YOUR GLOBAL RUNDOWN
- A new study found oxygen levels in global lakes are declining, threatening the environment and drinking water supplies.
- Transportation of goods on Brazil’s Tiete-Parana waterway will be harmed by prolonged drought.
- A mining group in Chile will pay over $93 million in reparations for environmental violations on the Punta Negra salt flat.
- Michigan rejects Canadian claims that the dispute over the Line 5 oil pipeline is a cross-border treaty issue.
Water supplies in remote Indigenous Australian communities are contaminated with uranium and E. coli.
“People go into town to buy cartons of water just to get through the day, but some people don’t have transport so they’ve got no choice to drink the tap water.” – Jermaine Muller, a resident in the remote town of Yakanarra. ABC reports that water supplies in 24 remote Indigenous communities in Western Australia are contaminated with uranium and E. coli. The auditor-general’s report comes after an audit in 2015 that found 80 percent of communities failed to meet Australian drinking water standards. Although progress has been made since the 2015 report, Auditor-General Caroline Spencer found discrepancies in the quality and maintenance of water supplies across communities housing around 12,000 people.
IN RECENT WATER NEWS
In Case You Missed It:
Amid Dire Colorado River Outlook, States Plan to Tap Their Lake Mead Savings Accounts – This year and next, Arizona and California intend to draw on water they banked in the big reservoir, even as water levels drop.
HotSpots H2O: When War Destroys Water Systems, Children Suffer the Most – When water and sanitation networks are destroyed during armed conflict, children are harmed the most, according to a UN agency report.
River Transports To Be Impacted By Prolonged Drought In Brazil
Brazilian Infrastructure Minister Tarcisio de Freitas said Wednesday that river navigation will be harmed by the country’s worst water crisis in almost a century. Reuters reports that the transportation of goods like soybeans, coffee, and sugar will become more expensive. Freitas said measures to conserve water and direct it to power generation will disrupt shipping routes on the Tiete-Parana waterway, which lies in the heart of Brazil’s farm country and has suffered the most from the prolonged drought.
TODAY’S TOP WATER STORIES, TOLD IN NUMBERS
Mining group BHP will spend up to $93 million in environmental repairs and reparations after overdrawing water from Chile’s Punta Negra salt flat. Reuters reports the payment comes as part of a lawsuit brought last year by the Chilean state. The lawsuit claimed BHP’s Escondida copper mine was responsible for severe decline of the salt flat’s aquifer that caused the partial or total loss of wetlands and vegetation.
A new study published in the journal Nature found that climate change is causing oxygen levels in lakes around the world to fall, suffocating wildlife and threatening drinking water supplies. The study analyzed dissolved oxygen and temperature profiles for 393 lakes between 1941 and 2017. Over the last 40 years, the study found levels declined between three and nine times faster than in previous years, due to warming waters that cannot hold as much oxygen.
ON THE RADAR
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has refuted a claim from Canada’s federal government and oil pipeline company Enbridge that the dispute over the Line 5 pipeline is a cross-border treaty issue. CBC reports that Canada suggested that the courts should set aside a case to shut down the pipeline so that the U.S. and Canada could negotiate a settlement under a 1977 treaty that governs pipelines across the border. Nessel refused Canada’s offer, saying the terms were “without legal basis.”
- Why it matters: Last November, for the first time in the history of Line 5, Michigan’s administration officially acknowledged nearly 200-year-old Indigenous Chippewa and Ottawa treaty rights as one of the reasons to shut down the pipeline project and protect Great Lakes ecology and fisheries. Historically, Michigan has not included Indigenous communities in discussions on state environmental policy issues. Including the treaty in the easement revocation could affect other policy areas like mining.
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.