• Water securityPlants Demand More Water as Climate Warms, Leaving Less for People

    As climate changes, plants in North America, much of Eurasia, and parts of central and South America will consume more water than they do now, leading to less water for people, according to a new study. The research suggests a drier future despite anticipated increases in precipitation in populous parts of the United States and Europe that already face water stresses.

  • African securityTensions Rise between Egypt and Ethiopia over Nile Dam Project

    Tension is rising between Egypt and Ethiopia over the huge Ethiopian dam project on the Nile. Egypt is worried that the construction of the Renaissance Dam, a $4 billion dollars project launched by Ethiopia in 2012 and scheduled to start operations in 2022, will substantially reduce water flow in the Nile. Egypt depends on the Nile for about 90 percent of its water supply. Egypt insists on a guarantee from Ethiopia that Egypt would receive a minimum of 40 billion cubic meters of water annually, but Ethiopia argues that this would give Egypt an unreasonably large share of the Nile’s water.

  • Water securityNew $100M Innovation Hub for a Secure Water Future

    The National Alliance for Water Innovation (NAWI), which is led by the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), has been awarded a five-year, $100-million Energy-Water Desalination Hub by DOE (pending appropriations) to address water security issues in the United States.

  • Water securityCalifornia Wildfires Can Impact Water Availability

    In recent years, wildfires in the western United States have occurred with increasing frequency and scale. Climate change scenarios in California predict prolonged periods of drought with potential for conditions even more amenable to wildfires. The Sierra Nevada Mountains provide up to 70 percent of the state’s water resources, yet there is little known on how wildfires will impact water resources in the future.

  • Perspective: Water woesBottled Water Is Sucking Florida Dry

    Florida has the largest concentration of freshwater springs in the world, but they are being devastated by increasing pollution and drastic declines in water flow. Some springs have dried up from overextraction; others have shown signs of saltwater intrusion and harmful algae blooms. The answer to this problem is simple: No more extraction permits should be granted, and existing permits should be reduced with the goal of eliminating bottled water production entirely in Florida. But that simple solution is not being implemented. In the next few months, Nestlé, the largest bottled-water company in the world, is set to renew its permit at Ginnie Springs, one of the most popular recreational attractions along the Santa Fe River,” Sainato and Skojec write. “The permit allows Nestlé to take one million gallons per day at no cost, with just a one-time $115 application fee.”

  • Perspective: Water woesThe Water Wars Are Here

    Everyone remembers the scene in Chinatown when Jack Nicholson almost gets his nose sliced off, but many do not recall what the dispute was about. It wasn’t drug smuggling or gun running that got Nicholson’s character slashed. It was water rights. Since the film was released in 1974, the question of who will get the limited water in the American West, particularly the all-important flow of the Colorado River, has grown even more contentious. Dystopian novels and movies predict a future in which people fight it out for every last drop of water to quench the thirst of expanding cities, parched agriculture, and wasteful suburban grass lawns. But the future is already here.

  • Water securitySmart Faucets Could Aid in Water Conservation

    An experiment with a water-saving “smart” faucet shows potential for reducing water use. The catch? Unbeknownst to study participants, the faucet’s smarts came from its human controller. “We looked at the faucet because that’s where a lot of water usage in the home occurs, but when you compare your sink to other products in the house – a thermostat or refrigerator – you see that there haven’t been updates to how the sink works in a very long time,” says one researcher.

  • Food securitySoils Could Be Affected by Climate Change, Impacting Water and Food

    Coasts, oceans, ecosystems, weather and human health all face impacts from climate change, and now valuable soils may also be affected. Climate change may reduce the ability of soils to absorb water in many parts of the world, according to a Rutgers-led study. And that could have serious implications for groundwater supplies, food production and security, stormwater runoff, biodiversity and ecosystems.

  • Water securityMicroplastics Harming Our Drinking Water

    Plastics in our waste streams are breaking down into tiny particles, causing potentially catastrophic consequences for human health and our aquatic systems. Approximately 300 million tons of plastic are produced globally each year and up to 13 million tons of that is released into rivers and oceans, contributing to approximately 250 million tons of plastic by 2025. Since plastic materials are not generally degradable through weathering or ageing, this accumulation of plastic pollution in the aquatic environment creates a major health concern.

  • Water securityNew Ways for Taking Salt Out of Seawater

    As populations boom and chronic droughts persist, coastal cities like Carlsbad in Southern California have increasingly turned to ocean desalination to supplement a dwindling fresh water supply. Promising design rules for cost-effective desalination rely on just a few ingredients: ionic liquids plus low-cost geothermal or solar heat, or waste heat from machines.

  • Water securityWhat Will Communities Do When the Water Runs Dry?

    Earlier this summer, the sixth-largest city in India, Chennai, ran out of water. Water crises are now global. Cape Town, South Africa, narrowly escaped Day Zero last year, but it’s still at risk, as are Sao Paulo and Mexico City. Iraq, Morocco and Spain also face water shortages.What we are seeing in Chennai right now is a devastating illustration of human-driven climate disruption,” says an expert. “It is hard for me to picture a near future where access to clean, fresh water continues in as plentiful a way as it is in most of our country at this moment.”

  • FloodsInnovative Approach to Flood Mapping Supports Emergency Management, Water Officials

    Dependable, detailed inundation estimates are vital for emergency managers to have enough situational awareness to quickly get the right resources and information to flood-impacted communities. In 2007, severe flooding in southeastern Kansas put a spotlight on the lack of timely, reliable projections for floodwater spread.

  • FloodwaterDeveloping ‘Smart City’ Floodwater Management

    In a world of smart watches, smart homes and smart appliances that monitor their environments to keep users safe and informed, can whole cities be smarter? Short answer: Probably, using cutting-edge information technologies to keep citizens and property safer.

  • Water securityCalifornia Plans to Better Use Winter Storms to Refill Its Aquifers

    With new rules coming into effect, California farmers and municipalities using groundwater must either find more water to support the aquifers or take cropland out of use. To ease the pain, engineers are looking to harness an unconventional and unwieldy source of water: the torrential storms that sometimes blast across the Pacific Ocean and soak California.

  • Water safety“Liquid Forensics” Checks Safety of Drinking Water

    Ping! The popular 1990 film, The Hunt for Red October, helped introduce sonar technology on submarines to pop culture. Now, nearly thirty years later, a team of scientists is using this same sonar technology as inspiration to develop a rapid, inexpensive way to determine whether the drinking water is safe to consume.