The Stream, November 4, 2021: Colombia’s Plan To Protect Land Will Improve Water Security, Experts Say


  • A federal agency in the United States decides against allowing a controlled flood in the Grand Canyon, which would have helped rebuild beaches and sandbars amid ongoing drought.
  • An Irish environmental watchdog releases a scathing report, finding that the country’s major water utility isn’t doing anything to stop sewage pollution in rivers and lakes.
  • Colombia announces plans to declare 30 percent of its land as protected territory by next year.
  • A program to test for lead in public school water begins in the state of Georgia.

Australia’s science agency will conduct an independent review of water management strategies in New South Wales’ far north coast region.

“This will be really important foundational work that could be relevant to other parts of NSW.” – NSW Water Minister Melinda Pavey. ABC News reports that Australia’s national science agency announced its plans to provide independent insight into the New South Wales far north coast’s water strategy. The Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) is set to review the region’s water security strategy, flood mitigation plans, and river health before the final report is due within the next year.


2021 Election Recap: New York Voters Approve Clean Water Constitutional Amendment

A movement to enshrine individual rights to clean air and water in state constitutions received a boost yesterday.

By a large majority, New York voters approved the addition of an environmental rights amendment to their state constitution.

Nearly 61 percent of voters endorsed the inclusion of new language in the state Bill of Rights. That foundational document will now protect the right to “clean air and water, and a healthful environment.”

High-profile water-related issues were also on the ballot in Maine, Boise, and Virginia Beach.

In Case You Missed It:

Climate Change Grips Trout Streams Across the Nation: How Anglers Are Responding – Across the country, anglers have watched as droughts, floods, and high temperatures batter the rivers they depend on. Now, they’re calling for swift action. 

HotSpots H2O: The Philippines’ Largest Wetland Faces Prospect of Drilling – The newly autonomous Bangsamoro government has invited investors to pursue drilling projects in a marsh critical for both Indigenous peoples and wildlife.

Federal Government Decides Against Controlled Flood in Grand Canyon

Citing low levels on Lake Powell and low hydropower generation, the Associated Press that the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation decided against releasing water into the Grand Canyon. The controlled flood was proposed as a way to rebuild beaches for campers and sandbars for fish that have been dried up due to drought. Officials said that releasing water into the national park would have lowered water levels in Lake Powell, which already sits at record lows. Additionally, the move could have decreased hydropower generation and raised the risk of non-native fish moving below the dam.



A new report from the Environmental Protection Agency, an Irish environmental watchdog, found that a total of 34 towns and villages throughout Ireland release raw sewage into the environment every day. According to The Irish Times, the report said that although it could take up to two decades to stop sewage from being dumped into rivers, lakes, and seas, the nation’s water utility Irish Water has no plan to stop the pollution.


At COP26 this week, Colombian officials announced plans to declare 30 percent of the country as protected land by 2022 – eight years earlier than their original goal of 2030. EuroNews reports that the move is being heralded as a major success from biodiversity advocates. Climate change is threatening freshwater systems in Colombia, where cloud forests—a rain forest categorized by frequent low-level cloud cover—provide 70 percent of the country’s drinking water supply. “Keeping those forests standing sequesters carbon at the same time as guaranteeing supplies of drinking water and hydropower,” said Tom Stevens, Senior Program Manager for Nature Based Solutions and Climate Finance at Fauna & Flora International.


A program to test for lead in water at public schools in Georgia has begun, according to WABE. Last month, the U.S. Center For Disease Control and Prevention changed their definition of lead poisoning in young children, which is expected to more than double the number of kids with high levels of lead in their blood. Georgia’s guidelines for lead levels in blood, however, are even higher than previous standards from the CDC.

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