CCIJ Round Up: The United States’ Water Pollution Problem Hits Rural America

An investigation into one mid-Michigan community’s water woes reveal a common story across the U.S. Breznhev Malaba joins Waterless and Transparency Talks. Josh Vissers continues his series on Cole’s Creek Road’s water. Sonja Smith covers the fallout of Namibia’s ‘fishrot’ scandal.

One Michigan County Tells the Story of a Nation Plagued By Water Pollution

Agricultural pollution is a major problem all over the United States, where concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, can house thousands of animals and are known for mismanaging animal waste. In a story for CCIJ partner organization Circle of Blue, Jane Johnston explores both sides of the debate through the lens of a mid-Michigan county where CAFOs are one of several sources contaminating the Pine River and dividing the community. 

Read the whole story here.

Season 2, Episode 2: Breznhev Malaba

Zimbabwean journalist, columnist and editor Breznhev Malaba joins Transparency Talks and Waterless this week to talk about his new story “When death is just a sip away” and his journey as a journalist.


In 2018, a twin cholera and typhoid outbreak hit Zimbabwe’s capital, piling on the misery. It claimed 69 lives and over 10,000 people were affected by the diseases, highlighting the dangers of Harare’s dilapidated water-supply system.

In this podcast, host Winston Mwale speaks to Brezhnev Malaba, the Zimbabwean journalist who did a wonderful story about Harare’s crumbling water infrastructure, with support from CCIJ.

Listen to the full episode here.
Transparency talks

Breznhev Malaba talks about the origins of his journalistic passions, the reasons behind his pointed language in his columns, how he is operating after being labeled a “subversive” journalist by the country’s government, and a new investigative venture he is embarking on with several colleagues.

Listen to the full episode here.

Cole’s Creek Road Water

CCIJ member Josh Vissers has published a series of articles with The Daily Mining Gazette on the water supply in Cole’s Creek Road, Michigan, whose residents have not had running water in their homes for over two weeks. Read his series, reposted on the CCIJ blog, below: 

Residents of Cole’s Creek Road left out to dry

Cole’s Creek Road residents still waterless, concerned for Covid-19

Cole’s Creek Road water supply slips through cracks 

After ‘Fishrot’ scandal, Namibia earns little from auction

In an article for AP News, CCIJ Member Sonja Smith reported that Namibia only made $510,000 from an auction for fishing rights after two Cabinet ministers allegedly accepted bribes for the same rights.

The auction was an attempt to make transactions fully transparent and accountable, however after many of the bidders did not pay their pledged amounts in full, Namibia’s finance minister Ipumbu Shiimi said that hard lessons had been learned.

Read the full story here.