The Stream, October 30, 2020: Federal Rollbacks of Strip Protections From Arizona Creeks and Washes


  • Changes to the Navigable Water Protections Rule have drastically affected Arizona’s waterways.
  • Millions are without power as Hurricane Zeta tears through the S. South and Southeast.
  • Thousands have contracted diseases because of a lack of water in Zimbabwe.

Architecture in St. Augustine, Florida, one of America’s oldest cities, is being threatened by rising sea levels and constant flooding.

“We locals like to joke and say, ‘You can spill a glass of water and it will flood in St. Augustine.’” – Athena Masson, a meteorologist for the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network. The Guardian reports that climate change is worsening flooding conditions in St. Augustine, Florida. Rising sea levels, along with warmer temperatures and increased air moisture, have led to higher than average levels of rain in the city in August and September of this year. The city has poured tens of millions into attempts to save its historic buildings, which include relics from European colonial, American and Native American history. Officials are doing what they can, but much of the damage in the city is out of their control if global fossil fuel emissions aren’t sharply reduced.


2020 Election: Water a Factor in Senate Race in Michigan

With the U.S. Senate majority at stake in the 2020 election, nearly every race has become a battleground. That’s the case in Michigan, where incumbent Democrat Gary Peters is being challenged by Republican John James.

While Covid and the economy dominate debates, water is also a defining issue for a state surrounded by the Great Lakes and beset by aging infrastructure and chemical contamination of its lakes, streams, and groundwater.

In Case You Missed It:

Tajikistan, “House of Water,” Where Half of the Population Lacks Access to Water – Many Tajik residents lack proper access to clean water. They travel great lengths – even crossing borders each day – to collect the water they need for cooking and cleaning.

The Trump Administration’s Environmental Rollbacks Have Left Arizona Waterways Unprotected

Several federal environmental rollbacks over the last three and half years have considerably affected Arizona’s water, air and wildlife, AZ Central reports. New changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Rule specifically have stripped federal protections from many creeks and washes throughout Arizona and other Western states. This has left them vulnerable to pollution from mining companies and developers, who no longer need federal permission to operate. Arizona’s Department of Environmental Quality has considered proposing new clean-water regulations to be administered by the state, but environmentalists worry they won’t be strong enough to fix the problem.

In context: What Has the Trump Administration Meant for Water?



As of Thursday afternoon, over 2.5 million customers were out of power throughout the South and Southeast United States after Hurricane Zeta made landfall in Louisiana as a Category two storm Wednesday afternoon, The Washington Post reports. Three people were confirmed to be dead from Virginia, Georgia and Louisiana. Rain and winds are expected to continue through Thursday evening before the storm makes its way back into the Atlantic. If any other storms form in the Atlantic this year, which experts say is likely to happen, they would tie or break a 2005 record for one season.

2000+ CASES

Severe water shortages in Zimbabwe have led to a record number of diarrhea cases since June, mostly among children under five, The Guardian reports. Widespread drought in 2019 has left residents of Zimbabwe drinking any water they can find, including sewage water. This is especially true in Zimbabwe’s second largest city, Bulawayo, where over 2,000 cases of diarrhea and 13 deaths have been recorded. As the Covid-19 pandemic continue, many residents worry about the virus reaching them. Local authorities are struggling to contain outbreaks of diarrhea and the coronavirus simultaneously, especially without clean water for residents to properly sanitize.

In context: Five Things You Need to Know About WASH and Covid-19


Recommendations from the Circle of Blue team to start off your weekend.

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