news in brief

U.S. Startup Plans Africa Expansion with Solar Watering Kits

Farmers will receive the solar powered pump and irrigation equipment after a small depositFarmers will receive the solar-powered pump and irrigation equipment after a small depositA U.S. startup that sells solar-powered irrigation kits to small-scale farmers in Kenya plans to expand in East Africa, where regular droughts often result in food shortages.

SunCulture, which started business in New York four years ago, has sold almost 1,000 units of the equipment that costs as much as Ksh. 248,000 ($2,400) in deals that also solve key challenges for growers in Kenya: access to finance and a steady off-take market. It plans to take operations into Somalia, Uganda, Ethiopia and Burundi in coming years, Marketing Director Kathryn Weichel said in an interview in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital.

“The first thing we did when we started SunCulture was to spend the first seven months with farmers piloting in the field because we needed to test the product and make sure it worked for farmers in Kenya,” Weichel said. “We try to provide them not only the irrigation system, but seeds, fertilizer, agronomy services, after sales services and financing.”

China Shifting Balance of Power in Nile River Basin

By ECSP Staff

Photo Credit The Tekeze Dam Ethiopia courtesy of InternationalPhoto Credit: The Tekeze Dam, Ethiopia, courtesy of International Rivers.The growing intensification of economic, political and social ties between China and Africa in the last 15 years is often told as a story of copper, petrodollars, emerging Chinatowns, and bilateral visits by heads of state. But perhaps the most significant way in which Chinese actors are contributing to an evolving African politicaleconomic landscape is very seldom discussed: an unprecedented wave of hydro-infrastructure construction is taking place.

Beijing is a key partner for the construction of big dams, the expansion of irrigation systems, and the building of transportation canals. This is recalibrating the domestic political economies of major African states and altering how they relate to each other.

Ha Long Bay boat waste collection and treatment

Ha Long BayHa Long Bay There are approximately 500 boats cruising through the bay waters, of which about 300 are dayboat and 200 are overnight-boats. In this report, bay waters refers to the three bays: Ha Long, Bai Tu Long and Lan Ha. Many of the boats that operate in the bay can be compared to floating hotels and thus generate lots of waste: both solid waste and waste water but also air pollutants (black fumes) and noise pollution. Waste water includes black water (toilet waste), grey water (wastewater from sinks, baths, showers and laundry) and bilge water (oily water that accumulates in the lowest part of a ship).

Study Finds That 56,000 Californians Are Drinking Arsenic-Tainted Water

Study Finds That 56000 Californians Are Drinking Arsenic Tainted WaterBy Peak Johnson

Drought is not the only water concern for Californians these days. A recent study found that nearly 56,000 Californians are exposed to drinking water that has surpassed the federal safety standards for arsenic.

Arsenic naturally occurs in California’s groundwater, it was reported. Besides damaging a child’s developing brain, arsenic has been known to cause hypertension and diabetes.

“More than three years after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found California in noncompliance with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, 95 community water systems in the state, serving more than 55,000 people, are still providing water with illegal levels of arsenic,” according to a report from the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) that came out recently which states that 55,985 people are affected.

Red river near Arctic nickel plant examined by inspectors

Red river near Arctic nickel plant examined by inspectorsRed river near Arctic nickel plant examined by inspectorsRussian environmental inspectors are trying to establish why a river near the Norilsk Nickel industrial complex in the Arctic has turned blood-red.

Dramatic pictures of the discoloured Daldykan river have been posted widely on Russian media.

The government daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta says a leaking slurry pipeline carrying waste copper-nickel concentrate could be to blame. Norilsk Nickel is the world’s largest nickel and palladium producer.

Its vast furnaces were built on the Taimyr Peninsula, in the Krasnoyarsk region of Siberia, in the Soviet era. The mining group has a production facility called Nadezhda by the Daldykan river. But company officials said they were not aware of any river pollution from the plant.

Billionaire oligarch Vladimir Potanin is president of Norilsk Nickel.




Current Issue: Africa Water & Sanitation & Hygiene March-April 2017 Vol.12 No.2