Our noteworthy articles for October include state water infrastructure budget allocations, a new wildflower garden in Ypsilanti, and a study on the future of Ann Arbor’s drinking water supply. The final two stories cover how climate changes influences government planning and groundwater management in the agricultural industry.

Michigan 2022 budget deal includes millions for water infrastructure
The state of Michigan’s fiscal year 2022 budget deal proposes millions for drinking water emergency response, flooding and erosion aid, pollution cleanup, and dam repair. The $70 billion budget includes $14.3 million to help local governments prepare for extreme weather and coastal erosion, $19 million for for emergency dam safety provisions, $14 million for PFAS contamination cleanup, and $15 million for drinking water emergencies. The new budget would enable the Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) to add about 40 new full-time positions largely within its water resources division.

Volunteers work to install a native wildflower garden at Sugarbrook Park in Ypsilanti. Photo credit: Alyte Katilius, MLive

Ypsilanti Township is now home to a garden boasting 1,300 native Michigan wildflowers. How it took shape
Thanks to the work of 30 volunteers and the vision of Ypsilanti Township Park Commissioner Tajalli Hodge, a new 3,500 square-foot native wildflower garden lives near Ypsilanti’s Sugarbrook Park. Hodge worked with the staff at the Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner’s Office to design the garden. The native wildflower garden’s native plants will infiltrate stormwater runoff and attract wildlife, such as bees, butterflies, and birds.

The future of Ann Arbor’s drinking water will cost millions—but where will the water come from?
Ann Arbor is currently evaluating options for the future of its drinking water source. One option is to continue to source drinking water from the Huron River with $100 million in renovations to the 80-year-old drinking water treatment plant. Another option is to switch Ann Arbor’s drinking water over to the Great Lakes Water Authority, costing the City around $355 million. Pollutants, such as PFAS and dioxane, force the City to evaluate its current sourcing to ensure reliable and safe drinking water.

As drought grips American West, irrigation becomes selling point for Michigan
With western states experiencing record-setting drought and low reservoir levels, the abundant water and temperate climate of Michigan has become more attractive to out-of-state farm companies. Michigan faces its own challenges with water supply and scarcity, including aquifer depletion and increasing well demand. These pressures led regulators to develop tools to evaluate water withdrawals across the state and ensure sustainable management of groundwater.

Six aspects of American life threatened by climate change
Under a directive from the President, U.S federal agencies compiled a list of top vulnerabilities to climate change faced by their agencies and strategies to address those threats. On the list are ways existing government operations will be impacted by climate change, including new sources of international conflict, larger numbers of climate refugees, increased traffic accidents, and threats to the food supply.