The Global Rundown
Heavy rainfall in Townsville, Queensland, forces officials to open a dam and flood 2,000 homes. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation says California and Arizona failed to fully complete Colorado River drought plans before the January 31 deadline. A study warns about dangers to rivers and crops in Asia as Himalayan glaciers melt. A local newspaper reports that Brazilian mining company Vale knew about potential risks prior to the recent dam collapse. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer restructures the state government with an aim of ensuring safe drinking water.
“We need to be laser-focused on cleaning up water in our state. This is about finding real solutions to clean up our drinking water so every Michigander can bathe their kids and give them a glass of water at the dinner table safely.” –Gretchen Whitmer, Governor of Michigan, in reference to a reorganization of state government that will put increased emphasis on clean drinking water. Whitmer plans to restructure the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and create new offices, including a Clean Water Public Advocate. Detroit Free Press
Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue
HotSpots H2O: Resource Conflicts Rattle Nigeria in Lead-Up to Elections — Conflict between farmers and herders over water and pasture shook Nigeria in recent years, leaving more than 1,500 people dead in 2018.
What’s Up With Water – Brazil’s Water After Rupture of Mining Waste Dam, and More — This week’s edition of What’s Up With Water covers the threat to Brazil‘s water after the rupture of a massive mining waste dam, the Colorado River Indian Tribes’ decision to seek changes to water leasing rules, which could have profound effects for the Colorado River basin, and a royal commission’s evaluation of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
By The Numbers
2,000 Homes in Townsville, Queensland, that were deliberately flooded after eight days of rainfall filled the Ross River Dam to 247 percent of normal capacity. Officials were forced to release water from the dam, which swamped homes and businesses. Flooding in the city also burst pipes at the local water treatment plant, prompting calls for residents to conserve water. The Guardian
110 Latest death toll from the recent collapse of a Brazilian tailings dam. A local newspaper reported that Vale, the owner of the dam, knew in April of 2018 about potential safety issues in the event of a dam burst. Reuters
Science, Studies, And Reports
Thawing of Himalayan glaciers will disrupt Asian river flows, and likely crop growth, says a new international study. Melting will impact that Yangtze, Mekong, Indus, and Ganges rivers, which provide water to nearly 2 billion people. The study predicts disruption of hydropower production and an increased risk of mountain landslides, among other concerns. Reuters
On The Radar
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman said on Friday that California and Arizona failed to fully complete drought contingency plans for the Colorado River by the January 31 deadline, despite hastily-passed legislation by Arizona last week. Burman says the federal government will begin the process of crafting its own drought plan, but will halt the process if all seven Colorado Basin states finalize their drought plans by March 4. AZ Central
Kayla Ritter is a recent graduate of Michigan State University, where she studied International Relations and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. She is currently based in Manton, Michigan. Kayla enjoys running, writing, and traveling. Contact Kayla Ritter