The Stream, February 12: Australian Nickel Refinery Releases Wastewater Into the Great Barrier Reef

Australian government records show that a nickel refinery illegally discharged wastewater into the Great Barrier Reef marine park, introducing hundreds of tons of nitrogen into the environment, the Guardian reported. The company was not penalized, and said the releases were necessary to prevent overflow from the refinery’s tailings ponds during heavy rains.

Environmental officials in North Carolina admitted they made a mistake when interpreting the results of water quality tests in the Dan River following a coal ash spill, reversing their previous finding that arsenic levels were safe, Reuters reported. The state, which was pursuing a settlement with Duke Energy for several lawsuits regarding coal ash, has asked a judge to postpone the settlement in light of the newest spill.

Water Supply
While the World Bank has pushed back its decision on funding for the Inga 3 dam in the Democratic Republic of Congo, other private investors could move to back the project instead, Inter Press Service reported. Groups concerned about the dam say these moves could make distribution of the dam’s benefits less equitable, as business interests are placed above those of local communities.

Rising temperatures are more likely to induce long-term migration than severe floods because of their extended negative effect on agriculture and water supplies, Think Progress reported, citing a recent study published in the journal Nature Climate Change. This is particularly worrisome for places like Pakistan, where average temperatures are expected to increase 3 degrees in the next 50 years and water supply systems are already stressed.

Unusually cold weather in North America and extremely rainy weather in western Europe could both be the result of rain and pressure systems in the western Pacific, according to a report from the United Kingdom’s Met Office, Bloomberg News reported. More rains are headed to England and are expected to increase the flood risk for communities along the River Thames.

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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