The Stream, August 5, 2021: Detroiters Reject Proposal For Income-Based Water Rates


  • Detroit residents reject a proposal to implement income-based water rates.
  • A water utility in the United Kingdom discharged wastewater into a protected river for more than three years.
  • In an attempt to mitigate drought, Australia will build a massive desalination plant in Belmont, New South Wales.
  • A new study highlights the importance of reducing the risks of water pollution, flooding, and drought globally.

Drought is causing a shortage of feed for cattle in parts of Canada and the northern United States.

“It’s not that we haven’t faced drought in the past. The difference this year is that the drought is so widespread.” – Colleen Biggs, a rancher whose family manages 9,000 acres of land and roughly 1,100 cattle in Calgary, Canada. Global News reports that drought is causing a shortage of feed for cattle in southern Alberta, Western Canada, and the northern United States. Last year, Biggs said, her ranch harvested around 2,500 bales from the land. This year, they only plan to harvest 140. To offput the cost of feed, some ranchers are being forced to sell their cattle for a fraction of what the animals usually go for.


Waste-To-Energy Tech Could Slash U.S. Water Sector Carbon Emissions, But Its Potential Remains Underdeveloped

Wastewater treatment plants in the United States are in a race against time.

Like all other industries, the clock is ticking for the sector to cut its carbon pollution, given President Joe Biden’s goal to halve the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. To make their contribution, utilities will have to pull against strong currents. The energy needs of the wastewater sector are projected to climb during this period, due to population growth and tightening water-quality standards.

For systems that can afford the upfront costs of these waste-to-energy technologies, the process is a win-win. By generating its own energy, the facility cuts its electricity bill, or even turns a profit by selling the surplus. And, because the process reduces methane emissions from the sewage and displaces fossil fuel-powered energy, utilities can slash their net emissions in the process.

Despite the economic advantages of these technologies and their potential environmental benefits, U.S. utilities have been slower than those in other parts of the world to capitalize on the energy embedded in wastewater. Decades of energy policy decisions have left the U.S. market, now on the verge of a rapid expansion, playing catch-up on the international stage.

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What’s Up With Water – August 2, 2021 – This week’s episode covers deadly protests over water shortages in Iran, an emergency declaration in Argentina amid dwindling water levels in a major waterway, Saudi Arabia’s suspension of a multi-billion-dollar sale of a stake in the world’s largest desalination plant, and record lows in the second-largest reservoir in the United States.

Detroiters Reject Proposal For Income-Based Water Rates

Detroit residents rejected a ballot proposal that, among other measures, would have linked water rates and public transportation fares to income. The Associated Press reports that opponents to the proposal said it would have increased spending by the city, while supporters hailed it for addressing concerns about social justice and equity.



Figures from a water company in the United Kingdom show 1,050 storm tank spills into the River Kent over three years. According to BBC News, United Utilities, which serves customers in Staveley, said it had no plans to invest in the village’s sewer network, which residents say overflows nearly 10 times a year.


In an attempt to mitigate prolonged drought, Australian officials approved planning for a new desalination in Belmont, New South Wales, Utility Magazine reports. The plant will reportedly produce up to 30 million liters (7.9 million gallons) of water per day.


A new study from the University of Oxford found along with broader measures to increase climate resiliency, urgent steps must be taken to reduce the risks of water pollution, flooding, and drought around the world. Business Green reports that the wide-reaching study also highlighted the social impacts of drought and flooding on women’s education and empowerment. Additionally, the study found that women, children, sick, and elderly people are the most at-risk populations during climate-related emergencies.

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