The Stream, May 4: Unpaid Water Bills Could Foreclose Homes In Flint

The Global Rundown

Residents of Flint, Michigan who have delinquent water accounts could face home foreclosure if they do not pay, despite concerns about lead. Violence between ranchers and herders in Kenya stems from historical land conflicts, not just drought, conservationists say. Cape Town, South Africa is still working to avert water cuts as its reservoirs dwindle. Heavy rains and floods prompted evacuations in Canada, while flooding along the Mississippi River killed at least five people in the Midwest United States. Queensland may fine a coal port that released sediment-laden water in the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie. Lawmakers in Florida approved a measure to build larger reservoirs to improve water quality in the Everglades. Peru’s Supreme Court ruled against the Conga gold mine in a land dispute, the latest setback for a project stalled by protests and water concerns.

“This is a historical land issue, as much as anyone would like to see this differently … but just because there has been a historical injustice that has not been resolved does not mean that taking up arms is justified. These things need to be solved in the courts or there will be more violence. The government has failed to protect both large and small landowners.” –Paula Kahumbu, a conservationist in Kenya, describing the violence that has erupted in the drought-hit country between herders and private ranches. (Guardian)

By The Numbers

8,000 homeowners Number in Flint, Michigan who face tax liens for not paying their water bills, a move that could lead to the foreclosure of their homes. Many residents in Flint have refused to pay their water bills amid concerns about lead contamination. Huffington Post

12 percent Current proportion of usable water remaining in the six major dams serving Cape Town, South Africa. The city said water cuts are a last resort, but also warned that the bottom 10 percent of water in the reservoirs is unusable due to poor quality. IOL

5 people Number killed in floods along the Mississippi and Ohio rivers in the Midwest United States, where forecasters expected 13 additional centimeters of rain to fall on Wednesday. Reuters

295 billion liters Amount of water that will be stored by newly approved reservoir projects south of Lake Okeechobee in an effort to improve water quality in the Everglades and Florida estuaries. Miami Herald

In context: Political, financial, and ecological barriers block solutions to water quality issues in South Florida.

Science, Studies, And Reports

A coal port in Queensland released water containing 806 milligrams of sediment per liter in the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie, well above the limits set in its permit, according to a report submitted to the state’s environment department. As a result, the port could face fines up to $3.8 million for environmental harm if department tests reveal the contamination of nearby wetlands. Guardian

On The Radar

The stalled Conga gold mine in Cajamarca faces another setback after Peru’s Supreme Court ruled against the mine in a land dispute with a local farmer. The $5 billion mine project has also been the focus of fierce protests over water pollution concerns. Reuters

In context: Conga mine in Peru halted by water concerns and civic opposition.

Flooding in Quebec prompted evacuation notices in Montreal on Wednesday and also threatened Gatineau, a city neighboring Canada’s capital. More rain is expected through the end of the week, and officials warned the flood situation could worsen. Montreal Gazette