WaterWorld Weekly Newscast: Mar. 26, 2012

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The following is a transcript of the Mar. 26, 2012 edition of the WaterWorld Weekly Newscast.

Hi, I'm Angela Godwin, digital media editor for WaterWorld magazine, bringing you this week's water and wastewater news headlines. Coming up...

• Research organization scoops Stockholm prize
• Water to become key political issue over next decade
• Vegas gets water pipeline greenlight
• Water controversy boiling over in Venezuela

The Stockholm International Water Institute has named its 2012 Stockholm Water Prize Laureate. This year's winner of the prestigious honor and $150,000 is the International Water Management Institute in Sri Lanka, a research and development organization devoted to improving agricultural water management.

[video clip: Dr. Colin Chartres, Director, International Water Management Institute (IWMI)]

IWMI has been working on forecasting water demand through 2050.

[video clip: Dr. Colin Chartres, Director, International Water Management Institute (IWMI)]

Some key strategies include: increasing water productivity in agriculture, increasing recycling and reuse of water, and reducing food waste.

The Stockholm Water Prize will be presented to IWMI on August 30th during World Water Week in Stockholm.

A report released by the U.S. National Intelligence Council predicts that over the next decade water will become a significant factor in U.S. national security considerations.

The research suggests that water problems, such shortages, poor quality, and flooding, combined with poverty, social tensions, and weak political institutions will very likely contribute to instability in key regions.

While the report did not suggest a state-on-state conflict over water, it did predict that as shortages worsen, the use of "water as a weapon" could become more likely.

Going forward, the report suggested the strategies with the most potential for solving water problems are more effective water management and investment in water-related sectors.

Improving water management in agriculture was noted, in particular, as it's the biggest user of the world's fresh water -- consuming roughly 70% of the global water supply.

The worst-case scenario of Las Vegas running dry in the next decade has gotten at least a little less likely with a ruling last week that gave Southern Nevada Water Authority rights to 84,000 acre feet of water from Spring, Cave, Dry Lake and Delamar valleys.

The decision by the state water engineer greenlights SNWA's plan to build a $3.5 million pipeline and pump the water 300 miles across the desert.

The proposal has been met with some opposition, particularly from neighboring Utah. That state worries that SNWA could seek water rights to Snake Valley, which straddles the Nevada-Utah border. Regardless, there's concern that the new withdrawals from the nearby upstream valleys will impact water supplies in Snake Valley downstream.

Environmental groups are also upset with the plan, saying impacts on local water supplies were not fully considered by the water engineer. They say the ruling will not go uncontested.

SNWA said it most likely won't move forward with the pipeline plans unless water levels in Lake Mead drop to dangerous levels.

In international news, a bit of a controversy beginning to brew in Venezuela over claims that drinking water supplies could be polluted.

Governors of some states as well as media sources are saying oil spills -- like a recent pipeline rupture in Monagas state that dumped crude oil into a local water supply -- are contaminating drinking water sources.

Venezuela President Hugo Chavez characterized these reports as "media terrorism" and propaganda against him. He said those spreading the misinformation should be prosecuted.

Monagas Governor José Briceño has been very vocal about his concerns that a major drinking water source, the Guarapiche River, still poses a health threat following the early February pipeline rupture, despite the government's claims that the spill is 95% cleaned up and water is safe for drinking.

Briceño has since been expelled from Chavez's party. But governors from other states are also raising concerns, calling on the government to issue a state of emergency and analyze the quality of Venezuela drinking water.

For WaterWorld magazine, I'm Angela Godwin. Thanks for watching.


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