YOUR GLOBAL RUNDOWN
- Australia’s government should have conducted a more thorough analysis of the impacts of water withdrawals for the controversial Carmichael coal mine, a court rules.
- Study shows fish farms in British Columbia can transmit a virus to wild salmon.
- An outburst of mucus-like marine algae is blanketing Turkey’s Sea of Marmara
- The African Development Bank approves a new water policy that will shape the bank’s lending.
A water utility in Mississippi is taking over small systems and improving their operations.
“It’s like night and day. When Black Bayou took over, the water come on, the water keep going.” — George Reynolds, who is 60 years old and lives in an unincorporated community in the Mississippi Delta. Black Bayou Water Association is a water utility that has been acquiring small systems in Mississippi and improving their operations. Gulf States Newsroom reports that Black Bayou took over Reynolds’ former water provider in 2017. The utility was founded in 1988 with 350 customers and now has about 2,700. Black Bayou estimates that water bills are slightly higher — about $20 a month more expensive than comparable neighboring systems — but service is better.
IN RECENT WATER NEWS
In Case You Missed It:
50 Years and Billions Spent: Universal Access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Draws Closer to Epic Goal
After months of research and interviews with dozens of authorities on five continents, WASH Within Reach unravels the complexity of a global sector that now spends over $20 billion a year and is on its way to achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: clean water, safe sanitation, and hygiene for everyone on Earth by 2030.
‘Sea Snot’ Clogs Turkey’s Sea of Marmara Shores
An outburst of marine algae called phytoplankton is blanketing the Sea of Marmara, the Washington Post reports. The phytoplankton are covering Turkey’s shorelines in thick, mucus-like discharges that have depleted the nearshore waters of oxygen and killed thousands of fish. Marmara connects the Black Sea to the Aegean Sea. Though the outbreaks have occurred periodically throughout history, scientists say their size and frequency in recent years bear the fingerprints of environmental changes that are conducive to algal growth. The buildup of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere is warming the water as well as the air. And runoff of farm nutrients and untreated wastewater act as growth hormones.
- Why It Matters: Harmful algal blooms are increasing in number and severity across the globe. From China’s Lake Taihu to California’s Clear Lake, the algae are causing waves of problems, from fish die-offs and foul smelling waters to complications at drinking water treatment facilities.
TODAY’S TOP WATER STORIES, TOLD IN NUMBERS
12.5 Billion Liters
Amount of water that mining group Bravus intended to withdraw annually from a river in Queensland for the controversial Carmichael coal mine. A federal court decision called into question whether that water will be available. The Brisbane Times reports that the court ruled that the national government should have done a more thorough analysis of the impacts of the planned water withdrawals. The conservation group that brought the lawsuit called it a victory. But Bravus said that the ruling will not affect the mine’s development, saying it had acquired water from another source for operations.
ON THE RADAR
The African Development Bank approved a new water policy that will shape the bank’s lending programs. The policy focuses on four principles, the first being that water security at the household, national, and regional levels is fundamental for “inclusive growth.” The policy also highlights the importance of transboundary waters, stating that the bank will use them to leverage regional cooperation and integration.
Fish farms in British Columbia are capable of transmitting a virus to wild Chinook salmon, according to a new study. The Seattle Times reports that though the study proves transmission, further work is needed to assess whether the wild salmon develop heart and skeletal muscle impairments from piscine orthoreovirus, or PRV.
Brett writes about agriculture, energy, infrastructure, and the politics and economics of water in the United States. He also writes the Federal Water Tap, Circle of Blue’s weekly digest of U.S. government water news. He is the winner of two Society of Environmental Journalists reporting awards, one of the top honors in American environmental journalism: first place for explanatory reporting for a series on septic system pollution in the United States(2016) and third place for beat reporting in a small market (2014). He received the Sierra Club’s Distinguished Service Award in 2018. Brett lives in Seattle, where he hikes the mountains and bakes pies. Contact Brett Walton