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August 22: Mexico Contends With Two Contaminated River Spills

Mexico
Two weeks after approximately 37,800 cubic meters of sulfuric acid spilled into Mexico’s Bacanuchi River from a copper mine, 88 schools have delayed the start of the academic year because of contaminated water, United Press International reported. The country’s National Water Commission said that toxicity levels in the water are declining, and could be cleared up by next week.

Meanwhile, an oil spill in Mexico’s Rio San Juan has spread across six kilometers of the river and will take months to clean up, Reuters reported, citing the National Water Commission. According to the company, the oil spilled after a pipeline was tapped illegally.

United States
The western United States has lost 240 billion metric tons of water from lakes, rivers, snowpack and groundwater, according to a new study published in the journal Science, National Geographic reported. The study measured the loss by using GPS devices that were originally designed to track earthquakes.

Africa
Negotiations between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan over Ethiopia’s Grand Renaissance Dam will resume Monday after being suspended for eight months, the Egypt Independent reported. Egypt has long expressed its discontent with the dam, which it fears will cut its water supply from the Nile River.

South Africa’s Minister of Water and Sanitation has promised that water service will be available in Limpopo’s Mopani district by the end of September, All Africa reported. Water shortages, poor water quality, and a lack of access to water services in Mopani—in contrast to more affluent areas—have raised concerns about inequality.

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Water News

Newest Article

California Lawmakers Move to Protect the State’s Collapsing Groundwater Supply

New rules seek sustainable use, but the details will be written later by local agencies.

Voices From Detroit

The U.S. government spends more than $450 million each year to provide water and sanitation to poor and vulnerable populations around the world. It’s the first rule of international development, and it brings health, education, and prosperity. Yet in Detroit — a city under emergency management that is reeling from decades of deindustrialization and neighborhood […]

Ohio Lawmakers Discuss Ways to Stop Lake Erie’s Toxic Algal Blooms

Explore options from stricter fertilizer regulations to funding water plant improvements.

California Lawmakers Pass $US 7.5B Water Bond

The spending measure now goes to the voters in November.

California Will Fall Short of Water Recycling Goals

Between $US 13 billion and $US 81 billion will be needed to meet state targets, Circle of Blue finds.

California Drought Helps Rim Fire Recovery

Little rain is not a problem for land managers working in the aftermath of one of California’s largest fires.

Lake Erie Algae Blooms Prompt New International Targets for Phosphorus

Current targets not enough to stop algal toxins.

Lake Erie Utilities and Organizations React to Algae Toxins in Drinking Water

Toledo crisis prompts calls for action, purchases of testing equipment to safeguard public health.

Himalayas Strike Again: Deadly Landslide in Nepal

Sun Koshi River is blocked, 156 people are dead, and 10 percent of Nepal’s hydropower capacity is cut off.

Circle of Blue Wins Society of Environmental Journalists Awards for Reporting and Photojournalism

Coverage of “the world’s quest for water” is timely, intimate, and dramatic.

Toledo Residents Told Water Is Safe

Toxin is below detectable levels in region’s drinking water

Toledo Issues Emergency ‘Do Not Drink Water’ Warning to Residents

Algae toxins poison Lake Erie; 400,000 people without water.

In Apparent Contradiction, Data Shows Waukesha’s Groundwater Levels Rising, Not Falling

City’s case for diverting Great Lakes Water appears significantly weakened.

EPA’s Proposed Veto of Alaska’s Pebble Mine in Line with Past Uses of Clean Water Act

Legal experts say process should provide certainty, not worry, for developers.

U.S. Irrigation Pushed Eastward By Drought and Financial Risks

Irrigated agriculture’s march into Midwest and South could increase competition for water.

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In The Circle: Fresh Focus

Newest Article

USGS Report: California Freshwater Withdrawals Are Lowest Since 1960s

Californians are taking less water out of rivers, lakes, and aquifers.

Circle of Blue Wins Society of Environmental Journalists Awards for Reporting and Photojournalism

Coverage of “the world’s quest for water” is timely, intimate, and dramatic.

Harmful Algal Bloom Expands in Lake Erie

Algal bloom season is here. These tools will help you keep track.

California Groundwater Legislation Will Be Amended Monday

Basins get more than two decades to balance groundwater use.

Canvassing Fairgoers about California’s Drought

Everyone has a groundwater story.

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.

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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 […]

Ned Breslin

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

  • Peter Gleick

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

  • James Workman

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

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


    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.

    Special Reports

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