The Stream, May 21: Hydropower Project to Displace Thousands in Guatemala

Energy & Natural Resources
As many as 15,000 people, many of them Q’eqchi Mayans, will be displaced by the construction of a $US 337 million hydropower project in Guatemala, the Guardian reported. The Xalalá dam would be the second largest in the country, and the government has has vowed to build the project despite local opposition.

The United States Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration will begin a review of the difference between spills of conventional crude oil and tar sands crude, Bloomberg News reported. The U.S. has been transporting increasingly large volumes of tar sands oil from Canada, leading to concerns about spill cleanups involving the heavier crude, which behaves differently in water.

Water Scarcity
The world’s copper mines—many located in arid regions—are facing increasing costs for water, which may translate into slower growth in the sector, the Wall Street Journal reported. Moody’s Investors Service found that mining companies spent three times as much money—$US 12 billion—on water management in 2013 as they did in 2009.

Despite two states—Colorado and Washington—legalizing recreational marijuana use, the U.S. government will not allow federal irrigation water to be used for growing the drug, NBC News reported. The federal Bureau of Reclamation provides irrigation water to about 1.2 million acres of land in the two states.

Natural Disasters
Flood damages to industrial complexes, agricultural lands and infrastructure are expected to contribute to a total loss of $US 1.37 billion from the Bosnian economy, Reuters reported. The record-breaking floods also destroyed swaths of cropland in Serbia, which relies on agriculture for 12 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP).

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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