The Stream, October 25: Wildfire Damage Raises Flood Risks in California

The Global Rundown

Damage caused by wildfires raises the risk of flooding across California. Animal waste is polluting water supplies in China’s Heilongjiang province, a government review finds. U.S. President Donald Trump signs America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018. A boil-water mandate in Austin, Texas, could last up to two weeks. The water shutoff campaign in Detroit, Michigan, leaves some households without water for months. Ranchers in Canada are forced to sell or slaughter herds as drought drives up the price of feed.

“This is one of the worst years we’ve ever had. That’s our main source of income, and it was very hard for us to part with the cows. It was heartbreaking.” –Larry Maxwell, a cattle rancher from Trochu, Alberta, in reference to the partial culling of his herd following Canada’s dry, scorching summer. Drought has caused feed prices to skyrocket, forcing many farmers to minimize the size of their herds. Bloomberg

Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue

What’s Up With Water – October 22, 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: Water contamination on indigenous reserves in Canada and an agreement on the Line 5 pipeline in the Great Lakes.

HotSpots H2O, October 22: Lithium Miners Battle for Water in Chile’s Atacama DesertAs lithium operations expand in the Atacama desert, concerns about water availability are increasing.

By The Numbers

47 percent Proportion of large-scale livestock and poultry farms in China’s Heilongjiang province that have proper waste treatment facilities. A recent review by the Chinese government found that farms across the northeastern province are polluting land and water supplies with livestock waste. Reuters

888,000 Residents of Austin, Texas, that may have to wait 10-14 days for water supply to return to normal. The city’s treatment plants are struggling to purify water after heavy rains clogged rivers and lakes with silt and debris. Officials have banned outdoor watering and car washing and are urging residents to limit water use. The New York Times

1,568 Estimated number of occupied homes in Detroit, Michigan, where water has been shut off for an extended period of time, according to data gathered earlier this month. In 2014, the city Water Department began cutting supply to homes once bills were 60 days, or $150, past due. Water is restored to most disconnected homes within 48 hours, but some residents live for months without running water. Bridge

In context: Voices From Detroit: Life Without Water.

Science, Studies, And Reports

On Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump signed America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018, a wide-ranging bill allocating $6 billion to water projects across the country. The funding will address aging infrastructure, damaged wetlands, and issues such as Florida’s toxic red tide algae bloom. The New York Times

On The Radar

California has endured a devastating wave of forest fires over the past year, and the resulting damage will make some areas more prone to flooding, officials say. The state’s wet season is arriving soon, and many hillsides are still scorched and barren, a risk factor for floods and mudslides. Los Angeles Times

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