YOUR GLOBAL RUNDOWN
- Greenland has lost 100 billion tons of ice this year.
- Heavy rain inundates Omaha, Nebraska and surrounding areas.
- Michigan Gretchen Whitmer announces $2 million in federal funding for water infrastructure projects.
- Heavy rains flood hundreds of villages across the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.
Rivers in the country of Wales are being polluted with raw sewage and other contaminants, despite government clean-up efforts.
“It’s companies, it’s people, it’s businesses who just think it’s an easy way to get rid of sewage, wash-off from poultry farms, everything.” – Angela Jones, who has been monitoring the River Wye in Wales for 35 years. Swimmers are being warned of sewage and pollution in some Wales’ rivers, BBC reports. Although the Welsh government has spent millions on river clean up, water utility Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water’s own figures found that raw sewage was dumped into rivers more than 100,000 times in 2020. The water company has been fined thousands of pounds over the years for discharging raw sewage, as well as killing fish and spilling chemicals.
IN RECENT WATER NEWS
Growing up in Sandia Pueblo, on the banks of the Río Grande in New Mexico, Julia Bernal heard tales about the world of her ancestors. Her father recounted a moment from his youth when he almost biked into the river, not realizing the water had stretched so far beyond its banks.
But standing at that same spot with her father earlier this year, the river of his youth was barely imaginable to Bernal. The combined effects of the Cochiti Dam upstream and climate change have cut the river’s flow to a fraction of what it once was, and the overflowing banks from her father’s childhood are bone dry.
The director of Pueblo Action Alliance, an activist group, Bernal is acutely aware that in arid areas like her home in the American Southwest, the fight for Indigenous rights starts with one crucial resource: water.
In Case You Missed It:
HotSpots H2O: Argentina’s Paraná River Drops to 77-Year Low, Resulting in Economic Loss and Wildfires – Stretching over 3,000 miles, the Paraná River supports rainforest diversity, Indigenous ancestral homes, and Argentina’s economy. But today the river’s water level is the lowest since 1944, the result of a prolonged drought upriver, in southern Brazil.
What’s Up With Water — August 9, 2021 — This week’s episode covers new research on populated flood zones around the globe, Canada’s pledge to provide clean water to Indigenous peoples and the consequences of drought in the western United States.
Heavy Rain In Omaha Causes Flooding, Power Outages
Heavy rains caused streets to flood in Omaha, Nebraska, over the weekend. The heaviest rain, nearly six inches, fell about 75 miles west of Omaha near David City. According to reporting from the Lincoln Journal Star, no injuries were reported, but the Omaha Public Power District said around 18,000 customers lost power amid the storms.
TODAY’S TOP WATER STORIES, TOLD IN NUMBERS
100 BILLION TONS OF ICE
Scientists say enough ice melted in Greenland in July to cover the entire state of Florida in two inches of water, The Hill reports. The island has lost a total of 100 billion tons of ice this year, threatening to disrupt much of the world’s freshwater ice supply.
Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced that $2 million in federal grants will be put towards clean and safe tap water across 15 cities, villages and townships, WLNS reports. The money, Whitmer said, will be put towards infrastructure projects like replacing lead service lines, upgrading wastewater and stormwater management systems, and removing PFAS chemicals from groundwater.
- Why it matters: Extreme rain events, that often overwhelm aging drainage systems, are becoming heavier and more frequent in wetter areas like Detroit. Officials attributed damage from a major flooding event at the end of June to power outages in the city’s pumping system. But even after the system regained power, they had nowhere to put the new water. In a press conference that same week, Gov. Whitmer urged federal and state lawmakers to fund resilient infrastructure in the state and to take action to combat climate change.
ON THE RADAR
Heavy rains flooded hundreds of villages throughout the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, reports the Hindustan Times. The Bundelkhand region was hit the hardest, where more than 500 houses along riverbanks are inundated.
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.