The Stream, January 3: Storms Cause Sewage Overflows, Pollution in Australia

The Global Rundown

Officials posted health warnings for nearly two dozen beaches near Melbourne, Australia after storm runoff and sewage polluted the water. One of Israel’s most important reservoirs hit its lowest level since 2012. Health workers in the Philippines warned that water supplies damaged by Typhoon Nina could encourage the spread of disease. Shipping companies along the Danube and Rhine rivers in Germany have been forced to cut their cargo loads due to low water levels. Tanzania’s government approved rate increases for electricity, but it may not be enough to update unreliable hydropower plants.

“It’s poo in all its luxurious forms that is causing the problem.” –Anthony Boxshall, manager of applied sciences at the Environment Protection Authority in Australia’s Victoria state, on the stormwater runoff and sewage overflows along the Yarra River that contaminated 21 beaches near the city of Melbourne on Monday. (The New York Times)

In context: Learn how cities in the Great Lakes are tackling sewage overflows to reduce phosphorus pollution.

By The Numbers

8.5 percent Increase in power tariffs in Tanzania, less than the 18.19 percent increase the state-run Tanzania Electric Supply Company asked the government to approve. The struggling utility said the raise is needed to pay off debts and invest in new infrastructure, while power supplies remain unreliable due to the country’s reliance on hydropower. Reuters

30 percent of capacity Maximum amount of cargo being loaded onto some ships on the Danube and Rhine rivers in central Germany due to low water levels. Reuters

Science, Studies, And Reports

Israel’s Water Authority reported that water levels in Lake Kinneret, a major freshwater reservoir, are at their lowest point for January since 2012, reaching 4.8 meters below the lake’s full capacity. The agency blamed the low supplies on a lack of rainfall in October and November, which offset a wet December. The Jerusalem Post

In context: Read about Israel’s shift to desalinated water supplies.

On The Radar

A lack of clean water could foster the spread of diarrhea and other illnesses following Typhoon Nina, which hit the province of Catanduanes in the Philippines over Christmas. Potable water supplies were damaged during the storm and left thousands of people without safe water access, according to officials. Philippine Daily Inquirer