The Stream, June 1: Flint Water Quality Improves

The Global Rundown

Drinking water quality in Flint, Michigan is improving but remains unsafe without prior filtering, according to researchers. Lead contamination of drinking water in Hong Kong housing developments last year was the result of systematic water quality failures, an independent commission found. A U.S. Supreme Court ruling made it easier for landowners and developers to challenge Clean Water Act decisions earlier in the permit process. Endangered American eels, essential for water quality, are rebounding in eastern U.S. rivers. India is planning to sell Ganges River water online for religious and cultural purposes. Vietnam’s rice production is expected to decline for the first time in 10 years due to a drought.

“We do have the wherewithal to undertake this kind of an initiative. Work on this will begin soon and we intend to provide Ganga water from Haridwar and Rishikesh.” –Ravi Shankar Prasad, India’s minister of communications and information technology, on a government plan to sell holy water from the Ganges River and deliver it through the postal service. (Times of India)

By The Numbers

1.5 percent Expected decline in Vietnam’s rice production this year due to a severe drought, the first drop since 2005. Reuters

280 million eastern elliptios Number of the mussels that live in the Delaware River, filtering all of its water approximately six times over by the time it reaches the ocean. The mussels depend on the endangered American eel, which is making a comeback in eastern U.S. rivers due to conservation efforts. Yale Environment 360

Science, Studies, And Reports

Water quality in Flint, Michigan is improving after the city switched back to Detroit water last year, according to scientists from the University of Massachusetts, Virginia Tech University, and Wayne State University. However, the city’s water, which was contaminated with high levels of lead, is still not safe to drink or cook with directly. Michigan Radio

Leaded solder in water pipes was the cause of high lead levels found in drinking water in Hong Kong housing developments last year, according to a report from an independent investigative commission. The commission found that no one individual was responsible for the health breach, but suggested that systematic problems related to water quality monitoring should be addressed. Channel News Asia

On The Radar

Due to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling on Tuesday, developers and landowners can now challenge the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers in court if they disagree over decisions about whether or not federal Clean Water Act protections apply to a project site. Previously, landowners and companies were required to complete the entire Clean Water Act permitting process before they could challenge the determination that a permit is necessary. The Hill