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Solar Desalination Could be a Game Changer for California Farms

Let’s be clear from the outset: I’m no fan of conventional desalination. The idea of using climate-altering fossil fuels to drive an energy-intensive de-salting process that threatens coastal environments in order to produce drinking water that, in most cases, could be secured more cheaply through conservation and efficiency improvements, simply fails to pass the bar…

How can you eat, eat, eat–and stay healthy? Ask a blind cavefish.

Barbecues and clambakes. Ice cream and berry pies. Summer is the season of food, food and more food. Is there a way to binge and still stay healthy? For answers, look far underground, say scientists, to the denizens of darkness: blind cavefish. Biologists studied blind cavefish, Astyanax mexicanus, living in freshwater pools in deep caves…

Water and Climate Change: Solutions on Washington’s Yakima River

Daily headlines are driving home the fact that climate change is hitting rivers and water supplies first and worst. But too often, the narrative devolves into a debate over the false choice of “fish vs farms,” highlighted in this recent NPR interview.  So where is the path forward?  How do we meet all of our…

With One-Third of Largest Aquifers Highly Stressed, It’s Time to Explore and Assess the Planet’s Groundwater

Imagine if your bank statement arrived each month and told you how much money you had withdrawn and deposited, but told you nothing about how much money you had at the beginning or end of the month. You’d know whether your balance had grown or shrunk, but you’d have no idea whether you could afford…

Ten Photos of Great White Sharks to Take Your Breath Away

Photographing and watching great white sharks for more than 20 years gives Chris and Monique Fallows front row seats on the amazing behavior, interactions, and secrets of these formidable predators that few people see. In this post they select ten of their favorite photos of great whites of the past two decades, describing the electric moment when each one was made, when all the conditions for a great picture came together as determined predator burst from the water in a violent chase of their agile prey.

What’s Lurking in Europe’s Freshwater?

An adventurer took water samples to test for microplastics while traveling through Slovenia and Italy—and the results are in.

What the River Knows: Virgin River, Utah

I flow out of a cave at 9,000 feet elevation near Navajo Lake at Cascade Falls, Utah, descend toward Lake Mead at 1,000 feet, and empty into the Colorado River. The length of the Virgin River is 180 miles, however I am only the 33-mile stretch of the North Fork.

Flood Carries River Monsters Onto the Land

The Texas floods provided an unusual reminder that our buildings and byways are a very recent arrival to this ancient landscape.

The “Sixth Extinction” Adds Urgency to Habitat and Climate Protection

It’s now unequivocal: the sixth great spasm of species extinctions has begun.   We – homo sapiens – are its cause. And only we can slow it down. Over the last century, the average rate of loss of vertebrate species — fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals – has been up to 100 times higher than…

Solar Electricity Buybacks May Reduce Groundwater Depletion in India

It’s hard to find solutions that confront water depletion, climate change and rural poverty all at once, but an innovative scheme being piloted in the Indian state of Gujarat does just that. The idea is to enable farmers using solar-powered irrigation pumps to sell excess electricity back to the grid. That gives them an incentive…

More Than Meets the Eye: Contribute to the World’s Largest Microplastics Dataset

Wherever you may travel, from alpine lakes and canyon-carving rivers to tropical shores, you can contribute to building the largest data set on microplastics.

A Farm Level View on Supply Chain Water Risk

WATSONVILLE, CA—Lettuce is a thirsty crop in parched California. It takes roughly 12 gallons to grow a single head, and Chris Willoughby, a mid-sized grower of leafy greens, broccoli and cabbage, is doing his best to cut back on that amount. When his wells ran salty 10 years ago, following decades of regional groundwater over…

From Running Water to No Water: In Search of Desert Bats

The search for water in the Namib Desert continues as we net for bats over a stretch of the running Hoarusib River and then pursue active springs on our way back through the Hoanib River.

What the River Knows: Yaqui River, Sonora, Mexico

My struggle as a river is interconnected with the struggle of my people, the Yaqui Indigenous Community of Mexico in the Sonoran desert, as I try to provide the ancestral source of water for drinking, everyday use, irrigation, and ceremonial purposes. Together we have had a long and complex history.

New U.S. Water Rule is Crucial for Clean Drinking Water and Resilience to Droughts and Floods

It took nearly a decade, but finally the waters left terribly muddied by two U.S. Supreme Court cases have gotten a good bit clearer. This week, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers issued a new rule clarifying which of the nation’s streams and wetlands come under the protections of the federal…