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water risk

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The global water crisis can be summed up in these "seven deadly sins," from climate change to leaky infrastructure, that water researchers and officials will try to tackle during the 2017 World Water Week.

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Florida's Treasure Coast has turned toxic this summer, as a foul-smelling algae bloom resembling guacamole has made some of the Sunshine State's beaches untouchable. One cause is the controlled release of water from an over-full Lake Okeechobee into local rivers that flow east to the Atlantic and west to the Gulf of Mexico.

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More than 80 percent of the Caribbean's wastewater enters the ocean untreated, spurring the growth of algae on coral reefs and increasing the risk of infections for swimmers, among other issues. While many have been aware of this problem in Tobago for more than 20 years, there's been little government action.

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More than 100 companies have now committed to use the best science available as the basis for setting greenhouse gas emissions-reduction targets. Targets informed by science might well be effective in reducing risks posed by water as well—but there are hurdles to overcome first.

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While droughts, floods and increasingly rapid groundwater depletion are cause for concern, this year presents unprecedented opportunities to pursue better water management. Director of WRI's Global Water program Betsy Otto explains.

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Electricity for water treatment can be as much as one-third of a city's energy bill, and these "energy-water nexus" issues are becoming more and more concerning for businesses. A new GE and WRI report explores three innovative solutions for energy and water management.

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