The Stream, March 2, 2022: Is Michigan Prepared for Climate Change?

Michigan counts nearly 11,000 agricultural wells, 3,800 of them installed from 2010 to 2020. Once concentrated in southwest Michigan, high-volume irrigation wells have spread north as far as Antrim County, and through central Michigan. © J. Carl Ganter / Circle of Blue


  • Amid claims that the state could be a climate refuge, experts say Michigan faces its own water woes.
  • A local council in England says they knew about PFAS contamination nearly a week before affected residents.
  • Heavy rain batters parts of Australia.
  • Delhi’s government will fund two reservoirs along the Yamuna River to boost water supplies.

Bombings in Ukraine have left hundreds of thousands of citizens without drinking water.

“It is a nightmare, and it seizes you from the inside very strongly. This cannot be explained with words.” – Ekaterina Babenko, a resident of Kharkiv, Ukraine. Russian forces are increasingly bombarding crowded Ukrainian areas, the Associated Press reports. Ukrainian authorities reported attacks at a central square in Ukraine’s second-biggest city, Kyiv’s main TV tower and a missile strike on the site of the Babyn Yar Holocaust memorial. United Nations humanitarian coordinator Marin Griffiths said bombings have also damaged water pipes, leaving hundreds of thousands of families without drinking water.

More Russia-Ukraine News: Russian forces restored water flow to a canal linking Ukraine to the Russian-annexed Crimea. The move comes after Ukraine cut off fresh water supplies along the canal in 2014.

In Recent Water News

IPCC Climate Report: Six Key Findings for Water — Scientific body warns of ‘rapidly closing window’ for action. 

What’s Up With Water – March 1, 2022 – This week’s episode covers groundwater concerns at a potential Tesla factory in Germany and water pollution in a Pennsylvania town. Plus, Circle of Blue reports on rising Legionnaires’ disease trends.

Michigan Faces Water Challenges Amid Bid for Climate Refuge

Water woes are becoming more common in Michigan, even as many see it as a refuge from climate change. The Associated Press reports that chemical and agricultural pollution, groundwater overextraction, and aging infrastructure are among the challenges the state faces.

Why It Matters: Water indeed could make the Great Lakes region a climate refuge. Circle of Blue, along with the Great Lakes News Collaborative’s other partners—Bridge Michigan, Great Lakes Now at DPTV and Michigan Radio—investigated what it may take to prepare the region for the future climatologists say we can expect. Read the collaborative’s work that explores the greatest challenges and opportunities throughout the Great Lakes region.

This Week’s Top Water Stories, Told In Numbers


The South Cambridgeshire District Council revealed it knew about PFAS contamination in local water supplies six days before media reports publicized the pollution. Reports emerged in early February that Cambridge Water had removed water that contained four times the legal limit of some PFAS chemicals in June of 2021, but never told more than 1,000 customers their water had been contaminated. Now, the local council says they were made aware of the issue in late January, but did not believe customers were at risk.


Flash flooding in northeastern Australia this week has killed at least nine people, inundated thousands of homes, and forced residents to evacuate and schools to close. The storm was said to be moving south to New South Wales on Monday, where 15,000 people on the north coast of the state have been urged to evacuate. Experts say climate change is driving more intense downpours.

On the Radar

The government in Delhi has approved an additional two reservoirs along the Yamuna River to store excess monsoon water. Officials hope the reservoirs will help meet the city’s growing demand for water. Experts predict demand will rise to 1,236 million gallons daily (MGD). Right now, the city only has the capacity to deliver 935 MGD.

More Water News

After rain-induced landslides in the mountainside community of Petropolis, Brazil killed his son and hundreds of others, local resident Alex Sandro Condé says his resilience is part of a “divine mission.”

Drought continues to plague the United States. In Kansas, dwindling water supplies could prompt more farmers to start growing cotton. Across the American West, a new study says wildfires can temporarily increase streamflow.

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