The Stream, July 26, 2019: Water Restrictions Sweep Europe as Record-Breaking Heat Returns

The Global Rundown

Countries across Europe impose water restrictions as another round of record-high temperatures hit the continent. The U.S. military forms a PFAS task force. East Africa wavers on the edge of famine after consecutive failed rainy seasons. Elevated lead levels are discovered in Parchment, Michigan. California Governor Gavin Newsom signs off on a $1.3 billion clean water bill. 

“I ask everyone who can avoid or delay their journeys to do so. When it is this hot it is not just people in a fragile state who can have health problems.”Élisabeth Borne, the French environment minister,  in reference to train travel during the current hot, dry conditions in Europe. Record-breaking temperatures are boiling the continent for the second time this summer, with Belgium, Germany, and the Netherlands hitting all-time highs on Thursday. The heatwave, along with dry conditions, is prompting water restrictions throughout Europe. The Guardian

Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue

HotSpots H2O: Eight Water Facilities Attacked in Northwest Syria — Eight water facilities in northwest Syria were damaged during skirmishes in recent weeks, disrupting drinking water provision for nearly 250,000 people.

What’s Up With Water – July 22, 2019 — This week’s edition of What’s Up With Water includes coverage on monsoon flooding in South Asia, drought in North Korea, and water outages in Zimbabwe. 

By The Numbers

15 million People in East Africa that are facing food and water shortages. Aid agencies say funding is needed for drought-stricken parts of Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia, in order to avoid a scenario like the 2011 famine, which left hundreds of thousands of people dead in the region. Reuters

$1.3 billion Amount that California will allocate over the next decade to cleaning up water systems in the state, where more than 1 million people are without safe drinking water. The funding will aid communities that are struggling to afford their water operations, and could also be used to consolidate smaller water systems. Governor Gavin Newsom signed off on the bill this week, calling the state’s ongoing water issues a “moral disgrace.” U.S. News & World Report

Science, Studies, and Reports

Dr. Mark T. Esper, the new U.S. Secretary of Defense, sworn in this week, has launched a PFAS task force to investigate the presence of toxic chemicals at hundreds of military bases across the country. Esper said that the Department of Defense plans to aggressively address the contamination and its effects. MLive

In context: PFAS: What You Need To Know.

On the Radar

Testing during the first six months of 2019 revealed lead concentrations above state action levels in the water system of Parchment, Michigan. In all, 20 out of 32 homes had lead levels above the action level of 15 parts per billion. Parchment switched to the Kalamazoo water system last year, and Kalamazoo Public Services Director James Baker said the lead is likely a result of flushing the water system after the switch. MLive

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