The Stream, May 15: Pakistan Hydropower Gets $50 Billion Boost From China

The Global Rundown

A new investment deal between China and Pakistan will direct billions of dollars to hydropower projects in the Indus River Basin. Turkey began moving a 500-year-old tomb away from the Tigris River in an effort to make way for the Ilisu dam. Yemen declared a state of emergency in response to a deadly cholera outbreak in Sanaa. Aid agencies in Iraq warn that hot summer weather will exacerbate water shortages in Mosul. Actions by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency could give the Pebble mine project in Alaska a second chance at life, raising concerns for nearby salmon fisheries. Millions of people in Southeast England are being told to conserve water, while farmers are asking for drought relief from the North. A proposed initiative in Maharashtra aims to transition half of the state’s sugar crop to drip irrigation.

“During a visit to the West Mosul [water treatment plant] there was a dead body floating down the river from which people are supposed to get drinking water from. If that doesn’t show quite how extraordinarily difficult the situation here is, I don’t know what does.” –Melany Markham, media coordinator for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in Iraq, commenting on the challenges of providing safe water to residents of Mosul and those who have been displaced by fighting. Aid agencies warn that hot summer temperatures will put even more pressure on scarce supplies. (Independent)

By The Numbers

$50 billion Estimated cost of five major hydropower projects in Pakistan that will be jointly developed through a new memorandum of understanding with China. The five dams, all within the Indus River Basin, could generate more than 20,000 megawatts of electricity. Pakistan Today

1,100 metric tons Weight of a 15th-centry tomb in Turkey that was relocated over the weekend ahead of the completion of the controversial Ilisu dam. The dam’s reservoir will submerge historical sites in Hasankeyf, a town on the Tigris River. Guardian

3.6 million people Number living in Southeast England who have been told to conserve water amid rainfall shortages. Unusually dry weather over the past several months has prompted some farmers in the region to call for pipelines to carry water south from wetter northern regions. BBC News / Guardian

Science, Studies, And Reports

Officials in Maharashtra hope to shift 50 percent of the state’s sugarcane crop to drip irrigation over the next two years by implementing an incentive program for farmers. The announcement comes on the heels of a report that found 70 percent of the state’s irrigation water was going to sugar crops. Hindustan Times

On The Radar

Yemen declared a state of emergency in the capital, Sanaa, over the weekend in response to a deadly outbreak of cholera. The disease is spread through contaminated water and food, and the current outbreak has killed more than 50 people since the end of April, according to the World Health Organization. Reuters

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will settle lawsuits with the company behind the proposed Pebble gold and copper mine in Alaska. The settlements will likely give new life to the project, which the agency previously stalled due to concerns about its possible effect on streams vital to the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery. Reuters

In context: Following EPA action, Rio Tinto exits Alaska Pebble mine project.