The Stream, December 17, 2020: Heavy Rain Lashes New South Wales


  • Heavy rain causes flood warnings and evacuation orders across New South Wales.
  • Researchers discover elevated lead levels in drinking water across the state of Iowa.
  • The state of Georgia will test for lead contamination in the water supply of more than 800 schools.
  • A contracting company in Ontario, Canada was given a nearly two-million-dollar settlement after failing to complete a water treatment project on a First Nation reserve.

Environmental and farm groups in Wisconsin come together to call for greater protections for farms and water quality.

“We’re calling on state decision-makers to take bold action on water and farm-related policies. And just as importantly, we are committing ourselves to work together to find common ground.” – Tom Crave, president of the Dairy Business Association. Environmental and farm groups in Wisconsin have come together to call on the state to fund support for farms and protect drinking water quality, Wisconsin Public Radio reports. The groups are asking state lawmakers to improve well testing and replacement, change the state’s concentrated animal feeding operations permitting program, support land conservation and improve efforts to address farm runoff. While the groups did not include how much their proposed changes would cost, Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Executive Director Matt Krueger said regardless of the price tag, “the price of inaction is going to be more significant.”

In context: One Michigan County Tells the Story of a Nation Plagued By Water Pollution


Dry Land and Rearing Cattle – Severe drought in Texas has led to the destruction of thousands of farms and ranches in the state.

Colorado River Indian Tribes Take Another Step Toward Marketing Value Water in Arizona – The tribes unveiled draft legislation to allow their water to be leased to users in Arizona off the reservation or stored underground.

Researchers Find Elevated Lead Levels In Drinking Water Across Iowa

Researchers from the University of Iowa estimate that around 65,000 Iowans, especially children, could be exposed to high levels of lead in their drinking water. The Des Moines Register reports that research out of UI also indicated that the number of those at risk grows when U.S. Food and Drug Administration standards and recommendations for lead levels in children from the American Academy of Pediatrics. The researchers also found that private well owners in Iowa face exposure to elevated lead levels. The recent report from UI urges Iowa lawmakers to increase testing and lower the recommended lead levels the state allows.



After delays due to the coronavirus pandemic, the state of Georgia is moving forward to test the drinking water at 800 schools and childcare facilities across the state for lead contamination. The Associated Press reports that Georgia will use a federal grant to test an estimated 40 faucets in each school starting early next year. The grant will cover testing for lead but the school or district will be responsible for fixing any problems.


After 200 millimeters (7.8 inches) of heavy rain fell in Lismore, New South Wales, the State Emergency Service (SES) issued a flood warning for the city Wednesday afternoon. The Bureau of Meteorology issued several, separate warnings across the entire state. The Guardian reports that while some flood warnings and evacuation orders have since been rescinded, risk of flooding on other coastal rivers remain. Between Saturday and Wednesday, the SES attended almost 2,000 jobs, including 30 flood rescues.


A contracting company that launched a legal claim after they were asked to leave the Neskantaga Nation in Northern Ontario in 2019 for delays involving a water treatment plant will receive a $1.9 million settlement from the Canadian government. Global News and the Institute for Investigative Journalism report that Neskantaga have not had access to clean drinking water for nearly three decades. Currently more than 200 members of the tribe are living in a hotel after concerns over water supply contamination arose in October.

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