The Global Rundown
An agreement to restore Hawaii’s Waimea River will result in continuously flowing water for the first time in more than a century. An Indian tribe in Arizona has to convince the U.S. government to join its lawsuit to restrict groundwater pumping above the Grand Canyon. Stanford researchers built an online map to highlight examples of innovative financing for decentralized water projects in the United States. Lawmakers in Iowa advanced legislation that will put $US 50 million per year towards reducing polluted runoff from farms and cities. The India groundwater board will release its annual report on aquifer levels next month.
“This is an example of the paradigm shift and the convergence of the sacred laws of the land with the ideals of democracy. All will be restored, it is in progress.” — Ana Mohamad DesMarais, a Kauai resident, speaking about the agreement signed April 18 to restore tens of millions of gallons of water to the Waimea River. The Garden Island
By The Numbers
$US 50 million: Annual funding passed by the Iowa Senate for curbing farm and urban runoff into the state’s waters. The vote was largely on party lines. Democrats argued that significantly more money is needed. They had hoped to increase the state sales tax by three-eighths of a penny but that attempt failed. The bill now goes to the House. Quad City Times
Science, Studies, And Reports
Researchers at Stanford University assembled an online map that shows examples of innovative financing tools that U.S. cities have used to build decentralized water infrastructure projects. These projects range from Philadelphia’s extensive plan to green the city’s hardscape to Cincinnati’s reverse auction to find low-cost, effective stormwater solutions. Stanford University
Under an agreement signed by the state, farm groups, and a community organization, the Waimea River on the Hawaiian island of Kauai will be guaranteed a share of water. The river will flow continuously for the first time in more than 100 years. Sugar plantations began diverting water in the early 1900s. The Garden Island
In context: In Hawaii and elsewhere, the public trust doctrine is wielded to restore river flows.
On The Radar
The India Central Ground Water Board will release its annual report on aquifer levels next month. In the western state of Punjab, groundwater levels declined in two-thirds of the land area in the 12 months ending in August 2016. Times of India
A federal judge gave the Havasupai, an Indian tribe whose reservation includes land in the Grand Canyon, 90 days to convince the U.S. government to join its lawsuit seeking to restrict groundwater pumping on the plateau lands that drain into its watershed. If the U.S. government does not join the lawsuit, the judge said that he will dismiss the case. Courthouse News
In context: A tribe in California’s Coachella Valley won a federal appeals court decision in March in a lawsuit asserting its groundwater rights.
Brett writes about agriculture, energy, infrastructure, and the politics and economics of water in the United States. He also writes the Federal Water Tap, Circle of Blue’s weekly digest of U.S. government water news. He is the winner of two Society of Environmental Journalists reporting awards, one of the top honors in American environmental journalism: first place for explanatory reporting for a series on septic system pollution in the United States(2016) and third place for beat reporting in a small market (2014). He received the Sierra Club’s Distinguished Service Award in 2018. Brett lives in Seattle, where he hikes the mountains and bakes pies. Contact Brett Walton