Mexico has suffered a series of earthquakes recently, of magnitudes 5.7, 6.1 and 7.1 with the number of people killed numbering in the hundreds.

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False alarms

How many false alarms do you get from monitoring equipment on your treatment works and distribution network? How many times are alarms cancelled with no need for further action? How often are you woken in the night by a car alarm going off? All too often, no doubt.

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Poor water management in the Middle East

A new World Bank report puts a figure on the cost of poor water management in the Middle East and North Africa at $21bn a year. It says that of all the challenges the Middle East and North Africa faces, it is least prepared for water crises. This is set against a background of increasing water consumption and unsustainable amounts of water being extracted in more than half the countries in the region.

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The S in SCADA isn't for Secure

The S in SCADA stands for Supervisory, not Secure. An article in the Harvard Business Review entitled “Smart Cities Are Going to Be a Security Nightmare” points out that SCADA systems are particularly susceptible to frequent hacks due to poor security protocols, and a lack of cryptographic security and authentication factors. This is largely because the software dates from the last century.

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The politics of water

Water and Politics: Clientelism and Reform in Urban Mexico is the title of a new book by Veronica Herrera, assistant professor of political science at the University of Connecticut. At $75 it’s not cheap; it’s not exactly a thriller; and 8 cities in Mexico may not be a large enough sample size. But the book considers an interesting question: the impact of electoral cycles on improvements in public services.  Veronica finds that:

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Cheque this out

Pucallpa is a city in the east of Peru. It is built on one bank of the Ucayali River, a major tributary of the Amazon.

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Manmade glacier

More extreme weather is one of the 6 key global trends that i2O sees affecting its clients in the water industry (along with increasing population size and urbanisation, ageing network infrastructure, an ageing workforce, customers becoming more demanding, and difficulty in increasing revenue and accessing capital).

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Drought: act now before it's too late

Droughts are occurring more frequently. Because populations are increasing and urbanising, the impact of drought on agriculture and people could be devastating. Major cities could run out of water and the resulting unrest could create civil strife, mass migration, and conflict.

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The Water Court of Valencia

Eight men in black robes meet every Thursday at noon sitting in a circle on chairs in the street outside a cathedral. They are the Water Court of Valencia. According to the Times of India the Court has been in existence for 1,000 years. It’s an elected body who resolve irrigation conflicts in an agricultural area of Spain. Not perhaps a very modern model for regulation of scarce resources, but a democratic one at least.

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That sinking feeling

Sinkholes make great pictures. There’s something unsettling about the idea of the ground opening up and swallowing houses, cars, even people.

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