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July-December, 2005 International Water News

Planting forests may help the air, but they drain the ground water: Australian study

A study by CSIRO published in the journal Science throws doubt on the overall benefit of intensive plantations of trees. The report says that trees do soak up carbon dioxide, which contributes to global warming, but they also soak up local water supplies, creating salinity. The study says that forest plantations reduced streamflows by an average 38 percent, sometimes totally drying up streamflows for up to a year. ABC Science Online_ 12/23/05


Fears over pollution of underground water supplies around 90% of China's cities from rapid economic growth
Zhang Lijun, Deputy Director of the State Environmental Protection Administration, called the problem "serious", the China News Service said. He said the economy's growth would put enormous pressure on water supplies. China's official media said underground water supplies provide drinking water for nearly 70% of China's population and 40% of agricultural irrigation. BBC News_ 12/28/05

China's ministry sets water goals for next five years

China’s Ministry of Water Resources has set out ten major targets for the next five years. They include: improvement of flood control, ensuring safe drinking water for 100 million rural people, to add new water supply capacity by 40 billion cubic meters, with the quality of the water source to be improved. The list includes developing a water law and regulation system “that conforms to Chinese conditions.” Asia Pulse/CRIonline_ 12/27/05


Southern China toxic cadmium slick stopped by dam

Officials are reassuring inhabitants in the city of Guangzhou that its water supplies will be guaranteed. The head of the smelting plant that discharged the poisonous waste has reportedly been removed from his post. This latest environmental crisis emerged after a state-run smelting plant spewed toxic cadmium into the Bei river, which supplies water to southern Guangdong province. Several cities had their water supplies turned off temporarily. But now local authorities say the slick has been stopped by a dam, and there are plans to release clean water from a second dam to dilute the cadmium. BBC News_ 12/23/05

China tried to guard water supply to its southern business capital of Guangzhou after new toxic spill; Earlier spill reaches Russia but officials say pollution levels within acceptable range

Guangzhou, a city of seven million people 60 miles north of Hong Kong, rushed to ensure water supplies on Thursday as a toxic spill into the Bei River from a smelter flowed toward the city. A smaller city nearby stopped drawing drinking water from the contaminated river. It was China's second environmental disaster in a month and occurred as the authorities were trying to minimize the impact of a chemical spill in the Songhua, a northeastern river nearly 2,000 miles away. That toxic slick disrupted water supplies to millions of people in China, and reached Khabarovsk, in eastern Russia, on Thursday. The Khabarovsk government, however, said it would continue to supply running water from the river to the city of 580,000 because pollution levels were within an acceptable range. Earlier, officials warned people against drinking tap water. Guangzhou and Foshan, a nearby manufacturing center, are one of China's most densely populated areas and a center for the factories that supply its booming export industries. New York Times_ 12/23/05 (logon required)

New Zealand Red Cross to ship desalination plant to volcano-affected Vanuatu

The water supply has become a major issue since the Mt Ambae volcano erupted on November 27. Operations manager Andrew McKie says that most of the water supplies have been contaminated by ash, and people have been evacuated to safe centres around the island where water is hard to source. The desalination plant produces 1,520 litres a day, enough for approximately 500 people, and will be flown out from Auckland on the next available flight. Press Release/"Scoop"_ 12/23/05

Water for Harare, Zimbabwe fails to meet minimum WHO standards

Water delivered to Harare is sub-standard with very low concentrations of chlorine, and, thus contains high levels of bacteria, is acidic and has sedimentary impurities, the Harare Municipality has said. According to the report, the water fails to meet World Health Organisation (WHO) and Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) minimum safety specifications. The municipality has laid blame on poor treatment by the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa). Following the report, the water authority has requested Harare to provide the necessary expertise and experience to ensure standards are met. The Herald_ 12/22/05

Russian city cuts water supply to 10,000 as toxic slick from Chinese chemical plant approaches

Authorities in Khabarovsk in Russia's Far East cut off water to its 10,000 people Wednesday as a toxic slick from a chemical plant explosion in China floated downriver. By evening, pipes began to pump water once again to the homes of people in three southern districts of the city, with full supplies expected to resume by Thursday morning. But a top regional environmental official warned the 580,000 residents not to drink tap water because of the contamination from the Chinese accident last month. Regional officials said that tests conducted in the Amur River, which flows past the city and provides it with all its water supplies, so far had not detected chemicals above permissible levels. AP/ABC News_ 12/21/05

Another Chinese river hit by chemical pollution; water supplies suspended

A chemical spill from a zinc smelter has polluted the Beijiang River in southern China's Guangdong province, forcing the suspension of water supplies in two cities, state media said on Wednesday. Cadmium levels reached 10 times the safety limit near Shaoguan city on the Beijiang, prompting a suspension of water supplies to the city's 500 000 residents for much of Tuesday, the official Xinhua news agency and other media said. Officials on Tuesday also warned about 100 000 residents of the downstream city of Yingde not to drink tap water because of the contamination. The local government has already managed to reduce the density of the cadmium by increasing the discharge from reservoirs in the Beijiang's upper reaches, Xinhua said. The Beijiang drains into the Pearl Delta, between Hong Kong and the provincial capital of Guangzhou. Sapa-DPA/Mail & Guardian_ 12/21/05

Russians stow water as benzene spill nears

Residents of the far eastern Russian city of Khabarovsk stocked up on water Tuesday in the hours before the arrival of a toxic slick of chemicals that could force authorities to shut off water and central heating in subzero temperatures. With the chemicals that spilled last month from a factory explosion upriver in China expected to reach Khabarovsk by Wednesday, the regional governor said hot water supplies might have to be suspended for as long as seven days and cold water for three days. AP/CNN_ 12/20/05

British inquiry probes link between aluminum in water and Alzheimer's
A Department of Health group investigating the effect of the mistaken dumping of 20 tonnes of aluminum sulphate into the tank of a water treatment tank in north Cornwall in 1988 is looking into whether that might have contributed to the death of a woman who had suffered from a brain disease similar to Alzheimer’s disease in 1959. The woman, who had suffered from a brain disease similar to Alzheimer’s, died of a brain disease, usually associated with Alzheimer’s. The pathologist in the case said her death may have been related to the high levels of aluminum in her brain. The investigation continues.  BBC News_ 12/20/05

Clean water promised to 100 million rural residents in China

By 2010, some 100 million people, or one third of China's total rural residents plagued by unsafe drinking water, are expected to get out of the problem. By then, for example, 70 per cent of rural villages where drinking water contains excess levels of fluorine will get access to safe and clean water, bringing an end to the day-to-day danger. This is one of the major targets set by water authorities during the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-10), Wang Shucheng, minister of water resources, said yesterday in Beijing at a conference. People's Daily Online_ 12/19/05

Research shows Bangladeshi arsenic contamination comes from near surface

A new study of Bangladeshi water supplies shows that the arsenic found in well water comes from near the surface, and not from deep underground as earlier thought. That discovery does not mean that a solution to the poisoning problem is at hand, according to a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. But it could be the beginning of a solution that would include analyzing bacteria which are thought to produce the arsenic. The arsenic in the drinking water is a major health problem, causing cancer and disorders of the nervous system. New Scientist_ 12/17/05

Benzene leak reaches Russian river

A toxic river spill from a chemical explosion in China has reached Russian waters, Moscow has said. Russian Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu said checks carried out in the Amur river so far showed toxicity levels to be normal. He said arrangements were in place to purify water, and new wells had been drilled to ensure safe supplies. The 100-tonne spill is expected to reach the main city in the area, Khabarovsk, in four to five days. Chinese media reported that the spill had significantly diluted in the Songhua River before entering the Amur. BBC News_ 12/16/05

Wales reservoir 'probably' source of contamination that  caused 208 illnesses
The team investigating a stomach bug outbreak in north Wales has said the Cwellyn reservoir is "the probable source" of the illness. But tests of the water continued to show that levels of cryptosporidium were within regulatory limits. A team spokesman said they had found five ways that contamination from human sewage may have entered the reservoir. But he said it was "unlikely that any one of these will ever be confirmed as the source of the outbreak". BBC News_ 12/15/05

Third of Irish councils not testing water for disease
More than one third of Ireland's county and city councils have not tested public water supplies for a potentially fatal disease, it emerged today.  There were three outbreaks of cryptosporidiosis last year, which were suspected to be water borne. The 2004 Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) water quality report found that just 59% of the 34 county and city councils tasked with inspecting public water supplies had carried out a risk assessment for cryptosporidiosis. The EPA found that 363 risk assessments were carried out on public water supplies and 21% were found to be in the high-risk or very high-risk categories. Under new drinking water regulations, county councils are required to take regular samples for quality testing.  But the EPA has no power to take action against a county council that is not providing safe drinking-water supplies and it called for legislation to rectify this.  Ireland On Line_12/15/05

Brazil to begin water charges

Historically Brazil has never had water charges. However, three years ago water charges were installed on the Paraiba do Sul River which runs through the states of Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. There, industries and other users are charged a low R$0.02 per cubic meter of water, if they return the water after treatment. Anyone who uses the water without treating it has to pay four times as much.  The present system of free water is highly wasteful; it is estimated that 40% of the water transported is lost. Under the water charges system the waste is almost eliminated. Portal da Cidadania_12/14/05

Welsh water mass payout

Welsh water company bosses last night announced goodwill payments totalling almost £1m for customers forced to boil water after the cryptosporidium outbreak. Dær Cymru-Welsh Water last night confirmed 37,000 households will get a £25 payment for inconvenience caused during the outbreak. The £925,000 payout comes as a North Wales family is planning to sue the water company after being struck down by the bug.  icnorthwales_12/14/05


Dam to shield Russia from Chinese factory's benzene slick

China may build a temporary dam to prevent a toxic slick from reaching Russian waters, a government spokesman said yesterday as the human and diplomatic fall-out from one of the country's worst pollution scandals gathered pace. According to the China Daily, the government is considering blocking a tributary that links the contaminated Songhua river, in north-east China, to the Wusuli river - also known as the Ussuri - in the Russian border city of Khabarovsk. "China is going to do all it takes to reduce the possible impact of the pollution in Russia," said a foreign ministry spokesman, Qin Gang. The cause of the slick was an explosion at a petrochemical factory in Jilin on November 13, which dumped 100 tonnes of benzene and other chemicals into the Songhua. But the government did not announce that the Songhua had been poisoned until 10 days later when the pollution belt approached Harbin, forcing the city to turn off the taps for more than 3 million people. No one knows how many people drank from, or fished in, the contaminated water. But the scandal appeared to claim a life yesterday with reports of the suicide of Wang Wei, the deputy mayor of Jilin, who gave the initial public assurance that the factory blast had caused no pollution. Guardian Unlimited_ 12/9/05

Welsh Water lifts boil water order for 20,000 but another 50,000 could be required to boil drinking water for another month
Welsh Water has written to 9,000 customers--about 20,000 people--in north Wales telling them they no longer need to boil their drinking water. The "all clear" notice came after the supply to many houses was switched from the Cwellyn reservoir in Snowdonia. The Cwellyn treatment works is under investigation after an outbreak of the water-borne bug cryptosporidium. The number of illness cases stands at 186. Meanwhile, officials warned on Friday that customers who do not receive a notice should continue to boil their water until 9 January. BBC News_ 12/9/05

Pakistan: Dire need for clean water in many quake villages
Hundreds of villages in northern Pakistan are without water after the October 8 earthquake that killed over 80,000 people and left 3.5 million without shelter, triggered landslides and split mountains, leaving natural springs dry and breaking water pipes.  While aid efforts have concentrated on providing shelter and food, the need for water – given the propensity of mountain rivers and streams in the quake zone - has not been such a high priority and assessments of affected villages have only just begun. This means that villages could be without a water supply for at least one month, said Roger Goethe, a water supply and sanitation specialist for the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF).  Reuters_12/8/05

Simple solution to real problem: Save rain water for crops
According to the Water Research Council of South Africa, which is funding the project, small landowners can improve their profits by as much as 50 percent if they set up a system where rainwater can run over barren areas and then be trapped to irrigate crops. The council claims that, over the past four years, such land owners have reaped profits up to 50 percent in the area near Bloemfontein. The Council believes that the same process could be used successfully in the rest of South Africa where an estimated 35 percent of the population is vulnerable to food insecurity. SABC News_ 12/7/05

Canada's 'alternative Nobel' winners call for water rights, global justice
Two Canadian recipients of this year's Right Livelihood Awards, also known as the "alternative Nobels," on Tuesday said privatization of fresh water resources represents a threat to human rights.  "The growing fresh water crisis is perhaps the most urgent environmental and human rights issue of our times and, for this reason, water must be preserved as a common heritage," Maude Barlow, a Canadian activist for fair trade and human rights, told reporters in Stockholm. Barlow and Tony Clarke, another Canadian activist, shared the award worth about $290,000 Cdn with activists from Malaysia and a group representing the Kalahari Bushmen.  The award was announced in September. Winners were cited for promoting justice, fair trade and cultural renewal. Mexican artist Francisco Toledo won an honorary award. The awards were founded in 1980 by Jakob von Uexkull, who sold his valuable stamp collection to recognize work that he believed was ignored by the prestigious Nobel Prizes.  Barlow and Clarke were cited for "their exemplary and long-standing worldwide work for trade justice and the recognition of the fundamental human right to water." Brandon Sun_12/7/05

Wales water treatment plant told to raise standards before bug outbeak
So far 144 people in north Wales have contracted the bug cryptosporidium. The BBC Wales radio programme Llynyn Mesur has seen an independent report saying water from the Cwellyn reservoir works failed industry standards twice in 2004. But Dwr Cymru Welsh Water said there was no indication that those incidents were relevant to the current outbreak. BBC News_ 12/4/05

Could 'solid water' be answer to arid Yemen's problems?
Agricultural experts in Sana’a, the capital of Yemen were given an explanation of a new technique in which a jelly-like substance – 97 percent water – could be placed around the roots of tree. One kilogram ion the substance would be the equivalent of 90 litres of water as it slowly “melts” away. The technique was explained at a conference by the inventor of the process, Lio Waye. Reports of the scientific seminar did not discuss costs of the method of converting water into the jelly-like substance. Yemen Observer_ 12/3/05

China's environment chief quits following benzene leak into Harbin water supply

No reason was given for Xie Zhenhua's resignation. The State Environmental Protection Administration (Sepa), which was led by Mr Xie, said on Thursday that it did not receive notification of the spill for five days. Environmental officials in Jilin province, where an explosion caused the leak, have also been criticised for failing to act more quickly. Harbin's water was declared safe to drink earlier this week. BBC News_ 12/2/05

Philippines' Manila Water Plans $30M-$40M Loan In '06

Manila Water Co. (MWC.PH), a water concessionaire in the Philippine capital, said Friday it plans to raise $30 million-$40 million via loans next year to fund its 2007 capital spending. The company said in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange that it will start negotiations for the loans next year. "We wish to stress that, at this point, the discussions with the lenders are merely in the exploratory stage," Manila Water said.  Among the banks which Manila Water has held initial discussions with is the European Investment Bank, the company said.  Press Release_12/2/05

DNA testing on water infection
Experts investigating a stomach bug outbreak, which has affected 123 people in north Wales, say untreated sewage may have entered the water supply. Public health officials are investigating whether human sewage entered the Cwellyn reservoir. DNA testing is being carried out on the strains of the cryptosporidiosis bug found to discover its source. BBC_12/2/05

UK's water regulator, Ofwat, takes plunge into price competition for water

The water industry in England and Wales is to get its first taste of competition after the regulator Ofwat yesterday gave the go-ahead to three companies to take on existing suppliers - but only for business from big consumers.  Another six companies have already indicated they will apply for licences to compete for business from the estimated 2,200 businesses and organisations which use at least 50 megalitres of water - the equivalent of 20 Olympic swimming pools - a year on a single site. Ofwat's director general, Philip Fletcher, who revealed that he has applied for the post of part-time chairman of the Water Services Regulation Authority which takes on Ofwat's responsibilities from April next year, said the new rules would see the introduction of "the first true price competition regime for the water industry".  The Guardian_12/2/05

Historic Victorian (Australia) water reform
The Victorian Parliament has passed legislation to support the State's most significant water reform in 100 years, Minister for Water John Thwaites said.  “The Water (Resource Management) Act is a crucial step in implementing the Bracks Government's strategy to secure the State's water supplies - Our Water Our Future,” Mr Thwaites said.  “It supports farmers, provides for long-term water planning and, for the first time in Australia's history, gives the environment a legal right to water. “The Victorian Farmers' Federation played an important role in shaping the legislation, in particular in securing the Sales Water Deal. “Under the deal, farmers receive a more secure right to the additional water they receive above their basic entitlement, the environment gets a greater share of available excess water and there is a $100 million package that includes Bracks Government investment in dam safety and irrigation infrastructure.”  Euroa-Gazette_12/2/05

 

Chinese river town shuts down water supply as toxic slick arrives

Pollution heading toward Russia

Yilan, another town on the poisoned Songhua river, shut down its water system Wednesday after Communist Party members went door-to-door giving out bottled water in an effort to show that China's leaders can protect the public from the latest environmental disaster.  Running water to about 26,000 people in Dalianhe, on the outskirts of this northeastern city, stopped at 6 p.m. as a slick of toxic benzene approached.  The government said Yilan itself should not be affected because the city of about 110,000 people gets its water from wells instead of the river. 

The spill caused by a deadly Nov. 13 chemical plant explosion. The 50-mile-long slick is making its way toward Russia and is expected to reach the major border city of Khabarovsk on Dec. 10-12. The Songhua flows into the Heilong River, which becomes the Amur in Russia and runs through Khabarovsk, one of the largest cities in the sparsely populated Far East.  San Diego Union_11/30/05

 

China: Water in Harbin now safe to drink

The announcement came five days after supplies to 3.8 million people were shut down. State media have accused officials of lying about and trying to conceal the benzene spill — the result of a Nov. 13 chemical plant blast in Jilin, a city on the Songhua River upstream from Harbin, that killed five people and forced 10,000 more to flee their homes. Industrial pollution is a sensitive issue, with protests reported nationwide over complaints that factory discharges are ruining crops and local water supplies. The government says all major rivers are dangerously polluted, threatening water supplies for millions. With its huge population, China ranks among countries with the smallest water supplies per person. Hundreds of cities regularly suffer water shortages. AP/CBS News_ 11/29/05

Comoros islands volcano eruption pollutes water supply for more than 100,000

Mount Karthala in the Indian Ocean is one of the world's largest active volcanoes. "Preliminary results from the assessment indicate that as many as 118,000 persons living in 75 villages may be affected by the contamination of water tanks," said a report from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The islands have largely escaped major destruction from the volcano, which has erupted every 11 years on average over the last 200 years, but has had several close calls. Reuters_ 11/29/05

70,000 in Wales told to boil water after cryptosporidium found in reservoir

The alert applies to all users of the Cwellyn water reservoir near Rhyd Ddu in Gwynedd. The notice, from the National Public Health Service for Wales, came after cases of a stomach bug caused by the water-borne parasite rose to 87. Two people are believed to be recovering after being hospitalised with the bug cryptosporiosis. The advice to boil water could be in place for five to six weeks. The bug causes unpleasant stomach problems for most people although those with immune system deficiencies could suffer longer term problems. Brian Gibbons, Minister for Health and Social Services told the Welsh assembly that the source of cryptosporidium within the reservoir catchment had not been established but investigations centred around Rhyd Ddu Sewage Treatment Works. BBC News_ 11/29/05

China  cuts off water supplies to villages downstream from benzene spill

Downstream in Russia, authorities were bracing for the 50-mile-long stretch of cancer-causing benzene to arrive within days. The chemical spill has been winding its way down the Songhua River in the two weeks since a factory explosion in the city of Jilin. Beijing has offered no estimates on how many people rely on the river for drinking water. The Songhua River flows into the larger Heilong River, which is called the Amur in Russia. Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry said the pollutants could affect 70 Russian cities and villages with a total of more than 1 million residents along the Amur river, including Khabarovsk, a city of 580,000. The benzene slick was expected to reach Khabarovsk on Dec. 10-12 -- or sooner. Yuri Darman, head of the World Wide Fund for Nature's office in far-eastern Russia, said Chinese authorities should have asked for international assistance to contain the spill. AP/Business Week_ 11/28/05

Villages outside Harbin, China failed to get clean water   New York Times/ International Herald Tribune_ 11/27/05

Russians prepare for toxic benzene leak from China  BBC News_ 11/27/05

Harbin, China resumes water supply after benzene spill
Mains water has returned to the northern Chinese city of Harbin after a toxic chemical leak, but authorities say general supplies may be too dirty after being cut off for five days and lying in pipes. About 3.8 million people in Harbin lost their water supplies after 100 tonnes of benzene spilled into the Songhua river November 13. For the past five days, Harbin's residents have been relying on bottled water and water delivered by lorries. BBC News_ 11/27/05

Benzene spill in China brings danger, and cover-up

A toxic 50-mile band of contaminated river water slowly washed through the frigid provincial capital of Harbin on Friday, leaving schools and many businesses closed, forcing millions of people to spend a third straight day without running water and raising fears of a long-term environmental disaster. City officials pointedly did not mention the spill of the liquid chemicals in their initial public notice shutting down the municipal water system. The city tried to convince the public that a shutdown was necessary to conduct routine repairs on the pipes. Suspicions instantly erupted. It seems that in their efforts to hide a chemical spill, Harbin officials may have helped fuel unfounded fears of an earthquake. The earthquake rumors, if bizarre, are just one of the consequences of a government response that appeared secretive and misleading at a time when China is eager to prove to the outside world that it is a candid international partner on issues like containing avian influenza. On the streets of Harbin, life seemed normal, if somewhat surreal, given that a major metropolitan area of several million people had almost no running water or usable toilets and that thousands of residents seemed to have fled. But the public anxiety from earlier in the week eased noticeably after the arrival of truckloads of bottled water to prevent shortages in drinking supplies. New York Times_ 11/26/05 (logon required)

Beijing orders probe into huge toxic spill in city of Harbin's water supply

The Chinese government sent a team of investigators on Friday to the northeastern city of Harbin as residents endured a third day without tap water after a massive toxic spill contaminated the region's main river. Officials in Harbin said they expected a highly toxic 80-km (50-mile) slick on the Songhua river to flow past the city of nine million, the capital of Heilongjiang province, by Saturday. An explosion 12 days ago at a petrochemical factory upstream poured an estimated 100 tonnes of benzene and other poisonous substances into the Songhua from which Harbin pumps its water. The city's water company turned off the taps at midnight on Tuesday, leaving residents to get by on stockpiled reserves and bottled water. Reuters_ 11/25/05

Pollution fear grips Russian city downstream from Chinese benzene spill
The mayor of Khabarovsk in Russia's far east has urged the city's residents not to be alarmed about the water supply as a toxic spill heads their way. "I'm appealing for the panic to stop," Aleksandr Sokolov said on local TV, after residents emptied the shops of bottled water. An 80km (50-mile) stretch of water contaminated with benzene is flowing towards Russia from China. Russian officials say the pollution may reach Khabarovsk around 1 December. The authorities there say they have 70 water tankers ready to supply the city's residents with water if the mains system has to be shut down. Benzene can be lethal to humans, even in small doses.  BBC News_ 11/25/05

Chinese city in chaos as water to be cut off

Panic was today spreading in Harbin, with officials preparing to cut off water supplies as heavily polluted river water flowed towards the Chinese city.  Stockpiling began afresh at midnight when the local government switched taps on again for 12 hours after having cut off supplies to almost four million people yesterday. The temporary switch-on came after revised calculations showed the pollution would not reach Harbin until early Thursday morning.  Residents were storing water supplies in bathtubs and buckets ahead of the expected three-day drought. Supermarkets reported panic buying of water, milk and soft drinks, while Harbin's airport and railway station were jammed with people fleeing the area.   Guardian Unlimited_11/23/05

ONGC drills India's deserts to tap water
Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) is drilling sections of India's deserts to tap underground fresh water resources. For the venture, the oil major has signed a memorandum of understanding with Water and Power Consultancy Services (Wapcos), a mini-ratna company. Named Saraswati (after the ancient mystical river), ONGC intends to tap underground reserves of fresh groundwater in the paleo-lows of drought prone areas. ONGC is replicating the Libyan government’s Rs 1,000-crore Great Manmade River (GMR) project, which similarly tapped fresh water resources.  The energy major expects to begin exploration within a month in Jaisalmer in Rajastan. At the outset, ONGC plans to drill 10 to 12 wells at a cost of about Rs 1.2 crore. The drilled water will be transported through a huge network of underground pipes to different parts of the country.  Business Standard_11/24/05

Tunisia gets $38 million World Bank loan for urban water supply project

Ninety-six percent of urban dwellers and 52% of the rural population already have access to improved sanitation. By the end of 2006, access to safe drinking water will be close to universal (approaching 100% in urban areas and 90% in rural areas). The project aims at sustaining the reliability and quality of water service in Greater Tunis and selected urban centers, through augmentation, upgrade and renewal of the water supply infrastructure; and enhancing the competitiveness and sustainability of SONEDE operations, through modernization of management practices and information systems, for better cost control, enhanced revenue and more responsive customer service. Al Bawaba_ 11/21/05

US-Viet Nam workshop held on water pollution prevention

The Viet Nam Education Foundation (VEF) and the Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Centre (TATRC) are co-hosting a US-Viet Nam workshop on water pollution prevention technologies.  The workshop, which runs from November 15-18, will reinforce scientific and technological co-operation between the US and Viet Nam on environmental issues, in particular water pollution prevention. The sponsors hope this event will serve as a platform for long-term co-operation between the two countries’ scientific communities.  More than 100 people are participating in the workshop, including domestic and international policy-makers, experts and scientists. Six distinguished American scientists from leading US universities are also attending and will be lecturing. VietNam News_11/17/05

South Africa's water situation is a cause for concern

Water in South Africa's dams was running dangerously low, the water affairs department warned on Thursday. Spokesperson Themba Khumalo said water levels in the Free State, Mpumalanga, Free State and Eastern Cape in particular were very "worrying". Khumalo said this was due to drought and below average rainfall rate.  IOL_11/17/05

Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia launches 'Regional Water Week'

ESCWA launched the conference in Lebanon with "Water Governance: the Role of Stakeholders in Water Management," a four-day seminar. Regional in scope, the lectures assemble speakers from the northern and southern shores of the Mediterranean and the Gulf states, as well as representatives from UN and European development agencies. The sessions' premise is that the world's global water crisis is a symptom of a crisis of governance and that practical solutions must be found to address it. The seminar's aim is to provide a platform for a range of water stakeholders in the ESCWA region - the private sector, associations, utilities, NGOs, universities, research institutions and state ministries - in order to establish a comprehensive understanding the issues and policy implications of water governance. Daily Star_ 11/16/05

German police suspect farmer poisoned lake that supplies water to 4 million

Three weeks after a threat to poison water supplies, divers last Wednesday recovered two empty canisters that had contained 10 litres of the herbicide atrazine on the bottom of southern Germany's Lake Constance. The attack was not publicized at the time. Prosecutors said police suspected the farmer mounted the attack to obtain revenge against the justice system. Chemists said the concentration of atrazine in piped water after the attack did not exceed the safety limit of 0.1 millionth of a gram per litre. Lake Constance is wedged between Germany, Switzerland and Austria. DPA/Expatica_ 11/14/05

Indian prime minister calls for conservation to combat huge runoff of water resources

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that the government is planning to launch a people-centered water conservation to combat the huge waster due to runoff. What he described as a “people-centric” approach would revive “our tradition of harvesting water.” He warned against copying western life-styles which would lead “to prosperity of a few and the misery of many” and also called for a campaign of reforestation.” PTI/The Hindu_ 11/10/05

UAE sets up four water purification plants in earthquake-hit areas

A team of the United Arab Emirates armed forces have set up four water purification plants in the earthquake-hit Balakot and Muzaffarbad, to ensure clean water supply.  Each of the plants will purify 10,000 gallon of drinking water for the quake survivors. Three plants have been set up in Balakot and the fourth has been installed in Muzaffarabad.  Pakistan Link_11/8/05

"Make Israel the Silicon Valley of water:" former Ministry of Finance budget director Uri Yogev

Yogev, who now serves as chairman of Waterfront, a new Israeli water organization said “The aim is to duplicate Israel’s success in defense, venture capital, high tech and agriculture; fields in which Israel is considered a know-how and business powerhouse.” Two weeks ago Yogev,
Australian businessman John Gandel and Mekorot National Water Company chairman Baruch (Booky) Oren, founded Waterfront a non-government organization that will unite all water-related interests. "In January 2006, we plan to present the government a detailed policy of aid for industry, in the hope that the aid will come,” said Yogev. Globes_ 11/8/05


Walkerton, Canada water management headed into the unknown

The Ontario community of Walkerton, whose mismanagement of its drinking water supply led to a public health disaster five years ago, is trying desperately to figure out who should run its system in the new year. Walkerton's water and sewage systems have been run by the publicly owned Ontario Clean Water Agency since the E. coli tragedy killed seven people and sickened 2,500 others in 2000. But the contract expires at the end of 2005 and with no one tapped to take over, some local politicians and residents are alarmed. Relations soured amid concerns on council that the agency has been gouging the municipality and unhelpful in explaining the bills. In October last year, council decided to terminate the agency's contract, worth $956,000 this year, as of Dec. 31. The agency argues it provides good value for the money, including compliance with complex regulations put in place after the E. coli tragedy. Council appears to be banking on the agency staying for at least a couple more months, and the two sides are now fighting over how long that should be. Canadian Press/National Post_ 11/6/05

China faces world's worst water crisis - paper

China is struggling to overcome what a minister called the world's worst water crisis caused by widespread drought, pollution, rapid economic growth and waste, the China Daily said on Tuesday. Per capita water availability in China was about a quarter of the world average and expected to fall further, the report said. Less than half the waste water generated in Chinese cities was treated and recycled, a figure the government aimed to raise to 60 to 70 percent in five years, Qiu Baoxing, vice minister of construction told a news conference on Monday. And 20 percent of water supplies in domestic cities was lost through leaky pipes, Qian Yi, a professor of environmental engineering at Tsinghua University, was quoted as saying. Heavy pollution of rivers across China makes much of its available water undrinkable. Reuters_ 11/1/05

October, 2005

Mapping damage to African lakes
Africa's lakes are declining rapidly, according to a new United Nations publication, with climate change and over-use the major factors. The Atlas of African Lakes compares satellite pictures from decades past with contemporary images. The UN says protecting these lakes is vital if poverty goals are to be met. The UN Environment Programme (Unep) estimates that there are about 677 lakes in Africa, holding a total of 30,000 cubic kilometres of water - the largest stored volume of any continent. The eight Millennium Goals, agreed by world leaders at the UN in 2000, speak of halving the proportion of people without safe drinking water by 2015, and tackling diseases of children and adults by the same date. BBC News_ 10/31/05

China welcomes foreign investment in urban water and sewage projects

Chinese Construction Minister Wang Guangtao told an international symposium on the development of urban water-related projects China will diversify the financing channel for the construction and operation of urban water projects. In 2004, nearly half of sewage in various parts of China was discharged without treatment. People's Daily_ 10/31/05

Western Australian Government looks to convert waste water to drinking water

The Managed Aquifer Recharge Project will look at the potential to inject treated waste water into aquifers and then reclaim the water for irrigation and hopefully for drinking. Premier Geoff Gallop says while $3 million will be spent on the study, similar schemes are already in operation across the world. ABC News_ 10/30/05


UK denies 'forcing' water privatisation on developing nations as price of debt relief

In a letter to International Development Secretary Hilary Benn, Oxfam, Water Aid and other charities called for an urgent policy review. But Mr Benn's department said countries in receipt of aid were free to set their own development policies. In their letter, the charities warned there was "increasing evidence of the failure of the private sector to deliver clean water and sanitation in the world's poorest countries". They questioned whether British taxpayers' money should be used to support privatisation. Signatories included the World Development Movement, Action Aid, Oxfam, Water Aid, War on Want, Tearfund and Unison. BBC News_ 10/28/05

Danielle Mitterrand proposes countries contribute 1% of arms cost for water
Danielle Mitterrand, widow of former French President Francois Mitterrand, suggests coutries devote one percent of their arms budgets to provide water for parched areas of the world. She says that the world arms budget is $1,000 billion each year. One percent of that, she says, would help reduce the death toll from water shortages. She says that 34,000 people die each day for lack of fresh, clean water. According to the World Health Organization, some 1.5 billion people around the world lack access to fresh water and 2.6 billion lack sanitation. Environmental News Network_ 10/28/05

Forget oil -- India's bigger problem is water: Bloomberg columnist Andy Mukherjee

India produces 15 percent of its food and meets 80 percent of its household needs by ``mining'' its fast-depleting groundwater. By 2025, three out of five aquifers in India will be in critical condition, the World Bank said in a recent study. According to the bank's estimates, by 2050 demand in India will exceed all available supplies. In many cities, water scarcity has already assumed crisis proportions. In the Indian capital of New Delhi, which was my home for 11 years, taps are mostly dry except for brief periods in the morning and evening. What trickles out of the taps during those precious minutes is neither odorless nor colorless. Between 2005 and 2008, the World Bank will make available $3.2 billion for Indian water projects, a fourfold rise from the previous four years. What's better, the bank has come up with a concrete proposal for Delhi. The solution proposed by the bank envisages that the Delhi Water Board, the state-run utility, will pay private companies to manage the water supply. The board, and its infrastructure, will continue to be publicly owned. Bloomberg_ 10/27/05

Ontario orders evacuation of 1,000 residents of E.coli-stricken reserve

David Ramsay says roughly 1,000 of the 1,900 residents of the Kashechewan First Nation reserve off the western shores of James Bay will be flown out of the area, starting late Wednesday. The reserve, 450 kilometres north of Timmins, Ont., has been plagued by drinking water laced with potentially deadly E. coli. Native leaders have said that Kashechewan's 10-year-old water treatment plant, built downstream from an existing sewage lagoon, is beyond repair. The reserve had been under a boil-water order for more than two years before federal officials warned last week that the water was showing high levels of E. coli, which can be fatal for the young and elderly. CP/Canada.com_ 10/25/05

Chinese scientists think they know what causes "black tides" in lakes

A team of Chinese scientists believe they have pinpointed the seasonal water deterioration known as “black tide.” The study was carried out because many countries report seasonal deterioration of water quality and the death of many fish in the fall months. Their study concluded that organic matter at the bottom of the lake, often caused by human and industrial water, begins to break up in the autumn, causing oxygen deficiency and chemical actions, including the increase of nitrous acid radicals. As the season changes, water quality recovers and the amount of oxygen in the water increases. People's Daily_ 10/25/05

Canadian soldiers turn on the tap to clean water but Pakistanis fear winter's onset

As the harsh Himalayan winter approaches, earthquake victims and aid officials agree that the most urgent need is shelter for the estimated 800,000 people who are homeless after the Oct. 8 earthquake. Even Usman Akum Khan, a young volunteer who needed water for 22 families at a makeshift camp, said people in the Kashmir region of Pakistan have more urgent needs than super-clean water. "The most necessary thing here is tents and blankets," said Khan, as he waited for Canada's Disaster Assistance Response Team - DART - to open the spigot on their water purifier. Still, dozens of Pakistanis gathered around as Canada's initial water purification unit delivered the first few litres Monday. The water delivery was a relief to DART members, many of whom are sensitive to criticisms that they are slow to respond. They had to turn away Pakistanis all weekend as they worked to get their water system up and running to Canadian standards. On Monday, soldiers had to scavenge chlorine to complete the water purification process. CP/CBC_ 10/24/05

UN suspends Britain's Compass Group as water and food vendor

The United Nations said on Friday it was suspending British caterer Compass Group Plc as a registered vendor pending the outcome of an investigation into alleged contract bidding irregularities. Compass, the world's biggest caterer, announced earlier in the day in London that it was suspending Peter Harris, the chief executive officer of its UK & Ireland, Middle East and Africa division, pending the investigation. Compass said the law firm Freshfields would look at the relationship and contract procurement procedures between its subsidiary Eurest Support Services, the United Nations and IHC, a former contractor and vendor to the U.N. procurement department. The United Nations was investigating allegations that Eurest Support Services had improperly obtained confidential information concerning a three-year contract to supply food and water to U.N. peacekeepers in Liberia, U.N. chief spokesman Stephane Dujarric said. That contract, valued at $62 million, would now be reopened for bidding, he said. Reuters_ 10/21/05

LIBERIA: Power and water two of top priorities post-elections

European Commission funding water and power repairs
The first time Geoffrey Rudd tried to get the water running again in war-battered Liberia, a government militia known as Wild Geese opened fire on him.  The first time he tried to turn the lights back on, axe-wielding rebel soldiers charged at him, angry at being interrupted siphoning off oil from the power plant's multi-million-dollar generators.  But the European diplomat does not give up easily.  He is hopeful that ordinary Liberians in the capital, Monrovia, will have piped water in a year's time and mains electricity six months after that.  "The European Commission has made available 10.5 million euros (US $12.6 million) to get basic water and electricity up and running for the private companies to then come in," said Rudd, the charge d'affaires in Monrovia.  Reuters_10/19/05

Greece gets EU rap over water quality
Greece was one of three countries threatened with legal action by the European Commission for failing to comply with legislation for the protection of water resources. Italy and Spain were also given final warnings.  The member states had been due to brief the Commission on the state of their rivers, lakes and groundwater by June last year and to submit environmental studies on these bodies of water by March 22 of this year. They now have two months to respond to the EC’s warning or face the European Court of Justice.  “European citizens are entitled to clean water and a healthy environment,” European Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas said after the decision. “Proper and timely implementation of this ambitious directive will help (the countries) fulfill their obligations quickly.” The directive aims to achieve good quality water resources by 2015.  Kathimerini.com_10/19/05

Water in Africa's Lake Victoria drops to alarming levels

Water levels of Africa`s largest fresh water mass, Lake Victoria, has dropped by more than half a metre, forcing the shoreline to recede up to 200 metres in some areas. This development has created fears that the lake was destined for extinction one day, environmentalists told PANA Saturday. The Lake Victoria Environmental Management Project coordinator, Stephen Njoka, confirmed the fears, blaming the problem on adverse climatic changes that had led to drastic decline in rainfall patterns and adverse evaporation from the lake. Njoka said the Lake, whose resources are shared by Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania depended on rainfall for 80 percent of its water, adding that it was regrettable that there has been less than enough rainfall even to replenish the 75 percent evaporation experienced. Angola Press_ 10/16/05

UK water watchdog's supply concerns
The Consumer Council for Water has expressed concern about how levels will be maintained alongside future housing developments across the water-short South East. The independent body said suppliers should reduce leaks, while customers could use water more efficiently. Ten consecutive months of low rainfall in the region have led to water bans. Government, regulators and the water industry were urged to make concrete plans for new supply networks in advance of house building, to ensure there are adequate water resources for the future. BBC News_ 10/14/05

In hungry Malawi, hit by Aids, drought irrigation makes a difference
In Malawi, a country ravaged by drought and AIDS, Milosi Jonas is a rare sight, selling corn on the roadside, getting by without handouts. The difference, Jonas says, is irrigation, water pumped by hand from a stream in a country where almost half the country needs food aid because of drought. He says his maize (corn) was planted only a few months ago and is now producing cobs because of water he pumps by hand from a clear stream in the hills. A raging AIDS pandemic, causing a shortage of farm labor, plus the drought has meant that about five million Malawians need outside food aid to get through the winter. Reuters/IOL.co.za_ 10/10/05

Brazil's armed forces to take water and other supplies to communities isolated by worst Amazon drought in 30 years

Low river levels are preventing boats - for many the only means of transport - from using the Amazon safely. Amazonas state Governor Eduardo Braga declared a state of emergency on Monday and ordered workers to start digging wells for drinking water. Many towns along the world's second longest river have declared alerts amid fears they could become isolated as the region's worst drought in more than 30-years continues. The dry spell is also affecting Peru, where the Amazon River at the river port of Iquitos has seen a record low. BBC News_ 10/13/05

170,000 get clean drinking water in Congo
A humanitarian aid association, Solidarités, launched on Wednesday a drinking water distribution network for 170,000 people in North Kivu Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).  A Solidarités delegation from Paris, led by General Manager Alain Boinet, handed over the project to local authorities during the ceremony at the town of Beni. Congolese government officials and representatives of the country's development partners also attended.  "The project is of vital importance for Beni," Solidarités said.  It said the population of Beni had risen from 72,291 in 1998 to 176,000 in 2002 and the authorities had been unable to supply all residents with drinking water.  Work on the project started in 2003. A team of hydraulic engineers from Solidarités received the support of volunteer experts from Aquassitance, a French NGO specialising in water provision, waste disposal and the environment; and utilised a design office's expertise for the technical conception.  Reuters_10/12/05

World Bank issues scathing report on India’s water policies

The World Bank has issued a scathing report about
the government of India’s water policies, saying
government actions “have exacerbated rather than
addressed the problem” of an approaching water supply
crisis The immediate problem, according to the World
Bank report, is that farmers and urban consumers have
taken to helping themselves to water from the water
aquifers, which are approaching depletion. The report
says that India can’t have a secure water future
unless drastic policy changes are made. Massive
investments are needed to protect people’s health and
improve the environment.

Economic Times/India Times _10/12/05

Water, religion mix at Evian meeting of Christian church group

The executive committee of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, a fellowship of 75 million Christians in 107 countries, made water – its availability, scarcity and distribution – the subject of its meeting in Evian, France. Delegate Astrid Hartke of Argentina said, “We have to find a way to protect water and ensure that everybody can have access to it in an equitable way…teaching our children is a first step but we must go further than this.” Peggy Mulambya-Kabonde of Zambia told the session, “We live in a world which is blessed with oceans, seas, rivers, streams of water and yet to some this is a nightmare because millions of people lack good drinking water. In this situation water has become an essential commodity for which many of our people have to queue for every day”. She said, “When you save water, you save life.” The Christian Post_ 10/10/05

Water supply problem persists in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

The water crisis in the city went into its third day as a large number of people queued for water tankers at the water distribution center off Tahlia Street. People were angry because they had to wait in a queue. The crisis has caused the black market to flourish. Muhammad Baghdadi, supervisor of the water department in the Makkah region, said Jeddah required an additional 200,000 cubic meters daily to solve its water problem. Arab News_ 10/9/05

Amazon area threatened by drought
Brazil has adopted emergency measures to deal with one of the Amazon region's worst droughts in decades. Scientists say water levels have fallen to a 30-year low. The dry spell is also affecting Peru, where the Amazon River at the river port of Iquitos has seen a record low. Experts are blaming climate cycles, not global warming, for the drought, which has also led to enormous fires. Brazilian meteorologists think the weather in the Amazon is affected by sunspots and water temperatures in the Pacific Ocean - factors which vary in regular patterns. BBC News_ 10/8/05

Despite normal rainfall, Pakistan faces big shortfall in water
Pakistan faces a 17 percent water shortage in the coming growing season according to the country’s leading water regulatory authority. The crisis is recurring, partly because of a lack of storage capacity. Some of the existing storage capacity has been lost due to silting of the facilities and more storage is being considered. Pakistan’s agricultural authority, which accounts for 93 percent of all water usage in Pakistan, is under severe pressure, due to high population growth and misuse of available water. As a result, Pakistan is now classed as a “water stressed” nation, with the possibility it could become classed as “water-deficient.” IRIN/Reuters_ 10/7/05

Former World Bank Official Says India's Rajasthan
Water Supplies in Danger

John Briscoe, former senior water advisor for
South Asia at the World Bank, said that Rajasthan’s
underground water supplies were being exploited in an
unsustainable manner and that normal monsoon rains
could not replenish them. He said that 140 of the 240
groundwater supplies were being depleted. Seven years
ago, he said that the number of exhausted aquifers was
one third as much. As a remedy, he advised better
management rather than making new investments. The
findings were included in a report, “India’s Water
Economy: Bracing For a Turbulent Future.” India
Express_10/6/05

Public access to safe water at risk: Churches demand action
Church leaders and representatives from eight Canadian denominations say water

privatization is putting public access to safe water at risk in Canada and around

the world. They are calling on thefederal government to help prevent a worldwide

water crisis by taking nationaland international action to ensure that water

remains under public control with genuine community participation.
During a ceremony near the Rideau River in Ottawa, the church leaders
launched Water: Life Before Profit!, a national campaign to raise awareness
about water issues in Canada and elsewhere, particularly in the southern
hemisphere. Pressure from donor countries and international financial
institutions such as the World Bank has resulted in an increasing trend toward
water privatization in poor countries. This practice has had a devastating
impact. In a pastoral statement released during today's event, church leaders
said, "Ensuring access to sufficient, clean water is at heart not so much a
commercial matter as a moral and spiritual one. Any denial of access to water
represents a lack of respect for God's creation and lack of concern for basic
human needs."  Press Release CNW _ 10/6/05

World Bank cautions against India's ‘little civil wars’ on water
The complacency of India's Union government over water issues is resulting in “little civil wars” between various stakeholders, the World Bank has said. It suggested a prioritised, sequenced and pragmatic path be followed to deal with issues concerning availability and usage of scarce water resources.  Talking to newspersons here on Wednesday, World Bank water expert and country director of Brazil John Briscoe said that water was becoming a big issue and “little civil wars” are going on between states; between different users in a basin; between community and state; between farmers and the environment; between farmers and the city; and between farmers and the command areas.  Mr Briscoe attributed the water scarcity in India to complacency on the part of the government. He regretted that not much was being done to prevent excessive exploitation of ground water. Over the last two decades, he added, almost 84% of addition to net irrigated area has came from groundwater. At the time of independence, canals used to be the main source of irrigation water. At the turn of the century, wells have become the major source of irrigation, surpassing canal irrigation by a huge margin, he said.  The Financial Express_10/6/05

Uganda prime minister urges non-government aid  organizations to provide water for nation's internal refugees
THE Prime Minister, Prof. Apollo Nsibambi, called upon Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to assist the government to supply water to people in internally displaced people's camps in northern Uganda. He said water and sanitation was one of the key priority areas in the Poverty Eradication Action Plan (PEAP) to which the government attaches high priority.
“ It is estimated that about 60 percent of illnesses and death in Uganda are related to water and sanitation." Daily Monitor_ 10/4/05

Germany to develop Uganda's water sector
The governments of Germany and Uganda have signed an agreement to manage, develop and improve the water and sanitation sector in the country. Germany signed the agreement on behalf of other water sector development donors of the Shs155 billion budget project. Daily Monitor_ 10/3/05

International Nepal water project under review

The $500 million Melamchi drinking water project was plunged into uncertainty after a key donor, Norway, pulled out following the February royal takeover. Representatives of a number of bilateral donors and the Asian Development Bank, one of the key donors, are taking part in the meeting. Norway, one of Nepal's many international donors, has criticised King Gyanendra's seizure of direct powers after the monarch dismissed a multi-party government. Water from the site will reach the capital city Kathmandu through a 27-km (15-mile) tunnel. BBC News_ 10/3/05

Water shortage in Zimbabwe leads to health crisis
A prolonged water shortage in Harare has led to a breakout of such diseases as dysentery and cholera. The situation is worst in high-density dwelling areas such as Matapi and Nenyere Flats, where residents still use communal toilets and water taps. A local official said that the water shortage was the direct result of the failing of the Zimbabwe National Authority’s inefficiency, with about 30 percent of Harare’s water being wasted through pipes leaking and wasting water. Residents said that water was not available for two out of five days and toilets were overfilled with waste. Zimbabwe Standard/AllAfrica.com_ 10/3/04

Arid South Australia sets up possible trading market for water
Areas along the Murray River in arid South Australia, dealing with a drought, are planning a water trading market, allowing the buying of water through a central open market. Currently the river system loses more than 75 percent of its natural flow through extractions, creating a crisis for some of the eco systems, such as wetlands. Some areas, near the ocean are in danger of becoming saline. To meet the “long running and very severe drought” the Australian federal government and commissioners of the river system agreed to consider buying water through a central body on the open market. A decision was made to bring the issue to a ministerial council in April. The Australian_ 10/1/05


World Bank: India faces turbulent water future if no changes made
A World Bank Draft Report says that India faces a turbulent water future unless dramatic changes are made. Unless those changes are made, the draft report says, the country will not have the cash to maintain and build a new infrastructure. The Bank is prepared to increase its loans to India from 200 million dollars a year to 800 million dollars over the next four years. But the draft report says that India’s plans are not accompanied by an improvement in governance of water resources and services. The World Bank draft report makes a strong case for “mega-dams” which can store India’s “relatively fickle rainfall.” The Hindu_ 10/2/05

Canada will require tests of water on airlines, says minister

After years of quiet wheedling, the government has warned it will pass regulations if necessary to ensure that drinking water on aircraft is tested for safety and quality. Environment Commissioner Johanne Gelinas said in her annual report that water-quality testing on aircraft was suspended under Health Canada budget cuts in the 1990s. Four years of negotiations to ensure airlines pay for such testing have been unsuccessful. She noted that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency tested 327 aircraft last year and found that 15 per cent carried water contaminated with coliform bacteria. The United States has water-quality agreements with most of its airlines. No comment could be obtained from the Air Transport Association of Canada, which represents commercial airlines. Testing of water on public transportation is required under the 1954 Potable Water Regulations for Common Carriers. CP/Yahoo_ 9/29/05

Scots water chief comes on stream

Scottish ministers have appointed a new watchdog to ensure cleanliness and quality in the nation's water supply. Colin McLaren has taken over the role of Drinking Water Quality Regulator for Scotland from Tim Hooton, who retired earlier this month. Mr McLaren had been assistant to Mr Hooton since the post was created in 2002. Scotsman_9/28/05

Philippine water wells not checked for agri-chem contents
There is no reason to say that the water supply in Davao City, boasted of as being among the world's best, is not be contaminated with chemicals and fertilizers simply because there is no such test being conducted. "Although we conduct a monthly study on the microbial, physical, and chemical character of the water, there is no monitoring on pesticide and fertilizer content on our wells," Davao City Water District (DCWD) control officer Haidi Maspinas said in Wednesday's City Council committee hearing on the terrain analysis of Davao City at the City Council session hall. The admission was extracted following the contention of City Planning and Development Officer Mario Luis Jacinto that there is no reason to fear pesticide and fertilizer contamination of water sources from banana plantations.  Sun.Star Davao_9/29/05

China starts Yangtze water diversion but disruptions and costs raise opposition
The Chinese government has embarked on a $386 million water diversion designed to direct water to a parched area in northern China, including the Beijing area. It involves two 19 kilometer tunnels which will channel water from the Yellow River as well as a dam which will expand the Danijiakou reservoir. Together the tunnels and the dams are expected to displace as many as 400,000 people. Environmental groups as well as members of the National People’s Congress raised objections to the vast project but the Chinese government has given the go-ahead. AFP/Yahoo_ 9/27/05

Left seeks India prime minister's help to stop privatisation of Delhi water supply

The Left parties have sought the intervention of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to stop the proposed move to privatise water supply in the capital under "pressures from World Bank" saying it will result in hike in tariffs. In a letter to Singh, they said "the experience of implementing such World Bank dictated privatisation of water supply around the world has seen huge increases in tariffs and deprivation of water for the poorer sections". The Delhi Jal Board is undertaking a 'Delhi Water Supply Sewarage project' partly funded by the World Bank which will lead to 21 zones of the Jal Board being handed over to various private companies.  Press Trust of India/Hindustan Times_ 9/25/05

Gaza Strip faces new crisis: Lack of clean water
Palestinian authorities say that the Gaza Strip, which Israel has just turned over to them, faces “an ecological catastrophe,” created by a depleted water table, dilapidated decontamination facilities and even a shortage of sand, which deprives the water table of a natural filter. Water reserves for Gaza, one of the most densely populated areas in the world, with 1.3 million people (3,457 people per square kilometer) are dangerously low, according to Shaddad al-Atili, water and ecological affairs advisor to the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinians say that tens of thousands tons of high quality sand have been taken from Gaza by Israeli companies for their industrial glass and building needs. Water reserves are low, they say, causing residents to dig unauthorized wells, further lowering the water table to a critical level. AFP/Yahoo_ 9/23/05

OPEC fund approves safe water and sanitation scheme

The OPEC Fund for International Development has approved a grant of US$ 350,000 in support of an initiative that aims at providing safe drinking water and sanitation facilities to four districts of Nepal.  Created by the United Nation’s Children's Fund (UNICEF), the scheme is expected to reduce the incidence of water-related diseases and raise the overall quality of life for some 70,000 men, women and children, a statement by the OPEC Fund said.  Many homes and schools in Nepal, particularly those in rural areas, lack access to basic sanitation and potable water supplies. As a result, thousands of individuals, particularly children, perish each year from waterborne illnesses such as typhoid, cholera and dysentery.  Women are forced to spend a large part of their day fetching water, a chore that is also expected of young girls, thus preventing them from attending school. Water-related diseases also hamper the productivity of small farmers and other wage earners, thereby hindering the country’s socio-economic development, the statement said.  Nepalnews.com_9/22/05

Bangladesh and India agree to talk on claims to important rivers

After talks in Dhaka, Indian and Bangladeshi officials agreed to start a new round of negotiations about how to share the water in the Teesta river. But the agreement is only for both sides to scale down their claims to the water and to reach an early accord. The Indian Water Resources minister, Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi, said that “India will not do anything against the interests of Bangladesh” in regard to the important Himalayan rivers, among which is the Ganges. Bangladesh and India have 50 rivers in common. The negotiations were called in response to a general lower flow of water.  BBC_9/21/05

Argentina government faces up to state control of water service

French owned utility Suez 'shown the door'

With the future ownership of Argentine water utility Aguas Argentinas still undecided, the national government is now more openly acknowledging the likelihood that it will run the waterworks itself.  Aguas Argentinas's former operator, French utility Suez (SZE), said earlier this month it is leaving the concession after a breakdown in contract talks with the government. The local unit's board of directors affirmed this decision on Monday, taking the formal contract rescission process a step further.  Government officials were quick to outline their ideal plan for reorganizing Aguas Argentinas, with Planning Minister Julio De Vido saying the administration prefers an "Edenor-style solution." In the case of local power distributor Edenor (DNOR.BA), its former majority shareholder, Electricite de France (EDF.YY), is selling a 65% stake but retaining 25% and providing technical assistance for five years. Suez, however, has shown no signs of pursuing such an arrangement, and President Nestor Kirchner gave the French company a final boot out the door Monday when he said: "If Suez wants to go, let it go...this president is not going to permit that company to continue to leave the Argentine people without water or sewage."  MarketWatch_9/21/05

Contaminated water crisis in Karachi, Pakistan creates emergency, affects thousands

The Pakistani government says that water supplies contaminated with sewage and toxic waste have killed at least eight people and led to some 3,500 being treated in hospitals in Karachi. Sindh province has declared an emergency so that hospitals could give priority to fighting the epidemic of gastroenteritis. A government official laid blame on poor residents who set up illegal water connections with substandard plastic lines which allowed sewage and toxic waste from an industrial zone to seep in to the municipal water supply. Khaleej Times_ 9/20/05

Malaysia facing water shortages after three months of scant rain

Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, and surrounding areas are facing the possibility of water rationing after a dry season in which major reservoirs have fallen to 40 percent of capacity. An official says that rationing will be imposed for the 7.3 million consumers if the capacity level drops to 30 percent. The Meteorlogical service says that rainfall was almost 10 percent below the long-term average. Malaysian Nature Society officials blame poor management of water resources, rapid urban growth and river pollution for the water crisis. Residents in the southern state of Negri Sembilian have already begun rationing water. The Star Daily/Todayonline.com_ 9/19/05

Plan to top Melbourne, Australia's major recreational lake with stormwater to save tap water

Albert Park Lake was previously topped up with 200 million litres of mains water each year. Water Minister John Thwaites said drinking water could not be used with water restrictions in place. The project will cost $740,000. AAP/News.com.au_ 9/18/05

Four Connecticut Rotary Club members try to provide clean drinking water around the world, but they need money

It is scarcity of space and money that hinders the World Help Foundation (WHF), the foundation established by the four, in its quest to provide people worldwide with the ability to have safe drinking water. World Help Foundation, founded in 1991, is a public charity dedicated to providing clean drinking water to places afflicted by disaster and to developing countries around the world. WHF provided temporary units to areas of Indonesia after last December's tsunami, and is presently hoping to install another ten units to the Medan area of Indonesia, as well as install mini municipal units to three communities in Ghana. They would also have liked to rush units to the southern United States following Hurricane Katrina. But they were not able to do so. It costs money - lots of it - to assemble and ship units, and WHF just did not have the funds or units on hand. Newtown, Connecticut Bee_ 9/15/05

Emerging countries pool knowledge about water resources management

As a run-up to next year’s 4th World Water Forum scheduled in Mexico City in March, a group known as the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage has been meeting in Beijing. The group includes China, Egypt, India, Mexico and Pakistan. Together these five countries account for 43 percent of the world population and 51 percent of the world’s irrigated areas. One of the projects at the Beijing meeting was how to finance water projects to cut down on mismanagement of transportation and water distribution. The ideas will be made public at the Forum in Mexico in March 2006. Press Release/Business Wire_ 9/16/05

Key decisions ahead for South Africa's Cape water status

Pilot desalination plant mulled

At least three major decisions on the region's water situation are set to start rolling from next week as part of the City of Cape Town's ongoing water conservation strategy. With just over two weeks before a decision on the future of water restrictions is announced, authorities are to convene a meeting on Tuesday to discuss whether the current water restrictions should be lifted.  At the same time, the City's trading services portfolio committee is to consider a proposed new water bylaw which they hope to implement by December, and also a proposed pilot desalination plant to be built next year. IOL.com_ 9/14/05

Water experts say Singapore can become world's water hub
Water experts attending the International Desalination Association conference here believe Singapore has the right ingredients to be the world's water hub. Citing the Tuas desalination and NEWater plants as examples, they say these technologies can be spread to other parts of the world. The opening of Singapore's first desalination plant was cause enough for celebrations but there is a much bigger stage for the technology that makes it possible to drink fresh water from the sea.  It is estimated that by 2025, some countries will experience a 40 percent water shortage.  And Singapore will also face a water crisis.  But with NEWater production and desalination, it's well ahead of the curve in solving this water shortage.   Channelnewsasia.com_9/14/05

Poisonous lizard in Pakistan drinking water well kills one and causes 80 others to faint

Zaibullah Khan, the district police officer, said the well located in Marshahkhel became toxic after a poisonous lizard fell in it. Reportedly, the woman after drinking water fainted and later died. The 80 others were rushed to Peshawar and Nowshera hospitals where their condition is stated critical. Meanwhile, medical teams have been sent to the affected areas to help tackle the matter. APP/Daily Times_ 9/12/05

Water leaks plugged in Sydney, Australia, but much still going to waste

Sydney Water says it is plugging the leaks through which nearly 10 per cent of the city's water supply escapes, but that it will take $8 billion to replace its entire network. The Opposition Leader, Peter Debnam, called the leaks "criminal". Sydney Water said it had reduced leakage to 9.3 per cent from the 10.7 per cent stated in its annual report, and it would spend $300 million over the next four years to cut the rate to 8 per cent. The managing director of Sydney Water, David Evans, said its losses were less than other cities', and dismissed union claims that staff cuts had compromised maintenance. Sydney Morning Herald_ 9/11/05 (logon required)

Contaminated water presents bigger crisis in the Gaza strip

A group of Israeli, Palestinian and French scientists have proposed a possible management solution to ameliorate the water quality crisis depriving residents of drinkable water in the Gaza Strip. The study is published in the September-October 2005 issue of the journal Ground Water. Israel and the Palestinian Authority share the Southern Mediterranean Coastal Aquifer. The long-term over-exploitation in the Gaza Strip has resulted in a declining water table, accompanied by the degradation of water quality. According to the researchers, the proposed management plan would provide a win-win situation for both Israelis and Palestinians, but requires cooperation between the two parties. Press Release/Blackwell Publishing Inc./EurekAlert_ 9/7/05

Water crisis looms as Himalayan glaciers melt
Experts are alarmed

Scientists say the 40 percent of humanity living in South Asia and China could well be living with little drinking water within 50 years as global warming melts Himalayan glaciers, the region's main water source.  The glaciers supply 303.6 million cubic feet every year to Asian rivers, including the Yangtze and Yellow rivers in China, the Ganga in India, the Indus in Pakistan, the Brahmaputra in Bangladesh and Burma's Irrawaddy. But as global warming increases, the glaciers have been rapidly retreating, with average temperatures in the Himalayas up 1 degree Celsius since the 1970s.  The Boston Globe_9/6/05

Taiwan Premier Frank Hsieh threatens to resign over water budget

Taiwan's Premier Frank Hsieh said he may resign if parliament doesn't pass a special budget for a water conservation project after typhoons this year caused flooding, deaths, water shortages and crop damage. The cabinet on May 11 said it will ask parliament this year to approve an eight year, NT$80 billion ($2.5 billion) water conservation project. Parliament last month rejected the cabinet's call to hold an ad hoc session to review the special budget. Parliament will reconvene from this month for a new session, which will last until December or early January. Bloomberg_ 9/5/05

FEATURE: Asian water crisis looms as Himalayan glaciers melt

Scientists say the 40 percent of humanity living in South Asia and China could well be living with little drinking water within 50 years as global warming melts Himalayan glaciers, the region's main water source. The glaciers supply 8.6 million cubic metres (303.6 million cubic feet) every year to Asian rivers, including the Yangtze and Yellow rivers in China, the Ganga in India, the Indus in Pakistan, the Brahmaputra in Bangladesh and Burma's Irrawaddy. But as global warming increases, the glaciers have been rapidly retreating, with average temperatures in the Himalayas up 1 degree Celsius since the 1970s. A World Wide Fund report published in March said a quarter of the world's glaciers could disappear by 2050 and half by 2100. Reuters_ 9/2/05

August, 2005

Water supply key to gender equality in developing world: experts

Men and women are not equal faced with the water scarcity afflicting most of the planet, and easier access to clean water is a key factor for gender equality, experts said at the Stockholm Water Week. Like the Indian girl in Disney's Jungle Book movie who "must go and fetch the water 'till the day that I am grown", hundreds of millions of girls and women walk long distances for hours every day to provide their families with water, leaving little time for anything else. In Africa and Asia, the average daily walk for girls and women to fetch water is six kilometres (3.7 miles) and they each carry 20 kilograms (44 pounds) of water on average on their heads. Even if they also go to school, fewer than half the world's schools have adequate sanitation, including separate facilities for boys and girls, according to UNICEF statistics. Women in rural Africa and Asia, where private toilets are rare, will often wait until after dark to relieve themselves in the open without being seen, protecting their dignity and modesty. At the Stockholm conference four African countries sent female water ministers, evidence that things have begun to change at the very top. AFP/Yahoo_ 8/29/05

Thailand mass transit plans may be scaled down so money can be used for water problems

Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has confirmed that the government is considering scaling down mass transit projects worth 550 billion baht. An estimated 200 billion baht will be saved following adjustments, and will instead be spent on tackling water problems nationwide. Bangkok Post_ 8/28/05

Stockholm Water Prize for Sunita Narain, director of the Centre of Science and Environment

King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden presented the 2005 Stockholm Water Prize to Sunita Narain, the Director of the Centre of Science and Environment (CSE), at a gala ceremony at the Stockholm City Hall on Thursday. The award, instituted by the Stockholm International Water Institute, comprised a crystal sculpture and $ 150,000. The ceremony was part of the ongoing World Water Week in Stockholm. Describing Ms. Narain as a dynamic advocate — nationally and internationally — for water and the environment, human rights, democracy and health, the Institute said the prize had been awarded for efforts made by her and the CSE that included fighting powerful, top-down bureaucratic resource control, empowering women in water and rejuvenating traditional rainwater harvesting. In her acceptance speech, Ms. Narain said, "I accept this award on behalf of thousands of water engineers and water managers all over the world, especially in Asia, Africa and Latin America. These people are discounted in the formal knowledge system of the world."The Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) is a policy institute that contributes to international efforts to find solutions to the world's escalating water crisis. The Hindu_ 8/27/05

Contaminated well water downs 63 people in Philippines

Sixty-three residents of a town near Zamboanga City were rushed to hospitals due to diarrhea secondary to typhoid fever after the potable water which they took from a deep well in area was found to be contaminated with ecoli bacteria, city health officer Dr. Rodel Agbulos reported yesterday. Agbulos, who when to check on the site where the residents drew their potable water, found out that a toilet was constructed near the deep well by town officials. He suspected that there is a leakage in the septic tank of the comport room of the barangay council office that caused the contamination of the water of ecoli bacteria, the reason why the residents of the area suffered from diarrhea. Agbulos immediately ordered the closure of the comport room and the deep well to avoid a similar incident. Records at the Labuan Emergency Hospital indicated that since January this year, almost daily the hospital is receiving at least three patients suffering from diarrhea. Tempo_ 8/26/05

In Gaza, the settlers are gone, the polluted water remains

On the eve of the evacuation of settlements from the Gaza Strip, two assumptions relating to water sources took wing among Palestinians. The first: behind Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's decision to leave the Strip lies the fact that the supply of potable water, which was consumed almost exclusively by the settlers, has dwindled. The second: once the settlers leave, the Palestinians' water problems have been solved. Ninety percent of the water that comes from the coastal aquifer to the faucets of people in the Strip - about 1,300,000 people - is nonpotable. The problem, first and foremost, is that it is polluted and dangerous to the health. The explanation is simple: The portion of the coastal aquifer that supplies water to the Strip has the potential to produce about 60 million-65 million cubic meters (CBM) annually. That is more or less the amount of water consumed by the 600,000 Gazan Palestinians in 1970, for home use and agriculture (and a little bit for industry). But with the constant growth in the population and the change in water consumption habits that is taking place everywhere, for 20 years and more there has been overpumping of the the aquifer. Haaretz_ 8/25/05

World Water Week: Fighting poverty with clean water, sanitation and hygiene

This is World Water Week. And in Stockholm, ministers from around the world are meeting to discuss water, sanitation and hygiene. African ministers at the forum are calling for greater attention and resources to be paid to the issues as part of efforts to end poverty. Voice of America_ 8/24/05

Kyrgyzstan: The water problems of a provincial town

The lack of clean drinking water in the town of Karakol, around 600 km east of the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek, is a problem which creates a variety of health hazards for the local people. It's typical of many medium-sized communities in the Central Asian post-Soviet era. It's unspectacular and unchanging and because of this such problems are ignored by both national and international bodies. The issue generates little concern outside the town itself. IRIN/Reuters_ 8/24/05

South African students win Stockholm junior water prize
Three students from South Africa were awarded the prestigious Stockholm Junior Water Prize, sponsored globally by ITT Industries, in a formal ceremony at Dansens Hus during World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden. Pontso Moletsane, Motobele Motshodi and Sechaba Ramabenyane, students at Setjhaba Se Maketsee Combined School in South Africa, received the Prize from HRH Crown Princess Victoria on behalf of the Stockholm Water Foundation. The group of students received a USD $5,000 scholarship and a crystal sculpture. The Stockholm Junior Water Prize is presented each year to a high-school age student or group of students who have conducted an outstanding water- related research project focusing on topics of environmental, scientific, social or technological importance. The international honour is given to an individual or group who, like their co-competitors, has been awarded the top prize among national competitions. The National Country winners travel to Stockholm from as far as Israel, Australia, and China. The Nominating Committee, in its official motivation, awarded the Prize to the South African group of students for their project, "Nocturnal Hydro Minimiser, an electrically operated automatic water system."  Press Release_8/23/05

New Jersey clean water consultant also works for pollutors
A water quality consultant to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection on river cleanup plans also works for sewage treatment plants discharging pollutants into those same rivers, according to internal documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Not only does the consulting firm wear two conflicting hats at the same time on the same river, this consultant hired a former DEP scientist who helped develop the DEP river cleanup plan program. TRC Omni Corporation acts as a paid consultant to DEP on the Clean Water Act’s “Total Maximum Daily Load” (TMDL) program. In that role, Omni scientists collect water quality data, design water quality models, and establish specific enforceable pollutant reduction permit requirements for individual facilities discharging pollutants into the Raritan, Millstone and other rivers. Meanwhile, Omni does virtually identical work as a permit consultant to sewage treatment plants discharging pollutants into these very rivers.  EMS _8/23/05

Saudi Cabinet approves first privately owned company for production of water and electricity

The Cabinet has approved the establishment of the Shuaiba Water and Electricity Company (SWEC). It would develop, establish, operate and maintain the Shuaiba-3 project for the production of water and electricity, transporting and distributing and conducting all related activities. According to the Arabic daily Al-Riyadh, the company was expected to begin operation in 2007. Foreign investors would be allowed to participate in the establishment of the SWEC, which is estimated to cost SR5 billion and produce 880,000 cubic metres of water and between 650 to 900 megawatts of electricity daily. The foreign investor is expected to participate as a partner with the SEC in addition to an IPO later. The decision comes as part of the government's privatisation programme aimed at encouraging private sector's investment in power production. Khaleej Times_ 8/20/05

Pakistan's Rawalpindi contaminated by bad water

Water contamination is becoming a major problem in Rawalpindi as the water supply system is incapable of preventing fresh water and drainage water from mixing. The problem is widespread because in most areas water supply pipes and drainage pipes run very close to each other and both are dotted with fissures.  The Pakistan Council of Research on Water Resources recently completed a report on water contamination.The data revealed that 40% samples were polluted with E-Coli and 73% were contaminated with Coli-form bacterium, whereas 60%, 20%, 13% and 7% water samples contained dangerous levels of calcium, turbidity, iron and totally dissolved solvents respectively. A more recent survey of hospitals, basic health units (BHUs), clinics and medical care centres conducted by NESPAK disclosed that 82,000 people contracted water related diseases annually in Rawalpindi. Almost 40% of all reported diseases and 30% of all reported deaths in the city were attributed to E-Coli and bacteriological and faecal contamination of drinking water. Daily Times_8/19/05

Australia's Premier's pledge on water plant
PREMIER Morris Iemma gave his strongest commitment yet to building a desalination plant for Sydney "drought or no drought".  "I'm committed to securing Sydney's water supply into the future and that means building a desalination plant at Kurnell," Mr Iemma said.  "We expect that the expression of interest process will be complete by the end of the year as will the environmental impact statement. Sydney needs a new source of clean drinking water, drought or no drought."  The Daily Telegraph_8/20/05

Philippines' Benguet clinches Baguio water supply project

Benguet Corp. (BC.PH), a Philippine mining concern, on Friday said it has been given the contract to undertake a bulk water supply project in the northern city of Baguio.  The contract was awarded by Baguio Water District, a local government agency. Benguet said it will source the raw water from a proposed 7 million-cubic-meters capacity reservoir to be converted from the company's mined out open pit in Antamok, Itogon, which is seven kilometers from Baguio City. The company said it will construct a treatment plant near the reservoir to provide potable water and develop the surrounding area into a protected watershed.  "The project has an initial capital requirement of PHP2.8 billion with a contract duration of 25 years which is renewable for another 25 years," said Benguet in a disclosure to the stock exchange.  Dow Jones_8/19/05

World Bank to provide $325 m for India water project

The World Bank on Friday signed an agreement with the government to provide $ 325 million loan for a water resources project in Maharashtra. The Maharashtra water sector improvement project, which focuses on sustainable development of scarce water resources and improving irrigation service delivery, expects to increase irrigation coverage by about 22 per cent and crop yields by 5-20 per cent.  The Navhind Times_8/20/05

UK lottery grants target water issue
The Big Lottery Fund has announced a series of international grants for clean water projects totalling almost £4m this week. Divided among nine UK-based organisations, the money will go to resource programmes in poverty stricken communities across countries such as India, Madagascar, Cambodia, Tanzania and various African nations. Green Consumer Guide_8/18/05

Saudi Arabia, French firm sign water project deal
The kingdom of Saudi Arabia signed an agreement with a leading French water management company to evaluate a water distribution project in Jeddah. The SR20 million project will be completed in six months.  The effort is part of the Kingdom's plans to privatize its water and electricity sector. Arab News_8/18/05

U.S. water project opens amid concerns it will pollute Canadian waters

Water began draining from a U.S. lake and into a river that flows into Canada on Monday after years of planning, legal battles and diplomatic talks. The controversial 22-kilometre-long Devils Lake outlet - which includes channels, pipes and four pumps - started taking water from the rising lake and sending it into the Sheyenne River, which drains into the Red River that flows into Manitoba and Lake Winnipeg.  The news dismayed environmentalists who fear the lake water will send pollutants north of the border.  National Post_8/15/05

Northern Ireland residents' water rage
Thousands affected by algae in pipes

Thousands of residents in South Armagh have been left without drinking water after their mains were contaminated with algae, it was claimed.  Residents have complained that they are being forced to buy bottled water for drinking and cooking and it is believed up to 14,000 people are affected.  The Water Service has said the problem is caused by a high level of algae from Lough Ross, which supplies the area.  Belfast Telegraph_8/15/05

United Arab Emerites' Fujairah-Al Ain water pipeline begins operation

The pipeline transporting water from Fujairah to Al Ain has started operations for irrigation offarms in Sih Harz and Al Ajban. The pipeline transports eight million gallons of water, irrigating 1,020 farms in Sih Harz and Al Ajban. The water is stored in a water tank in Sih Harz which has a storage capacity of one million gallon. The tank feeds five smaller ground tanks, each with a storage capacity of 300,000 - gallon.  Another million-gallon tank is used to irrigate 301 farms.  WAM_8/15/05

India hit with water-borne diseases

More than 150 people have died from water-borne diseases in India's financial capital Mumbai and surrounding regions following monsoon rains. A major worry is an outbreak of leptospirosis that officials believe is responsible for many of the deaths. It's believe the disease has been spread by flood water contaminated with animal waste.  Many people had to wade through neck-deep water to reach safety or get supplies during the floods, which are blamed in the deaths of more than 1,000 people across western Maharashtra state. 

CBC News_8/14/05

Pakistan, Japan sign deals on water, power and tourism

Pakistan and Japan have signed three agreements whereby the latter will give financial assistance for infrastructure projects and tourism promotion in Pakistan.  Two agreements on water and power were signed by Hina Rabbani Khar, minister of state for economic affairs, and the chief of Japan Bank for International Cooperation.  Under the two agreements, Japan will give Pakistan two soft-term loans worth $157 million for two projects - $36 million to upgrade the National Power Control Cell and $121 million for the rehabilitation of Chenab Canal in Punjab, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz told a press conference after talks with his Japanese counterpart Junichiro Koizumi. The loans will have to be repaid over 30 years at an interest rate of 1.3 percent, with a grace period of 10 years.  Daily Times_8/11/05


Treaty to prevent water-related diseases in Europe enters into force

The Protocol on Water and Health to the 1992 Convention on Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes entered into force August 4, 2005, following ratification by the minimum 16 countries: Albania, Azerbaijan, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxemburg, Norway, Romania, the Russian Federation, Slovakia and Ukraine. The Protocol will improve health by contributing to the prevention, control and reduction of water-related diseases. It covers both the provision of safe drinking-water and adequate sanitation and the basin-wide protection of water resources. The Protocol calls on the ratifying countries:  to strengthen their health systems; to improve planning for and management of water resources; to improve the quality of water supply and sanitation services; to address future health risks; and to ensure safe recreational water environments.   Medical News_8/6/05

Canada, North Dakota agree on water pact

Canada and the United States have agreed to design a filter system to keep foreign organisms out of Canadian waterways after the Devils Lake water diversion.  The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reports that as the pact was announced Friday water from North Dakota was already flowing into Canada's Red River system.  North Dakota State Engineer Dale Frink told the CBC his staff had begun testing the pumps in the flood control project, although work halted for the weekend.  Manitoba Premier Gary Doer said the agreement on filtration should work. North Dakota has begun installing a temporary filter that will remove fish, fish eggs and plants from the water.  Science Daily_8/6/05

B.C. toxic water returning to normal
Crews worked non-stop Saturday to clean up a train derailment that dumped thousands oflitres of a toxic chemical into the Cheakamus River the day before.  Health officials issued an advisory to residents to avoid the river, where dead fish floated near the banks.  But an B.C. Environment Ministry official said tests Saturday showed the pH balance of the water had already returned to normal.  Globe and Mail_8/6/05

Devils Lake water on its way to Red River
Water from the testing of the Devils Lake diversion pumps is already on its way to the Red River.  The Manitoba government has been fighting for years to keep water from Devils Lake out of the Red River system, raising concerns that Devils Lake water could contain pollutants or foreign organisms that could harm the Lake Winnipeg watershed. North Dakota officials insist the diversion is necessary to ease flooding in the area. 

CBC_ 8/5/05

Water ministry mulls building dam on South Africa's Orange River

The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry and the Namibian government are studying the possibility of building a dam on the lower Orange River.  Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry Buyelwa Sonjica said that the proposed dam would ensure a stable supply of water to the Northern Cape in the future.  Mail and Guardian_8/4/05

Company adds value to Nambia's waste water

A group of experts have put their skills together to form a company that will turn water and waste water problems into solutions that Namibia is in dire need of.  The corporation, Aqua Utilities, established four years ago, believes that water treatment holds great opportunities for privatisation, not only in Namibia but neighbouring countries as well.With 70 percent of water in the country found in underground sources, its contamination would spell disaster for the country, which is already arid and therefore guards its water resources jealously.  All Africa.com_8/2/05

Tens of thousands to get clean drinking water in the Congo
Congolese President Denis Sassou-Nguesso inaugurated on Monday a project to supply clean drinking water to 160,000 residents in the Brazzaville neighbourhoods of Moukondo Ouest, Massengo and Nkombo.  The China Beijing Enterprise, applying Congolese government funds, has sunk eight boreholes each capable of supplying 35,000 litres of water per day.  Residents have been travelling long distances to fetch clean drinking water, while others have had to use untreated water from streams. Reuters_8/2/05

$756m needed for safe water and good sanitation in Ghana
Ghana needs to invest 756 million dollars to achieve 85 per cent national coverage of water and sanitation delivery by 2015.  The 438 million dollars would be needed for water systems and 248 million dollars would be needed to build latrines and other related investments.  Ghana news_8/1/05

Monsoons bring more rains and misery to India

Heavy incessant rains lashed the metropolis, Konkan and western parts of Maharashtra, India, crippling normal life and disrupting road, rail and air traffic prompting the authorities to sound a red alert in four districts as the death toll rose to 924.  With water from many of the 35 major dams in Pune region released and met office forecasting more heavy rains in the next two days raising the spectre of more misery, the authorities announced the closure of schools and colleges in Mumbai, Thane and Raigad districts, worst hit by the monsoon fury.  The Hindu News _8/1/05

Reusing wastewater a possible way to stretch Colorado water supply
Building more dams isn't the only way to keep up with Colorado's growing demand for more water. Wastewater can be reused.  And recycled wastewater should be a part of Colorado’s water supply, said Russell George, director of the state’s natural resources department. The water is not up to drinking-water standards, but it is clean enough to water lawns, green belts and playing fields.  “There’s a place for recycled wastewater in Colorado’s future,” said George, who spoke on Friday at the closing of the 30th annual Colorado Water Workshop at Western State College in Gunnison. “To me, reuse is exactly what we need to do.” George said that recycling will be one of the things the Statewide Water Supply Initiative will look at.  Durango Herald Online_ 7/31/05

Experts help wade through bottled water choices

"Everybody's got their own thing and a lot has to do with taste."

Mineral or filtered? Spring or tap? Vitamin or fruit infused? Still or sparkling? In a compostable bottle, returning profits to charity or changing the body's internal vibrations?  It's a lot of water to swallow.  After carbonated drinks, bottled water is the second- most-popular beverage in the United States, accounting for about $8 billion in sales in 2004, according to market researcher Mintel International.  Consumers say convenience, taste and health concerns drive them to the bottled-water aisle, even though a liter of top-shelf spring water costs about as much as 1,000 gallons from the average kitchen sink.  Daily Democrat Online_7/31/05

Councils to regulate Philippine water use, ensure supply

"A step in the right direction"

Local officials in Central Luzon on Saturday agreed to establish water councils to coordinate actions to stop an "impending serious water shortage" in the region in 2025.  The creation of the councils was one of the strategies outlined in a resolution adopted by more than 100 leaders in the region at the close of the two-day Central Luzon Integrated Water Resource Management Summit. The strategies dealing with the looming water crisis as well as floods, drought and environmental degradation were discussed with scientists.  INQ7.net _ 8/1/05

Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT) asked to set up firm to help solve water crisis
Thailand's Industry Ministry has asked the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand to set up a company to manage water supply in the industrial estate to prevent water shortage in the area.   Industry Minister Wattana Muangsook said the IEAT has been assigned to conduct a feasibility study to set up a company to manage water to be fed to factories in the industrial estate. Business Day_8/1/05

Slim has plan to ease Mexico's water shortage

Mexican business tycoon wants to mix public and private investment to solve the capital's chronic water problems.
Carlos Slim, Latin America's wealthiest businessman, said he's pushing for government and private investment of as much as US2 billion to ease Mexico City's water shortage.  Slim said he had a three-point plan to increase the supply of water in the Valley of Mexico. It included fixing leaky water pipelines, capturing rainwater in reservoirs and building water treatment plants.  El Universal_7/29/05

IRAN: UNDP to help reverse depletion of land and water resources
The Iranian government has recently signed a project with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to help it tackle the depletion of land and water resources by adopting community-based methods.  The project was signed between the Forests, Rangelands and Watershed Management Organisation (FRWO) and the UNDP.  Reuters_7/29/05

WHO warns of water-borne disease outbreak in Pakistan's north west frontier

The provincial chapter of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province (NWFP) has warned of an imminent widespread outbreak of water-borne diseases in flood-hit areas of the province, an official said on Thursday.  "According to a recent survey of main water sources including hand pumps, wells, tube-wells and water supply schemes, drinking water has become highly polluted with bacteria after flooding and there is an imminent chance of an outbreak of skin and water-borne diseases," Dr Quaid Saeed, emergency medical officer working with the WHO, said from the provincial capital Peshawar.  Reuters_7/28/05

U.S. near proposing new aid for Gaza water

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to propose additional U.S. money for the Palestinians this summer unless the new government fails to deliver on promises of security and fiscal responsibility, a State Department official said Wednesday.  The new money, perhaps as much as $37 million, would go toward a water project in the Gaza Strip. The United States would offer the money sometime after Israeli troops and settlers begin withdrawing from Gaza in mid-August, the senior official said.  The Washington Post _7/27/05

Ontario engineers playing key role in protecting drinking water
The Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) announced their support today for, "Watertight: The Case for Ontario's Water and Wastewater Sector", issued by the Water Strategy Expert Panel.
Specifically, Ontario's Professional Engineers were pleased to see thecreation of the Ontario Water Board, the reorganization of the Ontario Clean Water Agency (OCWA) and full cost recovery recommended by the panel. OSPE
pushed for these changes in their submission to the Water Strategy Expert Panel in November 2004.  Press Release_7/25/05

Local Indian water board chairman killed in bomb attack
Patna Jal Parishad (Water Board) chairman Ashok Yadav was killed and three others seriously injured in a bomb attack in the Bihar state capital Monday afternoon.  Yadav, a senior Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader, was killed when unidentified assailants hurled a bomb in his office near Miller High School, situated in a VIP locality near the MLAs hostels, police said.  Yadav is the second RJD leader to be killed in Patna in the last three months after president's rule was imposed in the state in March this year.  Indo-asian News Service_7/25/05

Cubans sweating out summer of power and water shortages
Several dozen government employees arriving home from work milled for hours outside their 20-story apartment building, waiting for power to be restored so they could take the elevator up and cook dinner.  Across town in a tiny, dilapidated apartment, 76-year-old Angela Vargas gasped as the image of President Fidel Castro flickered out and back on again on the television screen — a sign of the continued instability in Cuba's aging electrical system. 

Houston Chronicle_7/23/05

$34B needed to fix Ontario's water: panel

30-years of neglect cited
Ontario's outdated water systems, whose vulnerabilities were exposed five years ago by a deadly bacterial contamination at Walkerton, should get a $34-billion overhaul over the next 15 years, a provincially appointed panel said Friday.  "The fact is that governments, both municipally and provincially, have neglected essential investments in the province's water systems for the past 30 years," management consultant Harry Swain, chair of the three-member Water Strategy Expert Panel, said in a statement.  CBC News_7/22/05


Protest against canal water diversion plan
Villagers fear drastic impact on farmlands and their livelihood

About 2,000 villagers in Rayong's Muang district yesterday staged a protest against a government's plan to draw water from a major canal to feed factories along the drought-hit Eastern Seaboard industrial estates.  Under the 10-million-baht project, Eastern Water Resources Development and Management Plc (East Water) would pump about 20,000 cubic metres of water from Klong Tap Ma to be sent to Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate as part of the government's short-term response to water crisis in the East.  Bangkok Post_7/23/05

New EU water project for Rwanda
The EU signed a grant agreement giving Rwanda €23 million (approx US $28 million) for a water project in the drought-prone Bugesera region in Kigali Rural Province.  The project would improve living conditions for more than half a million children and adults - especially women - in Bugesera.  A French company, Sogea Construction, has been awarded the contract to execute the project, which will include rehabilitating an existing water processing plant near the village of Karenge and building a new reservoir and water pumping station.  Reuters_7/21/05

No water in 5 weeks spurs Trinidad protest

Residents of Trinidad's Belmont Valley Road blocked off the roads in their area yesterday to protest the lack of water for more than five weeks.  Young and old residents sat down on the chunks of old iron, wood and other forms of debris which they used to block the road, preventing access to taxis and cars using the Belmont route.  The angry residents, who blocked the roads for more than eight hours, told the police officers they were not going to follow any instructions to remove the debris from the road until water was returned to their taps.  "We prepared to die for we water here today," resident Hayden Cole declared, "Is five weeks now we ain't have water. We under real stress. If Government give us water Monday they take it back, it might come back Thursday and then it gone and again and that is how it going. We want water on a daily basis." Trinidad Tobago Express_7/19/05
 
More than two million Nigerians to receive access to potable water

Over two million Nigerians in 1,400 communities of 30 local government areas in six states of the country are to benefit from a four-year grant agreement for a Rural Water and Sanitation Project signed between the Nigerian Government, the European Commission (EC) and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF). Through the project, valued at 33.3 million Euros (about N5.5 billion), safe drinking water will be made assessible to the beneficiaries.  Vanguard_7/19/05

PTT, Siam Cement could help ease Thailand's water crisis

Proposal cuts through government red tape

PTT Plc and the Siam Cement Group, two of Thailand's largest industrial groups, have proposed to advance 2.6 billion baht for the construction of new water pipelines in the Eastern Seaboard.  Under the proposal, the two companies will finance the cost for building pipelines linking the Prasae reservoir and Prasae river in Rayong to the Nong Plalai reservoir, one of the two key reservoirs servicing factories in the region.  Severe drought earlier this year resulted in water falling to critical levels and raised concerns industrial plants would have to cut output. Authorities have pledged to accelerate construction of a new water grid and dig new artesian wells to help supplement supplies.  PTT and Siam Cement have proposed to speed the work by circumventing bureaucratic red tape in approving new investment. The proposal was submitted to the Industry Ministry for approval.  Bangkok Post _ 7/19/05

France rations water as drought takes hold

France extended water rationing to more than half the country on Monday, July 11, as the severe drought that has wreaked havoc in Spain and Portugal expanded its reach from Morocco to the French capital.  The French government expanded measures ranging from bans on car washing and filling swimming pools to curbs on crop irrigation to 50 of the country's 96 mainland departments.  Anyone breaking the law faces a €1 500 fine.  As temperatures across France began to rise again on Monday, the ministry warned of a high risk of forest fires and possible disruptions to domestic drinking water supplies.  IOL_7/11/05

Cold water on Sydney's salt solution
A rush to build a $2 billion desalination plant at Kurnell has been widely condemned, from the Prime Minister to green groups, as an expensive and environmentally harmful response to Sydney's water shortage.  The project could ultimately produce a third of Sydney's water needs by removing the salt from seawater. But the state opposition parties, environmentalists, and academics all criticised the high energy consumption and greenhouse gases associated with a desalination plant.  They also said it would discourage Sydney's residents from treating water as a scarce resource.  SMH.com_7/11/05 Logon Required

Bermuda water shortage one of worst in years; Poorly maintained stroage tanks and lax attitude toward conservation blamed
Bermuda is less than an inch behind on its average rainfall for the year, yet water companies are being inundated with calls from householders whose tanks have run dry. Companies we spoke to yesterday said it could take up to two weeks, maybe even longer, to clear the waiting lists. Worse, with no significant rainfall in sight, the situation is likely to become even more desperate over the coming days. We asked the Government to explain the irregular operating hours at its facilities and address claims about hotels getting priority over residents but didn’t receive a response by press time. Bermuda Sun_ 7/6/05

Pakistan death toll from cholera climbs to 16

A two-year-old died while four members of his family fell sick after drinking contaminated water. The outbreak of disease in Marzipura and Kasurpura began a week ago when Water And Sanitation Agency tube wells were contaminated by river water. Hundreds of people have been admitted to hospitals after drinking the polluted water. Daily Times_ 7/6/05

Disease and disputes spread as provinces start water fight
Satellite photographs used in bitter regional dispute

Spanish farmers are using sewage water to keep their crops alive as the country struggles to cope with its worst drought in 60 years.  In one case, filthy water used on a lettuce crop in Murcia, southeast Spain, caused a salmonella outbreak and provoked complaints to Madrid from other European countries.  But the Government’s response has caused a row between Murcia and the neighbouring region of Castilla La Mancha.  The Spanish Government used the salmonella outbreak to justify diverting water from one of its largest rivers, the Tagus, in Castilla La Mancha, to the River Segura in Murcia to help farmers there.  Such is the bitterness over the dwindling water reserves that the regional government in Castilla La Mancha, determined to prove that Murcia was hiding reserves, chartered a helicopter to film “hidden” reservoirs and used satellite photographs to claim that Murcia had 47 per cent more water than it had declared. The Times_7/4/05

UK water firms seek drought powers
Water companies in the south of England are considering emergency measures to preserve supplies after the second driest winter in 100 years.  Folkestone and Dover Water has applied to the Environment Agency for the right to make customers have water meters.  Southern Water has asked for a drought order to cut water flow to rivers while Thames Water may impose a hosepipe ban.  The government said it backed water meters but was against bringing them in on a compulsory basis across the UK.  BBC News _ 7/4/05


Consent sought for wall to protect New Zealand's Rotoiti lake
A $12 million wall to stop polluted water from reaching Lake Rotoiti will be one of the most significant environmental remedies ever undertaken in New Zealand, says project co-ordinator Paul Dell.  Environment Bay of Plenty has lodged resource consents for the major engineering work which will divert nutrient-laden Lake Rotorua water from flowing into Rotoiti, sending it down the Kaituna River and out to sea.  The 1250m long wall will stand on the lake floor about 75m offshore and rise to just above water level.  It is expected to reduce the seasonal blue-green algae levels in Lake Rotoiti over three to five years. This is one of the actions being taken to improve water quality in the Rotorua lakes - a clean-up estimated to cost $170 million over 20 years.  The New Zealand Herald _ 7/4/05

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