The Stream, November 16: Drought Could Cause Summertime Power Blackouts in Australia

The Global Rundown

Heat and drought in Australia could cause power blackouts over the next several months, according to the country’s Energy Market Operator. A new study suggests that dams and reservoirs may actually worsen droughts in the long-run. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services begins testing state residents for PFAS contamination. California‘s deadliest wildfire of all time, exacerbated by wind and drought, continues to spread. Data shows that the United States may have less groundwater than previously thought.

“We should protect deep fresh groundwater. Water is abundant on Earth, but only a small share is fresh and unfrozen. The more we learn, the smaller and more precious  that fresh and unfrozen fraction seems to be.” –Scott Jasechko, an author of a recent groundwater study by the University of California – Santa Barbara. The study found that natural salinity, as well as oil and gas activities, may be depleting the amount of available freshwater in the U.S. more quickly that previously thought. Science Daily

Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue

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PFAS: What You Need To KnowChemical contaminants called PFAS, toxic to humans at minuscule doses, are the tip of the spear for threats to groundwater in Michigan and nationally.

By The Numbers

63 Death toll from California’s Camp Fire, the deadliest wildfire in California history. More than 600 people remain missing amid the blaze, which experts say is partially due to years of dry conditions in the state. Reuters

$52 million Cost of additional energy that the Australian Energy Market Operator had to source last year, which amounted to an annual increase of 0.3% in consumer energy bills. The energy operator warned that ongoing heat and drought in Australia could cause blackouts and heightened bills this year as well. The Guardian

Science, Studies, And Reports

An international team of researchers found that dams and reservoirs, while often built to address water shortages, can sometimes lead to worse drought in the long-run. The researchers argued that building reservoirs and storing water often increases demand, which can lead to higher water dependence over time. Science Daily

On The Radar

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is searching for participants for a study on the impact of PFAS exposure. The state agency will gather blood samples from residents in Kent County, where high PFAS levels have been detected, and will study the link between drinking PFAS-contaminated water and the amount in the body. Detroit Free Press

In context: PFAS: What You Need To Know.

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