Entries in Water (9)


Clinton: Lack of Water May Lead to Terrorism, Violence, Failed States

FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had a message for policy makers on World Water Day: Lack of access to clean water isn’t just an issue of health and sanitation, but national security. Clinton unveiled a new U.S. Intelligence report assessing the threat global water challenges pose to America and the world’s stability. She called the results “sobering.”

The unclassified “Global Water Security: Intelligence Community Assessment,” commissioned by the State Department, found that some of the world’s most unstable regions — North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia — will experience water problems over the next 10 years “that will risk instability and state failure, increase regional tensions, and distract them from working with the United States on important U.S. policy objectives.”

Secretary Clinton cited the example of Yemen, an important U.S. ally on the war or terror, as a country where access to water could lead to more instability.

“Hydrologists predict that many wells in Yemen will run dry in as little as 10 years,” said the secretary. “These threats are real and they do raise security concerns.”

Terrorism related to water insecurity is also a concern. The report says physical infrastructure, including dams, have been used as “convenient and high-publicity targets by extremists, terrorists and rogue states,” all factors in the most affected regions.

A senior intelligence official said that although actual wars breaking out over water resources are unlikely in the next 10 years, the chances of violent conflict breaking out within states and across borders will increase greatly over the next 20 years if steps aren’t taken now to help these regions manage what little water they have.

“Water problems when combined with poverty, social tensions, environmental degradation, ineffectual leadership, and weak political institutions — contribute to social disruptions that can result in state failure,” stated the report.

At Thursday’s event Secretary Clinton announced a new program, the U.S. Water Partnership, focused on helping vulnerable nations find ways to better use the water they have, and manage diplomacy surrounding shared water sources. So far, the program has 28 partners coming from business, government, humanitarian organizations and universities who will offer advice and solutions at global meetings, and also on a new Web portal.

“It’s exciting that it’s not only about water,” said Secretary Clinton. “It is about security, peace, and prosperity as well.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


New Super-Earth Found Near Distant Star

File photo. Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Scientists have found a planet orbiting another star -- 22 light years away -- and of all the hundreds of so-called exoplanets so far discovered, this one is, lead researcher Guillem Anglada-Escude said, "the new best candidate to support liquid water and, perhaps, life as we know it."

The planet is labeled GJ 667Cc, found in the constellation Scorpio. It is about five times more massive than Earth. It orbits its host star in only 28 of our days -- as opposed to earth's 365.

But that star is smaller and dimmer than our sun, and most of the light it emits is infrared. Anglada-Escude says it would provide just the right amount of warmth for the planet to be temperate like ours.

"Other proposed candidates [to be watery worlds] would require very special conditions to support liquid water," Anglada-Escude said in an email to ABC News.

The temperature, he said, is probably right regardless of the planet's atmosphere or cloud cover: "This one lies within the zone where no further assumptions (or fine tuning) are required."

Water is common in the universe -- but as ice or vapor, not flowing water that scientists say would probably be necessary for life as we know it. Comets, for instance, have been called "dirty snowballs," and when they get close to the sun they develop gaseous tails. But the temperature range for flowing water -- the liquid you would find in the cells of a living organism -- is very small. Earth is the only planet we know of with the right temperature and atmospheric pressure.

Anglada-Escude and Paul Butler led the research at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington. They and a dozen colleagues are publishing their work in Astrophysical Journal Letters.

They report they found the planet by looking through telescope data collected by HARPS, a rival group of planet hunters in Europe. Anglada-Escude said the HARPS group had observed the star three years ago -- but missed the planet.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Libyans Short of Water, Medicine After Months of Clashing

Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images(TRIPOLI, Libya) -- After six months of conflict, where supply lines were disrupted and infrastructure damaged, Libya now faces a critical shortage of the basics -- food, medicine, fuel and, as the UN humanitarian coordinator for the country says is arguably the most important, water.

"Fresh, bottled water is only now being delivered and unpacked in the capital," UN humanitarian coordinator Panos Moumtzis said.

So far, the UN has brought in 11 million bottles of water.

With the fighting subsiding in many areas, international efforts are being ramped up.  Over the past week, more than have a dozen UN agencies have returned to Tripoli to help with the country's humanitarian needs.

That's welcome, but it is seen as a temporary measure until the country gets back up on its own feet again.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


TEPCO Begins Moving Radioactive Water from Japan's Nuclear Plant

STR/AFP/Getty Images(TOKYO) -- The operator of Japan's troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant began transferring highly radioactive water out of one of its reactors on Tuesday. 

Tokyo Electric Power Company announced it has begun pumping about 25,000 tons of water in and around the number two reactor turbine building to another facility -- a process that's expected to take several weeks.  The utility company believes the water in and around the turbine building originated from the reactor’s core, where fuel rods have partially melted.

Pumping out the contaminated water is important to prevent further leaks into the Pacific, since the trench connected to the reactor turbine building is located close to the ocean.

TEPCO says workers can't resume efforts to restore cooling systems to three of the plant's reactors until the water's removed.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Dalai Lama: India's Water Supply at Risk

Gustavo Caballero/ Getty Images(NEW DELHI) -- The Dalai Lama is urging India to think critically about the melting glaciers in the Tibetan plateau because millions of India's people use the water from that region.

The Dalai Lama expressed concern while speaking at the centenary celebrations of former Indian President R. Venkataraman.

He quoted experts who say the glaciers are melting faster than in any other part of the world. The Dalai Lama said that water supplies will be jeopardized and the demand for freshwater will dramatically increase if the glaciers disappear.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Military Helicopters Begin Water Drops over Japan's Nuclear Plant

DigitalGlobe via Getty Images(TOKYO) -- Japanese military helicopters began dropping water over Japan's damaged nuclear plant Thursday in an effort to prevent overheating, which could lead to a meltdown and the release of more radioactive material.

But U.S. government officials are still concerned that the water necessary to keeps its nuclear fuel rods from overheating may not be there at the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

America's top nuclear official told Congress Wednesday that the pool that cools spent fuel rods at the crippled Japanese nuclear complex had lost most or all of its water, a potentially catastrophic situation.

The Japanese quickly challenged that statement but gave few details, saying only that the situation at the holding pool was "stable."

Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko said that the fuel pool at unit 4 at the the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant had lost massive amounts of water.

"We believe at this point that unit 4 may have lost a significant inventory, if not lost all of its water," Jaczko told a hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.  "What we know at unit three, and again our information is limited, what we believe is that there is a crack in the spent fuel pool for unit three as well, which could lead to a loss of water in that pool."

The spent fuel rods are kept in pools of water to prevent them from overheating and ultimately melting down.  The outer shell of the rods could also ignite with enough force to propel the radioactive fuel inside over a wide area.

Japan's nuclear safety agency and Tokyo Electric Power Co., which operates the complex, deny water is gone from the pool.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Water, Food and Gas Becoming Scarce in Japan

MIKE CLARKE/AFP/Getty Images(TOKYO) -- The earthquake and tsunami that rocked Japan Friday has left survivors scrambling for basic necessities like food and water as they prepare to brace for the long-term effects from the natural disasters, which will last for some time.

According to ABC News reporters in Japan, the top three commodities in demand there are water, food, and gas.  People have been seen in long lines outside of gas stations and convenience stores with the hopes of snatching up these goods.  Some have even waited two to three hours with empty water jugs in hand, hoping to fill them up.

But these commodities are becoming scarce.  Some gas stations have run dry, posting "sold out" signs on their establishments.

Meanwhile, aid and rescue teams from around the world are arriving in Japan to assist in finding survivors and provide them with food and sorely needed supplies.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


NASA Reports Water on Moon

Photo Courtesy - NASA dot gov(WASHINGTON) -- Water has been discovered at the bottom of a crater near the Moon’s south pole, according to NASA officials.

The discovery was made after a rocket crashed -- by design -- into a 60-mile-wide, two-mile-deep crater named Cabeus, uncovering an area wetter than the Sahara Desert.

“That is a very valuable resource,” said Anthony Colaprete, principal investigator of NASA’s Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite. “This is wetter than some places on Earth.”

The water, if purified, could be used by astronauts for drinking, or broken apart into hydrogen and oxygen for rocket fuel.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Census of Marine Life: 10-Year Project Surveys World's Oceans

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(LONDON) -- How many fish are there in the sea? Scientists would not dare guess, but they estimate, in the first-ever Census of Marine Life announced Monday, that there are at least 250,000 known species in the world's oceans, from the tiniest single-celled creatures to the most massive blue whales.

It took a decade of work, with 2,700 scientists from 80 countries spending 9,000 days at sea on 540 separate expeditions. Their work was financed by foundations, universities and the governments of the researchers.

The purpose of the census was to establish a baseline -- a cross-section of marine life worldwide -- so that as things change, scientists will not have to speculate just how. Future scientists doing research on climate change, pollution, or shifts in the composition or acidity of sea water in particular parts of the world will have an idea of what lived there back in 2010.

On the way to assembling their database, the researchers came back with remarkable pictures of just a few of the 120,000 species they directly studied. Even after all the work that went into the census, the organizers say another 750,000 species may still be not be catalogued.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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