The Stream, December 18, 2019: High Levels of PFAS Detected in U.S. Rainwater Samples

The Global Rundown

A new study detects high levels of PFAS chemicals in rainwater throughout parts of the United States. Farm profits in Australia have fallen by 22 percent in the past 20 years, says the country’s agricultural department. The European Investment Bank signs $75 million in infrastructure deals with Bosnia to help improve the country’s water supply and flood protection. Two men who took plea deals after being criminally charged in the Flint water crisis could see their charges dismissed. The seven U.S. states that rely on water from the Colorado River meet to discuss the waterway’s future. 

“The Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) is sort of a temporary patch to some of the Colorado River basin’s long-term water scarcity problems.” –Luke Runyon, a reporter for KUNC, in reference to the DCP, a water-sharing agreement between Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. The seven states met last week for the annual Colorado River Water Users Association Conference to discuss the DCP, as well as the longer-term future of the Colorado River. The DCP was established earlier this year after several years of deliberation, and specifies when and where water cuts will be necessary. KNPR

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What’s Up With Water – December 16, 2019  — This week’s edition of What’s Up With Water includes coverage on earth’s vanishing mountain water, drought in Zambia, and a PFAS settlement in the United States. 

HotSpots H2O: Famine Risk Increases in South Sudan as Floods Ravage HarvestsAfter being hit by drought and then severe flooding, the Nile basin country now faces widespread food insecurity. 

By The Numbers

22 percent Average amount that annual farm profits have tumbled in the past 20 years in Australia due to climate change, translating into losses of around $18,600 per farm, according to a new report by the country’s Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences. In total, this amounts to a loss of $1.1 billion in revenue per year. The Guardian

$75 million Amount that the European Union and its lending arm, the European Investment Bank, plan to invest in Bosnia. The funding will be used to improve the country’s water supply and wastewater management, as well as bolstering flood defenses. Reuters

Science, Studies, and Reports

Rainwater in some parts of the United States contains high levels of toxic PFAS chemicals, according to new data. This spring and summer, researchers from the National Atmospheric Deposition Program (NADP) analyzed 37 rainwater samples from 30 different sites in the U.S. They found that all samples contained at least one PFAS compound, while some contained concentrations that could be potentially hazardous to human health. Researchers say that the contamination likely comes from industrial emissions and evaporation of firefighting foams containing PFAS. The Guardian

On the Radar

Two men who took plea deals over criminal charges related to the Flint water crisis may have their cases dismissed this week. Judge David Goggins is set to review the cases of Stephen Busch and Michael Prysby, workers at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality who were responsible for overseeing Flint’s water system during the 2014-2015 crisis. MLive

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