The Stream, January 31: Storms Help Revive California Water Supplies

The Global Rundown

Strong storms cut into California’s water deficit this month after years of drought, replenishing snowpack in the Sierra Nevada. Nearly 2,000 residents of Flint, Michigan filed a lawsuit against the federal government over the city’s lead-contaminated water crisis. The U.S. Congress moved to eliminate regulations enacted under the Obama administration, including one meant to protect streams from mining. The United Kingdom announced a new round of environmental penalties that will help pay for river restorations. Myanmar pledged to target unregistered bottled water companies in an effort to improve customer safety. Greenpeace released images of a newly discovered coral reef at the mouth of the Amazon River and vowed to fight nearby oil exploration activities.

“We must defend the reef and the entire region at the mouth of the Amazon river basin from the corporate greed that puts profits ahead of the environment.” –Thiago Almeida, a campaigner for Greenpeace Brazil, referring to a newly discovered coral reef that extends nearly 1,000 kilometers from the mouth of the Amazon River. Greenpeace released images of the reef this week, calling attention to oil exploration activities that conservationists worry could harm the coral and habitat for river species. (Guardian)

By The Numbers

1,700 people Number living in Flint, Michigan who filed a lawsuit Monday against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its role in the city’s lead-contaminated water crisis. The lawsuit asks for more than $722 million in damages. The Detroit News

$1.9 million Amount collected by the United Kingdom’s Environment Agency from 26 companies that polluted waterways and broke other environmental laws. The latest round of money, gathered under an enforcement program that accepts payments in lieu of legal prosecution, will go toward river cleanups and restoration efforts. Press Association

Science, Studies, And Reports

Winter storms delivered an estimated 21.6 cubic kilometers of water to California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range over the past month, according to researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder. Cumulatively, the snow and rain erased approximately 37 percent of the deficit built up during the state’s five-year drought.

In context: Explore Circle of Blue’s comprehensive reporting on the California drought.

On The Radar

A federal rule meant to protect rivers and streams from mining debris could soon be cut by the Republican-controlled U.S. Congress. Lawmakers are reviewing a number of regulations that were implemented under the administration of former President Barack Obama. Reuters

Myanmar’s Food and Drug Administration plans to “accelerate the crackdown” on unregistered bottled water companies amid concerns about consumer safety. The agency reported finding bacteria and chemicals in several bottled water products, and targeted six companies in Yangon last week. Myanmar Times