The Stream, July 15, 2021: Brazilian Initiative Will Pay Farmers To Conserve Water


  • A new initiative in Brazil will pay soy farmers to practice sustainable agriculture.
  • Massive amounts of rain fell across Switzerland this week, flooding streets and swelling rivers in major cities like Zurich.
  • Major flooding events are becoming more common in Detroit, Michigan.
  • The United States EPA could set new limits on PFAS chemicals in drinking water.

Hundreds of families have been living on the streets of northern Bihar, India, after floods pushed them out of their homes in late June.

“We have been living on the roads along with others displaced by floods. Initially, when we were displaced in the third week of June, we had adequate food grains with us. But now, we only have dry flattened rice, salt and jaggery. Lack of clean drinking water, lack of boat and toilet have created problems for us.” – Ramesh Sahni, a farmer from the Sugauli block in northern Bihar’s East Champaran district. Down to Earth reports that activists estimate nearly 500 families in northern Bihar, India, have been living in temporary shelters on nearby roads after severe flooding forced them out of their home in late June. Flooding conditions are expected to worsen as the India Meteorological Department predicts more rains in July.


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New Brazilian Program Pays Soy Farmers To Practice Sustainable Agriculture

A new initiative will pay Brazilian soy farmers to practice sustainable agriculture, Reuters reports. The program will reward farmers for successfully conserving water and maintaining biodiversity, among other criteria. The pilot program will include 55 farmers cross 469,000 hectares of land in Maranhão and Mato Grosso.


4 CM (1.57 INCHES)

Massive amounts of rain fell across Switzerland on Tuesday, Reuters reports. The city of Zurich received more than 4 centimeters (1.57 inches) of rain Tuesday night, flooding some streets and halting public transportation systems. City officials did not give any details on injuries or deaths, although the southern canton of Wallis warned people to stay away from rivers as water levels continued to rise.


Major flooding events and other climate-induced catastrophes have become familiar in Detroit, Michigan, according to Grist. At the end of June, Detroit experienced its second 500-year flood in seven years. Other major flooding events occurred in 2016, 2019, and 2020. Detroiters, especially those living in low-income and predominantly Black neighborhoods, have also suffered through significant cold and heat extremes coupled with mass utility shut offs and frequent outages.

  • Why it matters: The Great Lakes region is frequently touted as one of the most climate-resilient places in the U.S., in no small part because of its enviable water resources. But climate change also threatens water quality, availability, and aging water infrastructure by exposing existing responsibilities and creating new ones. In the Great Lakes: Ready or Not? series, members of the Great Lakes News Collaborative explore what it may take to prepare Great Lakes cities like Detroit for the future climatologists say we can expect.


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering drinking water limits for the entire class of PFAS compounds, the Guardian reports. Around 9,000 varieties of PFAS chemicals exist, and many states have already put statewide limits on levels in drinking water. The EPA did not put out a timeline for when new limits could be put in place.

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