The Stream, January 21: Drinking Water Quality Threatened by Extreme Weather

Drinking Water
The quality of drinking water supplies is at risk from increasingly frequent extreme weather, such as droughts, floods and wildfires—especially if they occur in combination, The Sydney Morning Herald reported, citing a new study released by researchers at the University of New South Wales. For example, a large wildfire followed by heavy rain and flooding could contaminate rivers and reservoirs with ash, while a drought followed by an intense flood could wash excess nutrients into water supplies and spur algal blooms.

West Virginia’s governor has proposed new chemical safety regulations for storage tanks after a chemical spill near the state capital cut water supplies to 300,000 people earlier this month, the Associated Press reported. Bills aimed at stopping similar events from occurring in the future have been introduced at both the state and federal government levels.

Water Supply
Protesters in Chile warn that a planned hydroelectric power plant could squeeze water supplies in the nation’s capital city of Santiago, Inter Press Service reported. Environmental groups opposed to the plant say it will disproportionately benefit the country’s mining industry, while putting drinking water supplies for 6 million people at risk.

Declining water levels in the Missouri River spell trouble for water plants and other utilities that have water intakes located on the river, the Kansas City Star reported. Drought and river bed degradation have both been identified as possible factors behind the decline, which has been happening for decades according to studies by the United States Army Corps of Engineers.

Survivors of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines are being forced to evacuate tent camps and emergency shelters as the islands are hit by heavy rains and floods, AlertNet reported. The floods have killed 42 people and destroyed homes in areas still struggling to rebuild after the typhoon.

The Stream is a daily digest spotting global water trends. To get more water news, follow Circle of Blue on Twitter and sign up for our newsletter.

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