The Stream, June 13: Water Concerns Cause Rift Over Coal Seam Gas In Australia Town

The Global Rundown

Water concerns are at the center of a debate over the expansion of coal seam gas fields in New South Wales. A teachers’ pension fund in Canada could use its investments to influence private water companies in Chile. Phosphorus pollution declined significantly in China’s lakes over the past decade, but still has a long way to go. Researchers found that climate change and population growth will soon pressure municipal water supplies in the Canadian Arctic. Cybersecurity experts warn that a strain of malware could infect critical water, transportation, and power networks in Europe and abroad.

“People who aren’t directly involved are skeptical and wary. It’s close to a fifty-fifty split. Some farmers don’t want to get on the wrong side of businesses who oppose the project. They keep quiet instead.” –Peter Gett, a farmer in Narrabri, New South Wales, commenting on a coal seam gas project that has divided his town over concerns about water supplies. (Bloomberg)

By The Numbers

41 percent Proportion of Chile’s private water and sanitation industry that is effectively under the control of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan in Canada, which owns majority shares in three of the biggest utilities. Activists are urging the organization to exert its influence to help transition water services back into public hands. Guardian

1/3 Decline in phosphorus concentrations in more than 800 Chinese lakes over the past decade, according to a study published in the journal Nature Geoscience. Researchers attribute the improvements to the expansion of sanitation and wastewater treatment facilities, but note that water quality in China still has a long way to go. Reuters

Science, Studies, And Reports

In Iqaluit, a city in the Canadian Arctic, demand for fresh water could outstrip supply within the next two decades, with supplies tightening as early as 2024, according to researchers at York University. Scientists say climate change and population growth will put increasing pressure on both the quality and quantity of Arctic lakes and rivers that communities rely on for water. Science Daily

On The Radar

Malware that may have been used to attack a power grid in Ukraine last December could be modified to disrupt transportation, water, and gas services, according to cybersecurity experts. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security, however, said there is no evidence that the software has infected critical infrastructure in the United States. Reuters

In context: Security threats evolve as water systems connect to the internet.