The Stream, December 3, 2020: Water Restrictions Are Lifted In Australia On The First Day of Summer


  • Water restrictions in parts of Australia are lifted.
  • The Hopi Tribe in Arizona is struggling to maintain their way of life after severe drought has wiped out their corn crops.
  • Water maintenance concerns have stalled the construction of a border wall in El Paso, Texas.
  • Canada will not meet target to lift all water advisories in Indigenous communities by 2021.

California water allocations are low due to a dry start to the winter season.

“While we still have several months ahead of us, dry conditions persist. As communities throughout California prepare to support their environment and economies through times of extended dry periods, state agencies plan together to support those communities.” – California Department of Water Resources Director Karla Nemeth. Citing a dry start to the winter rainy season, California’s Department of Water Resources preliminary allocated just 10 percent of requested water supplies to agencies that serve more than 27 million Californians. The Associated Press reports that the move is on par with last year’s initial allocations, which by final allotments in May had only climbed to 20 percent. The state’s major reservoirs, Lake Shasta and Lake Oroville, are also both significantly lower than they were at this time last year.


What the Biden Administration Might Mean for Water

When President-elect Joe Biden takes office in January, the change in U.S. leadership will signal a clear break with the previous four years of the Trump administration, especially for environmental policy. How big will the break be? And what will be the priorities for water? Circle of Blue reporter Brett Walton hosted a roundtable discussion with three experts about what a Biden administration might mean for federal water policy. 

In Case You Missed It:

HotSpots H2O: Water Scarcity in Palestinian Territories Puts Farming at Risk – Water scarcity in occupied Palestinian territories continues to put health and agriculture at risk as conflict over water supplies between Jordan, Israel, and Palestinians flares.

Hopi Way of Life Threatened By Drought That Kills Corn Crop

Drought on the Hopi Reservation, which stretches more than 2000 miles (3000+ kilometers) across northeastern Arizona, has threatened the tribe’s entire way of life. Arizona Central reports that a lack of rain has killed many families’ corn crop, which not only serves as a staple food but also used in religious rituals and prayers. Devastation on the Hopi Reservation is part of a larger trend across the American West, which is in the midst of one of the biggest “megadroughts” of the past 1,200 years due to rising temperatures caused by climate change.



Concerns among officials from El Paso County Water District (EPCDW) 1 have temporarily halted the construction of a 30-foot-tall (9 meters) border wall north of the American canal in South El Paso, according to Border Reports. Officials have expressed apprehension towards the project, saying that the wall’s construction may impede their crews’ ability to properly maintain the canal. Without appropriate maintenance, heavy rains could cause flooding throughout South El Paso neighborhoods.

In context: Border Wall Concerns in Lower Rio Grande Valley Diminished By Virus and Growth


Canada’s Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller announced the federal Liberal government will not be able to fulfill its promise to eradicate all water advisories in the country’s First Nations communities by March of 2021. CTV News reports that senior Indigenous Services officials told reporters that “at least” 22 drinking water advisories will remain in effect after the original deadline. Indigenous Services deputy minister Christiane Fox said the pandemic was partially to blame for the slow down, as many First Nations communities have limited who is allowed to come onto their land. Before the pandemic, the government projected to be down to 40 advisories by mid-2020, a target that was not met.


Water restrictions across parts of Australia, including Sydney, have been lifted and replaced with new guidelines for homes and businesses, The Australian reports. State Cabinet agreed to the changes on Monday, just before the beginning of the summer season, after it was revealed that combined dam levels reached 93.5 percent. Water property and housing minister Melinda Pavey said that water use is down 7.5 percent since March 2020 and that in the last phase of restrictions, residents saved about 77 gigaliters (20.3 billion gallons) of water. The restrictions have been replaced with what the government is calling Water Wise Guidelines, which allow tap water to be used to water lawns and gardens before 10 am and after 4 pm and clean building with a handheld hose, among other things.

In context: In Australia, Echoes of Past, Glimpses of Future As Country Braces for Hot, Dry Summer

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply