The Stream, May 26: Leaders At UN Disaster Conference Urge Action On Water

The Global Rundown

Leaders participating in the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Cancun, Mexico urged countries to reduce water risks. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced plans to postpone compliance with a rule meant to limit water pollution from power plants. An oil spill from wells damaged during protests in Colombia could contaminate water supplies for a nearby city. Residents of some Havana neighborhoods still struggle to get clean drinking water. Heavy rainfall on Wednesday caused flooding across Bangkok, Thailand. A program to collect data on farm water deliveries in California is plagued by noncompliance.

“We don’t live here, we only survive here.” –Eduardo Torres, commenting on the daily struggle to supply clean drinking water to his family in the El barrio de Jesus María neighborhood of Havana, Cuba. Low per-capita water supplies and inadequate infrastructure mean many residents must rely on government water trucks. (Miami Herald)

By The Numbers

80 percent Cut in oil production at the La Cira-Infantas oilfield in Colombia over the past week due to protests over local hiring practices. An oil spill from wells damaged during the protests could contaminate water for the city of Barrancabermeja. Reuters

169 millimeters Amount of rain that fell in the Wang Thong Lang district of Bangkok on Wednesday. Heavy rains triggered floods across the city. Bangkok Post

Science, Studies, And Reports

Countries around the world should “take immediate actions” to address water scarcity, floods, and deteriorating sewer systems that are vulnerable to climate change and natural disasters, according to a communique released by leaders at the United Nations’ Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Cancun, Mexico. Leaders also called on developed countries to help poorer nations reduce their disaster risk. Reuters

In context: Water’s major role in disasters not matched in new framework to reduce risk.

On The Radar

Noncompliance and incomplete data have plagued a state program in California that requires irrigation districts to report how much water they are delivering directly to farmers. Just one-fifth of the state’s largest irrigation districts reported the information consistently during four years of drought between 2012 and 2015. The Sacramento Bee

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will postpone compliance deadlines for a 2015 rule that set the first federal limits on the amount of toxic metals — including arsenic, lead, mercury, and selenium — that power plants can discharge in their wastewater. The rule is expected to eliminate the release of more than 600 million kilograms of water pollutants each year. Reuters

In context: Map of U.S. coal-fired power plants ranked by water pollution.