The Stream, November 27: South Australia Sets Up Royal Commission to Investigate Murray-Darling Water Theft

The Global Rundown

Regulations on arsenic levels in U.S. drinking water led to reduced exposure among Americans, a study finds. More than half of insured farmers in Tamil Nadu, India, have not received compensation for crop losses during the state’s 2016-2017 drought. A new Michigan water crisis unfolds near Grand Rapids as household water close to corporate dumpsites tests positive for PFAS. South Australia sets up a royal commission to investigate potential water theft in the Murray-Darling basin. Japan evaluates ways to dispose of radioactive water at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

“Our recovery effort up until now would immediately collapse to zero if the water is released.” –Yuichi Manome, a Japanese farmer, in reference to the radioactive water that has been sitting at Fukushima No. 1 since a 2011 tsunami caused a partial meltdown at the plant. Treatment has removed all radioactive elements except tritium, which is safe in small quantities but could be devastating if another natural disaster spilled the millions of tons of stored water at once. Experts recommend a gradual release of the water into the Pacific Ocean, but fisherman fear the release would devastate their industry. The Japan Times

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By The Numbers

55 percent Proportion of insured farmers in Tamil Nadu, India, who have not received compensation for losses incurred during the state’s 2016-2017 drought. India’s central government recently launched a program to expedite insurance claims, but farmers complain that a lack of coordination among officials has derailed the program. The Hindu

In context: Circle of Blue’s Tamil Nadu Choke Point series.

76 Number of chemical dumpsites found near homes north of Grand Rapids, Michigan, that could potentially be polluting water with perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). So far, well water at more than 30 homes has been found to exceed the federal government’s recommended lifetime exposure levels of PFAS. The New York Times

In context: Congress passes defense spending bill that includes perfluorinated chemicals health study.

Science, Studies, And Reports

American exposure to arsenic declined after the U.S. government lowered the amount of arsenic allowed in drinking water eleven years ago, a recent study found. The study revealed a 17 percent decline in arsenic exposure among people using public drinking water. Reuters

On The Radar

South Australia is establishing a royal commission to investigate potential water theft from the Murray-Darling basin. An independent review reported that irrigators in New South Wales, Queensland, and Victoria are shirking the basin’s water usage rules. The commission will begin investigating the allegations next year. The Guardian