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Eighty Percent Of Corporate Wastewater Is Released Into The Environment Untreated

LONDON, United Kingdom

Most corporations are not doing enough to address water pollution, according to the Carbon Disclosure Project's (CDP) 2019 Global Water Report which comprises data submitted to the organisation by 2,433 companies.

CDP’s analysis of the data indicates that fewer than half of the disclosing companies measure and monitor water discharges, and only 12 percent have set a pollution reduction target or goal. Companies underestimate the risks related to water pollution, and only 10 percent of reporting companies viewed pollution as a principal business risk.

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Record Numbers Are Displaced In Their Own Countries Due to Climate Change, Conflict And Disasters

GENEVA, Switzerland

A new report from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) shows a new record of over 50 million internally displaced people, globally.

The Global Report on Internal Displacement (GRID) estimates that 45.7 million people have been displaced due to conflict and violence in 61 countries, including Syria, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Yemen and Afghanistan. An additional 5 million in 95 countries were displaced because of natural disasters, including monsoons in India and over 33,000 who are still displaced after an earthquake in Haiti in 2010.

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"Transformational" Change In Water Focus Post-pandemic

LONDON, United Kingdom

The 2020 Covid-19 pandemic could increase developing countries and development partners’ focus on water and WASH and trigger transformational change in some countries, according to a report commissioned by the United Kingdom government.

“Water security beyond Covid-19”, produced by The Knowledge, Evidence and Learning for Development Programme (K4D) for the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), synthesises recent expertise and thinking to relate that “As the Covid-19 pandemic is still unfolding, it is not clear what the impact on developing countries or their water security will be...Consequently, there is a need to monitor how the pandemic unfolds and assimilate lessons learned. Interventions to strengthen water security should focus on four key areas: adequate water availability, acceptable water quality, water resource management, and affordable access to WASH (Water, Sanitation and Health)”.

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Ninety Thousand People Evacuated In Uzbekistan And Kazakhstan After Dam Bursts

TASHKENT, Uzbekistan

More than 90,000 people have been evacuated in eastern Uzbekistan and in the south of neighbouring Kazakhstan after a 1 May breach in the Sardoba Dam on the Syr Darya river basin in Uzbekistan following heavy rainfall and high winds.

Around 70,000 people were evacuated from 22 Uzbek villages, and 22,000 residents in Kazakhstan’s Turkestan region as hundreds of houses were submerged, and agricultural regions flooded.

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Belgian Authorities Blame French Sugar Beet Refinery Leak For Downstream Mass Fish-kill

TOURNAI, Belgium

50-70 tonnes of fish have died in Wallonia, Belgium, blamed on contamination from a leak in a settling pond at a sugar beet refinery across the border in France.

Tereos, owners of the processing facility in France, admit a leak was found 10 April that led to a spill of wastewater into a tributary of the Scheldt River, but claims there is no proven link between the spill and a reduction in oxygen levels resulting in the fish kill. Belgian authorities have accused the French factory of being too slow in issuing a warning.

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War-torn Yemen Hit By Floods, Cholera

SANA'A, Yemen

Since mid-April, more than 100,000 people across conflict-torn Yemen, but particularly Aden, Abyan, Lahj and Sana’a City, have been affected by heavy rain and flash flooding that has contaminated water supplies, damaged roads, bridges and power, and cut access to basic services.

UNICEF has warned that over 5 million children under the age of five are facing a heightened threat of cholera and Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD). More than 110,000 cases of suspected cholera have been recorded across 290 of Yemen’s 331 districts since January 2020. Children under the age of five account for about 25 percent.

Further OOSKAnews coverage of water in Yemen (More than 500 articles)

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EBRD, Switzerland and European Union Support Sustainable Water Utilities In Kyrgyz Republic

BISHKEK, Kyrgyz Republic

Citizens of Naryn in the cetral region of the Kyrgyz Republic will enjoy improved wastewater services thanks to a joint $7 Million USD investment by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Government of Switzerland and the European Union (EU) in the municipal water service infrastructure at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has demonstrated the critical importance of high standards of hygiene and sanitation.

US Voters Support Investment In Water Infrastructure

WASHINGTON DC, United States

A new poll conducted on behalf of the Value of Water Campaign shows that voters in the United States value water and want elected officials to prioritise investment in drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. In principle, more than four in five US voters support increasing federal investment in water infrastructure, supporting an increase in federal investment in rebuilding water infrastructure ‐ including pipes, pumps, reservoirs, treatment plants, and other facilities ‐ “to ensure safe, reliable water service for all communities”.

Czech Republic: Historic Drought Threatens Drinking Water Availability And Harvest

PRAGUE, Czech Republic

The Environment Minister of the Czech Republic, has called the combination of almost no snowfall and a warm winter, which has caused a 500-year drought, “catastrophic” for the country.

In a 29 April televised briefing to journalists, Jiri Brabec said "Currently, 80 percent of underground wells are in a state of mild to extreme drought, mainly due to the accumulation of the deficit in the last 6 years and extremely little snow in the past winter".

Water Diplomacy Talks - - "Alternative Dispute Resolution"

MUMBAI, India

Jayantika Kutty, Research Analyst with think-tank Strategic Foresight Group (SFG), speaks with David Duncan, Publisher, OOSKAnews in this (LINK) OOSKAnewscast / Water Diplomat audio interview.

This OOSKAnewscast was recorded on the occasion of the release of  an SFG "Blue Peace Bulletin" titled "Alternative Dispute Resolution". (THE FULL APRIL 2019 BULLETIN CAN BE DOWNLOADED HERE).

Riparian countries cooperating on water management are bound to face new issues that could potentially lead to conflict. It is therefore important to have built in mechanisms in their water sharing agreements that could lead to a peaceful resolution of issues as and when they arise. River Basin Oraganisations around the world have found a different, but effective way of dealing with resolution of disputes between them. This issue of the Blue Peace Bulletin examines some of them.  Kutty is part of the research team behind Blue Peace Bulletins, monthly publications which highlight issues related to water and violence in different geographic regions.
 
Jayantika holds an MA in International Law and the Settlement of Disputes from the United Nations mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica. SFG is a Mumbai, India-based international think-tank engaged in crafting new policy concepts that enable decision makers to prepare for a future in uncertain times. Measuring cooperation between riparian countries and the efficacy of such cooperation can serve to better inform and advance regional peace and stability. In the audio conversation, Jayantika Kutty describes the "Water Cooperation Quotient"  (WCQ) developed by SFG, which uses a framework of different parameters to measure the level of cooperation between riparian countries such as agreement, exchange of data, water infrastructure, and political commitment. One of the WCQ parameters stipulates for "Alternative Dispute Resolution" (ADR), defining this as “The riparian countries have a well-defined mechanism for resolving disputes, which could be either through a River Basin Organisation, to which they belong, or through reference to a specific third party.
 

The Blue Peace Bulletin offers a number of examples of Alternative Dispute Resolution; in the audio conversation, Kutty makes specific mention of:

  • The 1978 "Convention Relating to the Status of River Gambia", signed by Gambia, Senegal, Guinea and Guinea Bissau, which provided for the creation of ‘The Organization for the Development of the Gambia River’ (OMVG), an RBO to manage three trans-boundary rivers namely, Gambia, Corubal and Geba.
  • 1960's Indus Water Treaty between India and Pakistan which has managed to survive wars and diplomatic clashes between the countries and has been able to fulfil certain water obligations with The World Bank acting as a mediator.
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"Catastrophic" Human And Economic Cost of Flooding Caused By Climate Change

WASHINGTON DC, United States

By 2030, up to 15 million people and $177 Billion USD in urban property will be affected by annual coastal flooding and an additional 132 million people and $535 Billion USD will be affected by riverine flooding, the World Resources Institute (WRI) reports (Aqueduct Floods Tool).

Floods are more intense as a consequence of climate change, development in high-risk zones, and land subsidence from the overuse of groundwater. Using its “Aqueduct Floods” tool, World Resources Institute calculates that by 2050, the numbers are predicted to be “catastrophic”, with a total of 221 million people at risk, with cities bearing the cost of approximately $1.7 Trillion USD annually. Developed in 2014 with consortium of data partners, including Deltares, Amsterdam’s Institute for Environmental Studies, Utrecht University, and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, the tool also suggests that investment in flood protection infrastructure returns significant benefit. For instance, every $1 invested in flood protection infrastructure in India results in $248 in avoided damages and a 50 percent decrease in future risk.
 

Charlie Iceland, Director of water initiatives at WRI, told OOSKAnews that “even relatively modest efforts to increase flood protection levels could yield very significant benefits. For example, if Tanzania were to increase its riverine flood protection levels to guard against a 1-in-10-year flood instead of a smaller 1-in-5-year flood (the amount of flood protection we estimate they currently have), this would result in avoided impacts on $79 billion worth of GDP between now and 2100, avoided impacts to 74 million people, and benefits of about $20 for every $1 spent".

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China-funded Guinea Dam Breaches Human Rights Of Displaced Communities

Conakry, Guinea

A new report from research and advocacy group Human Rights Watch (HRW) describes construction of the Republic of Guinea's Souapiti dam as breaching human rights requirements for displaced persons. The group examines the impact of the 450 megawatt dam on the villages and hamlets that are affected by the flooding of the reservoir and the lack of support provided by the government of Guinea president Alpha Conde.

The report is based on information from over 90 interviews with displaced residents and villages in the West African Republic on whose land people are resettled, as well as interviews with government leaders involved in the resettlement process, also offering recommendations on how resettlements can be improved going forward, and describing remedies needed for communities that have already been displaced.

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Transboundary Cooperation To Protect Drin River Basin Water Resources

TIRANA, Albania

Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro, Greece and Northern Macedonia have approved a Strategic Action Plan (SAP) for sustainable management of the shared Drin River Basin, an important source for fishing, electricity, agriculture, tourism and drinking water in the countries. The project sets out more than 100 agreed actions to enable sustainable water management in the basin, benefiting 1.6 million inhabitants.

The SAP, approved in a “virtually signed” 24 April statement by Ministers and representatives, aims to address four particular cross-border issues among the Riparian nations - water pollution, biodiversity degradation and ecosystems, water flow and sediment disturbances.

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Continuing War Of Words Over Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia

Differences remain stark between the positions of Ethiopia and Egypt over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on the Blue Nile.

Further OOSKAnews Coverage of GERD (70 Articles)

Zerihun Abebe, a member of Ethiopia’s negotiating team, told media 26 April that completing the dam is not just a matter of development, but more a matter of survival for Ethiopia. Abebe argued that while the dam is framed as a prestigious power project and an exercise in hydro-hegemony in Egyptian narratives, “this is a misrepresentation”.

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Lake Victoria Floods Force Displacement, Hamper Social Distancing Measures

KISUMU CITY, Kenya

Heavy rains that have caused major flooding in and around Lake Victoria over the past two weeks have affected fisheries, restaurants, shops, homes and livelihoods in in Kenya and Uganda, with widespread destruction and displacement. Experts and villagers claim this is the worst flooding since 1963. Local officials in Kenya have appealed to the national government for assistance in an effort to mitigate the problems and to forestall friction among fishing and pastoralist communities.

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Israel Halts Cyber Attack On Water Infrastructure

TEL AVIV, Israel

Israel’s Water Authority has reported that a number of cyber attacks on command and control systems of several wastewater treatment plants, pumping stations and sewage water infrastructure were attempted throughout the country. The 24-25 April action appears to have been coordinated but there was no damage to the water supply.

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Romania: EBRD Loan Supports Buzau County Water Infrastructure Improvement

BUZAU, Romania

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has approved $21.5 Million USD financing for water and wastewater infrastructure improvement in Buzau County, in southeastern Romania.

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"World's Largest" Agriculture Drainage Facility Opens In Egypt

CAIRO, Egypt

Egypt has officially opened the world’s largest agricultural drainage treatment, recycling and reuse plant in the northeastern city of Ismailia, east of the Suez canal.

The $100 Million USD Al Mahsamma facility, that can process up to 1 million cubic meters per day, will make a significant contribution to conservation of the natural ecology of Al Temsah Lake which has been impacted by wastewater disposal, treating the waste then draining it into the East Sinai canal.

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Support For Dhaka Water Network Improvements

DHAKA, Bangladesh

Bangladesh capital city Dhaka's water and sewage system is to benefit from development bank and government investment to improve supply and sanitation for an underserved, fast growing poulation.

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US Judge Halts Tar Sands Pipeline, Citing Ecosystem Impacts Of Water-crossings

BILLINGS MT, United States

A federal judge in the US state of Montana has ruled that the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) violated the law when it approved an important water-crossing permit for the contentious Keystone XL tar sands pipeline system which runs from the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin in Alberta, Canada to refineries, oil tank farms and pipeline distribution systems in central and southern US states.

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