The Stream, February 11, 2021: Congresswomen Call For $1.5 Billion In Water Debt Relief


  • Congresswomen from Michigan reintroduce legislation to end water shutoffs during the pandemic.
  • San Diego officials anticipate a massive budget gap for fixing the city’s stormwater problems.
  • New research compiles a century’s worth of water quality data for the Mississippi
  • China continues efforts to build a powerful hydropower dam in Tibet.

Industries based in Nepal are suffering as climate change lessens annual snowfall.

“Most of the tourists come to Nepal to see snow-filled mountains, but if these mountains turn into black hills, that will ultimately affect tourism.” – Dhananjay Regmi, CEO of Nepal’s tourism board. Al Jazeera reports that as climate change worsens, Nepal’s economy continues to suffer. Industries based in the country’s mountains are hurting financially due to a lack of heavy snowfall in recent years, which scientists have linked to rising temperatures. One hotel owner told Al Jazeera that the changing climate, along with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, has led to an 80-percent drop in revenue compared to last year. Other industries, like farming, are struggling too. One farmer said he doesn’t have enough water for his crops and that traditional crops that thrive in colder temperatures are harder to grow.


In Case You Missed It:

High Demand for New Michigan Water Infrastructure Grants – Funding requests are more than three times larger than available funds.

HotSpots H2O: Amid Water Crisis, Recent Storms Provide Some Relief to Istanbul – Recent storms provided relief to drought-stricken Istanbul and surrounding areas, leaving parched reservoirs in better shape than in mid-January, when water levels fell dangerously low.

Stormwater Proves To Be San Diego’s Biggest Infrastructure Problem

The city of San Diego anticipates a massive budget gap for infrastructure in the next five years. Voice of San Diego reports that the city needs about $5.7 billion for street lights, roads, bridges, and other infrastructure. The projected funding gap is $2.3 billion, and half of that is attributed to stormwater projects. The city’s stormwater department estimates an average gap between needed funding and available funding of about $225 million a year though 2040. Neighborhoods that have been historically left out of the city’s infrastructure investments, like the Chollas Creek watershed, most acutely feel the city’s budget shortfall.


$1.5 BILLION  

Michigan Congresswomen Rashida Tlaib and Debbie Dingell have reintroduced legislation that would end water shutoffs during the coronavirus pandemics. WDET reports that the bill calls for $1.5 billion in federal funding for the effort that would provide grants to low-income households to help pay water bills. The bill is co-sponsored by 73 members of the House of Representatives and has been endorsed by advocacy groups.

In context: Millions of Americans Are In Water Debt


New research published in Ambio compiled 100 years of water quality data to detect trends in the lower Mississippi River. The research found that after environmental policies like the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act and the Toxic Substances Control Act were put into place, levels of several pollutants in the river decreased. The study concludes that new problems, like rising alkalinity and nitrate concentrations, need to be monitored and minimized.


China has redoubled its efforts on hydropower projects in Tibet amid criticism from Tibetan rights groups and environmentalists, Al Jazeera reports. A proposed 60-gigawatt mega-dam on the Yarlung Tsangpo river in the Tibetan Autonomous Region is likely to have political and environmental consequences, experts say. In Tibet, the river is a revered cultural symbol and many have voiced concern over China’s disregard for Tibetan culture.  Additionally, the dam is set to be built just 18 miles (30 kilometers) from the Indian border and has ignited a dispute between India and China. International experts and lawmakers have tried to intervene and pressure the two sides into resource-sharing, which China has resisted.

In context: HotSpots H2O: Tensions Rise as India, China Clash Over Proposed Chinese Dam

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