The Stream, May 29: Deadly Rains Trigger Landslides In Sri Lanka

The Global Rundown

Landslides triggered by the worst rains in more than a decade have killed more than 150 people in Sri Lanka. Facing drought and rising seas, the president of Kiribati says international climate funding is not coming quickly enough for his country. Wastewater spills from a proposed coal seam gas project in New South Wales could contaminate water supplies, according to a report. The highest human rights court in Africa found that Kenya has violated indigenous rights by evicting the Ogiek people from the Mau Forest, a critical watershed. Packaged drinking water manufacturers near Chennai, India are going on strike. The water utility in Des Moines, Iowa — a symbol of the fight over nutrient pollution in the United States — will spend millions of dollars to expand its nitrate removal facility.

“The underlying issue is the money — our public resources are not sufficient to address these climatic issues.” –President Taneti Mamau of Kiribati, explaining why international funding sources are not available quickly enough to respond to the risks of drought and rising sea levels that threaten his country. (Reuters)

By The Numbers

151 people Number killed by landslides over the weekend in Sri Lanka due to the worst rainfall in more than a decade. An additional 100,000 people have been displaced, and more rain and landslides are expected later this week. Reuters

$15 million Amount the water utility in Des Moines, Iowa will pay to expand its nitrate removal facility. The utility became the center of a national debate over nutrient pollution after suing upstream agricultural districts for the increasing levels of nitrate it must remove from drinking water supplies. The lawsuit was dismissed in March. The Des Moines Register

In context: In farm country, the cost of nitrate pollution often falls on towns.

350 packaged drinking water units Number in and around Chennai, Tamil Nadu that are suspending operations indefinitely as part of a strike by the state’s Packaged Drinking Water Manufacturers’ Association, which is protesting moves by the government to cut back on groundwater extraction. The Times of India

In context: Rampage of water and social entrepreneurs push Chennai to consider new growth strategy.

Science, Studies, And Reports

Wastewater spills from the Narrabri coal seam gas project proposed for Australia’s New South Wales state could jeopardize water used for drinking and irrigation, according to a researcher at RMIT University in Melbourne. He also noted that not enough baseline data and monitoring wells exist to adequately assess and protect water quality in the region’s shallow aquifers. Guardian

On The Radar

The African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the continent’s highest human rights court, ruled that Kenya violated the rights of the indigenous Ogiek people by evicting them from the Mau Forest. The forest is Kenya’s largest water catchment, and the government used protection of forest resources as a justification for the evictions — a position the court rejected. Reuters