World Water Day, California in Crisis and Ancient Martian Lakes: today’s news roundup


Photo: UNICEF/Wathiq Khuzaie

This year’s World Water Day saw the United Nations’ Secretary General Ban Ki Moon call for “cross-sectoral, holistic planning and policies – internationally, regionally and globally” and “a spirit of urgent co-operation” in his address, because of “the onset of climate change, growing demand on finite water resources from agriculture, industry and cities, and increasing pollution in many areas” that are “hastening a water crisis.”

As reported by UN News Centre, he added that women and children are often at huge risk thanks to the currently “unproductive and sometimes dangerous business of collecting water, and that statistics for sanitation are still “even less encouraging” – 2.5 billion people around the world still live with unimproved sanitation.

PR Web reported that, in honour of World Water Day, Philanthropedia revealed the new rankings of the top sixteen  international non-profits supporting efforts towards improving water, sanitation and hygiene quality (according to UNICEF).

The list is as follows:

1) WaterAid
2) Water for People
3) IRC
6) Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor (WSUP)
7) Rural Water Supply Network
8) SNV Netherlands Development Organisation
9) Millennium Water Alliance
10) World Vision International (WVI)
11) Plan
12) CARE (Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere)
13) Oxfam
14) Rotary International
15) PATH
16) iDE (International Development Enterprises)

Jasmine Marrow, the director of nonprofit strategy for Guidestar (parent company to Philanthropedia) said “the United Nations’ World Water Day is a day to celebrate the life-saving value of clean water and prepare for how we sustainably manage water in the future. Philanthropedia’s newest rankings can help donors best identify the highest-performing nonprofits in the field of water, sanitation and hygiene, which are worthy of their charitable donation.”

Forbes also marked World Water Day with a long piece explaining that water is the key to health and sustainable development, and that technology must play a part in this. We’re inclined to agree!

California’s drought crisis continues, as unpleasant tasting water may become “the new normal” as reported by SF Gate. Residents of the East Bay have said, for example, that the water is “very metallic … almost minerally.” Luckily the taste is caused by algae in the Pardee Reservoir, which, according to an EBMUD spokeswoman is safe to drink. The problem is that, as long as the Southern California drought persists, the taste is likely to remain.

And, according to The Desert Sun, that could be a while yet. At a conference in Indian Wells, local and national water leaders that the billions of dollars proposed to fix California’s water infrastructure won’t be enough, and that it’s “a quick fix” rather than a proper addressing of the issue.

In lighter news, Astronomy report that researchers at Brown University have analysed an ancient Martian lake system and discovered “at least two separate periods of water activity.” The project leader says that the discovery “tells us something really interesting about how early Mars operated.”

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