The Stream, March 31: California Snowpack 164 Percent Of Average

The Global Rundown

Snowpack in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains is well above average, according to the most recent survey. Thousands of people remain under evacuation orders as floods rush through Queensland and New South Wales. Government officials in Bihar state are calling for a dam on the Ganga to be decommissioned to prevent floods. The deadly outbreak of Legionnaires disease in Flint, Michigan was likely caused by the city’s troubled water supply, researches say. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved a new water management manual for the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin, which has been at the center of a dispute between Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. Environmental groups in the United States filed lawsuits this week to stop the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

“This tar sands pipeline poses a direct threat to our climate, our clean water, wildlife, and thousands of landowners and communities along the route of this dirty and dangerous project, and it must and will be stopped.” –Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club, referring to the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The Sierra Club is one of several environmental groups that filed lawsuits this week that aim to stop the pipeline. Denied a permit by the Obama administration, Keystone XL was given approval by the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump last week. It has long been a source of contention due to concerns about climate change and water resources. (Reuters)

By The Numbers

25,000 people Number under evacuation orders in southeastern Queensland and northern New South Wales as flooding caused by Cyclone Debbie continues to afflict Australia’s coast. Floods appeared to crack at least one levee, and emergency responders said there may be several fatalities from rising waters. Guardian

7.3 million hectares Area of land flooded along the Ganga in India’s Bihar state last year, even though rainfall was below average. State officials blame the problem on silt buildup caused by the Farakka barrage, and are calling on the federal government to decommission the dam. The Third Pole

164 percent of average Water content contained in the Sierra Nevada snowpack in California this month, making it the largest snowpack since 2011, according to the most recent survey released by the Department of Water Resources. The Mercury News

Science, Studies, And Reports

The decision to use the Flint River as a water supply for Flint, Michigan in 2014 not only triggered a lead contamination crisis, but was likely the source of a deadly outbreak of Legionnaires disease, according to Marc Edwards, a researcher at Virginia Tech. The river water leached iron from pipes as well as lead, helping create conditions conducive to the growth of bacteria, he said. CNN

On The Radar

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers approved a new water management manual for Lake Lanier and the Chattahoochee River in Georgia, allowing communities near Atlanta to withdraw more water. The move will likely trigger a new series of lawsuits in a decades-old legal battle between Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

In context: Learn more about the water dispute in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin.