“Tens of thousands of Syrian refugees who have fled from carnage and violence at home to neighbouring Jordan are draining the desert kingdom’s meager water resources, officials and experts say.
“It is a new challenge for Jordan, one of the world’s 10 driest countries, where desert covers 92 percent of its territory and the population of 6.7 million is growing by 3.5 percent a year.
“The tiny Arab country has given refuge to waves of Palestinian and Iraqi refugees because of regional conflicts over the past decades, and now the kingdom is hosting up to 120,000 Syrians.
” ‘Each Syrian refugee needs at least 80 litres of fresh water a day, so 9,600 cubic metres per day for 120,000 people. The cost of this subsidised water supply is 13,000 dinar ($18,000) a day, not to mention other related expenses,’ said Adnan Zubi, assistant secretary general of the Ministry of Water and Irrigation.
” ‘It is not the first time that Jordan hosted forced migrants, but our water resources and infrastructure are already overburdened.’
Read More: middle-east-online
Retrieved from: carbon-based-ghg.blogspot.com
“California failed to protect the San Joaquin Valley from fertilizer, dairy and septic contamination now threatening drinking water from thousands of wells, says the leader of the responsible state agency.
“But Pamela Creedon, executive officer of the Central Valley Regional Water Control Board, says her agency is working on ways to make up for the past.
” ‘We have more than 50% of our resources focused in groundwater programs, and we’re expanding our efforts,’ said Creedon.
“Creedon spoke in Clovis on Thursday after a University of California at Davis researcher described his study on the Valley’s vast water contamination from nitrates, which he linked mostly to farm fertilizing and dairy practices in the past.
“The study says the problem coming from millions of farming acres is getting worse. It suggests many changes, including added fertilizer fees to raise money for water cleanups in many communities. Most rural Valley towns are completely dependent on wells for tap water.
“Many people in small Tulare County towns and other places in the Valley buy bottled water, fearing the nitrate-laced water from their taps will harm their children.”
Read More: Chicago Tribune
“If you’ve seen the movie Erin Brockovich, you’re likely familiar with hexavalent chromium. Also known as chromium-6, hexavalent chromium is a chemical that comes from chromium, a naturally occurring metal used for things like steel manufacturing and leather tanning.
“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified chromium-6 as a likely carcinogen. Many experts believe the chemical can do serious damage if it is ingested.
“Dr. Sutton recently led a study of chromium-6 in U.S. public water supplies. EWG tested 35 cities across America and found the chemical in 31 of them. EWG conducted the study because, more than a decade after Erin Brockovich, the EPA only requires utilities to test for total chromium, not chromium-6. Earlier this month, the EPA delayed adopting a drinking water standard for chromium-6 until it completes an additional study.
“The lawsuit on which Erin Brockovich was based was settled in 1996, with Pacific Gas and Electric paying out $333 million to residents of Hinkley, California, many of whom claimed groundwater contaminated with chromium-6 gave them cancer.”
Read More: abc
“The Liberian government submitted information to the World Health Organization and UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program that estimated 8 percent of households in urban areas have piped water and 88 percent have access to an improved water source. Living in the heart of the the Liberian capital, civilian Eugene Seoh should be one of the few Liberians who do have piped water. He does not.
“Theophilus Addey, the acting deputy national coordinator of the Liberia Reconstruction Development Committee, said these figures are just a guide for the government.
“Not only the numbers are questionable; the government is also making suspect claims about specific water access projects. The managing director of the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation, Nortu Jappah, said in an interview in November that he and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf had recently opened a water main to serve the string of neighborhoods along Somalia Drive. The area has not had piped water for more than two decades.
“Access to sanitation is very low — just 25 percent as of 2008, according to World Bank statistics. Civil society groups in Liberia argue that the current water situation is actually not much improved.
“In 2008, the Liberian government launched the Poverty Reduction Strategy, or PRS, to chart the nation’s course to development. Among other goals, the plan promised that access to water would double in four years.
Since then, little has been done to replace old infrastructure damaged during Liberia’s civil war, according to Silas Siakor, director of the Sustainable Development Initiative Liberia.”
Read More: PBS
Retrieved from: nytimes.com
“The abundance and diversity of waterfowl and other migratory birds make the Klamath Basin one of the nation’s most significant wetland wildlife areas. The region’s spectacular National Wildlife Refuges, including Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge and Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge, support 80 percent of Pacific Flyway waterfowl but regularly suffer water shortages harmful to waterfowl populations, wildlife habitat, and water quality. This spring’s devastatingavian cholera outbreak in the Klamath — sparked by a lack of water — has highlighted the grave situation not only facing these refuges but also the Klamath’s salmon, fishermen and farmers. Put simply, there has been too much of this region’s scarce water promised to too many interests.
“Meanwhile, supporters of the controversial Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement and associated federal legislation — now stalled in Congress — have made numerous claims regarding the deal’s supposed water-supply benefits for the Klamath’s prized refuges. However, a reading of the agreement shows such claims have no basis. In fact, the settlement would institute unsustainable water policies favoring farming at the expense of Klamath refuges, fish and wildlife, all while placing a $1 billion burden on the American taxpayer.
“The deal also forecloses on one of the best, lowest-cost opportunities for increasing refuge water supply and achieving a sustainable water balance in the Klamath. To protect a sweetheart deal for a small group of irrigators, the settlement attempts to perpetuate commercial leaseland farming on 22,000 acres of Tule Lake and Lower Klamath refuges and asks taxpayers to subsidize this harmful practice. In contrast, phasing out this federally managed program, using those lands to store winter water, and using the 1905 priority date water rights associated with those lands for fish and wildlife purposes would represent a huge step toward a sustainable Klamath Basin — at a fraction of the cost of the settlement deal.”
Read More: oregonlive
“A growing threat of landslides on ground surrounding the massive Three Gorges Dam reservoir could force the government to relocate 100,000 more residents of the area, from which 46,000 were moved earlier, an expert with China’s land and resources ministry said this week.
“The dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric project, has been a target of criticism by environmentalists and some geologists since before the reservoir began to inundate a long stretch of the Yangtze River, long regarded as one of the world’s scenic wonders, in 2003. A massive landslide occurred that year, followed by others, but only in 2007 did the government admit that the rising waters were causing instability and that a catastrophe could occur unless preventive steps were taken.
“Officials have recorded 430 landslides and nearly 2,900 smaller geological incidents along the lakeshore, and 5,386 other potentially dangerous sites are being monitored, Mr. Liu said.
“The government relocated 1.4 million people to build the dam and reservoir, which is comparatively narrow but longer than Lake Superior in North America. The latest proposed relocation would affect residents along hundreds of miles of twisting lakeshore from Jiangjin, in the Chongqing municipality, to the dam’s location at Yichang, in Hubei Province.”
Read More: nytimes
“For decades, Busselton has been the only major city in Australia to drink chemical-free water but yesterday that changed when the Water Board began the process of phasing in chlorine.
“The board says the decision was made to protect residents from harmful bacteria but local resident Margaret Farquharson says it is an archaic method which has been overtaken internationally by safer water management strategies.
” ‘We really intend to continue fighting because we feel that chlorine is not the best method of disinfecting our water,’ she said.
” ‘Busselton Water’s had little units built to house the chlorine disinfection process and they can simply remove the chlorine stuff and put in the other one.’”
Read More: ABC News
“A spate of earthquakes across the middle of the U.S. is “almost certainly” manmade, and may coincide with wastewater from oil or gas drilling injected into the ground, U.S. government scientists said in a new study.
“Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey said that for the three decades until 2000, seismic events averaged 21 a year in a central U.S. region. They jumped to 50 in 2009, 87 in 2010 and 134 in 2011.
” ‘Our scientists cite a series of examples for which an uptick in seismic activity is observed in areas where the disposal of wastewater through deep-well injection increased significantly,’ David Hayes, the deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Interior, said in a blog post yesterday, describing research by scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey.
“In hydraulic fracturing — or fracking — water, sand and chemicals are injected into deep shale formations to break apart underground rock and free natural gas trapped deep underground. Much of that water comes back up to the surface and must then be disposed of.
“The Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to release rules on air pollution from gas wells and on the treatment of wastewater. Other state and federal rules could force more disclosure of the chemicals used by the drilling companies.”
Read More: Bloomberg
Retrieved from: seagrant.umn.edu
“Nearly a quarter-century has passed since an oceangoing ship from Europe docked somewhere in the Great Lakes and discharged ballast water carrying tiny but tenacious zebra mussel larvae from Europe.
“The filter-feeding mussels have since helped to upend the ecosystems of the Great Lakes, fouling beaches, promoting the growth of poisonous algae and decimating some native fish populations by eating the microscopic free-floating plant cells on which their food web depends.
“Yet it was not until last month that the Coast Guard issued a federal rule requiring oceangoing freighters entering American waters to install onboard treatment systems to filter and disinfect their ballast water. The regulation, which largely parallels a pending international standard and another planned by the Environmental Protection Agency, sets an upper limit on the concentration of organisms in the ballast water.
“Scientists have tracked at least 329 invaders in marine environments worldwide; ecosystems have been disrupted from the Great Lakes to San Francisco Bay, where the Asian clam is implicated in a collapse of fish stocks, to Lyttelton Harbor in New Zealand, where an invasive fanworm, a prodigious filter feeder, outcompetes local shellfish.
“The new standards from the Coast Guard, the E.P.A. and the International Maritime Organization are expected to spawn a booming global market in such technology, the firm says. Frost & Sullivan predicts that ballast-water management technologies and their corporate backers will compete for an estimated $35 billion in sales over the next decade as the rules take effect.”
Read More: nytimes.com
Retrieved from: indianz.com
“Arizona’s two senators, John McCain and Jon Kyl, traveled to the Navajo reservation this week to meet with Navajo and Hopi tribal leaders about a proposed water rights accord that would settle the two tribes’ claims to the Little Colorado River system.
“Mr. Kyl and Mr. McCain have introduced a bill known as the Navajo-Hopi Little Colorado River Water Rights Settlement, which would require the tribes to waive their water rights for “time immemorial” in exchange for groundwater delivery projects to three remote communities.
“The tribes must sign off on the settlement, along with 30 other entities including Congress and the president, before the bill becomes law.
“The settlement would benefit the two tribes by providing clean drinking water piped directly into their homes, Mr. Kyl said. There is very little surface water on the two reservations, he said, adding that most of the water that does exist is in aquifers and the tribes can’t afford to build the infrastructure necessary to gain access to it.
“What the tribes would lose by settling is a crucial bargaining chip. Other parties, including Peabody Coal and two other corporations, want the water for ranching, farming and coal mining operations. Coal mining in particular uses copious amounts of water for its slurries.
” ‘Water is life, and when you take away our water, you take away our lives,’ said Ed Becenti, a Navajo grass-roots organizer. He said that after the meeting, which took place behind closed doors, a crowd of about 200 milling outside followed the senators to their cars chanting ‘Kill bill 2109′ and ‘Leave our water alone.’ ”
Read more: nytimes.com