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Choke Point: India - The Leopard in the Well


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The Daily Stream

Newest Article

March 30: Polluted River Segments in India Double in Last Five Years

The  Global Rundown

The Global Rundown

India’s rivers are getting dirtier while the prime minister proposes new measures to clean up the Ganges. Maryland’s largest city is telling homes and businesses to pay late water bills or face service cuts. West Virginia’s governor weakened a chemical safety law. A mining company cancels copper project in Peru over water protests.

“There are dams that are costing us money, destroying river systems, drying up wetlands, killing fish runs. When a dam no longer performs a function that is needed, we should remove it. If a facility is blocking passage of a valuable fish run, and no one’s using it or it’s crumbling, we ought to remove it.” — Daniel Beard, former head of the Bureau of Reclamation, a U.S. government agency, speaking about dams and water policy in the western United States. (High Country News)

By the Numbers

By The Numbers

25,000 – Number of residential and commercial customers in Baltimore, Maryland, who are receiving notices of delinquent water bills and risk having their water service cut off if the bills are not paid within 10 days. Baltimore Sun

$US 1.4 billion – Size of planned investment in a mine in Peru that Southern Copper cancelled due to farmers’ protests that the mine would pollute water supplies. Bloomberg


Science, Studies, And Reports

The number of polluted river segments in India more than doubled over the last five years, to 302, according to the government’s pollution watchdog. Economic Times

Affordable federal flood insurance and an insurance program that covers its costs are often incompatible, according to a new report from the National Research Council.

On the Radar

On The Radar

Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, proposed a federal commission to oversee the cleanup of the nation’s holiest river. The National Ganga River Basin Authority, an existing consultative body, would be given the power to halt pollution. Water management is currently a state responsibility. Times of India

West Virginia’s Democratic governor signed a bill that weakens chemical safety legislation that was passed in 2014 following a chemical tank leak that contaminated drinking water supplies for 300,000 in the state capital. Charleston Gazette

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Water News

Newest Article

California Drought Is Not Lifting

Another dry winter forces political pressure for action.

Water’s Major Role in Disasters Not Matched in New Framework to Reduce Risk

Beyond Sendai, water community turns attention to Sustainable Development Goals.

Map: Damming the Mekong River

Nearly one dozen dams are planned for the Mekong River.

Asian Carp Swarm South of Chicago As Consensus on Permanent Solution Eludes Nation

New legislative proposal focuses on less expensive, short-term fixes.

Des Moines Water Utility to File Nitrate Pollution Lawsuit

Farming practices are adding harmful nitrates to Iowa's Raccoon River. The capital city's water utility will vote at a March 10 board meeting to proceed with a Clean Water Act lawsuit.

United States Clean Water Rule Quandary Begins On Land

EPA’s Clean Water Rule confronts deep-rooted farm resistance.

Infographic: Too Warm to Snow in California, Oregon, and Washington

Snowpack in February 2015 was pitifully low in the Cascades and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges.

Stanley Heckadon-Moreno’s Gift to Panama Is Clean Rivers, Magnificent Tropical Forests

One of Latin America’s greatest conservationists teaches the virtue of a natural landscape.

California Drought Cuts Farm Water Allocation to Zero for Second Consecutive Year

The Central Valley prepares for an unprecedented shortage.

Israel and Jordan Agree to Share Water, But Fall Short of Saving Dead Sea

The $US 900 million deal on scaled-back scheme neglects Palestine.

Central Texas Drought Is Worst on Record

Competition for water prompts a quest for new sources.

Panama’s Hydropower Development Defined By Fierce Resistance and Tough Choices

Rising electrical demand presents an opening for clean power, and new risks from fossil fuels.

Study: Decades-long ‘Megadroughts’ in U.S. Southwest and Central Plains More Likely Due to Climate Change

Droughts that are extreme by today’s standards will be normal by the end of the century, according to NASA research.

Pacific Northwest’s Winter, Warm and Wet, Is Climate Change Preview

Little snow in sight looks to be the future of the American West.

Great Lakes Toxic Algae Prompts Big Investment and Rare Political Agreement

After last summer's toxic algae outbreak, safe drinking water is a priority again in Ohio, the state that spurred the Clean Water Act four decades ago.

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In The Circle: Fresh Focus

Newest Article

What Can Be Done to Strengthen India’s Natural Resource Management? [Part 2 of 2]

What Can Be Done to Strengthen India’s Natural Resource Management? [Part 2 of 2]

The good news is that India’s government has started to shift its priorities in terms of how it manages the country’s economy and natural resources.

On Meeting the Colorado River for the First Time

Circle of Blue reporter Brett Walton tastes the iconic river.

India’s Food, Water, Energy Conundrum: Conclusions From a Two-Year Reporting Project [Part 1 of 2]

For two years, the Wilson Center and Circle of Blue have explored the contest for food, water, and energy in India and the troubling ways it plays out across the country.

World Water Day Ingredients Need Big Dash of Urgency

Senior editor Keith Schneider wonders if maybe a spokesperson and Xbox games are needed.

U.S. Ports Modernize While Water Supply and Quality Deteriorate

Savannah container terminal is a modern maritime showcase; Savannah River gets dirtier.

National Groundwater Awareness Week: 21 Stories on the World’s Most Abundant Source of Liquid Freshwater

Circle of Blue reports on groundwater supplies and pollution from California and Texas to India and the Middle East.

Wisconsin Iron Mine Plans Abandoned Due to Wetlands

EPA action under Clean Water Act cited as determining factor.

Infographic: Water Footprint of Valentine’s Day

Ever wonder how much water goes into your wine and chocolate? Our Codi Yeager-Kozacek does the research for you.

Hawaii Transforms Watershed Protection With Technology

UAVs, satellites, and cameras used on the Mars rovers help managers protect water.

Meghalaya Documentary — “Broken Landscape” — Premieres At Big Sky Film Festival

The film explores one of the world's most dangerous coal fields.

TIP: This Is Panama

A rising star in Central America has a rare opportunity: to develop in a way that respects its land, water, and people.

India’s Economy Slows as Condition of Water, Land, and Cities Deteriorates

Prime Minister Modi and President Obama this week need to talk about 21st-century development.

Boquete, Panama is Banquet of Coffee, Flowers, Water, and Rainbows

Coffee farms and the recreation economy flourish beneath Panama's big volcano.

Year In Review: Looking Back on 2014, Looking Ahead to 2015

Aubrey Ann Parker reflects on our work last year and updates on stories we’ve covered in years past.

Panama’s Water-Rich Eden Confronts Snake’s Temptation

Can the richest Central American nation build a commercial eco-paradise?

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California Drought

Newest Article

California Drought Is Not Lifting

Another dry winter forces political pressure for action.

National Groundwater Awareness Week: 21 Stories on the World’s Most Abundant Source of Liquid Freshwater

Circle of Blue reports on groundwater supplies and pollution from California and Texas to India and the Middle East.

Infographic: Too Warm to Snow in California, Oregon, and Washington

Snowpack in February 2015 was pitifully low in the Cascades and Sierra Nevada mountain ranges.

California Drought Cuts Farm Water Allocation to Zero for Second Consecutive Year

The Central Valley prepares for an unprecedented shortage.

California Drought: A Dry January Closes and Dread Mounts

Snowpack in the already-parched state is near record lows, just 25 percent of normal.

Important California Water Infrastructure Talks Start This Week

State and local agencies plan to invest billions in new assets.

California’s Record Heat Magnified Drought Woes in 2014

Precipitation was near average, but temperatures smashed the previous heat record.

Infographic: California Drought Drains Groundwater Reserves and Encourages New Wells

Most aquifers in the state have dropped to record lows.

Yes, It’s Raining in California. No, the Drought Is Not Over

Just look at the Texas drought -- California could be waiting years to recover.

Orange County Recycled Water System Shows Importance of Collaboration

From Southern California, a model of success for water’s future.

Californians Will Vote on Big Water Bond Not Knowing Exactly What They Are Buying

Rules for choosing the most controversial projects will be written later.

Jerry Brown, Smart and Prepared, Responds to California’s Drought Emergency

Steeled by past drought, governor is reshaping how largest U.S. state uses and distributes water.

Californians Ring In New Water Year with Trepidation

Pervasive fear about consequences of another dry winter.

California Governor Comes Full Circle on Groundwater Reform

New laws signed today address challenges highlighted in Jerry Brown’s first term – in the 1970s.

California Senate Passes Groundwater Reform Legislation

The Assembly votes on Thursday.

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Action Figures

Newest Article

Azzam Alwash

Can war end in environmental rejuvenation? It did for Iraq’s Mesopotamian Marshlands, believed by many to be the Biblical Garden of Eden. The marshes — straddled between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers that wind their way from Turkey’s eastern mountains through the desert plains of the Middle East — were systematically destroyed by Saddam Hussein’s […]

Dennis Nelson

Dennis Nelson grew up on his family’s North Dakota farm, where the groundwater well barely supplied their basic needs. As a child, he didn’t know why the water was scarce when their land was surrounded by wetlands, or “prairie potholes,” as he calls them. “I simply couldn’t make the connection at a young age about […]

Stacey Travis

For more than 15 years, Stacey Travis was a television producer for networks like FOX, A&E, and AMC. Until, that is, she drastically switched careers in 2006, when doctors in Uganda and South Sudan told her about the water-related illnesses that plague these nations. Travis felt compelled to help and soon after founded Drop In […]

Ajay Krishnan

Can something be made of nothing? According to the research of 16-year-old Ajay Krishnan, the answer is yes. A research enthusiast since the sixth grade, Krishnan — now a junior at Oregon Episcopal School — found a way to produce hydrogen gas from wastewater utilizing microbial electrolysis cells. For his work in renewable energy, Krishnan […]

Rose George

While working as an editor and writer at COLORS Magazine, Rose George was assigned to work on Cacas, a coffee table book featuring photographs of animal and human feces, for which “caca” is slang. Through the project, she discovered Sulabh International, an organization in India that provides public toilets and works to liberate those whose […]

Peter Thum

Wine turned Peter Thum to water. While working on a project in South Africa involving two wineries, Thum saw the difficulties that many people experienced just trying to get clean water every day. “I did a bit of research and began to see the size and magnitude of this problem,” he says. So he decided […]

Vessela Monta

“We cannot say that rain is not interesting just because we can dig wells,” says Vessela Monta, a civil engineer by trade who began working with the International Rainwater Harvesting Alliance (IRHA) in 2002. Some resources — like the availability of harvestable rainwater — get forgotten when discussing sustainability, but not to Monta. She points […]

Isabella Bovolo

Guyana means “land of many waters” in a native Amerindian language, but it also houses one of the most pristine rainforests left in existence, the Iwokrama. In 1996, Guyana and the Commonwealth of Nations established an organization of the same name. According to Iwokrama resident scientist Isabella Bovolo, the organization aims to fill large data […]

David Breashears

In 2007, from 5,600 meters atop the north side of Mount Everest, explorer David Breashears recalls how he was “astonished” by what he saw and “shocked” that he hadn’t been more aware of the state of this Tibetan glacier. Breashears was on a comparative photography assignment to match a photo from 1921 with the modern […]

Erin Huber

Erin Huber grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, near the Great Lakes, where clean fresh water is abundant and tap water is sometimes taken for granted. As a humanitarian and an environmentalist, Huber spearheaded rooftop gardens and farmers’ markets, but eventually honed her focus to water. Huber founded the Drink Local Drink Tap (DLDT) campaign in […]

Rohini Nilekani

Rohini Nilekani began her career as a journalist and writer. But upon marrying Nadan Nilekani — co-founder of the Indian tech-consulting firm Infosys — and coming into some money, she sought a cause to support financially. “I was looking for an area that would make sense to me and that would also have some kind […]

Chris Groves

Dr. Chris Groves spends a lot of his time going underground into caves carved by eons of water flow. Once a boy with an interest in rocks, today Groves is a world-renowned cave and limestone karst expert who directs the Hoffman Environmental Research Institute at Western Kentucky University. “It was the only practical way to […]

Lori Pottinger

Lori Pottinger advocates for rural communities that are at risk of being displaced by dam construction. She says that residents are not always aware of the extent of cultural and lifestyle adjustments they will have to make — or the option of resisting development. “They’re giving their all, and then they’re getting nothing from these […]

Kunal Sangani

Innovation started early for incoming Stanford University freshman Kunal Sangani. At just 17, he was named the U.S. finalist for the Stockholm Junior Water Prize for his project about the environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing (also known as “fracking”). A native of Syracuse, New York, where intense discussion about fracking led to a moratorium on […]

Ed Wargin

Ed Wargin set out almost 17 years ago to document the Great Lakes, and he’s almost finished. The Fresh Coast Project is an effort to document the Great Lakes as a single unit. “I have felt through the years that we needed a solitary type of message, that we needed to look at the Great […]

Broken Landscape: Documentary Features Choke Point: India Report on Meghalaya's Rathole Coal Mines

See our complete coverage of Choke Point: India.

Texas Kansas California Great Lakes Energy Water

Infographic: Live and Historical Water Reservoir Volumes in California (1990-Present)

Qlikview Qlikview

U.S. Drought Monitor & Seasonal Outlook

US Drought Monitor US Drought Outlook
The U.S. Drought Monitor and Seasonal Outlook report the most current drought conditions and forecast, courtesy of NOAA, et al.

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