The Stream, May 27: Zambia Will Cut Power As Water Supplies Fall

The  Global Rundown

The Global Rundown

Zambia and Zimbabwe are struggling with power cuts as water shortages hinder hydropower production. Himalayan glaciers could retreat dramatically by the end of the century, and environmental organizers say Chile’s water privatization is hurting rural communities. President Obama approved a new Clean Water Rule for the United States, researchers found that methadone is creating a carcinogen during wastewater treatment, and a majority of Americans think the California drought will increase food prices.

“Water is now, without a doubt, the main environmental issue in this country. Small farmers have lost their land, and there are municipalities like Petorca, where more than 3,000 women live on their own because their husbands and partners have had to leave to find work.”–Rodrigo Mundaca, secretary general of the Movement for the Defence of Water, Land and the Environment, on Chile’s increasing competition for water. Activists say the privatization of the country’s water is to blame. (Tierramerica)

By the Numbers

By The Numbers

600 megawatts Amount of power Zambia may have to cut this year due to low water levels in its hydropower dams. Equal to more than a quarter of the country’s power generation, the cuts will likely affect copper mining operations. Bloomberg

48 percent Water levels in Zimbabwe’s Kariba reservoir, the largest man-made reservoir in the world, reducing hydropower generation and contributing to blackouts. Bloomberg

84 percent U.S. residents who think the drought in California will cause a significant increase in food prices, according to a new poll. Forty-three percent of respondents said the drought has affected them personally in some way. Reuters


Science, Studies, And Reports

Increasing temperatures could cause approximately 5,500 glaciers in the Himalaya region to decline 70 to 99 percent by the end of the century, according to a study published in the journal The Cryosphere. Researchers acknowledged that there are still many unknowns and that the results should be “taken very cautiously”. Guardian

Scientists found the presence of a carcinogenic compound in United States drinking water that is created from the interaction of methadone, a type of prescription pain medication, and disinfectants used in the wastewater treatment process. Their study attributes 62 percent of the carcinogen NDMA found in wastewater samples to methadone, which can then make its way into drinking water supplies downstream. PBS Newshour

On the Radar

On The Radar

President Obama made the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Water Rule official on Wednesday. The rule ensures protection for small streams and wetlands under the Clean Water Act, but faces stiff opposition from Congress, farmers, and developers. The New York Times

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