 billion from World Bank for water and power projects
Along with major dams, the government will also seek financial assistance from donors, specifically from the World Bank, regarding the construction of smaller dams, hydel projects and the wind and solar electricity system. The World Bank has granted Pakistan a total of $10 billion over the next 10 years. Daily Times 3/17/04

Australians urged to press on with water reform
Ten years after Australian governments embarked on national water reform, the job is still not done and needs to be urgently addressed, a panel of water experts has warned. The Age 3/17/04

UN details North Korea's water woes
Shortages of food, energy, clean water and other necessities continue to haunt in North Korea, Unicef said on Wednesday. New York Times/International Herald Tribune 3/17/04

UN official calls for improved Mideast water resources
The head of the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) urged Middle East countries on Monday to make better use of the region's water resources. AFP/TerraDaily 3/15/04

Indian state requires rain water harvesting in government buildings
Rain Water Harvesting (RWH) will be made compulsory in all government buildings and schools in Kerala. Manorama online 3/13/04

Irish Government gives unprecedented funding to clean up water supplies
A €110 million investment plan to upgrade Ireland's 'unacceptable' rural water supplies was launched by the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Martin Cullen. Edie weekly summaries 3/12/04
Russian Far East city running out of fresh water
Residents of Russia's Pacific Ocean port of Vladivostok, long deprived of city-supplied hot water and receiving only scarce volumes of cold water, soon could be left with no water at all, officials said. AP/San Francisco Chronicle 3/12/04
African talks on sharing Nile River waters adjourn with no conclusion
Experts from 10 African countries holding talks in Uganda on how to share the waters of the Nile River adjourned their meeting on Friday without reaching agreement, officials said. AFP/Terra Daily 3/12/04

Uganda: Negotiations On Sharing Nile Water Tough But Hopeful
Delegates from the 10 states that share the River Nile waters were engaged in intense negotiations on Tuesday, but said they were confident agreement could be reached on sharing the river and its potential uses. 3/9/04

Australian water deal raises fears for rivers
Farmers are on the verge of being granted perpetual rights to their share of the state's water, transferring to them ownership of an asset already worth billions of dollars. But the Nature Conservation Council warned yesterday that handing out perpetual licences was an "irreversible disaster" that would lead to people having to pay "massive compensation" to farmers to restore the health of rivers. Sydney Morning Herald 3/9/04

Controversial Spanish water plan on hold
A decision on EU funding for a EU 21 billion plan to reroute water to a drought-stricken part of Spain will not be taken before the summer. 3/8/04

Nile states hold 'crisis talks'
The 10 states that share the Nile waters are meeting in Uganda to discuss the future of the river. The talks come amid growing regional tensions over the world's longest river. BBCNews 3/8/04

Saudi minister calls for practical water conservation measures
Saudi Arabia is running out of water. According to Deputy Minister for Water and Electricity Abdullah Al-Hussayen, no one really knows how much water is left. The last study on groundwater was done some 25 years ago and test wells show there are marked declines in water level. Arab News 3/7/04

Egypt insists on keeping its share of Nile water
Egypt will reject any proposal to lower its quota of the Nile water, Egyptian Irrigation Minister Mahmud Abdel Halim Abu Zeid said Saturday, ahead of delicate talks with other countries sharing the African river basin. AFP/Terra Daily 3/6/04

Chemical waste leak in China pollutes water for estimated 1 million people
Nearly 1 million people in southwestern China have been without water for drinking and bathing since Tuesday after chemicals polluted a southwestern river, state media and a government official said. AP/San Francisco Chronicle 3/5/04

Israel and Turkey sign water deal
Israel signed an agreement in principle to import water from Turkey, following four and a half years of negotiations.
The imports will supply about 3 percent of the country's drinking water. Haaretz 3/5/04

Salty tide threatens South China's potable water supply
The most serious salty tide in two decades -- a result of a severe drought in South China -- is posing a threat to potable water supplies in major cities in Guangdong Province. The tide will not possibly ebb until the May rainfalls. Xin Hua 3/4/04

Libya's vast pipe dream taps into desert's Ice Age water
In one of the largest construction projects in the world, engineers are trying to "mine" ice age rainfall, now locked in the sandstone beneath the Sahara, and convey it to Libyan cities and farms along a vast waterworks. New York Times 3/2/04

Australian trade in water rights a step closer

Water trade between states and farms moved a step closer yesterday after the Federal Government released a proposal for a water title system similar to land ownership. The Age 3/4/04

Water harvesting to stave off summer crisis
Hyderabad's ground water has been fast depleting with the city population utilising even the static reserves. Times of India 3/1/04

February 2004

African leaders end Libyan summit on defence, water, farming
Presidents and top officials from African Union (AU) countries formally ended a two-day AU summit in Libya agreeing to work together to tackle water and other crucial issues.
The only concrete decision taken during the talks was to set up an African Water Facility, a financial institution geared to addressing the continent's severe water problems. Channel News Asia 2/28/04

Australian desalination plant closer
Construction of a desalination plant costing taxpayers $345 million is expected to start before the next state election. 2/29/04

Sydney Water cuts to go ahead
New South Wales Premier Bob Carr today promised to cut the flab from Sydney Water's budget, despite a change in its leadership this week. Herald Sun 2/28/04

Sydney water boss sacked over management style
The managing director of Sydney Water, Greg Robinson, has been sacked after less than a year in his job. Government sources said the sacking related to the executive's "management style and leadership". Sydney Morning Herald 2/27/04

Falling water levels in the United Arab Emirates cause concern
The United Arab Emirates may be heading for a major drought unless the country starts taking drastic remedial action, according to a report. The study shows that groundwater levels in the country have dropped at a rate of one metre every year for the past 30 years and may soon dry out altogether. Gulf News 2/27/04

Canberra, Australia eases water restrictions
Canberra's water restrictions will be eased, allowing people to use their sprinklers in their gardens in the morning and evening on the odds and evens system. ABC News 2/26/04

Ghana: Privatised Water Should At Least Flow From the Taps

In Teshie, an old fishing village that is now a suburb of the Ghanaian capital Accra, residents buy water by the bucket from private vendors because their taps have been dry for five years. They are fed up and threaten not to vote in parliamentary and presidential elections in December unless the government does something to resolve the crisis. 2/26/04

Beijing authorities to set quotas on residents' water use and adopt a progressive water pricing system. Goal is to prevent city water shortages from worsening. Xin Hua 2/25/04
Fast dropping groundwater levels in Calcutta cause Indian government to increase earthquake studies. The Telegraph 2/25/04

EU issues list to name and shame big polluters of water and air. "We are targeting public awareness in order to provoke action on industrial emissions," official says. Reuters 2/24/04

Government says almost all Indonesian water firms are nearly bankrupt. Companies are in trouble because they'e selling water at a price well below their production costs, official says. Jakarta Post 2/23/04

Water restrictions to tighten even more around Sydney, Australia. Storage levels continue to dwindle.  Herald Sun 2/23/04

Dengue fever kills 191 in Indonesia as disease generally increases throughout Asia. Mosquitos that carry dengue breed in clean water. AFP/ 2/21/04

UK water company proposes deslination plant in East Sussex. Environmentalists wary.  BBC NEWS 2/21/04

EU law to make European companies pay for cleaning up water and other pollution. AP/San Francisco Chronicle 2/20/04

"King tides" threaten to sink Pacific atoll nation of Tuvalu. Prime Minister declares Tuvalu will continue to exist, even if its 10 square miles of land sinks. AFP/Terra Daily 2/19/04

Only one million in Kenya have access to clean water. Thirty million don't. 2/19/04
India and China will have to import water by 2025, water management expert predicts. UNI/ 2/19/04

Russia to allow private ownership of bodies of water. No. Lake Baikal isn't for sale. Think smaller. Pravda 2/19/04

The world is failing to meet a U.N. goal of supplying fresh water by 2015 to more than half a billion people in developing nations who currently lack it, says head of a UN commission. Reuters 2/18/04

Israel cracks down on communities that don't pay water bills and insists they revamp administration.  Jerusalem Post 2/18/04

Pakistan's first national water policy to be presented to the cabinet for approval. Controversial Indus River dam a key topic. Pakistan Link 2/18/04

Central Asia's river rivalry. A series of disputes have broken out in Central Asia over the use of the region's two big rivers, the Syr Darya and the Amu Darya, or Oxus. BBC News 2/18/04
Water shortages in most of the cities in north China are expected to be eliminated by 2010 when part of the project to divert water from the Yangtze River is completed, official says. Xin Hua 2/18/04

India, Pakistan agree broadly on talks framework. Water sharing one of the issues. Reuters 2/17/04

Tanzania not bound by colonial Nile water treaty, minister says. Treaty requires upstream nations to get permission from Egypt to use Lake Victoria water. AFP/Terra Daily 2/16/04

Bangladesh conference seeks answers to risks from arsenic in drinking water. Scientists estimate 85 million in country drink water with dangerous arsenic levels. BBC News 2/16/04
Water suppliers from throughout Africa gather in Ghana's capital to discuss bringing private sector money and expertise to the continent's water problems. Two thirds of all Africans lack access to clean water. 2/16/04

Sudan fighting destroys all water sources in combat zone. AFP/ 2/15/04

Australia's summer heat sends Sydney's water savings down the drain. Water restrictions to fight drought in effect since October. Sydney Morning Herald 2/13/04

Bahrain and its neighbors are facing one of the world's most serious water shortages, scientist says. International conferencee discusses water management. Gulf Daily News 2/10/04

Jordan and Syria launch major water project. Dam on the Yarmouk River was stalled for several years because of tense Mid East politics. AP/Jerusalem Post 2/9/04
New UN report urges protection for resource-rich cloud forests. They provide water for lowlands and cities like Quito, Ecuador, Mexico City and Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. Press Release/ UN News Center 2/9/04

Hopes wilt in Lesotho as drought crushes tiny kingdom. Drought across southern Africa has left millions hungry. If rains don't come, "I see only death," says village chief. Reuters 2/8/04

Russia's Far East water reserves to be critically depleted by the end of the month. No relief seen until late summer rains. ITAR-TASS 2/6/04

World Bank to largely finance $400 million water and sewage projects in southern Iran. IranMania News 2/6/04

Feature: Dispute over control of the Nile River puts upstream nations at odds with Egypt. Reuters 2/6/04

Feature: By Middle East standards, Lebanon is blessed with water. Even so, in summer water is cut off in Beirut every other day. Daily Star 2/5/04

UN urges final push to make guinea-worm disease the first parasitic disease ever eradicated. Villagers in Ghana and other nations still drink water contaminated with fleas carrying infectious larvae.  UN News Center 2/4/04

China signs deal with Tanzania to build a $77.2 million water project near Lake Victoria, the world's second largest fresh water lake. Project will supply fresh water to more north Tanzania villages. Xin Hua 2/3/04

Millennium Water Alliance applauds Congress for providing $100 million to help water projects in developing nations. PR Newswire 2/2/04
Government offices in three areas of northern Ghana are warned to pay overdue water bills or have service disconnected. Ghana Web 2/2/04

Thames Water to spend £1 billion replacing more than 1,000 miles of crumbling Victorian water mains in Central London. A third of the lines are more than 150 years old and more than half are over 100. Times 2/1/04

January, 2004

British MPs balk at government plan to cut funding for cleaner rivers. Independent 1/31/04

Soft drink companies in India must pay for ground water, joint parliamentary coommittee recommends. Economic Times 1/30/04

Reservoir in India exceeds health standards for radio active material, WHO reports. The reservoir is scheduled to go into use this spring providing water to two large cities. Times of India 1/29/04

European Union head office proposes $1.26 billion for water for Africa, Caribbean, South Pacific. AP/Environmentall News Network 1/29/04
India likely to propose new standards for packaged water, colas and fruit drinks. Regulations due next week. Financial Express 1/29/04

Worst drought in more than a decade threatens millions in southern Africa. It's destroying crops, driving up food prices and leaving millions hungry -- even as foreign assistance dries up. AP/San Francisco Chronicle 1/28/04

More than 90% of the packaged water for sale in Nigeria is unfit for human consumption, government leader says. Workshops will show manufacturers how to package safe drinking water. Companies that don't meet safety standards will face prosecution. 1/28/04

Mozambique cholera outbreak infects more than 2,900, kills 26. Contaminated water a likely source. AP/San Francisco Chronicle 1/28/04

Polio outbreak spreads in West Africa, the WHO reports. Contaminated drinking water is the cause. AP/San Francisco Chronicle 1/27/04

Dissatisfied customers turn off water service. The 2,000 users in an Indonesian housing project said they were so fed up with years of bad service, they cut off the water company. Near-by city agrees to supply water.  Jakarta Post 1/26/04

Jamaica only can measure 27% of its water production. Can't tell how much of its water is lost to leaks or other problems.  Jamaica Observer 1/26/04
Thailand initiates master plan for all future water projects. Plan is awaiting cabinet approval.  Bangkok Post 1/26/04

Saudi Arabia's lack of expertise in waste water treatment causing pollution.  Arab News 1/24/04

Yugoslav city bans drinking water from arsenic contaminated wells. B92 News 1/23/04

India-Bangladesh panel to survey Teesta River water. First movement toward water sharing in seven years. Indian Express 1/21/04

Russia cuts water supply in residential sections of the Far East port of Vladivostok to four hours a day. Residents were illegally siphoning water from the heating systems to make up for shortages. ITAR-TASS 1/20/04

Bangladesh and India begin two-day water talks. Goal is long-term water sharing arrangements for seven of the 54 rivers that criss-cross the countries.  Daily Star 1/19/04

Singapore begins construction of seawater purifying plant. Desalination reduces Singapore's dependence on Malaysia for water. AFP/Borneo Bulletin 1/19/04

Parched, burnt Australia facing even hotter future, new study finds. Climate change is blamed. AFP/Borneo Bulletin 1/19/04

Water conflict along the Nile. 75-year-old water sharing treaty has kept Nile Basin countries from water wars. But upstream nations say colonial-era pact is unfair. News24 1/18/04

Water talks between India and Pakistan end without agreement. Indian Express 1/18/04
Sri Lanka water trades union opposes government plan to privatise water. Daily News 1/18/04

India in water talks with Pakistan. Bangladesh to follow. Water disputes between India and its neighbors have been very serious. Times of India 1/16/04

Central Asia's second largest lake could dry up. China must help with regional problem at Lake Balkhash, UN says. BBC NEWS 1/15/04

UN and US to provide water purification chemicals to Zimbabwe's capital. Nation's economic crisis means there is no money to ensure a steady supply of clean water. Effort aims at averting spread of water borne diseases. Press Release/UN 1/15/04

Hospital in Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City opens first health care wastewater treatment plant. It will help reduce disease in the area around the hospital. Vietnam News Agency 1/14/04
UN to study link between environment and wars. "The classic case is water scarcity in the Middle East," says official.  Reuters 1/13/04

European Commission gets tough on arsenic and other water pollutants. Threatens Greece, Netherlands and other EU countries with fines if they don't meet standards. Reuters/Forbes 1/13/04

Nigeria's new water policy gives federal funding for 50% of cost of rural projects and 30% of urban water supply project costs. President acknowledges loss of 60% of Lake Chad but pledges all Nigerians entitled to safe water. 1/13/04

China fires leaders of two local water agencies after 400,000 are cut off from drinking water for four days. Old business customs blamed. Xin Hua 1/12/04

Netherlands to cut up to 2,200 water and public works jobs. Cost-cutting and reorganization cited. Expatica 1/12/04

South Africa plans special health programs for drought areas. Scarce water often means cutbacks in sanitation. 1/12/04

Poor childhood access to clean water and sanitation can stunt growth in children and reduce intelligence in adults, study finds.

More than 2.9 billion worldwide lack access to clean water and 4.2 billion have no sanitation. Reuters 1/9/04 

Public health expert calls on India to emphasize clean water and health basics. Half in nation die by age 22. BBC News 1/7/04
Canadian prime minister says clean water is a top item in his plan to revitalize cities. Toronto Star 1/7/04

India and Bangladesh to meet Jan. 20 to discuss water sharing. Rights to seven rivers under discussion. Daily Star 1/7/04
Water shortages will become an `'urgent challenge' in the next two decades in China. Water official urges conservation measures. China Daily 1/7/04

Turkey-Israel water deal depends on Israel paying the transportation costs, Turkish official says. ZAMAN DAILY 1/6/04

Bottled water suddenly booms in Nigeria. And so do fake bottlers. How to sort good from bad. 1/6/04

Water has become so expensive in England and Wales that up to 4 million residents can't afford it, Parliament committee warns. The Independent 1/5/04

Salcon Water (HK) Ltd. has completed the acquisition of a 75% stake in China's Shangdong Changle Salcon Water Supply Co. The 50-year contract covers construction, management and operation of the water system. The Edge Daily 1/5/04

Thai government to begin work on a national water grid system and a new dam.The dam needed a quiet boost from the king. Bangkok Post 1/4/04
Israel to import one billion cubic meters of water from Turkey. Both sides still need to decide how water will be transported during the 20-year contract. Ha'aretz 1/4/04

In the face of the worst drought in 100 years, Australians get the message. Water consumption is down nationwide. The Advertiser 1/3/04

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2003 International News

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International News Jan. to June 2004
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