The Stream, February 12, 2020: High Water Levels in Michigan Cause Up to $100 Million in Road Damage

The Global Rundown

Repairs to Michigan roads flooded by the rising Great Lakes, as well as inland waterways, could cost up to $100 million. A Chinese company hopes to construct a $1.4 billion hydropower plant on a Ugandan stretch of the Nile River. A proposed underground copper mine in Minnesota may threaten nearby clean water. Zimbabwe rushes to secure corn imports as drought devastates local crops. Recent rainfall in New South Wales, Australia, boosts Sydney’s Warragamba Dam to 62 percent capacity. 

“These things get expensive in a hurry.” –Brad Wieferich, director of the Michigan Department of Transportation’s development bureau, in reference to road damages caused by recent flooding and erosion in the state. High water levels in the Great Lakes have contributed to the damages, as well as overflowing inland waterways. Wieferich says around $5 million is needed for immediate fixes, while long-term costs could total close to $100 million. Crain’s Detroit Business

Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue

What’s Up With Water – February 10, 2020 — This week’s edition of What’s Up With Water includes coverage on rains in Australia, negotiations over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, and rising water levels in the U.S. Great Lakes. 

HotSpots H2O: Northwest Syrian Health Services Collapse Amid ‘Judgement Day’ ConditionsApproximately 586,000 people in northwest Syria have been driven from their homes since December 1, when the national government began a campaign against rebel groups in Idlib and Aleppo governorates.

By The Numbers

110,000 tons Amount of corn needed to “ensure that no one goes hungry” in Zimbabwe, according to local media. The country is hurrying to import the grain after drought halved the normal harvest. BNN Bloomberg

$1.4 billion Cost of a potential hydropower plant on the Nile River between the Kyoga and Albert lakes in Uganda. Chinese company POWERCHINA International Group Limited (PIGL) applied to Ugandan authorities for a license to build the plant, which could boost Uganda’s power generation by 40 percent. Reuters

Science, Studies, and Reports

Water levels in Sydney’s Warragamba Dam jumped to 62 percent capacity following a week of torrential rainfall in New South Wales, Australia. A total of 512,452 megalitres accumulated across all of the city’s catchments, and inflows were the highest recorded in three years. The Guardian 

On the Radar

Locals fear that a proposed mine near the protected Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness in northern Minnesota could jeopardize pristine waters and the tourist and outdoor recreation economy that has developed in the region. A representative of mining company Twin Metals Minnesota says the deposit of copper, nickel, and other precious metals is only found at a lake just outside the Boundary Waters, and claims that the mine would benefit, not imperil, the area. The company is facing a handful of lawsuits and other delays, meaning the possible completion of the mine is still several years away. NPR

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