Updated Jun 17, 2018

What we're reading: How L.A. is leading the charge on water

An East Porterville resident distributing drinking water in 2015. Photo: David McNew/Getty Images

The dire situation of the water shortage that faced East Porterville, California in 2014 illustrates a bigger problem for the state of California, Wired's Matt Simon reports, and L.A. is leading the charge to establish "aqueous independence."

The big picture: The forces that caused East Porterville to dry up could one day spread to bigger cities in the state. And Simon writes that while L.A. is getting a handle on it, "[n]ot everyone is as lucky," and around the world, those without diverse water sources "face peril."

The state of play: "California is in trouble," according to Simon, as more severe droughts become a possible reality on the coattails of climate change.

  • Michael Kiparsky, the director of the Wheeler Water Institute at UC Berkley, told Wired: "More droughts, more floods, and more warm temperatures all will result in more water when we don't want it, and less water when we do."

What they're doing: L.A. could soon reach 100% locally sourced water after setting a goal to get its water from a range of technologically-advanced sources.

  • One of those is dirt. The San Fernando aquifer is "a giant underground water tank" which can provide billions of gallons of water. Stormwater will be "percolating into the dirt and, eventually, the aquifer." In 1.9 million cubic yards of soil, there is enough water for 50,000 homes, per Simon.
  • Another is recycled wastewater. The Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant sends approximately 40 million gallons of water a day, after being refined, to the Edward C. Little Water Recycling Facility. The water is then filtered "into water so pure, it'll make you very, very sick if you drink enough of it." The process is still being perfected, and the water hasn't been sent straight to the tap yet as the "industry is moving cautiously," Simon says.
  • They're also collecting water from the air. At UC Berkeley, engineers are creating "a fancy sponge-like material that collects moisture" from the air at night, and releases it during the day.

Go deeper: Cape Town's "Day Zero" is a bellwether of global water crises.

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What the coronavirus means for Trump's presidency

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

A poor response to the coronavirus could be politically devastating for President Trump, and so far his administration has given the strong impression that it’s still scrambling as the risk of a pandemic mounts.

Why it matters: There’s only so much any president can do to stop a virus from spreading, and for now the coronavirus is still very much under control within the U.S. But if the disease get worse in the months ahead, and if the administration seems to be caught off guard, that spells trouble for public confidence in Trump.

Coronavirus updates: New global case numbers surpass China's

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus is now affecting every continent but Antarctica and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,800 people and infected over 82,000 others in some 50 countries and territories. As Denmark and Estonia reported their first cases Thursday, Scott Morrison, prime minister of Australia — which has 23 confirmed infections — told a news conference, "The risk of a global pandemic is very much upon us."

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health

Mass shooting in Milwaukee: What we know

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in 2012. Photo: John Gress/Corbis via Getty Images

Six people died in a shooting at the Molson Coors Brewing Company in Milwaukee Molson Coors on Wednesday, including the 51-year-old gunman, Mayor Tom Barrett told reporters at an evening press conference with local police.

Details: All of the victims worked at the brewery complex, as did the shooter who died of "an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, police confirmed in a statement late Wednesday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy