The Stream, September 15: California Snowpack Was Lowest in 500 Years

The  Global Rundown

The Global Rundown

Scientists found that the snowpack in California this year was the lowest in half a millennium. Australia’s Senate voted to cap environmental water buybacks in the Murray Darling Basin, China reported improvements in curbing air and water pollutants, and low hydropower reserves in Zambia contributed to announcements of job cuts in the mining sector. Operators at Japan’s damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant began releasing treated wastewater into the ocean, and a trial over water pollution and health kicked off in Ohio.

“Once this sub drain system is fully operational, the level of contaminated water is expected to be reduced to 150 tons per day.”–Satoshi Togawa, a spokesperson for Tokyo Electric Power Company, on a new water purification system at the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant that began releasing water into the ocean Monday. (NBC News)

By the Numbers

By The Numbers

1,500 gigalitres Limit on the amount of water the Australian government can buy back for the environment in the Murray-Darling River Basin, as outlined in a law that passed the Senate this week. Guardian

$44.27 million Amount of environmental fines that China’s environment ministry imposed during the first seven months of 2015. The country’s emissions of pollutants that cause acid rain and other water quality impairments also declined this year. Reuters

4,300 jobs Number of jobs to be cut by Zambia’s Mopani Copper Mines company due to low copper prices and a power shortage caused by low water levels in the country’s hydropower dams. Bloomberg


Science, Studies, And Reports

California’s snowpack this year was likely the smallest in 500 years, according to a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change. The size of the snowpack, which is crucial for the state’s water supply, could diminish further in the future due to climate change, the study’s authors said. Reuters

On the Radar

On The Radar

The first of 3,500 lawsuits against the DuPont chemical company began the trial process this week. The trial will determine if water pollution from one of the company’s plants in West Virginia caused health problems for nearby residents. The Wall Street Journal

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