What’s New with Water – October 25, 2021

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Welcome to “What’s Up With Water”, your essential water news in the world of Circle of Blue. I am Eileen Wray-McCann.

In the United States, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife is seeking to save an endangered species of salmon, which may also preserve the livelihoods of local Native American tribes. Reuters reports that the state agency’s efforts to save chinook salmon coincide with several existential threats to the species. Climate change is warming river waters, while aging dams prevent fish from following their normal migratory routes. Salmon has been the food of the residents of the Hoopa Valley Reserve for centuries. Members of the tribe say that restoring the Trinity River could help revive the fishing that is an integral part of their way of life.

In India, heavy rains swept through the Himalayan region, causing landslides and deadly floods. The BBC reports that in the northern state of Uttarakhand, bridges were washed away and 55 people died. Last week, 24-hour precipitation was 10 times the average precipitation for the entire month of October. To the east, swollen rivers and mudslides cut the main road between the states of West Bengal and Sikkim. The devastation spread to Nepal, where storms killed dozens more. Such calamities frequently occur in the region, where steep slopes, land use planning and an unstable climate increase environmental risk.

In South Africa, workers remove invasive pines to preserve watersheds that are vital for millions of Cape Towns. Reuters reports that the goal is to remove more than 130,000 acres of trees by 2025. This will help the watershed recover what the trees consume – about 55 billion liters of moisture each year. Pines are the backbone of South Africa’s commercial forestry industry, but their seeds have quickly spread from plantations to protected nature reserves. These reserves are important for biodiversity in a region famous for its variety of plant species. Removing invasive trees is part of Cape Town’s plan to become more water resistant. These efforts follow a severe three-year drought that nearly depleted the city’s reservoirs in 2018.

And it’s “What’s Up With Water”, from Circle of Blue, where water speaks. More water news and analysis awaits at circleofblue.org. This is Eileen Wray-McCann – thanks for being here.


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