The Stream, August 10: Trump Administration Orders California to Use More Water to Fight Wildfires

The Global Rundown

The Trump administration attempts to allocate more water to fighting California’s wildfires, despite claims by the state that it has adequate water supplies. Officials release water from 24 reservoirs in Kerala, India, as monsoon rains batter the region. A magnitude 6.2 aftershock rocks Lombok, Indonesia, leaving more people without basic amenities. Ecuador declares a state of emergency as it struggles to provide aid to migrants from Venezuela. Further testing of PFAS-contaminated water at a Vermont airport determine that the water is still safe to drink. Farmers in drought-stricken New South Wales, Australia, are forced to put down livestock as feed prices skyrocket.

“Farmers are getting out left, right and centre. It’s gotten to the point where it’s cheaper to shoot your cows than it is to feed them. No-one likes doing that. You’ve bred them from birth – they’ve been part of your life. But it gets to a point of no return.” –Jason Maloney, a dairy farmer in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, in reference to the state’s crippling drought. Feed is becoming scarcer and more expensive in NSW, and many farmers can no longer afford to feed their livestock. The drought, which has developed over the past year, shows no signs of abating. BBC

Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue

What’s Up With Water – August 6, 2018 – “What’s Up With Water” condenses the need-to-know news on the world’s water into a weekly snapshot. Coverage this week includes: Myanmar’s deadly monsoon season, climate extremes in Kolkata, India, and PFAS contamination in Michigan.

HotSpots H2O, August 6: Poorly-Defined Water Rights Spark Disputes Over Brazil’s Rivers   – A lack of clarity over who holds the rights to Brazil’s rivers is fueling disputes between industrial leaders, indigenous groups, and the government.

By The Numbers

4,200 Number of Venezuelan migrants who are entering Ecuador each day in an effort to escape ongoing unrest in Venezuela. Ecuador has declared a state of emergency in three of its northern states as it attempts to provide water, food, shelter, and other assistance to the migrants. Al Jazeera

In context: HotSpots H2O, July 23: Chaos Engulfs Venezuela as Mismanagement and Drought Cut Water Access.

259 Death toll from last weekend’s earthquake in Lombok, Indonesia, as of Thursday afternoon. A magnitude 6.2 aftershock hit the island on Thursday, causing further damage. Currently, thousands of displaced Lombok residents are in desperate need of shelter, clean water, and other amenities. Reuters

Science, Studies, And Reports

PFAS pollutants were recently identified in wells near the Rutland-Southern Vermont Regional Airport, but further testing has ruled that the contamination is not hazardous to drinking water. The PFAS pollution likely originated in 1986 when firefighting foam was used to extinguish a blaze from a crashed plane. U.S. News & World Report

In context: Congress passes defense bill that includes perfluorinated chemicals health study.

On The Radar

Several wildfires, including the state’s largest ever, are blazing in California. The Trump administration has ordered the National Marine Fisheries Service to send water to firefighters as needed, even if it means diverting water from the habitats of endangered fish and wildlife. California, however, says it has adequate water supplies, and experts say the administration’s directive demonstrates a misunderstanding of how the fires are being fought. The Washington Post  

Spotlight: India

Follow The Stream for daily coverage on India’s water crisis.

Torrential rains continue to swamp Kerala, India, forcing authorities to release water from 24 brimming reservoirs in hopes of preventing dangerous overflows. On Thursday alone, at least 24 people were killed by landslides and flooding from the rains. The death toll in Kerala state from the entire monsoon season is at 175. Reuters

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