The Stream, January 23: G20 Countries Commit To Protect Water For Agriculture

The Global Rundown

Representatives of the Group of Twenty countries in Berlin announced they will pursue agricultural practices that better protect water supplies and ecosystems. Residents of Ecuador will not get compensation for water pollution from Chevron’s subsidiary in Canada after a court decision blocked enforcement of an earlier ruling. A major reservoir project in Zimbabwe is nearly complete, potentially irrigating thousands of hectares of farmland. Storms continue to drench California, triggering flash floods and mudslides. China plans to close more than 100 golf courses in an effort to preserve farmland and groundwater.

“It looks like it’s shaping up to be the strongest storm of the season.” –Carol Smith, with the National Weather Service, in reference to a winter storm that brought heavy rain and snow to Southern California over the weekend. Flash floods closed roads and forced residents to evacuate, while the onslaught also raised concerns about mudslides in areas already hit by several days of rain. (Los Angeles Times)

By The Numbers

111 golf courses Number that China ordered to close due to their illegal use of arable land and groundwater, according to the National Development and Reform Commission. Reuters

25,000 hectares Area of farmland that could be irrigated by the Tokwe-Mukosi Dam in Zimbabwe, which is “99.9 percent finished,” engineers said. The dam, forming the second largest man-made reservoir in the country, has been under construction since the 1990s. Bloomberg

Science, Studies, And Reports

Water was the headline issue at this year’s Global Forum for Food and Agriculture, which wrapped up Saturday in Berlin. In a statement released after the summit, ministers representing the G20 countries acknowledged the many pressures on the world’s water supplies and committed to the protection of “water and water-related ecosystems.” Reuters

On The Radar

Residents of the Lago Agrio region in Ecuador continue to struggle to secure the $9 billion an Ecuadorian court said Chevron owes them for decades of water and soil pollution. Last week, a Canadian court ruled that the company’s subsidiary there does not have to pay, though the plaintiffs plan to appeal. Reuters