The Stream, May 30, 2019: Ongoing Mississippi River Flood is Longest in 92 Years

The Global Rundown

Flooding in the Mississippi River is the longest-lasting in more than 90 years. A new study emphasizes Asia’s critical reliance on water from melting glaciers. New Hampshire sues eight companies for damages caused by PFAS contaminants. Villagers leave Pakistan’s Thar desert as a years-long drought kills crops and cattle. Officials in Zacatecas, Mexico, offer to mediate a water-related dispute between a mining firm and villagers in San Juan de Cedros.

“The most important thing is to break this wall that has been put up between (the sides).” –Jehu Salas, the secretary general of Mexico’s Zacatecas state, where Mexico’s largest gold and silver mine Penasquito is located. Operations at the mine have been blockaded by local villagers for two months over claims that mining activities caused the area’s water supply to dry up. Residents are demanding $442 million in compensation from mine owner Nemont Goldcorp, who say they are willing to consider the mine’s environmental impact but believe the allegations may be an attempt at extortion. Reuters

Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue

In Mississippi River Flood Fight, Army Corps Prepares to Open Rarely Used SpillwayThe Morganza spillway will redirect some of the river’s surging waters to protect Louisiana’s big cities and its levee system.

HotSpots H2O: Two Years After Siege, Thousands Still Lack Clean Water in Philippines City — Two years after an Islamic State siege on Marawi, tens of thousands of people still have not returned to their homes in the lakeside city in the southern Philippines.

By The Numbers

8 Companies sued by New Hampshire, including 3M and the DuPont Co., in regards to PFAS contamination in drinking water and household products. New York has also sued six companies over PFOS and PFOA chemicals in fire-fighting foam. U.S. News & World Report

In context: As PFAS Lawsuits Proliferate, Legal Tactics Emerge.

92 Years since the Mississippi River has flooded as badly as it currently is, during the “Great Flood” of 1927. Along several parts of the river, water levels have been at flood stage for nearly 4 months, the longest stretch of time since the Great Flood. USA Today

Science, Studies, and Reports

Melting glaciers play a crucial role in hydrating Asia’s population, with 95,000 glaciers providing water to 221 million people each summer. The ice melt also provides a key buffer against summertime droughts, which are becoming more frequent across the region. Authors of the study warn that a warming climate is accelerating the glacial melt beyond sustainable levels, which could be detrimental in coming decades. Reuters

In context: With Rising Temperatures, Stark Changes Ahead for Asia’s Water Tower.

On the Radar

Villagers in Pakistan’s Thar Desert are being forced to abandon their homes and livelihoods as a fourth year of drought grips the region. Residents say the situation is worsening by the day, and dry conditions have killed off numerous cattle and crops. Al Jazeera

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