The Stream, January 29, 2019: Brazilian Mine Collapse Leaves 60 Dead, Hundreds Missing

The Global Rundown

Hundreds are missing in southeast Brazil after a dam collapse on Friday. Arizona is the only state still in negotiations as the federal deadline approaches for a Colorado River drought contingency plan. Farmers in South Africa hope to garner $220 million in drought aid. Officials in Salem, Oregon, meet to discuss an $80 million overhaul of the city’s water system. Sydney, Australia, switches on its desalination plant for the first time in seven years.   

“If there was malpractice, recklessness or negligence on the part of someone inside the company, that person has to answer criminally.” –Brazilian Vice-President Hamilton Mourão in reference to the collapse of a mining dam near the town of Brumadinho on Friday. The collapse swamped the area with a sea of mud, killing 60 and leaving nearly 300 missing. The dam was owned by Brazilian mining company Vale, who insists the structure met safety standards. BBC

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By The Numbers

$220 million Amount of drought aid sought by South Africa’s farmers. The country’s agricultural industry body plans to approach banks, agribusinesses, and the government to help raise the funds. Reuters

$80 million Cost of a plan to improve the water system in Salem, Oregon, where harmful algal toxins were found in 2018. City officials and state lawmakers met last week to discuss funding of the plan, which includes creating a backup water supply and bolstering protection of the city’s riverside water treatment plant. U.S. News & World Report

In context: Oregon Capital Battles Algal Toxins in Drinking Water.

Science, Studies, And Reports

The city of Sydney, Australia, turned on its desalination plant for the first time in seven years as reservoirs fell below 60 percent. The plant will begin producing drinkable water in three to four months. The Guardian

On The Radar

Out of the seven Colorado Basin states, Arizona is the only one that has not approved a drought contingency plan. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has set a deadline of January 31 for states to agree to the plans, which define how the waters of the Colorado River will be shared in coming decades. Colorado Public Radio

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