The Stream, June 27: Drip Irrigation, Record Digitization, and Potential Waterways Legislation

The Global Rundown

Utah’s Great Salt Lake is quickly disappearing, and irrigation in a select group of small Paraguayan farms is getting more efficient one drop at a time. New Jersey students are digitizing water records, while the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recording lead levels in children. Californians continue fighting Nestle over water pumping in the San Bernardino National Forest. Meanwhile, some in Washington, D.C. are optimistic that a waterways bill making its way through Congress could deliver emergency aid to Flint, Michigan before the summer recess.

“This bill is a win for every member of Congress. The Senate has an opportunity to now take up WRDA and show that we are working together for the good of the American people and fulfilling what they sent us here to do.”– U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma and chairman of the EPW Committee, regarding new Water Resources Development Act legislation currently before Congress. (The Hill)

By The Numbers

13 Number of small farms in Paraguay slated to receive Israeli drip irrigation systems. The program is a joint venture between the Paraguayan Federation of Production Cooperatives and the Israel-based irrigation company Netafim. Haaretz

1,400 square kilometers  Amount of Utah’s Great Salt Lake lake-bed that is currently exposed.  The lake, the region’s economic and environmental wellspring, has receded by nearly 50 percent in the past 170 years, and scientists warn increased water use may cause the lake to disappear entirely in just a few decades.  Al Jazeera

800,000 Number of paper water company records being digitized by New Jersey students as part of a plan by New Jersey American Water to create a database detailing its more than 14,000 kilometers of pipes. The Philadelphia Inquirer 

Science, Studies, And Reports

Children younger than 6 who relied on the Flint River for water were 46 percent more likely to test at or above 5 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood, according to a recent report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Blood lead level tests of 7,000 children were conducted before and after the Michigan city’s water supply was switched from the Detroit water system to the Flint River. The CDC is urging for continued blood lead level screenings. CNN

On The Radar

In California, a dispute over Nestle’s water use wages on. Environmental groups allege that the Swiss transnational food and beverage company continued to pump water from the San Bernardino National Forest nearly three decades after its permit expired. Plaintiffs are pushing for a new permit application, which would require environmental impact studies. The Sun

Circle of Blue contributor

Nick is interested in the social and political instability caused by growing global resource scarcity. He is also the director of communication at On the Ground, an international aid and development NGO that supports sustainable community development in farming regions.