The Stream, July 11, 2019: Hospitals in Chennai, India, Forced to Buy Water from Tanker Trucks

The Global Rundown

Hospitals in drought-stricken Chennai, India, are forced to purchase water from tanker trucks. The Trump administration threatens to veto a bill addressing PFAS contamination in the U.S. An environmental watchdog in England finds high levels of pollution among several water companies. Bolivia grapples with water supply in a changing climate. High water levels prompt Detroit, Michigan, to issue an emergency order allowing works crews to place sandbags on privately-owned riverside properties. High tide flooding is becoming more common in the United States, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

“The future is already here in terms of sea level rise impacts. The impacts are here and now.” –William Sweet, an oceanographer with NOAA, in reference to an increase in high-tide flooding in the United States. The “sunny day” flooding occurs independently of rainfall or hurricanes, and is most frequent on the East and Gulf coasts. High-tide flooding hit coastal areas an average of five days last year. U.S. News & World Report

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HotSpots H2O: Water Supply Disrupted for 3.2m in Eastern Ukraine Amid Repeated Shelling — In the final week of June, five incidents disrupted water and sanitation systems in tumultuous Eastern Ukraine, according to a report by UNICEF. 

By The Numbers

50,000 Sandbags filled by volunteers in Detroit’s Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood after high river levels flooded communities in April. Now, with water levels in Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River continuing to rise, the city issued an emergency order allowing work crews to stack sandbags on the exterior of private residences along the river. Residents who remove the sandbags face fines and possibly jail time. The Detroit News

5,000+ Privately-owned tanker trucks that are delivering water to parched Chennai, India, after key reservoirs ran dry. Hospitals in the city say they are almost entirely reliant on the tankers for water, and that rising water costs are threatening to disrupt the city’s healthcare. Bloomberg

In context: Reservoirs in Parched Chennai, City of Millions, Are Dry. Can Better Forecasting Avert Future Crises?

Science, Studies, and Reports

Only one of England’s nine private water and sewage companies is performing at acceptable levels, according to a report by the Environmental Agency (EA). The watchdog was especially critical of Southern Water and Yorkshire Water, which have been responsible for pollution incidents in the past year. The Guardian

On the Radar

Advisers to U.S. President Donald Trump say they will recommend that he veto the yearly defense authorization bill, in part because of its attempts to address PFAS contamination in and around military bases where PFAS firefighting foam was used. Advisers argue that some of the bill’s PFAS-related provisions, including providing water for agricultural use in contaminated areas, are too far-reaching. Detroit Free Press

Changing weather patterns are disrupting water supply in Bolivia. While the amount of rainfall received each year remains steady, the rainier seasons are becoming shorter and more intense–and are often followed by lengthy periods of drought. A harsh dry spell in 2016 inspired the government to take action on climate change, but residents say efforts have been inadequate so far in addressing dwindling water availability. Deutsche Welle

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