The Stream, May 29, 2019: Florida’s First Chief Science Officer Pledges to Improve State Water Quality

The Global Rundown

Florida’s first chief science officer plans to prioritize water quality issues. Aid groups warn of deepening drought in Somalia. Deadly tornadoes strike Ohio and record-breaking floods hit Arkansas and Oklahoma. A California beach is shut down after sewage flowed out of Mexico’s Tijuana River. Alaska’s wettest region is experiencing its first ‘extreme drought’ on record.

“There’s a clear focus in this state right now on water quality issues, so that is my priority moving forward. Rising sea levels are [also] a priority issue and factor prominently in how we’re looking at some of the other issues we’re dealing with.” –Dr. Tom Frazer, Florida’s first chief science officer, in reference to water problems in the state. Florida governor Ron DeSantis created the position just after he took office earlier this year. The Guardian

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By The Numbers

1 million Children in Somalia who are expected to be malnourished by the end of 2019 if current drought conditions persist, according to the International Relief Committee (IRC). The humanitarian group warns that current drought conditions may be worse than the lead-up to Somalia’s 2017 famine. IRC

65,000 Homes and businesses in Ohio that were without power at the beginning of the week following heavy storms and tornadoes that left one person dead. State officials have issued boil-water advisories due to water plant and pump outages. Elsewhere in the U.S., Arkansas and Oklahoma are grappling with record-breaking floods. Reuters

Science, Studies, and Reports

Southeast Alaska, the wettest region in the state, is in the midst of its first “extreme drought” since the U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) began taking records. The region has been experiencing drier-than-average weather for the past two years, and was recently upgraded to a D3 (Extreme Drought) status by the USDM . U.S. News & World Report

On the Radar

California extended a closure of the state’s Imperial Beach coast after more sewage-contaminated runoff leached from Mexico’s Tijuana River. An estimated 110 million gallons of tainted water have flowed from Mexico to the California coastline since April. Officials say the beach will remain closed until testing verifies the water’s safety. Associated Press

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