The Stream, March 1: Another El Niño Possible In 2017

The Global Rundown

Forecasters predict there is a 50 percent chance of another El Niño weather pattern in 2017, little more than a year since the last El Niño triggered widespread droughts in Africa. Unregulated groundwater use, fueled by population growth, is raising concerns in Kabul, Afghanistan. Officials in Canada worry floods in the Red River Basin will put illegal immigrants at risk. India’s space agency is joining efforts to map lakes around Bengaluru. Expensive alternative water supplies, such as desalination and recycled water, could significantly increase water prices in Cape Town, South Africa. Following a new order from President Donald Trump, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will begin reviewing the Clean Water Rule.

“It was a massive power grab. Regulations and permits started treating our wonderful small farmers and small businesses as if they were a major industrial polluter. They treated them horribly.” –U.S. President Donald Trump, speaking as he signed orders for the Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to review — and potentially repeal — the Clean Water Rule, a regulation implemented in 2015 that clarifies which bodies of water fall under federal protection. The rule was fiercely opposed by agriculture and industry groups. (NPR)

In context: Learn more about the controversies surrounding the Clean Water Rule and its implementation.

By The Numbers

50 percent Amount water prices could rise if Cape Town, South Africa is forced to use desalination and recycled water to fill shortages, according to the city’s mayor. News 24 / AllAfrica

150 meters Depth of some wells being dug in Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital. Population growth is driving a well-drilling boom, much of it unregulated, and is putting pressure on the city’s aquifers. Reuters

143 people Number who have illegally crossed the border from the United States into a Manitoba town since the beginning of the year. Officials say the immigrants seeking asylum are in danger from flooding along the Red River this spring. Reuters

Science, Studies, And Reports

India’s space agency is joining with the Karnataka Lake Conservation and Development Authority to find any lakes that may have been missed in a government inventory that charted nearly 500 lakes around Bengaluru, the capital of Karnataka. Development caused more than 80 lakes in the region to disappear over the past decade, and water experts have called for action to save the rest. ET Tech

On The Radar

There is a 50 percent chance that an El Niño weather pattern could form by July, according to Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology. Countries in Africa are still recovering from severe droughts and failed harvests triggered by the previous El Niño, which occurred between 2015 and 2016. Australian Associated Press

In context: Learn about the lingering effects of the 2015 El Niño.