The Stream, March 10, 2020: Detroit Changes Water Shutoff Policy as Coronavirus Spreads

The Global Rundown

Detroit, Michigan, provides low-cost water restoration for disconnected households as the coronavirus spread across the U.S. The Mexican public will vote later this month to decide whether a controversial brewery in border city Mexicali will be allowed to open. Flood defence spending in England will be doubled over the next five years, lawmakers announce. Snowmelt raises rivers in Wisconsin, where groundwater levels are already nearing record highs. Mountain snowpack continues to measure slightly above-average Colorado increasing confidence of an adequate water supply. 

“As of Wednesday the only residents in the city of Detroit who don’t have water on will be those who don’t reach out. It won’t be for lack of money.” –Mike Duggan, mayor of Detroit, in reference to a new program to restore water to disconnected Detroit homes ahead of the spreading coronavirus. The plan allows customers to keep their water on, or to come back online, after an initial $25 payment, plus $25 a month after that. For the next 30 days, the state says it will pay the initial $25 startup fee for those who can’t afford it. Bridge

In context:
Voices From Detroit: Life Without Water
Price of Water 2019: Even Without Federal Infrastructure Deal, Cities Continue to Invest

Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue

What’s Up With Water – March 9, 2020 — This week’s edition of What’s Up With Water includes coverage on a beverage corporation’s use of groundwater in Mexico, a new study on agricultural water use in the American West, and ongoing legal battles over the Flint water crisis. 

HotSpots H2O: Public to Decide Fate of Contested Brewery in Northern Mexico — Last month was the wettest February ever recorded in the United Kingdom, and more rain is expected over the next week, warns the country’s Met Office.

By The Numbers

£5.2 billion ($6.8 billion) Amount that England will budget for five years’ worth of flood defences starting in 2021, up from £2.6 billion ($3.4 billion) budgeted between 2015 and 2021. The funding, set to be officially announced on March 11, will help build 2,000 new flood defence schemes and protect more than 300,000 properties. BBC

106 percent of normal Current mountain snowpack in Colorado, compared to averages from 1981 to 2010. Water utilities, farmers, and residents are hopeful that the abundant snowpack will provide adequate amounts of water this spring, although parched soil from a dry fall season could dampen streamflows. The Denver Post

Science, Studies, and Reports

As snow melts, rivers and lakes in Wisconsin are rising, and the state is simultaneously experiencing some of the highest groundwater levels on record. The Department of Natural Resources says the influx of water is partially due to record-high precipitation in 2019, but is also tied to several wet years before that. The high groundwater levels have begun to flood homes and affect roadways. Wisconsin Public Radio 

On the Radar

On March 21-22, the Mexican public will vote on whether a $1 billion brewery owned by U.S. company Constellation Brands Inc. should be allowed to open in the border city of Mexicali. The brewery has sparked protests among residents and drawn criticism from current President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who argue that the project could jeopardize water resources in northern Mexico. Reuters

In context: HotSpots H2O: Public to Decide Fate of Contested Brewery in Northern Mexico

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