The Stream, September 2: Belo Monte Dam License Suspended

The Global Rundown

Operations at Brazil’s controversial Belo Monte hydropower dam are suspended after a federal judge revoked its license. A La Nina weather pattern could further degrade food security in Somalia, where an El Nino-linked drought destroyed harvests. Drought-tolerant seeds could help farmers in Africa become more resilient to future dry periods, but major concerns remain about the technology. In Colorado, cities are engaging in bidding wars to secure water rights from farmers. And in Florida, floods from Hurricane Hermine may complicate the state’s fight against Zika.

“Norte Energia has repeatedly failed to meet deadlines to provide water and sewage services to the people of Altamira who live right in front of the dam reservoir. Without these services, the city’s water source will be contaminated with sewage. It is an absolutely essential part of limiting negative dam impacts.” –A spokeswoman for federal prosecutors in Altamira, Brazil, on a federal judge’s decision to suspend the operating license for the massive Belo Monte hydropower dam. The company that owns the dam missed a September 1 deadline to hook up local homes to water and sewage infrastructure, prosecutors said. (Reuters)

By The Numbers

4.7 million people Number in Somalia who already need humanitarian aid due to conflict and drought. With harvests in central and southern Somalia estimated to drop 30 to 50 percent below average levels due to dry conditions, and a La Nina weather pattern set to come on the heels of one of the strongest El Nino events on record, the United Nations has warned that the food security situation could become much worse. Reuters

$10 million Amount a Colorado farm’s water rights sold for at auction, where cities and suburban communities are increasingly competing for future water supplies. Marketplace

Science, Studies, And Reports

Seeds that are either conventionally bred or genetically modified to be drought-resistant can increase yields of crops like maize by more than a quarter, according to the Drought Tolerant Maize for Africa project. However, concerns about cost and the proprietary control major international companies hold over engineered seeds also need to be addressed for the seeds to have a positive outcome, environmental groups say. Guardian

On The Radar

Flooding and storm surge from Hurricane Hermine — potentially deadly in their own right — could also create setbacks for Florida’s fight against mosquitoes that carry the Zika virus, according to scientists. The hurricane began to make landfall in the early morning hours on Friday, and was expected to drop more than 500 millimeters of rain. Reuters