• Water securityDutch aquifers bank rainwater to help farmers keep the water running

    Climate change is increasing the risk of water shortages across Europe, but researchers in the Netherlands are hoping to ease pressure by generating a steady supply of clean water and heat from deep underground reservoirs known as aquifers.

  • FloodsAs floods increase, cities like Detroit are looking to green stormwater infrastructure

    By Erica Gies

    Urban sprawl meant paving over grasslands and wetlands, making it so water is unable to soak into the ground. Today, that impervious development, coupled with the more intense storms brought by climate change, is making flooding a major issue for many cities. Urban areas are looking for better ways to manage runoff.

  • Water securityForest fires accelerating snowmelt across western U.S., affecting water supplies

    Forest fires are causing snow to melt earlier in the season, a trend occurring across the western U.S. that may affect water supplies and trigger even more fires, according to a new study. It is a cycle that will only be exacerbated as the frequency, duration, and severity of forest fires increase with a warmer and drier climate.

  • Water securityGlobally, rapid urbanization increases pressure on rural water supplies

    Around the world, water reallocation from rural to urban regions—the practice of transferring water from rural areas to cities to meet demand from growing urban populations – is intensifying. Researchers found that 69 cities with a population of 383 million people receive approximately 16 billion cubic meters of reallocated water per year—almost the annual flow of the Colorado River.

  • Water securityDroughts caused permanent loss to major California groundwater source

    California’s Central Valley aquifer, the major source of groundwater in the region, suffered permanent loss of capacity during the drought experienced in the area from 2012 to 2015.

  • SuperbugsWastewater treatment plants spread antibiotic resistance

    The products of wastewater treatment have been found to contain trace amounts of antibiotic resistant DNA. These products are often reintroduced to the environment and water supply, potentially resulting in the spread of antibiotic resistance.

  • Water securityPopulation increases, climate change will cause future U.S. water shortages

    Climate change plus population growth are setting the stage for water shortages in parts of the U.S. long before the end of the century, according to a new study. Even efforts to use water more efficiently in municipal and industrial sectors won’t be enough to stave off shortages, say the authors of the new study. The results suggest that reductions in agricultural water use will probably play the biggest role in limiting future water shortages.

  • Water securityComparing technologies to remove arsenic from groundwater

    At least 140 million people in 50 countries have been drinking water containing arsenic at levels above WHO guideline. A new study compares for the first time the effectiveness and costs of many different technologies designed to remove arsenic from groundwater.

  • 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.