The Stream, March 23: Arctic Sea Ice Hit Record Low This Winter

The Global Rundown

Soaring temperatures in the Arctic resulted in the lowest level of winter sea ice for the third consecutive year, according to researchers. India’s Supreme Court is demanding an explanation from government officials in nine states that have failed to implement drought relief programs. Billions of additional dollars are needed for water infrastructure across the United States, but the investment will also create significant economic benefits, a new report argues. A judge in the United Kingdom ordered the Thames Water utility to pay a record fine for sewage leaks. Floods and mudslides in Peru forced a zinc smelting plant near Lima to suspend its operations.

“I have to make the fine sufficiently large that [Thames Water] get the message…One has to get the message across to the shareholders that the environment is to be treasured and protected, and not poisoned.” –Judge Francis Sheridan, in reference to a record $25.3 million fine he ordered against the United Kingdom’s Thames Water utility for sewage leaks that contaminated the River Thames and its tributaries. (Guardian)

By The Numbers

9 chief secretaries Number India’s Supreme Court ordered to appear next month to explain why their states have not complied with court orders to provide relief to workers affected by drought. The secretaries represent the states of Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Haryana, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra. The Times of India

$82 billion Additional amount governments across the United States need to invest each year for the next 10 years to meet water infrastructure needs, according to a report released by the Value of Water Campaign. This level of investment would generate more than $220 billion in economic activity each year, the report found. The Value of Water

In context: Learn why water experts say America’s water infrastructure requires a new mindset.

Science, Studies, And Reports

Sea ice in the Arctic covered just 14.4 million square kilometers at its peak this winter, setting a new record low for the third consecutive year, and data also show it was thinner than previous years. Air temperatures over the Arctic Ocean were 2.5 degrees Celsius above average, according to researchers at the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center. Guardian

On The Radar

Operations were suspended this week at a zinc smelting plant near Lima, Peru due to extreme flooding and mudslides. The plant is owned by Brazil-based industrial group Votorantim, and last year processed 340,000 metric tons of zinc. Reuters