The Stream, August 2: U.K. Allows Farmers to Use More Groundwater and River Water to Combat Heatwave

The Global Rundown

The U.K. government allows farmers to draw more groundwater and river water as the region’s ongoing heatwave wilts crops. Warm weather in the Nordic region disrupts hydropower and nuclear plants. The U.S. Congress votes to extend federal flood insurance but again delays reforms to the program. Water from a dam in Laos that collapsed last week reaches Vietnam rice fields. Hot, stagnant weather fuels the Baltic Sea’s largest algae bloom in years. Monsoon rains in India fill reservoirs to the brim.

“It is vital to relax the rules and allow farmers and land managers flexibility to abstract water without penalties.” –Tim Breitmeyer, president of the CLA, a group representing landowners and rural businesses in the U.K. The country is in the midst of a months-long heatwave which is parching crops and causing shortages of animal fodder. After a “drought summit” this week between farmers and environmental secretary Michael Gove, the U.K. Environmental Agency announced that farmers will be allowed to trade water allowances and utilize excess river water after heavy spells of rain. The Guardian

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By The Numbers

120 Number of people still missing after an under-construction hydropower dam collapsed in Laos last week, killing 11. Floodwaters from the dam burst have reached Vietnam, inundating rice paddies in the Mekong Delta. Officials say that the floodwaters are not expected to affect the country’s rice crop. Reuters

In context: What’s Up With Water — July 30, 2018.

6-10 degrees Celsius Amount that temperatures in the Nordic region have been above seasonal averages this summer. The heat has depleted the country’s hydropower reservoirs, and is now disrupting nuclear power plants as warm seawater forces several nuclear reactors to shut down. Reuters

Science, Studies, And Reports

The U.S. Congress passed a short-term extension of the country’s federal flood insurance program, continuing the program’s authorization and ability to borrow funds until November 30. Lawmakers have been attempting to reform the program, which is more than $20 billion in public debt. The Washington Post

On The Radar

The Baltic Sea is battling its biggest toxic algae bloom in years as hot temperatures and minimal wind allows cyanobacteria to flourish. Authorities have advised residents of Lithuania, Poland, and Sweden to avoid swimming near the algae bloom. Reuters

Spotlight: India

Follow The Stream for daily coverage on India’s water crisis.

Officials in Kerala, India, say they will need to release water from the brimming Idukki dam. Water levels in the dam, boosted by heavy monsoon rains, are currently as 2395.90 feet, only 7.1 feet from full. Officials say that the water will be released in phases to minimize impact. Other dams in the state of Kerala have already been opened to release excess water. The Times of India

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