The Stream, April 10: U.S. Congress Passes Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan

The Global Rundown

The U.S. Congress approves the Colorado River drought contingency plan. Cyclone-hit Zimbabwe, simultaneously facing drought, asks for $613 million in aid. Heavy rain deluges Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, leaving at least three people dead. The central bank of Venezuela is partially shut down after two weeks without running water. Scientists work to understand the páramos ecosystems, which provide water to millions of South Americans.

“It’s blue gold, and we are looking for it.” –Mauricio Diazgranados, a Colombian botanist, discussing a study of northern South America’s  páramo landscapes. The páramos, which sit below the Andes mountains, are covered in plants known as frailejones and are masterful at storing water from fog and rain. The páramos help mitigate flooding, ease drought, and provide water to millions of South Americans. The páramos, though, are coming under increasing threat from human activity and rising temperatures, prompting scientists to study and protect the ecosystem more thoroughly. The Guardian

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By The Numbers

$613 million Amount of aid that Zimbabwe is seeking from domestic and foreign donors to address both drought conditions and the recent devastation by Cyclone Idai. An estimated 5 million Zimbabweans are in need of food aid due to recent crop failures. Hundreds of thousands more also need food, water, and shelter following Cyclone Idai. Reuters

246 millimeters (9.7 inches) Rain that fell in parts of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, over a period of nine hours on Monday evening. The record-breaking rainfall caused flash floods in several neighborhoods and left at least three people dead. Al Jazeera

On The Radar

The United States Congress approved the Colorado Drought contingency plan on Monday night. The seven-state plan, meant to conserve water in the drying Colorado River system, was completed last month following years of negotiations. The Hill

Inside sources say Venezuela’s central bank has been operating with only 100 of its 2,000 workers in recent weeks due to a lack of running water at its headquarters. The water shortage began after a power blackout two weeks ago, and the remaining employees are performing only crucial operations at this time. Bloomberg

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