hydropower

Extreme Weather Extreme flooding along the Madeira River in the Amazon basin, which killed 60 people and displaced 68,000 families this year, was the result of massive deforestation in Bolivia and Peru, according to a scientist who was previously the head of the Inter-American Development Bank environmental division, IPS reported. His assessment contradicts the views […]

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Water and Energy The World Bank has approved a $US 73 million grant to continue the development of the Inga 3 hydropower project, the first in a series of large dams planned for the Congo River, Inter Press Service reported. The Grand Inga project would give the Democratic Republic of Congo the third highest hydropower […]

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Asia Water cleanup systems meant to decrease the radioactivity of wastewater at Japan’s damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant have malfunctioned, prompting the Tokyo Electric Power Company to suspend water cleanup operations, the Japan Times reported. One of the three systems was not sufficiently reducing levels of radioactive substances in the water, and officials stopped the […]

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A small diamond found in Brazil contains a form of mineral that could tell scientists more about the amount of water deep in Earth’s mantle, and if that water was part of the planet’s original composition, according to a new study published in Nature. The mineral suggests that the diamond formed in a water-rich area […]

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Hydropower Environmental groups have raised concerns that the population of Irawaddy dolphins in the Mekong River—which now consists of an estimated 85 individuals—will disappear if construction of a dam on the river is completed, Time reported. A report from the World Wildlife Fund says that explosions during the dam’s construction could kill dolphins in the […]

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Weather It is becoming more likely that an El Niño weather pattern will form this year, potentially bringing severe drought to places like Australia and India while bringing heavy rains and floods to the Midwest United States and Brazil, Reuters reported. El Niño is caused when surface water temperatures increase in the Pacific Ocean. Hydropower […]

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Hydropower Pakistan aims to develop hydropower dams capable of producing 13,000 megawatts of electricity, which would increase the country’s hydropower output by almost eight times, AlertNet reported, citing government officials. Pakistan currently experiences frequent power outages due to demand outstripping supply, and the country’s industrial sector has suffered as a result. A drought in Sri […]

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Pollution Australian government records show that a nickel refinery illegally discharged wastewater into the Great Barrier Reef marine park, introducing hundreds of tons of nitrogen into the environment, the Guardian reported. The company was not penalized, and said the releases were necessary to prevent overflow from the refinery’s tailings ponds during heavy rains. Environmental officials […]

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Language in the budget deal that passed Congress in January instructed U.S. representatives to the World Bank and other development banks to oppose loans, grants, or policies that support large hydroelectric dams, defined as those taller than 15 meters (49 feet). It is not clear, however, how that message, which was directed at international financial […]

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Energy A grant worth more than $US 70 million is at stake when the World Bank decides whether or not to go ahead with initial funding for the Inga 3 hydropower project in the Democratic Republic of Congo—a decision that has now been postponed indefinitely, International Rivers reported. Nongovernmental organizations have raised concerns about the […]

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Drinking Water An initiative to install water filters in 65,000 restaurants in Mexico City aims to improve the safety of drinking water, and consumers’ confidence in it, the Associated Press reported. The city’s drinking water has a bad reputation for being contaminated, which experts say often happens in the distribution systems between water treatment plants […]

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Climate change, dam construction, irrigation and groundwater use are causing water supplies in Iran to shrink rapidly, a phenomenon epitomized by the near disappearance of Lake Urmia, The New York Times reported. Lake Urmia is estimated to contain just 5 percent of the water it once held, and though it is a saltwater lake, Iran’s […]

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Water and Energy At the binational Itaipú hydropower dam on the Paraná River between Brazil and Paraguay, environmental and social activists are working with energy companies to protect and restore the watershed for the benefit of residents and future power generation, Inter Press Service reported. Though activists are not completely satisfied with the program, they […]

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Climate Change Under a worse-case scenario in which global temperatures rise 4 degrees Celsius, most of the world would experience interrelated stresses to water, agriculture, ecosystems, and public health, with 18 percent of the population experiencing “severe pressure” in each category, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, […]

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Pollution Discarded computers, tablets, refrigerators, and other electronics are the fastest growing type of waste in the world, according to a report from the United Nations Step initiative, the Guardian reported. The toxic “e-waste”, primarily generated in the developed world, poses a serious pollution threat to the water, air and soil of developing countries, where […]

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Water and Government Bhutan plans to increase its hydropower capacity from 1,480 megawatts to 10,000 megawatts by 2020 in an effort to create revenue for its many public programs, journalist James Fahn explains in an op-ed for The New York Times. He also explores what the country’s new democracy—based around a principle of achieving “Gross […]

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Fire Hydrants The margin was atypical but not unprecedented. The House voted unanimously last week 384-0 to strike down a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposal that would require fire hydrants to cut the amount of lead in their piping. Representatives from both sides of the aisle agreed with national drinking water lobby groups, who claim […]

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Pollution The disposal of wastewater created during the mining of bituminous tar sands is a growing problem for Canada’s oil industry, which must store the water in vast reservoirs, and the industry is planning expansions that could turn Alberta into the largest man-made lake district in the world, Bloomberg News reported. Environmentalists worry that the […]

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Chasing the Wind The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency asked itself a difficult question – What is the value of water to the American economy? – and came up with a broad answer. Water is obviously valuable, but because reliable data on price, quantity, and use is often not kept, water’s “total contribution to the U.S. […]

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Average levels of global carbon dioxide reached another record high in 2012, according to results published Wednesday by the United Nations World Meteorological Organization, the Guardian reported. Climate change driven by rising CO2 levels is expected to create more frequent and severe droughts and storms around the world. United States Texas will now be able […]

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