As usual, the United States experienced plenty of water issues and concerns in 2018, and the intrepid reporter, Brett Walton from water news organization, Circle of Blue has it covered. For regulators, politicians and other public officials, environmental challenges were apparent, and many of them had to do with water. See below for a snapshot of some 2018 water-related issues around the US:
Harmful algal blooms seemed to take over the Sunshine State’s waters, what with major outbreaks of blue-green algae and coastal red tides, the latter which killed many fish, turtles, manatees and other aquatic species.
Wildfires tore through western forests and urban/suburban areas as ash filled the sky and denuded lands, creating water quality problems. Dry weather brought reservoirs low, a trend that spells ominous times for water availability out West, especially those states that depend on the drought-plagued Colorado River.
After Hurricane Florence broke coastal barriers, it stalled out over the North Carolina and dumped record-breaking amounts of rain that brought inland flooding.
Michigan (and the rest of the US)
These man-made chemicals, PFAS, is foaming up rivers and water bodies. The chemicals are widespread throughout US waters, a real worry because studies show that they can be detrimental to human health and have negative effects on reproductive and developmental systems, the liver and kidney, and babies’ birth weights, among others.
Many other water issues that rose to a higher level will remain, such as lead and copper contamination, narrower rules for protecting Waters of the United States (WOTUS) and what to do about water infrastructure. As Walton writes,
“the magnitude and severity of the changes today — larger, wetter, drier than before — is new. Growing, too, is the number of people in harm’s way. The combination — the rumblings of a dyspeptic planet and people living in vulnerable areas — have forced regulators and politicians to take notice.”
Let’s hope for a better “water year” in 2019.