The Stream, July 24: Relentless Drought in Europe Causes Water Shortages and Wilting Crops

The Global Rundown

Drought prompts water shortages and failing crops across Europe. A class action proceeding is filed against global miner BHP in regards to the Samarco dam failure in Brazil. Hurricane-hit Caribbean islands consider ways to rebuild sustainably. Malawi implements solar irrigation as droughts intensify. An analysis finds dangerous levels of heavy metals in the groundwater surrounding India’s controversial Thoothukudi copper smelter. California looks to impose restrictions on irrigation districts in the state’s Central Valley.

“It’s an important milestone. We’ve laid out a framework … for taking the next step in reconciling ourselves with the natural world in a way that has been on the plate for decades.” –Felicia Marcus, chairwoman of California’s State Water Resources Control Board, in reference to upcoming restrictions on irrigators in California’s Central Valley. Lawmakers and environmentalists say that the restrictions will help protect and restore the downstream Sacramento-San Joaquin delta. Los Angeles Times

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In Flint Water Crisis, EPA’s Friendly Relationship with State Regulators Delayed Use of Legal Authority – Despite warning signs, federal authorities were slow to act in Flint, the agency’s internal watchdog says.

By The Numbers

90 percent Proportion of homes that were damaged or destroyed on the Caribbean island of Barbuda by last year’s Hurricane Irma. This year, Barbuda and other Caribbean nations are taking steps to make their islands more resilient to hurricanes, including early warning systems, improved rainwater collection systems, and new emergency shelters. Reuters

57 years Length of time since a United Kingdom summer has started off as dry as this year’s. Across Europe, record-high temperatures and parched conditions are causing water shortages and crop failures, as well as stoking wildfires. Al Jazeera

Science, Studies, And Reports

A class action proceeding was lodged against global miner BHP in relation to the Samarco dam failure that took place in Brazil in 2015, killing 19 people. BHP did not report who filed the claim, which was lodged in Australia’s Victoria state, but say they plan to defend it. Reuters

On The Radar

Droughts are becoming longer and more frequent in Malawi, prompting farmers to change their traditional agricultural methods. Farmers in the Lake Chilwa basin are planting hardier crops, such as sweet potatoes, and also employing solar-powered pumps to bring up groundwater for irrigation. Reuters

Spotlight: India

Follow The Stream for daily coverage on India’s water crisis.

Federal data shows that groundwater around the Thoothukudi copper smelter in Tamil Nadu, India, contains unsafe levels of heavy metals such as arsenic, iron, and lead. The smelter, owned by Vedanta Resources, was shut down in May after pollution-related protests at the plant left 13 people dead. The Economic Times

In context: What’s up with water – May 28, 2018

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