The Stream, December 28, 2021: Groundwater Laws Lack Enforcement in India


  • A new report reveals massive gaps in groundwater management in India.
  • The South Carolina prison system will pay one town nearly $1 million in overdue water and sewage bills.
  • An $8 billion settlement is announced for First Nations that have suffered through drinking water advisories in Canada.
  • Malaysia seeks millions of dollars from the United Nations to implement a climate adaptation plan.

A swimming group is criticizing one U.K. water utility after a recent sewage release in River Windrush.

“Every week we have to check for notifications of sewerage releases before being sure it’s safe to swim.” – Dr. Fiona Palumbo Tolan, an outdoor swimmer in Wolvercote, Oxford. A group of outdoor swimmers are criticizing a recent move by utility Thames Water to release raw sewage into River Windrush. The group said the dump forced them to cancel a scheduled swim in the river on Boxing Day, and many members of the group found it “deeply distressing.” The water utility said the release was necessary to prevent flooding, and told the BBC in an email that it could take up to four days after a sewage release for waters to be safe for swimming.

New Report Reveals Gaps in Groundwater Management in India

A new report from the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) found a sizeable gap between groundwater management regulations and implementation. The report revealed that 77 percent of groundwater systems in 18 Indian states were extracting the resource without necessary no-objection certificates. The CAG report also found that over-extraction of groundwater increased from 2004 to 2017, and units deemed safe for groundwater use have decreased.



The South Carolina prison system will pay the town of Ridgeland $920,000 after a five-year dispute over the Ridgeland Correctional Institution’s water and sewage bill. In 2017, Ridgeland city officials raised water and sewer rates by 400 and 300 percent, respectively. State prison officials only agreed to pay the bill after Ridgeland authorities threatened to shut off the prison’s water, which would have caused chaos and dangerous conditions inside the facility, according Corrections Director Bryan Stirling.


Canada’s Federal Court and Manitoba’s Court of Queen’s Bench announced a $8-billion class-action settlement had been approved for First Nations affected by years-long drinking water advisories. Thousands of people could receive compensation from the settlement, which includes any First Nations member hose land was subject to a water advisory that lasted at least one year between Nov. 8, 1995 and the present.


Malaysia will seek $3 million from the U.N. Green Climate Fund after recent floods displaced nearly 70,000 people. The funds would go towards developing a national plan to adapt to climate change and roughly match the amount Malaysian officials have pledged to spend on flood mitigation efforts, although experts say the plan will cost much more to implement. Secretary-General Zaini Ujang said the country has already set aside 9.8 billion ringgit ($2.33 billion) for food mitigation projects.

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