The Stream, December 1, 2021: New Testing Rule In U.S. Could Impact 90 Percent of Water Systems Relying on Lead Service Lines


  • Uganda is cracking down on illegal filling of wetlands.
  • Great Lakes surface water levels are unusually high after warm summer and fall nights.
  • Namibian officials say farmers lost nearly 100,000 cattle over the last two years due to drought.
  • U.S. officials consider more rigorous methods for lead in drinking water testing.

An Indigenous patrol force protects Guyana’s Amazon Rainforest.

“The Wapichan territory can still boast a high level of biodiversity, very pristine forest, clean fresh water and we want to make sure that is maintained.” – Kid James, program coordinator for the South Rupununi District Council (SRDC). The SRDC plays a large role in protecting the Amazon River and the rainforest that surrounds it in Guyana. The patrol group of Indigenous farmers, teachers, and hunters spend their time working with conservation officers to track deforestation and report their findings to government regulators.


In Case You Missed It:  

Utah’s Water Dilemma – Record-breaking drought along the Wasatch Front forces tough decisions about water supply. 

What’s Up With Water—November 29, 2021 – This week’s episode covers water shortages in South Africa, unprecedented flooding in South Sudan that is superseding vaccine drives, and a battle over renewable energy in New England.

Uganda’s Environmental Agency Cracks Down On Illegal Filling of Wetlands Amid Worsening Flooding

Uganda has lost about 40 percent of its wetlands over the past two decades due to illegal filling for building or agricultural expansion. Until recently, truck drivers who poured the fill were met with little resistance. In September, the new head of Uganda’s National Environment Authority (NEMA) indefinitely suspended consideration of any new projects in wetlands and began prosecuting drivers responsible for filling in an attempt to curb worsening flooding in the coastal country.



Surface temperatures on the Great Lakes are well above average following number of warm summer and fall evenings. On Lake Michigan, levels are reaching up to 50 degrees Fahrenheit, which is “really warm” according to Andrea Vander Woude, a research physical scientist with NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. The effects of climate change are increasingly apparent in the city of Chicago and throughout Illinois, according to the Chicago Tribune, where scientists expect more extreme weather to become more common.

90,000 CATTLE  

Namibia has lost around 90,000 cattle in the last two years because of extreme drought, according to Benedict Libanda, the head of the Environment Investment Fund of Namibia (EIF). Libanda said Namibia, which has battled drought throughout the past seven years, is increasingly vulnerable to climate change. The EIF is advising farmers to explore small scale farming to offset cattle deaths, he said.


U.S. officials are considering adopting a more rigorous sampling method for lead in water, which could reveal higher lead levels in water systems across the country. The new rule, currently under consideration, is intended to test water that sits in the lead service lines themselves, rather than water sitting near the faucet. One study found that the new rule could put as many as 90 percent of water systems with lead services lines above the 10 ppb limit.

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