YOUR GLOBAL RUNDOWN
- Nestle sells several North American water brands for more than $4 billion.
- In 2020, 69 dams were removed in the United States.
- The American Society of Civil Engineers gives Ohio’s drinking water, stormwater and inland waterways a near-failing grade.
- A tropical storm is heading towards Mozambique’s battered coastline.
South Africa plans to revive a safe drinking water monitoring program.
“This is what the suspension of the Blue and Green Drop report shows us. The department is a player in that they are responsible for the delivery of bulk water. Still, they are also the shareholder in bulk water providers like Rand Water and Umgeni Water, while at the same time being the referee over the performance of municipalities that control the majority of the wastewater treatment plants.” – Anthony Turton, a professor at the Centre for Environmental Management at the University of the Free State. Mail & Guardian reports that South Africa will revive its Blue and Green Drop certification program, which was disbanded in 2014. The program measures the most important indicators for sustainable, safe water and wastewater service delivery. The country’s department of water and sanitation released a master plan in 2019 that showed 44 percent of South Africa’s 962 water treatment plants are in poor or critical condition, while 11 percent are entirely dysfunctional.
IN RECENT WATER NEWS
Low-income neighborhoods and communities of color bear the burden of pollution and endure inadequate public services like water and sewer. These are environmental injustices, and President Joe Biden came into office pledging to correct them.
Circle of Blue reporter Brett Walton spoke with two veterans of the U.S. environmental justice movement — Mustafa Santiago Ali, the vice president of environmental justice, climate, and community revitalization at the National Wildlife Federation, and Monica Lewis-Patrick, the president and CEO of We the People of Detroit, a group looking to build a more just and democratic city — about the opportunities and challenges facing the Biden administration as it focuses on marginalized communities.
In Case You Missed It:
Boil-Water Advisory in Effect, Low Water Pressure Impacts Austin Hospitals – After days without power, millions in Texas are now facing a water crisis.
Texas Winter Storm Cripples Power, Water Systems – Electric outages result in cuts to wte service across the state.
Ohio Water Infrastructure Assessment
Out of 16 categories, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave Ohio’s drinking water, hazardous waste, stormwater and inland waterways near-failing grades. Cleveland.com reports that this was Ohio’s first infrastructure report card in 12 years. According to Craig Hebebrand, the ASCE Ohio Council of Local Sections president, proper funding is an important part of improving grades. Overall, the ASCE gave Ohio a C+ grade.
TODAY’S TOP WATER STORIES, TOLD IN NUMBERS
Last year, 69 dams were removed in the United States, according to the conservation group American Rivers, which keeps an extensive database on the topic. Dam removals continued despite the pandemic, although the number of projects completed in 2020 was the lowest since 2015. A total of 1,797 dams have been torn down in the country since 1912, with 85 percent of the removals occurring in the last three decades.
Nestle announced Wednesday it would sell several North American water brands for $4.3 billion, Bloomberg reports. The food giant sold many of their bottled water brands, including Pure Life, Poland Spring, and Deer Park to the private-equity firm One Rock Capital Partners and billionaire investor Dean Metropoulos. Before the pandemic, bottled water was the source of almost a tenth of Nestle’s revenue. The sale is one of many moves made by Nestle chief executive officer Mark Schneider to revamp the corporation’s portfolio since he took over in 2017.
ON THE RADAR
Reuters reports that tropical storm Guambe is likely to strengthen into a cyclone and hit an area of Mozambique hit by cyclone Eloise less than a month ago. The storm will be the third to make landfall on Mozambique’s coast in three months, a pattern likely attributed to climate change.
Jane is a Communications Associate for Circle of Blue. She writes The Stream and has covered domestic and international water issues for Circle of Blue. She is a recent graduate of Grand Valley State University, where she studied Multimedia Journalism and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. During her time at Grand Valley, she was the host of the Community Service Learning Center podcast Be the Change. Currently based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Jane enjoys listening to music, reading and spending time outdoors.