Detroit Students Face Heat Wave, Elevated Metals In Drinking Water

In the city of Detroit, public school students are facing a heat wave, and they are finding the water fountains near their classrooms are not working.
QUINN KLINEFELTER, BYLINE: At the Detroit School of Arts, student Dayana Williams is ready to start classwork.
She’s brought her notebook, her backpack, and she’s made a special point to bring her own bottled water.
There’s a new water cooler with bottled water down the hallway, but Williams says, after hearing reports that lead and copper was found in school bathrooms and water fountains, she’s taking no chances.
So I’m just going to have to deal with it.
KLINEFELTER: Officials say students can wash their hands with water the in school buildings, just not drink it.
Detroit Public Schools superintendent Nikolai Vitti says higher-than-normal amounts of lead and copper were found in the water at 34 of 50 of its schools, so Vitti ordered all the school buildings tested – more than a hundred of them – then turned off the drinking water while engineers try to figure out if the contamination is coming from old pipes or rusty faucets.
NIKOLAI VITTI: The solution is not a whack-a-mole effect of, well, let’s take out that water fountain or that sink.
KLINEFELTER: Detroiter Patricia Taylor says she has eight grandchildren in the public school system, and she says she’s been supplying them all with bottled water for years because she just doesn’t trust the pipes in aging Detroit school buildings.
For NPR News, I’m Quinn Klinefelter in Detroit.

‘Countdown to Day Zero’: Experts Discuss Link Between Water Scarcity and Security

In June, experts at the Council on Foreign Relations debated the issue of “Countdown to Day Zero,” when a city or country could run out of clean drinking water, and the connection between water scarcity and security.
“And we’ve seen that with too little water as well,” he added.
And, again, we saw 230,000 people had to be evacuated from their homes.
Wilson said countries of all stripes have failed to prepare for the worst, citing the lead-contaminated drinking water in Flint, Michigan, and droughts in California.
He added that the Cape Town crisis shows that it’s usually the poor who are left behind, while the wealthy communities have an abundance of water.
Cheslow saw these inequities in Israel and the Palestinian territories.
“And it’s unclear if the institutional arrangements will hold in coming years.” “We can think about other trans-boundary situations that are quite familiar to us — like the Nile, where Ethiopia’s construction of the new dam is seen as a threat to Egypt, in particular.
Another solution to the water scarcity issue that all three experts touched on was desalinization.
She observed that when it rained, a small parking lot would often flood, and the local people there, with the assistance of the hospital, desalinized this water to make it drinkable.
But Wilson warned that desalinization is not a long-term solution, noting the sheer amount of energy needed for the process, which in turn is reliant on water.

Supreme Court Sides With Wisconsin In Property Rights Case

Supreme Court Sides With Wisconsin In Property Rights Case.
The U.S. Supreme Court delivered a victory today to state and local governments and environmental groups with a major property rights decision.
By a 5-3 vote, the justices sided with the government in certain disputes with private property developers.
NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg reports.
NINA TOTENBERG, BYLINE: The Constitution bars the taking of private property by the government without just compensation.
And the Supreme Court for a century has said that when the government goes too far in regulating property so as to make it economically unusable, the government also has to compensate the owner.
The regulations barred building on any lot smaller than one acre of land.
TOTENBERG: John Groen of the Pacific Legal Foundation represented the Murrs.
TOTENBERG: The reason, he explains, is that when the government regulates private land use… LAZARUS: It almost never says that you can’t do anything with all the property you own.
TOTENBERG: And what the Supreme Court said today was that property owners are not entitled to compensation from the government when regulations reduce the value of the property by a relatively small portion and where, as in this case, those regulations to some degree have enhanced the value of the property.

As California Lifts Drought Restrictions, Rural Areas Still Lack Running Water

As California Lifts Drought Restrictions, Rural Areas Still Lack Running Water.
While the deep snowpack in California’s mountains is easing drought concerns, there are still people in the state’s rural Central Valley who don’t have water running from their taps.
In some of the hardest hit areas in the rural Central Valley, there are still thousands of people living without any running water.
By all accounts, California looks to be finally emerging from a brutal drought.
SIEGLER: In the gravel driveway of Mendez’s tidy stucco house is a huge, black 2,500-gallon water tank.
MENDEZ: Yeah, this is the well.
MENDEZ: Yeah, we go to the laundromat.
SIEGLER: People here are relieved that the governor’s emergency drought aid isn’t going away, as feared.
SIEGLER: So people here seem much more comfortable talking about the long-term solution going forward, which is to hook homes with dry wells onto nearby municipal water systems so there’s less risk.
SIEGLER: Roberto Aguilar, a fruit picker who lives on this street, tells Snyder that his family’s well hasn’t run out yet.