The Stream, March 24: China’s Cities Must Plan For Sea Level Rise, Researchers Say

The Global Rundown

Scientists in China reiterated calls for coastal cities to address flood risks after a government report showed record high sea levels last year. Saskatchewan announced plans to tighten regulations for pipelines near waterways. Mountain snowpack in the western United States, where water content is well above average at many sites, has started to melt. A new economic stimulus package in Taiwan will include financing for water infrastructure. Environmental advocates are unsatisfied with a court ruling in Virginia that failed to shut a coal ash pond that is polluting the Elizabeth River.

“It is not a viable option to leave the pollution source in place and allow the pollution to continue.” –Deborah Murray, attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center, on a federal judge’s decision to allow a coal ash storage facility in Virginia to remain in place, despite finding that it violated the Clean Water Act by polluting the Elizabeth River with arsenic. The judge said the level of pollution did not pose a threat to human or environmental health. (The Virginian-Pilot)

In context: View an interactive map that shows U.S. coal-fired power plants ranked by water pollution.

By The Numbers

82 millimeters Increase in average sea levels along China’s coast last year compared to the average from 1993 to 2001, according to a report by the country’s State Oceanic Administration. Researchers called on the government to incorporate rising seas into coastal development planning, warning that cities are at greater risk from flooding and other marine disasters. South China Morning Post

$29 billion Amount of an economic stimulus package announced this week by the Taiwanese government. The stimulus funds will target infrastructure projects in the water, rail, green energy, and digital sectors. Reuters

Science, Studies, And Reports

Widespread melting has started in the mountains of Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah, and the Western snowpack is “primed for runoff season,” according to a report released by the U.S. National Water and Climate Center. The amount of water held in mountain snowpack at sites across California, Idaho, Oregon, and Wyoming remains well above normal, in some places reaching more than 200 percent of median levels. NRCS

On The Radar

Saskatchewan plans to impose stricter regulations on oil and gas pipelines constructed near waterways, as well as review the designs of pipelines already in place, according to the Canadian province’s economy ministry. The move is in response to a 2016 pipeline spill that flowed into the North Saskatchewan River and shut down drinking water supplies for two cities. Reuters