The Global Rundown
Duel typhoons hit Japan and South Korea in one week. Sudan declared a state of emergency due to unprecedented flooding. Severe rainfall in Senegal over the weekend activated an emergency aid plan. A new study finds waterborne illnesses have adapted to climate change and rising temperatures. U.S. colleges are fighting the coronavirus pandemic by testing wastewater.
“Wastewater has a story to tell about the public health of communities. There’s so many folks working on this right now. It’s just remarkable to see how quickly it has moved forward.” – Peter Grevatt, CEO of The Water Research Foundation, which promotes studies of water and wastewater to ensure water quality and service. College campuses across the United States have turned to testing sewage as a way to monitor coronavirus outbreaks. The tests work by detecting genetic material from the virus, which can be recovered from the stools of about half of people with Covid-19, studies indicate, especially those who are asymptomatic. Utah has used the method more widely, and other countries like Great Britain, Italy and the Netherlands have also announced similar monitoring programs. AP
Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue
HotSpots H2O: In Kenya, Lake Water Rise Endangers Livelihoods and Wildlife – Rising water levels in the lakes along with the Great Rift Valley have pushed thousands in Kenya from their homes, endangering people’s livelihoods and wildlife in the region.
By The Numbers
3 months The length of a new state of emergency declared in Sudan over unprecedented flooding. Sudanese authorities have designated the country a natural disaster zone after floods that have inflicted damage on more than half a million people. Rain and inundation have exceeded records set between 1946 and 1988, killing at least 99 people and damaging or destroying more than 100,000 homes so far. Experts say the tremendous floods can be attributed to climate change and the cutting down of trees to make space for residential areas. Al Jazeera
124 millimeters (4.8 inches) The amount of rain that fell in Senegal on Saturday, which is equivalent to the amount of rain the country typically sees in the entirety of their rainy season from July to September. The seven-hour downpour caused Senegalese President Macky Sall to activate an emergency aid plan. Senegal’s private radio station reported that three children died due to the floods, and other reports indicated at least one person reported missing. Reuters
Science, Studies, and Reports
Waterborne viruses that have adapted to warmer environments remain infectious for longer and more resistant to disinfectants such as chlorine, a new study warned. A study out of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology of Lausanne found that warm-adapted viruses were more resistant to being deactivated by heat than the ones incubated in cold water. When moved to cool water, the warm-adapted viruses also remained active longer and withstood exposure to chlorine better. Sunlight, high temperatures and other microbes typically can deactivate viruses found in surface water, however, scientists expect the way viruses react to their environment will evolve in response to climate change. Environmental Science & Technology
On the Radar
Typhoon Haishen touched down in South Korea after wreaking havoc in southern Japan. The typhoon caused a loss of power across hundreds of homes in Japan an injured 32 people, although initial assessments suggest it did less damage than originally feared. In South Korea, the storm made landfall just north of Busan, the country’s second largest city. More than 5,000 homes on the southern tip of the Korean peninsula have lost power. The storm comes days after Maysak, one of the region’s strongest typhoons in years, slammed into the Korean peninsula and Japan last week. BBC
Jane is a summer intern at Circle of Blue writing on domestic and international water issues. Jane also writes The Stream for Circle of Blue. Her work is funded through the Allen and Helen Hunting Innovation and Research Fund at the Annis Water Resources Institute. She is a recent graduate of Grand Valley State University, where she studied Multimedia Journalism and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. During her time at Grand Valley, she was the host of the Community Service Learning Center podcast Be the Change. Currently based in Alma, Michigan, Jane enjoys listening to music, writing and spending time outdoors.