The Stream, March 27: Water and Oil in the Amazon

South America
A new billboard in Peru is creating fresh water from the air, helping to supply local communities, according to the Global Post. Though the area typically receives very little rainfall, the billboard takes advantage of the region’s high humidity.

In an effort to clean up oil projects in the Amazon, Peru has declared an area of its rainforest in the Pastaza River Basin to be in a state of environmental emergency, the Guardian reported. The government found high levels of barium, lead, and chrome in the region this spring.

Meanwhile, Ecuador is hoping to open up portions of its Amazon region to oil investors, according to the Guardian. Indigenous groups, however, say they have not consented to oil projects, and are concerned about the environmental consequences.

United States
A study released Monday linked Oklahoma’s 5.7 magnitude earthquake in 2011 to the disposal of hydraulic fracturing wastewater, Bloomberg News reported. The research, conducted by the University of Oklahoma, Columbia University, and the U.S. Geological Survey, could spur greater government regulation of wastewater disposal wells.

The water quality in 55 percent of U.S. rivers is poor for aquatic wildlife, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday. The agency’s new National Rivers and Stream Assessment, utilizing data from 2008-2009, found excessive levels of nitrogen and phosphorous, high levels of mercury, and decreased levels of vegetation along the nation’s waterways.

Georgia is contemplating taking Tennessee to court over a 200-year-old border dispute involving access to water from the Tennessee River, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported. Georgia wants the water to help supply Atlanta, which has been hit by water shortages in the past decade.

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.

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