The Stream, August 8: Norman Politicians Identify Water as City’s No. 1 Problem

United States
Candidates who ran for the Norman City Council or mayor in the last election all identified water as the city’s most important problem, The Norman Transcript reported. With treatment increasing aluminum content in the city’s drinking water to five times the recommended limit of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), citizens are constantly embroiled in water-related dialogues.

Today lawyers will debate whether the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) violated the Endangered Species Act when it did not allow enough fresh water from the San Antonio and Guadalupe rivers to flow into the Aransas Refuge, home to 60 percent of the only wild whooping crane flock in the world, The Texas Tribune reported. Officials fear that a decision in favor of the Aransas will force them to divert already scarce water supplies from the rivers into the environment and away from demanding customers.

Tar Sands
Growing numbers of scientists and economists believe the tar sands industry has already reached a tipping point in its dependence on surface and groundwater, Yale Environment 360 reported. In Alberta, companies siphoned nearly 370 million cubic meters (97.7 billion gallons) of water from the Athabasca River in 2011 for heating and steam production, the same amount the city of Toronto draws each year but at none of the cost.

The crippled Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan still leaks up to 300 tonnes (150,000 liters) of highly radioactive water into the ocean each day, enough to fill an Olympic sized swimming pool in a week, Reuters reported. “Rather than relying on Tokyo Electric, the government will take measures,” said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, after ordering the government for the first time after the incident to aid TEPCO in handling the contamination.

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