The Stream, May 28, 2019: Dangerous Levels of Antibiotics Taint Global Rivers

The Global Rundown

A global study finds alarming levels of antibiotics in the world’s rivers. U.S. lawmakers are set to spar over PFAS legislation. Sydney, Australia, implements water restrictions for the first time 10 years. A new facility is expected to boost water supply for 1 million people in inland California. U.S. property owners in flood-prone areas grow frustrated by the federal buyout program.

“I just don’t want to mess with it anymore. I’m 83 years old and I’m tired of it, and I just want to get out of it.” –Elmer Sullivan, a resident of riverside Mosby, Missouri, in reference to the recurrent floods that have swamped his home. Three years ago, Sullivan and several other Mosby homeowners signed up for a buyout program that involves the government purchasing a property, then demolishing it, versus relying on federal flood insurance to rebuild vulnerable homes in the same spot. As more homes become flood-prone, though, the buyout process is slowing down, frustrating many residents. U.S. News & World Report

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By The Numbers

20 Bills that the United States Congress has introduced this session addressing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), toxic chemicals that are cropping up in water systems across the country. Bipartisan lawmakers are pushing for tighter restrictions on PFAS, but are facing pushback from certain agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Pentagon. The Hill

53.5 percent Current dam levels in Sydney, Australia. The city is implementing stage one water restrictions, which involve using only hoses with trigger nozzles, and limitations on lawn-watering. City officials say they are bracing for continued dry conditions. The Guardian

Science, Studies, and Reports

Dangerous levels of antibiotics are inundating hundreds of global rivers, according to a new international study on the topic. Scientists warn that this situation could be detrimental to human health, as the widespread presence of antibiotics gives way to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. A recent UN report warned that an increase in such bacteria could lead to the deaths of 10 million people by 2050. The Guardian

On the Radar

The first phase of a new water project in California’s San Bernardino and Riverside counties was completed last week, and is expected to increase water supply reliability for 1 million people. The $14 million project, which also includes a second phase, carries water from a regional dam to a new sedimentation basin, boosting groundwater levels in the process. U.S. News & World Report

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