The Stream, February 14: Philippines Cancels Mining Contracts To Protect Watersheds

The Global Rundown

The Philippines canceled dozens of mining contracts in an effort to prevent watershed degradation. California’s governor asked for federal assistance to repair the damaged Oroville Dam. Scientists warned that the Florida Everglades may be reaching a “tipping point” and called for restored freshwater flows. A U.S. federal judge denied a request by the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux to halt construction on the Dakota Access pipeline. Zambia and Zimbabwe announced they will invest millions of dollars to fix the Kariba Dam. Officials in Cape Town, South Africa said the city needs a “monumental effort” to conserve water. The DuPont chemical company agreed to settle a series of lawsuits over contaminated water in West Virginia and Ohio.

“We’re doing everything we can to get this dam in shape that they can return and they can live safely without fear. It’s very difficult. It’s hard to understand how people have been able to evacuate so quickly and the disturbance to their lives.” –California Governor Jerry Brown, referring to the evacuation of thousands of people who live downstream of the damaged Oroville Dam. The governor asked for federal assistance to repair an eroded spillway that threatens the dam’s integrity. (The Sacramento Bee)

By The Numbers

75 mining contracts Number set to be canceled in the Philippines under an order from the country’s environment secretary. The contracts are the latest casualty of the secretary’s efforts to protect watersheds. Reuters

825 million liters per day Average water usage in Cape Town, South Africa as of Monday, approximately 125 million liters above the city’s target. Water restrictions are already in place due to a drought, and officials warn it will require a “monumental effort” to meet water conservation goals. News 24

180 billion cubic meters Amount of water that can be stored behind the massive Kariba Dam shared by Zambia and Zimbabwe. The countries are undertaking a $294 million project to fix the dam’s swelling wall, which could jeopardize 3.5 million people if it fails. Reuters

$671 million Amount the DuPont and Chemours chemical companies will pay to settle lawsuits over water contamination in West Virginia and Ohio. Reuters

Science, Studies, And Reports

Squeezed by restricted freshwater flows and rising sea levels, the Everglades continue to deteriorate and may be reaching a tipping point, according to scientists. Researchers say the timely restoration of freshwater flows is essential to boost the wetlands’ health. Miami Herald

In context: Learn more about the water challenges facing the Everglades and South Florida’s coastal estuaries.

On The Radar

An effort by the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux tribes to halt construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline was defeated in U.S. federal court on Monday. Work on the final phase of the pipeline resumed last week after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers granted the company an easement to drill below Lake Oahe in North Dakota. Guardian