Photo retrieved from: www.cbc.ca
“The humanitarian situation in northern Mali is still a source of concern. Displaced persons in the north-east corner of the country lack food and water. The ICRC and the Mali Red Cross are working to help people who have been affected by the conflict.
“The country is facing a difficult humanitarian situation,” said Jean Nicholas Marti, the head of the ICRC regional delegation for Mali and Niger. “In the northern region, access to drinking water is still a big worry for recently displaced people in Tinzawatene, close to the Algerian border and in some other towns such as Ménaka, Timbuktu or Gao.”
Teams of relief workers from the ICRC and the Mali Red Cross have handed out jerrycans and water purification tablets to almost 5,400 displaced persons in Tinzawatene.
They are also repairing wells in the Akharabane and Achibriche areas, which are also near to the Algerian border, where there has been an influx of displaced persons. The situation is particularly worrying because residents are having to share their meagre resources with the newcomers.”
Read more: All Africa
Photo retrieved from: www.commondreams.org
“On Friday, the U.S. Department of Energy said liquid levels are decreasing in one of 177 underground tanks at the site. Monitoring wells near the tank have not detected higher radiation levels, but Inslee said the leak could be in the range of 150 gallons to 300 gallons over the course of a year and poses a potential long-term threat to groundwater and rivers.
The Northwest News Network, in an interview with Tom Carpenter, head of the Seattle-based watchdog group Hanford Challenge, found that Friday’s news highlights the fact that problems have been endemic to the site for years and there’s not even a place to transfer the contained waste or a place to return any that may be recovered from spills or leaks.
“If you have another leak, what do you do?,” ask Carpenter. “You don’t have any strategy for that. And the Hanford Advisory Board and the state of Washington and Hanford Challenge and others have been calling upon the Department of Energy to build new tanks. That call has been met with silence.”
And the Chicago Tribune adds:
Though more than a third of the 149 old single-shell tanks at the site are suspected to have leaked up to 1 million gallons of nuclear waste over the years, this is the first confirmed leak since federal authorities completed a so-called stabilization program in 2005 that was supposed to have removed most liquids from the vulnerable single-shell tanks.”
Read more: Common Dreams
Photo retrieved from: www.guardian.co.uk
“Tens of thousands of protesters turned out on the National Mall Sunday to encourage President Obama to make good on his commitment to act on climate change.
In his Inaugural address from outside the U.S. Capitol, the president said: “We will respond to the threat of climate change knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.”
Just a few weeks later, next to the Washington Monument, Paul Birkeland was one of a couple dozen people holding a long white tube above their heads.
“It’s a backbone. It’s a spine. The idea is to ask the president to have some spine and stand up to oil companies. And reject the Keystone Pipeline,” Birkeland says.
The activists are focusing on the Keystone XL pipeline because it would carry tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada, to refineries on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. To make this oil, companies use complex extraction and processing techniques that use a lot of energy. So it has a larger greenhouse gas footprint than conventional crude.”
Read more: NPR
Photo retrieved from: www.aljazeera.com
“Pictures taken by NASA satellites reveal an alarming loss of freshwater in the Middle East.
Two important rivers are disappearing, and if they vanish millions of people will be affected.
In just seven years, 144 cubic kilometres of water has been lost.
Al Jazeera’s Gerald Tan explains.”
Read more: Aljazeera
Photo retrieved from: www.asme.org
“Each year brings new pressures on water. One-third of the world’s people already live in countries with moderate to high water stress. Competition is growing between farmers and herders; industry and agriculture; town and country. Upstream and downstream, and across borders, we need to cooperate for the benefit of all – now and in the future,” “he added.
The General Assembly proclaimed 2013 International Year for Water Cooperation in 2010, following a proposal from Tajikistan. The Year will serve to raise awareness and prompt action on the multiple dimensions of water cooperation, such as sustainable and economic development, climate change and food security.
“Over-exploitation, management, financing of water resources, all of these aspects are incredibly important and cooperation at different levels is therefore critical,” UNESCO Science Specialist Ms. Ana Persic, said during a media briefing to mark the start of the Year at UN Headquarters in New York, USA.
Persic added that the benefits of intensifying cooperation include poverty reduction, equity, economic growth, and the protection of the environment.” “We know water is critical for human life, but it is also critical for life on Earth if we want to protect and sustainably manage the planet we have.”
Read more: All Africa
Photo retrieved from: www.aqueductfeatures.com
“Hydro-librium signifies the balance of water, an ironic caption depicting the not so equated water dispute between the Owens Valley and city of Los Angeles. As Los Angeles began to flourish as a result of purchasing water rights from the Owens Valley, the playa began to pay the price for the success of this new-found metropolis: Los Angeles.
Water is a natural resource that serves a significant purpose in balancing our ecosystem. The narrative of the Owens Valley and Los Angeles water dispute, showcases a variety of disturbances within the ecology of the landscape as a result of imbalanced water use. Project one attempts to map out the impacts and benefits resulting from the construction of the LA aqueduct. The mapping (above) displays an effort to engage a temporal look at the effects of groundwater pumping in the Owens playa and compare it to observed changes in the climate of the Owens Valley basin. The research however, was not plausible enough to conclude that the results of groundwater have created adverse effects on temperature change within the basin.”
Read more: Aqueduct Futures
Photo retrieved from: www.alternet.org
“When groundwater reserves ran low in the 1940s, the region turned to Lake Mead. Today, the Las Vegas area gets 90 percent of its water from the no-longer-very-mighty Colorado River as it is corralled behind Hoover Dam in Lake Mead. And now that’s threatened. A new federal study released in December found that the over-allocated Colorado River will be further stretched by climate change, drought and climbing populations. By 2060, the river will be short of what its dependents in seven U.S. states need by 3.2 million acre-feet a year. (An acre-foot of water is roughly enough for one suburban family per year.)
So what’s a city — or really, its water manager — to do? A smart gambler wouldn’t bet on the Colorado.
SNWA is in the midst of an $800 million project to insert another “straw” into Lake Mead. This is the third intake pipe built for the lake — the last two proved not deep enough to keep up with the lake’s falling levels. But this is just part of the plan. Another part comes with a bigger pricetag — estimated as high as $15 billion — and involves building hundreds of miles of water pipelines and related infrastructure to tap water from four rural valleys in eastern Nevada’s White Pine and Lincoln counties.”
Read more: Alternet
“The Owens study area is approximately 1,030 square miles (2,668 square kilometers) and includes the Owens Valley groundwater basin (California Department of Water Resources, 2003). Owens Valley has a semiarid to arid climate, with average annual rainfall of about 6 inches (15 centimeters). The study area has internal drainage, with runoff primarily from the Sierra Nevada draining east to the Owens River, which flows south to Owens Lake dry lakebed at the southern end of the valley. Beginning in the early 1900s, the City of Los Angeles began diverting the flow of the Owens River to the Los Angeles Aqueduct, resulting in the evaporation of Owens Lake and the formation of the current Owens Lake dry lakebed. Land use in the study area is approximately 94 percent (%) natural, 5% agricultural, and 1% urban. The primary natural land cover is shrubland. The largest urban area is the city of Bishop (2010 population of 4,000).
Groundwater in this basin is used for public and domestic water supply and for irrigation. The main water-bearing units are gravel, sand, silt, and clay derived from surrounding mountains. Recharge to the groundwater system is primarily runoff from the Sierra Nevada, and by direct infiltration of irrigation. The primary sources of discharge are pumping wells, evapotranspiration, and underflow to the Owens Lake dry lakebed. The primary aquifers in Owens Valley are defined as those parts of the aquifers corresponding to the perforated intervals of wells listed in the California Department of Public Health database. Public-supply wells in Owens Valley are completed to depths between 210 and 480 feet (64 to 146 meters), consist of solid casing from the land surface to a depth of 50 to 80 feet (15 to 24 meters), and are screened or perforated below the solid casing.”
Read more: USGS
Photo retrieved from: www.nationalgeographic.com
“Forty years ago, when the farming started, there was a staggering 120 cubic miles (500 cubic kilometers) of water beneath the Saudi desert, enough to fill Lake Erie. But in recent years, up to five cubic miles (20 cubic kilometers) has been pumped to the surface annually for use on the farms. Virtually none of it is replaced by rainwater, because there is no appreciable rain.
Based on extraction rates detailed in a 2004 paper from the University of London, the Saudis were on track to use up at least 400 cubic kilometers of their aquifers by 2008. And so experts estimate that four-fifths of the Saudis’ “fossil” water is now gone. One of the planet’s greatest and oldest freshwater resources, in one of its hottest and most parched places, has been all but emptied in little more than a generation.
Parallel to the groundwater pumping for agriculture, Saudi Arabia has long used desalination of seawater to provide drinking water. But, even for the cash-rich Saudis, at about a dollar per 35 cubic feet (one cubic meter), the energy-intensive process is too expensive to be used for irrigation water.”
Read more: National Geographic
Photo retrieved from: www.greenprophet.com
“The cows raised at the Al Safi and Almarai farms live better than some humans in air-conditioned sheds and water misters that keep them cool. But feeding them with grain grown nearby has depleted 4/5th of the Kingdom’s ancient aquifer in the last 30 years. For milk. The farms are facing closure as a result of water shortages, but instead of giving up altogether, the Saudis are buying up land and water elsewhere – including the already vulnerable Nile.
The Nile was apportioned in 1929 by colonial powers, an issue that has created great tension among Nile River Basin countries in the last few years. Egypt relies almost entirely on this river for its population’s survival, but upstream countries feel that they have been shortchanged by that country’s monopoly.
Ethiopia has been particularly vociferous, though the main instigator of a slew of new dams and hydroelectricity projects, former Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, died in August, 2012. But not before allowing Saudi Star, owned by Sheikh Mohammed Ali Al Amoudi, to purchase large tracts of land near the headwaters of the Nile in Gambela.
Member of the local Anuak Tribe talked to National Geographic about the firm’s usurpation of land and water. At the time of writing, the company was digging a canal to drain nearby wetlands and their 24,711 acre relies on a reservoir built in the 1980s by Soviet engineers.”
Read more: Green Prophet