North America
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Click through the interactive Google Fusion Tables infographic to see how California’s water use has changed over the last two decades and how these trends relate to population demographics and water contamination.

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GWChange2013-14

The biggest declines are in the San Joaquin Valley and in metropolitan Southern California.

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

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BristolBayWatershed

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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Julene Bair author photo (credit Stephen Collector)

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.

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SanLuis1000

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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Covering about 88 percent of the lakes on February 13, the ice has implications for water levels, shipping and fisheries.

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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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California’s severe drought is forcing the nation’s largest state to reconcile old assumptions about water supply and management with the reality of long-term drying trends, declining groundwater, and polluted drinking water, according to an expert panel of scientists and journalists convened during a Circle of Blue interactive drought briefing conference call on February 13.

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Folsom1000

California’s record drought prompts water districts to increase conservation spending, drain rainy day funds, and dramatically swell water rates.

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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.

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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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PRISM_Jan21precip

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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USGS-GRACE-GW

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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Farmers are in the field from dawn to dusk during harvest season. Stuart Beckman's field in Thomas County produced 198 bushels per acre, well above the state average of 125 bushels per acre in 2013. Irrigation, using water from the Ogallala Aquifer, allows farmers to grow three to four times as much grain per acre compared to a field that relies solely on rainfall.

Water restrictions, no doubt, will change agriculture in Sheridan County.

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