The Stream, January 10: Texas Starts 2019 With Highest Water Supply in Decades

The Global Rundown

Texas begins 2019 with its highest water supply since 1993. U.S. President Donald Trump nominates Andrew Wheeler, the acting EPA head and a former coal lobbyist, to run the agency. China’s Three Gorges Corp moves away from domestic hydropower projects. The ongoing U.S. government shutdown will likely delay Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts, say officials. Farmers in drought-stricken Zimbabwe urge authorities to implement cloud seeding.

“We expected a drought, but didn’t think it would be this serious, this early.” –Wonder Chabikwa, the president of the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union, in reference to a four-week dry spell in the country as planting season begins. In response, farmers are calling on the government to implement cloud seeding, a controversial practice that involves seeding cloud with silver iodine to boost rainfall. Bloomberg

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By The Numbers

98 percent Proportion of Texas that is drought-free, according to the state’s Water Development Board. Texas is starting 2019 with its highest water supply in more than 25 years, with statewide water capacity at 89.9 percent. Dallas News

Science, Studies, And Reports

China’s Three Gorges Corp, operator of several hydropower plants in China and abroad, announced plans to move away from domestic projects amid rising costs and overcrowded rivers. The company, which completed the world’s largest hydropower plant along the Yangtze river in 2012, says it will focus on South Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Reuters

In context: Popularity of Hydropower Projects Diminishes Around the World.

On The Radar

On Wednesday, U.S. President Donald Trump nominated Andrew Wheeler, the acting head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, to permanently run the agency. Wheeler, who has lobbied for a major coal company in the past, has lead the EPA since July when predecessor Scott Pruitt resigned. Reuters

The U.S. government is partially shutdown, halting the payout of federal block grants. Officials in Harris County, Texas, which was inundated by Hurricane Harvey in 2017, warn that they may freeze hurricane recovery projects for the duration of the shutdown due to reimbursement concerns. Houston Public Media

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