The Stream, December 23: U.S. Allocates $225 Million for Watershed Rehabilitation

Residents unload bottled water at a distribution center in Flint, Michigan, on February 6, 2016.

The Global Rundown

The taps are back on in Malaysia after the government called off planned electric grid maintenance, which had cut water for residents in Kuala Lumpur and Selango. In the Louisiana town of St. Joseph, lead contamination in the city water prompted Gov. John Bel Edwards to declare a public health emergency. Meanwhile, the U.S. government allocated $US 225 million for watershed rehabilitation and improvement projects. Finally, the UN told Nigeria’s government to increase funding for water and sanitation projects in Lagos, the country’s largest city, and to try alternatives to private sector investment, the city’s longstanding approach.

“There is no question that the city’s water and sanitation sector has deteriorated to this point because of the way it has been managed for many years…For more than a decade, the government has adopted a hard-line policy according to which the solution would seem to only attract private capital, notably via public-private partnerships (PPPs). Numerous civil society groups have urged the Government to guarantee their right to participate in these processes.” – Leo Heller, UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights to water and sanitation. (UN News)

By The Numbers

2.1 million Number of Lagos residents with access to state-supplied water. The city’s population is currently 21 million and expected to grow. UN News

54 hours Length of time residents of Malaysia’s biggest city, Kuala Lumpur, were expected to go without water because of electric grid repairs. The interruptions were planned to rotate throughout the country for two weeks, but public outcry resulted in repairs being called off early. Channel NewsAsia

Science, Studies, And Reports

Tap water in St. Joseph, Louisiana has been discolored from iron and manganese for at least a year. But health officials assured residents it was safe to drink. That changed last week, when new tests revealed high levels of both copper and lead. The state already earmarked money to repair pipes. The city, however, has been waiting to pass a budget audit before receiving the funds. Residents have been urged to drink only bottled water, and the state has provided a month of emergency supplies. ABC News

On The Radar

The United States will spend $US 225 million on 88 projects aimed at increasing drought resiliency, restoring watersheds, and proving drinking water. The projects were a part of a program established by the 2014 farm bill. TPM/AP