The Stream, February 6, 2020: New South Wales Braces for Heavy Rainfall, Floods

The Global Rundown

Flood watches are in place across New South Wales as the drought-plagued Australian state prepares for fire-quenching rainfall. Torrential rains trap hundreds of tourists on New Zealand’s South Island. California Governor Gavin Newsom announces a new plan for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The City Council of Ann Arbor, Michigan, grants final approval for nearly $4 million in water system upgrades. Lake Michigan reaches record-high levels for the month of January. 

“WaterNSW is working closely with the [Bureau of Meteorology] to anticipate potential rain impacts in coming days.” –A spokesman for WaterNSW, the state’s water service company. Heavy rainfall is expected across New South Wales in coming days, prompting several flood watches. The precipitation is expected to ease ongoing bushfires, but meteorologists warn that rainfall could also pose risks to drinking water as ash and silt are washed into waterways. The Guardian

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By The Numbers

$3.8 million Amount that Ann Arbor, Michigan, will spend on upgrades to its water system. The City Council gave approval on Monday night for $3.4 million in bonds, which will be used to fund UV-treatment at the city’s water plant, plus a separate $406,800 contract for PFAS-related filtration system improvements. MLive

500 Number of tourists stranded by intense rainfall in the Milford Sound region of New Zealand’s South Island. Heavy storms have caused swollen rivers and flash flooding on the island. A state of emergency has been declared, and residents in low-lying areas are under evacuation orders. Reuters

Science, Studies, and Reports

Lake Michigan reached a record high for the month of January, with water levels four inches above the previous record, set in 1987. Scientists say the new record likely foreshadows continued high water levels, shoreline erosion, and flooding this spring. Chicago Tribune 

On the Radar

On Tuesday, California Governor Gavin Newsom proposed a new management plan for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. The new framework involves voluntary water-sharing agreements between water agencies, which have been brokered over the past year, as well as the restoration of 60,000 acres of endangered species habitat and $5 billion in funding for environmental projects. If approved, the agreements would be in place for the next 15 years. Associated Press 

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