The Stream, October 21: UN Experts Say Detroit Shutoffs Against Human Rights

Water Access
North America, Middle East, Africa

Two experts from the United Nations found that water shutoffs to Detroit residents unable to pay their water bills are a violation of human rights, the U.N. News Centre reported. The experts visited the city over the weekend, where as many as 3,000 water customers are being disconnected each week.

Approximately 18,000 refugees living in Syria’s Yarmouk camp have been depending on untreated groundwater and a single well for more than a month, while aid workers have limited access, Syria Deeply reported. A Q&A with a spokesman for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees describes conditions within the camp.

Egypt is reconsidering its position on cooperation with Sudan and Ethiopia over the use of water resources in the Eastern Nile Basin following talks about Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam, the country’s irrigation minister said, Ahram Online reported. Egypt, which will need an estimated 21 billion additional cubic meters of water each year to meet demand by 2050, is concerned about maintaining access to Nile water in the face of dam development.

Drought & Water Supply
South America, Asia, Europe, Pacific

The president of Brazil’s National Water Agency warned residents of Sao Paulo that more severe water cuts could be coming as the drought continues to draw down reservoirs, Bloomberg News reported. The region is entering its annual rainy season, but the city could face a “collapse like we’ve never seen before” if the rains do not come.

Prices for staple foods like rice have spiked in Sri Lanka, increasing as much as 36 percent from last year, due to an 11-month drought, Reuters reported. Crop production in the country is down 42 percent.

Slovakia has approved a constitutional amendment banning exports of water from the country for anything other than personal use, the Associated Press reported. The amendment comes in the wake of attempts to build water transfer pipelines to Poland and Hungary.

There is still a 50 percent chance that an El Nino weather pattern will develop by January, according to the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, Bloomberg News reported. An El Nino could cause drought in Asia and heavy rains in South America.

North America, Europe

Scientists from the United States and France have created a tool that will allow researchers to determine if pollution comes from the hydraulic fracturing process or from conventional oil and gas operations, Think Progress reported. The tool will help settle cases where companies claim that water pollution came from legacy oil and gas drilling, not new fracking operations.

A ruling by Canada’s Supreme Court this summer that recognized First Nations’ rights to manage unceded territory could have significant implications for mining and resource extraction in the country, the Guardian reported. Concerned about pollution, for example, a First Nation community in British Columbia has created a new policy for mining on their land that requires stricter environmental compliance.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply