The Stream, July 23, 2020: Water stock in seven lakes supplying water to Mumbai are low

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

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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

In context: One By One Big Hydropower Dams Disrupt Mekong River’s Free Flow

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

In context: Enthusiasm But Obstacles in Using Sewage to Monitor Coronavirus

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

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