The Stream, March 2: Michigan Cancels Payments For Flint Water

The Global Rundown

The state of Michigan will no longer provide water credits to help residents of Flint pay their water bills, though residents still dispute the water’s safety. Experts warn that droughts and dwindling water supplies in South America could contribute to political instability. A Norwegian investment firm divested millions of dollars from companies involved in the Dakota Access oil pipeline. A boycott in India’s Tamil Nadu state targets soda drinks because of their water use. Taiwan introduced water restrictions for several cities due to shortages. Record temperatures at a research base in Antarctica have raised concerns about melting ice. Opponents of U.S. President Donald Trump’s efforts to repeal the Clean Water Rule say his actions represent a conflict of interest.

“Water has a big impact on people and politics. People are becoming really angry. This anger feeds into politics and governments are losing popularity.” –Pablo Solon, a former ambassador for Bolivia at the United Nations climate change talks, on the country’s deep drought and the role of water stewardship in maintaining political stability across Latin America. (Guardian)

In context: The relationship between climate change and conflict is complex, tenuous, and often misunderstood.

By The Numbers

$40.4 million Amount the state of Michigan paid in water relief credits to help residents of Flint, Michigan cover bills for water that was tainted with lead. The state ended the credit program yesterday. NPR

In context: Learn more about Flint’s lead-contaminated water crisis and Michigan’s response.

$34.8 million Amount of assets Norwegian investment manager Storebrand divested this week from three companies that are involved in the Dakota Access oil pipeline in North Dakota, which has been strongly opposed due to concerns about water. Guardian

1 million Number of traders in India’s Tamil Nadu state who are boycotting sodas produced by large international companies, including Coca-Cola and Pepsi, to raise awareness about the industry’s water use. Guardian

Science, Studies, And Reports

Temperatures at Argentina’s Esperanza research base in Antarctica experienced record high temperatures last year, reaching 17.5 degrees Celsius in March, according to the World Meteorological Organization. Melting ice in Antarctica, which contains 90 percent of the world’s fresh water, could contribute significantly to global sea level rise. Reuters

On The Radar

Taiwan implemented phase-one water rationing Wednesday in Hsinchu, Taoyuan, and several districts of New Taipei, meaning water pressure will be reduced at night. After hearing a report about increasingly variable rainfall patterns and annual water shortages, President Tsai Ing-wen said sustainable water management is the government’s “most important policy responsibility.” The China Post

Ordering federal agencies to repeal the Clean Water Rule may be a conflict of interest for U.S. President Donald Trump because it could ease expenses for golf courses owned by the Trump Organization. The rule, unpopular with farmers and developers, made clear the federal government’s jurisdiction over small wetlands and streams, rather than limiting federal protections to “navigable” waters. Bloomberg