The Stream, August 1: Urbanization and Rainstorm Connection

Urbanization may have played a role in the intensity of Beijing’s recent rainstorm, which dumped 215 millimeters (8.5 inches) of rain over a 16-hour period, according to Chinese government meteorologists, Nature reported. Pollution and heat-trapping materials like asphalt create a “heat island” that causes rainfall to be heavier and more concentrated.

Following violent protests, China canceled plans for a pipeline that would have dumped wastewater from a paper mill into the sea near Qidong, Reuters reported.

Shrinking glaciers will likely put more pressure on northwestern China’s already stressed Tarim River Basin, which gets 40 percent of its water from glacial runoff, Yale Environment 360 reported.

Drought and low water levels on Italy’s Po River have “paralyzed” commercial shipping, Bloomberg News reported. The river is the country’s largest and runs through the main corn and rice-growing region.

Meat, dairy and poultry producers in the United States have petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to suspend its quotas for corn ethanol, warning that such quotas will push food prices even higher amid the drought, the Guardian reported.

New research disputes claims by the European Commission that rapeseed biodiesel cuts down greenhouse gas emissions 38 percent when compared to fossil fuels, according to EurActiv.

The Stream is a daily digest spotting global water trends. To get more water news, follow Circle of Blue on Twitter and sign up for our newsletter.

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