The Global Rundown
The Bulgarian government faces a no-confidence vote due to ongoing water shortages affecting thousands of people. Lawmakers in Michigan propose two bills that would limit access to groundwater for water bottling company Nestlé Waters North America, Inc. Controversy ensues over an $80 million water rights sale to the Australian government. China bans several types of plastic items in an attempt to cut water and land pollution. The U.S. Trump administration announces plans to scale back an Obama-era water supply rule.
“I am proud to announce that I am taking another step to protect the water rights of American farmers and ranchers. I am directing the Corps of Engineers to immediately withdraw the proposed rule … and allow states to manage their water resources based on their own needs and based on what their farmers and ranchers want. Water is the lifeblood of agriculture and we will always protect your water supply.” –U.S. President Donald Trump, in reference to proposed changes to the Water Supply Act. The announcement comes alongside expectations that President Trump will replace the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule soon. The Hill
Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue
What’s Up With Water – January 20, 2020 — This week’s edition of What’s Up With Water includes coverage on low water levels in the Panama Canal, worsening water quality in Vietnam’s Mekong River Delta, and groundwater extraction for coal mining in Australia.
HotSpots H2O: Peace Deal May Halt Siege of Tripoli — If negotiations are successful, the talks could end the country’s civil war, which has raged since 2011.
By The Numbers
$80 million Amount of a water rights settlement in the Condamine Balonne catchment between the Australian government and Eastern Australia Agriculture (EAA) in 2017. New documents reveal that the government purchased the rights after first rejecting several other offers due to concerns that the deals were “not value for money.” The deal has already come under scrutiny because it was done without tender, and EAA was founded by energy minister Angus Taylor. However, Taylor claims he left EAA in 2013 and was unaware of the deal until it was announced. The Guardian
Science, Studies, and Reports
As plastic debris overtake China’s land and waterways, the government introduced new guidelines on plastic items allowed in the country. The country plans to impose stricter bans on imported waste and the use of non-biodegradable plastic bags. Other plastic-cutting measures will be implemented over the next 5 years. The New York Times
On the Radar
The Bulgarian government is facing a no-confidence vote amid ongoing water crisis in the town of Pernik. The supply issues, which are affecting nearly 100,000, have led to recent public protests. Now, the nation’s Socialist party has filed a no-confidence motion against incumbent Prime Minister Boyko Borissov and his coalition due to the shortages. The motion is the fourth one filed against the government in the last 12 months. Reuters
Michigan Democrats have proposed two bills that could stifle the amount of groundwater being pumped by Nestlé Waters North America, Inc, a matter of continued controversy in the state. One law would make Michigan’s groundwater part of a public trust, while the other would require any water pumped in the state to be distributed only within the Great Lakes watershed. Farmers are wary of the former bill, however, fearing that putting all Michigan groundwater in a public trust could limit the supplies available for agriculture. Bridge
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