• Water securitySierra snowpack could drop by nearly 80% by end of century

    A future warmer world will almost certainly feature a decline in fresh water from the Sierra Nevada mountain snowpack. Now a new study that analyzed the headwater regions of California’s 10 major reservoirs, representing nearly half of the state’s surface storage, found they could see on average a 79 percent drop in peak snowpack water volume by 2100.

  • Water securityDrinking water safety guidelines in the U.S. vary widely from state to state

    Analysis of existing state and federal guidelines shows discrepancies in recommended safe levels of toxic contaminants PFOA and PFOS in drinking water. The findings of a new study highlight the need for enforceable federal standards and more health protective limits on these contaminants in drinking water to safeguard the health of millions of people whose water supplies have been contaminated.

  • Climate threatsDroughts boost emissions as hydropower dries up

    Recent droughts caused increases in emissions of carbon dioxide and harmful air pollutants from power generation in several western states as fossil fuels came online to replace hampered hydroelectric power. A new study quantifies the impact.

  • Water securityClean water for Africa

    Over 100 million people in Southern Africa have no access to clean water – many sources in rural areas are contaminated. In the SafeWaterAfrica project, African and European partners are working closely together to develop a decentralized system solution for water purification that can be operated and maintained autonomously by rural inhabitants. The system covers the clean water needs of several hundred people. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films IST are coordinating the project.

  • Water securityWater resources in Western U.S. threatened by declining snow mass

    Since 1982, some parts of the West have had a 41 percent reduction in the yearly maximum mass of snow. In Western U.S., winter snows and subsequent snow melt contribute substantially to water resources. Snow melt contributes to groundwater and to surface water sources such as the Colorado River.

  • Water securityNational Climate Assessment: Will U.S. water problems worsen?

    Upmanu Lall is director of the Columbia Water Center, chair of Earth and Environmental Engineering, and the lead author of the chapter on water resources in the latest U.S. National Climate Assessment. The report, issued two weeks ago, paints a troubling picture of the nation’s climate future, including projected droughts and extreme precipitation events that could worsen already existing problems with U.S. water supplies and infrastructure. Lall discusses the climate change-driven water challenges the U.S. faces, and ideas for how the nation can respond.

  • Water securityIsraeli device that extracts water from the air helps California firefighters quench thirst

    By Abigail Klein Leichman

    An emergency response vehicle (ERV) carrying an innovative Israeli machine that pulls drinking water out of ambient air is on its way to California to provide hydration to police and firefighters dealing with the aftermath of two massive wildfires that have taken at least eighty-seven lives.

  • Water securityThe dusty desert air as a source of drinking water

    A simple device that can capture its own weight in water from fresh air and then release that water when warmed by sunlight could provide a secure new source of drinking water in remote arid regions, new research suggests.

  • Water securityA dry future? New interactive map highlights water scarcity around the globe

    The average person in Europe uses 3,000−5,000 liters of water per day, of which the lion’s share is spent on food production. The world’s limited water resources are becoming an even more pressing issue as populations grow and climate change causes droughts in both south and north. Studies have already provided a number of ways to reduce our consumption of water, but this valuable information is often left unused.

  • Water securityGlobal hotspots for potential water conflicts

    Scientists at the Joint Research Center (JRC) of the European Commission have identified the hotspots where competition over the use of shared water resources could lead to disagreements between countries. The scientists determined that the Nile, Ganges-Brahmaputra, Indus, Tigris-Euphrates and Colorado rivers are “water hotspots”, where “hydro-political interactions” are most likely to occur. These areas are already under water stress, and future demographic and climatic conditions are expected to exert further pressure on scarce water resources.

  • Water securityU.S. states agree on plan to manage overtaxed Colorado River

    Seven Southwestern U.S. states that depend on the overtaxed Colorado River have reached landmark agreements on how to manage the waterway amid an unprecedented drought, including a commitment by California to bear part of the burden before it is legally required to do so.

  • Water securityClimate change requires a fresh approach to water woes

    Climate change is affecting the Everglades and other large watersheds across the United States in new and unpredictable ways. Extreme weather events and rising sea levels, combined with a growing population, will lead to “more intense arguments” about already contested issues of water quality and water usage, experts say.

  • Water securityEarly warning system for tracking groundwater contamination

    Groundwater contamination is increasingly recognized as a widespread environmental problem. The most important course of action often involves long-term monitoring. But what is the most cost-effective way to monitor when the contaminant plumes are large, complex, and long-term, or an unexpected event such as a storm could cause sudden changes in contaminant levels that may be missed by periodic sampling?

  • Critical infrastructureUrban water services vulnerable to attacks using a botnet of smart commercial irrigation systems

    Cybersecurity researchers warn of a potential distributed attack against urban water services which uses a botnet of smart irrigation systems. The researchers analyzed and found vulnerabilities in a number of commercial smart irrigation systems, which enable attackers to remotely turn watering systems on and off at will. Botnet attacks can also empty an urban water tower in an hour, and empty flood water reservoir overnight.

  • Water securityGroundwater recharge project helps California’s sustainability efforts

    The depletion of California’s aquifers by over-pumping of groundwater has led to growing interest in “managed aquifer recharge,” which replenishes depleted aquifers using available surface waters, such as high flows in rivers, runoff from winter storms, or recycled waste water. At the same time, there is growing concern about contamination of groundwater supplies with nitrate from fertilizers, septic tanks, and other sources. Study shows how collecting storm-water runoff to replenish depleted groundwater supplies can be coupled with a simple strategy to reduce nitrate contaminants.