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Federal Water Tap, November 23: Georgia and Florida to Seek Mediation in U.S. Supreme Court Water Case

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The Rundown

Longstanding opponents Florida and Georgia are attempting to work out their differences over water use in a contested river basin while the Supreme Court appoints an expert to oversee a groundwater lawsuit. An EPA advisory committee offers recommendations for updating the agency’s lead and copper rule. A Senate committee advances a bill to improve water reliability and fish habitat in the Yakima River Basin. A House committee passes a ban on microbeads in personal care products. An Interior Department decision on the Gila River diversion is expected today, November 23. Texas representatives want reservoir permits, and quickly.

“At this point, Georgia believes that the best way to advance the process is to engage a mediator acceptable to both sides who can create a framework for formal in-person discussions and periodic exchanges of information specifically directed to settlement.” — Text from documents filed by Georgia in its Supreme Court lawsuit with Florida over a shared watershed.

By the Numbers

$US 615 million: Damages sought by Mississippi in a Supreme Court lawsuit against Tennessee over groundwater pumping (Bloomberg BNA)

$US 2 million: Grant funding to help establish a national network to monitor groundwater. (U.S. Geological Survey)

Studies and Reports

Lead and Copper Rule
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Drinking Water Advisory Council approved a series of recommendations for improving a revised rule that aims to reduce the risk of lead and copper contamination in public water supplies.

Development of the rule comes as a high-profile case of lead contamination is unfurling in Flint, Michigan. In April 2014, the city switched its water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River. The chemical composition of the river water caused old pipes to corrode and introduced dangerous levels of lead into drinking water.

Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI), whose district includes Flint, his birthplace, testified before the council last week. The current lead and copper rule did not require Flint officials to model how the new water source with interact with city pipes, he said. It also did not require officials to address the potential for corrosion in the pipes.

“This new lead and copper rule must have greater transparency in order to restore public confidence and protect public health and ensure the safety of drinking water,” Kildee asserted.

News Briefs

Let’s Talk
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Florida and Georgia will seek a mediator to help resolve a dispute over water use in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin, which the two states share.

Florida filed the lawsuit in the Supreme Court, which has original jurisdiction over interstate water disputes, in October 2013. The court, as it frequently does with water cases, appointed a special master to conduct hearings and recommend a resolution. A mediator would work with the states while the lawsuit proceedings continue.

Mississippi v. Tennessee
There are other water conflicts in the South. The Supreme Court appointed a special master to oversee a lawsuit that Mississippi brought against Tennessee, according to Bloomberg BNA. Mississippi contends that groundwater pumping by the city of Memphis is reducing the subsurface flow of water into its territory. Mississippi seeking $US 615 million in damages.

Senate Committee Approves Yakima Basin Plan Bill
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved a bill to improve water reliability and repair fish habitat in the Yakima River Basin, in Washington state. The act authorizes construction of fish passage at two dams and a pipeline between two reservoirs, expands storage capacity at Cle Elum reservoir, and encourages water trading.

Another key agreement for a troubled watershed in the American West, the Klamath River Basin Agreement, still awaits committee action.

Bill Banning Microbeads Passes Committee
The House Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously approved a bill that bans the use of pieces of plastic smaller than 5 millimeters in personal care products such as shampoos, soaps, and toothpastes. The ban would go into effect January 1, 2018. A similar bill introduced in the Senate is still in committee.

On the Radar

Gila Diversion
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has a decision: allow an environmental review of the controversial Gila River diversion to begin or reject the project. The deadline is today. The diversion, a network of canals, reservoirs, and pipelines in southwest New Mexico, could cost as much as $US 1 billion and disrupt the watershed’s ecology. Interior Department statements to Circle of Blue indicate the secretary is likely to move ahead with the review.

Texas Reservoir Permits
Three Texas congressmen are urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers to quickly issue permits for a $US 1 billion reservoir, the Dallas Morning News reports. The reservoir would serve the fast-growing communities in North Texas.

Infrastructure Council Meeting
The National Infrastructure Advisory Council will hold a public meeting on December 1, in Arlington, Virginia. The council will hear presentations on water resilience and recovery after a disaster.

Federal Water Tap is a weekly digest spotting trends in U.S. government water policy. To get more water news, follow Circle of Blue on Twitter and sign up for our newsletter.

The post Federal Water Tap, November 23: Georgia and Florida to Seek Mediation in U.S. Supreme Court Water Case appeared first on Circle of Blue WaterNews.

Source: Water News

Source: Water Industry News

The Stream, November 23: Drought Raises Water Disputes in Maharashtra

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The  Global Rundown

The Global Rundown

Farmers in India’s Maharashtra state debated how much water should be held or released by the state’s dams as they struggle with drought, while government officials in South Africa said they may set aside more emergency funds to aid drought-affected farmers in the country. China signed a multi-million-dollar deal to build water boreholes in rural Ghana, Turkey and northern Cyprus were at odds over the distribution of water from a new undersea pipeline, and communities downstream of a tailings dam failure in Brazil contemplated what the disaster means for their future. Energy regulators in Canada suspended construction of a natural gas pipeline near Alberta’s Athabasca River.

“I have lived here all my life, and I never thought I would leave here. Now I have started to think where are we going to go? What are we going to do.”–Bruna Cordeiro de Santos, a resident of Regência, a small town in Brazil, on the aftermath of a dam failure at an iron ore mine that sent mud and mine waste hundreds of kilometers downstream. (Guardian)

By the Numbers

By The Numbers

$12 million Amount of a grant from China that will finance the construction of 1,000 boreholes in rural Ghana to improve drinking water quality. Ghana Broadcasting Corporation

$32 million Amount South Africa’s government has set aside to help regions of the country affected by a severe drought. Officials said further funding for farmers in places like Gauteng province is under consideration. Reuters


Science, Studies, And Reports

Records of four spills of drilling fluid into Alberta’s Athabasca River prompted Canada’s National Energy Board to suspend construction on a new TransCanada natural gas pipeline Friday. The spills, which the company said would not harm humans or animals, occurred while the pipeline was being placed underneath the river. Reuters

On the Radar

On The Radar

Farmers upstream of dams in India’s Maharashtra state are urging government officials to stop releasing water downstream due to drought conditions. Farmers downstream of the dam in the Marathwada region, who are also hit by the drought, say a recent decision by the state’s water regulator gives them the right to the water releases. The Hindu

Water deliveries from Turkey to northern Cyprus via a newly completed 80-kilometer undersea pipeline have run into a political hitch. Turkey is opposed to northern Cyprus’ plans for water distribution from the pipeline, which rely on local municipalities rather than a private company. Bloomberg

The post The Stream, November 23: Drought Raises Water Disputes in Maharashtra appeared first on Circle of Blue WaterNews.

Source: Water News

Source: Water Industry News

Record-crushing October keeps Earth on track for hottest year in 2015

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Post: It was Earth’s warmest October ever recorded and it wasn’t even close. The record-shattering month was right in step with most of the preceding months in 2015 — which is positioned to easily rank as the warmest year on record.
New data from the Japan Meteorological Agency and NASA show that the planet obliterated October records established just last year. October 2015 out-baked October 2014 by 0.34 degrees (0.19 Celsius) and 0.32 degrees (0.18 Celsius) in JMA and NASA’s analyses, respectively….
Source: Waterconserve News

Source: Water Industry News

Conflict Makes Nations Vulnerable to Climate Impacts

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Reuters: Syria, Libya and Yemen are among the countries whose ability to withstand climate change shocks and stresses has deteriorated most in the past five years, suggesting conflict makes people more vulnerable to climate impacts, researchers said.
The University of Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index (ND-GAIN) uses 46 indicators to measure climate change risks to 180 countries and how ready they are to accept investment that could help them cope with more extreme weather and rising seas.
The main…
Source: Waterconserve News

Source: Water Industry News

As Brazil’s Largest City Struggles With Drought, Residents Are Leaving

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National Public Radio: It happened slowly at first. The reservoir’s water level dropped, so the resort extended the boat launch ramp.
Then they had to add another extension.
Eventually, the water dropped so much that business dried up – along with the lake.
“For this coming weekend, there’s not one reservation. This business was 98 percent dependent on the water. Now that the water’s gone, the customers are gone as well,” says Francisco Carlos Fonseca, the manager of Marina Confiança.
The resort is located…
Source: Waterconserve News

Source: Water Industry News