The Stream, April 14: Water Concerns Stymie Brazil Iron Mine

The Global Rundown

A mayor in Brazil is refusing to grant water permits to the Samarco iron mine until it funds water quality safeguards. The number of people infected by a cholera outbreak in Somalia could double by summer. This water year is officially the wettest on record in California’s northern Sierra Nevada. A cultural festival in India last year caused millions of dollars of damage to the Yamuna River, according to a new report. Thousands of liters of firefighting foam contaminated waterways near the Brisbane airport in Australia this week. A new technology promises to draw water from dry air. The Dakota Access oil pipeline will begin transporting oil between states next month.

“The city of Santa Barbara isn’t going to receive one cent. I’m not trying to make some exchange for the document they need.” –Leris Braga, mayor of Santa Barbara, Brazil, defending his refusal to grant water permits to the Samarco iron mine. The mine is trying to resume operations after a tailings dam collapsed in 2015, polluting nearby rivers and killing more than a dozen people. Braga is insisting the mine fund water quality protections before it receives the new permits. (Bloomberg)

By The Numbers

25,000 people Number sickened by a cholera outbreak in Somalia, where the World Health Organization expects double that number to be infected by summer. The illness is spread through contaminated water and food. Reuters

$6.2 million Estimated cost of damage to the Yamuna River caused by a cultural festival in India last year, according to a report by a special committee. The report said the event destroyed an area of the riverbed and harmed the surrounding flood plain. Guardian

227.8 centimeters Amount of precipitation recorded since October in California’s northern Sierra Nevada region, making it the wettest water year on record. The Washington Post

22,000 liters Amount of firefighting foam spilled at a Qantas airlines hangar in Brisbane this week, killing fish in nearby waterways. Guardian

Science, Studies, And Reports

A prototype technology could eventually help communities in arid regions capture water from the air, according to a study published in the journal Science. Using solar energy, the system traps and condenses water even at low humidity levels and can produce a glass of water each hour. Reuters

On The Radar

A month from today, the Dakota Access oil pipeline is set to begin shipping crude oil between states. The pipeline’s crossing of Lake Oahe in North Dakota became a center of national protest over indigenous rights and water concerns last year. Reuters

In context: No region of the United States has experienced fiercer fights over water safety and pipelines than the northern Great Plains.