The Stream, April 16: Droughts in China and the United States

The Murray-Darling Draft Plan
The Murray-Darling River Basin draft plan is likely to trigger another round of legal arguments over state water entitlements, according to Adelaide Now. The states of New South Wales and Victoria have rejected the plan — which recommends returning 2,750 gigaliters of water a year to the river system — arguing that it takes away too much from their irrigators. South Australia is also opposing the proposal, saying that it doesn’t return enough water to the environment.

Meanwhile more than 60 Australian scientists have released a joint statement that calls for more transparency in the proposed plan. They say that the document fails to take into account future climatic changes and other trends.

A recent scientific report has put monetary value on the ecological benefits of the Murray–Darling plan, Nature reported, but it likely comes too late to influence public debate.

Mining in Peru
Peru is expected to release today a report by three international experts on the water use by a proposed $US 4.8 billion mining project that was suspended last year following violent public protests, according to the Dow Jones Newswires.

Could the drought in southern China hamper the central government’s ambitious project to transfer vast amounts of water from the south to the parched north?

Meanwhile, drought conditions are intensifying in the U.S. Southwest, upper Midwest, Southeast and along the East Coast, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Parts of every American state — except for Ohio and Alaska — are experiencing abnormally dry weather.

After an unusually warm March, federal forecasters have lowered their projections for the Colorado River water levels, Associated Press reported. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said that 2011 was so wet that Lake Mead won’t feel an immediate impact.

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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