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The 2008 Myanmar cyclone

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The African Drought

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Freshwater Reserves Beneath the Oceans?

Researchers in Australia claim there's a massive supply of freshwater that's hiding underneath the seafloor. The team from Australia's National Centre for Groundwater Research and Training conducted an extensive analysis of previously documented sources of offshore groundwater. They estimate that about half a million cubic kilometers lie underneath the continental shelves of Australia, China, North America, and South Africa, and elsewhere. By comparison, the volume of Lake Superior is just over 12,000 cubic kilometers.  Christian Science Monitor_ 12/9/13

 

 

Japan’s Fukushima Nuclear Plant Reports High Radioactive Isotope Levels in Groundwater

 Groundwater at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant contain high levels of the toxic radioactive isotope Strontium-90, according to the plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO). The company said the levels were 30 times the legal rate. The 2011 earthquake and tsunami severely damaged the plant and it recently has experienced power failures and water leaks. BBC June 19, 2013

UN: Water supplies cut to Haiti capital

Key areas of Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince have been heavily damaged by a devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake, United Nations officials said Wednesday, adding that water supplies were cut. 'All municipal water supplies are reportedly shut off,' said Elizabeth Byrs with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, quoting Haitian ministry officials. Nearly 3.5 million people are estimated to be in areas affected by 'strong quakes,' OCHA estimated. In an earthquake, 'what people need urgently, more than food, is water,' said Veronique Taveau with the UN's Children Fund (UNICEF). UN officials said concerns over the water supply were growing along with fears of disease spreads. Deutsche Presse-Agentur/monsters and critics.com_  1/13/10

China's Weihe River diesel spill may affect drinking water supply

The diesel fuel leak into a tributary of the Yellow River has spread downstream into Shanxi and Henan provinces, contaminating and potentially affecting the drinking water supply of many local residents. The fuel leaking into the Weihe River has reached the Sanmenxia reservoir on the Yellow River in Henan province despite earlier efforts to prevent it from spreading into the main river. China National Petroleum Corp is the owner of the broken oil pipeline. The broken diesel pipeline, which runs from Lanzhou in Gansu province to Changsha in Hunan province, was found leaking in the wee hours of Dec. 30 at a point close to the Chishui River, a tributary of the Weihe River. Su Maolin, deputy director of the Yellow River Water Resources Commission, yesterday refuted the claim by CNPC that the broken pipeline was caused by a third-party construction project, and called for a further probe into the accident after the spill has been tackled. China Daily/XinHua_ 1/5/10

 

2009

Oil 'polluting South Sudan water'

The German aid agency Sign of Hope has accused the White Nile Petroleum Operating Co., an oil consortium in southern Sudan, of contaminating water supplies, affecting at least 300,000 people in Unity State. It said it had passed the findings to the government and the consortium. The White Nile Petroleum Operating Company says protecting water quality is a priority and it has built a water treatment plant for the community. But it could not be reached to comment directly on the allegations. Sign of Hope's vice-chairman, Klaus Stieglitz, said "the chemical composition of water samples we have taken from oil well drilling pits is nearly the same as we found in the contaminated water boreholes the people are using for drinking water supply." If the local community cannot find alternatives, Mr Stieglitz said the effects on their health could be devastating. BBC News_ 11/16/09

Macau may have to ration water as supplies drop, newspaper reports

Macau may have to ration water, with only 10 days worth of drinking water in its reservoirs, the Hong Kong Standard reported today, without saying where it got the information. A drought affecting Southern China has raised salinity levels in the Pearl River, causing problems in pumping systems, the English-language newspaper said today. Neighboring Zuhai, whose reservoir levels are at 10-year lows, is a supplier of water to Macau and has urged the city to cut back on its use, the Standard said. Bloomberg_ 11/9/09

Yemen dries out

Across Yemen, the underground water sources that sustain 24 million people are running out, and some areas could be depleted in just a few years. It is a crisis that threatens the very survival of this arid, overpopulated country, and one that could prove deadlier than the better known resurgence of Al Qaeda here. Water scarcity afflicts much of the Middle East, but Yemen’s poverty and lawlessness make the problem more serious and harder to address, experts say. The government now supplies water once every 45 days in some urban areas, and in much of the country there is no public water supply at all. Meanwhile, the market price of water has quadrupled in the past four years, pushing more and more people to drill illegally into rapidly receding aquifers. New York Times_ 10/31/09

Burundi begins polio vaccinations for 1.5 million children

Doctors in Burundi started vaccinating Monday 1.5 million children against type-1 wild polio after the first cases for ten years were confirmed in the north west, a medical source told AFP. Polio is transmitted through the consumption of contaminated food and water. The virus is highly infectious and can easily overwhelm the immune system of those who have not been vaccinated. Polio remains endemic in just four countries in the world, the hotbed being Nigeria, followed by India, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. AFP_ 10/26/09

Amnesty International says Israeli restrictions curb water to Palestinians

Human rights group Amnesty International said in a report Tuesday that Israeli restrictions prevented Palestinians from receiving enough water in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. A spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed Amnesty's statement that Israel was depriving the Palestinians of water as "preposterous." Israel says it has met its obligations under the 1993 Oslo agreement while Palestinians have failed to meet their own requirements to recycle water and were not distributing water efficiently. Reuters_ 10/27/09

Rescuing the Aral Sea from an ecological Soviet-era ruin

The Aral Sea was once the world's fourth-largest body of fresh water, covering an area the size of Ireland. But then the nations around it became part of the Soviet Union. With their passion for planned economics and giant, nature-reversing projects, the communists diverted the rivers that fed the inland sea and used them to irrigate vast cotton fields. The result: The Aral shrank by 90 percent to a string of isolated stretches of water. The catastrophe "is unprecedented in modern times," says Philip Micklin, a geography professor at Western Michigan University who has studied the Aral Sea for years. And even now, nearly two decades after the Soviet Union broke up, the damage is far from reversed. Satellite images taken earlier this year show that one section of the sea has shrunk by 80 percent in the last three years alone. Uzbekistan, which controls three-quarters of the Aral Sea, has given up trying. But a rescue has happened on Kazakhstan's portion, and it is striking. AP_ 10/25/09


A new kind of refugee; Fleeing climate change

Africa is already home to one-third of the 42 million people worldwide uprooted by ethnic slaughter, despots and war. But experts say climate change is quietly driving Africa's displacement crisis to new heights. An estimated 10 million people worldwide have been driven out of their homes by rising seas, failing rain, desertification or other climate-driven factors. Norman Myers, an Oxford University professor and one of the first scholars to draw attention to the unfolding problem, estimated that by 2050 there will be more than 25 million refugees attributable to climate change, which will replace war and persecution as the leading cause of global displacement. Africa would be heaviest hit because so many people's livelihoods are dependent on farming and livestock. Many Africans use less water in a day than the average American uses to flush the toilet, so any further declines that might occur because of climate change could be life-threatening. Los Angeles Times_ 10/25/09

China moves 330,000 in water plan
China has begun to resettle 330,000 people to make way for a $62 billion project to divert water from the south of the country to the north, state media say. People in Henan and Hubei provinces are being moved out of the way of a canal from the Yangtze River to Beijing, Xinhua news agency said. When completed, three routes will carry water from southern, central and western China to the arid north.  BBC News_ 10/19/09

UK faces European court for allowing raw sewage to enter Thames
The UK government is being taken to the European court of justice for failing to stop thousands of tonnes of raw sewage pouring into the Thames.  The European commission has decided to take legal action because of the threat to human health and to the marine environment posed by untreated water.  The commission alleges that the UK is in breach of a 1991 urban waste water directive that requires treatment of sewage before discharge in order to have clean rivers, seas and lakes.  Member states signed up to put in place adequate waste water collecting systems and treatment facilities for large towns and cities by the end of 2000.  The equivalent of 4,000 Olympic swimming pools of mixed rainwater and untreated sewage were pumped into the river between January and August this year, with the waste taking almost three months to disperse.  London's antiquated sewage works date back to the 19th century and the overflow of raw sewage into the Thames occurs once a week on average, even during moderate rainfall.  The Guardian_10/9/09

Cyanide leak leads to ban on firm pumping waste into Trent
Environment Agency issues suspension notice to Red Industries

A company that specialises in the disposal of hazardous waste was banned from discharging industrial effluent into the river Trent in Staffordshire today by environmental watchdogs investigating a leak of cynanide that led to the poisoning of thousands of fish.  Red Industries of Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, said it had voluntarily stopped discharge before the Environment Agency issued a suspension notice on its use of the sewer system.  The incident affected a 20-mile stretch of the Trent after the chemical entered a Severn Trent Water treatment plant at Strongford in the Potteries. The chemical killed bacteria that process sewage, meaning the waste was only partially treated before it entered the river. A clean-up operation is under way aimed at preventing further harm to fish or wildlife. The Guardian_10/809

 

Ecuador Indian group protests water, mining laws

Hundreds of Indians blocked Ecuador's Pan American highway in several provinces Monday with rocks, tree trunks and burning tires to protest new water, mining and oil laws.  The Indians contend the proposed the laws threaten their lands and will privatize water resources. Leftist President Rafael Correa disputes that view, and the ruling party-controlled legislature has been expected to approve the laws.  AP_9 /28/09

In England, more seek help with water bills, but many eligible may not know about program

The number of vulnerable people seeking help to pay their water bills in England has risen 20% in the past year, figures from the regulator Ofwat show. Every water company in England must offer the tariff to those households on certain benefits and with children, or those housing people who are ill. Ofwat chief executive Regina Finn said promotion of the scheme was an issue. "Unfortunately there are still many people out there who could benefit from the tariff who do not know about it," she said. BBC News_9/28/09

China's 'cancer villages' bear witness to economic boom
Heavy metals pollution in rivers and wells experts say has turned the hamlets in southern China into cancer villages.  The river's flow ranges from murky white to a bright shade of orange and the waters are so viscous that they barely ripple in the breeze. In Shangba, the river brings death, not sustenance.  Cancer casts a shadow over the villages in this region of China in southern Guangdong province, nestled among farmland contaminated by heavy metals used to make batteries, computer parts and other electronics devices.  "All the fish died, even chickens and ducks that drank from the river died. If you put your leg in the water, you'll get rashes and a terrible itch," said He Shuncai, a 34-year-old rice farmer who has lived in Shangba all his life.  "Last year alone, six people in our village died from cancer and they were in their 30s and 40s." Reuters_9/17/09

Comprehensive water management plan urged for the Philippines

An Israeli scientist urged the public and private sectors in the Philippines to embark on a comprehensive water management program as recent studies show that population explosion and climate change are straining the world’s water supply. “There would be an intense competition for water resources as population grows,” Avner Adin, professor at the Department of Soil and Water Sciences at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, said at a water forum in Makati City. Twenty-four United Nations agencies earlier reported that the surging population growth, climate change, reckless irrigation and chronic waste are threatening the world’s water supplies. Adin, who chairs the Israel Drinking Water Standard Committee, said water conservation is the leading and cheapest measure to address water scarcity. The Philippine Star_ 9/17/09

Water clean-up inquiry launched in Guernsey

Guernsey's scrutiny committee is to investigate the way a clean-up operation was carried out after the island's water supply was polluted. Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) entered the water supply after an accident at the airport in 2002. BBC_ 9/16/09

North Korea may use water as a weapon

South Korea learned a bitter lesson from its northern neighbor's release of 40 million tons of water from a dam without prior notice last weekend. Water can be used as a weapon.  The unannounced flooding into the downstream of the Imjin River caused the death of six South Koreans camping near the border area when water levels in the river suddenly rose two meters. The Korea Times_9/10/09

South Korea protests North's deadly water surge

South Korea protested to North Korea on Monday about a sudden release of water into a river flowing across their border that swept away six people in the South in a flash flood a day earlier. The incident could cast a chill over ties that have warmed between the rivals in the past month with North Korea reaching out to the South to restore business and tourism ventures severed for about a year due to political bickering. North Korea moved quickly to ease tension by responding within hours to the South's call for information by saying that it released the water because of a build-up along one of its dams, the South's Unification Ministry said. "North Korea will notify the South when we release a mass of water to prevent damage downstream of the Imjin River," the North's statement said, according to the ministry. South Korea for years has worried about dams the North has built along rivers that flow across the border fearing its communist neighbor could use flood waters as a weapon to attack. Reuters_ 9/7/09

Well water in Kenya available via 'smart card'

On the heels of complaints about corrupt distributors and conflicts over the fair allocation of water, a community in Musingini, Kenya, is working with Safaricom and Grundfos Lifelink, a division of the Danish pump maker Grundfos Group, to implement a solar-powered, pay-for-use water vending system.  The solar-powered well is activated using a smart card, which permits water to flow until either the card is removed or the user’s account runs out of credit.  Mobile phones have revolutionized trade across Africa, and in the space of just a decade or so, the continent has leapfrogged from minimal landline networks to pioneering mobile phone technology that often is not available in many western countries.  New York Times_ 9/4/09

Turkey to boost water to region

Turkey said yesterday it would strive to increase the amount of water it releases to Syria and Iraq through the historic Tigris and Euphrates Rivers but warned that it, too, was suffering from a severe drought.  Hours earlier, Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz had said his country was already too overstretched with its own water needs. But in a quick change of heart the environment minister, Veysel Eroglu, said Turkey would release more water than its legal obligation of 500 cubic meters per second. He did not specify how much more.  Philadelphia Inquirer_ 9/4/09

Turkey, Iraq and Syria in water crisis summit
Turkish, Iraqi and Syrian ministers met in Ankara on Thursday to discuss water shortages in the major Tigris and Euphrates rivers, which run through all three countries.  The Tigris River has plunged to record low levels. Iraq is suffering a drought that its officials are calling a "catastrophe."  Baghdad and Damascus want Turkey, where the source of the Tigris and Euphrates is located, to increase the flow of water passing through its network of dams.  "Syria and Iraq are badly in need of water but our Iraqi brothers feel the need much more ... it is why this meeting is so important," Turkey's official Anatolian Agency quoted Syrian Irrigation Minister Nader al-Bounni as saying at the start of Thursday's tri-partite meeting to address water resources. "Our dams are empty and we have human needs."  But at the start of the meeting at a hotel in the Turkish capital, Turkey's energy minister seemed to rule out delivering significant quantities of additional water to Iraq and Syria.  "We are aware of the water needs of Syria and Iraq," Energy Minister Taner Yildiz told journalists at the entrance to the conference. "Water is not plenty in Turkey, and therefore we cannot exceed the determined amount too much." CNN_9/3/09

400 in Taiwan ill after Typhoon Morakot; Water official suspects leptospirosis

The residents of Wannei, a village of 2,000 in Pingtung county, had developed high fever, vomiting and diarrhoea in the last five days, the village chief, Lin Wang-hung, told AFP. 'We suspect it could be leptospirosis which has flu-like symptoms such as fever and diarrhoea," Chang Hsin-che, director of Pingtung's Wandan Township health bureau, told reporters. Leptospirosis is a common infectious disease after flooding, according to Taiwan's Centre for Disease Control. The typhoon lashed the island earlier this month, bringing a record three metres (118 inches) of rain, submerging houses and streets and destroying bridges. So far, the typhoon claimed at least 376 lives while 254 were missing, the National Fire Agency said. AFP_ 8/25/09

Mexico's water commission warns of 'critical' shortage at start of 2010

Farming and some water supplies across the country have already been hard hit by this year's drought. Supplies for both public and private use could be affected next year, the statement said, pointing to record low levels at the Cutzamala reservoir which supplies Mexico City's urban sprawl. The main problem in and around the city of some 20 million people, which once sat on lakes, was the over-exploitation of aquifers, the statement said. Mexico City authorities have this year been carrying out water cuts under an emergency plan to help save water and work on much-needed repairs. AFP_ 8/24/09

Millions at risk in China drought

More than 4.5 million people are short of water in northern China as a severe drought continues, state media say. Xinhua said the drought was spreading and crops and livestock in the south were also under threat. Officials have called for greater efforts to combat the drought, which stretches from northeast Jilin province to the Inner Mongolia region. China faces droughts and floods annually, but it has also seen a recent increase in extreme weather conditions. Xinhua quoted officials as saying a total of 4.61 million people were facing difficulty in accessing drinking water on Friday, up from 3.9 million last week. Hunan and Hubei provinces in central China are also facing shortages because of high temperatures and low rainfall. BBC News_ 8/23/09

Syria, Iraq and Turkey 'to discuss water shortage'

The Syrian, Iraqi and Turkish ministers responsible for water supplies will meet in Ankara on September 3 to discuss the drought afflicting the region, Syrian Irrigation Minister Nader Bunni said on Thursday. The talks come in the wake of a claim by Iraqi Water Minister Latif Rashid last month that Turkey had broken a promise to increase water flows down the Euphrates River. Last month, Iraq called for an urgent meeting with Syria and Turkey after the flow of water in the Tigris River sank by half. AFP_ 8/20/09

NASA study: India's water use 'unsustainable

Parts of India are on track for severe water shortages, according to results from NASA's gravity satellites.  The Grace mission discovered that in the country's north-west - including Delhi - the water table is falling by about 4cm (1.6 inches) per year.  Writing in the journal Nature, they say rainfall has not changed, and weather conditions are not to blame, but rather water use is too high, mainly for farming.  BBC News_8/13/09

Mumbai, India disrupted by water shortages

Millions of Mumbai residents have water only once a day for a few hours. The city needs four billion litres of drinking water every day to service the needs of all its residents. However, the main civic body responsible for the city's water supply, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), reports that it can only supply 3.3 billion litres a day. This year's less-than-average monsoon rains have amplified the water shortages and highlighted the city's ageing infrastructure system that is in need of heavy investment. Faced with diminishing resources, the city had to cut its water supplies by 30%. BBC_ 8/2/09

Philippine city of Baguio and nearby group told to fix water control feud

The Baguio city government sued a group of residents in Tuba, Benguet, after they diverted the channel of water powering its hydroelectric plant, but the judge hearing the case asked them on Friday to instead settle the dispute out of court. Mayor Reinaldo Bautista Jr. sued the Tadiangan-Nangalisan Hydro Ancestral Landowners Association (TNHALA) in June for grave coercion and for diverting the flow of the river that powers three Baguio-owned hydroelectric plants. Roger Sinot, a TNHALA member, said the group has been asserting provisions of the 1997 Indigenous Peoples Rights Act, which requires developers to secure their permission and to grant them royalties. Philippine Daily Inquirer_ 8/2/09

China cities raise water prices in bid to conserve

Cities across China are raising the price of water, in moves that try to balance the need to conserve an increasingly scarce resource with the effects on a public used to low fees.  The city government of Luoyang, in central Henan province, prepared to hold a public meeting Friday to argue for a proposed water-price increase of 40% to 48%. Water prices in the dry region haven't risen since 2003, which the government says is exhausting meager supplies and keeping the local water utility in the red. At least half a dozen other major cities have raised water prices in the past few months.  The changes reflect a growing official consensus that low prices are part of China's water-shortage problem, since they give companies and households little incentive to use water carefully.  Wall Street Journal_7/31/09

Tainted tap water sickens more than 1,000 in China

More than 1,000 residents in Chifeng city of the Inner Mongolia autonomous region have fallen ill from drinking water tainted by a polluted lake, local health authorities said Tuesday. Investigations showed the tainted tap water caused the residents to fall ill following heavy rainfall last week, the local health department said at a press conference. The heavy rain raised the water in a nearby lake, which in turn flowed into and contaminated aquifers where drinking water is stored, the Xinhua News Agency reported. China Daily_ 7/29/09

Rich nations vulnerable to water disasters

The growing shortage of water - a perennial problem in the world's poorer nations - is expected to eventually reach the rich nations in the Western world. The United States, Spain, Australia and the Netherlands are likely to face the consequences of climate change resulting in water-related disasters, including droughts, floods, hurricanes and sea-level rise. "Even the world's richest nations are not immune," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned Tuesday. Citing official U.S. figures, he said the state of California, the world's fifth largest economy, "could see prime farmland reduced to a dustbowl, and major cities running out of water by the end of the century." IPS/World Business Council for Sustainable Development_ 7/28/09

Israeli minister proposes pilot program for Dead-Red Sea canal

Periphery Development Minister Silvan Shalom proposed Monday that the government support a pilot program to check the feasibility of a Dead Sea-Red Sea Canal which would provide desalinated water for Israel and Jordan. The pilot project would cost $1.25 billion. “There is an agreement on this project with the Jordanians, with the Palestinian Authority, and with the World Bank,” Shalom said. “The Jordanians want to act anyway, so we should take the opportunity to act together with them." IsraelNationalNews.com_ 7/27/09

Egypt says historic Nile River water rights not negotiable

Egypt is working alongside other Nile Basin countries to reach a framework on use of river water for all states but will not compromise its historic rights, the country's water minister said on Monday. Water Minister Mohamed Nasreddin Allam said it did not matter if other Nile Basin countries were not convinced of the rights given to Egypt, the most populous Arab country, in previous agreements. "It doesn't matter if they are convinced. It matters that we are convinced," Allam told reporters on the sidelines of the 17th meeting of water ministers of the Nile Basin Initiative. The 1929 agreement was signed between Egypt and Great Britain, which at the time was acting on behalf of its east African colonies. The 1959 Egypt, Sudan agreement acts as a supplement to the previous accord and gives Egypt the right to 55.5 billion cubic meters of Nile water a year. Reuters_ 7/27/09

Nile basin nations meet in Egypt to work on water sharing

Ministers of water resources and irrigation from the nine Nile Basin countries will review water-sharing agreements in the region during a meeting in the Egyptian city of Alexandria.The meeting today comes amid deep disagreement among Nile Basin countries over the division of water between Egypt and Sudan. Earlier, when the countries met in May, Egypt refused to sign a long-negotiated water-sharing agreement which raised concerns about new dam projects upstream, especially in Ethiopia, which would limit the water flow. Upstream countries like Uganda and Ethiopia complain that previous treaties -- signed while they were ruled by colonial powers -- failed to secure their legitimate rights. An official report in Egypt has forecast the country's increased reliance on the Nile in the coming years because of its growing population. On the other hand, upstream countries need the water to help its power and agricultural sectors - which are also under pressure because of increasing populations. ZEENEWS_ 7/27/09

Water crisis uproots Syrian farmers

Only a few decades ago, fish were plentiful in the Orontes river which for thousands of years has provided water to the lush Syrian plains, at the crossroads of the ancient world. These days the Orontes's 12th century norias, enormous water wheels famous for their distinctive creak, barely turn in the weak tides. Algae covers the river's surface and the desert has been closing in. Syria's worst drought in decades has displaced hundreds of thousands of people and raised calls for a coordinated water policy for the Middle East as the region faces a dryer climate and water supplies depleted by damming and water well drilling. Yet whether a coordinated water policy is even possible is in doubt in a region riven by tensions and rivalry and where water politics is often seen as a zero-sum game. Reuters_ 7/27/09

New Zealand's tikanga can help solve water issues: Minister

Maori Affairs Minister Dr Pita Sharples has called for continuing dialogue on the role of iwi in the management and allocation of fresh water. In a speech this morning to the Indigenous Legal Water Forum in Wellington, Dr Sharples said local hapü and iwi need to be full participants in decisions on water management in their areas, and water ownership issues need to be allowed to come onto the national agenda. “Throughout time immemorial, indigenous peoples have expressed water as being significant in sacred terms,” said Dr Sharples. “We talk about respecting the significance of the tapu and the wairua – the spiritual force of the water. We refer to the mauri – the life force. News Release_ 7/27/09

Turkmenistan to create desert sea
Turkmenistan has launched the latest stage of a plan to channel water across thousands of kilometres of desert to create a vast inland sea. The lake will be filled with drainage water from the country's cotton fields. President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov said the "Golden Age Lake" plan showed his country was preserving nature and improving the environment. But critics say the water will be full of fertiliser and insecticides, and will evaporate quickly. The project is one of the biggest and most ambitious in the world, and could cost up to $20bn (£12bn).  It will eventually cover 2,000 sq km (770 sq miles). BBC News_7/16/09

Jordan funds water pipeline to Capital Amman

GAMA Energy AS, a joint venture between Turkey-based GAMA Holding AS and General Electric Co. unit GE Energy Financial Services, said Wednesday it reached a funding milestone for the construction of a water-pipeline project in Jordan.  The $1 billion Disi Water Conveyance project is expected to address water-scarcity issues by supplying Amman, the country's capital, and surrounding areas with more than 100 million cubic meters of water per year, the company said. Jordan's water resources per capita are among the world's lowest and water is delivered only once a week to Amman's residents, according to a statement by GAMA Energy. The 325-kilometer (200 miles) pipeline will pump water from the Disi aquifer in Mudawarra to Amman. About 2.5 million people live in Amman, according to the U.S. Department of State's Web site. Forbes_7/9/09

Mumbai, India faces acute water shortage

The authorities in the Indian city of Mumbai (Bombay) have reduced water supplies by 30% as it faces one of the worst water shortages in its history. The cuts will affect supplies to hundreds of thousands of households as well as hospitals and hotels in the city of 20 million inhabitants. Most lakes that supply water to Indian cities are heavily dependent on monsoon rainfall which this year has been intermittent, officials say. Mumbai is India's most populated city. BBC_ 7/7/09

USAID $8.5 million grant to help bring clean drinking water to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam

The $8.5 million will be used to expand a project to bring clean drinking water and improved sanitation to homes in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. The five-year award to the clean water program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill comes from the U.S. Agency for International Development. The program is called Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Enterprise Development – or WaterSHED. It is a joint effort between UNC's Gillings School of Global Public Health, the Kenan-Flagler Business School and the Kenan Institute-Asia. UNC says in a statement that its researchers will search for ways to increase the use of water filters in homes that lack clean drinking water in order to help reduce diarrhea and related diseases that kill nearly 2 million children a year. They will also investigate ways to achieve financially sustainable, scaled-up access to safe water sources. These include harvested rainwater, improved sanitation and greater practice of personal hygiene. Triangle Business Journal_ 6/29/09

Angry residents in New Delhi, India, protest power, water shortages

Delhi's power and water woes continue without an end in sight, with citizens taking to the streets yet again on Saturday to protest the crippling shortages brought on by a heat wave. People blocked traffic, vandalized offices of power distribution companies and demonstrated outside the home of state Power Minister A.K. Walia. Varun Sethia, a resident of Kirti Nagar in west Delhi, said,"It is a normal routine now for the electricity to go off for 2-3 hours. None of the complaints are addressed. As far as water is concerned, it should come for 2 hours daily but now most of the times, it comes just once a day and sometimes doesn't come at all." The heat wave is expected to continue for the next couple of days across north India. The Economic Times_ 6/27/09

Major new water source discovered in Yemen
A water company in Hadhramaut Governorate, southern Yemen, has discovered an important new source of water near the provincial capital, Mukalla, after four months of exploration.  "Using modern machinery, we have discovered a huge underground drinking water resource in Al-Ghaliah on the outskirts of Mukalla," Awadh Al-Ganzal, head of the Local Corporation for Water Supply and Sanitation (LCWSS), told IRIN.  "Our preliminary assessments regarding the newly discovered field have shown that it will provide Mukalla with potable water for the next 50 years… Water quality is great."  Canadian oil exploration in the early 90s employed satellite mapping which suggested a huge underground reservoir in Wadi Hadhramaut.  In addition, a paper delivered at a Vienna conference in 1996 suggested that a "significant deep groundwater resource may exist" in the Hadhramaut-Masila region of southern Yemen.  IRIN_6/25/09

Analysis shows arsenic is high in water at Kiradalli Tanda in central India

The chemical analysis of samples from three of the four drinking water sources used by people of Kiradalli Tanda in Surpur taluk of Gulbarga district has revealed that the arsenic level in them is much more than the permissible level prescribed in Indian Standard Drinking Water Specification IS 10500. The sources in the Mines and Geology department told The Hindu that water in the tanda was not fit for drinking, cooking and other domestic purposes. People of the tanda should be given safe potable water immediately. “We are not surprised by the findings since people drink contaminated water unsuspectingly. The impact of contaminated water will be known only after five years,” they said. The sources said gold was associated with arsenic content and Kiradalli region’s proximity to Hatti Gold Mines and availability of uranium, a radioactive material, close to the tanda, could also be one of the reasons for the high arsenic level in drinking water there. A team of experts from the Mines and Geology Department was likely to visit Kiradalli and surrounding villages to conduct a study. The Hindu_ 6/14/09

New South Africa Blue Drop drinking water quality rating system aims to 'name and shame' municipalities that fall short

More than 50 municipalities responsible for supplying safe drinking water to millions of homes and businesses across the country are under investigation. This week South Africa’s water chiefs said they could not give any public assurances on the quality of drinking water from any of the 54 red-flagged municipalities. The government’s new Blue Drop system, the first of its kind in the world, will be unveiled at a World Health Organisation meeting in Singapore next month. It awards prestigious Blue Drops for an overall 95% or higher score in process control, monitoring, sample analysis, water quality and safety compliance. Municipalities scoring less than 95% are denied Blue Drops until the certification level is reached, with unassessed municipalities being zero rated. Those supplying unsafe drinking water are issued with Red Drop status. In an initial report, only 22 of 402 municipalities and bulk water providers achieved Blue Drop status. South Africa Times_ 5/30/09

Israel accuses World Bank of "propoganda" in water access report
The Israeli Water Authority has described as “incorrect and fallacious” a World Bank report that accuses Israel of "systematic and severe constraints" on Palestinian access to water in the West Bank and Gaza.  Several years of drought have resulted in severe shortages for both Israelis and Palestinians, who share common water sources including underground aquifers that experts say are being contaminated as a result of over-drilling.  The World Bank report, “Assessment of Restrictions on Palestinian Water Sector Development,” was requested by the Palestinian Authority and published in April after consultations with both sides. It notes the “complete dependence” of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip “on scarce water resources shared and largely controlled by Israel.” TML_5/28/09

Turkey lets more water out of dams into Iraq

Turkey has boosted the flow of the Euphrates river passing through its dams upstream of Iraq to help farmers cope with a drought after Iraqi complaints, but it is still not enough, a top Iraqi lawmaker said on Saturday. Iraq is mostly desert and its inhabitable areas are slaked by the Tigris, which comes down from Turkey, the Euphrates, also from Turkey but passing through Syria, and a network of smaller rivers from Iran, some of which feed the Tigris. Iraq accuses Turkey, and to a lesser extent Syria, of choking the Euphrates by placing hydroelectric dams on it that have restricted water flow, damaging an Iraqi agricultural sector already hit by decades of war, sanctions and neglect. Reuters_ 5/23/09

British charity Oxfam doubles aid to Pakistan as more than 2 million flee homes

The movement, caused by people fleeing fighting with the Taliban, is the biggest internal population displacement in the country’s history. Oxfam said it had initially planned to provide £2.2 million (2.5 million euros, US $3.4 million) of aid to reach 175,000 people. But as the number of people requiring urgent assistance mounted, it had raised its funding to £5.3 million in a bid to supply 360,000 people with clean water, sanitation and food. “This is now a massive humanitarian crisis,” said Neva Khan, Oxfam country director in Pakistan. Pakistan Daily Times_ 5/21/09

Water wars come to the Andes of Peru: Glaciers decline, droughts increase

Rising demand for irrigation and drinking water is draining the aquifer faster than it can recharge, and a scheme to channel more water from the Andean highlands, which receive seasonal rainfall, is pitting big agribusinesses on the coast against Quechua-speaking llama herders in the mountains. Experts say the conflict is just one sign of rising tensions over water use as supplies of the vital resource dwindle and shift with changes in climate. Scientific American_ 5/19/09

Acidification makes Australia's Murray River water unfit for drinking

Acidic water in sections of the lower River Murray has been declared unfit for human consumption for the first time. The Department of Water, Land and Biodiversity Conservation also warned landholders to provide alternative sources of water for livestock and restrict stock access to the water. River Murray Minister Karlene Maywald yesterday said acid - formed when acid sulphate soils were exposed to air by low water levels - had flushed from sections of the Finniss River and Currency Creek. She warned people to avoid contact with water in the area. The warnings came as Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett approved emergency action to prevent further acidification of the Goolwa Channel. The Advertiser/Adelaide Now_ 5/12/09

In Bholakpur, India, 7 die, 200 in hospital after drinking from city water line; angry residents attack water officials

The contamination happened due to seepage of sewage water into the drinking water pipeline. Tragedy struck after several complaints to Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWS&SB) in the last few months went unheeded. Furious residents broke a pipeline and attacked water board officials. Those attacked by angry residents included Water Board manager David Raj who fled the scene. Windshield of Secunderabad Lok Sabha MP Anjan Kumar Yadav’s car was broken by the irate public. Musheerabad MLA T Manemma, who landed in her constituency, had to beat a hasty retreat after police advised her not to visit the area. Times of India_ 5/6/09

Urbanisation, population increases put pressure on United Arab Emirate water resources

In an address read on his behalf by Abdullah bin Rashid Al Mualla, Assistant Undersecretary for Water and Soil, Dr. Rashid Ahmed bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water outlined the UAE’s sincere efforts to tap unconventional water resources like desalination of sea water with total capacity of such desalination plants in the country reaching more than 1 billion cubic metres, taking the world’ second largest producer of desalinated water. According to him, sewerage treated water secures about 400 million cubic metres per year for irrigation purposes. He said underground water was also given due attention. “The UAE has 114 recharge dams with total stoarge capacity of 150 million cubic metres a year,”he added. Khaleej Times_ 5/2/09

Qatar Red Crescent digs more than 150 wells in Darfur

The wells will provide water to more than 40,000 people. The QRC said there was an urgent need for water in refugee camps. Gulf Times_ 5/2/09

Israel denies World Bank claims that it takes too much water from aquifer it shares with Palestinians

The Israeli foreign ministry said that Palestinians have access to twice as much water as the 23.6 million cubic metres (833 million cubic feet) they are allocated annually under an agreement with Israel. In a report on April 20, the World Bank said because of Israeli restrictions and bad Palestinian management, the Palestinians face dire water shortages. AFP/Yahoo_ 4/28/09

No swine flu threat from disinfected tap water: American Water Works Association

AWWA notes the disease must be transmitted through person-to-person contact or contact with a contaminated surface. Water that has been treated through conventional disinfection processes does not pose a risk, even if the source water has previously come into contact with infected people or animals. This means that utilities practicing disinfection can assure their customers that treated water coming from the taps in homes and businesses is safe to drink.

AWWA has developed information aimed at water consumers at Drinktap.org, with links to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) information on this topic. The CDC has created multiple sites with information on symptoms, traveling and other topics regarding H1N1 (swine flu):

* CDC Key Facts About Swine Influenza
* CDC Advisory on Travel Precautions and
* Avian Influenza: Is There a Risk to Water Supplies — a pdf download from the Australian Research Center for Water Quality and Treatment. News Release_ 4/26/09

In central Thailand, low water levels raise concerns

The Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry is concerned about severe water shortages for farmers in the central region as levels at major dams and reservoirs are far below the target capacity. Arkanay Boonlert, director of the rain-making centre for central provinces, said drought had caused them to dispatch planes based in Nakhon Sawan to make 12 artificial rain flights a day. Bangkok Post_ 4/19/09

Mexico City turns off taps for two million water users

Some two million residents of Mexico City on Thursday began 36 hours without water under an emergency plan over Easter vacation to respond to a record drop in water supply and to work on repairs. The cuts, in the giant city of some 20 million that once sat on lakes, are part of a five-month emergency rationing plan announced in January, and include repairs to stop massive leaks in the distribution network of one of the main water supply systems. The Cutzamala supply system is at 47 percent capacity, its lowest ever level, due to low rainfall in 2008 and serious leaks, according to national water commission Conagua. AFP_ 4/9/09

What will global warming look like? Scientists point to Australia

Climate scientists say Australia -- beset by prolonged drought and deadly bush fires in the south, monsoon flooding and mosquito-borne fevers in the north, widespread wildlife decline, economic collapse in agriculture and killer heat waves -- epitomizes the "accelerated climate crisis" that global warming models have forecast. With few skeptics among them, Australians appear to be coming to an awakening: Adapt to a rapidly shifting climate, and soon. Scientists here warn that the experience of this island continent is an early cautionary tale for the rest of the world. Los Angeles Times_ 4/9/09

Study maps Canada's hidden water to stave off shortages

Canadian scientists are partway through a project to map underground water supplies across the country. The goal is to help policy makers prevent water shortages as industrial and urban development, along with climate change, put pressure on groundwater supplies. Alfonso Rivera, chief hydrogeologist with the Geological Survey of Canada, said so far the study has found there are close to 100,000 cubic kilometres of water hidden in aquifers across the country — a large, rich supply. But most of that is "fossil water" that was trapped underground long ago and isn't rechargeable, Rivera said. Those aquifers that can recharge do so more slowly than previously believed, and most of them aren't very deep. The overall mapping study, which started in 2003, aims to collect information about 30 major aquifers across the country. CBC News_ 4/6/09

Calgary latest Canadian community to look at safety of fluoride in water

The City of Calgary is the latest community to wade into the decades-old debate on whether adding fluoride to municipal water is a cost-effective way to prevent tooth decay or an outdated practice that could be toxic. Ald. Druh Farrell said she initiated a motion to stop adding fluoride after getting a number of letters and reports from people in the medical profession. The topic has been hotly debated across the country - and around the world - for years. Brantford, Ont., became the first community in Canada to fluoridate its water in 1945. According to Health Canada, about 40 per cent of Canadians now drink fluoridated water. The Canadian Press_ 4/5/09

Australian drought blamed for delay in Melbourne water projects

Most of Melbourne's major water projects have been postponed or delayed despite the continued water supply crisis, an assessment by the Essential Services Commission has found. The State Government has blamed the drought for its failure to deliver the bulk of water projects. The commission recently assessed the Government's progress on 37 major water projects and found 28 had been delayed. These include new pipes, sewerage upgrades, odour abatement and water recycling. The Age_ 3/29/09

Death toll from Indonesia dam burst rises to 77

The death toll from a burst dam which unleashed a wall of water on the outskirts of the Indonesian capital of Jakarta rose to 77 and authorities were searching for than 100 people still missing, officials said on Saturday. The Dutch colonial-era Situ Gintung dam collapsed early on Friday. While landslides and floods are fairly common during the rainy season in Indonesia, the latest disaster was probably caused by a combination of torrential rain and poor maintenance, officials said, reflecting years of under-investment in much of the country's crucial infrastructure. Reuters_ 3/28/09

Indian health crusader wins Stockholm water prize
Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, who has fought for almost four decades to improve sanitation in India's slums and villages, was awarded the 2009 Stockholm Water Prize on Wednesday. The Institute said Dr. Pathak's work, which has improved the health of millions of people, had served as a model for NGO agencies and public health initiatives around the world.  Reuters_3/26/09

Canada's 'First Nations' to benefit from federal water spending
Ottawa is giving money to 14 First Nations communities for water and waste-water projects. The projects, including two in B.C., were announced Thursday by Indian Affairs Minister Chuck Strahl. They are part of $165 million earmarked for such projects, as part of $1.4 billion being invested in aboriginal peoples under the federal government's Economic Action Plan. Canada.com_3/20/09

Reuters' key facts on the world's water supply

Reuters News Service offers a brief overview of key drinking water facts, called Factbox. Water scarcity is likely to change the way of life of millions of people in the U.S. West, one of the richest and most technologically advanced regions in the world. Other parts of the planet may take cues from the West on how to deal with a global water crisis that is expected to worsen with climate change. Reuters_3/12/09

Synchronized polio campaign kicks off across eight countries in West Africa

Fifty-three million children under five are expected to be reached across eight West African countries in a coordinated polio immunization campaign that launched today. The synchronized cross-border initiative will take place simultaneously in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Togo, and Nigeria. The key to stopping polio in its tracks is comprehensive and coordinated vaccination campaigns and cross-border planning. Undertaking the campaign simultaneously in eight countries reduces the risk of missing children, particularly in a context where there are likely to be large movements of populations. This campaign is part of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, a partnership spearheaded by WHO, Rotary International, the US Center for Diseases Control and Prevention and UNICEF. The polio eradication coalition includes governments of countries affected by polio; private sector foundations (United Nations Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation); development banks (World Bank); bilateral donor governments; the European Commission; the International Red Cross and Red Crescent societies and nongovernmental organizations as well as corporate partners (Sanofi Pasteur, De Beers and Wyeth). Poliomyelitis (polio) is a highly infectious viral disease, which mainly affects children under five. The virus attacks the nervous system and is transmitted through contaminated food, water and feces. Medical News Today_ 3/2/09

February, 2009

China's giant water scheme opens torrent of discontent
China's vast scheme to channel southern rivers to its parched north faces potentially explosive defiance at a dam where bitter memories and an unsure future are driving farmers to protest the nation-spanning feat.  Reuters_2/27/09

WHO: Bacteria contaminating water in suburb of Harare, Zimbabwe

Experts from the World Health Organization said water sources in Harare’s Budiriro suburb, an early epicenter of the cholera epidemic still wracking the country, are heavily contaminated with bacteria, requiring urgent intervention, Zimbabwean state media reported Monday. The state-run Herald newspaper reported that WHO tests showed local water, including from boreholes, was heavily contaminated by fecal bacteria. Cholera has claimed more than 3,600 lives in Zimbabwe since the epidemic took hold about seven months ago in Budiriro and Chitungwiza, a Harare satellite town. VOA_ 2/16/09

Fires endanger water catchments in Melbourne, Australia

Work continues on containing the southern edge of the Murrindindi/Kilmore fire, which is threatening the Thomson and Upper Yarra catchments, but Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) chief officer Ewan Waller said there was a long hard slog ahead for firefighters. "It will be a slow hard job working in very difficult country and it will be weeks before we can actually say that Melbourne's water catchments are secure,'' Mr Waller said. Mr Waller said it was unlikely any water had been contaminated at this stage. Melbourne Water said water from under threatened reservoirs, particularly Maroondah and O'Shannassey, was being pumped into those that are safe. AAP/The Age_ 2/15/09

China vows to squeeze 60 percent more out of its water

China, faced with widespread water shortages exacerbated by its worst drought in decades, aims to cut the amount of water it uses to produce each dollar of national income by 60 percent by 2020, state media said. The target, unveiled by Water Resources Minister Chen Lei, underlines Beijing's growing concern over chronic water shortages that it fears could undermine its ability to feed itself and crimp economic growth in the long run. The water efficiency target follows similar ones announced earlier for cutting pollution and increasing energy efficiency, as Beijing seeks to get away from what it concedes is an unsustainably resource-intensive growth model, marked by an overreliance on heavy industry. Reuters_ 2/15/09

In Vietnam, 8.8 million urban residents have no access to clean water

Vietnam is likely to face a serious shortage of water in the near future, according to a national project to assess the water supply industry in the country. Presently, up to 8.5 million citizens in urban areas are not supplied with clean water and 21 million people in rural areas find the concept of ‘hygienic water’ quite alien. Although 41 million Vietnamese people have access to running water, the water does not meet Ministry of Health standards. VietNamNet Bridge_ 2/9/09

Drought in northern China severe

Severe drought in northern China has left 3.7 million people and 1.85 million livestock with no access to drinking water, according to sources in the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters. The drought also has affected about 9.67 million hectares of crops, 2.7 million hectares more than the same period last winter. The agency has sent four relief teams to eight of the worst-hit crop-producing provinces, including Hebei, Shaanxi, Anhui and Jiangsu, to instruct farmers and local administrators on relief work. Henan Daily reported yesterday that the drought, which began in November, is the most severe since 1951. Weather forecasts predict that rainfall will remain low this month. China Daily_ 2/3/09

January, 2009

Mexico City braces for water rationing
One of the world's largest cities is launching a rationing plan in a drastic -- and some say overdue -- effort to conserve water after rampant development, mismanagement and reduced rainfall caused supplies to drop to dangerously low levels.  Starting Saturday, water will be cut or reduced to homes in at least 10 boroughs in Mexico City plus 11 other municipalities in the state of Mexico, which surrounds the capital. The action affects an estimated 5.5 million people.  Full service is expected to be returned sometime Tuesday. Similar cuts will be carried out every month until the rainy season begins, usually around May.  Experts say Mexico has failed to take actions needed to upgrade aqueducts, pipes and treatment plants and has allowed construction projects in areas that should be used for catching runoff and replenishing aquifers.  By one study, 10 million people nationwide do not have access to potable water; many must buy it from water trucks at exorbitant prices.  Los Angeles Times_1/30/09

 

Tehran's drinking water has highest nitrate level in Iran

Tehran water supply has the highest level of nitrate in the country, director of Tehran's Department of Environment (DOE) said here on Thursday. "Nitrate level in the capital's water supply has exceeded the drinking water quality standards," Mohammad-Baqer Saduq said, stressing that now is the time to put fears about nitrate levels in water into true perspective. High levels of nitrate in household water supplies are of grave concern, Saduq said, referring to some of health problems caused by nitrate, including methaemoglobinaemia -- commonly referred to as "blue baby" disease, marked by a reduction in the oxygen-carrying capacity of blood -- digestive problems, and stomach cancer. Mehr News Agency_ 1/24/09

In Uganda, National Water and Sewerage Corporation and brewery top polluters of Lake Victoria

The National Water and Sewerage Corporation and leading beer and spirits maker Uganda Breweries Ltd are still the major polluters of Lake Victoria, says the National Environmental Management Authority. Uganda Breweries case is even shocking as the firm still discharges vast amounts of untreated waste into Lake Victoria despite investing in a multi-million wastewater treatment plant a few years ago. “Not all UBL wastewater goes through the plant. All backwash water is discharged raw into the environment,” said Onesmus Muhwezi, head of environment monitoring at Nema. The beer maker paid Belgian firm Waterleau Ush7 billion ($3.55 million) for a wastewater treatment plant that became operational in 2005. Another Nema audit done in October 2008 — a copy of which The EastAfrican has obtained — reveals that the National Water and Sewerage Corporation, Ngege Fish Factory and a number of factories are guilty too. East African_ 1/23/09

France to provde clean water for Gaza

A French aid team will head to Egypt's border with Gaza on Monday to help provide emergency clean water to the stricken Palestinian territory, the interior ministry said. Aid groups have said three-quarters of Gaza households have been without water in their homes since Israel launched its Gaza offensive on December 27. AFP/Yahoo_ 1/18/09

Gaza infrastructure pummelled

Gaza, one of the world's most impoverished strips of land, has been plunged deeper into the abyss by Israel's three-week war which has reduced vast swathes of the territory to rubble. According to the Palestinian central bureau of statistics, the damage to infrastructure alone is 476 million dollars -- the bill for which is expected to be largely picked up by Western donors. Water supplies have been reduced to a trickle after damage to the main treatment plant while hits on power lines and numerous sub-stations have left most households without electricity at the height of winter. AFP_ 1/17/09

Peruvian farmers block roads to protest water laws
Farmers blocked roads across Peru on Thursday, demanding Congress repeal laws they say could put water under the control of private interests.  The laws, passed by decree last year, created two new public agencies to oversee water management and distribution. Small farmers fear the changes will drive up costs, reduce their access to water while increasing it to corporate growers and, eventually, lead to the privatization of the public agencies.  Reuters_1/15/09

Johannesburg, South Africa residents target of hoax emails claiming tap water unsafe

Tap water in Johannesburg is still safe to drink, contrary to hoax emails warning people to the contrary, the city's water utility said on Tuesday. "The quality of Johannesburg's tap water continues to be rated as among the best in the world. Our scientists routinely monitor over 500 drinking water samples per month," said Johannesburg water spokesperson Tebatso Baldwin Matsimela. He urged Johannesburg residents to ignore circulating emails warning them to stay clear of tap water because it was contaminated. "This is the work of individuals or parties trying to cause panic amongst our customers and stakeholders," he said. IOL_ 1/13/09

China delays part of massive water project

China is delaying part of its plan to divert water from its major rivers across hundreds of (miles) kilometers to the booming cities in its arid north because it needs more time to resettle the more than 300,000 people who will be displaced by the project. Zhang Jiyao, the minister in charge of the venture, told the Associated Press Monday that the central route of the plan will not be finished until 2014 instead of 2010. When completed, the project's three routes will move billions of tons (metric tons) of water from China's central, southern and western regions through pipes and man-made canals to Beijing and other fast-growing cities in the country's north. The estimated $62 billion project will pass by 44 cities, and could be nearly three times as expensive as the Three Gorges Dam, China's last mega-project. AP/CNBC_ 1/12/09

World fears grow over Gaza 'humanitarian crisis'

World leaders expressed mounting concern about the impact on civilians of the fighting in the Gaza Strip Monday, as Israel rejected diplomatic efforts to bring an end to the conflict. Aid groups have said Israel's offensive has aggravated a humanitarian crisis for Gaza's population, who have no electricity, no water and now face dire food shortages. AFP_ 1/5/09

December, 2008

Dead Sea to receive water from Red Sea to save it from drying up

The Dead Sea could be saved from drying up under a groundbreaking plan to flood millions of gallons of seawater in from the Red Sea more than 110 miles away. Funding has been secured for a feasibility study into the ambitious and controversial scheme to reverse falling water levels. The scheme involves a 110-mile long canal, dubbed 'Red To Dead', that would channel roughly five million tonnes of seawater each day into the Dead Sea. The new water is needed to avoid the complete disappearance of the Dead Sea, an event the World Bank warns would represent "an environmental calamity". Overuse by farmers of water from the Jordan River, the only major influx into the Dead Sea, and climate change mean the level of the Dead Sea plunges by about three feet every year. One key aspect of the study is how the arrival of seawater will impact on the unique ecosystem of the Dead Sea. The Telegraph_ 12/25/08

China helps 109 million in rural areas get safe drinking water: Minister

China said on Wednesday that it has spent nearly 24 billion yuan (about U.S. $3.5 billion) in the past two years to give more than 8 percent of its 1.3 billion people safe drinking water. Environmental Protection Minister Zhou Shengxian said in a report to a plenary session of the National People's Congress Standing Committee that more than 109 million rural people benefited from the water investment since 2006. Overall water quality last year was almost the same as in 2006, he said, adding that greater efforts were made to curb pollution in major streams. Xinhua_ 12/24/08

Procter & Gamble and Population Services International respond to cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe with water purification for 10,000 families

Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG) and global health organization Population Services International (PSI) will provide 10 million liters of safe drinking water to help prevent cholera in Zimbabwe. More than one-thousand people have died from the current cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe. Developed by P&G, PURTM Purifier of Water is a powdered water clarification and disinfectant technology that comes in small, easy-to-use packets. Using some of the same ingredients as municipal water systems, the PUR water purification packets remove pollutants and cysts, as well as kill viruses and bacteria, including the bacteria that cause cholera. PSI has the staff, infrastructure and resources to distribute the PUR packets provided by partner non-governmental organization, AmeriCares. The packets will be distributed for free to those living in areas with high cholera outbreaks in and around Harare, Beitbridge and Mudzi, Zimbabwe. Approximately 10,000 families with 40,000 to 60,000 people will be reached with the free distribution of the PUR packets to meet their water treatment needs for three months. News Release/PRNewswire-First Call/CSRwire_ 12/23/08

Ontario says Detroit, Michigan has been taking water from Canada without an OK

Detroit may has been stealing Canadian water for 44 years. It seems the Motor City's drinking-water intake pipe extends about 100 yards across the international boundary in the Detroit River, and it's been siphoning as much as 32 billion gallons a year since 1964 without a water-taking permit. Alerted to the water grab when Detroit conducted a screening under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act for maintenance work on its southwest water treatment plant in 2006, the ministry now plans to exempt the city from provincial regulations. AP/Chicago Tribune_ 12/22/08

Ice melting across globe at accelerating rate, NASA says

Between 1.5 trillion and 2 trillion tons of ice in Greenland, Antarctica and Alaska have melted at an accelerating rate since 2003, according to NASA scientists, in the latest signs of what they say is global warming. Using new satellite technology that measures changes in mass in mountain glaciers and ice sheets, NASA geophysicist Scott Luthcke concluded that the losses amounted to enough water to fill the Chesapeake Bay 21 times. Luthcke will present his findings this week at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco, California. NASA's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, or GRACE, mission uses two orbiting satellites to measure the "mass balance" of a glacier, or the net annual difference between ice accumulation and ice loss. CNN_ 12/16/08

World's experts brainstorm on drinking water

Water and sanitation experts from the Group of Eight countries gathered Tuesday in Hokkaido to discuss ways to ensure safe drinking water in African and other developing countries. At the onset of the event, Masato Watanabe, deputy director general of the Foreign Ministry's International Cooperation Bureau and chairman of the meeting, said he will seek to reach an agreement so the participants can present future strategies to the next summit next year in Italy. Japan Times_ 12/17/08

Trying to stop pollution of the Citarum River, the main source of household water for Jakarta, Indonesia

The Citarum River, which winds its way through West Java past terraced rice paddies and teeming cities, is an assault on the senses. Visitors can smell the river before they see it. The Citarum River basin covers 5,000 square miles. The river, considered by many environmentalists to be among the world’s most polluted, is woven tightly into the lives of the West Javanese. It provides 80 percent of household water for Jakarta’s 14 million people, irrigates farms that supply 5 percent of Indonesia’s rice and is a source of water for more than 2,000 factories, which are responsible for a fifth of the country’s industrial output, according to the Asian Development Bank. Environmentalists blame rapid, and unregulated, industrialization and urbanization over the past 20 years for the degradation of the 5,000-square-mile river basin. New York Times_ 12/13/08

Zimbabwe: Britain, U.S. caused cholera, says government

A Zimbabwean cabinet minister has accused Britain, helped by the United States, of masterminding the country's cholera outbreak in a "biological chemical war, a genocidal onslaught" against the country. The accusation was published in the government-controlled Herald newspaper by Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, the information minister in President Robert Mugabe's government. AllAfrca.com_ 12/13/08

Mugabe claims no more cholera in Zimbabwe

President Robert Mugabe claimed Thursday the end of Zimbabwe's cholera epidemic, but aid agencies argued otherwise, as South Africa declared a disaster on its border due to the disease. "I am happy to say our doctors have been assisted by others, and WHO (the World Health Organization) and they have now arrested cholera," he said in a nationally broadcast speech. He also denounced calls by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and US President George W. Bush for him to step down, accusing them of plotting an invasion. AFP_ 12/11/08

Cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe spreads rapidly

The United Nations said Wednesday 15,572 cases and 746 cholera deaths were reported n Zimbabwe. A deteriorating health care system and water infrastructure are the reasons why the water-borne disease is rampaging through the impoverished African nation, which last week declared a health emergency, the Associated Press reported. There are also concerns that cholera could be carried into neighboring countries. A large number of Zimbabweans with cholera have sought help in South Africa, which has reported 500 cases of the disease, including nine deaths, the AP reported. AP/USNews and World Report_ 12/10/08

Drought forces Australian state to purchase water
Australia's driest state has been forced to purchase water for the first time to ensure adequate supplies in the midst of a drought, a government official said Friday.  Karlene Maywald, state water security minister, said South Australia has purchased 61 billion gallons (231 gigaliters) of water so that Adelaide, the state capital, will have enough water for 2009 even if the drought continues.  The purchase highlights the dire situation in South Australia, which some experts had predicted would run out of water by the end of the year. The state has suffered through drought for the past five years, and water in Adelaide's storage containers and reservoirs dropped 8 percent in the last year. AP_12/5/08

Zimbabwe declares national health emergency; Lack of water treatment drives cholera epidemic

Zimbabwe has declared a national emergency over its cholera epidemic and the collapse of its health system due the country's economic crisis. "Our central hospitals are literally not functioning," Minister of Health David Parirenyatwa was quoted as saying by the state-run Herald newspaper on Thursday. The United Nations puts deaths from the cholera epidemic at more than 500. The outbreak is blamed on lack of water treatment and broken sewage pipes in a country that once had a sophisticated infrastructure.  AP_12/4/08

Cholera-hit Zimbabwe cuts water supplies to capital

Zimbabwe has cut water supplies to the capital Harare, state media said Monday, as the health minister urged the public to stop shaking hands in a desperate bid to curb a deadly cholera epidemic. The city-wide cut appeared aimed at stopping the flow of untreated water around Harare, which is at the epicentre of the cholera epidemic that has claimed 425 lives since late August -- most in just the last month. The Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) stopped pumping because it had failed to obtain chemicals to treat the water supply, the government mouthpiece Herald newspaper said. AFP/AfricaAsia.com_ 12/1/08

 

 

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