The Stream, February 26, 2020: Federal Regulators Order Draining of Large California Reservoir Due to Flooding Risk

The Global Rundown

U.S. dam regulators call for the largest reservoir in Santa Clara County, California, to be drained due to earthquake-related flood risks. Heavy rainfall deluges parts of Jakarta, Indonesia, cutting power supplies and halting transportation. A proposal by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency seeks to release PFAS manufacturers from cleanup responsibilities in areas where the chemicals have infiltrated water supply. The town of Hasankeyf, Turkey, is slowly becoming submerged by the filling of the Ilisu Dam. Two “danger to life” flood warnings remain in place along the River Severn in England following recent storms.

“Now it’s just a waiting game to see how far the river rises and there will obviously be the big clear-up afterwards.” –Sarah Holmes, a resident of Ironbridge, England, in reference to the River Severn, which is rising to dangerously high levels as heavy rainfall continues to deluge the United Kingdom. Water levels in parts of the River Severn have nearly doubled since last weekend, and were expected to peak late Tuesday. The flooding has shut down schools, shopping centers, and other establishments. BBC

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By The Numbers

15 meters Amount that water levels in and around the ancient town of Hasankeyf, Turkey, have risen since July, when filling of the Ilisu Dam began. The dam, which is nearly complete following decades of delays, will ultimately affect 199 villages and force 80,000 people to relocate. Reuters 

Science, Studies, and Reports

Federal dam regulators in the United States have ordered local water officials to drain the largest reservoir in Santa Clara County, California, by October 1, 2020, due to a potential flood risk in the event of an earthquake. Draining the reservoir would eliminate flood danger for the cities of Morgan Hill and San Jose, but could also force residents of the Santa Clara Valley Water District to drastically reduce their water consumption. Silicon Valley Business Journal

On the Radar

Under a new proposal by the U.S. EPA, manufacturers of toxic PFAS chemicals would not be required to prove that they have the funds needed to clean up areas where the chemicals have contaminated water supply. Opponents of the proposal argue that if companies are not required to provide financial assurances, it may complicate efforts to secure adequate cleanup funding. The Hill

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Heavy rainfall in Jakarta, Indonesia, has inundated several low-lying parts of the city, as well as affecting other parts of the country. In Jakarta, power supplies have been cut to some homes, and several major streets were deluged. Reuters 

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