The Stream, September 29: As Water Supply Runs Low, Puerto Ricans Utilize Rivers and Springs

The Global Rundown

Clean drinking water in Puerto Rico remains extremely limited, forcing residents to draw water from rivers and springs. The United States and Mexico unveil the details of a plan to preserve the Colorado River. Drought was responsible for the extinction of Tasmanian tigers from the Australian mainland, a new study finds. A flesh-eating bacteria kills a Texas woman who was exposed to Hurricane Harvey’s floodwaters. Droughts will continue to devastate Lesotho unless steps are taken to build the country’s resilience.

“I can live without power. But I can’t live without water.” –Wanda Ferrer, a resident of Puerto Rico, in reference to the dire shortage of water in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Communities across the island have lost access to running water due to ongoing power outages. With no immediate end to the shortage in sight, many residents are turning to rivers and springs for their water supplies. NPR

By The Numbers

$31.5 million Amount that the United States pledged to invest in water conservation projects in Mexico as part of a deal to preserve the Colorado River. According to the deal, which officials unveiled Wednesday, the preserved water will then be divided among the two nations. The two countries are also drafting plans for how to deal with any water shortages caused by drought or climate change. AP News

In context: Manmade flood gives life to Colorado River delta.

36 Number of storm-related deaths in Harris County, Texas since Hurricane Harvey inundated the state. The most recent death was reportedly caused by a flesh-eating bacteria called necrotizing fasciitis. A 77-year-old woman contracted the disease after she fell in floodwaters and cut her arm, allowing the bacteria to seep into her bloodstream. The New York Times

Science, Studies, And Reports

The extinction of the thylacine, also known as the Tasmanian tiger, was caused by drought according to recent findings by the University of Adelaide. Researchers examined fossil bones and museum specimens and determined that changes in weather on mainland Australia led to the species’ demise. After disappearing from the Australian mainland 3,000 years ago, the tigers survived on the island of Tasmania until the 1930s. The Guardian

On The Radar

Lesotho will remain vulnerable to drought unless efforts are made to boost the country’s resilience, according to Red Cross president Tadateru Konoé. Although the country has recently attempted to improve food security, it is still routinely crippled by droughts. Investing in community-level resilience and preparedness will be an important part of weathering future dry spells, according to the Red Cross. IFRC