Storms spawned by Tropical Cyclone Oswald created “record turbidity levels” in Australia’s Brisbane River and forced the main water treatment plant for the city of Brisbane to close earlier this week, Bloomberg News reported. The plant is back online, but officials say water supplies for the metropolitan area remain tight.
The legal case between Chevron and Ecuadorean plaintiffs over water and rainforest pollution became more complicated after a former Ecuadorean judge said he was paid $US 500,000 by the plaintiffs to ghostwrite the $US 18.2 billion ruling in their favor, Reuters reported. Chevron has long claimed that the 2011 Ecuador ruling was the result of fraud and corruption, and brings this new evidence to its lawsuit within the United States.
As the world seeks to loosen China’s grip on rare earth metals—which are used in products like smart phones—growth in the mining and processing of rare earth metals is raising concerns about the environmental and health risks posed by the industry, according to a Yale Environment 360 report. In Malaysia, activists and scientists worry that the toxic waste generated by a new rare earth processing plant could be vulnerable to monsoons, and could leach into the groundwater.
A joint effort of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the government of Pakistan aims to reduce the risk of flooding from glacial lakes, AlertNet reported. Pakistan’s Bindu Gol valley, the site of a $US 7.6 million test project, has been increasingly plagued with flash floods set loose when melted glacier water bursts through natural dams.
England’s water utility regulator, Ofwat, is urging water companies to trade their water resources in order to relieve drought stress in water-scarce regions of the country, The Telegraph reported. The hope is that transferring water from water-rich areas to water-poor areas could help safeguard against increasingly unpredictable weather, and add much needed supplies to areas of population growth.
Codi Yeager-Kozacek is a news correspondent for Circle of Blue based out of Hawaii. She co-writes The Stream, Circle of Blue’s daily digest of international water news trends. Her interests include food security, ecology and the Great Lakes.
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