The Stream, October 25: First Commercial Tar Sands Project in U.S. Approved

A Utah water quality board approved the first commercial tar sands project in the U.S. Wednesday, opening a largely undeveloped area in Utah’s eastern desert to production next year. A Canadian company called U.S. Oil Sands Inc., the Deseret News reported, aims to start production of 2,000 barrels of oil next year.

Contaminated Water in Fukushima

Fukushima Dai-ichi, the nuclear power plant crippled by Japan’s 2011 earthquake and tsunami, is having difficulty storing radioactive water used to cool its broken reactors. Groundwater is pouring in to reactor facilities, ABC News reported, steadily increasing the volume of contaminated water being moved into tanks around the power plant, which could already fill more than 50 Olympic-sized pools.

Water in Inhospitable Environments

A new pipeline being constructed in Lake Mead, Nevada may push household water bills up slightly. Bloomberg reported that the rate increase will help pay for the US$ 800 million project and ongoing infrastructure maintenance and expansion.

See a photo slideshow here of a flyover by Circle of Blue managing director J. Carl Ganter across Lake Meade, the Colorado River, and the Nevada desert.

The Murray River will see an injection of water for environmental flows and funding for water-recovery projects soon, anonymous sources in Australia’s federal government told The Australian. The move is as an attempt to thwart a South Australian threat of High Court action unless the federal government promised to return more water to the basin in its overall allocation plan.

Flow patterns observed in a Martian crater could have been caused by liquid water, a new study found. The right water and salt mixture, scientists from the University of Arkansas, Brown University and elsewhere found, could lower the melting point of water, and potentially create flows on Mars’ cold surface, NBCNews.com reported.

The Stream is a daily digest spotting global water trends. To get more water news, follow Circle of Blue on Twitter and sign up for our newsletter.

Author: Andrew Maddocks   is a Washington, D.C–based correspondent for Circle of Blue. He graduated from DePauw University as a Media Fellow with a B.A. in Conflict Studies. He co-writes The Stream, a daily summary of global water news.

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