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General Assembly of IAH's Netherlands Chapter

On Thursday 27 March 2014 the annual General Assembly (or Algemene Ledenvergadering) of the IAH Netherlands Chapter will take place.

 
Herders fight farmers over Tanzania water

Tanzanian authorities are finding it increasingly difficult to deal with ongoing conflicts between farmers and pastoralists as they fight over limited land and water resources in this East African nation. From Tanzania’s Coast Region to Kilimanjaro, violent and sometimes deadly clashes have been raging for decades as farmers and pastoralists scramble for resources.

 
Paris should prepare for risk of a costly Seine flood, says OECD

A major flooding of the Seine River similar to the flood disaster of 1910 could affect up to 5 million residents in the greater Paris area and cause up to 30 billion euros worth of damage, according to a new OECD report. Economic growth, jobs and public finances could also be significantly affected. The OECD Review on Flood Risk Management of the Seine River – commissioned by the Basin Organisation Seine Grands Lacs with the French Ministry of Ecology and Ile-de-France regional council – recommends that city officials work to raise risk awareness among citizens and businesses and improve the resilience of the metropolitan area to flood risks.

 
Extensive liquid meltwater storage in firn within the Greenland ice sheet

Mass loss from the Greenland ice sheet contributes significantly to present sea level rise. High meltwater runoff is responsible for half of Greenland’s mass loss. Surface melt has been spreading and intensifying in Greenland, with the highest ever surface area melt and runoff recorded in 2012. However, how surface melt water reaches the ocean, and how fast it does so, is poorly understood. Firn – partially compacted snow from previous years – potentially has the capacity to store significant amounts of melt water in liquid or frozen form, and thus delay its contribution to sea level. A paper in Nature Geoscience presents direct observations from ground and airborne radar, as well as ice cores, of liquid water within firn in the southern Greenland ice sheet: a firn aquifer.

 
Dutch-Palestinian academic cooperation programme to increase water security in Palestine

As part of the first Dutch-Palestinian cooperation forum, 5 Dutch and 5 Palestinian universities signed a Memorandum of Understanding for an academic cooperation programme on joint education, research and training to improve the capacity in the Palestinian water sector.

 
Israel, Jordan, Palestinians to sign water agreement

In a rare example of cooperation Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians agreed on a water-supply arrangement to slake rising cross-border demand, a step toward economic integration despite persistent political rancor holding up progress on a Middle East peace accord. The deal also aims to slow the steady decline in the Dead Sea water level through a pipeline that will be built from the Red Sea. It is one of the few regional cooperation projects surviving from the heyday of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process in the 1990s, when many envisioned a Middle East remade by economic interdependence.

 
UNESCO and WMO renew cooperation in hydrology and water resources

On 25 November 2013 at the UN Headquarters, UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, and the Secretary-General of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Michel Jarraud, signed an agreement on reaffirming the long term cooperation between the two Organizations in the field of hydrology and water resources. While maintaining respective programmes in line with their fields of competence, the two Organizations recognized the necessity of close cooperation between their work on freshwater, and expressed their common determination to maintain and develop this collaboration in water sciences and water resources.

 
The life and death of the Dutch groundwater tax

Marianne Schuerhoff, Hans-Peter Weikard and David Zetland have published their paper «The life and death of the Dutch Groundwater tax» in Water Policy. In the framework of our UNESCO-related groundwater governance meeting in March 2013 we could offer you a pre-release of the paper already. The authors examine the Dutch national groundwater tax — a “win-win-win green tax” that promised to simultaneously provide revenue to government, reduce the relative burden of other taxes on productive behaviour (e.g., income tax), and improve environmental outcomes.

 
Environmental flows in the Anthropocene

LeRoy Poff and John Matthews have just published an interesting paper on «Environmental flows in the Anthropocence (sic!): past progress and future prospects». Human modification of the global hydrologic cycle through the building and operation of hundreds of thousands of dams and diversions has significantly altered fluvial processes, leading to impairment of river ecosystem function and biodiversity loss worldwide. The concept of environmental flows (e-flows) emerged to mitigate the undesirable hydrological impacts of dams and water diversions, in order to strengthen ecologically informed water management. In their paper, the authors outline the scientific foundations and progressive development of the current e-flows framework over the last 25 years, identifying three discrete periods in its history: emergence and synthesis, consolidation and expansion, and globalization.

 
Adaptation strategies in montane regions are key to water security

The important role played by mountains in freshwater supply and regulation justifies their reputation as Water Towers of the world. They are home to the headwaters of the world’s major rivers, and about 40% of the population depends indirectly on mountain resources for water supply, agriculture, hydroelectricity and biodiversity. Mountains are among the most sensitive ecosystems to climate change and are being affected at a faster rate than other terrestrial habitat, putting their integrity and the services they provide at risk. In view of the urgent need for adaptation strategies and policies, an exhibition and High-level Panel Session was organized during UNESCO’s General Conference to share experiences, views and recommendations on coping with climate change impacts on water resources in mountainous areas.

 
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