U.S. Rivers

Climate Change Bangladesh is likely to be one of the countries hardest hit by global climate change as rising seas, erosion and intense storms threaten its low-lying river deltas, The New York Times reported. A major problem is saltwater intrusion up freshwater rivers, which makes some farm fields unusable. Some countries, including Britain, are discounting […]

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Pollution A federal judge in the United States ruled that actions by lawyers representing plaintiffs in a decades-long Ecuador water pollution case were corrupt, making it less likely that Chevron—the oil company accused of pollution—will end up paying the $US 9.5 billion fine ordered last year by Ecuador’s highest court, The New York Times reported. […]

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Gold mining operations in South Africa have left rivers and soil near Johannesburg with elevated levels of uranium, raising concerns about the long-term health effects for approximately 400,000 residents in the area, Bloomberg News reported. Water samples taken from rivers west of the city showed uranium levels that could reach 4,000 times natural levels, and […]

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Climate change, dam construction, irrigation and groundwater use are causing water supplies in Iran to shrink rapidly, a phenomenon epitomized by the near disappearance of Lake Urmia, The New York Times reported. Lake Urmia is estimated to contain just 5 percent of the water it once held, and though it is a saltwater lake, Iran’s […]

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Water Supply It is likely that California will record its driest year ever in 2013, and dry conditions are expected to continue for the third winter in a row, USA Today reported. The dry conditions are expected to create water shortages for farmers and will increase the risk of large wildfires next year. An article […]

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Scientists discovered an area of meltwater the size of Ireland trapped in the snow above Greenland’s southern glaciers, raising questions about how glaciers might be moderating increases in global sea levels, Discovery News reported. The scientists, who recently published their findings in the journal Nature Geoscience, want to focus further study on how the water […]

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Water Supply Tropical forests act like sponges that trap water during storms, making them critical to protecting surrounding areas from excessive runoff and flooding, say scientists from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Phys.org reported. By looking at changes in land use in Panama, the researchers found that tropical forests are much more efficient at trapping […]

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Pollution Discarded computers, tablets, refrigerators, and other electronics are the fastest growing type of waste in the world, according to a report from the United Nations Step initiative, the Guardian reported. The toxic “e-waste”, primarily generated in the developed world, poses a serious pollution threat to the water, air and soil of developing countries, where […]

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Water Pollution The top 10 toxic hotspots in the world are primarily in developing countries in places where people are either processing resources or recycling waste for the developed world, polluting waterways and creating major health concerns, according to a new report released by the Blacksmith Institute and Green Cross Switzerland, the Guardian reported. Among […]

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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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The Himalayan glaciers that feed the Indus and Ganges rivers have the potential to lose half their volume by 2100 due to climate change, according to a new study published in Nature Geoscience, AFP reported. The ice loss, however, is not expected to reduce water availability for South Asia in the current century. United Kingdom […]

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One resident in Sri Lanka’s western province was killed Thursday evening during a protest against a factory that had been contaminating drinking water in 15 local villages, Calgary Herald reported. More than 4000 people were present, hoping to provoke government action to stop the factory’s chemical emissions from polluting their water supply. China China’s mammoth coal industry […]

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Water Supply Pakistan is one of the most water-stressed countries in the world, with only a 30-day supply held in reserve, according to a report from the Asian Development Bank. Water shortages, in combination with already widespread energy shortages, could further destabilize the country, The Atlantic reported. Surface and groundwater supplies in Inner Mongolia are […]

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Severe flooding will likely increase in many of the world’s major river basins due to climate change, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change, AlertNet reported. The study reviewed 29 rivers and found that the Mekong, Nile, and Amazon rivers, among others, will become more prone to severe floods, while […]

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Floods While changing rainfall and climate patterns have been linked to increased flooding around the globe, new research suggests that erosion due to deforestation and development also plays a role by making rivers less able to mitigate large storms, AlertNet reported. Increased erosion and sedimentation rates in rivers are related to a region’s economic growth, […]

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To kick off World Water Day 2013, the United Nations released an analytical brief about global water security and the global water agenda. The report includes a working definition of “water security” as “The capacity of a population to safeguard sustainable access to adequate quantities of and acceptable quality water for sustaining livelihoods, human well-being, […]

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Will farm land run out? The New York Times Dot Earth blog takes a sneak peek look at the forthcoming study, Peak Farmland and the Prospects for Saving Nature. The big idea? Trends show that population growth and farm land use are “decoupling,” that is to say that our demand for acres of farm land […]

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Myanmar’s forests, river systems, and the wildlife they support may face challenges as the country becomes more democratic and open to foreign investment, Yale Environment 360 reports. Early moves suggest the government is taking care to protect the environment, but conservationists worry that a “Wild West” scenario could unfold. Africa Rice crops in western Kenya […]

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Oxfam has urged the World Bank to stop its support of large-scale land investments, the Guardian reported. The land purchased by international investors could grow enough food for 1 billion people, but is instead being used to grow biofuels or is left idle, according to a report Oxfam released Thursday. Researchers are hoping to gain […]

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