The Stream, May 19: India Prepares To Link Rivers

The Global Rundown

Work on a large-scale project to link and divert some of India’s major rivers could begin in days, according to government officials. Protesters in Australia are demanding the closure of a zinc mine linked to water pollution, and South Africa announced plans to make mining companies pay to clean up acid mine drainage. Hundreds of thousands of people could be displaced by floods in Ethiopia, where communities are still reeling from a drought. North Carolina may order Duke Energy to close dozens of its coal ash pits due to pollution concerns. Portugal ran for four days on renewable energy alone. Water quality in Chesapeake Bay appears to be improving, and the bay received a “C” grade on its 2015 report card.

“The government is trying to redraw the entire geography of the country. What will happen to communities, the wildlife, the farmers who live downstream of the rivers? They need to look at a river not just as a source of water, but as an entire ecosystem.” –Dr. Latha Anantha, founder of the River Research Centre, on India’s ambitious plan to link several major rivers and bring water to dry regions in the east and south. The country’s water minister said work on the project, which is expected to take decades to complete, may begin in a few days. (Guardian)

By The Numbers

67 percent Amount of the cost to clean up acid mine drainage in South Africa that will be paid by mining companies through an environmental levy. South Africa plans to spend $760 million on a plan to clean up the water pollution, which will be implemented by 2020.

200,000 people Number expected to be displaced by floods in Ethiopia, adding to humanitarian and economic problems caused by 18 months of severe drought. Voice of America

4 days Consecutive time this month that Portugal was powered exclusively by renewable energy, including wind, solar, and hydropower. Guardian

25 coal ash sites Number North Carolina may order Duke Energy, the largest electric power company in the United States, to close by 2024 due to pollution concerns. Spills of coal ash from a Duke site in 2014 contaminated North Carolina’s Dan River. Bloomberg

Science, Studies, And Reports

Water quality in Chesapeake Bay received a “C” grade on the 2015 report card released by the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. The score is one of the three highest in nearly 30 years for the bay, where water quality has long been impaired by excessive runoff of nitrogen and phosphorus. University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science

On The Radar

Demonstrators around the world plan to hold protests today against mines owned by Swiss natural resources company Glencore. In Australia, traditional owners in the Northern Territory are demanding that the company shut down and clean up its McArthur River zinc mine, which has been linked to contamination in the river. Guardian