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
Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue
Covid-19 + Water: Live Blog — The volume of Covid-19 news can be overwhelming. We’ve started a live blog, updated throughout the day, to help you sort through it. It’s a library for how water, sanitation, and hygiene connect to the pandemic, both in the US and globally.
HotSpots H2O: Lower Mekong Nations Seek Greater Cooperation from China Following Recent Study — Delicate discussions over the future of the imperiled Mekong River could be further complicated by the findings of a new study, which claims that China withheld water from drought-hit downstream nations last year.
What’s Up With Water – April 20, 2020 — This week’s edition of What’s Up With Water includes coverage on Chinese dams along the Mekong River, a “megadrought” in the southwestern United States, and a complaint in Chile over depletion of an aquifer by a mining company.
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
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
Kayla Ritter is a recent graduate of Michigan State University, where she studied International Relations and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. She is currently based in Manton, Michigan. Kayla enjoys running, writing, and traveling. Contact Kayla Ritter