Water facilities

  • WaterIsrael shares its approach, solutions to drought with California

    Israel has developed expertise in coping with droughts, and a delegation from Israeli water companies recently visited California, meeting with state officials and corporations to propose solutions to the drought, now in its fourth year. It was the latest in a series of consultations and symposiums highlighting Israeli water expertise and its potential to help California.

  • BioterrorismKosovo’s capital cuts water supplies for fear of ISIS plot to poison reservoir

    Kosovo security and health authorities have cut off water supplies to tens of thousands of residents in Pristina, Kosovo’s capital, following a suspicion that ISIS followers had poisoned the city’s water supplies. The city’s water board said supply was cut early on Saturday “because of security issues” and that supplies had been tested for suspicious substances. Police sources say that security officers patrolling the Badovac reservoir saw three of the men behaving suspiciously near the reservoir, and arrested them. They were later identified as ISIS supporters. Kosovar members of ISIS recently appeared in propaganda videos, warning of attacks against targets in the Balkans, including the water supplies of major cities.

  • WaterNASA balances water budget with new estimates of liquid assets

    By Ellen Gray

    Many pressing questions about Earth’s climate revolve around water. With droughts and flooding an ongoing concern, people want to know how much water is on the move and where it is going. To help answer those questions, a new NASA study provides estimates for the global water cycle budget for the first decade of the twenty-first century, taking the pulse of the planet and setting a baseline for future comparisons.

  • WaterCrowdsourced computing used to improve water filtration

    Nearly 800 million people worldwide do not have access to safe drinking water, and some 2.5 billion people live in precariously unsanitary conditions, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Together, unsafe drinking water and the inadequate supply of water for hygiene purposes contribute to almost 90 percent of all deaths from diarrheal diseases — and effective water sanitation interventions are still challenging scientists and engineers. Researchers propose a novel nanotechnology-based strategy to improve water filtration. The technology involves the minute vibrations of carbon nanotubes called “phonons,” which greatly enhance the diffusion of water through sanitation filters.

  • WaterOur mostly dry planetary neighbors once had lots of water -- what does that imply for us?

    By David A. Weintraub

    Our two closest solar system neighbors, Venus and Mars, once had oceans — planet-encircling, globe-girdling, Earth-like oceans, but neither Venus nor Mars could hold onto their water for long enough to nurture advanced life forms until they could flourish. The lessons from Venus and Mars are clear and simple: water worlds are delicate and fragile. Water worlds that can survive the ravages of aging, whether natural or inflicted by their inhabitants — and can nurture and sustain life over the long term — are rare and precious. If we allow the temperature of our planet to rise a degree or two, we may survive it as a minor environmental catastrophe. But beyond a few degrees, if we allow a runaway greenhouse effect to kick up the temperature a few more notches, do we know the point at which global warming sends our atmosphere into a runaway death spiral, turning Earth into Venus? We know what the endgame looks like.

  • WaterCalifornia Republicans introduce bill to improve Western water reliability

    Republican members of the California congressional delegation yesterday introducing a bill to modernize water policies in California and throughout the Western United States. The bill has the support of the entire California Republican delegation, the chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, and chairman of the Western Caucus. The bill’s authors say that H.R. 2898, the Western Water and American Food Security Act of 2015, aims to make more water available to families, farmers, and communities in California and bordering Western states. The bill takes aim at what the authors describe as the “dedication of vast quantities of water to protect certain species of fish listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) [which] is a significant obstacle hindering water delivery in Central and Southern California.” H.R. 2898 will require federal agencies to use current and reliable data when making regulatory decisions, which in turn will provide more water for communities in need.

  • view counter
  • WaterPowering desalination with the sun

    By Julia Sklar

    When graduate student Natasha Wright began her Ph.D. program in mechanical engineering, she had no idea how to remove salt from groundwater to make it more palatable, nor had she ever been to India, where this is an ongoing need. Although the available filters made water safe to drink, they did nothing to mitigate its saltiness — so the villagers’ drinking water tasted bad and eroded pots and pans, providing little motivation to use these filters. Almost 60 percent of India has groundwater that’s noticeably salty, so Wright began designing an electrodialysis desalination system, which uses a difference in electric potential to pull salt out of water.

  • Emerging threatsWorld running out of fresh water: NASA data

    Two new studies using data from NASA Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites show that human consumption is rapidly draining some of the world’s largest groundwater basins, yet there is little to no accurate data about how much water remains in them. This means that the world’s largest underground aquifers, on which hundreds of millions of people rely for fresh water, are being depleted at an accelerated rate – a rate of depletion which has pushed these aquifers beyond their sustainability tipping points: During the 10-year study period, more water was removed than replaced.

  • WaterBacteria may help clean groundwater contaminated by uranium ore processing

    A strain of bacteria that “breathes” uranium may hold the key to cleaning up polluted groundwater at sites where uranium ore was processed to make nuclear weapons. The bacterium can breathe either oxygen or uranium to drive the chemical reactions that provide life-giving energy. Scientists had previously witnessed decreasing concentrations of uranium in groundwater when iron-breathing bacteria were active.

  • WaterInexpensive process to clean water in developing nations

    Lack of potable water is a huge problem in many developing countries. According to UNICEF, 783 million people worldwide are without improved drinking water, and the World Health Organization estimates that lack of proper drinking water causes 1.6 million deaths each year from diarrheal and parasitic diseases. Part of the problem is that many of these countries must import expensive chemicals to clarify the water, limiting the amount they can afford to produce. What would happen if a common tree had the potential to turn cloudy, contaminated water into clean, safe drinking water for millions in need? Researchers are hoping to find out using the seeds of the Moringa oleifera tree.

  • WaterNOAA’s new National Water Center will bolster U.S. ability to manage threats to water security

    The National Water Center, a new facility located at the University of Alabama, aims to become an incubator for innovative breakthroughs in water prediction products and services. As the country becomes more vulnerable to water-related events, from drought to flooding, the predictive science and services developed by NOAA and its partners at the National Water Center will bolster the U.S. ability to manage threats to its finite water resources and mitigate impacts to communities. Bringing experts together in this new collaborative center provides an unprecedented opportunity to improve federal coordination in the water sector to address twenty-first century water resource challenges, such as water security, and analysis and prediction of hydrologic extremes, like droughts and floods.

  • ISISISIS closes gates on Ramadi dam, cutting off water to towns loyal to Baghdad

    Global security analysts have warned for some time now that water scarcity due to climate change will be used as a tool of war in regions with poor governance. The on-going wars in Iraq and Syria provide the first examples of the strategic and tactical use of water as a tool of war, as militant groups operating in both countries – and, in Syria, to government of Bashar al-Assad — have been using the denial of water as a tool against areas and populations they regard as hostile. Last month ISIS militants captured a dam on the Euphrates River to the north of the Iraqi city of Ramadi, and last week they began closing most of its gates, cutting water supplies to pro-government towns and villages downstream.

  • WaterWater security key to unlocking African prosperity

    There is mounting evidence of the risks posed by water scarcity to business and economic growth. A 2012 projection by the International Food Policy Research Institute says 45 percent of total GDP — $63 trillion — will be at risk due to water stress by 2050. With coordinated action, better water provision in Africa will strengthen economic growth and unlock the path to prosperity for millions, according to SABMiller’s Chief Executive Alan Clark.

  • WaterCalifornia’s agriculture feels pain of harsh drought

    The California drought is expected to be worse for the state’s agricultural economy this year because of reduced water availability, according to a new study. Farmers will have 2.7 million acre-feet less surface water than they would in a normal water year — about a 33 percent loss of water supply, on average. Reduced availability of water will cause farmers to fallow roughly 560,000 acres, or 6 to 7 percent of California’s average annual irrigated cropland. The drought is estimated to cause direct costs of $1.8 billion — about 4 percent of California’s $45 billion agricultural economy. When the spillover effect of agriculture on the state’s other economic sectors is calculated, the total cost of this year’s drought on California’s economy is $2.7 billion and the loss of about 18,600 full- and part-time jobs.

  • WaterSummer tropical storms do not alleviate drought conditions

    Popular opinion says that tropical storms and hurricanes that make landfall mitigate droughts in the southeastern United States. This simply is not true, according to researchers. According to a NOAA report, 37.4 percent of the contiguous United States was experiencing moderate drought at the end of April – but “The perception that land-falling tropical cyclones serve to replenish the terrestrial water sources in many of the small watersheds in the southeastern U.S. seems to be a myth,” says one of the researchers.