The Stream, January 31: FEMA Cuts Water Aid to Puerto Rico

The Global Rundown

The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) halts food and water aid to Puerto Rico. Cape Town pushes Day Zero back to April 16 following a week of improved water conservation. Thousands of Texas residents are still in temporary housing five months after Hurricane Harvey.  A sanitation campaign in Bangladesh improves health, but not stunting, among malnourished children. California hovers on the edge of drought as hot, dry weather continues.

“We’re about halfway through the rain season, so we’ve only got February and March, and they better be a miracle. If they’re not, we just backflipped into the drought again.” –Bill Patzert, a California climatologist, in reference to the growing likelihood of drought in the state. California’s rainfall has been significantly below average in recent months, and a record-breaking heatwave is exacerbating the state’s current dry spell. Los Angeles Times

Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue

Cape Town Outlines Plans for Emergency Water DistributionResidents will be allowed 25 liters (6.6 gallons) per person per day at 200 collection points.

Deadly Legionella Bacteria Are Common in U.S. Building Plumbing – Water samples from cooling towers across the country show signs of the bacteria.

By The Numbers

1 percent Proportion of Puerto Ricans currently in need of emergency food and water, according to FEMA’s internal analytics. The agency, which has provided 30 million gallons of potable water to Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria, announced they will “officially shut off” the aid on Wednesday, January 31. Many rural communities are still without electricity and running water. NPR

80 percent Proportion of Texas hurricane victims that did not have flood insurance. As a result, over 30,000 Texans remain in temporary housing five months after Hurricane Harvey, waiting for federal aid. PBS NewsHour

Science, Studies, And Reports

A Stanford-led study found that improving water quality, sanitation, and hygiene among young children in Bangladesh did not impact stunting, contrary to researchers’ expectations. Children born in housing compounds with improved water quality were far healthier, but not measurably taller, than children living in compounds with contaminated water. Stanford Medicine News Center

On The Radar

City officials in Cape Town, South Africa have adjusted Day Zero again–but this time, the date was pushed back by 4 days, to April 16. The city’s water conservation efforts have improved over the past week, and citizens are urged to “Defeat Day Zero” by continuing to lower their water use. News24

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Kayla Ritter

Kayla Ritter is a recent graduate of Michigan State University, where she studied International Relations and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. She is currently based in Manton, Michigan. Kayla enjoys running, writing, and traveling. Contact Kayla Ritter