The Stream, December 5: China’s Nujiang River Safe From Dams

The Global Rundown

Hydropower projects are no longer proposed for the Nujiang river in China’s latest energy development roadmap. In a separate statement, China’s president called clean water an “invaluable asset” and promised that the enforcement of environmental laws will increase. Environmental regulators in Chile may fine the world’s largest lithium producer millions of dollars over alleged violations, some pertaining to water. The president of Peru plans to visit communities opposed to the Tia Maria copper project, largely due to concerns about water. Shortages of clean water in Mosul, Iraq are preventing residents from returning to their homes even as the fighting subsides in some areas. More than a dozen people died over the weekend in Vietnam as flooding continued.

“Desperation has forced some to use sewage water. The government and the aid agencies are sending in tankers of water as a temporary measure but it’s not enough. Hundreds, who cannot stay in Mosul but don’t have any place to stay in the camps either, queue for water every day.” –Imran Khan, a correspondent for Al Jazeera in Mosul, Iraq, where fighting cut water supplies to 40 percent of the city. The resulting shortages have kept displaced residents from returning to their homes. (Al Jazeera)

By The Numbers

13 people Number killed in the latest round of flooding in central Vietnam, which has suffered 65 deaths and an estimated $309 million in losses since October. Reuters

$22.2 million Potential cost of fines that Chile may levy against SQM, the world’s largest lithium producer. Environmental regulators are accusing an SQM facility in the Salar de Atacama of failing to provide adequate information on water extraction and well levels, among other violations. Reuters

Science, Studies, And Reports

A 5-year policy roadmap released by China’s National Energy Administration does not include plans to build large hydropower projects on the Nujiang, one of the country’s last rivers without dams. Conservationists hailed the exclusion as a victory and called it “a great turning point for the efforts to preserve China’s rivers.” Guardian

In context: See a map of China’s major hydropower projects.

On The Radar

Peru’s president, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, will visit the Arequipa region in an effort to resolve longstanding tensions between communities and mining companies. Protests against the $1.4 billion Tia Maria copper mine, driven in large part by concerns about water, became particularly volatile in 2011 and 2015, when six demonstrators were killed and work on the project was suspended. Reuters

Xi Jinping, the president of China, reaffirmed the country’s commitment to curb pollution in a statement released Friday, calling an “ecological civilization” a key part of China’s development strategy. In particular, he highlighted the need for clean water and said that environmental inspections and enforcement will increase. Xinhua

In context: Explore how water pollution often forces farmers to grow food using water that is tainted with heavy metals, organic pollutants, and nitrogen.