The Stream, June 4, 2020: São Paulo State Suspends Water Shutoffs in Low-Income Communities Amid Covid-19

The Global Rundown

São Paulo, Brazil, suspends water cuts for low-income residents who are unable to pay their bills due to the Covid-19 crisis.  A U.S. federal judge denies an attempt by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to dismiss a lawsuit related to oil spills in waterways. Water outages hit parts of England as demand skyrockets amid Covid-19 lockdowns. Russian President Vladimir Putin backs a state of emergency in Norilsk, the site of a major oil leak into the river Ambarnaya. New climate model predictions by a team of Australian researchers show that parts of Australia, as well as the globe, are likely to experience longer and more intense droughts in coming years. 

“The government of São Paulo guarantees the non-interruption of water, gas and electricity supply until July 31 for communities and low-income people who are unable to pay their bills.” –Joao Doria, Governor of São Paulo state, in reference to a suspension of utility shutoffs due to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. Brazil has one of the highest Covid-19 caseloads in the world, with 123,483 confirmed cases, as well as 8,276 deaths, as of June 3, 2020. Reuters 

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By The Numbers

2,000 Homes in the Midlands of England that have experienced water supply issues over the past week. Other parts of the country are undergoing outages as well, with some residents saying they have gone without water since Saturday. Water utilities say they have seen a spike in demand for water, and are urging residents to conserve water when possible. BBC

180,000 Residents of Norilsk, Russia, an Arctic city where a major oil spill took place last week. An estimated 15,000 tonnes of oil infiltrated the river Ambarnaya, while another 6,000 tonnes seeped into subsoil. On Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin approved a state of emergency declaration for the city. Reuters 

Science, Studies, and Reports

New models by Australian researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes reveal that parts of southwestern and southern Australia are likely to face longer, more severe droughts due to climate change. The researchers claim the shift in weather patterns can be directly linked to greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere. The study, which was published in Geophysical Research Letters, warns that other places around the globe, including the Amazon, Mediterranean, and southern Africa, face similar drought conditions. Climate Extremes/ARC Centre of Excellence 

On the Radar

An attempt by the U.S. EPA to dismiss a lawsuit over its “outdated” oil spill cleanup plans was struck down by U.S. District Judge William Orrick in the Northern District of California. The lawsuit, which was filed by four conservation groups, accuses the EPA of violating the U.S. Clean Water Act by failing to update its National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan. Reuters

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