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Keeping the Wild Yampa Wild

By Nathan Fey, Colorado Stewardship Director for American Whitewater

Cutting through the steep canyons and arid sage lands of northwestern Colorado and northeastern Utah, the Yampa is the region’s lifeblood. A major tributary of the Colorado, which has been increasingly stretched as demand exceeds supply, and climate warms and dries, the river’s flows are eyed by downstream water-users in Utah, Arizona and California. That fact behooves all of us to take a closer look at how water is managed in the West.

The Silver Lining in the California Drought

Denial, it’s been said, is not just a river in Egypt. It runs, of course, through each of us. But Californians have displayed quite a dose of it as a record-breaking drought rolls through its fourth year. It was just last week, propelled by the lowest snowpack in the Sierra Nevada in recorded history, that…

Daily Life Takes HOW Much Water?

Did you know it takes 240 gallons of water to make a cell phone? Or 52 gallons to make an egg? The concept of such “hidden water” may seem unfamiliar to some, but it’s an important part of our impact on the planet, argues author Stephen Leahy in the recent book Your Water Footprint: The…

America’s Most Endangered Rivers of 2015

Rivers are the veins and arteries of our communities. They give us clean drinking water and are the lifeblood of the ecosystems that sustain us all. But our rivers face many threats, and that is why every year American Rivers reports on America’s Most Endangered Rivers®. The list sounds the alarm about rivers facing urgent…

Scientists Witness Spectacular Flood Into the Red Sea

Somebody call Moses. Researchers have witnessed a remarkable Red Sea flood of their own.

What the River Knows: Kamo River, Japan

In Japanese I am called Kamo-gawa, (kanji compound 鴨川).

Translated from the kanji my name means “wild duck,” and “gawa” is river. Not only ducks, but also a large variety of birds wade in my shallow waters in search of their next meal. Herons and egrets wait patiently as they stalk their food.

Your plastic is getting to the Caribbean more often than you are, and it’s spoiling your next visit

Who left their trash behind on this remote Caribbean island? Then I realized. It wasn’t left. It arrived. An endless flotilla of refuse heedlessly sent from afar. It’s heartbreaking. The image of a lone bottle washing up on a remote tropical island is the clichéd stuff of literature, movies and New Yorker cartoons. But what…

Let’s Change our Water Story

Our human story has always been a water story. The earliest civilizations developed and grew along rivers – from the Tigris and Euphrates in the Middle East, to the Nile in Egypt, to the Yellow River in China. Rivers have been the lifelines for the growth and evolution of societies, providing the essentials of food,…

Nile River Nations Agree to Cooperate, but Danger Lurks for One of Planet’s Great Wetlands

Earlier this month, the foreign ministers of Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia reached agreement on basic principles for managing what will be Africa’s largest hydroelectric dam, which is now under construction on the Blue Nile near the Ethiopian-Sudanese border. While the unilateral building of big dams is often a trigger for conflict in international river basins,…

Warming Lakes: New Global Database Sets the Stage for Research on the Ecological Effects of Climate Change

Global assessments based on satellite data have found that the world’s largest lakes have steadily warmed in the last 25 years, and some lakes are warming more rapidly than air temperature. I wrote about this in an earlier post, noting that studies of individual lakes, using temperature data gathered in the traditional way, confirmed these…

What the River Knows: Siem Reap, Cambodia

Siem Reap, Cambodia–As I flow through the town of Siem Reap, Cambodia, I am slow moving and bucolic-looking most of the year, with green parks and benches for people to sit and watch me flow by. But sometimes during rainy season I overflow and flood nearby buildings and roads. Along both sides of my banks there are old collapsing wooden houses hanging precariously over the water. These are currently being torn down in order to clean my body, while the local inhabitants will be relocated to rice fields nearby.

Lessons from São Paulo’s Water Shortage

It’s getting harder and harder to separate nature’s role in disasters from our own, and the dire water predicament confronting São Paulo, Brazil, is no exception. But as with the ongoing drought in California, there are important lessons from São Paulo’s grim situation that can help us prepare for the “new normal” that’s unfolding. It’s…

6 Ways to Save the Salton Sea and Colorado Delta

By Benny Andrés With scientific modeling foreshadowing megadroughts in the Southwest and Great Plains, it is imperative policymakers implement freshwater projects along the lower Colorado River, in particular, the Salton Sea, a 376-square-mile freshwater agricultural sump in southeastern California, and in the Colorado River Delta where the waterway ends its journey in the Baja California desert.…

What the River Knows: Chao Phraya River

Here in the heart of busy, bustling, Bangkok, I am an urban working river with constant traffic of long heavily laden cargo barges pulled by tug-boats chugging slowly upriver. Speedy water taxies (known as longtails) zip across my spine from dock to dock. Wooden sampans speak of days gone by. Every day jam-packed ferries transport thousands of passengers including school children, commuters, monks, visitors, and families.

Springs: The Canary in a Coal Mine for Groundwater

From Abe Springer: Humans have relied on springs for millennia. Since the beginning of human evolution, populations spanning all seven continents have built entire communities around these sources of water, because they are dependable, plentiful and not as subject to the changes of climate and stream flow.