The Stream, March 13: Insurance Premiums Set to Rise in Most Flood-Prone Areas of U.S.

The Global Rundown

A new plan by the Trump administration hopes to overhaul the U.S. National Flood Insurance Program by raising premiums for the most flood-prone homes. Russia vows to audit a planned water bottling plant on Lake Baikal in response to public outcry. California seals its participation in the Colorado River drought contingency plan. Flooding in Malawi knocks out a majority of the country’s hydropower. Venezuelans are forced to take water from sewage drains as the country’s blackout continues.

“The ones that are most affected are the children, because how do you tell a child that there’s no water?” –Lilibeth Tejedor, a resident of Caracas, Venezuela, in reference to water shortages caused by a week-long power blackout. Desperate residents are now taking water from sewage drains, which they say has been released from nearby reservoirs. Disease outbreaks are a growing concern as the availability of water, soap, and medicine diminishes. Reuters

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By The Numbers

80 percent Proportion of Malawi’s hydroelectricity that is non-functioning in the wake of flooding that killed dozens. Malawian president Peter Mutharika declared a State of Emergency in the most devastated areas of the country. Independent Online

20 percent Proportion of global freshwater reserves that are held in Lake Baikal, the world’s deepest freshwater lake and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Recently, activists have raised concerns about the environmental impact of a proposed water bottling plant on Lake Baikal, which would largely serve Chinese and Korean consumers. In response to public complaints, the Russian government has vowed to perform an audit of the proposed plant. The New York Times

Science, Studies, And Reports

Revisions to the National Flood Insurance Program will be introduced by the Trump administration in coming weeks, and will likely involve higher premiums for homes in the country’s most flood-prone areas. According to a briefing on the upcoming plan, the Federal Emergency Management Agency intends incorporate private-sector data to determine flood risk, then adjust premiums based on that information. Bloomberg

On The Radar

California finalized its Colorado River drought contingency plan on Tuesday after the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) took responsibility for a majority of the state’s future delivery cuts. California was the last of seven Colorado Basin states to approve the plan, and was delayed because the state’s Imperial Irrigation District (IID) refused to sign on unless the federal government allocated $200 million toward fixing the hazardous Salton Sea. With another federal deadline looming, the MWD board agreed to shoulder IID’s share of the cuts, effectively writing IID–which holds senior rights to the largest allocation of the Colorado River–out of the plan. The multi-state plan will now move to Congress for approval. Los Angeles Times

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