The Stream, May 22: Gully Remediation Project Aims to Improve Great Barrier Reef Water Quality

The Global Rundown

Conservationists patch gullies in Queensland, Australia, to keep damaging sediment away from the Great Barrier Reef. Cape Town, South Africa, begins receiving water from a small-scale desalination plant. Washington plans to test hundreds of water systems in the state for PFAS contamination. Maize output in Malawi falls by 19 percent due to prolonged drought and an invasion of armyworms. Despite widespread drought in Colorado, water levels are normal in the Arkansas River.

“It’s remarkable how often there is a boundary condition between southern and central Colorado, how one side of the line gets water and the other side doesn’t.” –Tony Anderson, a National Weather Service hydrologist, in reference to differences in winter precipitation in Colorado. Although most of the state is experiencing drought, parts of central Colorado enjoyed an unexpectedly wet winter. Melting snow is now filling the Arkansas River, a popular destination for fishing and whitewater rafting. The New York Times

Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue

What’s Up With Water – May 21, 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: global freshwater trends, Turkey’s contentious Kanal Istanbul, and toxic algal blooms across the U.S.

HotSpots H2O, May 21: Drought, Then Floods, Destabilize KenyaIn recent years, water shortages have caused a variety of conflicts in Kenya. Now, deadly flooding could further destabilize the country.

By The Numbers

1.5 million liters (400,000 gallons) Water produced every other day by a small desalination plant that was recently opened in Cape Town, South Africa. Residents in the drought-stricken city used an average of 525 million liters/day in the past week, causing a drop in dam levels. Bloomberg

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

19.4 percent Decline in Malawi’s maize output after a year of drought and armyworm attacks. The agricultural minister warned that the dry spell could also reduce yields of cassava, groundnut, and sorghum crops. Reuters

Science, Studies, And Reports

Hoping to aid the Great Barrier Reef, conservationists and farmers are patching eroded farm gullies surrounding the Burdekin River watershed in Queensland, Australia. Nearly half of the sediment that washes into the reef flows from the Burdekin, largely due to “tunnel erosion” in the gullies. Program leaders believe that restructuring the gullies will prevent thousands of tonnes of sediment from dirtying the reef. The Guardian

On The Radar

After finding unsafe levels of PFAS chemicals in five drinking water systems, the Washington Department of Health plans to test for contamination in hundreds of additional systems. The manmade compounds were also discovered in dozens of private wells near a firefighting training ground where foam containing PFAS was used. The Seattle Times

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

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