The Stream, October 7, 2021: Global Water Stress Will Rise, WMO Report Finds


  • South Australia is keeping coronavirus cases low through a robust wastewater monitoring system.
  • A Louisiana hospital may not reopen for another year due to damages from Hurricane Ida.
  • A new report from the World Meteorological Organization found that found that billions of people will go without adequate access to water for at least a month each year by 2050.
  • A new report finds tidal marshes in New Jersey are not elevating fast enough to keep up with rising sea levels.

Pennsylvania will charge an energy company with four dozen environmental crimes committed during the construction of a natural gas pipeline.

“There is a duty to protect our air and water, and when companies harm these vital resources through negligence — it is a crime.” – Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. Reuters reports that Pennsylvania’s attorney general has charged Energy Transfer LP with 48 counts of environmental crimes committed during construction of the Mariner East 2 natural gas liquids pipeline. The pipeline project has been stopped by state and local officials numerous times, mostly due to sinkholes that developed near the pipeline or spills of drilling fluids used to bore under waterways. The Attorney General’s office said Energy Transfer is guilty of repeatedly spilling thousands of gallons of drilling fluid, which contained unapproved additives at multiple locations that affected drinking water in wells.


In Case You Missed It:

Water Groups Lauded A Side Agreement at the Paris Climate Conference. Then It Languished. – The fate of the Paris Pact reveals the difficulties in incorporating water into global climate agreements.

HotSpots H2O: Years-Long Drought Pushes Brazil to the Brink – The country’s worst drought in nearly a century is choking commerce, threatening ecosystems, and diminishing hydroelectric power generation.

South Australia Isolates Covid Cases Before They Spread, Thanks To Wastewater Monitoring System

South Australia has been able to keep COVID-19 case numbers relatively low by quickly containing clusters when they emerge, mostly due to a robust sewage monitoring system. ABC News report that by testing wastewater for viral RNA, local health officials were able to contain cases before they spread. SA Water, the first Australian water utility to deploy the technique, has also helped detect coronavirus cases in wastewater from Tasmania, New South Wales and the Northern Territory.



The CEO of Lady of the Sea General Hospital in Louisiana told WWNO that after sustaining significant damage during Hurricane Ida, the hospital may not be able to reopen for six to 12 months. The next closest hospital is 30 miles away, CEO Karen Collins said. Between transferring existing patients to a new hospital and their inability to accept new patients, the storm has put a strain on the local healthcare system.


A new report from World Meteorological Organization, more than five billion people will have inadequate access to water at least one month per year by 2050. The report, titled The State of Climate Services 2021: Water, said that overall, the world is not on track to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goal No. 6, which ensures access to clean water, safe sanitation, and hygiene by 2030.

  • Why it matters: In interviews with Circle of Blue, many WASH thought leaders said that meeting all the 2030 goals were unlikely. But they also were convinced that universal WASH for water and hygiene was within reach, perhaps by 2030, and for sanitation by 2040. Read more about Circle of Blue’s first exploration of the global community that aims to end water and sanitation deficits around the world here.


A new study in the journal Anthropocene Coasts found that New Jersey’s tidal marshes may disappear completely by next century. Tidal marshes, places where oceans meet land and become vulnerable to sea level rise, are vital habitats for land and aquatic organisms, and provide a natural buffer against storm surges, winds and flooding. The research found that most marshes in New Jersey are not increasing their elevation fast enough to keep up with rising sea levels. The study included recommendations on how to mitigate the loss of the marshes, including removing fewer invasive reeds and adding new sediments on top of slowly elevating marshes.

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