The Global Rundown
Researchers confirm coral in the Red Sea doesn’t die from increased temperatures. A number of U.S. states sue the EPA over a new rule that they say limits state power. Thousands are stranded in eastern China after levees broke due to flooding. Ethiopia continues to feud with multiple countries in eastern Africa over their mega-dams. Scientists in California discover two species of bacteria that could further research into the geochemistry of groundwater.
“How and for what reason such material is generated there has remained an enigma. Clearly, many scientists have considered that bacteria using manganese for energy might be responsible, but evidence supporting this idea was not available until now.” –Jared Leadbetter, professor of environmental microbiology at Caltech. Leadbetter, along with postdoctoral scholar Hang Yu, published a study revealing new species of bacteria that feed on manganese as their source of calories. The bacteria was initially found by accident when Leadbetter was performing unrelated experiments using a light, chalk-like form of manganese. The findings, which suggest the bacteria come from tap water, can help researchers better understand the geochemistry of groundwater. California Institute of Technology
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 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
20 The number of U.S. states that are suing the EPA over a rule that they say limits the power of states to block infrastructure projects under the Clean Water Act. The new rule says states must focus on direct water quality impacts, instead of indirect impacts like climate change or acid rain, when attempting to block projects like oil and gas pipelines. Leading water quality lawyers say the states can make a clear argument against the rule, while the EPA maintains that the rule is fool-proof. Bloomberg Law
10000+ The number of people who were left stranded in Eastern China on Tuesday, after levees broke due to severe flooding. Despite the heavy rainfall that has left 141 dead or missing and caused an estimated $9 million in damages, the Official Xinhua news agency said the country’s death toll and economic losses for 2020 are below the annual average. Voice of America
Science, Studies, and Reports
A group of scientists at the University of Eilat in Israel confirmed years of reports that said corals taken from the Gulf of Aqaba, a trench of water off of the Red Sea, do not die as a result of high ocean-surface temperatures and increased acidification. The study revealed that, unlike corals in the Great Barrier Reef that experience mass “bleaching” when water temperatures rise, coral from the Red Sea actually thrived. As the Red Sea’s coast is continuously urbanizing, experts say countries along the sea will have to work together to ensure the coral is protected. The Guardian
On the Radar
Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan agreed Tuesday to continue negotiations on the filling and operating of Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam, according to Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok. The decision was reached in a mini-African summit on Tuesday, after the three countries failed to reach an agreement about water flow earlier this month. Reuters
Fishermen in Kenya are blaming another Ethiopian mega-dam for their dwindling fish stocks. Lake Turkana, the world’s biggest desert lake, is fed by the River Omo, where the dam was built. People who live around Lake Turkana, Kenya’s poorest region, have not seen the benefits promised by the dam and are having to travel farther and farther into the lake to catch fish. Local environmental activists have said Kenya and Ethiopia need to work together to ensure Kenya’s poorest are not left behind. Reuters