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The Daily Stream

Newest Article

April 16: Scientist Says Deforestation, Not Dams, Caused Massive Flood in the Amazon

Extreme Weather
Extreme flooding along the Madeira River in the Amazon basin, which killed 60 people and displaced 68,000 families this year, was the result of massive deforestation in Bolivia and Peru, according to a scientist who was previously the head of the Inter-American Development Bank environmental division, IPS reported. His assessment contradicts the views of conservationists and government officials who have said the flooding was the result of two large hydropower projects on the river.

This summer, weather forecasters in the United States will be creating maps of potential storm surge flood areas along the Atlantic Coast to help educate residents about hurricane risks, Reuters reported. Residents typically use wind speed instead of storm surge forecasts to decide whether or not to evacuate, despite storm surge accounting for half of all hurricane deaths, according to a storm specialist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Water Quality

A bill moving through the Florida Senate could provide much more stringent protections for the state’s important freshwater springs, which are linked to drinking water supplies, The New York Times reported. The springs have suffered pollution from septic systems, agricultural runoff, and urban waste with dire consequences for wildlife, tourism, and public health.

China is blaming the recent contamination of drinking water in Lanzhou on French water company Veolia, which runs the city’s utility, Reuters reported. The contamination was caused by an oil leak, but Chinese government officials also say that Veolia had “supervision problems”.

The Stream is a daily digest spotting global water trends. To get more water news, follow Circle of Blue on Twitter and sign up for our newsletter.

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Water News

Newest Article

Jolted by Reality, Colorado River Water Managers Plan for Persistent Drought

Unprepared for more years of drought, basin states work to preserve Lake Powell.

Following EPA Action, Rio Tinto Exits Alaska Pebble Mine Project

U.S. agency moves to restrict development in Bristol Bay watershed.

California Drought Plan Is a Roadmap for a Perilous Year

A landmark management plan brings together state and federal agencies to prioritize human health, water quality, and fish.

Cause of Lake Erie’s Harmful Algal Blooms Gains More Certainty

New research finds that agricultural practices lead to biggest threat to water quality and health in the Great Lakes.

Partnership Agreement Saves Canada’s Renowned Lake Laboratory

A legendary freshwater research facility in western Ontario has a new operator.

Uttarakhand’s Furious Himalayan Flood Could Bury India’s Hydropower Program

A treacherous mountain range unleashes a torrent of water, mud, and boulders that was long anticipated and willfully ignored.

As Snow Survey Reveals Drought Deficit, Californians Take Extraordinary Measures to Cope

Sierra Nevada snowpack, a major part of California’s water supply equation, is near record lows.

Study: Global Warming Will Harm Agriculture Sooner Than Previously Thought

Increased heat and water scarcity will limit food production. Farmers and food markets can adapt, but only to a point.

Q & A: Julene Bair, Author of The Ogallala Road

Fancy machinery and irrigation systems that pull millions of gallons per day from the nation’s largest aquifer have transformed the High Plains. But at what cost? Circle of Blue’s Brett Walton spoke with Julene Bair, author of The Ogallala Road, a memoir of a life shaped by land and water.

UN Report: Water and Energy Face Off on an Uneven Playing Field

To meet rising demands for both resources, greater harmony will be necessary.

‘Transformational’ Water Reforms, Though Wrenching, Helped Australia Endure Historic Drought, Experts Say

California, in the third year of its worst drought ever, faces challenges similar to those of Australia. A panel of water policy experts and Circle of Blue journalists questioned whether the nation’s most populous state has the resolve to enact similar reforms.

Choke Point: Index and Qlikview Interactive Dashboard.

Like a human pulse, reservoirs are the most obvious indicator of a water supply system’s health. Qlik and Circle of Blue’s interactive dashboard shows both current conditions and historical trends for major reservoirs in Australia and California.

Californians, In a Departure, Appear Ready to Support Big Water Spending to Respond to Drought

State leaders face infrastructure decisions now that will have consequences for decades.

California Drought: Lessons from Australia’s Biggest Dry

How should California respond to its water challenge? Join the Conversation

President Obama Signs Bill to Continue Funding National Drought Warning System

The National Integrated Drought Information System puts federal data in the hands of farmers, state officials, and businesses.

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In The Circle: Fresh Focus

Newest Article

California’s San Joaquin River Is Nation’s Most Endangered in 2014, Conservation Group Says

Regardless of drought, the San Joaquin faces key decisions this year, according to American Rivers.

Australian State Considers Selling Its Biggest Water Assets, Built During Drought Panic

Queensland’s rush to build desalination and recycled water facilities is a cautionary tale.

Warnings — They Are So Easy To Ignore

An American landslide as a global metaphor.

California Mountain Snowpack Likely to Receive a Failing Mark Tomorrow

Rain and snow are falling today, but the winter of 2013-14 was historically hot and dry.

Rooted in the Land, One Kansas Rancher Manages the Ecosystem as a Whole

Sunlight, soil, water, ruminants – it is all a big cycle at the Homestead Ranch.

This Is India — TII

A correspondent’s thoughts on food, wildlife, transport, and politics.

Snow Fail

California’s drought is a preview of the latter half of the 21st century.

Choke Point: Meghalaya’s “Swiss-Cheesed” Hills, Increasing Violence a Stark Reminder of Cost of Coal

To the best of anyone’s knowledge – and that includes a tribunal of senior jurists who heard testimony in the state capitol, Shillong, on January 24 – 15 men drowned in a coal mine in Meghalaya’s mineral-rich Garo Hills on July 6, 2012.

Pete Seeger’s Lifetime of Water Songs

An unstoppable force of American folk culture, Pete performed at Croton Point, New York, at 87 years old in June 2006. <

Abu Dhabi Slowly Pursues Water-Conserving, Renewable Energy Path

A plan for when fuel runs out.

#1 in Top 50 Water Blogs of 2013

Did you see that Circle of Blue was ranked #1 in the "content excellence" category on the list of Top 50 Water Blogs of 2013?

As We Use More Water, Consume More Energy and Grain, The Earth Is Pushing Back Hard

PRAGUE -- City Square erupted at the start of the 2014 New Year with a deafening and blazing midnight fusilade of rockets and cannon blasts.

California’s Historically Dry 2013 Redefines Drought

Even the soggy parts of California saw less rain than Phoenix.

Texas A&M University Unveils North American Soil Moisture Database

The database is one step toward better information about the water held in soils.

Torrent of Water and Questions Pour From India’s Himalayas

One year later, Circle of Blue's senior editor Keith Schneider returns to India for our second round of reporting on water, food, energy problems in the region.

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Water Law Stories

Newest Article

Asian Carp Case Goes to Court as Foundation Pledges $500,000 to Protect the Great Lakes

Invasive Asian carp make a surprise appearance on the Missouri River.

EPA Releases Draft of Clean Water Strategy for Public Comment

The EPA seeks stricter pollution standards and a national water quality assessment.

Lawmakers Pass Bill to Protect Argentina’s Glaciers

Bill passes that will ban mining and oil drilling in Andean ice fields.

Peter Gleick: The California Water Bond — What Does Proposition 18 Really Say and Do?

The costs and benefits of California's largest water bond in a half century have not been fully assessed by an independent organization.

Countries Move Forward with Nile Treaty Despite Egypt’s Objections

A weekend meeting of the Nile basin water ministers does not resolve treaty impasse.

Out of the Mainstream: Water Rights, Water Territories and the Politics of Scale and Identity

An excerpt from the introductory chapter of Out of the Mainstream: Water Rights, Politics and Identity, a book on the effect modern society has on water culture and indigenous communities

Environmental Groups Sue BP Under Clean Water Act

Landmark act could be used by the federal government to recover billions in fines, send people to jail.

Clean Water Act Proposal Would Strengthen Federal Protection

Opponents call the proposal a federal power grab, while the bill's author says it would restore the original intent of the landmark water legislation.

Indigenous Groups in Ecuador Protest Water Reform Bill

The water legislation would consolidate too much power in the hands of the government, protesters say.

California Water Board Changes Power Plant Regulations to Protect Aquatic Life

Power plants will be required to change their cooling systems to reduce the amount of water they withdraw from oceans and estuaries as a result.

Nile Basin Countries Fail to Sign River Treaty Again

Egypt and Sudan have rejected the proposed Nile Basin agreement as it stands, while the other seven members vow to press on.

Bolivian Village Wants Compensation for Climate Change Adaptation

Alternative climate summit opens April 20 in Bolivia to address concerns of the world’s poor.

Bid to Protect Michigan’s Groundwater Draws Opposition, Praise

A proposed bill that declares Michigan’s groundwater a “public trust” has set off a storm of controversy, with opponents claiming that the legislation would expose property owners to new state fees.

Peter Gleick: Water and Energy – Obey the Law on Cooling Systems

The connections between energy and water are significant and complex. We use vast amounts of energy to collect, move, treat, use, and clean water. And we use vast amounts of water to produce energy, including for mining, drilling, and processing fossil and nuclear fuels, and especially for cooling power plants.

2009 California Water Plan Published

Report recommends upgrading the state's information base to better user understanding of the water system.

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Water Law Graphics

Newest Article

Infographic: China’s Water Pollution Events and Protection Policies (2004-2011)

Infographic: China’s Water Pollution Events and Protection Policies (2004-2011)

China has some of the dirtiest and most dangerous water in the world. This detailed and interactive timeline shows key pollution events, protests, and policy reforms from the last eight years at both the national and regional levels as China tries to clean up its act.

Infographic: Successes and Failures of China’s Five-Year Plans (1996 -2010)

A breakdown of previous plans gives context to the newly released 12th Five-Year Plan.

Infographic: China’s Water Governance Bureaucracy and Water Legislation Timeline

Demystifying China’s governmental water offices and water-related laws.

Infographic: State Legislatures Bridge Water-Energy Gap

A look at 16 states with statutes that acknowledge the tightening chokepoint between declining water resources and rising energy demand.

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Water Law International

Newest Article

Update: UN Transboundary Water Treaty Moves Forward As Cote d’Ivoire Approves Ratification

Update: UN Transboundary Water Treaty Moves Forward As Cote d’Ivoire Approves Ratification

Though three more ratifications are needed before the UN Watercourses Convention has the force of international law, advocates assert that four countries are close: Ireland, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, and Vietnam.

U.S. and Mexico Sign Major Deal on Colorado River Issues: Delta Restoration, Infrastructure, Water Sharing

The agreement marks a turn in Colorado River management.

Protests Break Out After India’s Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Downstream State in Cauvery River Dispute

A decades-long quarrel over water allocations boils up again during this year's dry summer, ending in farmer protests and increased security.

Make Water A Priority: Former Government Leaders Call on UN Security Council

The time is increasingly right for high-level action, the group’s water policy advisor tells Circle of Blue.

Support for UN Water Treaty Accelerates

Progress on the treaty, which deals with transboundary water basins, or those shared by two or more countries, had stalled — until a major conservation group got involved.

India Supreme Court Again Pushes National River Linking Project to Proceed

This is the second time the court has promoted the mega-project that would link the major rivers in the north with those in the south as a way to better manage water, moving it from areas of perceived surplus to areas without sufficient supplies.

Ecuador and Oil: Chevron Loses Court Appeal Against $18 Billion Amazon Pollution Fine

Closing in on nearly two decades in court, this “David and Goliath” fight seems far from over. Plaintiffs contend that no amount of money can repair the damage to the environment and to the lives of the 30,000 who claim to have been affected, while the U.S. oil company has denounced the Ecuadorean court system […]

James Workman: Mandela’s Global Water Ambassador Dies — A Reflection on South African Human Rights Lawyer, Kader Asmal

When Nelson Mandela named South Africa’s first democratic Minister for Water Affairs and Forestry – a futile effort to keep his outspoken, irascible, chain-smoking friend out of trouble – Kader Asmal claimed ignorance about the rudimentary basics of his new portfolio.

Pakistan and India in Dam Building Race — Interpreting the Indus Waters Treaty

A new era of dam building brings uncertainty to the 50-year-old water truce between India and Pakistan.

Q&A: James G. Workman on the Bushmen’s Fight for Water Rights and 21st Century Hydro-Democracy

Workman says chances of the Botswanian government returning water rights to the Bushmen as 'pretty slim.'

Lawmakers Pass Bill to Protect Argentina’s Glaciers

Bill passes that will ban mining and oil drilling in Andean ice fields.

James Workman: Who Owns the Rain—When Thirsty Democracies Deny Individual Liberty to Water

James G. Workman reflects on a recent ruling that compromises the water rights of the Bushmen.

Countries Move Forward with Nile Treaty Despite Egypt’s Objections

A weekend meeting of the Nile basin water ministers does not resolve treaty impasse.

Out of the Mainstream: Water Rights, Water Territories and the Politics of Scale and Identity

An excerpt from the introductory chapter of Out of the Mainstream: Water Rights, Politics and Identity, a book on the effect modern society has on water culture and indigenous communities

Q&A: David Getches on Water Rights for
Indigenous Cultures

"How modern society is affecting our water culture and the rights of indigenous communities."

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Feature Stories

Newest Article

Mongolia Copper Mine at Oyu Tolgoi Tests Water Supply and Young Democracy

Mining boom in South Gobi influenced by local and global citizen activism

China Tests New Strategy to Curb Coal Demand, Reduce Air Pollution, and Conserve Water

Nation’s Ministry of Environment turns to Circle of Blue and the Wilson Center’s China Environment Forum for help.

Toxic Water: Across Much of China, Huge Harvests Irrigated with Industrial and Agricultural Runoff

The dirty truth about the world’s largest grain producer.

China’s Water Reserves and World’s Warming Atmosphere Wait For Natural Gas Breakthrough

China’s deep shale reserves are treacherous to tap and slow to develop.

Scarcity of Water and Land Shifts Geography of Food Production and Irrigation Networks to China’s Northeast

Rich land, ample water, and human persistence have turned virgin prairie into the primary breadbasket for China, the world’s largest nation and second-largest economy that is pursuing grain production with a single-minded purpose.

Food Supply, Fracking, and Water Scarcity Challenge China’s Juggernaut Economy

New project finds that building the world’s fastest-growing economy risks public safety and tests global resource limits.

Building China’s 21st-century Megacity: Shanghai’s Experiment with Water and Nature

A new community on the Yangtze River has, so far, been more successful at attracting ducks than people. But city officials have their sights set high for Lingang Port City, which they say could be home to nearly a million people by 2050. Cleaner water will be a big help.

Double Choke Point: Demand for Energy Tests Water Supply and Economic Stability in China and the U.S.

The cords of energy demand and water supply are tightening around the world's two largest economies.

Energy Economy Brings Change to Shepherd Life: Modernization Comes to the Dry Grasslands of Inner Mongolia

Along the vast frozen grasslands, 23-year-old Wu Yun and her father, Bao Zhu, tend their flock of sheep and cattle. Just over the ridge, the northern city of Xilinhot is booming as the coal industry continues to expand. But it will take a lot of water to feed both the city and the mining.

Rains Bring Relief For Six-Month China Drought, But Chronic Water Problems Loom

Although now satiated, the dry spell is the latest in a growing trend of severe water shortages threatening China's food production, energy generation, and accelerating modernization.

China’s Other Looming Choke Point: Food Production

The Yellow River Basin is the center of a contest over water, energy, and agriculture.

Off the Deep End — Beijing’s Water Demand Outpaces Supply Despite Conservation, Recycling, and Imports

How China's capital got in over its head, and what the city is doing to get its water crisis under control.

Water Needs Curtail China’s Coal Gasification For Fuel, Yet Conversion To Chemicals Pushes Ahead

Though coal-to-liquids has been suspended due to water scarcity, the process uses 50 percent less water per unit of end product compared with coal-to-chemicals processes which have been given the go-ahead in hopes of slowing petroleum imports.

Q&A: Ma Jun on China’s Economic Development and Water Resources

Ma Jun tells Circle of Blue that China is still on the track of a highly energy- and resource-intensive model, with the need to de-couple economic growth from the expansion of resource consumption

Bohai Sea Pipeline Could Open China’s Northern Coal Fields

Disputed project seen as a must for modernization.

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Choke Point: China - Photo Slideshows

Newest Article

Photo Slideshow: China’s Polluted Waters

Pollution is a major driver of water scarcity in China, especially in the places where economic growth is the highest and water resources are under the most stress — China’s dry northern breadbaskets and its biggest manufacturing hubs in the south and east.

Photo Slideshow: Irrigating Northeastern China’s Breadbasket

The northeast region of China, including Heilongjiang, Liaoning and Jilin provinces, is among the world’s most important breadbaskets.

Video: Scarcity, Pollution, and Energy are Choke Point: China II Focus

Choke Point: China is an on-the-ground report that displays in text, photographs, and interactive graphics the powerful evidence of a potentially ruinous confrontation between growth, water, and energy that is already visible across China; a confrontation that is virtually certain to grow more dire over the next decade.

Video: Confronting Water Scarcity & Energy Demand in China

Choke Point: China is an on-the-ground report that displays in text, photographs, and interactive graphics the powerful evidence of a potentially ruinous confrontation between growth, water, and fuel that is already visible across China; a confrontation that is virtually certain to grow more dire over the next decade.

Photo Slideshow: City of Coal on the Inner Mongolia Steppe

Xilinhot — an Inner Mongolian outpost of 177,000 residents, separated from Beijing by a 12-hour train ride — is at the center of the Xilin Gol Grassland, one of China's largest prairies and livestock production regions. The north's coal mines, trucks, and power plants are representative of the nation's coal dependency, a lifeline with an insatiable thirst for water

Photo Slideshow: Food and Farmers — China’s Other Challenge

The farm sector and the coal sector together made up 85 percent of water used in China last year. These photos take a look at the people and places affected by rising energy demand, accelerating modernization, and diminishing freshwater resources.

Photo Slideshow: Beijing Water Imports and Wastewater Recycling

A gallery of images from Beijing and neighboring Hebei Province, where the capital city is importing water from farmers and fishermen.

Photo Slideshow: Bohai Pipeline Could Bring Water to China’s Coal Industry

Images from northern China, where a proposed pipeline could be the answer to a resource mismatch of coal wealth and water poverty.

Photo Slideshow: Irrigation to Industry — Trading Water Rights in China’s Yellow River Basin

New industries invest in repairing irrigation canals in exchange for the right to use water from the Yellow River.

Photo Slideshow: China’s South-North Water Transfer Project

Taken together, the three lines are an audacious strategy to solve the increasingly dire confrontation between rising energy demand in a nation that is steadily getting drier.

Photo Slideshow — Choke Point: China

A gallery of images from Choke Point: China, a new water-energy series about the tightening noose that could choke off China’s modernization.

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Related China Stories

Newest Article

Deep Sea Gas: China Follows Japan in Pursuit of New Energy Source

Deep Sea Gas: China Follows Japan in Pursuit of New Energy Source

Though methane hydrate, a newly discovered unconventional natural gas reserve, is seen as an alternative to coal-fueled power, the technology for tapping deepwater supplies is not yet viable.

First Time Key Global Energy Report Highlights Water Constraints of Energy Production

Energy is becoming a thirstier resource, the report states.

U.S., U.K, and China Lead Foreign Land Investments In Agriculture and Finance

GRAIN’s online database is the foundation for much of what the world knows about foreign investments in land. Though the majority of “land grabs” are for agribusiness, other sectors include construction, finance, industry, real estate, and more.

National Security Assessment: Water Scarcity Disrupting U.S. and Three Continents

In a new report, the U.S. State Department finds a global confrontation between growing water demand and shrinking supplies, in addition to predictions for the next 30 years of water scarcity.

“Choke Point: China” Findings Cited in Congressional Hearing

Choke Point: China findings presented at Congressional hearing.

Update: China Completes Tunnel Under Yellow River for South-North Water Transfer Project

China is on target to begin transferring water from the Yangtze River Basin to Hebei, Shandong, and Tianjin by 2013.

Choke Point: China on Wilson Center’s Dialogue Program

On Wednesday evening, dialogue — an award-winning television and radio program that explores the world of ideas through weekly, half-hour conversations with renowned public figures, scholars, journalists, and authors — will feature "Choke Point: The World's Looming Water Crisis."

EIA Report: Global Energy Use To Grow 50 Percent by 2035 — Half of Increase from Fossil Fuels in China and India

The U.S. Energy Information Administration recently published its annual report on global energy projections. Though renewable energy sources and nuclear power, along with unconventional fossil fuels, will phase out coal production over the next two decades, it will not be at the pace necessary to offset greenhouse gas emissions

China Turns Profit From Coal-to-liquid Fuels Production, May Expand Controversial Program

Though China suspended most of its coal-to-liquid fuels refineries in 2008 due to concerns for scarce water resources and high production costs, recent financial gains may lead it to reconsider its policy.

China to Cap Energy Use by 2015 in National Low-Carbon Plan

The energy target will be the highlight of a document to come later this year, as well as a cornerstone of China's efforts to curb soaring greenhouse gas emissions, which currently stand at a quarter of the global total. Cutting coal consumption will inevitably also cut water use, as coal is China's largest industrial user of water.

Australia Builds Desalination Plants and Pipelines to Bring Water to Mines

To feed water-hungry mining industries, similar plans are in the works to supply drought-ridden regions of Australia and China.

Flooding Tests Three Gorges Dam, Pollutes Songhua River in China

Chemical pollution is the latest calamity as heavy rains continue to blanket the country with floods.

China Looks to Increase Hydropower to Meet Clean Energy Goals

While the superpower announces ambitious sustainability goals, it faces droughts and intensive energy needs.

Drought in South China is Worst in Decades

Parts of southern China are being ravaged by a severe three-season drought. Millions of people lack adequate water supplies, and millions of acres of cropland are too dry to plant.

Chinese Farms Generate More Water Pollution than Factories

Study shows 2007 discharges were double previous estimates.

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Infographics

Newest Article

Infographic: California Drought In Motion — 10 Dry Years Animated Infographic (2003-2014)

When layered, weekly images of the U.S. Drought Monitor for California show how much worse this drought is than any in the past decade.

Infographic: Wealth of the Nile — Basin’s Countries, Dams, and GDP per capita

Controversy over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which will become the largest dam in Africa when it is completed in 2017, stems from a long history of disputes along the Nile River's 10 countries.

Map: Destruction and Restoration of Iraq’s Mesopotamian Marshlands (1973-2013)

Saddam Hussein's legacy includes draining Iraq’s Mesopotamian Marshland, an integral part of the Tigris-Euphrates River Basin and once the third-largest wetland in the world. Now, the Biblical Garden of Eden is the site of the war-weary nation’s first and only national park.

Infographic: Water, Food, and Energy Choke Points in India

India's resource problems are not those of scarcity, but rather of inefficient use and bureaucratic policies.

Map: 30 Years of Trading Water in Australia

Learn more about the history of trading water in Australia's three markets in this infographic.

Map: China’s Provincial Water Resources and Use (2002-2010)

Click through the interactive infographic to see how China, the world’s largest nation and second-largest economy, faces multiple challenges for sustaining its water supply.

Map: China’s Provincial Energy Production (1997-2010)

Click through the interactive infographic to see how China, the world’s largest nation and second-largest economy, races to meet rising demand for energy.

Map: China’s Provincial Grain Production (1997-2010)

Click through the interactive infographic to see how China, the world’s largest nation and second-largest economy, has shifted its bread baskets to the north.

Infographic: The Oyster Industry in Florida’s Apalachicola Bay

How do freshwater flows — or lack thereof — affect the marine life downstream?

Infographic: A Drought and Water Policy Timeline for Georgia

It is not clear whether any of the new policy, planning, and supply initiatives are making a difference.

Infographic: Climate Change in the Great Lakes

How will predicted changes to water levels and water temperatures affect the future of this region that is home to 8 million people?

Infographic: Drought Slashes 2012 U.S. Corn Crop

Much goes into producing a corn crop and much comes out.

Infographic: G20 Renewable Energy from 2002 to 2020

The NRDC predicts that the G20 will produce less than 4 percent from renewables by 2015 and 6 percent by 2020, up from only 2.6 percent currently and 0.86 percent in 2002.

Infographic: Water Privatization in the Philippines

Breaking down the history of water privatization in the Philipine capital of Manila, this infographic explores the city's varied success with privatization using a timeline and a map.

Map: 2012 Water Prices in 30 Major U.S. Cities

The price that Americans pay for water is rising faster than the cost of any other utility service in the United States — be it gas, electricity, or telephone charges.

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Multimedia

Newest Article

Infographic: Three Types of Coal Mining — Process and Facts

Opencast mining involves scraping at the ground's surface, while room and pillar mining occurs below ground. Likewise, longwall mining uses heavy machinery to dig at coal seams beneath the surface: learn more in this interactive inforgraphic.

Infographic: Test Your Knowledge with the Water and Energy Quiz

Think you know all there is to know about the intersection between water and energy? Take the Choke Point: US quiz to find out.

Infographic: Biofuels 101 — Water Use from Plant to Power Source

Production of ethanol, the most commonly used biofuel, has prompted concerns about water use and food supply.

Infographic: Energy Used in the Water Cycle

At eight pounds per gallon, water is a heavy substance; especially when utilities move billions of gallons per day.

Infographic: Hoover Dam’s Troubled Waters

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

Infographic: A Closer Look at Tar Sands Oil

185 gallons of water + two tons of soil + 700-1200 cubic feet of natural gas = one barrel of crude oil.

Infographic: U.S. Power Sources

Producing electricity region to region.

Infographic: State Legislatures Bridge Water-Energy Gap

A look at 16 states with statutes that acknowledge the tightening chokepoint between declining water resources and rising energy demand.

Infographic: 10 Things You Should Know about Water + Energy

A survey of key water facts behind traditional and alternative energy sources.

Infographic: North Dakota’s Rise To Domestic Oil Royalty

North Dakota has become the number four oil producing state—but at what cost to its water supply?

Photo Slideshow: Tar Sands Oil Refinery Burdens a Detroit Community

Residents face the environmental and health consequences of a Marathon refinery expansion.

Photo Slideshow: A Desperate Clinch — Coal Production Across America

A look at the places and faces affected by coal production in the United States.

Infographic: Tripling Tar Sands Oil Imports, Pipeline and Refinery Map from Canada to U.S.

The industry is spending billions of dollars to develop more U.S. pipelines.

Infographic: Coal and Water – A Resource Mismatch

The contest between coal-fired energy production and water demand is a mismatch.

Interactive Map: Top Ten Global Oil Spills

Details of the ten worst oil spills in history by volume, date, location, and company damages.

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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 […]

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Tar Sands

Newest Article

Oil Pipeline, Long Submerged in Michigan’s Deep Waters, Fuels Public Concern

A rally in St. Ignace on July 14 draws attention to the risks of ruptures and leaks when transporting fossil fuels through the Great Lakes.

Peter Gleick: The Keystone XL Pipeline — Red Herring, Symbol, or a Piece of a Puzzle?

It is time we just said “no.”

Nebraska Farmers Dismayed by Governor’s Endorsement of New Oil Pipeline Route

Despite a new route, farmers still worry about groundwater contamination and property rights.

Exxon and Imperial Oil Forced To Go Around Sensitive Idaho River Valley

Push-back on the transportation of tar sands equipment through a wilderness corridor reflects civic resistance to North American fossil fuel boom.

Q&A: Subir Bhattacharjee on the Geopolitics of Oil and Alberta’s Tar Sands

Subir Bhattacharjee — a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Alberta and one of Canada’s top water quality experts — tells Circle of Blue about the water cycle of the tar sands while he attends a high-level conference in Alberta, Canada.

Keystone XL Closer After U.S. House Vote

The proposed pipeline could be approved on a much shorter timeline than was laid out by President Barack Obama, after the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday giving approval power for the project to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). The Senate has not yet considered the bill.

Connected by Pipeline from Canada, Tar Sands Represents Bonus and Risk to Great Lakes

Transporting and processing corrosive crude raise new questions about consequences.

Obama Administration to Reject Keystone XL Pipeline

However, the company building the pipeline will be invited to re-appl,y after finding a new route through Nebraska, according to a government official.

U.S. House Passes Bill to Accelerate Decision on Tar Sands Keystone XL Pipeline

If the Republican-sponsored bill passes the Democrat-controlled Senate, the final decision could come by the beginning of November.

South of the Border—Second Environmental Review of Tar Sands Pipeline Leaves Many Groups Unsatisfied

Residents and lawmakers in Nebraska mull their options for protecting key groundwater sources.

Infographic: A Closer Look at Tar Sands Oil

185 gallons of water + two tons of soil + 700-1200 cubic feet of natural gas = one barrel of crude oil.

Photo Slideshow: Tar Sands Oil Refinery Burdens a Detroit Community

Residents face the environmental and health consequences of a Marathon refinery expansion.

Scene of Midwest’s Worst Oil Spill – Sleepless Nights and Black Goo

Students examine communities affected by Enbridge rupture on Kalamzoo River.

Infographic: Tripling Tar Sands Oil Imports, Pipeline and Refinery Map from Canada to U.S.

The industry is spending billions of dollars to develop more U.S. pipelines.

A Midwest Pipeline Rupture Raises Questions About Tar Sands Risk

Enbridge is working overtime to clean up the spill, placate the community, and get oil flowing again.

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Fracking

Newest Article

Choke Point: U.S. — Water, Energy, and the Ohio River Valley’s New Course

Few places in the United States better understand the economically essential and ecologically risky accord between energy and water than this southeast Ohio town.

Pennsylvania Encourages New Source of Water for Fracking – Discharge from Abandoned Mines

The state aims to turn an old problem into an asset.

New Evidence Shows Fracking Contaminates Groundwater in Pennsylvania

A Duke University study finds methane in drinking water wells, along with two additional gases associated only with shale gas extraction.

Report: Half of U.S. Fracking Wells Drilled in Highly Water-stressed Regions

Energy companies should provide better data on fracking water use, and investors should push for quantifiable water targets, according to a sustainable investing advocacy group.

Study: Shale Gas Fracking Taints Rivers in Pennsylvania

Though groundwater gets most of the attention, rivers are also affected by the rush of shale gas development across the United States, according to a new study that claims both wastewater and well development degrade water quality, but in different ways.

Amid Roaring Demand, A U.S. City Plans to Triple Water Rates for Oil and Gas Customers

The recent oil and gas boom in the United States has been good business for the Carlsbad, New Mexico water department. Perhaps too good.

Clean Energy Picture Dramatically Changed For Midwest, As U.S. Fossil Energy Boom Gathers Steam

With the price of natural gas falling thanks to innovating drilling solutions in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, investments in water-sipping energy models like wind and solar have dried up.

Fossil Fuel Boom Shakes Ohio, Spurring Torrent of Investment and Worry Over Water

Ohio’s shale oil and gas fortunes point up.

Supreme Court Ruling Tests Boundaries of Water Supply and Energy Production Along Montana-Wyoming Border

Montana and Wyoming have taken their transboundary water dispute to the Supreme Court. Wyoming won the first round. But others await in a case that will help decide how much water is really available to generate energy and to produce food in one of the nation’s driest regions, as well as who has access to that water.

EPA and Halliburton Skirmish — Promises of Safer Fracking Fluid

After denying EPA disclosure request, Halliburton promises safer fracking fluid and more disclosure.

“Typical” Michigan Oil and Gas Lease Auction Casts Doubt on Collingwood Shale Formation

Earlier auction that set state records prompted projections of a new natural gas boom.

Government Warns Against Contaminated Water in Wyoming Town

Freshwater wells deemed unsafe because of hydrocarbons.

Fracking Regulations Vary Widely from State to State

A look at how states across America are facing deep frack dilemmas.

Michigan Says It’s Ready For Next Drilling Boom

“Fracking” is the injection of water and chemicals to rupture deep shale and release natural gas.

EPA Announces Study to Re-Examine the Health Risks of Hydrofracking

States have begun implementing stricter standards for the controversial natural gas drilling process.

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Hydropower

Newest Article

Alaska Governor Authorizes $4.5 Billion Dam Project

Throughout many parts of the United States, old dams are being removed. But in Alaska, the state legislature and the governor want to build what would be one of the nation’s tallest hydroelectric facilities. If built, the 200-meter dam on the Susitna River would be the nation’s fifth tallest.

Colorado River Basin Group Releases Supply Assessment: Bureau of Reclamation Uses Climate Data to Predict 9 Percent Decline in Flow

The interim report is the first step in a two-year evaluation of the Colorado River Basin.

Low Water May Halt Hoover Dam’s Power

What happens if Lake Mead drops too low to generate electricity at Hoover Dam?

Where Energy Development Puts Rivers at Risk

American Rivers’ annual tally of threatened rivers highlights effects of drilling for natural gas.

Climate Change To Heighten International Tensions Over Freshwater Resources

Growing supply and demand gaps.

California Report: In Dry Times, Deep Reservoir of Water Solutions

New report highlights possible solutions to state's water shortages

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Oil

Newest Article

Amid Roaring Demand, A U.S. City Plans to Triple Water Rates for Oil and Gas Customers

The recent oil and gas boom in the United States has been good business for the Carlsbad, New Mexico water department. Perhaps too good.

Infographic: North Dakota’s Rise To Domestic Oil Royalty

North Dakota has become the number four oil producing state—but at what cost to its water supply?

Water Demand is Flash Point in Dakota Oil Boom

Production from the Bakken Shale is projected to use up to 5.5 billion gallons of water annually.

Interactive Map: Top Ten Global Oil Spills

Details of the ten worst oil spills in history by volume, date, location, and company damages.

Q&A: ‘Crude’ Director Joe Berlinger on Chevron Oil in the Ecuadorian Amazon

Featuring Live Earth, Vanity Fair cover, and a CNN Hero Award.

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Wind, Solar, and Biofuels

Newest Article

Clean Energy Picture Dramatically Changed For Midwest, As U.S. Fossil Energy Boom Gathers Steam

With the price of natural gas falling thanks to innovating drilling solutions in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, investments in water-sipping energy models like wind and solar have dried up.

Economics and Water Concerns Alter the Solar Landscape in the US West

The falling price of photovoltaic panels and public concerns about aquifers and rivers in the western United States are boosting solar energy technologies that save water.

Visions of Solar Energy’s Future Compete in Colorado’s San Luis Valley

The U.S. government is in the process of designating more than 6,000 hectacres of federal land for solar energy development. As companies line up to submit projects, some valley residents are questioning the centralized model of energy generation and are, instead, trying to shape an independent energy future.

State of the Union: New Economics of Energy Production Tilts Obama’s “All-of-the-Above” Strategy One Way

In the era of deficit and disinvestment, water-intensive fossil fuel production is overwhelming the water-sipping clean energy sector.

EPA Releases Draft Assessment of Environmental Effects of Biofuels

Preliminary report describes an infant cellulosic biofuels industry with a mandate to grow up fast.

Infographic: Biofuels 101 — Water Use from Plant to Power Source

Production of ethanol, the most commonly used biofuel, has prompted concerns about water use and food supply.

Low Water May Halt Hoover Dam’s Power

What happens if Lake Mead drops too low to generate electricity at Hoover Dam?

Infographic: Water Use Per Mile Driven — Biofuels vs. Fossil Fuels

A breakdown of gallons of water used by transportation fuels per mile.

In Solar Power Lies Path to Reducing Water Use For Energy

California’s latest proposed desert solar power plant could compromise desert habitat.

Biofuels that Save Water and Land

Flushing For Fuel: Wastewater grows energy-rich plants and algae.

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Thermopower Shift

Newest Article

The Rising Cost of Settling the American Desert

Power plant that moves torrent of water uphill considers closing

Infographic: U.S. Power Sources

Producing electricity region to region.

Water Scarcity Prompts Different Plans to Reckon With U.S. Energy Choke Point

Southeast could learn from Southwest

Thermal Power Stations Need Makeover

Utilities feel pressure from more users and less water.

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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