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Rally At Utah State Capitol Highlights Threats To Great Salt Lake

Salt Lake City, Utah - Hundreds of local activists and concerned residents gathered at the foot of the Utah State Capitol building Jan. 14, three days before the 2023 state legislative session began, during a rally to “save our Great Salt Lake.” Between chants and songs, speakers addressed the crowd in an effort to raise awareness about the multiple crises facing Great Salt Lake. While some appealed to law makers to implement reforms, others took aim at the root causes of the catastrophes threatening the existence of the lake and its ecosystem. Great Salt Lake is at risk of ecological collapse. As of January, the lake has lost 60% of its historical surface area and 73% of its water, according to a collaborative report released by the Brigham Young University College of Life Sciences earlier this month. That report says, if current conditions persist and emergency measures aren’t taken, the lake could be completely dry in as little as five years.

How California Could Save Up Its Rain To Ease Future Droughts

When California gets storms like the atmospheric rivers that hit in December 2022 and January 2023, water managers around the state probably shake their heads and ask why they can’t hold on to more of that water.

Uranium Water Contamination In US Far More Prevalent Than Believed

Maybe it’s the good kind of uranium that turns you into Spider-Man or the Incredible Hulk and not the bad kind of uranium that turns you into Thyroid Cancer Man – one of the lesser-known Marvel superheroes. ProPublica has come out with an investigation entitled “The Cold War Legacy Lurking in U.S. Groundwater.” After World War II, the Cold War started between the U.S.S.R. and the U.S. because the rich needed to stop the damn Communists from pushing their furry hats on everyone! There was a feverish need to build loads of nuclear weapons. To do that, the U.S. needed uranium, and its ruling class didn’t care how they got it. More than 50 uranium mines popped up across the Western U.S. But they didn’t just turn our weapons radioactive.

‘Public Trust’—A Key Legal Tool To Preserve Our Natural Resources

With the reality of climate change becoming more apparent in the form of extreme weather events such as heat waves, droughts, and floods, it is clear that the future of all life on the planet is in peril. To stress the immediacy and seriousness of human-caused climate change and its effects, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres addressed the leaders and representatives of nearly 200 countries at COP27 in November 2022. “Our planet is fast approaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible,” said Guterres at the conference. “We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot still on the accelerator.” As the climate rapidly changes largely due to the environmentally damaging practices of large corporations, unchecked by government officials that receive campaign contributions from the polluting industries, it may seem like there isn’t much that can be done to combat this problematic pattern.

US Authorities Agree To Rip Up Grass Lawns For Water Conservation

A group of agencies that provide water to millions of customers in the western U.S. has agreed to rip-up grass lawns in public spaces across multiple states as part of an effort to reduce water usage as the Colorado River continues to suffer from a major drought. More than 30 agencies that draw water from the river signed on to the conservation agreement last week. The pledge promises to remove 30% of grass lawns and replace them with “drought- and climate-resilient landscaping while maintaining vital urban landscapes and tree canopies,” that benefit communities and wildlife. The agencies will remove the many well-manicured lawns seen throughout parking lots, neighborhood entryways, and highway medians.

The Struggle To Keep Water Services In The Public Is Only Just Beginning

Pennsylvania - In early September, the three county commissioners of Bucks County, just north of Philadelphia, voted down a $1.1 billion bid from Aqua Pennsylvania to buy their sewer system. This response to an outpouring of citizen concern about what would have been the largest privatization of a public wastewater system in the country illuminates a larger story — both of the encroachment of privatization and the potential for victories when citizens mobilize around its costs. Aqua had been systematically buying up smaller water systems for years. In New Garden in southeastern Pennsylvania, Bill Ferguson saw his wastewater rates jump nearly 70 percent in the few years after Aqua purchased his township’s sewer system in 2017.

Hoopa Valley Tribe Sues Over Water Contracts In California

California - Today, the Hoopa Valley Tribe renewed a 2020 lawsuit it had filed against the Trump Administration for financial misconduct, environmental depredation, and violation of tribal sovereignty and fishing rights in California’s Trinity River fishery. For more than a year, the Tribe made repeated attempts to have the Biden Administration hold the  Bureau of Reclamation accountable for illegally waiving at least $400 million owed to the Treasury by contractors who use water and power from Reclamation’s massive Central Valley Project in California, and falsely claiming that federal programs to restore environmental damage caused by industrial farming  operations and other actions were both complete and successful.

Wall Street Is Behind The Jackson, Mississippi, Water Crisis

Jackson, Mississippi - In August, clean water stopped flowing from residents’ taps in Jackson, Mississippi. The crisis lasted more than six weeks, leaving 150,000 people without a consistent source of safe water. The catastrophe can be traced back to a decision by a credit ratings agency four years ago that massively inflated the city’s borrowing costs for infrastructure improvements, most notably for its water and sewer system. In 2018, ratings analysts at Moody’s Investor Service — a credit rating agency with a legacy of misconduct — downgraded Jackson’s bond rating to a junk status, citing in part the “low wealth and income indicators of residents.” The decision happened even though Jackson has never defaulted on its debt.

Oil Palm Plantations And Water Grabbing: Ivory Coast And Gabon

Industrial palm oil production in West and Central Africa is mainly controlled by five companies: Socfin, Wilmar, Olam, Siat, and Straight KKM (former Feronia). These multinationals control an estimated 67 per cent of the industrial oil palm planted area with foreign investment and may drive continuous expansion. (1) Their established industrial plantations have been linked to numerous impacts on the populations and territories. The impact on water availability for communities that live in and around industrial oil palm plantations is systematic and dramatic. This is becoming increasingly evident with the many community reports of water scarcity and water pollution. Industrial plantations often lead to loss of lakes, springs or streams, directly affecting the livelihoods and wellbeing of communities.

The Jackson Water System Has Been Failing For Decades Due To Racism

Residents of West Jackson are in the midst of a severe water crisis due to the failure of a water treatment facility and don't know when they will have clean water in their homes again. The state is failing to get water to everyone, so many local groups are organizing mutual aid efforts. The governor refuses to access federal funds to fully repair the city's water infrastructure, which has been failing for decades. Clearing the FOG speaks with Kali Akuno, a co-founder of Cooperation Jackson, about the current crisis, including how the wealthy residents were spared, how it fits into the bigger picture of systemic racism and the drive to privatize, and what you can do to support efforts to build water sovereignty.

Justice 4 Jackson: Help Us Fix Jackson’s Water System

Jackson, Mississippi - Jackson, Mississippi Is Currently Suffering Through An Unprecedented Water Crisis. After Decades Of Systematic And Intentional Neglect Due To Environmental Racism, Capital Flight And Deindustrialization, The City's Water System Has Collapsed. This Collapse Didn’t Have To Happen. As A Result Of The City’s Declining Tax Base Over The Decade, It Cannot Pay For The Repairs By Itself. Nor Should It Have To. Jackson Is The Capitol Of The State Of Mississippi, Which Means It Is The Base Of State Government And Resources. In Addition, It Is Also Where The Federal Government’s Administrative Resources In The State Are Concentrated.

Environmental Racism Leads To Water Crisis in Jackson, Mississippi

Jackson, Mississippi - Residents of Jackson, Mississippi, a city of 150,000 that is 82.5 percent Black, have not had reliable access to clean water for five days. On Monday, the Pearl River flooded from extreme rainfall, and caused the main water treatment plant to fail, resulting in low to no water pressure. A second treatment plant has simultaneously been having issues with its water pumps. If residents are getting any tap water at all, it’s brown. All this is happening while Jackson is facing extreme heat. Residents have faced long lines in order to get cases of bottled water, of which the city is running out. All schools have switched to remote learning since Tuesday.

Residents In Majority-Black Jackson Left Without Drinkable Water

Reports reveal that people of color are especially impacted by environmental disasters. Jackson is 82.5% Black, and has been hit with multiple water crises in recent months. As of September 2, the vast majority of the residents of the city of Jackson, Mississippi—over 150,000—still have no access to safe drinking water. The Jackson water crisis began on August 30 when flooding caused the pumps at the main water treatment facility, O.B. Curtis, to fail. This left most residents without clean water and many with no water at all due to low water pressure. Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves warned residents on August 31, “Do not drink the water from the pipes if you can avoid it.” 

Swedish Neighbors Conserve Water by Holding ‘Ugliest Lawn’ Contest

On the island of Gotland in Sweden, residents have spent this year letting their green lawns die off in a mass effort to conserve water. Irrigation bans led neighbors to get creative, offering a title to whoever ended up with the ugliest lawn. For this year, Marcus Norström’s lawn took the crown. The jury described the winning lawn humorously as “a really lousy lawn that lives up to all our expectations of Gotland’s ugliest lawn and has good conditions for a more sustainable improvement.” The jury also said the lawn exhibited “meritorious laziness” and “great care for our common groundwater,” as reported by The Guardian. The prize: a visit from Sara Gistedt, one of the lawn judges and a gardener, who will advise Norström on what drought-resistant plants to add to his property.

Climate Activists Fill Golf Holes With Cement After Water Ban Exemption

The group targeted sites near the city of Toulouse, calling golf the "leisure industry of the most privileged". The exemption of golf greens has sparked controversy as 100 French villages are short of drinking water. Golf officials say greens would die in three days without water. "A golf course without a green is like an ice-rink without ice," Gérard Rougier of the French Golf Federation told the France Info news website. He added that 15,000 people worked in golf courses across the country. The recent action targeted courses in the towns of Vieille-Toulouse and Blagnac. It was claimed by the local branch of the Extinction Rebellion movement. In a petition, the activists said the exemption showed that "economic madness takes precedence over ecological reason".
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