YOUR GLOBAL RUNDOWN
- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency fines Hawaii for operating seven large-capacity cesspools.
- Most of Jackson, Mississippi’s water supply has been restored after winter storms crippled the city’s water treatment facilities.
- The largest supply reservoir for South Africa’s Nelson Mandela Bay reaches record-low levels.
- A recent investigation finds Louisiana’s groundwater is depleting faster than anywhere else in the country.
Increased flood risk is threatening the capabilities of hospitals in Brazil.
“If a hospital is to be built in a place which is prone to disasters, we must ask ourselves what can we change in its engineering. You’d be surprised how small changes can make a project resilient.” – Mariana Silva, infrastructure and sustainable finance specialist at the Inter-American Development Bank. Business Day reports that increased flood risk due to climate change is creating additional burdens on hospitals in Brazil amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. According to a 2020 report from the United Nations, Brazil is the most flood-prone country in Latin America. Recent research has found that basic healthcare units in metropolitan São Paulo often lie in or around flood zones. Experts say infrastructure changes, like building floodwalls and relocating ventilation systems to higher ground could mitigate the issue.
IN RECENT WATER NEWS
Ohio, Michigan and Ontario have given themselves until 2025 to reduce phosphorus into Lake Erie by 40 percent compared to 2008 levels — a deadline they collectively are not on track to achieve despite throwing billions of dollars at the problem.
As the world looks to the Great Lakes region as a potential climate change refuge, where a hospitable climate and abundant water could attract waves of newcomers in future decades, Great Lakes advocates say its increasingly imperative to keep algae at bay. And climate change itself could worsen the blooms, making action today even more urgent.
Almost everyone acknowledges fixing the problem will require many more farmers to implement practices that reduce runoff. But they split on a key question: Will enough farmers change their ways without a government mandate to do so?
In Case You Missed It:
The Story of Water in Texas – The story of water in Texas is the state’s devout allegiance to the principle that mankind has dominion over nature.
HotSpots H2O: Canadian Government Misses Target to End Water Insecurity for First Nations Communities – Many First Nations in Canada continue to live without clean water six years after the government began actively addressing the issue, according to a report published by the Auditor General of Canada late last month.
Running Water Restored In Most Parts of Mississippi Capital
The Associated Press reports that after three weeks, running water has been restored in most parts of Jackson, Mississippi. Devastating winter storms in late February froze parts of Jackson’s water treatment facilities, leaving a majority of the city’s 160,000 residents without running water. The entire city remained under a boil-water notice as of Monday, but public works director Charles William said the notice could be lifted in the next several days if water pressure is consistent.
TODAY’S TOP WATER STORIES, TOLD IN NUMBERS
Kouga Dam, Nelson Mandela Bay’s largest supply reservoir, dropped to a historic low of six percent this week, The Daily Maverick reports. No significant rainfall is expected in the next couple months, according to long-term forecasts. Large parts of South African cities like Gqeberha and Kariega have experienced extensive water outages in the past two weeks. Nelson Mandela Bay and Kouga municipalities have water restrictions in place, and a supply pipeline from the Orange River is expected to be operating by September.
The Hawaii Department of Land and National Resources has been fined almost $222,000 for operating seven large-capacity cesspools, the Associated Press reports. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency previously closed 74 other cesspools, which release untreated sewage into the ground and can contaminate groundwater and waterways. The agency has collected over $400,000 in fines from the department.
ON THE RADAR
Groundwater that supplies drinking water for nearly two-thirds of residents in Louisiana is depleting faster than anywhere else in the country. An investigation by New Orleans Public Radio and partner station WRKF found that the problem stems from decades of overuse, unregulated pumping by industries and agriculture, and little oversight or action from legislative committees. Experts say the state could face a water crisis similar to those seen in the western United States if action is not taken.
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.