The Stream, July 2, 2020: Brazil’s São Paulo State Extends Water Bill Exemptions Through August 15

The Global Rundown

Brazil’s Sabesp sanitation company extends water bill exemptions for more than 2 million low-income customers in São Paulo state. Data reveals that England’s water firms discharged raw sewage into waterways more than 200,000 times in 2019. Australia unveils the first projects being backed by the $2.7 billion Future Drought Fund. Satellite maps show shallow groundwater storage across much of Europe. A water crisis collides with a rise in Covid-19 cases on Oregon’s Warm Springs reservation.

“It’s reservation-wide. Right now, 60% of the reservation is in the category of low water pressure. And obviously, of a number of concerns, is COVID-19 and the lack of sanitation.” –Danny Martinez, the Warm Springs Emergency Manager, in reference to the ongoing water emergency on the Warm Springs reservation in Oregon. Many households on the reservation, which is near the city of Portland, rely on an unsafe supply of water or have no running water at all. Lack of access to clean water comes at a time when 19 new cases of Covid-19 were reported on the reservation last week. OPB

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By The Numbers

A$3.9 billion ($2.7 billion) Size of Australia’s Future Drought Fund, a major investment fund aimed at helping the country’s agricultural industry cope with ongoing drought. Starting this month, Australia plans to allocate A$100 million ($69 million) annually from the fund. The first round of payouts went toward helping farmers develop climate mitigation plans, improving digital climate services and building infrastructure in smaller communities. Bloomberg Green  

200,000+ Times that water companies in England discharged raw sewage into streams and rivers in 2019, according to data obtained by The Guardian through environmental information requests. In total, the data indicates that the untreated waste spilled into waterways for more than 1.5 million hours. The Guardian

Science, Studies, and Reports

NASA satellite data shows shallow groundwater storage across large parts of the European continent, coming on the heels of the warmest year on record in Europe. The GEOGLAM Crop Monitor, which tracks global agriculture conditions and food security, warned that swaths of central and eastern Europe, as well as southwestern Russia, could face diminished wheat production due to drought. The dry conditions are expected to last through the summer. NASA 

On the Radar

The governor of São Paulo, Brazil, announced that the state-owned Sabesp sanitation company will exempt low-income customers from paying their water bill through August 15 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. More than 2 million people qualify for the exemption, which Sabesp originally instituted from April to July 31. Reuters 

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