The Stream, November 20: Ethiopia Moves Forward with Construction of Its First Major Dam on the Blue Nile

The Global Rundown

Extensive testing of lakes in Bengaluru, India, reveals that the city’s waterbodies are unsuitable for drinking or bathing. Ethiopia moves forward with construction of its first major dam on the Blue Nile despite resistance from downstream Egypt. Nepal tests solar-powered irrigation systems as water sources dwindle. Mexico plans to build an enormous green airport, but the construction zone lies in a lake bed riddled with centuries of flooding and water management issues. The United Kingdom announces a possible tax on single-use plastics to help combat ocean pollution.

“We inherited the war the Spanish waged against water and therefore the lack of wisdom on how to coexist with it in a sustainable manner.” — Fernando Córdova Tapia, an analyst at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, in reference to the risks of building a mega-airport on a sinking lake bed. The enormous airport, which would serve Mexico City, is intended to serve as a model for sustainability. As construction moves forward, however, analysts are raising questions about the project’s environmental impact and water management oversight. The New York Times

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By The Numbers

305 Number of lakes tested in Bengaluru, India, as part of a two-year comprehensive inventory of the city’s waterbodies. Contaminants such as construction debris, agricultural runoff, and sewage were found to have severely polluted 85 percent of the lakes to the lowest grade of  water quality. The remaining 15 percent were also classified as unsafe for bathing and drinking. The Hindu

12 million tonnes Estimated amount of plastic that enters the oceans each year. In hopes of minimizing such pollution, the United Kingdom will begin examining the benefits of taxing single-use plastics. A small tax on single-use plastic bags, introduced two years ago, led to an 85 percent reduction in their use throughout the country. The Guardian  

Science, Studies, And Reports

As shrinking water sources force people from their homes, Nepal is harnessing solar technology to streamline irrigation. The solar irrigation systems pump water from the source and into village tanks and pipes, helping to preserve water and the livelihood of villagers. Al Jazeera

On The Radar

Ethiopia is finalizing construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam amid warnings from Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who fears that the dam will cut into Egypt’s water supply. Tensions are high after the two countries, along with Sudan, failed to approve a study on the dam’s potential effects. The New York Times