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Drought Hastens Groundwater Depletion in the Texas Panhandle

Persistent drought in northwest Texas is leading farmers to pump more water from the Ogallala Aquifer, hastening the depletion of this crucial water supply. Over the last decade, from 2004-2014, average underground water levels across the 16-county High Plains Underground Water Conservation District (HPWD) have dropped 8.83 feet (2.69 meters), with three counties seeing average…

Climate Change Already Having Profound Impacts on Lakes in Europe

For perspective on how climate change is affecting lakes, those of us here in the U.S. can just look across the pond, where scientists and the agencies involved in meeting the European Union’s Water Framework Directive have amassed an impressive body of research on the topic. Not only are extreme weather events such as droughts…

Does Water Conservation Have To Be The Enemy Of Financial Stability?

Pricing is a powerful tool for shaping behavior, including water use. Recognizing the power of pricing, more water utilities are adopting water rates designed to encourage customers to conserve. These so-called “conservation rates” vary in form, but generally they increase the price per gallon of water the more water a customer uses. Across the country,…

Icelanders Grieve for the Peculiar Lake Balls

  Dr. Isamu Wakana prepares for a dive in Lake Mývatn in Iceland. Isamu is an expert on algae and has come a long way from Japan on his search for an extremely rare plant. As he descends to the bottom he is met by brown silt in every direction. This area was once covered by…

West-Slope Colorado Towns Restore Local Flows, Even as Thirsty Front-Range Lawns Drink From their Rivers

  By Sandra Postel and Todd Reeve When residents in Denver, Colorado Springs and other cities on the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains turn on their sprinklers to irrigate lawns, they rarely think about the fate of fish in the headwaters of the Colorado River on the other side of the Continental Divide. But,…

USAID Comes in on Fresh Legs to Help Save Wildlife

Time is running out for wildlife. Now, like a World Cup footballer coming in for a late-game substitution, USAID enters the conservation game with new energy and some bold moves.

Along the Rio Grande, An Innovative Water Market Restores Riverside Habitat

With rivers in the American Southwest dammed, diverted, drought-stricken and running dry, their fate is increasingly in human hands. Now, in the southern portion of the Rio Grande in New Mexico, a unique partnership of irrigators, government agencies and conservationists is returning some water to the river’s floodplain – and to the native trees, songbirds,…

Controversy at Cienega Creek: Water for Copper Mining and Streamflow?

The Empire Ranch entrance road transports its travelers from 21st century Sonoran Desert—scattered desert scrub, paved highways, speeding traffic, Border Patrol checkpoints, copper mine arguments—into a world of different dimensions. The sun is still bright in a cerulean sky, but the land has quietly opened up—a wide vista, grass waving in the breeze, a few cattle scattered over the rolling hills, and tall trees bunched along the distant stream.

Recent Loss of Freshwater Wetlands Worldwide Valued at $2.7 Trillion per Year

The question of whether to drain a wetland to make way for a shopping mall or a cornfield, or to instead leave the wetland intact, often seems like a no-brainer: the “development” options have a clear dollar value, but the wetlands themselves do not. But therein lies a big problem. Wetlands do vital work.  They…

Obama’s “This American Moment” Climate Change Speech: Real Science and Hope Trump a Moon Made of Cheese

President used UC Irvine’s excellence in global change research as launching pad for major climate change speech. Tells graduates “we need you” to help America lead the fight against global warming and “push back against the misinformation.” One of the true high points in the short history of the University of California, Irvine, and in…

Boston Wins Annual Tap Water Taste Contest

By Daniel Moss The verdict is in: don’t spend another penny on bottled water in Boston. That city, derided in the 1960s song “Dirty Water,” came out on top of the 2014 “Best of the Best” Tap Water Taste Test. The honor was particularly fitting since 11,000 water professionals had descended on Boston for the…

Reciprocal Water Agreements for Watershed Protection

By Keith Alger, Senior Vice President, Latin America, Rare What starts uphill runs downhill, and in countries with mountainous terrain like the high Andes this can mean pollutants from upstream running into drinking water supplies in the valley. Take Colombia—one of the most biodiverse countries in the world; number one in orchid species with over…

The Quest For Sustainable Corn In Iowa

Ames, Iowa  – They don’t call it “The Corn State” for nothing. Within minutes of driving outside Des Moines, the landscape opens up. No hills. No buildings. Just farms. Sprawling farms, much of them planted with corn. And those tiny green shoots emerging last month from the dark rich soil represent a vast bounty. In…

World’s Large Cities Move Water Equivalent to Ten Colorado Rivers to Meet their Annual Water Needs

As cities grow in population and economic activity, they reach further and further out to find water to meet their needs. Now, a new study has estimated that collectively the world’s large cities, defined as those with at least 750,000 people, move 504 billion liters (133 billion gallons) of water a day a cumulative distance…

The Australian Approach to Water Crisis: Work With Farmers

With water crises erupting in California, Texas, and the Colorado River Basin, state water managers throughout the western U.S. and our federal government could take some valuable lessons from the impressive progress made in Australia over the past decade. The Aussies have taken some giant leaps forward in their efforts to avert water shortages in…