The Stream, October 28, 2021: There’s Not Enough Water To Irrigate New Mexico’s Most Famous Crop


  • The government in the United Kingdom announces that water companies will have to prove they have reduced sewage overspills in the next five years.
  • A new survey makes clear the impact climate change is having on migration in India.
  • Hatch chile pepper farmers struggle to irrigate their crops as water scarcity worsens in New Mexico.
  • As the Great Lakes region prepares to be a climate refuge, Chicago is increasingly threatened by rising water levels on Lake Michigan.

Incarcerated people and staff at the Nebraska State Penitentiary don’t have running water due to leaky pipes, officials say.

“They’re in a tough situation. This is not something you really plan for.” – Doug Koebernick, the inspector general of the Nebraska State Penitentiary. Incarcerated people and staff at the Nebraska State Penitentiary have been without running water since Tuesday afternoon due to a plumbing issue. The Lincoln Journal Star reports that the facility’s water was shut off in order to fix several leaking pipes. It’s unclear, according to Department of Correctional Services spokesperson Laura Strimple, how long the facility will be without running water.


2021 Election Preview: Two Cities, Facing Floods and Aridity, Eye Big Public Works

Boise, whose population grew by nearly 15 percent in the last decade, is planning a 10-year $570 million renovation and expansion of its sewage treatment system. The Idaho capital wants to begin recycling wastewater for industrial use and divert a portion of the recycled water to replenish its aquifer.⁠ ⁠

Virginia Beach, meanwhile, wishes to guard homes and vital infrastructure against encroaching waters. Voters in that city are being asked to support a property tax increase that will fund a 10-year $567 million investment into 21 flood-prevention projects.⁠ ⁠

Even as Congress delays passage of a national infrastructure bill, leaders in the largest cities in Idaho and Virginia say that their projects, as with so much of the nation’s water infrastructure, are urgent matters.⁠

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2021 Election Preview: New York Considers Right to Clean Water – Voters will decide on a constitutional amendment for environmental rights.

HotSpots H2O: Flooding Is Latest Strain on South Sudan – Torrential rainfall is battering one of the world’s poorest countries, laying bare its weak infrastructure.

U.K. Government Changes Course On Environmental Amendment

Last week, according to The Guardian, only a small number of Conservative MPs voted against the government to vote for an environmental amendment that would have placed a legal duty on water companies to not dump waste into rivers. After threats to stop an upcoming vote from some Conservative Members of Parliament and pushback from constituents, the U.K. government has partially changed course, announcing that water companies will be required to show a reduction in sewage overspills in the next five years.



Nearly 70 percent of respondents in a recent survey of more than 1,000 Indian households said they moved immediately after recent extreme weather events including flooding and drought. Al Jazeera reports that the recent survey from the International Institute for Environment and Development found that migration throughout India is on the rise as climate catastrophes force the country’s poorest residents to abandon their homes and livelihoods.


Hatch chile pepper farmers in New Mexico are struggling to irrigate their crops as climate change raises temperatures and worsens water scarcity. The Elephant Butte Reservoir was so low this year that the local irrigation district provided surface water to farmers in southern New Mexico for only 27 days this growing season. Area farmer Jessie Moreno told High Country News that to water his plants this summer, he had to draw groundwater from a 30-foot-deep well, costing him thousands of dollars.


Rising water levels in on Lake Michigan is threatening the lakeside city of Chicago, CNBC reports. Experts say recent flooding events, like one that occurred last winter when heavy rains caused devastating inundation in the city’s downtown area, will only increase in frequency as climate change worsens.

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