The Stream, August 12, 2020: Sites Contaminated With PFAS Are Rising in Michigan

The Global Rundown

The number of PFAS-contaminated sites in Michigan increases by 30 percent this month. Britain could receive over a month’s amount of rain in mere hours this week. A new study says areas of Alberta, Canada will experience water shortages due to climate change. Millions are displaced or evacuated due to flooding in China. One resident in the Navajo Nation made it his mission to deliver clean water during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The idea behind this whole campaign… was to reach the people who can’t get to the water themselves, and to reach the people who are… far away enough to have been forgotten.” – Zoel Zohnnie, founder of the Water Warriors United campaign to bring clean water to Navajo families during the Covid-19 pandemic. Zohnnie started out by delivering water himself directly to the doorsteps of Navajo families and now coordinates with volunteers to deliver an average of 5,000 gallons of water a week to residents across the reservation. Zohnnie said he hopes his initiative will last beyond Covid-19, but plans to continue to help in any way he can. Midland Daily News

In context: Where Water Is Scarce on Native American Reservations Covid-19 Spreads More Easily

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By The Numbers

2 hours The amount of time over a month’s worth of rain could fall on parts of Britain this week. Warnings were issued over the weekend for the potential of “torrential downpours” and flash flooding, while an ongoing heatwave is set to break records. The Guardian

138 The number of PFAS-contaminated sites in Michigan. The number took a 30 percent increase this month after new drinking water standards have severely limited the amount of seven different types of PFAS compounds allowed in public water supplies. Michigan now has some of the strictest PFAS standards in the country and advocates of the restrictions have called the state a leader in PFAS regulation. MLive

 In context:

Science, Studies, and Reports

A new study form the University of British Columbia identified four locations in Alberta, Canada that will experience water shortages as climate change drives glacial retreat in the province. The vulnerable areas, Lake Louise, the towns of Hinton and Rocky Mountain House and the Bighorn Dam, receive most of their water from glacial-fed rivers, making them susceptible to unpredictable water levels in the late summer with a lower average supply of water. The authors of the study said that while these areas won’t necessarily run out of water, authorities will have to change their current water management strategies to have enough water to last throughout the summer. Calgary Herald

On the Radar

Since June, 55 million people have been affected by flooding in China, with almost four million  having been displaced or evacuated. The flooding, which is the worst China has seen in 20 years, comes during a time of increased scrutiny of dams around the world. During heavy rainfall, authorities in China are often forced to suddenly release water from dams across the country, often without warning residents. One resident said he only realized water had been released from a nearby dam when the water entered his home. NPR

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