The Stream, August 31: Waist-Deep Water Swamps the Streets of Mumbai

The Global Rundown

Monsoon rains bring waist-deep water to parts of Mumbai, India. Hurricane Harvey could be the costliest natural disaster in United States history, according to early estimates. Newly-developed leaf sensors can help farmers know when to water their crops. A dry spell and scorching temperatures lower water levels, increasing power bills in the Western Balkans. Floods throughout South Asia claimed the lives of over 1,000 people this summer.

“The heavy rains, flooding, are delaying our rescue work. Even we are stranded.” –Amitesh Kumar, joint commissioner of police in Mumbai, India, where heavy monsoon rains are causing flooding and forcing evacuations. Parts of the city are five feet underwater as Mumbai experiences the worst deluge in years. Reuters

By The Numbers

41 million Number of South Asians who have been affected by floods and landslides resulting from monsoon rains, which began in June and will likely last through September. Thousands of homes in Bangladesh, India, and Nepal have been washed away or damaged. The death toll from these disasters is over 1,000. The New York Times

$160 billion Amount of damage caused by Hurricane Harvey, according to early estimates, making it the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history. Parts of Houston and other Texas towns are still underwater in the aftermath of the storm. As Harvey weakens into a tropical depression, more rain and a handful of tornadoes are expected in the South and Midwest United States. USA Today

Science, Studies, And Reports

A team of Pennsylvania State University researchers is experimenting with leaf sensors, which track leaf thickness and electrical capacitance as plants grow. These sensors indicate when irrigation is needed, giving farmers the ability to prevent both water waste and parched crops. Science Daily

On The Radar

Electricity costs in the West Balkans are surging amid a prolonged drought. Lowering water levels have slowed hydropower output, forcing many countries in the region to import their energy from elsewhere or ramp up the use of coal power. The dry spell is expected to continue. Reuters