Global coal industry using as much water as a billion people each year

map: coal-fired power plants and regions of water scarcity in the USA

We already know that coal-fired power plants are bad for the planet, but that’s usually because we are just thinking about the enormous amounts of carbon dioxide emissions they contribute to our atmosphere. A new Greenpeace report entitled The Great Water Grab sheds light on another terrifying aspect of the coal industry – its astronomical water consumption. The report suggests that the global coal industry uses the same amount of … [more…]

Water Quality and Emerging Pollutants: addressing new global challenges

Water Quality and Emerging Pollutants: addressing new global challenges

Published 03.12.2018 – UNESCO Office in Jakarta

Emerging pollutants are commonly defined as synthetic or naturally-occurring chemicals or microorganisms that are not commonly monitored or regulated in the environment, yet which have potentially adverse effects on ecological and human health. The sources of emerging pollutants are many, ranging from pharmaceuticals and personal care products, to agricultural pesticides, micro-plastics and household and industrial chemicals.

On 27 November 2018, a three-day Asia … [more…]

The Water Crises Aren’t Coming—They’re Here

graphic: from rain to drought

For eons, the earth has had the same amount of water—no more, no less. What the ancient Romans used for crops and Nefertiti drank? It’s the same stuff we bathe with. Yet with more than seven billion people on the planet, experts now worry we’re running out of usable water. The symptoms are here: multiyear droughts, large-scale crop failures, a major city—Cape Town—on the verge of going dry, increasing outbreaks … [more…]

‘My wife doesn’t shower any more’

'My wife doesn't shower any more'

Photo: People have been forced to queue for extra water to top up their rations in Cape Town, South Africa.

[Editors note: mostly focuses on USA and North America waters. This piece, we believe, is important in its own right, of course, but also as an exemplar. Will the future show us that Cape Town was just one canary in a very large mine? Or will the rains come, … [more…]