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Choke Point: India - The Leopard in the Well


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The Daily Stream

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July 23: Monsoon Rains Flood Parts of India

While some regions of India are mired in drought, the country’s eastern states are being inundated by monsoon rains, AlertNet reported. Floods have displaced 10,000 people in Odisha, where floodwaters from a major river washed into 30 communities.

A drought in Thailand and the closure of a government subsidy program for rice growers will likely bring rice production down 10 percent to a 5-year low, Bloomberg News reported. Farmers expect rice yields to decline 20 to 50 percent in major growing regions due to a lack of water.

Wheat production in Canada, the world’s third-largest exporter, is expected to fall after record rainfall in June destroyed crops and reduced the amount of area farmers planted, Bloomberg News reported. In Manitoba alone, farmers could face $US 1 billion in losses from the floods.

An unfavorable audit of Pennsylvania’s environmental regulator coincided with the release of data showing that oil and gas operations in the state damaged water supplies 209 times since 2007, the Associated Press reported, citing the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The industry says there were more than 20,000 new wells drilled in that time period.

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Water News

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Infographics: Effect of Northern Ohio’s Cropland and Land Use on Maumee River and Lake Erie

Click through the interactive spreadsheets to see how phosphorous loading in the Great Lakes region has changed in the last decade and how these trends relate to changes in cropping patterns since the 1950s and land use patterns since the 1980s.

Map: Not All Phosphorus Is the Same

A breakdown of the different types of phosphorous in Ohio's Maumee and Sandusky rivers that have led to algal blooms in Lake Erie since the 1970s.

Drought to Cost California Agriculture $US2.2 Billion and 17,000 Jobs, But Groundwater Is a Lifeline

Record reductions in river flows will be offset by pumping more water from aquifers.

Oil Rupture in Line 5 Pipeline in Mackinac Straits Would Be A Mammoth Mess

University of Michigan study provides online video scenarios of fast and expansive movement of oil in two Great Lakes.

Infographic: Hoover Dam’s Troubled Waters

Completed in 1935, Hoover Dam supplies electricity to 29 million people in Arizona, California and Nevada.

Colorado River’s Course Through A Drying Landscape Is Draining Lake Mead

Along the 1,800-mile river basin,locals wrestle with water demands.

Big Toxic Algal Bloom Again in Forecast for Lake Erie

Lake continues trend of harmful and unsightly effect of nutrient pollution.

Waukesha Presses First Test of Great Lakes Water Compact

Drinking Water Diversion Proposed For Out Of Basin City

Lake Mead Drains to Record Low As Western Drought Deepens

Despite drying conditions, four states plan additional water projects.

Map: The Shrinking Ogallala Aquifer

Irrigation brought fat harvests to the plains. But the water is disappearing.

Infographic: Ogallala Precipitation in Motion — 72 Years Animated GIF (1940 – 2012)

When layered, maps of annual precipitation in Texas and Kansas show the stark moisture division in the United States between the wet East and the dry West running through the Great Plains.

Map: Texas and Kansas Irrigated Crop Acreage (1985-2010)

Click through the interactive Google Fusion Tables infographic to see how planting trends have been affected by time, as well as how irrigated acreage has changed over the last two decades.

Map: Texas and Kansas Water Use (1985-2005)

Click through the interactive Google Fusion Tables infographic to see how water use has changed over the last two decades, as well as how these trends relate to fluctuation of groundwater tables within the Ogallala Aquifer since the 1940s.

Failed Ballot Measure Is Setback for Ogallala Water Conservation in Western Kansas

A plan to reduce water use by 20 percent was voted down last week.

Kansas Water District Votes on Ogallala Conservation Plan

Using less water for agriculture is an idea spreading across the Great Plains.

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In The Circle: Fresh Focus

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In Silicon Valley, Symbols of California’s Drought Abound

But a lukewarm response in the world’s technology capital.

Record Heat and Loss of Glaciers Mark the Global Climate in 2013

It was business as usual for many climate indicators.

U.S. State Water Plans Are Ready for Review

A year of water planning reaches the halfway point.

‘Risky Business’ Report Says Two Things about Water — One Is Obvious, the Other Is Not

Water is largely ignored in a report about U.S. economic risks of climate change.

Scrubbing Rocks, and Other Things Scientists Do

Basic scientific research is not glamorous.

What Happens in the Arctic Doesn’t Stay in the Arctic

Carbon dioxide released here can drive climate change elsewhere.

Tundra Trekking: A Tale of Rivers and Ravenous Thermokarst

On the tundra, climate change is just one careless step away.

Where the Sun Never Sleeps (And Neither Do The Scientists)

COB reporter Codi Kozacek travels above the Arctic Circle.

Chilean Government Decides Fate of Patagonia Dams Tomorrow

The decision pits energy development against river protection in one of the world’s evocative places.

A Crash Course in Urban Watersheds

Cities are ecosystems too.

Growth in Lima, Peru’s Capital, Served Without Water

Ubiquitous water trucks are a guide to Peru’s swelling metropolis.

In the Himalayas, Drones Map Melting Glaciers

Researchers use new technology to gather data in rugged terrain.

Water Levels Dropping, Fresno Weans Itself from Groundwater

The largest city in California’s San Joaquin Valley is transforming its water system, at a significant cost.

Census of Agriculture Data Is Christmas for Farm Nerds

Farm data galore – by county and state, as well as nationally.

California Governor’s Third Drought Order Sets New Water Rules, Requirements

As temperatures heat up and water supplies dwindle, Governor Jerry Brown’s third drought order deals with lawns, laws, and emergency response.

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Action Figures

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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 […]

Ned Breslin

Ned Breslin is the CEO at Water For People, a nonprofit that implements drinking water solutions in 11 countries.
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  • Peter Gleick

    Dr. Peter Gleick is president of the Pacific Institute, an internationally recognized water expert, and a MacArthur Fellow.
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  • James Workman

    James Workman is an award-winning journalist and has served as an environmental consultant to U.S.-cabinet members.
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  • 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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