The Stream, October 24, 2019: Australian Farmers Send Drought-Relief Demands to Government

The Global Rundown

Australian farmers send a list of urgent drought-relief demands to the government. The Trump administration announces plans to send more water to California farmers, despite risks to wildlife. Deadly flooding hits parts of France, Italy, and Spain. Desalination continues to expand across the world amid questions of cost and sustainability. Egypt says it has accepted an invitation to meet in the U.S. and discuss the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam dispute. 

“Egypt has received an invitation from the U.S. administration…an invitation that Egypt immediately accepted.” –Egypt’s foreign ministry, in reference to a U.S. invitation to meet in Washington, D.C., with officials from Ethiopia and Sudan to discuss the contentious Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Egypt has been calling for international mediation since talks between the three nations stalled several weeks ago. The foreign minister did not specify when the talks would be held or whether officials from Ethiopia and Sudan had agreed to attend. Reuters

In context: HotSpots H2O: Egypt and Ethiopia Spar Over Nile River Dam in Latest Round of Talks

Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue

Maui Mayor Rejects Clean Water Act Settlement, Aims for Supreme Court HearingInternal politics in Maui County muddle a closely watched groundwater case.

HotSpots H2O: Hundreds of Thousands Still Without Water In Embattled Syria — More than 400,000 people in northern Syria are short of water amid a Turkish military offensive against Kurdish forces in the region.  

By The Numbers

198mm (7.8 inches) Rainfall recorded in Béziers, France, during a six-hour period on Wednesday. Intense precipitation hit several areas of France, Italy, and Spain this week, with several people reported dead or missing. BBC

Science, Studies, and Reports

The Trump administration presented a new plan for diverting more water to California farmers, despite warnings that the move will harm endangered salmon and other fish. In July, biologists from NOAA Fisheries declared that the administration’s plan posed a threat to endangered fish, meaning water withdrawals would be limited under federal law. Following the findings, the administration removed the biologists and instead had other staff rewrite the decision. The administration’s new plan calls for more hatcheries and tracking of endangered fish, but environmentalists say these measures aren’t enough to counteract the overall damage that would be caused by increased water diversion. NPR

On the Radar

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) of Australia submitted a list of drought relief demands to the government on Wednesday, including requests for exit packages and interest-free loan options. The NFF also proposed a longer-term national drought framework, which focuses on improved preparedness and sustainability. The Guardian

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

Desalination is growing worldwide, especially in affluent areas of the Middle East and North Africa. Experts say that an increasing number of desalination plants will be built in the next decade, but the process has a variety of limitations, including high costs and risks to the environment. The New York Times

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