The Global Rundown
Heavy rainfall eases bushfires in Australia, but blazes still remain. Ongoing drought in Guatemala fuels childhood malnutrition. The U.S. Supreme Court rules that residents of Flint, Michigan, can pursue a civil rights lawsuit over the city’s lead crisis. Twenty-one “critically overdrafted” areas of California prepare groundwater management plans as part of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). Environmental groups say the U.S. Department of Defense is endangering communities by incinerating large amounts of PFAS-laced firefighting foam.
“There’s a need for much more significant research and regulatory action to make sure that disposal is done in a way that doesn’t just move the environmental problem around.” –Erik Olson, the Natural Resources Defense Council’s senior director for health and food, in reference to the burning of firefighting foam by the U.S. Department of Defense. Green groups argue that the impacts of incinerating the foam aren’t fully understood, and that the practice likely violates the Clean Air Act. PFAS contaminants have now been detected in rainwater and waterways throughout the United States. The Guardian
Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue
What’s Up With Water – January 20, 2020 — This week’s edition of What’s Up With Water includes coverage on low water levels in the Panama Canal, worsening water quality in Vietnam’s Mekong River Delta, and groundwater extraction for coal mining in Australia.
HotSpots H2O: Peace Deal May Halt Siege of Tripoli — If negotiations are successful, the talks could end the country’s civil war, which has raged since 2011.
By The Numbers
87 Fires burning in New South Wales, Australia, on Tuesday morning, down from 101 a week ago. Heavy rainfall over the past week has helped firefighters contain the bushfires, although authorities say many fires are still far from being fully extinguished. The Guardian
15,300 Recorded cases of acute malnutrition in children under 5 last year in Guatemala, a 24 percent increase over 2018. The United Nations states that high rates of child malnutrition are tied to ongoing drought and poor food harvests in the country. Reuters
Science, Studies, and Reports
By January 31, the managers of 21 “critically overdrafted” basins in California are required to submit groundwater management plans under the landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA). Once compiled, the plans will provide insight into the severity of aquifer depletion in the state. KQED
On the Radar
On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court said that residents of Flint, Michigan, can pursue a civil rights lawsuit against city and government officials. The lawsuit accuses officials of allowing the city’s water to be contaminated with lead. The justices have rejected appeals by officials to halt the lawsuit. Reuters
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