Australia’s conservative coalition government will cut by 13 percent the amount of water it purchases from farmers, water that will be used to restore flows in the country’s most important watershed, The Australian reports. Instead, the government will spend $2.3 billion on water-efficient infrastructure projects, in hopes of saving an equivalent amount of water. Concerns from rural farm communities, which use the rivers Murray and Darling to irrigate and would lose supplies in the buybacks, prompted the shift in strategy.
Since the state water utility began rationing in May in response to drought, residents of Caracas, Venezuela are spending hours a day queuing for water, Businessweek reports. Bottled water is difficult if not impossible to find on supermarket shelves.
Oklahoma’s Republican governor signed a bill that paves the way for wastewater to be used for drinking water, the Daily Ardmoreite reports. The bill creates a permitting process for potable reuse projects like the one being considered by Norman, the state’s third-largest city.
Milwaukee’s water utility will request a 10 percent rate increase this year due to the cost of repairing a record number of water main breaks, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Thanks to a polar winter, more mains broke in the first three months of 2014 than in an average year.
Brett writes about agriculture, energy, infrastructure, and the politics and economics of water in the United States. He also writes the Federal Water Tap, Circle of Blue’s weekly digest of U.S. government water news. He is the winner of two Society of Environmental Journalists reporting awards, one of the top honors in American environmental journalism: first place for explanatory reporting for a series on septic system pollution in the United States(2016) and third place for beat reporting in a small market (2014). He received the Sierra Club’s Distinguished Service Award in 2018. Brett lives in Seattle, where he hikes the mountains and bakes pies. Contact Brett Walton