The Stream, December 3, 2019: Bali Nearing Water Crisis as Tourism Exhausts Groundwater

The Global Rundown

Bali, Indonesia, runs low on groundwater as tourism booms. Australia experiences its driest and second-hottest spring ever recorded. A dispute within the Trump administration delays a multimillion-dollar study on PFAS in the United States. A water main break in Austin, Texas, causes 100,000 gallons of sewage to spill into a tributary. A prolonged “king tide” submerges a Florida Keys neighborhood for three months. 

“I believe Bali is in real danger. Some of my friends have had to move from their ancestral homes in Denpasar because the water in their wells has turned salty… And now we have drought, not just in Bali but in nearly every province in Indonesia.” –Anton Muhajir, a local journalist, in reference to water shortages in Bali. The island’s groundwater is being heavily pumped to provide water to the 16 million tourists that visit Bali each year. This, along with less consistent monsoon rains, is driving water scarcity on the island. Al Jazeera

Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue

What’s Up With Water – December 2, 2019  — This week’s edition of What’s Up With Water includes coverage on an Indian Supreme Court ruling on water, South Africa’s plans to invest in water infrastructure, and faltering water districts in Kentucky. 

HotSpots H2O: Nearly 1,000 U.S. Superfund Sites Exposed to Climate RiskA report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, a federal watchdog agency, found that more than half of Superfund sites in the United States are at risk from climate change. 

By The Numbers

100,000 gallons Wastewater that flowed into a tributary of Bull Creek in Austin, Texas, after a water main break. Officials say the spill won’t affect Austin’s municipal water, but advise residents with private wells near Bull Creek to drink distilled or boiled water. KXAN

27.4 millimeters (1.08 inches) Average amount of rain that fell across Australia this season, making it the driest spring on record. It was also the second-hottest spring ever recorded. The Guardian

Science, Studies, and Reports

A U.S. study on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water is being delayed due to a dispute within the Trump administration, say those familiar with the study’s progress. In 2018, Congress set aside $10 million for a nationwide study of PFAS. This summer, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced plans to conduct the study, but to move forward they must receive approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Robert Laumbach, an investigator in the study, says that the OMB has yet to approve the study, possibly due to the ongoing review of a separate CDC pilot study on PFAS. USA Today

On the Radar

A “king tide” has left a neighborhood on Key Largo, Florida, flooded with several inches of water for the past three months. The high tide is caused by changes in the moon’s gravitational pull, and usually takes place in the fall. Residents say their biggest frustration is driving through the water, which is causing vehicles to corrode. NPR

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