The Stream, November 24: Texas Town Reckons with 30 Years Without Running Water

The Global Rundown

The town of Sandbranch, Texas, which has been without running water for 30 years, struggles to maintain an adequate amount of bottled water donations. Near Lancashire, 70 people are rescued as heavy flooding inundates the United Kingdom. Researchers discover that outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases such as Zika and Chikungunya typically come three weeks after heavy rainfall. The United States’ massive emergency budget request includes $12 billion to fight climate change-related flooding. A fluorescent dye may help purify ocean waters by revealing previously-undetected microplastics.

“We are a dirty little secret no one wants to talk about. I was listening to MSNBC talk about Flint, Michigan, the other day and what is happening there is unconscionable. But I thought, ‘Yeah, and what about us? What about us?’” –Detra Newhouse, a resident of Sandbranch, Texas, in reference to the city’s lack of running water. Bacteria has contaminated the impoverished town’s groundwater since the 1980s, and a combination of financing and development laws have perpetuated the problem. Residents are forced to rely on donations of bottled water. The Guardian

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By The Numbers

70 Number of people who had to be rescued in flooded Lancashire, England, as severe storms batter the United Kingdom. Many places recorded record-high rainfall over the past 24 hours and transportation has come to a standstill in some areas. BBC

99 percent Proportion of microplastics on the ocean floor that could potentially be detected by a newly-developed fluorescent dye. The dye, created by researchers at the University of Warwick, can detect debris the width of a human hair. Currently, scientists estimate that only 1 percent of the plastic waste in oceans can be found. Science Daily  

Science, Studies, And Reports

Researchers from the University of California – Los Angeles Health Services conducted a recent study to identify the environmental drivers behind epidemics of mosquito-borne diseases, and found that Zika and Chikungunya outbreaks typically occur three weeks after heavy rainfall. They also determined that Chikungunya will predominate over Zika if the two diseases circulate simultaneously. Science Daily

In context: Water a key factor in Zika virus spread.

On The Radar

More than a quarter of the Trump administration’s $44 billion emergency budget request, which is intended to help communities recover from Hurricanes Irma, Harvey, and Maria, would go toward building greater flood resilience capabilities in cities and towns threatened by climate change. Improvements could include structure hardening, progressive land-use plans, revamping building codes, among other activities. Bloomberg