The Stream, April 21, 2020: Las Vegas Drops Plan to Pump Water from Rural Areas

The Global Rundown

Las Vegas, Nevada, abandons plans to pump water from rural parts of the state. Heavy rainfall causes flash floods and landslides in western Kenya, possibly leaving several people dead. A shortage of carbon dioxide gas, which is used in water treatment, may affect U.S. water supplies during the Covid-19 pandemic. In Detroit, Michigan, the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department says that nearly all homes in the city are now reconnected to water service in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis. Environmental groups work to restore parts of the languishing Colorado River Delta

“We know we aren’t going to be able to restore the delta to the way it was before, because it’s impossible now. But we know that with the restoration work we’re doing, planting trees, creating pathways, it’s working — even though we don’t have water flowing there all the time.” –Gaby Caloca, a member of the Mexican environmental group Pronatura Noroeste, in reference to restoration efforts in the Colorado River Delta. In recent decades, the delta has been plagued by drier conditions and shrinking water supplies, but activists have successfully managed to foster growth in some parts of the threatened ecosystem. AZ Central 

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By The Numbers

$15 billion Potential cost of a project funnelling water from rural northeastern Nevada into Las Vegas, according to estimates by the Great Basin Water Network, a coalition of groups that opposed the project. This week, Las Vegas officials announced that they are now abandoning the decades-long plan to extract water from other parts of the state. The Southern Nevada Water Authority said it will instead focus on conservation and improving ties with other states that rely on water from the Colorado River. AP

1,121 Homes in Detroit, Michigan, that have been reconnected to water service under a special program launched amid the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD). The program, which began in early March, allows households whose water service was disconnected due to nonpayment to reconnect for $25. DWSD says fewer than 10 homes are now without water. Some activists are questioning the legitimacy of these numbers, however, with Shea Howell of the People’s Water Board Coalition noting that the department’s own data shows a large gap between documented shutoffs and restorations. Michigan Radio

In context: As Cities Suspend Shutoffs, Water Access and Hygiene at Front of Coronavirus Response

Science, Studies, and Reports

A shortage of carbon dioxide gas (CO2) due to the Covid-19 pandemic could disrupt water supplies for some U.S. utilities, warns a new emergency planning document released by Washington state. CO2 is a key component of water treatment, and the document warns that several water plants may only receive a third of their normal supply from vendors. The Guardian

On the Radar

Torrential rainfall in western Kenya spurred flash floods and landslides, sweeping away houses and possibly leaving several people dead. Local media report that the counties of West Pokot, Narok, and Elgeyo Marakwet were hardest-hit. Al Jazeera


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