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Greta Thunberg Phenomenon: Juncker Pledges A Quarter Of EU Spending To Climate Change Mitigation, Slams Trump

BRUSSELS, Belgium

European Commission (EC) President Jean-Claude Juncker has proposed that a quarter of all European Union (EU) spending should be directed to mitigation of climate change. Juncker was responding February 22 to Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who in recent weeks has inspired a global movement of children against global warming.

Speaking alongside 16-year-old Thunberg in Brussels, Juncker also criticized US. President Donald Trump for suggesting climate change was "invented" and "ideological".

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New Functionality Of "Water Risk Filter" Will Encourage Big-Picture Thinking, Actions

GENEVA, Switzerland

International NGO WWF has implemented an upgrade to its Water Risk Filter, an online tool aimed to help companies and financial institutions mitigate water risk to operations and assets.

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Drought, Poor Management Caused Fish Deaths

SYDNEY, Australia

The Australian Academy of Science released a report February 10 examining the recent devastating fish deaths in the Darling River. The report was commissioned by the opposition Labor Party (ALP) to examine the causes of why millions of fish died in the four events that occurred from mid-December to the beginning of February.

OOSKAnews Voices - Seabed Aquifers: An Untapped Resource

WASHINGTON DC, United States
OOSKAnews Voices is a series of guest “opinion columns” written by senior participants in different parts of the international water community. In this article, Renee Martin-Nagle, a PhD Researcher at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow UK, focuses on governance of offshore freshwater. She is also the Treasurer of the International Water Resources Association, a Visiting Scholar at the Environmental Law Institute and a member of the five-person Municipal Authority in Ebensburg, Pennsylvania USA, which manages local water, wastewater and storm water services. This article is derived from her doctoral studies and her monograph “Transboundary Offshore Aquifers: A Search for a Governance Regime”.
 

In spite of the fact that scientists first discovered the presence of freshwater seabed aquifers in the 1970s, most people are not aware that vast quantities of fresh to slightly brackish (TDS concentration less than 10 g l−1) water are sequestered in passive continental margins around the world. Emplaced during the last glacial maximum when sea levels were much lower than today, these hidden caches of offshore fresh groundwater have been confirmed along the coasts of every continent, with the northeast United States and northern Europe being the most intensely studied. Some offshore aquifers sequester isolated pockets of freshwater, while others have hydraulic connections to land-based aquifers or receive recharge from terrestrial flows. Estimates based on testing and modeling predict that seabed aquifers may contain as much as 500,000 km3 of usable water, which is equivalent to one hundred times the volume of land-based groundwater extracted globally since 1900. For the most part, these aquifers are relatively close to shore (within 100 kilometers) and in shallow waters (depths not more than fifty meters below sea level), making them reasonably accessible.

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GEF Funding Seeks To Address The Hidden Mercury Cost Of Gold

NEW YORK NY, United States

A new $180 Million USD Global Environment Facility (GEF) program, supported by United Nations (UN) agencies is designed to cut harmful mercury emissions, associated with gold mining, to water and the environment, and improve conditions for artisanal miners across eight countries.

Draft Cape Town Water Strategy Emphasizes "Wise Use"; Reliable Supply; Water Resource Optimization; Creation Of A "Water Sensitive" City

CAPE TOWN, South Africa

The City of Cape Town, South Africa, released its draft water strategy this week, opening the plan to public comment. The strategy comes in the wake of an unprecedented three-year drought when the city famously approached a "Day-Zero" for water supply, and is meant to direct the city towards greater water resilience.

Nestle Bottling Plant Shuttered In Arizona After Only Three Years

PHOENIX, AZ

Nestle has announced the immediate closure of a bottling plant in Phoenix, Arizona, US which only opened in 2016. The company’s factory manager cited increased competition as the reason behind the decision, while the plant has previously attracted criticism for extraction of water from a notably dry, desert geography.

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Troubled Hyflux Files Reorganization Plan; Directors Will Contribute Personal Stakes And Entitlements

SINGAPORE, Singapore

Singapore environmental solutions company Hyflux has filed a proposed reorganization plan with the the country's High Court, following the posting of significant net losses in fiscal year 2017 and subsequent suspension of share trading. Deadlines set by principal creditor, Maybank, have been extended more than once while Hyflux has sought buyers for its key assets and/or partners in a continuing business.

New EU Funding Supports River Basin Management In Estonia, Austria

BRUSSELS, Belgium

New European Union (EU) funding will unlock more than $3.6 Billion USD of additional support to twelve large-scale environmental and climate projects in ten member states to support Europe’s transition to a low-carbon, circular economy. The new funding is part of “The LIFE Program”, the EU’s funding instrument for the environment and climate action, and includes support for Estonia and Austria to combine effective river basin management with flood risk management and nature conservation, so that their water bodies can sustain both biodiversity and people.

Malaysia Foreign Minister Will Lead Renegotiations With Singapore Over 1962 Water Sharing Treaty

Kuala Lumpur Malaysia

Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad announced January 17 that the country’s Foreign Minister, Saifuddin Abdullah, will lead a team in renegotiating prices of raw water sold to Singapore under the water agreement signed between the countries in 1962. No details about the timing of negotiations have been made public.

More Attacks This Week On Eastern Ukraine Water Facilities, Workers

DONETSK, Ukraine

A key pumping station providing water for 1.1 million people in Ukraine was again subjected to shelling and shooting this week, the seventh such attack since the start of 2019.

Adani Group Under Spotlight Again After Another Mine Waste Spill

BRISBANE, Australia

The India-owned Adani Group mining company has admitted that coal-contaminated water again overflowed from their Abbot Point Operations in Queensland, Australia during heavy rainfall February 7, and that it had not applied for an emergency permit to dump more polluted water into the Caley Valley Wetlands.

This is the second such breach in two years and Queensland has initiated an investigation. Adani is currently being prosecuted by the Queensland government for a previous pollution breach, when it spilt more than 800 percent of the allowable level of coal-laden water into the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, according to the Australian Marine Conservation Society. (AMCS)

Ethiopia, Egypt, Sudan Leaders Commit To GERD Cooperation

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia

The leaders of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt have confirmed commitment to reach consensus on outstanding technical issues surrounding the contentious Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

At the annual African Union conference hosted in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia this week, Egypt President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, Sudan President Omar el-Bashir and Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed committed to support continuing technical negotiations and to enhance mutual cooperation.

Brazil Dam Disaster: Minas Gerais State Files Class Action Suit Against Mining Giant

BRASILIA, Brazil

The Brazilian state of Minas Gerais will file a civil class action against iron ore mining giant Vale SA as the numbers of deaths caused by the Brumadinho dam disaster rose to 165 this week, with 155 still unaccounted for. An internal October 2018 document from Vale which projected how much a dam collapse in Brumadinho would cost, how many people could die and what would be its causes will be cited, according to the Minas Gerais State Attorney office. The report stated that nine other dams were also at risk of collapsing.

Proposed Tibet Dam Would Contain Sandstorms, Mitigate Downstream Floods, Protect Ecosystems

XINING, China

A consortium of Chinese environmental engineers and activists are proposing the construction of a dam to prevent loss of frozen soil in the Hoh Xil National Nature Reserve in an isolated region in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. The nature reserve has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2017, is major breeding area for the Tibetan antelope and is near the headwaters of the Yangtze River.

New Device Simplifies Measurement Of Fluoride Contamination In Water

LAUSANNE, Switzerland

Scientists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology have developed a device that can accurately measure fluoride concentrations using only a few drops of water. The importance of the device is that it is portable, less expensive that current methods and can be deployed on-site by virtually anyone.

OOSKAnews Talks - Mark Fletcher, Arup: Global Water And Climate Change Adaptation Initiatives; Smart Cities; Water Innovation In Scotland

GLASGOW, Scotland

Dr Mark Fletcher, Director and Global Water Leader for Arup, an independent firm of designers, planners, engineers, consultants and technical specialists, speaks with David Duncan, Publisher, OOSKAnews in this (LINK) OOSKAnewscast audio interview.

Arup is a global, UK headquartered independent firm, owned in trust for its members, which is committed to undertaking work where the company can make a real difference in the world, and achieve socially valuable outcomes.

Fletcher describes Arup’s vision and mission, shares insights on the importance of adaptation to water stresses in the face of global climate change, the importance of international recognition of and response to water stress and climate change, and pioneering water approaches in cities around the world.

This interview was conducted February 7 in Glasgow, Scotland, on the occasion of an event hosted by the Scottish Government initiative “Hydro Nation Water Innovation Service” (HNWIS) which aims to foster water innovation in Scotland. Arup acts as the Network Integrator of this initiative on behalf of the Scottish Government. In the latter half of this interview, Fletcher reflects on the “Scotland, Hydro Nation” program, with particular reference to the objective of HNWIS to support Scottish water technology innovators along the path to commercialization.

Readers are referred to previous OOSKAnews reportage on a 2018 Arup-produced paper “Cities Alive: Water for People”, and on Arup more generally.

Further information about Scotland's Hydro Nation Water Innovation Service is linked here.

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