The Stream, February 3: Heat, Water Shortages Spark Economic Concerns in Brazil

A heat wave and ongoing drought in Brazil is expected to raise energy prices and could harm crops if the weather continues, while water shortages are a risk in cities like Sao Paulo, Reuters reported. The problems could have political ramifications for Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, who is seeking reelection this year.

North America
An environmental review released Friday by the United States State Department found that the proposed Keystone XL pipeline will have little effect on global climate change, a conclusion that could make the pipeline more likely to gain approval, Inter Press Service reported. Critics of the pipeline, which would carry crude oil from Canada to the United States Gulf Coast, have also worried that a spill could contaminate the Ogallala Aquifer.

A Canadian smelting plant released as much as 25 cubic meters of a sodium hydroxide solution into the Columbia River last week, Reuters reported. The plant operator, which has been investigated for previous spills, says the spill is unlikely to have long-term environmental effects on the river.

Using wetlands for agriculture should not be disallowed, but conservation measures need to be taken to ensure they are not polluted or destroyed by agricultural practices, according to a new report from the International Water Management Institute, AlertNet reported. The report suggests working with local communities to help wetlands and farmers “coexist”.

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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