Policy + Politics

Photo courtesy of Kris Kaczor / 750 Productions Jean Hill fought to pass the first bottled water ban in the United States in Concord, Massachusetts. Click image to enlarge. By Miles Beauchamp Circle of Blue Divide in Concord — a self-funded documentary about the battle to ban the sale of plastic water bottles in Concord, […]

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Despite drying conditions, four states plan additional water projects.

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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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The water advisory group is a casualty of sharp cuts to the Commonwealth’s budget.

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

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

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Abe Sanchez, a mechanic at the C.W. Jones Pumping Plant, looks for the source of a small water leak in one of the facility's massive electrical pumps.

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

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

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

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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.

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

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

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Benefits go to agriculture, but won’t help cities.

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Gov. Jerry Brown introduced a $US 687 million emergency spending bill Wednesday as his office works on comprehensive groundwater reform.

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An overview map of the Central Valley project at the C.W. Jones Pumping Plant, a federal facility which supplies water to the project's network of irrigation canals and reservoirs.

President Obama urges cooperation. But Republican opposition and a maze of state plans are causing a frantic confusion, while vulnerable farmers see immediate and long-term pain.

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A dry irrigation ditch on the edge of the historic Tulare Lake Basin in California's Central Valley. Photo by Matt Black

The president announces $US 1.2 billion for those affected by severe weather now and proposes $US 1 billion more for adaptation and research.

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Seven states will release a water plan — either in draft or final form — this year, and at least six other states are talking about updating existing plans or creating a first-ever plan. For context, only two states released water plans in 2013 and five in 2012.

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After a dry 2013, reservoirs are near record lows for the start of a calendar year, setting the table for widespread water restrictions, reduced agricultural and energy production, and political bickering in 2014.

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Snow is scarce, reservoirs are approaching bottom, and groundwater is being exhausted in the nation’s most populous state. More than a dozen communities face water shortages in the next 60 to 100 days, and there will be zero water deliveries from the state’s largest canal system this year.

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Plans to stop the invasive fish are costly, and most take more than 10 years to complete.

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