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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.

Climate Change Poses Existential Water Risks

We often hear it said that climate change is too abstract to win the support needed to effectively combat it. But the primary way we will experience climate change is through the water cycle – through droughts, floods, depleted rivers, shrinking reservoirs, dried-out soils, melting glaciers, loss of snowpack and overall shortages of water to…

What the River Knows: Ping River

Maenam Ping, Chiang Mai, Thailand–On the night of the twelfth lunar month during the full moon at the end of the rainy season, communities gather along my banks to pay homage to me, and my water spirits. They thank the Goddess of Water, Phra Mae Khongkha (พระแม่คงคา), which is the Thai form of Ganga, the Hindu goddess of the holy Ganges River, India. It is also a way to beg forgiveness for polluting and abusing me during the past year.

Love Water for Chocolate

As Valentine’s Day approaches, no doubt many of us have chocolate on our minds and taste buds. Delicious, dark, tempting chocolate that, eaten in moderation, may even be good for us. As we’ve learned in recent years, the cocoa beans that give chocolate its main ingredient contain flavanols, which scientists have discovered may reduce the…

Corn Remains King in USDA Irrigation Survey

By Brooke Barton Senior Program Director, Water Program, Ceres It’s no secret that our agricultural industry is very thirsty, gobbling up 80 percent of the freshwater that America consumes each year. It takes a lot of water to feed the nation, and every five years we get an accounting of just how much it takes,…

India’s Food Security Threatened by Groundwater Depletion

The severe and ongoing depletion of underground water supplies in India poses a growing threat to the nation’s food security. Without serious efforts to stem the mining of groundwater, food production will decline, unleashing painful social and economic consequences for this nation of 1.25 billion people. All four of the world’s top irrigators – China,…

Expedition Begins Amid Drought in São Paulo

After 16 hours of flying, I’m keen for a shower. Unfortunately for me, but much more so for the rest of São Paulo, the city is falling in to the grip of its worst drought since 1930.

No Water, No Growth: Are Water-Neutral Growth Policies the key to Building Sustainable Communities?

By Mary Ann Dickinson We’re accustomed to waiting in lines for a football game, to buy movie tickets or perhaps to get a seat in the most coveted professor’s class. But what if we had to wait in line to move? What if we had to be granted access to a city where we found…