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Drinking Water: Extreme Weather Events Threaten Quality, Says Report

The greatest risks to water quality come from cumulative impacts of extreme weather events that happen sequentially, like a drought followed by a wildfire followed by a flood, says joint Australian-US study. As climate change likely increases the frequency of extreme weather events, resilience must be built into the management of watersheds and water treatment systems for recovery to happen. [Sunday Morning Herald]

Report: Society's Water Safety Net Is Fraying

A new National Research Council report examines possible "tipping points" that might occur if the rate of groundwater pumping rapidly increases. As surface water-scarce regions get drier amidst climate change, early warning water and drought monitoring systems could be necessary to protect precious resources. [Circle of Blue]

China's Middle Class Turns to Organics After Food Safety Scares

Deadly food safety incidents in China have led middle class Chinese consumers to seek organic and imported foods. Already rife with air and water pollution due to lax regulation, China has international notoriety for horrendous food safety failures that have sickened and killed people in China and elsewhere. Not all consumers can afford or find safer food, however, making regulation overhaul critical. [Guardian]

Conflict Over Soil and Water Quality Puts 'Iowa Nice' to a Test

Nitrogen run-off from Iowa farms is causing unrest. The state's largest water utility has filed a lawsuit to get farms to comply with federal clean-water standards for nitrates. Iowa is a huge agricultural economy, so it's no surprise that farmers and politicians say the lawsuit is too harsh, calling for voluntary conservation efforts to be scaled-up slowly. Nitrate pollution won't be slowing down, however.

US Ports Modernize While Water Supply and Quality Deteriorate

In preparation for the expanded Panama Canal and the prospect of gigantic cargo ships, US coastal cities have entered a frenzy of deepwater port infrastructure refinement complete with federal funding. All the while, water infrastructure funding lags and our water quality (and quantity) deteriorates. Water infrastructure creates jobs and is the foundation of successful commerce, yet the appeal of new ports seems to blind public officials. [Circle of Blue]

Water, Air Quality Concerns Heighten Conflict Between Pig Farms and Environmental Advocate

Many communities exposed to pollution from large pork facilities are reaching the end of their rope. US pork is a growing industry, but most pigs are raised in factory farms that produce tons of manure and run-off. According the EPA, due to agricultural run-off, over half of America's freshwater is too polluted for use. As a result, many pork farms are being targeted with lawsuits.

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