Author Stories
Hydro Resources, a well-drilling contractor, works around the clock to punch new holes in the Ogallala Aquifer in Kansas. The Ogallala, the primary water source in the Great Plains, is declining because billions of gallons are pumped out each year to irrigate corn, soybeans, wheat, and cotton.

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

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Inadequate waste disposal practices from more than a century of oil and gas development — practices that are no longer permitted — are the chief source of salty brines in the waters of the Williston Basin, according to U.S. Geological Survey research. The Williston Basin, one of the nation’s critical bird habitats and one of […]

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A golden circle, this one near Edson, Kansas, is the tell-tale sign of an irrigated corn field ready for harvest. Farmers in the Great Plains produce some of the highest corn yields in the world thanks in part to abundant water supplies from the Ogallala Aquifer. The aquifer, however, is draining away because more water is pumped out than filters back in.

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

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

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The Federal Reserve’s assessment of current economic conditions, known as the beige book, notes that drought is affecting food prices and crop production. With cattle stocks the lowest in decades, beef prices are expected to rise, as are food prices more broadly because of California’s drought, the Fed claims. In Texas, wheat is in poor […]

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The rape and hanging of two girls in India’s most populous state has put an international spotlight on the country’s inadequate toilet facilities and its violence toward women. The two victims, like so many in rural India where in-home toilets are scarce, were heading to the fields at dusk to use the bathroom when they […]

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Central Arizona Project irrigation groundwater Colorado River farmland fallowing Arizona Yuma Mesa

Pipelines and canals buy some cities a ticket out of water stress — for now.

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The Chilean government will decide June 10 whether to proceed with HidroAysen, a group of five dams on two rivers in Patagonia. The Santiago Times reports that the project developers could sue to recover some of the $US 320 million already invested if the government vetoes the dams. Flood Control A water reform law in […]

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One in four cities with a population greater than 750,000 is water stressed, a figure lower than earlier estimates of 40 percent of such cities, according to new research. Fewer urban areas are exposed to water stress because cities can afford to build canals and pipelines that transfer water from distant basins, an economic reality […]

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More heat in a warming world, more water in South Asia’s mountain rivers – at least through 2050. That conclusion is from a study published this week in the journal Nature Climate Change. Different Himalayan river basins show different hydrological influences. The Indus is more dependent on melting snow and glaciers whereas the Brahmaputra and […]

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Seeking to make good on a promise to address the causes of global warming, the Obama administration took a first-ever step to limiting carbon emissions from power plants that are already operating. But it is a step, not a leap. The proposed rule seeks to cut emissions by 30 percent by 2030 against a 2005 […]

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Australia’s conservative coalition government will cut by 13 percent the amount of water it purchases from farmers, water that will be used to restore flows in the country’s most important watershed, The Australian reports. Instead, the government will spend $2.3 billion on water-efficient infrastructure projects, in hopes of saving an equivalent amount of water. Concerns […]

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The largest city in the United States wants to revive dozens of groundwater wells on Long Island as a temporary supply, Newsday reports. The new sources will be needed in 2021 when New York shuts down one of its upstate aqueducts for at least 10 months to repair leaks. Long Island residents fear that added […]

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India’s new government changed the official name of the environment ministry to the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, the Economic Times reports. Observers are hopeful that the name change will lead to domestic development policies that alleviate poverty while reducing carbon output. India’s new water minister, meanwhile, pledged to make good on her […]

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Texas drought Dust Bowl agriculture Great Plains

Strong winds and dry soils are a frightful combination.

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Earlier this month Vietnam became the 35th country to ratify a United Nations treaty on rivers that cross international boundaries. Having now acquired an adequate number of signatures, the treaty will come into force on August 17, 2014. The International Water Law blog is hosting a series of essays exploring what this means for the […]

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Researchers use new technology to gather data in rugged terrain.

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Both sides of Congress passed a $US 12 billion water infrastructure package last week. The 532-page Water Resources Reform and Development Act is a doozy. It hands out money, defines policies, and orders new studies. The highlights: Project planning assessments, called feasibility studies, will be capped at three years and $US 3 million dollars, codifying […]

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Agriculture may do better this year than expected, researchers say. But at a long-term cost.

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How much benzene should be allowed in a liter of river water? Or how about vinyl chloride? The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a new answer for 94 federally regulated chemicals, though states and tribes will be the ultimate arbiters. The EPA is updating human health benchmarks for chemical concentrations in rivers, lakes, and streams […]

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