The Stream, March 31, 2020: Michigan Governor Orders Water Restoration to All Homes During Coronavirus Crisis

The Global Rundown

Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer signs an executive order mandating water reconnection during the coronavirus pandemic. A tailings dam spill in Heilongjiang, China, could threaten local water supply. A plan to demolish four hydroelectric dams on California’s Klamath River raises questions over the waterway’s future. All the U.S. Great Lakes aside from Lake Superior are currently higher than this time last year, and are expected to continue rising in the next month. Thailand grapples with the worst drought in decades. 

“This is a critical step both for the health of families living without a reliable water source, and for slowing the spread of the Coronavirus. We continue to work to provide all Michiganders – regardless of their geography or income level – the tools they need to keep themselves and their communities protected.” –Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, in reference to an executive order calling for water service to be restored to all Michigan homes during the coronavirus pandemic. The order is augmented by a $2 million Water Restart Grant Program to help communities aid vulnerable homes. MLive 

Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue

HotSpots H2O: U.S. Federal Judge Calls for Full Environmental Review of Dakota Access PipelineLast week, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg struck down federal permits for the Dakota Access pipeline, calling for a full environmental review of the controversial crude oil line that Native American tribes and other activists have opposed for years. 

What’s Up With Water – March 30, 2020 — This week’s edition of What’s Up With Water includes coverage on waste dumping in Malaysia, a new ruling on environmental permits for the Dakota Access Pipeline, and the first round of bids for construction of a major canal on the outskirts of Istanbul, Turkey

By The Numbers

3,288 miles (5,292 kilometers) Length of shoreline in Michigan. High water levels in the U.S. Great Lakes over the past year have already caused millions of dollars in damage, and the destruction is likely to continue over the coming year. As of March 27, all the lakes aside from Lake Superior were higher than last year, and forecasts estimate an increase of 3 to 8 inches (8 to 20 centimeters) in the lakes by April 27. MLive

$450 million Cost of demolishing four hydroelectric dams on the lower part of California’s Klamath River as part of a salmon conservation effort. The destruction of the dams is the largest demolition project of its type in U.S. history, and raises questions over the waterway’s future allocation. Farmers, homeowners, environmentalists, and Native American tribes all have ties to the Klamath. Associated Press

Science, Studies, and Reports

The local water supply near a molybdenum mine in Heilongjiang, China, may have been contaminated after a tailings dam leak over the weekend. Local officials have initiated an emergency response to the spill, and a nearby water plant has been temporarily shut down. Reuters

On the Radar

Thailand is still reeling from a stunted monsoon season last year, facing shortfalls of water for drinking, agriculture, and hydropower. The drought is the worst in decades, and has prompted the formation of a water management command center to address the dry spell. A key issue is the infiltration of saltwater into dwindling freshwater supplies. VOA


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