The Stream, May 3: Mekong Shipping Plan Raises Protest In Thailand

The Global Rundown

Conservation groups in Thailand warn fisheries and farms are at risk from a Chinese plan to dredge and alter the Mekong River to make way for larger ships. Drinking water systems serving millions of Americans, many of them in rural areas, have violated U.S. water laws, a report found. California’s levees are in a state of disrepair, posing a risk to farms and drinking water. A key public meeting on the fate of the Keystone XL pipeline is scheduled today in Nebraska, where opponents worry over the Ogallala aquifer. A recall has affected millions of bottles of Japan’s best-selling bottled water brand.

“This will be the death of the Mekong. You’ll never be able to revive it.” –Niwat Roykaew, chairman of the Rak Chiang Khong Conservation Group, on China’s proposed plan to alter sections of the Mekong River in Thailand and Laos to improve shipping. The plan includes the destruction of the Pi Long rapids, and protesters say it will harm fisheries, farmland, and bird populations along the river. (Reuters)

By The Numbers

60 percent of the levees that protect rural California from floods have a high risk of failure, according to a state survey. Levee failures could also contaminate drinking water supplies for the San Francisco Bay Area. NBC Bay Area

3.7 million bottles of Volvic mineral water were recalled in Japan due to the potential presence of plastic pieces. The brand boasts the most water sales in the country. BBC News

Science, Studies, And Reports

An estimated 77 million people in the United States received their drinking water from systems that violated the federal Safe Drinking Water Act in 2015, according to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council. Nearly 70 percent of those violations occurred in small drinking water systems serving rural areas. NRDC

On The Radar

A public meeting on the future of the Keystone XL pipeline will be held today in Nebraska, the first such meeting since the once-defeated project was given new life earlier this year. The pipeline’s route through Nebraska has long been a contentious issue due to concerns about contamination of the Ogallala aquifer. Guardian

In context: Water and climate safety, and finance security, drive the Keystone XL conflict.