The Global Rundown
Water-related violence across the globe spikes over the past decade. The worst flooding since 2013 deluges Jakarta, Indonesia, leaving nine people dead. The scientific advisory board of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that some of the EPA’s proposed rollbacks on clean water laws are based on inadequate science. Meanwhile, in New Mexico, environmental regulators warn that the proposed EPA rollbacks could leave 96 percent of the state’s waterways prone to pollution. Hay farming in southeastern Oregon parches the Harney Basin aquifer.
“It’s like having your arteries cut open and watching the blood run out, when your water is being sprayed to the wind and it’s evaporating away at humongous quantities.” –John Thelen, a retiree living in Harney County, Oregon, in reference to the use of groundwater in irrigating the county’s hayfields. A recent boom in hay farming has overtaken the arid region, and now, the Harney Basin aquifer is running at a severe deficit. Oregon is working to establish a voluntary conservation agreement to help protect the stressed aquifer. NPR
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By The Numbers
9 People killed by flooding in Jakarta, Indonesia. The worst deluge since 2013 has shut down a Jakarta airport as well as some commuter train operations, and rains are expected to continue for the next two days. Bloomberg
96 Estimated proportion of New Mexico’s wetlands and waterways that would be at risk of pollution from coal mines, factory waste, pesticides, and other sources if proposed EPA rollbacks on clean water rules occur, according to environmental regulators. The rollbacks would have U.S.-wide implications, but New Mexico is especially vulnerable due to a lack of state regulations protecting waterways. Los Angeles Times
Science, Studies, and Reports
Statistics compiled by the U.S.-based Pacific Institute show that water-related violence has more than doubled in the past decade. The violence encompasses both quarrels over water as well as attacks on water infrastructure. The report notes that the weaponization of water supplies is becoming increasingly common, citing several examples where civilian water infrastructure was targeted in direct violation of international law. The Guardian
In context: Speaking of Water – Water Conflict Chronology.
On the Radar
The EPA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) published four draft reports critiquing the science behind proposed EPA rollbacks on clean air and water laws in the U.S. The panel claims that much of the data underpinning the rollbacks is based on inadequate science and should be reviewed. In response to the reports, an EPA spokesperson said the findings of the SAB are not final. Reuters
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