The Stream, February 9: California Opts to Build a One-Tunnel Water Delivery System

The Global Rundown

California decides to build one delta tunnel after failing to raise the $17bn needed for a two-tunnel water delivery project. South Africa could declare a national disaster as drought spreads beyond Cape Town. A study finds that global warming increases flood risks in central and western Europe. Shelling damages a major water plant in Afrin, Syria. The governor of Arizona calls for increased fire prevention funding amid ongoing drought. Canada’s efforts to improve First Nations water systems fall short.

“I think the fact that there are hundreds of First Nations that are facing a situation where they can’t drink the water, where they can’t bathe their children in the water, where they can’t have a cup of tea, is totally unacceptable and it’s a long-standing injustice that needs to be redressed.” –Alaya Boisvert, public engagement manager with the David Suzuki Foundation, in reference to ongoing waters woes among Canada’s First Nations population. Canadian lawmakers have worked to improve First Nations water systems in recent years, but a new Suzuki Foundation report identified a number of continued shortcomings in the government’s efforts. CBC

Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue

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Cape Town Pushes Back Day Zero by Nearly One Month – May 11 is now the estimated date when water service will be turned off.

By The Numbers

$10.7 billion Cost of a one-tunnel water delivery project that will extend 35 miles under California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The tunnel will serve as an alternative to the state’s ambitious two-tunnel project, which failed to garner enough funding. An environmental review of the modified plans will be ready in October. Los Angeles Times

$2 million Amount of fire-prevention funding requested by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. The state is in the midst of an exceptionally dry winter, which greatly increases the risk of wildfires. The funding would go toward removing brush and other dangerous fuels. U.S. News & World Report

Science, Studies, And Reports

Global warming will greatly increase flood risks in parts of Europe, according to a team of European scientists. Researchers calculated flood risk based on future climate, expected damage, and the population that would be affected. Their analysis predicts that roughly 500,000 to 1 million people in western and central Europe will be affected by flooding in the future; flood risks in eastern Europe were less clear. The Guardian

On The Radar

A plant supplying drinking water to hundreds of thousands of residents in Syria’s Afrin region was damaged by recent shelling, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The Observatory believes Turkish troops caused the damage, a report which the Turkish military denies. Reuters

South Africa’s National Disaster Management Center will announce by February 14 whether it will declare a national disaster due to widespread drought. Three provinces, including the Northern Cape, Western Cape, and Eastern Cape, have already declared provincial disasters. Dam levels across the country currently average 58.8 percent. News24

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