The Stream, March 9: Australia’s NSW Plans to Prosecute Murray-Darling Water Theft

The Global Rundown

New South Wales plans to prosecute several landowners for water theft from the Murray-Darling river system. Chile’s state-owned mining company Codelco receives approval to build a $1bn desalination plant. Pastoralists fight over fertile land in parched Somalia. Thawing permafrost “browns” lakes and upsets ecosystems in Arctic and subarctic regions across the word. Tight water restrictions will remain in place in Cape Town even as Day Zero becomes less likely.

“This 60% reduction in consumption is an incredible achievement and it outperforms many cities around the world which have faced severe droughts. The sustained dedication and fortitude of all residents is a primary reason for this and I want to say to the people here. You are all Day Zero heroes.” –Mmusi Maimane, leader of Cape Town’s drought crisis team, in reference to residents’ reduced water consumption. City officials say Cape Town will likely avoid Day Zero in 2018, but the city’s tight water restrictions will remain in place in the meantime. Eyewitness News

In context: Circle of Blue’s coverage of Cape Town.

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By The Numbers

80 percent Proportion of people in Somalia who make their living on the land. Desert sand is slowly overtaking Somalia due to years of recurring drought, leading to violent conflicts between farmers and herders over fertile ground. PBS NewsHour

In context: HotSpots H2O: Spotlight on Somalia.

$1 billion Cost of a desalination plant that will supply water to Chile’s state-owned mining company Codelco. The plant will allow Codelco, the largest copper producer in the world, to move forward with water-intensive mining operations. Codelco received environmental approval for the project this week. Reuters

Science, Studies, And Reports

Thawing permafrost is releasing organic carbon into Arctic lakes, causing the waterbodies to “brown” and upsetting aquatic ecosystems, according to a new study. Researchers sampled 253 ponds in Arctic and subarctic regions across the world, and concluded that the “browning” is lowering water quality and killing fish. CBC

On The Radar

Australia’s WaterNSW is taking court action against irrigators who allegedly stole water from the Murray-Darling river system. The landowners, who claim they acted in accordance with water access licenses, will be prosecuted in the New South Wales land and environment court. The Guardian

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