Water - Nov 26
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One-third of China's Yellow river 'unfit for drinking or agriculture'
Tania Branigan, Guardian
Factory waste and sewage from growing cities has severely polluted major waterway, according to Chinese research
Severe pollution has made one-third of China's Yellow river unusable, according to new research.
Known as the country's "mother river", it supplies water to millions of people in the north of China. But in recent years the quality has deteriorated due to factory discharges and sewage from fast-expanding cities.
Much of it is now unfit even for agricultural or industrial use, the study shows.
The survey, based on data taken last year, covered more than 8,384 miles of the river, one of the longest waterways in the world, and its tributaries.
The Yellow River Conservancy Committee, affiliated to the ministry of water resources, said 33.8% of the river system's water sampled in 2007 registered worse than level five. That means it is unfit for drinking, aquaculture, industrial use and even agriculture, according to criteria used by the UN Environment Programme.
Only 16% of the river samples reached level one or two, the standard considered safe for domestic use.
The Yellow River is China's second-longest after the Yangtze, flowing west to east across the country through areas with high concentrations of factories.
(25 November 2008)
Water in the Middle East: Plugging the supply gap
Delegates at WaterTech 2008 in Dubai heard calls for new measures to boost water supply as well as plans for testing, training and conservation.
The Middle East is facing one of the most serious water problems in the world, with the level of available renewable water in the region just one fifth of what the rest of the world enjoys on a per capita basis.
Demographics are a major concern, given that the population of the region is growing 55% more quickly than the global average, and it is estimated that by 2011, water needs will be double current levels. Despite this, Saudi Arabia is expected to require investment of more than US $600 billion over the next 15 years to service the 45% increase in population that is expected to happen by 2020.
(21 November 2008)
Experts call for end of flushing toilets on World Toilet Day
Ian Rakowski, News.com.au
AS the world celebrates World Toilet Day today, sanitation experts have called for the end of the flushing dunny to save water and provide fertilizer for crops.
Leading health advocates have called for the use of "dry" toilets which separate urine from faeces and remove the need to flush.
Speaking at the recent World Toilet Summit in Macau, World Toilet Organisation founder Jack Sims said the concept of the flushing toilet was unsustainable.
Mr Sims said a culture where people flushed their loos but disregarded the thousands of litres of wasted drinking water each year was one of sanitation's greatest challenges.
"This 'flush and forget' attitude creates a new problem which we have to revisit," he said...
(19 November 2008)