Extreme flooding along the Madeira River in the Amazon basin, which killed 60 people and displaced 68,000 families this year, was the result of massive deforestation in Bolivia and Peru, according to a scientist who was previously the head of the Inter-American Development Bank environmental division, IPS reported. His assessment contradicts the views of conservationists and government officials who have said the flooding was the result of two large hydropower projects on the river.
This summer, weather forecasters in the United States will be creating maps of potential storm surge flood areas along the Atlantic Coast to help educate residents about hurricane risks, Reuters reported. Residents typically use wind speed instead of storm surge forecasts to decide whether or not to evacuate, despite storm surge accounting for half of all hurricane deaths, according to a storm specialist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
A bill moving through the Florida Senate could provide much more stringent protections for the state’s important freshwater springs, which are linked to drinking water supplies, The New York Times reported. The springs have suffered pollution from septic systems, agricultural runoff, and urban waste with dire consequences for wildlife, tourism, and public health.
China is blaming the recent contamination of drinking water in Lanzhou on French water company Veolia, which runs the city’s utility, Reuters reported. The contamination was caused by an oil leak, but Chinese government officials also say that Veolia had “supervision problems”.