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WATER WORLD
Colorado River reaches Sea of Cortez for first time nearly two decades
by Brooks Hays
Sonora, Mexico (UPI) May 16, 2013


India's Modi vows to clean up Ganges
Varanasi, India (AFP) May 17, 2014 - India's prime minister-elect Narendra Modi on Saturday vowed to clean up the holy river Ganges, sacred to millions of Hindus but seeped in filth due to years of apathy and neglect.

The Hindu nationalist leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party -- who is set to be sworn in as premier next week -- made a fervent plea to the people of Varanasi, the city through which the river flows, to help restore the pristine glory of the Ganges.

"When I see the pitiable condition of the Ganges I feel pained," Modi told his supporters on the banks of the river where he offered prayers as thanksgiving for his party's landslide win in the parliamentary elections.

"The need of the hour is to restore the glory of the Ganges. Today Mother Ganges is calling us... to make the river clean once again," he said to a roaring applause from hundreds of supporters.

The belief that the Ganges washes away sins entices millions of Hindus into the river each year.

For devotees, the river is always clean and pure -- even if its waters are a toxic stew of human sewage, discarded garbage and factory waste.

Modi, 63, said it was destiny that he contested and won his parliamentary seat from Varanasi because it gave him an opportunity to revive the river.

"The Ganges keeps saying that some son of mine should come and take me out of this filth. It was my destiny to serve mother Ganges," he said.

Ganges water is considered by many to be blessed, and has for centuries served as an essential component of Hindu ceremonies, from childbirth to death -- when ashes are often scattered in the river after cremations.

Modi also urged his supporters to work towards making the city clean.

Garbage dumps, open sewage and drains are common sights in Varanasi despite its draw as one of the major pilgrimage sites for Hindus.

"You must think that I have gone mad, that I am not good enough to be the PM because I am only talking about garbage," Modi said.

"But I tell you cleanliness is what is going to salvage this great city and the great river," he said.

The Colorado River Delta once again features flowing water, as the river and Gulf of California, also known as the Sea of Cortez, became reconnected after 16 years of separation.

The river was reinvigorated by an experimental flood of water released earlier this spring from the Morelos Dam just south of where California, Arizona and Mexico meet. The experiment, called a "pulse flow," slowly sent water traveling down more 100 miles of barren delta.

The dam release came after many years of lobbying by environmental groups. The dried-up delta has seen inconsistent water flow for the last 50 years. Conservationists hope the Colorado River's reconnection with the Sea of Cortez will spur new tree growth, restore habitat, and encourage birds and other wildlife to return to area.

"I think it's more important to us as human beings and our sense of what is right for our river, then it is in terms of a particular ecological goal that I could express to you," Jennifer Pitt, of the Environmental Defense Fund, told local radio station KJZZ.

Much of the West, including Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming, is heavily reliant on the Colorado for its drinking water. But so are the Mexican states of Baja California and Sonora -- states that have seen very little of a once mighty river.

The latest pulse flow, at least momentarily, has altered that reality. Yesterday, children in San Luis Rio Colorado, a small town of Sonora, could be seen frolicking in the returning water.

"Maybe the more immediate impact was the story of the communities coming back to their river which had been missing for so long, and kids coming to see the river that they have never seen before," Pitt added.

Stranded ship in Galapagos Islands an environmental 'emergency,' Ecuador says
Baquerizo Moreno, Ecuador (UPI) May 16, 2013 - Officials in Ecuador have declared an emergency, as a large cargo ship that ran aground last week remains idled in the Galapagos Islands -- a threat to the region's fragile ecosystem.

Last Friday, the freighter, Galapaface I, miscalculated and ran out of deep water, colliding with the rocky coast of San Cristobal Island. The ship was carrying more than 15,400 gallons of diesel fuel and several tons of cargo. While most of the oil and cargo has been removed, the ship is still full of other pollutants, like motor oil, that officials worry could leak into the water as the freighter continues to sink.

"The ship is stranded and continues to present an environmental risk for the Galapagos Marine Reserve and must leave the area," Governor Jorge Torres told the Efe news agency.

A press statement released by Ecuador officials confirmed that the emergency, which will grant additional funding to clean up efforts, will remain in place for six months.

In 2001, an oil tanker wrecked and spilled 800,000 gallons of fuel into the ocean. The pollution proved fatal to many marine iguanas in the area.

The Galapagos are a World Heritage Site, protected for their unique species and biodiversity. The islands were made famous by Charles Darwin who visited them in 1835 and studied the brids and reptiles, which helped inspire his theory of evolution and his groundbreaking book On the Origin of Species.

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Ban condemns water cuts in Syria's Aleppo
United Nations, United States (AFP) May 16, 2014
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned rebels Friday for cutting water supplies to the besieged northern Syrian city of Aleppo, calling for services to be restored immediately. Ban's office said water supplies had been cut for eight days, depriving at least 2.5 million people of access to water safe for drinking and sanitation. Al-Qaeda's Syrian branch, Al-Nusra Front, wa ... read more


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