Drought is upon the American West — with major implications for human health, biodiversity, agriculture, food security, supply chains, cities, land use, and the most very basic of human rights.

This is a story now only worsened by a climate emergency, which has brought higher temperatures, more extreme conditions, and heightened risks.

Fires, droughts, power outages, competition over water, and ecosystem collapse all result. Western droughts are becoming longer, more intense, and more frequent.

But as water scarcity sweeps the West, many see this as the imperative moment for rapid innovation in agriculture, technology, nature-based systems, and policy to manage dwindling supplies.

Interactive Broadcast

Watch Drought in the American West, a special convening of journalists, experts, and others on the front lines in this interactive broadcast and Q&A.

Including Bidtah Becker, Navajo Tribal Utility Authority; Giulio Boccaletti, Author, Water: A Biography; Heather Cooley, Pacific Institute; Dr. Peter Gleick, Pacific Institute; Cody Pope, Vector Center; Susana De Anda, Community Water Center; Sammy Roth, Los Angeles Times; Hon. Dan Glickman, former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture;  Andre Fourie, Anheuser-Busch InBev; J. Carl Ganter, Circle of Blue and Vector Center. 

Multimedia

Drought Coverage

Constant, Compounding Disasters Are Exhausting Emergency Response

Fires, droughts, floods, power outages. The interval between disasters is shortening, or in some cases disappearing altogether.

Drought, The Everything Disaster

When water stops flowing, painful days are at hand.

As a Hot, Dry Summer Begins in California, More Water Wells Are Failing

Government agencies and nonprofit groups are preparing for difficult months ahead.

Innovative Partnerships and Exchanges are Securing the Gila River Indian Community’s Water Future

The Gila River Indian Community is restoring its “lifeblood” back through innovative partnerships and water exchanges.

Cheese in the Desert: Why Mega-Dairies are Piping Water onto Oregon’s Shrub-Steppe

An environmental coalition is lobbying for a moratorium on mega-dairies, which have proliferated in a water-challenged area of northeastern Oregon

Some Rural California Residents Doubt They’ll Ever Get Clean Water

Some rural California communities have waited nearly a decade for state regulators to repair their tainted drinking-water systems.

Toxic Cyanobacteria Choke Water Systems Around California’s Clear Lake

Toxic blooms are a public health risk and increase water treatment costs.

Harmful Algal Blooms in Clear Lake, California

A monitoring program tracks toxic cyanobacteria and influences change