Photo retrieved from: www.bloomberg.com
“The driest year on record for Los Angeles and San Francisco is threatening water supplies to the world’s most productive agricultural region and almost doubling borrowing costs on some bonds issued by California water agencies.
Los Angeles, which normally gets almost 15 inches (38 centimeters) of rain a year, got less than 4 inches in 2013, according to the National Weather Service. San Francisco, where 22 inches is typical, got 6. Severe or extreme drought grips 85 percent of California, a federal monitor reported Dec. 24.
The scarcity is depleting California’s reservoirs and jeopardizing the credit of at least 30 water agencies that had been considered safe bets because their debt is backed by user fees rather than general taxes. Concern grew in November when the California Water Resources Department, the state’s largest supplier, said it was filling just 5 percent of orders from local water agencies, the lowest in five years. Less supply means lower sales and revenue.”
Read more: Bloomberg
Protecting rivers and communities from the ravages of large dams tends to involve brainy pursuits: there’s often a heavy focus on policy and political issues, and on designing strategic campaigns to stop destructive river projects and promote better options. While these efforts play a very important role in countering the powerful forces that threaten our rivers, the global river protection movement is also working to change hearts as well as minds. Around the world, groups are using the arts to reach people’s hearts and to promote a vision of water and energy for everyone, and a respect for rivers and the life, livelihoods and traditions tied to them. As one artist told us, “Art is a megaphone to project our side of the story.”
In this issue we hear from a wide range of groups who are using creativity to educate and build community for healthy rivers. This special issue ofWorld Rivers Review includes interviews, art works and essays by artist-activists using art, music, poetry and film to create social change.
To Learn More and Download the December Issue Click Here: International Rivers
“Throughout history, journalism and storytelling have defined civilization. Journalists are the first responders to global crises, the pointers to important trends and the translators between disciplines. Good journalists seek out knowledge, ask thoughtful questions, listen carefully and tell unforgettable stories. The art of the story, well-told, is a powerful force because it compels the resilience and connectedness of humanity.
In China, we have one of the richest, most complicated stories unfolding that the planet has ever seen. The country is the second largest economy after the US, and its economy tripled between 2000 and 2010. China’s GDP is expected to grow by more than 7% each year over the next 10 years.166
Yet our reporting found that the priceless energy beneath Wu Yun’s family grasslands may be trapped. China faces severe constraints to its GDP growth because it may not be able to continue to mine and process its coal at current rates. 167 Mines use copious amounts of water to extract and process coal, and as water supplies dwindle, production will slow.
Just as the account of Wu Yun’s life and choices framed the reporting that introduced the existence of water and energy stresses in Inner Mongolia and China, lives of people offer keen insight into the challenges and opportunities of sustainability, consumption and the dreams that drive them.”
Read More: Circle of Blue
Some good news out of the Middle East region for a change: It was announced at the Israel Business Forum that Israel has signed an historic water-sharing agreement with Jordan and the Palestinian Authority. But not all parties are happy with political manoeuvrings around the announcement.
The new project will include a new desalination plant in Aqaba, Jordan, at the northern tip of the Red Sea in order to provide Jordan and Israel with a new source of drinking water. As per the agreement, Israel would release some of its water from Lake Tiberias (the Sea of Galilee), further north, to flow to Jordan, and at the same time provide desalinated water to the Palestinians to use in the West Bank.
In a later phase of the project a 180km pipeline system might transport brine produced in the desalination plant form the Red Sea north to the Dead Sea, but officials on the ground say they don’t have information that it would be part of Monday’s agreement.
Read More: Green Prophet
Photo retrieved from: www.nationalgeographic.com
“Current climate change science suggests that as carbon dioxide levels rise, communities across the U.S. are going to see too much precipitation too quickly, putting a major strain on municipal stormwater infrastructure, agriculture, and human safety. Many places have already seen an uncharacteristic number of intense rain events in the past decade. This September’s devastating flooding in Boulder, Colorado is just a harbinger.
Other places aren’t getting enough water. With temperatures projected to rise at least another 3.8 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century under most carbon emissions scenarios, arid climates are expecting the precious little rain and soil moisture they get to become even scarcer. Increased evaporation and sparse rainfall amplified this summer’s record-breaking heat wave in Arizona, and throughout the Midwest and South, changing precipitation patterns place pressure on already overdrawn groundwater.
Flood and thirst are the stuff of nightmares. But the goal of our trip was to get beyond the fear that these projections instill—beyond the helplessness of looking out the window at the pelting flood rains or over the hills scarred by scorched forest. Though our travels took us to many of these frightening scenes, our blog focuses instead on the many people who are working to make their communities more resilient to the two major challenges that climate change poses for water: too much, too fast and too little, too late.”
Read more: National Geographic
Photo retrieved from: www.internationalrivers.org
“The mountain valleys of the North Indian state of Uttarakhand have been heavily developed with hydropower projects, tourism resorts and other infrastructure. When a cloudburst hit the state in June 2013, the choked rivers were unable to cope with the ravaging floods. Flashfloods washed away hundreds of buildings, bridges and dams, claimed more than 5,000 lives and caused an estimated damage of $50 billion.
Climate change will bring more extreme weather events such as droughts and the cloudburst experienced in Uttarakhand. Healthy rivers and their floodplains act as natural buffers that protect us from the worst vagaries of a changing climate. Free-flowing rivers build the deltas and mangrove belts that protect our coastlines, preserve fisheries and forests, and recharge the groundwater reserves that sustain our water supply and agriculture. Floodplains, marshes, dunes, reefs and mangrove forests – often referred to as green infrastructure or bioshields – are vital to making our societies more climate resilient.
Climate change is water change. Learning from earlier flood disasters and preparing for climate change, governments, scientists and environmental organizations have started to remove levees and recreate floodplains on rivers such as the Rhine, the lower Yangtze and the lower Danube. Ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change is being promoted by forward-looking tools such as the EU Water Framework Directive and the UNECE Water Convention.”
Read more: International Rivers
Canada’s rush to exploit its tar sands and shale gas resources will destroy the environment “as fast as possible”, according to Noam Chomsky.
In an interview with the Guardian, the linguist and author criticized the energy policies of the Canadian government under Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
He said: “It means taking every drop of hydrocarbon out of the ground, whether it’s shale gas in New Brunswick or tar sands in Alberta and trying to destroy the environment as fast as possible, with barely a question raised about what the world will look like as a result.”
But indigenous peoples in Canada blocking fossil fuel developments are taking the lead in combatting climate change, he said. Chomsky highlighted indigenous opposition to the Alberta tar sands, the oil deposit that is Canada’s fastest growing source of carbon emissions and is slated for massive expansion despite attracting international criticism and protest.
Read More: The Guardian
A hundred years ago — Nov. 5, 1913 — 40,000 people gathered in Sylmar to watch the water arrive for the first time via the Los Angeles Aqueduct from the Owens Valley. It took 5,000 workers five years to complete the $23-million project, which was excavated with dynamite, hand shovels and mule power in rocky canyons and searing desert expanses.
We hope you enjoy this preview of what’s coming Monday, when The Times takes a look back at the aqueduct’s controversial history.
What to look forward to? More archival photos, film and front pages, plus modern photography and an aerial video tour at this page, beginning Monday.
Watch the Series: LA Times
(Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives has rediscovered the formula for peace, harmony and an end to gridlock after a month of partisan warfare: $8 billion worth of harbor dredging, dam and lock construction and other federal waterway improvements. The bill got only modest attention in the aftermath of a government shutdown and the technological woes of President Obama’s health law when it passed last week by a vote of 417-3. No error there: 224 Republicans and 193 Democrats, at each others’ throats for the past five years, joined together in what Representative Virginia Foxx called a “love feast.”Pork it was not, members insisted, rejecting the old pejorative term in favor of “infrastructure” spending, and garnishing the title with another word, “reform,” that’s also in vogue. Nor, by members’ definition, were these earmarks, the pet projects inserted by individual members that have become taboo symbols of lavish Washington spending.
Read More: Reuters