The Stream, July 29, 2020: Flooding Continues to Wreak Havoc in China

The Global Rundown

Flooding continues along the Yangtze river in China. The federal government has reached a water rights agreement with local farmers in Kansas. The global migratory freshwater fish population is severely declining. Negotiations between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan continue over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. An indigenous tribe in Brazil takes a global mining giant to court over contamination in the Rio Doce.

“Uatu has died. I don’t like to remember, because it hurts so much. The river is our mother, our father. And now she is dead.” – Djanira Krenak, a matriarch and spiritual leader in the Krenak tribe living in southeastern Brazil. The Krenak refer to the Rio Doce as ‘Uatu,’ a sacred, omnipresent relative. Since a dam burst in 2015, pouring 44 million cubic meters of mining waste into the river and the Atlantic Ocean, the Krenak have struggled to survive, saying they can no longer hunt for medicinal herbs or fish in the river. They are now asking for $6.3 billion in damages from the Anglo-Australian mining giant BHP in a trial that begins on Monday. Reuters 

In context: Stranded Assets: Water Stress is a Factor in Global Mining Slump

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By The Numbers

45 million The number of people that have been impacted so far by severe flooding in China. Authorities issued warnings for future flood peaks after the Yangtze river peaked for the third time on Sunday. The Three Gorges Dam is under intense scrutiny as China continues efforts to mitigate the flooding, which has caused billions of dollars in losses thus far. Hindustan Times

22000 The number of acres allotted for a wildlife refuge in St. John, Kansas. An agreement between the federal government and local farmers was signed yesterday to rescind water rights to farmers in sensitive areas of the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, while allowing irrigation to continue in less sensitive areas. The agreement settles a battle between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and local farmers, who both say the new agreement provides enough water for the refuge and the farmers. The Hutchinson News

Science, Studies, and Reports

A new analysis from the World Fish Migration Foundation found that between 1970 and 2016, the world’s migratory freshwater fish populations declined by 76 percent. The report found that some areas of the world have been more drastically affected than others: Europe has experienced a 93 percent decrease, while North America’s populations only decreased by an average of 28 percent. Around half of all threats to migratory fish, the study concluded, can be blamed on degradation, alteration and loss of habitat. World Fish Migration Foundation

On the Radar

Negotiations resumed on Monday between Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. Egypt and Sudan have continued to criticize Ethiopia over the “unilateral” filling of a reservoir behind the dam, after a decade of debate has failed to produce an agreement. The two countries have said that the filling of the reservoir will threaten their water supplies, while Ethiopia has argued that the dam is necessary in generating electricity for Ethiopians. This new round of negotiations, which are being moderated by the African Union, will discuss issues like how the dam will operate during years of reduced rainfall. Reuters

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