The Stream, June 22: Victoria Forests Worth More For Water Than Timber

The Global Rundown

The native mountain ash forests of Victoria’s Central Highlands region are more valuable for the clean water they provide than for timber, according to a new report. The first exception to a ban on Great Lakes water diversions was approved unanimously Tuesday, providing water to a Wisconsin city outside of the basin. A pilot program to train First Nations water plant operators in Canada is showing early success in reducing boil water advisories. Germany is set to ban fracking for shale gas indefinitely. Leaking water pipes in the United States cost utilities billions of dollars each year.

“If they want to solve their drinking water advisory problem in First Nations within five years, they’d better take a really hard look at what we’re doing and replicate it elsewhere, as well as continuing to support us.” — Barry Strachan, public works manager for the Keewaytinook Okimakanak Northern Chiefs Council in Ontario, on a pilot program that aims to reduce chronic boil water advisories in Canada’s First Nations communities. The program trains residents of the communities to operate water treatment plants, and has resulted in the lifting of three out of four boil water advisories in the past year in the area it serves. (Vice News)

By The Numbers

8-0 Unanimous vote of the Great Lakes Compact Council approving a diversion of Lake Michigan water to serve the city of Waukesha, Wisconsin. Waukesha is the first community wholly outside of the Great Lakes Basin to receive Great Lakes water under the 2008 Great Lakes Compact, which aims to prevent diversions. Circle of Blue

$77 million Amount spent by Syracuse, New York to fix leaks in its aging water infrastructure between 2009 and 2015. Across the United States, water utilities lose an estimated $2.6 billion each year from water leaks. The Wall Street Journal

Science, Studies, And Reports

Logging native timber in Victoria’s Central Highlands region does not make economic sense, according to a report by researchers at Australian National University. The region’s forests are much more valuable for the ecosystem services they provide, including the estimated $2,023 per hectare per year they provide in clean water supply services, the report found.

On The Radar

Germany’s parliament will consider legislation to ban hydraulic fracturing indefinitely, though the law includes a provision to reassess the ban in 2021 and would allow state governments to approve test drilling. Fracking has been opposed in Germany on the grounds that it could contaminate drinking water supplies. Reuters