The Stream, February 5, 2019: Torrential Rains Force Deliberate Flooding of 2,000 Homes in Queensland, Australia

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

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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

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