The Stream, June 5: International Lenders Abandon Honduras Dam

The Global Rundown

All three of the major international financial institutions that loaned money to the Agua Zarca dam in Honduras have withdrawn their support. Cape Town, South Africa is facing down a water crisis of “catastrophic proportions,” according to the city’s mayor. Water levels have reached record lows in Israel’s Sea of Galilee, where evaporation has exceeded the amount of water entering the lake. Water bird populations declined dramatically in Australia’s Murray-Darling River Basin over the past 30 years. Unesco does not plan to list the Great Barrier Reef as endangered, but warns Australia is not doing enough to meet water quality goals.

“To run out of usable water is to be presented with a crisis of catastrophic proportions. We cannot be sure whether it will rain this winter. We have gone through May with nothing much to show with regard to rainfall. June might be better, but the point is we do not know.” –Patricia de Lille, mayor of Cape Town, South Africa, after the usable level of water left in the city’s reservoirs fell below 10 percent. (Bloomberg)

In context: Reservoirs supplying Cape Town are nearing bottom during record-setting drought.

By The Numbers

$44 million Amount of loans pledged by three international financial institutions for the Agua Zarca dam project, which was opposed by murdered Honduran activist Berta Caceres. All three institutions have said they will pull their support for the project. Guardian

In context: Murders of activists defending safe water and environment rise sharply.

3.3 cubic meters per second Current water flow entering the Sea of Galilee from the Jordan River, less than half the seasonal average, according to the Israel Water Authority. The lake lost more water through evaporation than it gained through river flows for the first time in 97 years, the authority said. The Times of Israel

Science, Studies, And Reports

Water bird populations in Australia’s Murray-Darling River Basin have declined 70 percent over the past 32 years, according to a study by researchers at the University of New South Wales. Scientists attributed the decline to decreasing water flows, but found that bird populations could rebound if more water was released for the environment. ABC News

In context: Water buyback limit proposed for Australia’s Murray-Darling Basin.

On The Radar

Unesco does not plan to list the Great Barrier Reef as an endangered site, according to a draft decision. Nonetheless, the agency warned that Australia is not doing enough to meet water quality improvement goals, which include cutting runoff from farming. Guardian