Irrigation

India’s government is predicting a normal monsoon season this year, with rains at 96 percent of a 50-year average, Bloomberg News reported. The possibility of an El Niño weather pattern forming this summer is not expected to affect the rains, though it has caused droughts in the past. China The quality of groundwater in China […]

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Pollution Heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium and nickel are some of the most common pollutants contaminating approximately 19 percent of arable land in China, according to an official report, The Wall Street Journal reported. The contaminants are deposited in the soil by water and air, and some of the most polluted areas are in […]

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Scientists have called into question the viability of wetland ecosystems recreated on land used for oil sands mining in Canada, saying they do not function as well as before, Yale Environment 360 reported. None of the areas reclaimed by oil companies have yet been certified as meeting government standards, and reclamation efforts can cost as […]

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JGanter-Punjab_G3_1310_591

Increased heat and water scarcity will limit food production. Farmers and food markets can adapt, but only to a point.

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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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Three years ago President Obama signed into law sweeping reforms for how the nation’s food is grown, harvested, packaged, shipped, and stored. At first an environmental review of the Food Safety Modernization Act was not deemed necessary, but after more analysis certain aspects of the new law are getting a second look. One aspect involves […]

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United States Pollution Alpha Natural Resources, a United States coal company, has been leveled with a $US 27.5 million penalty for violating the federal Clean Water Act and has agreed to spend an additional $US 200 million to clean up water pollution from its mines in Appalachia, The New York Times reported. The cleanup is […]

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A pipeline project moving water from Turkey to northern Cyprus is expected to be completed this year and should provide much needed relief for drought-hit farmers, the Associated Press reported. The project, however, has also become a source of political tension between Turkish populations in northern Cyprus—which Turkey invaded in 1974—and Greek populations in southern […]

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Water Projects A 2-year federal government study assessing the feasibility of agricultural expansion in northern Australia found that up to 50,000 hectares of crops could be irrigated with water from the Flinders and Gilbert rivers and their tributaries, the Australian reported. The report findings have been challenged by environmental organizations that warn diverting water from […]

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Approximately 100 million people living in rural China do not have access to safe drinking water, a problem driven in part by polluted groundwater, Xinhua reported. In response, some rural communities on Hainan Island are installing “ultra-filtration membranes” to filter out viruses and dissolved compounds, a technology that China believes could be used across the […]

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Climate Change An increase in global temperatures by 2 degrees Celsius would likely result in chronic water scarcity—less than 1,000 cubic meters per person per year—for 21 percent of the global population, according to new climate models developed by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Climate Progress reported. An increase of just 1 degree […]

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Climate Change Under a worse-case scenario in which global temperatures rise 4 degrees Celsius, most of the world would experience interrelated stresses to water, agriculture, ecosystems, and public health, with 18 percent of the population experiencing “severe pressure” in each category, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, […]

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Chinahaze_tmo_2013341

During presentations this week at the annual fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union, researchers at the University of California, Irvine, announced that the region’s most visible signs of drought – shrinking reservoirs – are dwarfed by groundwater losses.

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Water Conservation Iran’s newly elected president, Hassan Rouhani, has said that it will take “national will” for Iran to conserve its scarce water supplies, urging his top ministers to create a national plan for water conservation, Bloomberg News reported. The president outlined priorities such as curbing illegal well drilling and improving the efficiency of irrigation […]

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Kansas Aqueduct Study The Army Corps of Engineers will reassess a 600-kilometer (375-mile) aqueduct that would deliver Missouri River water to the High Plains. The aqueduct was part of a 1982 study that analyzed four schemes to increase water supplies in the region served by the diminishing Ogallala Aquifer. The cost of the $US 300,000 […]

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Climate Change More frequent bushfires in Australia appear to be the result of higher temperatures and longer dry spells, according to the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC), the Guardian reported. The AFAC, as well as other bureaus and research institutions, previously predicted that bushfires would increase due to climate change, though Australia’s […]

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Kansas-Aqueduct-Map

In addition to reducing demand from its key aquifer, Kansas wants to study the cost of importing water to the High Plains. But will this cause conflict with neighboring states that also use the river?

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Hydropower In an effort to move toward cleaner renewable energy, China is turning to huge hydropower projects and is currently adding 15 gigawatts of capacity each year, the Guardian reported. While the projects may cut coal’s share of energy production, they could also cause the displacement of thousands of people and alter river environments. Egypt, […]

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SoybeanHarvest1000

Reporter Brett Walton recently visited the plains states of Kansas and Texas, finding a difference of opinion on how to best use limited water supplies.

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

A pilot project will test how much water can be saved by not growing crops.

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