YOUR GLOBAL RUNDOWN
- Freezing temperatures leave parts of Jackson, Mississippi with little to no water.
- Tropical storm Ana causes widespread flooding in Madagascar.
- Chinese officials are arrested for concealing the death toll of floods that hit the central province of Henan last year.
- The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a case that may narrow the scope of a landmark environmental law.
In the forests of Finland, “rewilding teams” strive to undo centuries of harm done to rivers and streams.
“People are starting to understand that rivers and clean waters are like the heart and lungs of the country…In a hundred years we have done so much bad to them.” – Arttu Kuiri, forester with Finland’s state-owned forestry company Metsähallitus. In an attempt to alleviate decades worth of environmental harms, the Finnish government has begun efforts to restore parts of the country’s forests and waterways, the Guardian reports. Despite being the most heavily forested European country, Finland’s old-growth forests have been replaced almost entirely by monocultures. Logging companies cleared many of these forests’ waterways to allow for river transport, ecologically bankrupting the thriving environments they once cradled. Now, foresters are using natural techniques, such as adding wood to riverbeds, to set these aquatic habitats back in motion.
In Recent Water News
In Case You Missed It:
HotSpots H2O: As Dust Settles in Tonga After Volcanic Eruption, Drinking Water Now the ‘Biggest Life-Saving Issue’ – Ocean water and volcanic ash have contaminated the drinking water of tens of thousands of people in the Pacific Island nation.
What’s Up With Water—January 24, 2022 – This week’s episode covers a strategically important dam in Syria that was the target of a U.S. bombing campaign during the war against the Islamic State, the rising cost of water in Chicago’s communities of color, and U.K. water companies that are under scrutiny for improperly handling wastewater.
Freezing Temperatures Disrupt Water Supply in Jackson, Mississippi
For the second year in a row, freezing temperatures have left parts of Mississippi’s capital city with little to no running water. The problems began on Thursday, when a water main broke, and continued when freezing temperatures over the weekend caused multiple pipes to burst. A faulty membrane at the treatment plant delayed crews’ ability to restore water pressure to affected residents. The disruptions forced several public schools to have classes online or relocate students to another campus.
- Why it matters: Across the country, extreme weather events are pushing cities’ aging water infrastructure to the brink. Last year, Circle of Blue reported on the water crisis that lingered in Texas months after a winter storm left thousands of residents without drinking water.
Today’s Top Water Stories, Told In Numbers
Tropical storm Ana made landfall in Madagascar this week, causing widespread flooding in the city’s capital city of Antananarivo. The storm is the latest bout of torrential rainfall to hit the island in recent weeks, displacing a total of 50,000 people and killing 34. Officials warn that river levels may continue to rise in the coming days.
139 CONCEALED DEATHS
The Chinese government has arrested eight officials and disciplined 89 more for covering up the true death toll of floods that hit the central province of Henan last year. In a rare admission of failure, China’s highest government body released a public statement declaring that local and provincial officials deliberately concealed or misrepresented the cause of 139 fatalities from the floods, bringing the total death toll up to 398.
On the Radar
On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to consider limiting the scope of the Clean Water Act. Litigants are pushing for the Court to adopt a narrower definition of the term “wetland,” a move which would exempt certain waterways from regulation under the 1972 environmental law. In 2006, the Court defined a wetland as any body of water which has a “significant nexus” to a waterway. At the time, four dissenting justices advocated for the stricter “continuous surface connection” standard.
- In context: EPA Clean Water Rule Meets Political Pushback
Laura Gersony covers water policy, infrastructure, and energy for Circle of Blue. She also writes FRESH, Circle of Blue’s biweekly digest of Great Lakes policy news, and HotSpots H2O, a monthly column about the regions and populations most at-risk for water-related hazards and conflict. She is an Environmental Studies and Political Science major at the University of Chicago and an avid Lake Michigan swimmer.