The Global Rundown
Water stock in the city of Mumbai may only last a little over 100 days. The food supply of over a million people in Cambodia is being threatened because of drought. A rock quarry in the U.S. state of Georgia could damage the water supply of surrounding residents and harm nearby waterways. Health officials in California are testing wastewater to monitor coronavirus. Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt are gaining ground in negotiations over the Grand Renaissance Dam. Methane has leaked for the first time on the seafloor of Antarctica.
“The delay [in methane consumption] is the most important finding. It is not good news. It took more than five years for the microbes to begin to show up and even then there was still methane rapidly escaping from the sea floor.” –Andrew Thurber, a researcher at Oregon State University. Thurber, who led the research, and his team found that microbes, which typically consume dangerous greenhouse gas before it reaches the atmosphere but were now arriving in small numbers, had allowed the gas to escape. Thurber said the silver lining is that the seep in methane has provided a natural laboratory for further research, although due to Covid-19 researchers expeditions to Antarctica have been put on hold. Proceedings of the Royal Society B
Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue
Community Groups in Brazil Step In Where Government Covid-19 Response Falls Short— Favela residents take action against societal inequalities exposed by the coronavirus.
HotSpots H2O: Water Outages Return to Warm Springs Reservation in Oregon as Covid-19 Cases Surge – Nearly 2,000 people on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation in central Oregon have been or ordered to boil their water for the last several weeks due to a broken pipe that decreased water pressure for a substantial portion of the reservation.
Zambia Enters Pivotal Season with Few Covid-19 Cases But High Risks – Coronavirus has yet to peak in Zambia, but observers worry about the country’s ability to fight a disease surge.
What’s Up With Water—July 20, 2020 – This week’s edition of What’s Up With Water includes coverage on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, the Yangtze River in southern China and the Great Lakes.
By The Numbers
1000000+ The number of people whose food supply is being threatened by a drought in Cambodia’s Tonle Sap lake. Hydropower dams in China and Laos, which has disrupted the natural flow of the Mekong River, are being blamed for the water shortage. The Mekong typically swells during the rainy season where it converges with the Tonle Sap River, causing a reserve flow into Tonle Sap Lake and providing ample fish for fisherman and neighboring residents. Now, the reverse flow may not occur for another month, leaving many hungry and struggling to make ends meet. Reuters
446 The number of acres Yellowstone LLC is asking for from Bartow County in Georgia for mining. Opponents to the planned rock quarry could threaten the water supplied from Lewis Spring to Adairsville and surrounding counties. Nearby residents say the mining could damage the water supply of those who rely on private wells, as well as harming streams, lakes, wetlands and disturbing wildlife. U.S. News & World Report
28 percent The percentage of water stock filled in seven lakes supplying water to Mumbai. The stock is down dramatically from past years and might only last 109 days. The Bhatsa dam, which supplies 55 percent of the city’s total water, stood at 32.17 percent of its total capacity, compared to 48.60 percent at this time last year. Officials said they have no plans for water cuts and will continue to closely monitor the situation for another month. Hindustan Times
Science, Studies, and Reports
Mariposa county health officials began testing untreated wastewater from Yosemite Valley and suspects hundreds of visitors to Yosemite national park may have had Covid-19. Scientists in Massachusetts have been examining human waste in the water to determine if there are traces of genetic materials from the strand of coronavirus that causes Covid-19. County officials said they will continue testing the sewage water weekly after seeing spikes during the week of the Fourth of July. The Guardian
On the Radar
Ethiopia’s prime minister said on Tuesday that they had reached a “major common understanding which paves the way for a breakthrough agreement” with Egypt and Sudan around the controversial Grand Renaissance Dam project. The announcement came after satellite images show that the Ethiopian reservoir behind the dam was nearly full. Ethiopia acknowledged the rise in water levels, but said this was a “natural” part of the construction process and blamed it on heavy rains. Negotiations around the dam project have been going on for months. Egypt and Sudan see the dam as a serious threat to their supply of water, while Ethiopia considers it the next step in becoming a major power exporter. Al Jazeera
Jane is a Communications Associate for Circle of Blue. She writes The Stream and has covered domestic and international water issues for Circle of Blue. She is a recent graduate of Grand Valley State University, where she studied Multimedia Journalism and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. During her time at Grand Valley, she was the host of the Community Service Learning Center podcast Be the Change. Currently based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Jane enjoys listening to music, reading and spending time outdoors.