The Stream, April 4: Colombia May Ration Electricity Amid Drought

The Global Rundown

A drought in Colombia has drawn down hydropower reserves so far that the country is considering electricity rationing. In neighboring Venezuela, some communities are becoming desperate for water. And in Peru, a rising presidential candidate has promised stricter protections for water and oversight of the mining industry. Two people died in clashes with the police in the Philippines during protests for drought aid, and China announced expectations for severe flooding along the Yangtze River. A heatwave in India is increasing demand for electricity at the same time dwindling water levels could curtail supply. Researchers in New Hampshire are examining the link between mercury pollution in streams and the contamination of land-based food webs.

“We want deep and true change, we want radical change.” –Veronika Mendoza, a leftist congresswoman and presidential candidate in Peru, who has proposed including a right to water in Peru’s constitution and increasing environmental oversight of mining companies. She is gaining in polls, which currently show her tied for second place. (Reuters)

By The Numbers

2 demonstrators Number who died in the Philippines Friday during clashes between police and farmers protesting for drought assistance from the government. Associated Press

5 degrees Amount above normal of temperatures in India during recent weeks, increasing demand for electricity at a time when low water levels could create shortages. The Economic Times

Once in 21 days Frequency at which the government of Venezuela’s Margarita Island said it could supply water as reservoirs dry up, leaving many residents desperate. The Wall Street Journal

Science, Studies, And Reports

Mercury that accumulates in insects living near polluted streams transfers to spiders and then further up the food chain to birds and lizards, according to a study by scientists at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. The researchers say more work is needed to see if this water-to-land mercury link could eventually affect the health of humans. Reuters

On The Radar

Colombia’s government will soon decide whether or not to ration electricity amid a significant drought that has diminished water supplies at hydropower dams. The country relies on hydropower for approximately two-thirds of its electricity. Bloomberg

China is expecting severe flooding along the Yangtze River this year due to the El Nino weather phenomenon. In 1998, a strong El Nino caused extensive flooding on the river and killed thousands of people. Reuters

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