The Stream, March 11: Drought Forces Thailand Farmers To Grow New Crops

The Global Rundown

Farmers in Thailand are learning to grow new crops as a severe drought forces them to abandon rice. Floods in the southern United States have triggered evacuations and a state of emergency, while funding for flood research in the United Kingdom has declined dramatically. Ethiopia announced plans for a major new hydropower dam, and China signaled that it would pass a law next year to address soil pollution. U.S. officials continued to voice their concerns about the integrity of Iraq’s Mosul dam.

“The briefings on the Mosul dam today were chilling. While important steps have been taken to address a potential breach, the dam could still fail.” –U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power, in a statement following talks Wednesday between Iraqi and U.S. diplomats, engineers, and United Nations officials about Iraq’s largest dam. The dam’s failure could send a flood of water up to 14 meters high downstream. (Reuters)

By The Numbers

$2.4 billion Estimated cost of an El Nino-linked drought to Thailand’s economy, where the government is encouraging rice farmers to learn how to grow different crops. Bloomberg

2,000 megawatts Capacity of a new hydropower dam announced by Ethiopia. Hydropower development is a key part of Ethiopia’s plans to become a regional power exporter. Reuters

406 millimeters Amount of rain that has fallen in some areas of Louisiana and other southern U.S. states, leaving many areas underwater and triggering a state of emergency declaration. The Weather Channel

Science, Studies, And Reports

Government funding for flood research in the United Kingdom declined 62 percent between 2009 and 2016. The cuts come at the same time the U.K. has experienced a number of severe and widespread flooding events, most recently in December. Guardian

On The Radar

China plans to create a dedicated law to address soil pollution problems next year, according to government officials. Soil pollution from industrial and agricultural sources in China has contaminated food and water supplies. Reuters

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