The Stream, January 11, 2022: Officials Suspect Flooding To Blame For Cliff Collapse at Furnas Lake


  • A new study discovers social inequities in water distribution throughout Nairobi, Kenya.
  • A slab of rock collapses into a popular tourist lake in Brazil after heavy rain and flooding throughout the region.
  • The S. Bureau of Reclamation will reduce outflow at Lake Powell amid low surface levels.
  • A judge in Canada rejects a First Nations lawsuit against a mining company.

Several women and children in Benton Harbor become the latest to sue Michigan state officials for lead contamination in their drinking water.

“We’re not just seeking relief on behalf of these people. We’re seeking relief on behalf of all affected people, all similarly situated people.” – Nick Coulson, a Michigan lawyer. Four women and four children from Benton Harbor, Michigan have filed a lawsuit against the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and its director of drinking water and environmental health division. The lawsuit, filed in the Michigan Court of Commons, claims that thousands of residents were deprived of property rights due to lead contamination in their drinking water. This is the third lawsuit filed by Benton Harbor residents amid an ongoing water crisis.

New Study Finds Inequities in Nairobi Water Distribution

A new study found discrepancies in water distribution across Kenya’s capital city of Nairobi. The study, which examined city data between 1985 and 2018, identified several factors that determine water sufficiency in Nairobi. The data analysis discovered that residents in high-and middle-income areas, as well as newer neighborhoods and less densely populated areas, were more likely to receive higher volumes of water than others. The authors recommend national and international investment in water infrastructure as the city’s population grows and a commitment to water equity.

Today’s Top Water Stories, Told In Numbers


A slab of cliff rock collapsed into Brazil’s Furnas Lake over the weekend, killing at least 10 people as of Sunday. Officials say the collapse could be due to recent flooding in the southeastern state of Minas Gerais, which has displaced nearly 17,000 people. 


The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced on Friday the outflow at Lake Powell will be reduced as surface levels continue to reach record lows. CBS Denver reports that the reservoir sits just 11 feet above “target elevation,” or when water levels are deemed critically low. Current forecasts predict the once-mighty reservoir may reach that dangerous stage as early as next month, which could result in water and energy shortages throughout the Colorado River basin.

On the Radar

A judge in British Columbia, Canada has rejected a lawsuit by the Saik’uz and Stellat’en First Nations that would have forced a mining company to reverse the flow of the Nechako River to replenish fish populations decimated by dam development. Supreme Court Justice Nigel Kent said that Rio Tinto Alcan abided by plans approved by local and federal governments, shielding them against damage claims. However, the judge said that First Nations do have legitimate claims for damages against companies and individuals breaching Aboriginal rights. A lawyer representing the First Nations in the case said that language could prove significant in future cases.

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