The Stream, February 27: Storms Cut Water For Millions In Chile’s Capital

The Global Rundown

Landslides and floods contaminated the Maipo River in Chile, leaving millions without water in Santiago. California’s governor proposed a multi-million dollar spending package to boost flood defenses. Water experts in Hong Kong urged the city to follow Singapore’s lead and increase water prices. Sensors installed on water pumps in Africa could collect critical groundwater data, a study found. The administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reiterated his intent to curb recent clean water and air regulations.

“People across the country look at the EPA at the way they look at [the Internal Revenue Service]. We want to change that. There are a lot of changes that need to take place at my agency to restore the rule of law and federalism.” –Scott Pruitt, the new administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland. Pruitt reiterated the administration’s intention to revoke the Clean Water Rule, which clarifies federal jurisdiction over wetlands and ephemeral streams. (Guardian)

By The Numbers

4 million people Number without water in Chile’s capital, Santiago, following deadly floods that contaminated the Maipo River on Sunday. Officials did not know when water service would resume. BBC News

$437 million Amount California Governor Jerry Brown wants the state to spend on flood control measures after storms damaged dams and forced evacuations earlier this month. Most of the money would come from a 2014 water bond, while the rest would come from the state’s general fund. Reuters

Science, Studies, And Reports

Small sensors fitted to water hand pumps in Africa could help collect data on groundwater levels and predict shortages, according to researchers at Oxford University. About 300 sensors are already installed in Kenya, where they are used to speed up repairs by sending out alerts if the pumps stop working. BBC News

In context: Learn more about the management of transboundary groundwater supplies.

On The Radar

Singapore’s recent decision to significantly increase water prices has prompted calls for other Asian cities to follow suit. In Hong Kong, water experts say an increase in prices would better reflect the true value of water and would encourage conservation. Nonetheless, the idea remains politically unpopular. South China Morning Post

In context: Learn how water rates have changed in 30 major U.S. cities.