The Stream, December 29, 2021: Arizona Farms Are Failing To Produce Crops During Drought


  • Tourism is stressing water supplies along South Africa’s
  • Two burst dams in Brazil’s Bahia state cause intense flooding.
  • Indigenous tribes in the United States await compensation from water rights settlements.
  • Arizona farmers struggle to grow crops amid ongoing drought.

Indigenous communities in India are disproportionately affected by flooding and other climate disasters.

“On our return after floods, we often find that the very appearance of our village has changed. Patches of riverbanks or mid-river islets on which our homes exist… may just get dragged away by the withdrawing river.” – Hemram Pegu, a member of the indigenous Mising tribe in northeast India. Indigenous communities around the world, like the Mising tribe, suffer the most from climate change. Living along India’s Brahmaputra River, Pegu told Reuters he’s been forced to rebuild his home at least eight times over the past decade due to heavy rain and flooding. After Mising families return after flooding events, they are often unable to reclaim their land because they lack title deeds to prove ownership. Available land for farming is also becoming scarce as riverbanks erode. Unpredictable weather has uprooted entire communities, forcing them to move or endure economic hardship.

Tourism Is Stressing South African Water Supplies

Tourism is stressing already-scarce water supplies in South Africa’s Ugu district, Ugu South Coast Tourism (USCT) said. After the Ugu District Municipality announced that high demand and usage of water over the holiday weekend was causing low water pressure and water outages in some areas, some residents criticized officials for failing to manage water supplies. USCT CEO Phelisa Mangcu said the municipality has established a committee to oversee water scarcity and other challenges affecting the tourism industry.



A pair of dams in Brazil’s Bahia state burst early Christmas morning, killing 20 people as of Monday, according to state officials. Bahia Governor Rui Costa declared the floods the worst disaster in state history, and said on Twitter that 72 municipalities were in a state of emergency. The disaster comes only two years after a mining dam collapsed in neighboring Minas Gerais state and killed around 270 people. Officials are reportedly monitoring 10 other dams for signs of potential collapse. 


U.S. Indigenous tribes involved in 31 water rights settlements are waiting to see how $2.5 billion set aside in the federal infrastructure bill will be allocated. The funding is part of $11 billion allotted for infrastructure on Native American reservations.


Farmers in Arizona are struggling to grow crops as drought deepens in the American West. Arizona receives water from multiple different sources, including the Colorado River, the Gila River watershed, and the Central Arizona Project. As supplies dwindle, some farmers are making voluntary cuts to conserve water.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We’ll be on break for the rest of this week. The Stream will be back to covering daily water news on January 5. If you rely on our nonprofit journalism, I hope you’ll consider donating to our end-of-year NewsMatch campaign. We’re just over $5,000 away from our goal of $28,000, which we hope to meet by Friday at midnight. Happy New Year!

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