The Stream, December 20: Brazil Dam Combines Energy Goals with River Stewardship

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 say it is a “stride forward” in comparison to other mega-dam projects underway in South America.

Power plants that use natural gas instead of coal as their fuel saved Texas 32 billion gallons of water in 2011, according to a new study from The University of Texas at Austin. Researchers found that natural gas plants offered huge water savings when compared to coal plants, even though hydraulic fracturing to extract the gas requires large amounts of water.

Pennsylvania’s state Supreme Court ruled as unconstitutional a law that effectively exempted natural gas companies from local zoning requirements, Bloomberg News reported. The law gave local communities less control over where gas drilling occurred, and thereby infringed upon their rights to “clean air and pure water,” according to the court ruling.

Water Supply
The Turkey to Cyprus water supply pipeline project is going forward as the first kilometer of the pipeline was constructed earlier this month, Bloomberg News reported. The pipeline, which will run through the Mediterranean Sea for 80 kilometers at depths as great as 280 meters, is meant to ease water scarcity in Cyprus and strengthen ties between Cyprus and Turkey.

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