OK, put away your guns. We’re not talking shooting wars, at least not yet, at least not in the U.S. We’re talking politicians shooting off their mouths, political wars, and court battles. But water is serious business.
Sometime, about one year from now, the front pages of whatever decent newspapers are left will carry a headline like the one above, announcing that for the first time in human existence (or in nearly a million years, or 3 million years, or 15 million years), the global atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide — the principal gas causing climate change — will have passed 400 parts per million.
One of the reasons that climate change is such a big issue is because the global climate is an integral part of the Earth’s entire ecosystem, tied to so many of the big and little things that society cares about.
A private company, Cadiz Inc. (Cadiz), has revived plans to mine groundwater underlying land in the delicate Eastern Mojave Desert. This project revives fundamental questions about how we manage our precious water resources, and in particular, whether in the 21st century it is appropriate, or even necessary, to use renewable water resources in a nonrenewable and unsustainable way, for short-term profit.
Geologic time scales are long – too long for the human mind to really comprehend. Over millions, and tens of millions, and hundreds of millions of years, the Earth has changed from something unrecognizable to the planet we see on maps, plastic globes, and photos from space.
Not all zombies are fictional, and some are potentially really dangerous – at least to our pocketbooks and environment. These include zombie water projects: large, costly water projects that are proposed, killed for one reason or another, and are brought back to life, even if the project itself is socially, politically, economically, and environmentally unjustified.
The debate about water use in California agriculture is stuck in a 30-year-old rut; relying on outdated and technically-flawed thinking that is slowing statewide efforts to meet 21st century challenges.
A new analysis from the Pacific Institute evaluates the water needs for different energy futures and identifies a growing risk of conflicts between electricity production and water availability in the U.S. Intermountain West.
The remarkable president of Liberia, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, has just been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman of Yemen for their work on women’s rights. This award is rightful recognition of the commitment and dedication of these women to strengthening the rights and dignity of women in Africa, and around the world.
Peter Gleick, an internationally recognized water expert, tells Circle of Blue what has changed — and what has not — since the 2009 release of Volume 6. The Pacific Institute’s biannual report analyzes how water relates to climate change, corporate interests, and policy reform.
When I go to water meetings, there are serious scientific discussions about climate impacts on water systems, international conflicts over water, water quality and contamination threats, new technologies and strategies for providing basic water and sanitation for the world’s poor, and much more. But in the hallways between meetings and sessions, the real arguments are about the conflicts between public and private control and management of water.
Every year, our old water infrastructure spills 860 million gallons of untreated waste into America’s waterways, including raw or partially treated sewage, bacteria, parasites, synthetic hormones, pharmaceuticals, and agricultural wastes.
The world faces a wide range of serious, complex, and long-term water challenges, from shortages to contamination to local and regional disputes over water to long-term climate changes. But there are other challenges that are short-term, emergency situations that could also be addressed by some new thinking and new technology.
Adequate, high-quality freshwater is fundamental for health, growing food, natural ecosystems, and a productive U.S. economy including the production of energy and all vital goods and services. But as populations and economies grow, new constraints on water resources are appearing, raising questions about ultimate limits to water availability.