YOUR GLOBAL RUNDOWN
- Pandemic lockdowns cut soot emissions in South Asia, which could result in higher reservoir levels this year.
- Rising global temperatures are melting glaciers faster, which could cause water scarcity in some parts of the world.
- A fertilizer plant in Louisiana wants to discharge treated wastewater into the Mississippi River.
- The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments around the cleanup of a massive waste dump in Guam.
California warns of broader water restrictions as the state prepares for historic drought.
“If you’re in a different part of the state, you probably need to know that this will one day happen to you.” – Karla Nemeth, director of the California Department of Water Resources. CBS Los Angeles reports that after mandatory water restrictions were ordered in Marin County last week and a drought emergency was declared in Mendocino and Sonoma counties, Gov. Gavin Newsom warned broader drought emergencies could be coming. The declarations and restrictions come as California prepares for what could be a historic drought.
- Why it matters: California is no stranger to dry conditions. Circle of Blue covered drought in the state extensively in 2015, when the state recorded its lowest winter snowfall in history in March. By summer, state officials were trying to figure out how to update water infrastructure to respond to climate extremes—including severe drought and the looming threat of an El Nino event.
IN RECENT WATER NEWS
People devoted to financing water, sanitation and hygiene in developing nations worried for much of 2020. Utility customers stopped paying their water bills. Funders altered their priorities. Heads of state turned their attention to other virus-related emergencies.
Even as the official numbers seemed to point to a potential catastrophe, the actual effects of the pandemic on delivering water and sanitation to people who needed it were not nearly as dire.
Access to ample water supplies could make Michigan a climate refuge. That scenario is attracting considerable attention in the Great Lakes State. But climate change also is disrupting the earth’s meteorological cycles. Which means more fierce Great Lakes region storms and more floods.
The consequences are not evenly distributed. Or, in the words of Jeremy Porter, the head of research and development at First Street Foundation, a Brooklyn-based research group, flooding tells “two different stories.”
In Case You Missed It:
HotSpots H2O: St. Vincent Volcano Still Erupting With No End In Sight – Ash and gas spewing from La Soufriere volcano sparked a humanitarian emergency this month on the Caribbean islands of St. Vincent and the Grenadines as frequent eruptions interfered with the island’s drinking water system and forced thousands of people to leave their homes.
What’s Up With Water – April 26, 2021 – This week’s episode covers a new poll that shows drinking water pollution as a top environmental concern for Americans, a proposal to create a grading system for water in Louisiana and a severe drought that is rekindling fears over groundwater scarcity in California.
Federal Infrastructure Bill Could Benefit Dry Western Communities
Deteriorating infrastructure in the United States’ rural western communities could be saved by a federal infrastructure bill, Deseret News reports. President Biden’s recent infrastructure plan called for broad changes to water infrastructure, as did the counterproposal put forth by Senate Republicans. Seth Arens, a researcher for Western Water Assessment, said western communities could benefit from funding for water storage and water conservation efforts.
- In context: In Broad Strokes, Biden Infrastructure Plan Sketches a Future for Federal Water Spending
TODAY’S TOP WATER STORIES, TOLD IN NUMBERS
The Associated Press reports that 85 percent of Mexico is experiencing drought. Mexico City, the nation’s capital, is in the midst of its worst dry spell in 30 years.
Nestle was ordered to halt unauthorized natural spring water diversions in San Bernardino National Forest by California’s Water Resources Control Board. Reuters reports that after a probe revealed multiple violations and depletion of resources, the board said last Friday that Nestle has 20 days to comply with the request before a final order is issued.
ON THE RADAR
Sudan’s irrigation minister Yasser Abbas said the country may take legal action against Ethiopia if plans to fill the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam move forward without approval from Sudan and Egypt, Al Jazeera reports. Negotiations around filling and operating the controversial dam have stood at a standstill for nearly a decade as Ethiopia and Egypt fear it could put their own Nile water supply at risk.
Jane is a Communications Associate for Circle of Blue. She writes The Stream and has covered domestic and international water issues for Circle of Blue. She is a recent graduate of Grand Valley State University, where she studied Multimedia Journalism and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. During her time at Grand Valley, she was the host of the Community Service Learning Center podcast Be the Change. Currently based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Jane enjoys listening to music, reading and spending time outdoors.