The Stream, April 27: Mexico Border Wall Could Cause Water Treaty Tensions

The Global Rundown

Building a border wall in the floodplain of the Rio Grande could snarl a water treaty between the U.S. and Mexico. Fighting in Mosul, Iraq continues to pressure drinking water supplies. A dam project in Kenya will provide more water to urban areas, but may harm forests that supply water downstream. A hepatitis E outbreak in Niger highlights the need for better water and sanitation. A new study suggests invasive Asian carp could survive and grow in Lake Michigan. Rice farmers in the southern United States are cutting water use to curb emissions.

“Mexico has been growing more and more alarmed as they see plans for Trump’s wall progress. In the west desert on the Arizona-Mexico border we have proven examples that border security fencing has clogged with debris and has caused very serious flooding in places. … These walls, when they get clogged with debris, act like a dam.” –John Burnett, a reporter for NPR in Texas, explaining why a U.S.-built wall along the border with Mexico could violate a treaty governing the waters of the Rio Grande. (Texas Public Radio)

In context: Learn how U.S.- Mexico cooperation restored life to the Colorado River Delta.

By The Numbers

17 percent Current funding level for the United Nations’ humanitarian appeal for Iraq. As fighting continues in Mosul, supplies of safe drinking water are a critical need across the city, according to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. UN News Centre

100 million liters Amount of water per day that Kenya says its Itare Dam, which began construction last year, will supply to the city of Nakuru. Critics of the project, however, warn that it could harm the Mau forest, a key water source, and cause water shortages downstream. Reuters

14,164 hectares Area of rice being grown in the southern United States by a group of farmers who have committed to reducing their water use in order to save money and cut methane emissions. Bloomberg

Science, Studies, And Reports

Invasive species of Asian carp would find enough algae and other food to survive and grow in Lake Michigan, according to a study by the U.S. Geological Survey. The study found that the fish would likely concentrate in nearshore waters and bays. Silver and bighead carp, which have been spreading throughout the Mississippi River Basin, threaten to invade the Great Lakes Basin and harm its $7 billion fishery. USGS

In context: Learn what an Asian carp invasion would mean for the Great Lakes — and what is being done to prevent it.

On The Radar

Niger has declared an outbreak of hepatitis E in the southeastern Diffa region. The outbreak, spread primarily through contaminated water, highlights a lack of adequate drinking water and sanitation, and humanitarian organizations should “rapidly and significantly” increase their work in this area, according to aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres. MSF