The Stream, December 31, 2020: Flooding Can Cause Poor Mental Health, UK Study Finds


  • A study finds UK residents affected by flooding are more likely to experience long-term mental health problems.
  • Zimbabwe bans the use of mercury in mining.
  • The world’s No. 1 copper miner and Chile’s government reach an agreement to remedy water overuse in a Salvador mine.
  • New South Wales could break rainfall records by the new year.

A change in irrigation systems in Colorado’s Western Slope could reduce pollution in the Colorado River.

“That irrigation system will effectively double our water supply here on this farm. A total game changer in my opinion.” – AJ Carillo, who farms 18 acres outside of Hotchkiss, Colorado. Carillo, along with many other Western Slope producers, is converting his farm from a flood irrigation system to one that utilizes microsprinklers. The new system can help farmers apply less water to their crops and build resilience to drought on their land, Aspen Public Radio reports. The move away from flood irrigation also has environmental benefits, as it keeps less salt and selenium, which naturally occur in the Gunnison Basin, from flowing into the Colorado River due to farm runoff.


EPA Revises Rules for Lead in Drinking Water – EPA strengthens some provisions but does not take the bigger step of requiring replacement of all lead services line.

Zimbabwe Bans Use of Mercury In Mining

Zimbabwe state media reported on Tuesday that the country has banned the use of mercury in mining. Reuters reports that the metal has been easily accessible to miners in Zimbabwe in the past and the ban will affect small-scale gold miners. Zimbabwe joins several countries that have phased out the toxic metal, which can contaminate food and groundwater.



A study published earlier this year found that those affected by flooding in the United Kingdom are nine times more likely to experience long-term mental health problems. Heavy rain, the study found, can induce anxiety in those who have experienced flooding before. Symptoms associated with flood-induced anxiety can include stress, sleep problems, panic attacks, nightmares, anger, mood swings and increased use of alcohol, prescription drugs or antidepressants. Joana Cruz, who led the study, told The Guardian that as climate change increases the chance of extreme storms, more research is needed on the issue to “provide tools for these communities to build resilience.”


An agreement between the Chilean government and the copper miner Codelco to remedy water overuse in a Salvador mine was approved in court on Wednesday. Reuters reports that the government alleged that Codelco had overdrawn water from the northern Pedernales salt flat over a period of 36 years, causing “a series of significant losses, detriment or damage to the environment.” The newly approved $56 million action plan requires Codelco, the world’s No. 1 copper miner, to recharge the Pedernales aquifer and conduct water studies both in the salt flat and river basins around it, among other mandates.

In context: Unearthing Water Risks of the Global Mining Industry


Meteorologists are predicting that parts of New South Wales could break rainfall records by New Year’s Day, The Guardian reports. Several cities have already recorded heavy rainfall. In Queensland, 103 milimeters (4 inches) were recorded in one hour at the Warahgai weather station Tuesday night. New Year’s Day is expected to bring rain to many parts of Australia, including major cities like Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane.

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