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May 20 2013

A Few Good Reads (5/20/13): Deadly Flooding in China and Somalia

This week: Extreme flooding in the Guangdong Province of Southern China, flooding displaces thousands during the rainy season in Somalia, water infrastructure approved by the Senate and now moves to the House, the status of the state water bill in California, and the Netherlands’ use of sand engines as coastal flood protection.

  

Guangdong hit as deadly floods sweep southern China (BBC)

Flooding and landslides across nine southern Chinese provinces have killed more than 50 people and left 14 missing, officials say.

Guangdong was hardest hit, reporting 36 deaths after days of heavy rain, said the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

  

Main rainy season underway across Somalia (RBC Radio)

The most affected areas include parts of Middle and Lower Shabelle and Bay regions. While it is challenging to establish the scope and need for response due to insecurity and logistical constraints, aid workers’ support to affected communities has included pumping water from flooded areas, purifying water, and strengthening and rebuilding river banks to allow people to go back to their homes.

Senators approve funds for water, flood projects in 83-14 vote (The Hill)

The Senate voted 83-14 for a water infrastructure bill on Wednesday, the first such bill the upper chamber has moved since 2007.

Despite strong support in the Senate, the bill faces an uncertain future in the House, where lawmakers have raised concerns about allowing the Obama administration to pick the water facilities that would be boosted.

What lies in store for the state water bond? (California Water Blog)

Whatever shape and size the next water bond ultimately takes, California will also need to find other ways to pay for water infrastructure and for critical improvements in aquatic habitat.

Options include small additional fees on monthly water and wastewater bills (something we already do in the energy sector), higher local property assessments for flood control, and new surcharges on harmful chemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides to help reduce their harm on our waterways and groundwater reserves. Such fees are not likely to be especially popular, unless they come with a clear message that they are necessary for a healthy state economy and environment.

Sand Engines in the Netherlands (FloodList)

The sand is dredged from the North Sea and brought on to land where it is deposited along the coast through pipelines. Once the sand is deposited it is moved around gradually (but naturally) by the elements and spreads along the coastline. Gradually the sand becomes part of the existing sand dunes, building them higher and strengthening them further. The end result is a wider and safer natural beach and sand dunes that can protect the nearby residents from any sea surges and flooding, such as the North Sea floods of 1953 and 1962.

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