The Stream, October 27, 2020: Unpredictable Weather Patterns Send Crop Prices Soaring During Pandemic


  • Crop prices are rising globally due to extreme flooding and drought.
  • The EPA is funding the lead water line removal in several S. cities, including some in Michigan.
  • Almost four million in East Africa have been affected by floods and landslides this year.
  • A new system has formed in the Atlantic, the 27th of this hurricane season.

A Colorado county is fighting to keep Nestlé from extracting water from the Arizona River.

“We don’t need Nestlé to bottle our water and sell it back to us in plastic bottles.” – Jennifer Swacina, cofounder of Unbottle and Protect Chaffee County Water. Nestlé Waters North America said it plans to pump up to 65 million gallons of groundwater annually from the Upper Arkansas River Valley in Chaffee County, the Colorado Sun reports. The proposal, which would essentially extend a permit Nestlé has had to extract water from the river since 2009, comes at a time Chaffee County’s population is increasing and drought is widespread. Nestlé has faced increased scrutiny from environmentalists and conservation groups in the U.S. in the past several years. In Chaffee County, hearings to extend Nestlé’s permit have been delayed due to the pandemic and the company has been granted an additional year of operation while commissioners field public comment.


HotSpots H2O: Proposed Dams Strain Water Politics in Iraq – A proposal by Kurdistan officials to build dozens of dams as a response to water insecurity has caused concern in Iraq, reported DW. The dams could increase water shortages and lead to environmental degradation downstream in the vulnerable Mesopotamian marshes, critics argue.

What’s Up With Water – October 26, 2020 – This week’s episode covers a year-long investigation into environmental and public health concern’s from France’s largest dairy producer, research from a university in the Netherlands that is investigating why some glaciers in southern Asia are stable or growing and plans from the Twin Pine Minerals mining company to dig near the Okefenokee Swamp wildlife refuge in the U.S. state of Georgia.

EPA Administer Visits Michigan Cities To Announce Lead Line Replacement Grants

Two Michigan cities, Benton Harbor and Grand Rapids, are receiving millions in federal funding to replace lead water lines, MLive reports. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administer Andrew Wheeler visited both cities on Friday to announce the grants. Lead in Michigan water pipes has been under intense scrutiny since the fallout of the Flint Water Crisis in 2015. Now, all water systems in the state must meet new standards for lead in drinking water, which lowered the action level from 15 to 12 parts-per-billion, by 2025. By 2041, all Michigan water suppliers must replace any lead service lines. Other states have received some of the $39.9 billion set aside for lead line replacement by the EPA, including Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.



A new report from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) found that 3.6 million people in East Africa have been affected by floods and landslides since June of this year. The report found that the countries and communities facing the most dramatic effects from this year’s monsoon season are also facing a myriad of other health and humanitarian hazards such as violence and the Covid-19 pandemic. That includes countries like South Sudan, where an estimated 856,000 people have been affected by this year’s flooding and 400,000 have been displaced.


The Bloomberg Agriculture Spot Index, a gauge of nine crop prices, has risen 28 percent due to extreme drought and flooding since late April. Crop prices have skyrocketed, which has only added to the financial distress caused by the Covid-19 crisis over the past several months. Climate scientists have long warned of a disruption to crop production and food security due to increasingly unpredictable weather patterns.


Zeta has become the 27th named system of this year’s Atlantic hurricane season, putting 2020 on track to either tie or break the all-time record for the number of storms named in the Atlantic in one season, CBS News reports. As of Monday afternoon, forecasters say the system won’t be as strong as Hurricane Delta but will make landfall on the Yucatan Peninsula sometime on Monday and will hit the U.S. Gulf Coast sometime Wednesday afternoon.

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