The Stream, July 1, 2020: Florida Governor Signs Major Bill Aimed at Combating Water Quality Issues

The Global Rundown

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signs an extensive  environmental bill aimed at addressing the state’s water quality issues. A major Russian mining company suspends workers who illegally discharged wastewater into the Arctic tundra last week. Ethiopia plans to begin filling the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam this month despite a deadlock in negotiations with Egypt and Sudan. Communities of color in the U.S. face chronic inequality and discrimination in regard to water shutoffs and liens, reports The Guardian. Authorities in Acapulco, Mexico say they will fix the city’s drainage system following a large discharge of raw sewage into the ocean. 

“It was very stinky and made me nauseous.” –An eyewitness to a discharge of raw sewage in tourist hotspot Acapulco, Mexico, last week. The noxious spill sent “black water” flowing into the ocean for about 25 minutes. An initial investigation claims that the discharge may have been spurred by recent rainfall and flooding, which led to sewers overflowing. Local authorities say they will work to fix issues with the area’s drainage system. Reuters 

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By The Numbers

6,000 cubic meters Amount of wastewater that was discharged into the Arctic tundra last week by workers at Russian mining giant Norilsk Nickel. The employees have now been suspended for what the company called a “flagrant violation of operating rules.” Officials claim there is no way to determine how far the wastewater spread. The Guardian

Science, Studies, and Reports

Water shutoffs affect hundreds of thousands of Americans each year, and communities of color and Native Americans are disproportionately affected by water issues. In many of these neighborhoods, there is also a higher incidence of punitive measures like liens, which can be levied against homes when unpaid water bills have accrued high amounts of penalties and interest. Liens increase the risk of eviction and foreclosure. The city of Cleveland, Ohio is being sued over the practice, and the practice has proven to be an issue in several other U.S. cities. The Guardian

In context:
Price of Water 2019: Even Without Federal Infrastructure Deal, Cities Continue to Invest.
Baltimore Council Approves Income-Based Water Bills

On the Radar

On Tuesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a major environmental bill aimed at improving the state’s water quality issues. The Clean Waterways Act takes effect on July 1 and seeks to address water pollution across the state. Environmentalists welcomed the bill but have criticized the lack of restrictions on agricultural pollution. WUFT 

Despite another deadlock on negotiations over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, Ethiopia says that it will begin filling the reservoir behind the dam this month. Government officials  insist that filling the reservoir will not have major impacts on the water supply of downstream nations Egypt and Sudan, a claim that the other two countries have disputed. Al Jazeera  

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