The Stream, February 14: Norovirus Outbreak at Pyeongchang Olympics Linked to Water Contamination

The Global Rundown

A norovirus outbreak that sickened nearly 200 people at the Pyeongchang Olympics is linked to contaminated cooking water. Cape Town pushes Day Zero back to June 4 as South Africa declares a national disaster due to drought. Cyclone Gita devastates Tonga, causing widespread flooding and flattening homes and government buildings. A recent study finds that between 3 and 10 percent of U.S. water systems have violated the federal Safe Drinking Water Act each year since 1982. New South Wales and Victoria, Australia, threaten to withdraw from the Murray-Darling Basin plan if water recovery targets are not reduced. U.S. President Donald Trump’s budget proposal calls for drastic cuts to Great Lakes restoration efforts.

“Michigan deserves better than this. The health of our Great Lakes must be a higher priority.” –U.S. Representative Fred Upton in reference to President Donald Trump’s plan to cut funding for the Great Lakes cleanup program. Trump’s proposed budget would slash funding by 90 percent, from $300 million to $30 million next year. The Detroit News

In context: Congress budget deal protects water program.

Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue

Amid Political Quarrels over Cape Town Crisis, Engineers Prepare Dams for Day Zero – Equipment is in place to pull water from the bottom of reservoirs.

What’s Up With Water – a condensation of the world’s water February 12, 2018 – “What’s Up With Water” condenses the need-to-know news on the world’s water into a snapshot for the start of the workweek.

By The Numbers

194 Number of staff and volunteers sickened by a norovirus outbreak at the Pyeongchang Olympics. The illness has been linked to contaminated water that was used to prepare food, according to the Korean Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Los Angeles Times

526 million litres Average daily water consumption in Cape Town during the past week. Although the number is above the city’s target of 450 million litres per day, the reduction in urban water usage was enough to push Day Zero from May 11 to June 4. The South African government also declared the country’s drought a national disaster. News24

In context: Circle of Blue’s coverage of Cape Town.

Science, Studies, And Reports

A recent study found that 3 to 10 percent of United States water systems have been in violation of federal Safe Drinking Water Act health standards each year since 1982. Researchers mapped the communities with the highest number of violations and found that failure to meet health standards was most common in low-income rural areas. The New York Times

On The Radar

New South Wales and Victoria, Australia, could withdraw from the Murray-Darling Basin plan if the Australian Senate does not vote to reduce water recovery targets. Experts have recommended an 18 percent cut to the plan’s environmental water recovery target, a reduction that the two states believe is crucial to the plan’s success. The Guardian

Cyclone Gita tore through the Pacific island nation of Tonga early Tuesday morning, causing widespread flooding and damages. Tonga’s parliament buildings, as well as many homes, were flattened, and water and electricity services are disrupted across the island. The cyclone is now heading towards Fiji’s southern islands. Reuters