The Stream, March 20: Connecting the Dots Between Water Stress and Food Prices

Hydropower and Water Security
Two of the world’s biggest energy companies have pledged to measure the economic, social and environmental effects of their big hydropower projects using new voluntary guidelines, according to the Guardian.

The building of dams and the increasing water consumption in upstream Afghanistan negatively affects water supply to Iran and could exacerbate the latent tensions between the two countries, according to a report from the Australian research group Future Directions International.

Ethiopia plans to upgrade the electricity generating capacity of its controversial “Millennium Dam on the Nile” hydropower plant, Africa’s biggest dam, from 5,250 megawatts to 6000 megawatts, according to The Africa Report. The mega project was launched last year amid a diplomatic row between Ethiopia and Egypt about their use of the Nile River waters.

Drought and Food Prices
Though a December-January drought chopped early corn yields in parts of Argentina — the world’s second biggest corn exporter — new rainfall has enlivened later-seeded fields, Reuters reported. Will Argentina’s harvest affect global food prices?

The Earth Institute at Columbia University explains the link between water stress and food prices.

The Guardian features a map of the drought in England and Wales, as well as an infographic of the food crisis in Africa’s drought-stricken Sahel region, where more than 13 million people are at risk of hunger.

Water Infrastructure
Climate Central maps how the rising seas will eat the coastal cities in the United States.

Minsk, the capital of Belarus, will spend $8.5 million this year to upgrade its water infrastructure by expanding its supply network and reducing the amount of water lost through leaks, according to OOSKAnews. But some question the Belarusian government’s capacity to implement the project.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia plans to spend $80 billion on desalination projects over 20 years, Bloomberg News reported.

A Reuters photographer took these eerie images of an Australian town entirely covered with spiders that are fleeing the recent floods in the state of New South Wales.

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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