The Stream, August 2, 2023: Deadly Floods Afflict Beijing Amidst Highest Rain Event in More Than a Century

Farmers in Cairo, Egypt. Photo © J. Carl Ganter / Circle of Blue


  • After years of diplomatic conflict, Egypt and Ethiopia have reached an agreement over the latter country’s massive new dam. 
  • 140-year high rains in Beijing have led to deadly flooding and evacuations in regions surrounding the Chinese capital. 
  • Nova Scotia, Canada’s worst rain event in 50 years has left at least three people dead and thousands without power.
  • Brazil’s Guanabara Bay, afflicted with years of toxic pollution, receives support from local environmentalists and residents.

An Israeli water company has greatly reduced monthly water allotments for Palestinians in Bethlehem and Hebron.  

“The Israeli occupation continues practicing its control of natural resources. This complicates the water problem.” — Asmaa Al-Sharabati, Hebron’s Deputy Mayor.

Footage acquired and shared by Al Jazeera shows Israeli army personnel pouring cement into a Palestinian water source in the city of Hebron. The action comes as Israel’s water company Mekorot has moved to drastically reduce the amount of water allotted to Palestinians living in Bethlehem and Hebron, to “far less than 30 liters a day,” the Middle East Monitor reports. According to the Monitor, areas which formerly received water supplies every 18 days are now receiving them every 28 days. 

— Christian Thorsberg, Interim Stream Editor

Recent WaterNews from Circle of Blue

The Lead

Following the arrival of Typhoon Doksuri, 140-year high rains have fallen in the Beijing metropolitan area, Reuters reports. Downstream from the capital, the city of Zhuozhou, population 600,000, has been one of the hardest hit — at least 20 people have been killed and more than 134,000 have been displaced amidst average rainfalls of 14 inches. 

In addition to the extreme rains, potable water shortages and power outages are complicating rescue efforts. And the water in some areas of the city has climbed to 13 feet, devastating warehouses and more than 650 hectares of farmland.

This Week’s Top Water Stories, Told In Numbers


Number of gallons of sewage released into Rio de Janeiro’s Guanabara Bay each second, Mongabay reports. Once a thriving ecosystem supporting a variety of fish, marine mammals, and wildflowers, the polluted bay has proved a health hazard to humans exposed to the hazardous chemicals abundant in its waters. Still, despite Guanabara’s poor health and pressure from developers, local efforts and environmentalists are working to plant mangroves and reforest the bay’s shores — promoting nature-based solutions to a seemingly intractable problem.



Number of years since a worse rain event in the province of Nova Scotia, Canada, where three months of rain fell in a single day last week, The Guardian reports. At least three people were killed in floods, 600 people evacuated their homes, and another 80,000 were left without power. 

On the Radar

Within the next four months, Egypt and Ethiopia will close a “mutually acceptable agreement” over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which has been the source of diplomatic conflict between the two countries for more than a decade. The dam, built by Ethiopia on the Blue Nile, began filling with water in July 2020, the Conversation reports. Egypt receives more than 90 percent of its fresh water from the Nile, while Ethiopia’s highlands provide more than 85 percent of the water which flows into the river. 

According to the Conversation, the countries’ agreement which likely navigate water allotments, past treaties, flood and drought management, and additional development on the Nile.

More Water News

Venice: UNESCO experts have recommended that Venice and its lagoon be added to its World Heritage in Danger list, citing tourism and climate change as threats to the city’s longevity, Reuters reports.

Okinawa: One-third of the homes in Okinawa, Japan have lost power amidst the landfall of Typhoon Khanun, which has also killed one person and injured at least 11, Reuters reports.

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