The Global Rundown
A new report claims that the death toll from the 2014 Flint water crisis is possibly higher than official figures. Groundwater quality improves across China in the first half of 2018. Flooding kills 20 and affects thousands in Odisha, India. Drought-stricken El Salvador declares emergency as the country combats food and water shortages. California approves $2.7 billion in funding for several water storage projects. Years of dry weather devastate Iraqi agriculture.
“If you could have seen this area before, it was full of green as far as your eyes could see.” –Assem Abdel Rahman, the supervisor of a water facility near Mosul Dam Lake, in reference to the once-lush Iraqi countryside. Now, after years of drought and war, much much of Iraq’s agricultural heartland is turning to desert. The New York Times
Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue
HotSpots H2O, July 23: Chaos Engulfs Venezuela as Mismanagement and Drought Cut Water Access – Last week, a 12-year-old boy was shot in the chest during a protest over water and electricity outages. Similar protests are igniting across the country as Venezuela’s economy and infrastructure collapse.
More Evidence of Nitrate Cancer Risk in Drinking Water – Case builds of health damage from a common pollutant.
In Flint Water Crisis, EPA’s Friendly Relationship with State Regulators Delayed Use of Legal Authority – Despite warning signs, federal authorities were slow to act in Flint, the agency’s internal watchdog says.
By The Numbers
33 days Length of time since the eastern part of El Salvador has gone without rain. During the same period, temperatures have reached a record-high 41°C (107°F). The extreme conditions have wilted crops and left some families without water. The government has now declared a “red alert,” allowing it to use public funds to provide food supplies and aid to farmers. Reuters
$2.7 billion Amount of funding awarded by the California Water Commission to eight potential water storage projects. In order to secure the funding, the projects must now obtain environmental permits and acquire additional funding by 2022. Los Angeles Times
Science, Studies, And Reports
A recent analysis of groundwater samples from across China showed that the country’s overall water quality has improved in the first six months of 2018. The analysis found that 70 percent of the 2,050 samples were fit for human use, compared with 67.9 percent last year. Reuters
On The Radar
The death toll from Flint’s 2014 water crisis may be higher than previously thought, according to an ongoing investigation by PBS Frontline. Official numbers state that 12 Flint residents died from Legionnaires’ disease, a severe form of pneumonia, in 2014 and 2015 when the city was relying on water from the Flint River. The investigation, however, notes that 119 people in the area also died from pneumonia during the crisis. According to some scientists, a portion of these deaths may have been caused by the waterborne legionella bacteria. PBS Frontline
In context: Circle of Blue’s coverage of the Flint water crisis.
Follow The Stream for daily coverage on India’s water crisis.
Monsoon rains deluged Odisha, India, for four days straight during the past week, affecting more than 300,000 people. At least 20 people in the region died during the rains, most due to flood-related incidents. The rain has subsided for the time being. Times of India
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