YOUR GLOBAL RUNDOWN
- Lawyers for former Michigan Rick Snyder want all Flint residents to be disqualified from being jurors on the case.
- The government in Bihar, India says it will provide irrigation water to all agricultural land in the state.
- A Michigan judge orders Detroit to pay $1 million to the city of Highland Park to resolve a dispute over water costs.
- To expand the city, officials in Greeley, Colorado, want to tap into an underground water supply.
The UK’s biggest water utility pleads guilty to polluting a stream and killing more than 1,000 fish.
“Thames Water’s failure to respond to warning alarms ultimately led to significant harm on water quality.” – Jackie Outhwaite, a land and water officer for the Environment Agency (EA). The BBC reports that the UK’s largest water company, Thames Water, pleaded guilty to polluting the Fawley Court Ditch at Henley-On-Thames with sewage. The incident in 2016 killed over 1,000 fish. The company was fined $2.77 million (£2.3m) after the EA found high levels of ammonia in the stream. The EA said fish from 13 species died and the stream took a year to recover.
IN RECENT WATER NEWS
The coal-fired power plant that sat on Navajo Nation land in the northeastern corner of Arizona did not just generate electricity. It also drew water from the Colorado River, an essential input for cooling the plant’s machinery.
What happens to that water now that the plant is being decommissioned? Who gets to decide how it is used? In a drying region in which every drop of water is accounted for and parceled out, the stakes are high and the legal claims are unresolved.
The three players are the Navajo Nation, state of Arizona, and the federal government. The ground rules are established in decades-old interstate compacts and more recent federal laws. On the horizon are unsettled water rights claims and new infrastructure. A pipeline to deliver water to the Navajo Nation in Arizona is under construction today — but due to legal complexities there is no certainty that water will immediately flow through the pipes once the system is completed.
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HotSpots H2O: Florida-Georgia Water Dispute Returns to Supreme Court – A long-running dispute between Florida and Georgia over water resources reached the U.S. Supreme Court last week.
Bihar Government To Provide Irrigation Water for All Agricultural Land Over The Next Five Years
The government of the Indian state of Bihar said it will provide irrigation water to all agricultural land in the state over the next five years. Business Standard reports that water will be extracted from the Ganga River during monsoon season and distributed to farms via a 148 km (92 mi) pipeline.
TODAY’S TOP WATER STORIES, TOLD IN NUMBERS
A Michigan county judge ordered Detroit to pay the city of Highland Park $1 million to resolve a dispute over water costs. Fox2 Detroit reports that the court battle dates back to 2014. In 2015, the court ordered a $19 million judgement against Highland Park, but Highland Park filed a counterclaim saying it had already paid more than enough to Detroit under a 25-year-old contract. The Great Lakes Water Authority, the regional water provider, said it believes the judgement is incorrect and will pursue a reversal in court.
A project to develop an underground water supply to expand the city of Greeley, Colorado could cost up to $318 million, KUNC reports. Officials say the town may need 15 to 20 years to complete the project, but the first six miles of a pipeline to carry water could begin construction next year. Some residents have expressed concerns over the quality of water from the aquifer, which has been found to contain levels of uranium hovering near the state drinking water limit.
ON THE RADAR
Lawyers for former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder say that all Flint residents should be disqualified from serving on the jury in his criminal case because they would all be victims of Snyder’s alleged crimes. The Associated Press reports that Synder’s legal team also argues that all judges who live in Flint should be recused from the case because they could get a share of a $641 million settlement from a separate civil lawsuit. Snyder has been charged with two misdemeanor counts of willful neglect of duty for his alleged involvement in the Flint water crisis.
Jane writes The Stream and covers 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.