YOUR GLOBAL RUNDOWN
- An effort to save a threatened salmon species in California could also revive a way of life for local Native American tribes.
- A major hydroelectric dam on the Paraná River is threatening electricity supplies in Brazil and Paraguay.
- Egypt will fund nearly 20 desalination plants in the next five years as part of an effort to diversify its water sources.
- La Niña conditions could worsen drought across the American southwest.
Chemical companies in the United States have skillfully avoided blame for PFAS contamination for years while residents living near the hazardous plants have suffered.
“Twenty-three years in Special Forces and the enemy couldn’t kill me. But my water very well may.” – Mike Watters, an Army veteran who lives near a chemical company factory in North Carolina. Chemical companies like Chemours, DuPont and 3M have avoided responsibility for PFAS contamination for years. An investigation from The New York Times finds that the companies have deployed several tactics, from complex corporate transactions that shield them from legal liability to substituting the chemicals themselves with others that could be just as dangerous. In Fayetteville, North Carolina, potentially unsafe levels of PFAS chemicals have been consistently found around a chemical plant owned by Chemours. The company claims the pollution existed there before it owned Fayetteville Works, the factory, but this year alone environmental officials in North Carolina have penalized the company twice for exceeding its limits on how many chemicals the factory is emitting. Residents who live in the area have blamed several health issues, including cancer and birth defects, on their contaminated water supply.
IN RECENT WATER NEWS
In Case You Missed It:
In Benton Harbor, Residents’ Complaints of Lead-Tainted Water Carry Echoes – Water samples from Benton Harbor homes since 2018 consistently revealed elevated levels of lead, a potent neurotoxin that damages the brain and nervous system and is particularly dangerous to young children.
HotSpots H2O: As Famine Looms in East Africa, Humanitarian Groups Call for Urgent Action – Drought has left millions in the region facing food insecurity – and conditions are expected to get worse.
Reviving Salmon Species In California Restores Way of Life For Hoopa Valley Tribe
An effort by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to save a threatened species of salmon could also preserve a way of life for local Native American tribes. Reuters reports that the state agency’s effort to save the Chinook salmon comes at a time when river waters are warming due to climate change and aging dams are stopping the fish from their normal migration paths. For those living on the Hoopa Valley Reservation, salmon fishing has been a way of surviving for centuries. Steps to restore the Trinity River, members of the tribe say, could help revive the salmon that they depend on.
TODAY’S TOP WATER STORIES, TOLD IN NUMBERS
The Itaipu hydroelectric dam between Paraguay and Brazil recorded its lowest output since the plant began operating in 2005, according to Reuters. Typically, the dam provides around 10 percent of Brazil’s energy and a whopping 86 percent of energy used in Paraguay. Severe drought along the Parana River, where the Itaipu dam sits, have caused severe energy shortages and delayed key agricultural shipments throughout the region.
- In context:
ON THE RADAR
Scientists predict that La Niña conditions could develop across the American southwest for the second year in a row, which could intensify drought across the region. The Guardian reports that the climate pattern has the potential to affect precipitation levels and temperatures through early spring of next year.
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.