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November-December 2006 International Water News


Water supply restored in Mumbai

Water flowed freely in Mumbai again on Thursday after a day when taps ran dry in the country's commercial capital due to repairs to the city's water system.  "Water supply has been restored in all areas this morning as the work was completed successfully last night. The next phase of the project will take place in January," Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) sources said in Mumbai.  Mumbai faced 100 per cent water cut on Wednesday for the first time in a century, throwing citizens in a tizzy. Hospitals had put a hold on routine surgeries and hotels and other commercial establishments had ordered water tankers to counter the shortage.  The water supply to the city was cut off from 10 am on Wednesday for repairs and connecting the already laid pipelines to a filteration plant.  The city currently receives 3,200 million litres of water per day and the repair work will enable the city to have an additional 355 million litres of water a day.  Hindustan Times_12/28/06

Arsenic threat to water in African state of Burkina Faso

Authorities have closed large numbers of water wells in the poverty-stricken west African state of Burkina Faso because of arsenic in drinking water that has already reportedly caused two deaths.  The emergency measure will mean a major water shortage for local people in the north of the country where the contamination was detected, reports said Wednesday.  Burkina Faso has in the past been badly hit by drought since the 1970s, when desertification in the north intensified.  According to one newspaper report a young woman and a man have already died after drinking water contaminated with arsenic. Officials could not confirm this.  "We have closed numerous wells after analysis showed arsenic content well above 10 micro-grammes per litre, the norm set by the World Health Organisation," said Dr Moussa Dadjoari, regional health director at Ouayigouya in the north.  Health authorities fear continued consumption of arsenic-contaminated water could cause vascular illness, damage eyesight, and provoke skin, kidney or lung cancer.  Yahoo News_12/27/06

Peruvian President Alan Garcia calls for US$37.5 million drinking water projects

A government news release said the water and sewage projects will serve Lima's Manchay district, especially the poor as part of the country's Water for All program. Works will include the construction of 14 large reservoirs, six water storage tanks, and 67km of pipelines to provide water to some 7,880 homes. Inhabitants of Manchay have lacked access to potable water for more than 20 years. The government has assigned over 1billion soles to upgrade and expand the country's potable water network through eight large projects being carried out in Lima and another 270 projects in the rest of the country. News Release/Business News Americas_ 12/26/06

20 million in India's financial hub of Mumbai without water for a day

The 24-hour shut-down was ordered as civic authorities connect new water piopelines to repair a creaky, century-old system that has failed to handle the city's demands.

Mumbai will be hit by another 20 percent water cut for five straight days in early January because of related repairs at a suburban water reservoir. New pipes will be fully operational in February 2007. More than 400 people were killed in Mumbai last year in floods caused by torrential rains that the city's drainage system was unable to handle. AFP/Yahoo_ 12/26/06

Saudi Arabia considers underground dams instead of desalination

Higher authorities in the Kingdom are currently studying an SR20 billion water bank project to meet the country’s growing water requirements. According to Muhammad Habeeb Al-Bukhari, an expert at the Water Research Center of King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah, the project is designed to meet local water requirements for the next 21 years. Bukhari, who has participated in preparing a study on the project, said it would be carried out in the southern Tihama region that receives a lot of rainwater and has suitable locations to establish underground dams to store water closer to Makkah, Jeddah, Taif, Madinah, Baha and Abha regions that require a large supply of potable water. He said the government thought of this cheaper alternative after finding desalination costly and damaging to the environment. There is also difficulty in supplying spare parts required by the Kingdom’s desalt plants on the Red Sea and Arabian Gulf. The government has already spent more than SR50 billion on desalt plants in the past years. Arab News_ 12/24/06

Ethiopia: 1.4 million people to get clean water

More than 1.4 million Ethiopians are to get clean drinking water close to their homes for the first time through a new US$29 million partnership between the European Union and UNICEF, it was learnt. According to a press release issued by UNICEF, the ground-breaking programme will reach children, women and men in every region of Ethiopia over the next five years. It is estimated that 250,000 Ethiopian children die every year from preventable water and sanitation-related diseases. Around 80 percent of the disease burdens in the country are communicable diseases mainly caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation facilities. Less than 50 percent of health facilities have access to safe water. Unavailability of water within a reasonable distance has been shown to correlate directly to low rate of school attendance and high rate of drop out by girls. This is due to the disproportionate amount of domestic work, such as water fetching which rests on girls. In 2004, The World Bank commissioned as assessment that found less than 40 percent of the population has access to safe water and less than 20 percent has access to sanitation facilities. That is way below the sub-Saharan Africa average of about 60% for both water and sanitation. The Reporter/allAfrica.com_ 12/24/06

U.N. urges end to 'water apartheid'

A U.N. Development Program report calls for an end to "water apartheid." Dirty water is the second-leading cause of death among children globally, after respiratory infections. It kills 1.8 million children younger than 5 each year, more than AIDS, malaria, war or car accidents, the report says. The report's main contention is that, if countries boost access to clean water and sanitation simultaneously, the rates of child survival in developing countries can rocket "almost overnight." Globally, 2.6 billion people have no access to proper sanitation and 1.1 billion people lack clean water. Most of the latter group use about 1.3 gallons of water a day, compared with 40 gallons a day used by the typical American, the biggest water guzzler on the planet. In Peru, children in families with toilets and clean water were 59 percent more likely to survive childhood than those without, according to the report. In Egypt, the figure is 57 percent. In cities such as Dar es Salaam, capital of Tanzania, people are paying more for water than New Yorkers. The report said the crisis in water and sanitation in sub-Saharan Africa retarded economic growth by 5 percent of gross domestic product a year, more than the region receives in foreign aid. A big boost in spending on water and sanitation would pay for itself in economic growth. Los Angeles Times/Philadelphia Inquirer_ 12/24/06

Afghanistan to spend US$3 billion on 50 water projects

Construction of the proposed projects is part of the 10-year plan, Afghan Minister for Energy and Water Mohammad Ismail Khan told a meeting attended by first Vice President Ahmad Zia Masoud and senior government officials. The projects include the construction of small and big dams, and the digging of canals, water courses and water reservoirs. The meeting was informed that preliminary work on 11 big and 21 medium size dams has already been started. The minister said only 30 per cent of the 75 billion cubic metres of water is used in the country while the rest goes unused. He said funds had been provided by China, India, the United States, the World Bank and Asian Development Bank (ADB). Pajhwok Afghan News/Yahoo7_ 12/20/06

Tehran to host international conference on water resources management

Considering the role of water as a vital and precious substance and a driving force in socio-economic development and as a key factor in ecosystem conservation, the International Conference on Water Management in the Islamic Countries will be held in Tehran from 19-21 of February 2007. The conference is organized by Regional Center on Urban Water Management (RCUWM) in Tehran with the cooperation of United Nations Scientific, Educational and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Islamic Scientific, Educational and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), and Power and Water University of Technology (PWUT).

The main themes of the conference are: Main challenges of water resources management in the Islamic countries; Strategies and priorities on water resources planning and management; Institutional arrangement and capacity building in the water sector; Water quality management; Demand management and improvement in water use and allocation efficiency; Non-conventional water resources; Management of mitigation strategies of droughts and floods; Groundwater mining; Potential cooperation between Islamic Countries in the water sector including trans-boundary issues. CHN/Tehran Times_ 12/18/06

Climate change melts Kilimanjaro’s snows
Rivers of ice at the Equator - foretold in the 2nd century, found in the 19th - are now melting away in this new century, returning to the realm of lore and fading photographs. From mile-high Naro Moru, villagers have watched year by year as the great glaciers of Mount Kenya, glinting in the equatorial sun high above them, have retreated into shrunken white stains on the rocky shoulders of the 16,897-foot peak. Some 200 miles due south, the storied snows of Mount Kilimanjaro, the tropical glaciers first seen by disbelieving Europeans in 1848, are vanishing. And to the west, in the heart of equatorial Africa, the ice caps are shrinking fast atop Uganda's Rwenzoris - the "Mountains of the Moon" imagined by ancient Greeks as the source of the Nile River. The total loss of ice masses ringing Africa's three highest peaks, projected by scientists to happen sometime in the next two to five decades, fits a global pattern playing out in South America's Andes Mountains, in Europe's Alps, in the Himalayas and beyond. Almost every one of more than 300 large glaciers studied worldwide is in retreat, international glaciologists reported in October in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. AP/San Francisco Examiner_ 12/16/06

European Parliament approves agreement for cleaner groundwater
The scope of the directive was broadened so that its aim will now be to protect groundwater "against pollution and deterioration" and not only "against pollution" as Council had proposed in its common position. This point was important to Parliament, as groundwater is the most sensitive and, in many regions, the largest source of public drinking water. In another key point of the agreement, Parliament successfully demanded that Member States be required to take "all measures necessary to prevent inputs into groundwater of any hazardous substances" and not merely "all measures necessary to aim to prevent" this type of pollution, as the Council wanted. These "hazardous substances" include cyanide, arsenic, biocides and phytopharmaceutical substances. News Release_ 12/12/06

World Bank ready to facilitate Pakistan-Afghan water treaty

The World Bank has shown its willingness to conduct a study for a water treaty between Pakistan and Afghanistan, provided both the countries desire it.  John Wall, the Country Director World Bank, said the bank would not hesitate in facilitating both Islamabad and Kabul entering into a water treaty on the pattern of the water treaty signed in 1960 between Pakistan and India.

Pakistani government officials said the World Band had asked the United Nations to help collect data on water from the upper riparian country—Afghanistan.  Officials said this data was required for the draft of the treaty and work on its collection had already started. The Pakistan government was in contact with Kabul through the World Bank, he said.  The News, 12/14/06

Sydney, Australia's untapped water stash

Sydney is sitting on an under-used groundwater source that could supply an extra four billion litres of water a year, a new report has found. Conservative estimates suggest the Botany Aquifer, located between Centennial Park and Botany Bay, could provide more than two per cent of the city's water needs. University of NSW researchers believe the aquifer could yield even more water if it was "recharged" with additional storm water. The aquifer, which is like a sandy sponge holding water under the city, was Sydney's main water source before the building of the Warragamba Dam. AAP/Sydney Morning Herald_ 12/11/06

Northern Ireland 'could face water shortages': expert
Northern Ireland could face acute water shortages within the next 30 years, according to a climate change expert.  Dr John Sweeney said the Water Service should act now to prepare for drier summers and lower predictability of supply.  He has urged the government to build more reservoirs to offset future water problems.  However, potential water shortages may ironically be accompanied by major flooding because of global warming.  Dr Sweeney, heads a team of climate change researchers at the National University of Ireland, Maynooth, County Kildare.  Considerable investment was required if Northern Ireland was to avoid serious shortfalls in its water supply, he said.  There would be more winter rainfall, leading to rising river levels and flooding.  "The models are saying that the frequency of these events are likely to alter and it is on that basis that it makes judicious sense to start forward planning to cope with both of those extremes," said Dr Sweeney.  BBC News_12/8/06

Australia's EPA backs conditional drawing of water from aquifer

Western Australia's environmental watchdog has given qualified support for the Water Corporation to draw water from the Yarragadee Aquifer in the south-west, provided it meets strict environmental conditions.  The proposal involves drawing 45 gigalitres of water a year from the aquifer to help meet Perth's growing water needs.  The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) recommends that if the project is allowed to proceed, no additional large-scale allocations be allowed until a comprehensive study is complete.  The EPA also recommends a rigorous monitoring program and environmental management plan be established. _12/8/06

Dublin homes face weekend water cuts

Almost 35,000 homes in north Dublin will be without water this weekend because of works connected with the completion of the Dublin Port Tunnel.  Most of the northeast of the city will have its supply shut down with a "total loss of water" at some period between 8pm this evening and 6pm on Sunday.  Houses in surrounding areas will also experience some disruption to their water supply. Local Independent councillor Finian McGrath said the city manager and the port tunnel management team were showing complete disdain for the people of north Dublin.   Ireland.com_12/1/06

Water woes continue in Zimbabwe, pending US$2 Billion overhaul
Most of Zimbabwe’s cities and towns continue to face serious water supply problems despite the central government’s move this week to give the Zimbabwe National Water Authority control of all municipal and local water systems in the country.  Harare city authorities are thinking about introducing water rationing, as most parts of the city are in their third month without water.  Residents of the Midlands town of Kadoma said the supply is so unreliable that people have resorted to scooping rainwater out of unprotected sources like potholes.  The World Bank report said the existing system was failing because rates are too low and there is insufficient foreign exchange to buy water treatment chemicals.  Voice of America_11/30/06

Greater Vancouver boil-water advisory lifted after 12 days

About a million people who have been under a boil-water advisory in Greater Vancouver for 12 days have finally been told it's safe to drink from the taps. Medical health officer Dr. Patricia Daly said turbidity levels in the Seymour watershed have dropped low enough to allow people to drink unboiled, unbottled water. The Greater Vancouver Regional District issued the advisory on Nov. 16, following a major rainstorm that created unacceptable levels of silt in the Capilano and Seymour reservoirs on the North Shore. The Capilano reservoir, which was closed off last week, is still too turbid to drink and remains closed. The boil-water advisory had created a run on bottled water at stores across the Lower Mainland. cbc.ca_ 11/27/06

Potential water shortage one of biggest risks to India's economic future

"Water poses the greatest challenge ... we are at risk here," Finance Minister P. Chidambaram told 700 odd delegates from around the world to the India Economic Summit organized by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum. India has 18 percent of the world's population but only 4 percent of the water resources. A fifth of the country suffers from acute water shortages, and Chidambaram said many Indian states are often found squabbling with each other water. Only 60 percent of the country's 1 billion people have access to safe drinking water and according to World Bank estimates a fifth of communicable diseases in the country are caused by contaminated water. Social and political tensions over access to water may cause short- and long-term damage to the business and investment climate in India, the World Economic Forum said in a paper titled "India at Risk." AP/Kiplinger Forecasts_ 11/26/06

Feature: Water crisis is big test for Peru's president

For the impoverished people living on the sandy desert fringes of Peru's capital, Lima, reliable water supplies and politicians' promises are two things they know never to rely on. Working toilets and clean drinking water are unattainable luxuries for a third of Peru's city dwellers and two-thirds of its rural population, one of the world's highest levels for a middle-income country that boasts a fast-growing economy, huge investor interest and ample Andean water resources. President Alan Garcia, who took office in July warning of a "time bomb" if Peru's social needs are not addressed, has put water at the center of his domestic agenda -- a risky strategy that could threaten his government if he fails to deliver, such is the clamor for the resource considered a basic human right. Many are skeptical that he can meet his goal, especially given the ailing condition of Lima's state-owned water utility, Sedapal, which loses a third of its water through pipeline leaks and illegal connections. Meanwhile, any suggestion of selling off water companies is highly unpopular after the privatization of water utilities in Argentina and Bolivia went down so badly with local people and both countries kicked out private foreign operators. Reuters_ 11/26/06

Vancouver boil-water advisory in second week; May end soon

After an E. coli scare kept Vancouver on a boil-water advisory for a ninth day, there was finally hope Friday that the advisory may be lifted soon. Greater Vancouver officials confirmed that testing has revealed the water supply is free from E. coli contamination. About 900,000 Greater Vancouver residents have been under a boil-water advisory since last Thursday when water turbidity followed heavy rainstorms. New flags went up Wednesday when one water sample taken at the University of British Columbia campus tested positive for the potentially dangerous E.coli intestinal bug. Further testing showed the initial test result had been a false positive, officials said Friday. The boil-water advisory was first issued last Thursday after Wednesday's violent rainstorms. CTV.ca_ 11/24/06

Vancouver awaits word on E. coli in water, one reservoir taken off line to improve disinfection

It will likely be Friday before health officials have followup results from one positive E. coli reading, said Paul Archibald, water supply operations manager for the Greater Vancouver Regional District, which serves about two million residents. About half of them have been living under a boil-water advisory since last Friday because of turbidity - cloudiness caused by increased silt from runoff into the mountain reservoirs - following heavy rainstorms last week. The advisory is being called precautionary. Continued turbidity makes it harder for chlorination to rid the water of bacteria and parasites, although tests have not turned up any contamination. However, flags went up Wednesday when one water sample taken at the University of British Columbia campus tested positive for E. coli, a potentially dangerous intestinal bug. Officials said they believe it's a false-positive reading but the sample must be cultured in a laboratory to see if it grows E. coli bacteria. CP/CBC_ 11/23/06

E. coli found in British Columbia water

Health officials unconcerned, running second test for confirmation
The potentially deadly E. coli bacteria has been discovered in a sample of Vancouver water, medical health officer Patricia Daly told reporters Wednesday at a hastily arranged news conference.  However health officials were not overconcerned about the preliminary test results. The water may have been contaminated by runoff from compost near the sampling site on the grounds of the University of British Columbia, Dr. Daly said.  Further testing will be required to determine whether the water flowing through the municipal system was contaminated. Results from those tests were not expected to be available before Thursday morning.  E. coli bacteria from farm runoff contaminated the water supply in Walkerton, Ont., in May, 2000. The contamination led to seven deaths. More than 2,600 people became ill.  Globe and Mail_11/23/06

Thousands in East Africa forced from homes by floods; as many as 1.8 million affected in some way

International aid organisations have begun sending food, blankets and other emergency supplies to parts of east Africa hit by torrential rains and heavy flooding. At least 150 people have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced by the heavy rains in Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia. Floodwaters were still rising on Wednesday. The UN office for the co-ordination of humanitarian affairs has confirmed cases of cholera in southern Somalia. Cholera can be treated easily, but is a major killer in developing countries. It is transmitted through contaminated water and is linked to poor hygiene, overcrowding and inadequate sanitation. The UN says that up to 1.8 million people have been affected by the torrential rains. Al Jazeera English_ 11/22/06

Canada lags U.S., Europe on water safety: report
The week-long water safety warning for more than a million West Coast residents shows the weakness of Canada's drinking water systems, an environmental group said on Wednesday.  Canada's voluntary national guidelines for water quality lag the regulatory systems used by the United States and Europe and fall short of World Health Organization recommendations, according to the David Suzuki Foundation.  "Although Canada is envied around the world for its natural wealth of fresh water, there is a disturbing gap between the quality of our water and the quality of our drinking water guidelines," the report said.  The group cited a 2001 government report that estimated contaminated water in Canada was linked to more than 90 deaths and 90,000 illnesses each year.  Reuters_11/22/06

African Development Bank to spend N9.5 Billion on water, sanitation in Nigeria

The African Development Bank (NDB) will spend N9.5 billion ($75 million) on water and sanitation projects in the country next year.  Speaking during the 10th anniversary of the WaterAid Nigeria celebration, the Water and Sanitation Officer of the bank, Mr Sameh Wasseh, said the project was expected to begin in the first quarter of next year.  Wasseh said the project would be in collaboration with the federal government to tackle problems of water supply and sanitation in the country.  All Africa_11/22/06

New Zealand government to fund solar water heating

The New Zealand government will spend $15.5 million over the next three to four years to increase the use of solar water heating.   Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons, Government spokeswoman on Energy Efficiency and Conservation, said the funding would be spread over 3½ years.  About half would go towards increasing current funding of $300 to $500 to pay interest on loans taken out to install solar water heating systems which cost up to $8000.  The rest would be spent on information provision, promotion, industry training and standards, solar heating of government buildings and an innovation fund.

Can China's Yellow River meet expectations?

Of all the resource challenges pressing down on China, few are potentially more daunting than the lack of an adequate water supply, particularly in the northern tier of the country. Government studies conclude that about 400 of China's 600 cities lack an adequate supply for future growth. Many are now making do by draining underground aquifers to dangerously low levels. Some coastal cities are building desalination plants to turn seawater into drinking water. Overall, China has one of the lowest per-capita water supplies in the world and one of the most uneven distributions of water. Northern China is home to 43 percent of the population but only 14 percent of the country's supply of water. The Yellow River has been a lifeline for northern China, as well as a flood menace, since the birth of Chinese civilization. But now cities and communities along the river, encouraged by national policy, want a taste of the same growth and prosperity rising along China's coast. The question is whether the river can sustain it. International Herald Tribune_ 11/20/06

Residents of Vancouver, Canada boil water for 5th day as rain continues and watersheds clear slower than expected

The Greater Vancouver Area was expected to receive about 50 millimetres of rain on Sunday, increasing chances that hundreds of thousands of people will have to keep boiling their water for several more days. A water advisory was first issued on Thursday and remained in effect for about 900,000 people through the weekend. Mudslides had fouled supplies from the Capilano and Seymour reservoirs. People were advised to use bottled water for drinking, brushing teeth and washing fruits and vegetables. Discolouration from suspended silt raised concerns about gastrointestinal illnesses, but there have been no reports of anyone getting sick from drinking the water. CBC_ 11/19/06

Austrailian crisis plan to reuse water
Purified wastewater could be channelled through dams as part of a plan to guarantee supplies of drinking water to Australia's parched southeast.  In a further sign that impetus for the controversial move is sweeping through government circles, the state's water commission is preparing to officially advocate the addition of recycled water to the region's supplies.  The plan, which is being finalised by the Queensland Water Commission, is due to be released by February.  However, due to the severity of the water crisis, many of the measures contained in the plan, such as the Traveston Dam, have already been brought forward by the Government.  Water Commission chairman Elizabeth Nosworthy yesterday confirmed the plan would include recycled drinking water – or "indirect potable reuse" – as an option for meeting the region's long-term water needs.   News.com_11/15/06

Jeddah is in need of more water, concedes minister
As part of the Water Road Show touring the Kingdom, Water Minister and Electricity Abdullah Al-Hussayen held a press conference at the Jeddah Hilton yesterday. He was closely questioned about the local water shortage, privatization and related water issues.  The minister denied describing the water shortage in Jeddah as “fabricated” and challenged the questioner to produce evidence. “I would like you to provide me with audio proof where I used the word ‘fabricated’,” he said. He explained that panic buying based on rumors of an imminent water shortage led to a peak in demand last month.  “If 200 people gathered in the small room of the distribution center to get water tankers (unsuccessfully), 200 out of 3 million people means there is no problem,” he said.  Arab News_11/16/06

University students talk world water

Since the first World Water Forum was held in Marrakesh, Morocco in 1997, more and more students from throughout the world have turned their attention to this most precious of resources.  And well they should. Freshwater is one of the world’s most important assets, considered finite and central to sustainable development, economic growth, social stability and poverty alleviation.  At the University of Nevada, Reno, undergraduate and graduate students have taken the world water challenge seriously. They have held their own event since 2004, the Student World Water Forum, which has served to highlight students’ work on water-related issues. The third annual Student World Water Forum will be held on Nov. 16-17 and will feature a variety of presentations.  “The UNR Student World Water Forum is in its third year and has been a terrific success,” says Mike Collopy, director of the University’s Academy for the Environment, one of the sponsoring organizations for the event. “Both undergraduate and graduate students have gained valuable experiences both in organizing the forum and in presenting the results of their research on important regional and global water issues.”  Nevada News_11/15/06

'Tension over water won't lead to wars': UNDP specialist

Competition over controlling the planet's water resources will increase among nations in the next decade but will not lead to war, says UN Development Programme's policy specialist Arunabha Ghosh. According to UNDP's Human Development Report 2006, by 2025, over 3 billion people would be living under water stress. Putting to rest the theory of water wars between countries who share rivers and lakes, Ghosh told TOI, "In past 50 years, 37 stray incidents of violence have taken place between countries over water, 30 of which have been in the Middle East. However, none of them were wars. The last war fought over water was 4,000 years ago. Also in the last 50 years, over 200 treaties on water were negotiated between countries. India and Pakistan, despite two wars and constant geopolitical tension, have for half a century jointly managed shared watersheds through the Permanent Indus Water Commission." Earth may be a water planet but 97% of its water is in its oceans. Times of India_ 11/11/06

Zambian copper mine sparks drinking water scare

Zambia has ordered its largest copper mine to halt a key part of production after a spill polluted local water supplies for thousands of residents. Konkola Copper Mines was told to shut its leaching plant after it contaminated a river providing water to more than 50,000 people in Chingola. The town is without running water after local companies say they cut supplies because it was too dangerous to drink. Pollution was already a concern because of problems in another town, Kabwe, where environmental activists say children have faced a threat from pollution caused by the lead mine, which was shut down in the 1990s. BBC News_ 11/10/06

Sevastopol authorities pledge to resume full water supply tonight

The water supply will be restored fully in Sevastopol by Friday evening, Sevastopol vice-mayor Igor Loktionov said after a meeting of the headquarters for eliminating the aftermath of the incident.  “The water supply resumed in apartment blocks and facilities of the city. The water quality meets norms, it is suitable for drinking,” the official emphasized. Meanwhile, he noted that “the results of laboratory tests will be promulgated in the next two days.” For this reason there is no official version of water contamination.  The Sevastopol authorities also pledged to resume the heating supply on Saturday. The heating supply was cut, as the water supply disrupted.  Bottled water remains in high demand in the city. The drinking water is still being delivered in tank cars.  ITAR-TASS_11/10/06

UN report finds majority in Asia living without clean water, sanitation
Declaring "dirty water is a bigger killer than bullets" worldwide, the United Nations Development Program is calling for a global action plan for the more than one billion people with no access to clean water and sanitation.  The United Nations is sounding the alarm - with more than a billion people without clean water and half of the developing world without basic sanitation.  In its annual human development report, released Thursday, the U.N. Development Program says old policies have failed and it is time for new national strategies and international aid to address the issue.  The U.N. agency estimates that deaths from diarrhea - usually caused by drinking foul water - is six times higher than people dying in armed conflict each year. Nearly two million children alone die annually because of water related diseases.  Most of the people without clean water live in Asia. U.N.D.P's Shoji Nishimoto is the assistant administrator for development policy.  "Asia houses the largest number of people living below the poverty line. So, in an aggregate sense, the problem of water and sanitation is biggest in Asia-Pacific zone," he said. 

Voice of America_11/9/06

A drop-sized way to bring clean water to a thirsty world
Dripping taps in rich countries lose more clean water than is available to more than 1 billion people in the developing world. As you read this, close to half of all people living in poor countries are suffering from health problems that are related to dirty water and poor sanitation. Some 1.8 million children die each year because of diarrhea - a death toll six times higher than that of armed conflicts.  In a major report on water published Thursday, the UN Development Program (UNDP) takes a radically different approach. The Program's 2006 Human Development Report rejects the gloomy arithmetic. It argues that the poor's lack of water is caused by their lack of political power, rather than by the limits of nature. "The scarcity at the heart of the global water crisis," the UNDP maintains, "is rooted in power, poverty, and equality, not in physical availability."  More investment in water supply is urgently needed. Yet storing water in large, centralized reservoirs concentrates political power. The benefits of big, capital- intensive water investments tend to be captured by the rich and powerful members of society. "The danger is that the claims of the politically and commercially powerful will take precedence over the claims of the poor and marginalized," the Human Development Report warns. OPINIONChristian Science Monitor_11/10/06

World Bank debars Lahmeyer for bribing Lesotho water chief

Too little, too late?

The World Bank has debarred German consulting engineer Lahmeyer International from Bank-financed contracts for seven years because it bribed the chief executive of the Lesotho Highlands Water Project.  Some say the sanction is too late in coming. Lahmeyer was indicted by Lesotho authorities in 1999, and convicted after an appeal in 2004. That, plus the fact that the World Bank helped Lesotho investigate and prosecute, has led some observers to blame the World Bank for being too slow.  “It sends the wrong signal to other corporate bribers,” said Patricia Adams of the Canadian foreign aid watchdog, Probe International. “In those seven years since the original indictment, Lahmeyer was able to carry on business as usual. The Bank should have taken swift action and suspended the company's right to do business with the Bank when they were originally indicted, which is allowed for under the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, pending a decision by the Lesotho courts.”  World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz acknowledges that Lesotho has shown “courage and leadership” in punishing corruption in this massive water project.  "Institutions like the World Bank, and the governments of rich countries, should support the bold stance of poor countries like Lesotho which are working to make sure that precious public resources go to help the poor, for whom they are intended," he said.  CIOB International News_11/8/06

Burial grounds on reserve blamed for lack of water
Indian Affairs Minister Jim Prentice says there is a good reason why the vast majority of homes in Pikangikum have no running water and toilets: He says it is the custom of residents of the remote Ojibwa community to bury their loved ones in the family backyard, making it difficult to install water and sewage pipes without disturbing graves.  "It's a unique burial custom," Mr. Prentice said in an interview yesterday. "And so the issue has been, how do you hook the houses up to the water system without digging up all those graves?"  A story in The Globe and Mail this week outlined the plight of the reserve's 2,300 residents, where most live in tiny, wood-frame houses with no bathtub, no toilet and no furnace.  There is a water plant, but only 20 of the community's 387 houses are hooked up to it, leaving the rest without water and sewage facilities. Globe and Mail_11/8/06

Argentina slams Uruguay water permit to Botnia
Argentina formally complained to Uruguay on Wednesday about a permit that country issued to Finnish forestry group Metsa-Botnia to extract water from the shared Uruguay River, the latest dispute in a wider battle over Botnia's pulp mill project.  Argentina has challenged the mill at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, claiming neighboring Uruguay violated a bilateral treaty by not providing enough information on the riverside project.  Buenos Aires went on the offensive again on Wednesday, saying Uruguay had made another "unilateral" decision in September when it authorized Botnia to extract "a significant volume" of water from the shared river.  "This aggravates a situation that is already tense between the two countries," Argentine Foreign Minister Jorge Taiana said in a letter to his Uruguayan counterpart, adding that the decision could affect the quality and quantity of river water.  Reuters_11/1/06

Toxic Spill Fouls Water Supply for 2 Towns in China
Report of Accident Delayed for Days; Separate Leak Forces 20,000 to Flee

An overturned truck spilled tons of toxic material into a river in rural Shaanxi province southwest of Beijing, contaminating a reservoir that supplies water to 28,000 people, Chinese authorities reported Wednesday.  The truck crashed beside the river after its brakes failed, according to the official New China News Agency, citing the provincial environmental bureau. A 33-ton load of petroleum-based creosote seeped into the river, flowed downstream and fouled 70 million cubic feet of water in the Yangjiapo reservoir, the agency said.  Soon after the accident, authorities halted the flow of water from Yangjiapo to the nearby towns of Dazhai and Sandu, the agency said, and began trucking in water to supply the 28,000 people who live in the two communities.  The accident occurred Oct. 26 but was reported only Wednesday. There was no explanation for the delay.  The Washington Post_11/2/06


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November-December 2006 International News
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