The Stream, October 3, 2019: California Begins Water Year With Above-Average Reservoir Levels

The Global Rundown

California begins its water year with above-average water reserves. New research shows that watersheds where groundwater is pumped may see declining river flows by 2050. Catch rates in Mexico are projected to decrease by 30 percent over the next three decades, a study warns. Regulators find increased levels of PFAS contaminants in Lake Erie. Monsoon rains in India have killed more than 1,600 people this year. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi declares the country open defecation free, though experts question the claim. 

“The community toilets remain open from 5am till 9pm. Where will the people go during the night hours?” –Ahsan-ud Din, who runs a poultry shop in India, in reference to the lack of toilets in many villages and communities. On Wednesday, the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared that the country is open defecation free (ODF). Five years ago, Modi launched a campaign with a goal of India becoming ODF by October 2, 2019, a claim that he says has been achieved. In many communities, however, residents say toilets remain scarce or nonexistent. Al Jazeera

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By The Numbers

1,673 People killed in monsoon flooding in India since June, according to government data. This year’s monsoon has been the heaviest in 25 years. Al Jazeera 

128 percent of average Current reservoir levels in California, based on data from the Department of Water Resources. Large amounts of rainfall and snowpack led to the above-average water levels as the state’s water year, which runs from October 1 to September 30, begins. Sacramento Bee

Science, Studies, and Reports

A new study published in the journal Nature warns that groundwater pumping is altering river flows across the world. The groundwater beneath many watersheds is being pumped beyond safe levels, which researchers say affects the entire watershed system. By 2050, more than half of watersheds where groundwater is pumped are likely to see decreased river flows, the study found. Bloomberg

Mexican fisheries are at risk of dropping catch numbers unless they can adapt to climate change, scientists warn. A study co-authored by the New York-based Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) warns that catches may drop 30 percent over the next 30 years unless sustainable fishing practices are developed. Reuters

On the Radar

Samples taken in early September found heightened levels of PFAS in the Monroe and Frenchtown Township, Michigan, water systems, which draw their water from Lake Erie. The PFAS levels were in the teens to mid-20s parts per trillion, which are below federal health advisory levels but near draft limits in the state. Together the two water systems serve around 70,000 people. MLive

In context: From Michigan to the Nation — A Groundwater Emergency.

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