The Stream, January 26: Africa Investment Gap Remains, Despite Large Infrastructure Needs

The Global Rundown

Africa needs billions of dollars of investment in its water, energy, and transportation infrastructure — a challenge that is increasingly tackled by local investment funds. A political review of data and information on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s website raises concerns about scientific censorship. A court decision in Indonesia reaffirms a tax on river water used at the Grasberg copper mine. Scientists say floating wetlands could be employed to reduce nutrient pollution at wastewater plants. A thriving aquaculture industry in India’s Kolkata wetlands is at risk from development and growing competition. Global connections between water and food production are “underappreciated,” according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

“Everything is subject to review.” –Doug Ericksen, director of communications for President Donald Trump’s transition team at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, responding to a question about whether or not data collected during routine air and water quality monitoring are subject to the new administration’s assessment of the agency’s website content. The move has raised fears about scientific censorship. (Associated Press)

By The Numbers

$150 billion Estimated amount held by sovereign investment funds in Africa, which are pushing to get energy, transportation, and water projects off the ground. Analysts say investment in Africa’s infrastructure needs to double, but global investors have largely focused on infrastructure projects in the West. Reuters

2,000 to 5,000 liters Amount of water needed to meet the food and nutritional needs of a typical person, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. “The magnitude of the water-food nexus is underappreciated,” an official at the agency said. UN News Centre

$188 million Amount international mining company Freeport McMoRan must pay in taxes for using water from the Aghawagon and Otomona rivers at its Grasberg mine in Indonesia. The company had sought a lower tax rate, but a court decision this month denied its request. Reuters

Science, Studies, And Reports

Floating wetlands could be used at wastewater treatment plants to reduce nutrient pollutants like nitrogen, according to a study by researchers in Oklahoma and Pennsylvania. Nutrient pollution from fertilizers, sewage, and stormwater runoff is the primary driver of toxic algal blooms that can contaminate drinking water supplies and create low-oxygen “dead zones”. UPI

In context: Learn more about nutrient pollution and its effects on water quality.

On The Radar

Farmers in the Kolkata wetlands have been raising fish using the Indian city’s wastewater for generations, helping provide food as well as sewage treatment. Development near the wetlands and growing competition for wastewater, however, could force the city to implement new regulations for the industry. Guardian