Troubled Waters

Study Damns Mekong Dams

Impoverished Laos is unlikely to cancel a Thai project to build a mega dam across the Mekong River at Xayaburi, despite warnings from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) that it could devastate the region’s rich biodiversity.

Plastic Seas Altering Marine Ecology

Plastic trash is altering the very ecology of the world's oceans. Insects called "sea skaters", a relative of pond water striders, are now laying their eggs on the abundant fingernail-sized pieces of plastic floating in the middle of the North Pacific Ocean instead of relying on a passing seabird feather or bit of driftwood.

The assessment predicts that water in shared basins will increasingly be used as political leverage. Credit: UN Photo/Ky Chung

Water Conflicts Move Up on U.S. Security Agenda

On Wednesday, the United States intelligence community unveiled a first-ever assessment of global water-security issues.

Q&A: Protecting Oceans Equals Protecting Our Planet

The U.N. Environment Programme (UNEP), whose mandate includes the preservation and protection of the world's fast-degrading oceans, will play a pivotal role in Expo 2012, an international exhibition to be formally opened later this week in the coastal town of Yeosu in South Korea.

Phytoplankton is a vital component in the ocean's food chain, and generates at least half of the oxygen we breathe. Credit: NOAA/public domain

Climate Change Threatens Crucial Marine Algae

Without major reductions in the use of fossil fuels, sunlight is to kill an unknown number of ocean phytoplankton, the planet's most important organism, a new study reports this week.

Expo 2012 is expected to attract nearly 11 million domestic and international visitors during the three-month fest. Credit: Courtesy of Expo 2012

Expo 2012 Aims to Protect World’s Endangered Oceans

Come May 12, South Korea will host its largest single landmark event for the year - an achitecturally-glittering Expo 2012 - continuing a 161-year-old tradition going back to the first Great Exhibition in England in 1851 showcasing the steam engine.

Blue Crab Revival Offers Hope for Ailing Fisheries

Authorities in Maryland and Virginia have rescued the Chesapeake Bay's blue crab from the brink of collapse, tripling its population in five years, by using methods that emerging crabmeat-exporting countries in Asia and Central America could emulate, scientists say.

Villagers bathe behind wire mesh to ward off crocodiles in the Nilwala river. Credit: Amantha Perera/IPS

Crocodiles Edged Out of Habitats in Sri Lanka

Reacting to a series of deadly crocodile attacks, the Sri Lankan government has drawn up plans to capture the free-ranging beasts and confine them to parks. Conservationists oppose this move.

Green Nobel Highlights Water Crises

A Catholic priest from the Philippines, a mother of three from Argentina, and the founder of the NGO Friends of Lake Turkana in Kenya all have one thing in common: they have helped to motivate their respective local communities to protect the natural environment around them and to stand up for their rights.

“Water Schools” Foster More Sustainable Habits in Mexico

So-called water schools, which educate communities on the resource and its links with the environment, gender and climate change, are helping to raise awareness on proper water management in Mexico, at a time of severe drought.

Women in rural Kashmir walk great distances to fetch clean water. Credit: Athar Parvaiz/IPS

Women Pay for Kashmir’s Water Woes

Naseema Akhtar, 38, worries that her daily treks to collect clean water from the mountain springs around her village of Bonpora, in Kashmir’s Kupwara district, are getting longer. She is already doing more than seven km every day.

Many areas in Cuba still rely on tanker trucks for water. Credit: Jorge Luis Baños/IPS

Climate Change Aggravates Water Shortage in Cuba

In this eastern Cuban city, Danny Dip Leyva has begun to use her shower again after decades of hauling water into her house by hand. But in Aurora, a small neighbourhood on the outskirts of Havana, Manuel Roque still longs for a regular supply of piped water.

Development Deficit Compounds Indian Sundarbans Crisis

Sahara Bibi, a 47-year-old poor Muslim woman living on one of the climate- impacted islands of Eastern India’s fragile Sundarbans archipelago in West Bengal state, was forced to pull her two young sons out of school and send one of them to the Southern state of Kerala to earn a decent income.

Unplanned construction at the Sonamarg resort, Kashmir. Credit: Athar Parvaiz/IPS

Tourism Woes Replace Terrorism in Kashmir

As separatist militancy peters out in Kashmir, the valley is beset by armies of tourists who bring in the dollars but devastate the fragile ecology of ‘Asia’s Switzerland’.

Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan Take Differing Approaches on Aral Sea

The saga of the Aral Sea is now a tale of two bodies of water. One holds the promise of a happy ending, the other remains enmeshed in tragedy.

Sam Koo Credit: Courtesy of Sam Koo

Q&A: Expo 2012 to Focus on Protecting World’s Marine Resources

The United Nations, which is hosting a major international summit on the global environment in Brazil in late June, points out that while the world's oceans account for 70 percent of the earth's surface, only one percent of this area is protected.

Mishkat Al Moumin, founder of the Iraqi group Women and the Environment Network (WATEO). Credit: Rousbeh Legatis/IPS

Q&A: Cultural Sensitivity Key to Reaching Rural Women

Empowering rural women in the Iraqi marshlands, who mostly remain off the radar of international support, must involve local languages and dialects as well as local women trainers, says Mishkat Al Moumin, founder of the Iraqi group Women and the Environment Network (WATEO).

Mesoamerica Ignores Its Water Footprint

It takes 1,600 litres of water to produce one kilo of bread. This is the type of calculation used to measure a water footprint, the total volume of freshwater used to produce the goods and services consumed by people and communities.

Fresh Warning of Water Wars

As non-governmental organisations question the relevance of the World Water Forum being held here this week and slam its "corporate" nature, the United Nations says that a coordinated approach to managing and allocating water is critical.

The waters of Weligama bay can prove deceptively calm for fishers. Credit: Indika Sriyan/IPS

Gales, Cyclones Follow the Tsunami

The gentle waves of Weligama bay that lap at the small, tight-knit fishing village of Kaparratota, 140 km south of Colombo, can be deceptive.

Caribbean Looks Ahead to Stave Off Fresh Water Scarcity

Two years after a severe drought wreaked havoc with a number of Caribbean countries, some are now adopting new strategies in a bid to prevent a repeat of a situation where countries were rationing water and imposing strict restrictions on residents.

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