The Stream, October 1, 2019: This Year’s Monsoon Brings Highest Rainfall to India in 25 Years

The Global Rundown

India’s heaviest monsoon rains in 25 years will boost the country’s winter crops, but recent monsoon flooding leaves more than 100 people dead in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Bangladesh says it will improve flood warning systems in the wake of severe monsoon rains this summer. Nepal blames India’s embankments for the intensity of this summer’s deadly floods on the Nepalese side of the border. Australia’s Coalition says it will spend $7 billion to help drought-stricken farming families, but other lawmakers question how the massive sum is being spent. Environmental groups and local farmers team up to protect Kenya’s Mara River

“The Mara River gives us pasture and water for our cattle. If this innovation can help in preventing bad use of the river, then we are ready to work with it.” –Isaac Chereger, a farmer in southwestern Kenya, in reference to a water evaluation and planning (WEAP) tool that gives digital information about the health of a water source. The tool, piloted by the Stockholm Environment Institute, allows villagers to incorporate technology alongside other methods of boosting water sustainability. Kenyans hope that the tool will help protect the Mara River, which has been depleted by deforestation and population growth. Reuters

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By The Numbers

800,000 People displaced by monsoon flooding in Bangladesh in July. A survey of 700 flood-hit families revealed that 90 percent of respondents received no flood warning in the 24 hours prior to the event. In response, government officials say they will prioritize improvements to flood warning systems. Reuters 

100+ People who have died in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, India, due to intense end-of-season monsoon rains. Many schools and businesses are shut down, and experts say erratic urbanization and poor drainage are causing high water levels to linger in several areas. The Guardian

Science, Studies, and Reports

After a delayed start to the season, India has now received 10 percent above average monsoon rains, according to the country’s meteorological department. The extra precipitation will boost winter crops and help restore depleted groundwater, officials say. Reuters 

On the Radar

Deadly monsoon rains this summer along the India-Nepal border caused two to three times more flooding in some areas on the Nepalese side, according to local officials, prompting the country to criticize India’s recent flood-prevention efforts. Over the past several decades, India has built up hundreds of miles of embankments near the border. Nepal claims the structures violate international water sharing guidelines and puts the smaller country at a dangerous disadvantage. India says the embankments benefit both countries, and were accounted for under previous agreements. The New York Times

Australia’s Coalition political alliance says they are rolling out $7 billion dollars in aid to help drought-hit farmers and communities, but the Labor party is raising questions of how and when the funding will be spent. Most of the funding comes from a $5 billion Future Drought Fund, which was approved by parliament this July. The Coalition says an additional $2 billion is being spent currently, but declined to give specific data on how the money is being used when asked by The Guardian Australia. Intense drought has overwhelmed parts of Australia for more than a year, with some farmers forced to stop their operations entirely. The Guardian

In context: In Australia, Echoes of Past, Glimpses of Future As Country Braces for Hot, Dry Summer

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