YOUR GLOBAL RUNDOWN
- Close to 12 million households in some of the poorest districts in India have piped water due to a federal project to bring tap water to rural homes.
- A simple science project at UK schools revealed high levels of lead in several schools’ water systems.
- A new analysis finds a third of Americans experienced a weather disaster this summer.
- A proposal to bottle and sell water from a well in a rural Wisconsin town could exploit a loophole in a landmark agreement banning Great Lakes water diversions.
Congress’s new infrastructure bill could bring clean water to communities of color in the United States, which are disproportionately affected by water system that violate federal safety standards.
“It was definitely shocking to know that we didn’t have clean drinking water to cook with, to just take care of our families.” – Cassandra Welchlin, head of Mississippi’s Black Women’s Roundtable, after an unexpected cold snap froze and burst water pipes, leaving thousands of residents in Jackson, Mississippi, without water. Vox reports that Congress’s new infrastructure plan could fund projects in communities of color in desperate need of clean and safe drinking water. Aging infrastructure in places like Jackson, a majority-Black city, frequently causes water main breaks, which contribute to stoppages in service and cracks that make it easier for contaminants to get into the water. A lack of funding has stopped the city from fixing its water issues, but if Congress’s infrastructure bill is passed, the state of Mississippi could receive $429 million over five years for water infrastructure.
UK School Science Project Reveals High Lead Levels in Drinking Water
Fourteen schools that took part in the Great British Water Project—a project meant to simply spark children’s curiosity about water—found that their drinking water contained up to five times more than the recommended maximum amount of lead. The filtration firm Aquaphor, which co-sponsored the project, said it would supply free filters to affected schools, according to The Guardian.
TODAY’S TOP WATER STORIES, TOLD IN NUMBERS
11.8 MILLION HOUSEHOLDS
In the poorest districts in India, 11.8 million households, or 35 percent, have been provided with piped water, The Hindustan Times reports. That number is up from 7.9 percent in 2019, in part due to the Jal Jeevan Mission, which aims to provide every rural household with a tap water connection by 2024.
According to an analysis from The Washington Post, at least 388 people in the United States have died due to hurricanes, floods, heat waves and wildfires since June. The analysis found that overall, 1 in 3 Americans live in a country that experienced a weather disaster this summer. As climate change worsens, scientists say disasters are more likely to coincide and create “compound catastrophes” that are even more dangerous.
- Why it matters: Any hazard has the potential to compound, but according to Susan Cutter, the director of the Hazards and Vulnerability Research Institute at the University of South Carolina, the danger is especially acute in a society whose physical systems are so expansive and interdependent: from corporate supply chains that cross national borders to water utilities and hospitals that rely on a steady supply of power from the public grid. One of the strengths of the U.S. emergency management system is the tradition of sharing resources, both within and outside of formal disaster declarations. But even the durable bonds of the mutual aid system can break down.
ON THE RADAR
Late last week, a five-member appeals board in Bayfield County, Wisconsin, unanimously upheld a denial of a special land use permit that would have allowed a Minnesota-based startup to bottle and sell water from a well near Lake Superior. A lawyer representing Kristle Majchrzak and Robert Glau, who own the startup Kristle KLR, said they will appeal the decision in Bayfield County Circuit Court. Opponents argue that if the proposal were approved, it would exploit a loophole in the Great Lakes Compact, which effectively bars water diversions from the Great Lakes, WPR reports.
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.