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Volume 31, Issue 2

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Friday, 06 July 2018 15:40

Increasingly Intense Wildfires Becoming More of a Threat to Water Supplies

Wildfires are destructive for obvious reasons and for some that aren’t as obvious: They can and do contaminate water supplies.

A recent report, co-authored by Fernando Rosario-Ortiz, associate professor at the University of Colorado’s Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, sheds some light on what is becoming acknowledged as a serious issue with more intense and numerous wildfires.

Many drinking water utilities get their water from forested watersheds, where wildfires are increasing and posing threats to the water supply.

Wildfires causing mudslides and sediment mobilization is common and widely acknowledged because of the imagery of homes and roads being destroyed. But the less visible and, thus, maybe less acknowledged, is water supply contamination.