The Global Rundown
Meteorologists predict average monsoon rainfall for India in 2020. Organizations working to protect the Mekong River request greater transparency from China following a recent report alleging that China withheld water from drought-hit downstream nations last year. Florida argues against a judge’s recommendation that a water rights debate with Georgia be dismissed from the U.S. Supreme Court. In Washington, the Quinault Indian Nation is imperiled by rising sea levels and depletion of sockeye salmon, a key part of their livelihood. The Chilean State Defense Council lodges a complaint against global miner BHP for environmental damages to the Punta Negra salt flat and its aquifer.
“This sustained extraction was such that the aquifer cannot recover on its own within 100 years.” –A complaint by the Chilean State Defense Council against global miner BHP, in reference to heavy depletion of groundwater beneath the northern Punta Negra salt flat in Chile. In addition to the excessive water use, BHP’s operations also jeopardized wetlands, vegetation, and wildlife in the area, according to the complaint. The First Environmental Court, based in Antofagasta, Chile, says it will investigate the claims. Reuters
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Covid-19 + Water: Live Blog — The volume of Covid-19 news can be overwhelming. We’ve started a live blog, updated throughout the day, to help you sort through it. It’s a library for how water, sanitation, and hygiene connect to the pandemic, both in the US and globally.
Water Contamination Risks Lurk in Plumbing of Idled Buildings — Stagnant water is a breeding ground for bacteria. Before reopening shuttered buildings, the internal water systems need to be investigated, plumbing experts say.
By The Numbers
11 Chinese dams that allegedly held back Mekong river water from drought-hit downstream countries despite above-average water levels in China, according to a recent report by U.S.-based Eyes on Earth Inc. In the wake of the report, groups working to protect the drying Mekong River are calling for greater transparency and collaboration from China. Reuters
40,000-50,000 pounds Fish processed per day at the Quinault Indian Nation’s fish processing plant in Taholah, Washington, in years past. Now, manager Shane Underwood says the plant is lucky to process 1,000 pounds of fish per day, as changes in glacial melt and river temperatures disrupt traditional fishing patterns. In addition to major losses in the salmon industry, the Quinault tribe has also experienced flooding in recent years due to rising sea levels. Reuters
Science, Studies, and Reports
Monsoon rains in India this year are predicted to be 100 percent of the long-term average, according to the Ministry of Earth Sciences. If accurate, the normal rainfall will help bolster agricultural and economic growth across the country, which has dealt with several dry spells in recent years. Reuters
On the Radar
In December, U.S. federal Judge Paul Kelly, the court-appointed “special master” in an ongoing water-rights debate between Florida and Georgia, recommended that the case be dismissed from the U.S. Supreme Court. Now, Florida has submitted a new legal brief urging the court not to dismiss the case, arguing that it could “spell doom” for the Apalachicola Bay. AJC
Kayla Ritter is a recent graduate of Michigan State University, where she studied International Relations and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. She is currently based in Manton, Michigan. Kayla enjoys running, writing, and traveling. Contact Kayla Ritter