The Stream, January 24: Water Risks Not Getting Attention In Business Supply Chains

The Global Rundown

Few businesses are asking their suppliers for information on water risks and management, according to a new report. Officials in Afghanistan are accusing Iran of working to undermine water development projects on the Helmand River. The administration of President Donald Trump will likely rescind the U.S. Clean Water Rule that ensures federal protection for wetlands and ephemeral streams. Thousands of geese died in Montana after landing in toxic water at the Berkeley Pit Superfund site. Researchers in Australia have been awarded millions of dollars to design better ways to deliver water in urban slums.

“We know Iran wants more water than allocated to it in the water-sharing treaty. If Iran wants more water beyond the amount agreed in the treaty, it should consider buying additional water from Afghanistan.” –Wadir Safi, professor of law and political science at Kabul University, referring to the agreement between Afghanistan and Iran that governs how the countries share water from the Helmand River. Governors in southern Afghanistan this week accused officials in Iran of encouraging the Taliban to foil the development of hydropower and irrigation projects on the river — accusations that Iran denies. (Voice of America)

By The Numbers

$27 million Amount awarded to researchers at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia to design novel methods for delivering water in urban slums. The project will include work in 24 settlements in Fiji and Indonesia. Guardian

3,000 geese Number killed over the weekend after they landed in a lake of toxic wastewater at the Berkeley Pit Superfund site in Montana. Officials are still finalizing a plan to clean up the old mine site and prevent it from contaminating nearby rivers and groundwater supplies. Associated Press

Science, Studies, And Reports

While more businesses are trying to reduce their water use and carbon emissions, few are asking their supply chains to do the same, according to a report released by the London-based nonprofit CDP. The report also found that businesses were less likely to cite water than climate change as a risk to their operations, and just 38 percent of those surveyed required their suppliers to report on water use and risks. CDP

On The Radar

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has signaled that it plans to rescind the controversial Clean Water Rule, which was an effort by the Obama administration to clarify which waterways fall under the jurisdiction of the federal Clean Water Act. The rule is especially unpopular with farming and development groups, but it is championed by scientists and environmentalists who argue that the law should protect wetlands and ephemeral streams that are crucial for downstream water quality. New Scientist

In context: Read how political pushback has kept the Clean Water Act in a state of stasis.