World Water News By
21 Apr 2020 - 11:45 - KIGALI - Local Press Report
A group of young people in Rwanda have been writing and producing a series of radio dramas to teach listeners about the vital role hand-washing and sanitation play in preventing the spread of disea
21 Apr 2020 - 11:48 - PARIS - Local Press Report
The Mairie of Paris has assured residents that “there is no risk from tap water”, after traces of coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 - which causes Covid-19 - were found in the capital’s non-potable water sour
21 Apr 2020 - 11:52 - KINSHASA - Local Press Report
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is Africa’s most water-rich country, yet many of its people have no safe access to this precious resource.
21 Apr 2020 - 11:40 - RIO DE JANEIRO - Local Press Report
Long-neglected water and sewerage issues in Brazil’s favelas have gained new attention amid the global Covid-19 crisis.
21 Apr 2020 - 11:41 - BRUSSELS - Local Press Report
The European Commission has signed the grant agreement for WATER MINING, a 17 million euro project aimed at demonstrating innovative water resource solutions.
21 Apr 2020 - 11:47 - BANGKOK - Local Press Report
Thailand on Friday called for a joint study with China and neighboring countries to determine what caused a devastating drought in the Lower Mekong Basin last year, after a U.S.-funded report indic
21 Apr 2020 - 11:50 - TEHRAN - Local Press Report
The European Union (EU) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) have announced their €10- million support for the rehabilitation of Hamoun international wetlands, Ahmad Lahijanzadeh, depu
21 Apr 2020 - 09:44 - FLINT MI, United States - OOSKAnews Correspondent
The former Governor of the State of Michigan, US, was warned about the dangers of water in the city of Flint as early as 2013, according to a new investigative report. The report details actions of local and state officials before, during and after exposure of the health crisis in a city of approximately 100,000 residents. It is estimated that 115 people died in 2014 and 2015 from waterborne bacterial disease and potentially more from pneunomia related to Legionella.
21 Apr 2020 - 08:27 - HARARE, Zimbabwe - OOSKAnews Correspondent
The Mayor of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, has warned that drawing water from the city’s dams was becoming increasingly difficult because of low water levels, and called on the government to intervene on an urgent basis. The city has been on an 108 hour rationing schedule, despite the country's COVID-19 lockdown and the increased need ensure good hygiene. The city’s dams are at about 30 percent capacity and one is predicted to run dry in the next two to three weeks.
21 Apr 2020 - 07:21 - BEIRUT, Lebanon - Staff - Water Diplomat
The UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) has warned that inadequate acccess to water for hand-washing and drinking exacerbates risk of coronavirus infection in many Arab countries. In a 16 April policy brief the agency described an urgency “to ensure access to clean water and sanitation services to everyone everywhere, at no cost for those who cannot afford it, in order to avoid further spread of the coronavirus".
20 Apr 2020 - 11:04 - ROME, Italy - Staff - Water Diplomat
On 9 April, Holy Thursday in the Catholic Church liturgical calendar, Pope Francis delivered his homily behind closed doors at St Peter's basilica in the Vatican, which has been closed to the public since early March. Among other topics, the Pope spoke about the novel coronavirus, suggesting that the global pandemic might be one of nature's responses to the man-made climate crisis.
Consistent with this messaging, the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development called last month for renewed efforts to confront water issues, to protect and care for water resources, and to provide clean water for all. (OOSKAnews)
20 Apr 2020 - 11:01 - MBOMBELA - Local Press Report
Vast tracts of the Mpumalanga highveld are home to about 494,004 hectares of commercial tree plantations, most of them pine.
20 Apr 2020 - 11:02 - WELLINGTON - Local Press Report
Data and findings in the Freshwater 2020 report, released today, provide powerful backing for the case for greater investment in water storage.
20 Apr 2020 - 11:03 - ROME - Local Press Report
A clip of Pope Francis holding Scotch whisky and saying it is “the real holy water” was censored ahead of a new documentary about Scottish seminarians in Rome.
20 Apr 2020 - 10:59 - AYACUCHO - Local Press Report
Rather than trying to seize the fertile valley floor, where people already lived, Wari colonists occupied high, dry land that no one else had figured out how to use.
20 Apr 2020 - 07:31 - EDINBURGH, Scotland - Staff - Water Diplomat
OOSKAnews Voices is a series of guest columns written by senior participants in different parts of the international water community. In this article, Dr Michael Gormley describes how management of plumbing systems within buildings can be deployed to limit transmission of infectious pathogens.Gormley is Director of the Institute for Sustainable Building Design and Director of the Water Academy in the School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society at Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland.. He is a Chartered Engineer and has worked in academia and industry for 35 years and currently holds several international patents. His main research interests relate to fundamental numerical modelling of fluid flows in water supply and sanitation systems applied to three broad areas – Infection spread dynamics, building wastewater plumbing system product development and water and sanitation (WASH) in an international development context.
Over the last 20 years or so, one of the areas I have focused on is research aimed at improving the performance and safety of building drainage systems, particularly tall buildings, which by their very nature are engineering challenges. Two facts about these systems are rarely understood, the first is that air is as important in a wastewater plumbing system as water, and second, that the small amount of water in the U-bends under sinks, baths, showers and toilets, is the main defense against the ingress of foul or contaminated air into the interior of the building from the wastewater plumbing system and sewer. The challenge for designers is to specify a system which will minimize air pressure fluctuations and protect the water in U-bends.
While foul smells are often a nuisance, the emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 virus at the end of 2019 and the disease that it causes COVID-19 have given this a different level of importance, particularly in light of our research on infection spread in tall buildings which we recently reported in the Lancet Global Health. In particular we have identified a transmission pathway for bacteria and viruses (like SARS-CoV-2) through defects, like empty U-bends.
The identification of the wastewater plumbing system as a potential transmission pathway for pathogens goes back to the SARS outbreak of 2002-2003 and one building which raised concerns at the time. In 2003, the World Health Organisation (WHO) published a final report into a superspreading event of SARS within a housing block in Hong Kong. The 41-storey building had over 300 confirmed cases of SARS and 42 deaths. The report identified defects in the wastewater plumbing system as a transmission mode within the building which facilitated the transport of ‘virus laden droplets’ through empty U-Bends in bathrooms. This airborne transmission route was aided by bathroom extract ventilation which drew contaminated air into the room. Since then, our research group has been working on investigating mechanisms of cross transmission, improvements in system design, and innovations in system monitoring, including confirmation of the wastewater plumbing system as a reservoir for pathogens.
In 2017, we published results from an experiment on a full scale two-storey wastewater plumbing test-rig in which we used a model organism to represent pathogens flushed into the system. Viable organisms were shown to be transmitted between rooms on different floors of a building being carried within the system airflow, under defect conditions similar to those found in the SARS case in Hong Kong. Droplet fallout resulted in contamination of surfaces within the system and rooms.
In that paper, published in PLoS One, we also suggest causes of the wastewater plumbing system defects and presented a basic qualitative risk assessment for disease spread in buildings. One significant factor identified was the interconnectedness of all parts of the building by the wastewater plumbing system and, therefore, the potential for contaminated air to travel throughout the building unhindered.
So, the potential for a substantial viral load within the wastewater plumbing system (and therefore the main sewer system), in combination with the potential for airborne transmission due to aerosolisation of the virus, calls for wastewater plumbing systems to be considered as a potential transmission pathway for COVID-19.The interconnectedness of the wastewater plumbing network can facilitate exposure to SARS-CoV-2 within, or even between, buildings. This is of particular concern in high-risk transmission settings such as hospitals and health-care buildings.
So, what is the long-term solution to this issue? Given that the industry has been aware of this for 17 years with little change, what should happen now? In my view the issue is one of regulation. There are virtually no regulations on internal plumbing systems once installed. This lack of regulation would be unthinkable in water supply systems in buildings, so now is the time to start thinking about how to overhaul codes and standards and introduce regulations for wastewater plumbing systems inside buildings - before the next inevitable pandemic.
19 Apr 2020 - 09:21 - JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Staff - Water Diplomat
Basic water and hygiene supplies have been described as lacking in parts of South Africa during the country's COVID-19 lockdown, which is currently planned to extend to 30 April. Angry residents in the Eastern Cape told Sowetan Live that on 12 April "we heard that they [health workers] were coming and we decided to set dogs on them and also threw stones at them because they didn't come with sanitisers or water so that we can wash our hands regularly as required".
19 Apr 2020 - 08:59 - SANTIAGO, Chile - Staff - Water Diplomat
Chile has become the first country in Latin America to submit its updated climate action commitment (Nationally Determined Contribution, or NDC) as required by the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, under which every country agreed to prepare and communicate an updated nationally determined contribution (NDC) every five years to reflect progress toward its highest possible ambition. So far, seven nations have submitted updated NDCs.
16 Apr 2020 - 07:51 - WASHINGTON DC, United States - Staff - Water Diplomat
The World Resources Institute (WRI), a global research non-profit organization, has called for immediate implementation of solutions to increase water supplies and access for the most vulnerable, to address the spread of coronavirus throughout the world.
An 8 April blog emphasises that nearly 1 billion people live in conditions that frequent handwashing is difficult or impossible, saying that governments must “take steps to not only expand water access now to control COVID-19, but to create resilient communities by addressing the root problems of water insecurity...what’s also needed to foster resilience to disease outbreaks and other disasters is better water management".
16 Apr 2020 - 05:48 - RENO NV - Local Press Report
Five conservation groups have joined a tribe’s effort to block the expansion of a northeast Nevada gold mine they say would suck water from other area users and destroy cultural resources and habitat for sensitive wildlife dependent on nearby wetlands.