The Stream, April 19: Drought-hit Midwest Pummeled by Rains

Drought Relief
Farm fields across the Midwestern United States were quenched this week as heavy rainstorms over the central part of the country continued to relieve one of the worst droughts in U.S. history, Reuters reported. Grain prices, which were pushed up to record highs last summer due to the drought-damaged U.S. corn crop, could fall as a result of the improved 2013 outlook.

Meanwhile, the storms have created flood conditions in Chicago and other Midwestern cities, and could contribute to major flooding on the Mississippi River this weekend, the Associated Press reported. Nearly 178 millimeters (7 inches) of rain fell in 24 hours in the Chicago area.

In Southeast Asia, global weather experts are predicting that the 2013 monsoon season will be average, according to AlertNet. The forecast is good news for India, which depends on rainfall from the monsoon to provide water to 55 percent of its farmland.

Acting on Climate Change
The European Union faces greater division and a heavy economic toll if it does not take action to mitigate climate change, according to a discussion paper from the European Commission, Reuters reported. A failure to adapt to extreme weather could cost the EU $US 131 billion a year in 2020.

Egypt and the Nile
Eritrea has declared support for Egypt’s colonial-era Nile River water rights, opposing a new water sharing agreement signed in 2011 by a majority of Nile Basin countries, the Sudan Tribune reported. Egypt and Sudan use approximately 90 percent of the Nile’s water resources, while Ethiopia is the source for 85 percent of the water.

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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