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Iraq: Basra Crisis Worsens As Iran Consulate Attacked, Power Outages Hit

BASRA, Iraq

The International Committee of the Red Cross said September 11 that drinking water could soon run even lower in the southern Iraq city of Basra.

The main Wafa al-Qaed water treatment plant on the northern edge of Basra has been out of action due to a power outage since Friday and although other plants were able to supply some 40 percent of usual needs, the quality of the water was poor, the Red Cross said.

"This is an emergency situation. We need to restore the full supply," said spokeswoman Nada Doumani. She said she did not know the reason for the power cut.

Hospitals in Basra have seen an influx of patients suffering from diarrhea and various intestinal infections, with some 6,280 people being admitted to hospitals for treatment in the last 2 weeks alone.

Last week Basra’s health department released a water quality report stating that there is 100 percent chemical contamination and 50 percent bacterial contamination. Chlorine is not being used in treatment plants.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi met September 10 with officials and tribal leaders in the Basra where violence has erupted since July, culminating in an attack on the consulate of Iran last week when 15 protesters were killed and city institutions burned.

India Government Accused Of Trying To Help Reopen Sterlite Copper Plant

MADRAS, India

A Tamil Nadu opposition politician has condemned a report by the Union Ministry of Water Resources that stated that the shuttered Sterlite Industry copper smelting plant was not the only cause of pollution of local groundwater. Indian officials had in May ordered permanent closure of the Sterlite plant in Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu, after police killed 13 people in protests against water pollution caused by the smelter and ancillary activities.

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Kenya Survey Explores Connections Between Droughts, Migration And Violence

NAIROBI, Kenya

A nationwide survey of a sub-Saharan African country is being conducted to find connections between droughts, migration and violence. A team from the University of Utah, US in partnership with the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the Institute of Nairobi had previously surveyed 1400 respondents in 175 locations across Kenya in 2014, asking if they had relocated either permanently or temporarily because of drought, if they had been victims of violence, and, using an indirect questioning method, whether they have latent support for the use of violence.

World Bank Launches Initiative To Raise $3 Billion USD In Sustainable Development Bonds For Water Resources And Oceans

WASHINGTON, United States

The World Bank has announced the launch of a Sustainable Development Bond series to raise awareness of the critical role of water and ocean resources. The bonds aim to raise at least $3 Billion USD and will provide investors with an opportunity to highlight their support for the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that address water, sanitation and marine protection.

The bond series, announced August 29, supports the World Bank’s strategic focus on conservation and sustainable use of fresh and salt water resources, and forms part of the Bank’s issuance strategy to engage investors around the SDGs since their launch in 2015. The focus for the new series is to support SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation) and SDG 14 (life below water) and follows bond series earlier this year that focused on gender and health and nutrition.

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Detroit Schools' Tap Water Contaminated With Lead, Copper

DETROIT, United States

The Detroit, Michigan Public Schools Superintendent has ordered closure of water fountains and other drinking fixtures in all 106 public schools in Detroit from September 4, the start of the school year, after tsts identified unsafe levels of lead or copper. Replacement coolers and bottled water will cost $200,000 USD over two months, after which the district probably will seek bids for a longer-term contract. Some 50,000 students are affected by the change

Improved Water Management Breaks Vicious Cycles In Protracted Crisis Situations

WASHINGTON, United States

A World Bank-United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO joint discussion paper published August 28 finds that institutional failures to address water-related challenges can act as risk multipliers, compounding existing situations of fragility. But improving water management can contribute to building resilience in the face of protracted crises.

Experts Can Predict Yemen Cholera Outbreaks By Studying Rainfall Patterns

LONDON, United Kingdom

A model developed by US scientists and NASA satellite data can predict where cholera is most at risk of spreading, with a reported 92 percent accuracy in war-torn Yemen.

The UN describes Yemen as the "worst humanitarian crisis in the world", with millions of Yemenis facing imminent famine as well as battling cholera and diphtheria outbreaks.

Fighting between the Saudi-led Arab coalition backed by the US and UK, and Iranian-backed Houthi rebels has killed more than 10,000 people and caused over 40,000 casualties in Yemen since March 2015. Water networks, power plants, airports, bridges, roads, schools and health facilities have all been destroyed in the fighting.

Stockholm's World Water Week Highlights Water, Ecosystems, Human Development

STOCKHOLM, Sweden

Stockholm's annual water event, World Water Week, concluded August 31. The conference, organized by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), attracted more than 3,600 participants from 133 countries who attended nearly 300 sessions.

SIWI’s Executive Director Torgny Holmgren highlighted the participation of younger people in the event this year: “We are on the right track!” he said, adding: “There are many great things going on.” 

Antonella Vagliente from Young Water Solutions stressed how young people from indigenous backgrounds are turning traditional knowledge into new businesses: “They have adapted their lifestyles and their communities to nature and we have a lot to learn from that,” she said. 

This year’s theme ‘Water, ecosystems and human development’, focused on nature-based solutions and how they can be combined with conventional practices. The message was clear - a combination of green and grey approaches is the only way forward.

Water And Security Classification System Identifies Pathways To Conflict

WASHINGTON DC, United States

An August 2018 Report by the World Resources Institute (WRI) reviews key drivers behind links between water risk and security threats, conflict, migration and food security.

Water, Security and Conflict” is intended for professionals in the defense, diplomacy, and development fields.

A wide range of water-related risks undermine human well-being and can contribute to political instability, violent conflict, human displacement and migration, and acute food insecurity, which in turn can undermine national, regional, and even global security.

Political instability and conflicts are rarely caused by any single factor, such as a water crisis. Instead, water crises should be seen as contributing factors to instability, according to authors Charles Iceland and Peter Gleick.

India Water Resources Minister Signs MOU With 6 Indian States For Reboot Of Lakhwar Dam Project

NEW DELHI, India

India's Water Resources Minister signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) August 28 with Chief Ministers of 6 Indian states for construction of the Lakhwar multi-purpose project in the Upper Yamuna Basin, according to a government press release.

ADB, India Sign $375 Million USD Loan To Improve Irrigation In Madhya Pradesh

Manila, Philippines

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has signed a $375 Million USD loan agreement with India to expand irrigation networks and system efficiency in the country's central state of Madhya Pradesh.

19 Percent Of Global GDP Comes From Watersheds With High To Very High Water Risk

GENEVA, Switzerland

Nearly a quarter of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Asia and a fifth of the GDP in Africa lies within watersheds with high to very high water risk according to a new WWF Report

"Valuing Rivers - How The Diverse Benefits Of Healthy Rivers Underpin Economies", using a measurement of water risk that incorporates a range of values supported by rivers, finds that overall, 19 per cent of global GDP currently comes from watersheds with high to very high water risk.

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Don't Swim In The River Jordan? Leptospirosis Hospitalizes Dozens

TEL AVIV, Israel

Health authorities in Israel are considering making more rivers and streams in the Golan Heights off-limits to the public after more than 60 people were hospitalized with suspected leptospirosis. The Jordan has been added to the list of suspected sites after five teenagers were hospitalized with the infection after canoeing in the river.

Michigan Health Director Charged Over Flint Deaths

FLINT, United States

The State of Michigan has ordered the state's Director of Health and Human Services to stand trial for the deaths of two men from Legionnaires' disease in 2015.

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Catastrophic Consequences Of Kerala Flooding Avoidable?

DELHI, India

Experts have claimed that the devastation caused by monsoon floods in Kerala, India would have been less severe if dam water had been released in preceding months. Catastrophic flooding killed at least 370 people and displaced 780,000 in the south western state.

South Africa: Lack Of Investment Blamed For Vaal River System Contamination

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa

The Water and Sanitation Committee of the parliament of South Africa reported this week that "lack of investment in maintenance of the sewage infrastructure” by the Sedibeng District and Emfuleni municipalities has led to the crumbling infrastructure and contamination of the Vaal River System, a tributary of the Orange River and vital source of irrigation water for some of South Africa’s riches

USEPA Receives $9.1 Billion USD In Letters Of Interest For WIFIA Water Infrastructure Loans

WASHINGTON, United States

The US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) announced this week that it had received 62 letters of interest (LOIs) collectively requesting $9.1 Billion USD in loans from a wide range of prospective borrowers in response to the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program’s 2018 Notice of Funding Availability.

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European Expats Will Fundraise For Pakistan Dams

LAHORE, Pakistan

The Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar is to visit the United Kingdom and other European countries to speak to expat Pakistanis about water scarcity in the country and discuss fundraising for dam building in Pakistan from overseas Pakistanis.

Emergency Fuel Supplies For Gaza Water, Sanitation Are Critically Low: UN

GAZA, Palestinian Territory

The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, Jamie McGoldrick, called August 20 on the donor community to immediately fund the procurement of emergency fuel to prevent essential services in the Gaza Strip from shutting down completely.

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