Policy + Politics
Rousseau_UpperColoRiver_39

Better plans and more data are needed to guide response.

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The state will force local agencies to take control but allow them to set goals.

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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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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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Report calls for new Himalayan development policy; stirs political battle in New Delhi.

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As temperatures heat up and water supplies dwindle, Governor Jerry Brown’s third drought order deals with lawns, laws, and emergency response.

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An American landslide as a global metaphor.

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

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Stop Work Most agency staff have been sent home. Press officers are not returning calls or emails. Only those in “excepted positions” – jobs required to protect human life and property – remain at work. Federal agencies such as the National Weather Service are still monitoring the nation’s water and weather and offering forecasts, but […]

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The U.S. Agency for International Development last week unveiled a new strategy for water that sets criteria for project selection and numeric targets for people served.

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Less money means fewer staff positions and fewer research projects at the nation’s universities.

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The justices on the United States Supreme Court pondered water law last week, as Oklahoma and a Texas water district presented arguments about water allocations under the Red River Compact. The justices asked many questions about the compact’s language and the intent behind an equal rights provision. They also dipped into matters of engineering, state […]

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The long road to information about a federal study of fracking’s effect on groundwater in Wyoming.

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Red River Compact

A water rights case to be argued in the U.S. Supreme Court this week has national implications.

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The most severe drought in 117 years of recordkeeping on the Great Plains came quickly, without warning, and without any dominant cause, according to an analysis by university and government scientists. It was largely not a result of climate change, they claim, and it was not the result of the drought conditions in Texas from […]

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Kansas Monument Rocks

When it comes to water management, Circle of Blue reporter Brett Walton thinks Kansas is a beacon on the plains.

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Kansas Geological Survey, infographic, ogallala aquifer, drought

As they have been doing for decades, political leaders and water managers in Kansas are upending Western water law traditions that originated before the state was even part of the Union.

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Cotton irrigation dryland farming Ogallala Aquifer Texas

Southern farmers are making changes now to wean themselves from the Ogallala Aquifer, a water source that gave rise to industrial agriculture and modern life on its plains.

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