The Stream, August 24: 1.5 Million Michigan Residents Drinking PFAS-Contaminated Water

The Global Rundown

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality reports that 1.5 million state residents have been drinking municipal water contaminated with PFAS. Weekend rains are in the forecast for parched eastern Australia. Ancient “hunger stones” become visible in the Czech Republic’s Elbe River as water levels drop. India hesitates to accept international aid for Kerala flood victims. The amount of “severe” drought in the United States falls. Indigenous reindeer herders in Sweden request government aid to help curb the impact of this summer’s drought.

“We are living with the effects of climate change. The alarm bells are ringing. We face droughts, heatwaves, fires. This is about the survival of the reindeer, and of Sami culture, which depends on them.” –Niila Inga, chair of the Swedish Sami Association, in reference to Sweden’s 250,000 semi-domesticated reindeer, who are herded by the indigenous Sami. Months of drought have devastated winter grazing lands, prompting the Sami to ask for state assistance. The Guardian

Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue

What’s Up With Water – August 20, 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: devastating monsoon flooding in Kerala, water shortages in Delhi, and drought in Australia.

HotSpots H2O, August 20: Taliban Attack on Ghazni, Afghanistan, Cuts Off Water, Power – After a five-day siege, conditions in Ghazni remain “particularly grim,” according to the United Nations. The battle shut down water supply, electricity, and telecommunications in the city of 270,000.

By The Numbers

19.1 percent Proportion of the United States that is experiencing severe to exceptional drought, down from 20 percent last week, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center. At this time last year, only 5.5 percent of the country was enduring severe drought. Bloomberg

12+ Number of ancient “hunger stones” that have appeared in the Elbe River, near the border of the Czech Republic and Germany. Drought has caused water levels in the Elbe to drop, revealing the ancient stones, which were used to mark low water levels in the river. Historically, the stones were a sign that difficult times were coming. Seattle Times

Science, Studies, And Reports

More than 1.5 million Michigan residents have been drinking municipal water contaminated with Perfluorinated alkyl substances, or PFAS, according to the Department of Environmental Quality. Most of the PFAS levels are below federal safety thresholds, but residents and lawmakers are calling for continued testing and the establishment of stricter PFAS standards in Michigan. MLive

In context: Fear and Fury in Michigan Town Where Air Force Contaminated Water.

On The Radar

Rain is expected this weekend in parts of New South Wales, Australia, which is currently enduring “the worst drought in living memory.” Up to 2 inches of rain is in the forecast for some areas of the province. AccuWeather

Spotlight: India

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

Political tensions are flaring in India after the country’s central government turned down $100 million in aid offered by foreign governments to help Kerala flood victims. In a bid for self-sufficiency, India has not accepted foreign aid in more than a decade. Officials in Kerala, however, are demanding that the government either take the aid or compensate Kerala with the same amount. The New York Times

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