• Scientists: water woes ahead

    Within a generation, water demand in many countries is forecast to exceed supply by an estimated 40 percent.
    In other parts of the world prone to flooding, catastrophic floods normally expected once a century could occur every twenty years instead; meanwhile, spending on technologies and services to discover, manage, filter, disinfect, and desalinate water, improve infrastructure and distribution, mitigate flood damage, and reduce water consumption by households, industry, and agriculture is expected to rise to a trillion dollars annually by 2020

  • Mitigation policy could halve climate-related impacts on water scarcity

    Even without the effects of climate change, as much as 40 percent of the world’s population will be living under water scarce conditions by 2020; climate change is expected to influence future water scarcity through regional changes in precipitation and evaporation; most climate models suggest rainfall is likely to decrease in the subtropics and increase in mid-latitudes and some parts of the tropics; in the latter, mitigation efforts could actually reduce the amount of extra water potentially available

  • Radioactive waste contaminates drinking water, EPA does nothing

    Recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) documents show that Pennsylvania’s drinking water has been contaminated with radioactive waste from natural gas drilling; energy companies have been extracting natural gas with a new drilling technique called “hydrofracking”; this process results in millions of gallons of wastewater that is contaminated with dangerous chemicals like highly corrosive salts, carcinogens, and radioactive elements; EPA documents reveal the process has been contaminating drinking water supplies across the country with radioactive waste; in Pennsylvania more than 1.3 billion gallons of radioactive wastewater was trucked to plants that could not process out the toxins before it released the water into drinking supplies

  • Expert urges broad reforms in managing California's water

    Most threatening to California’s water situation is the vulnerability of the hub of the state’s fresh water system, the Sacramento-San Joaquin delta, which drains water from the northern Sierra mountains; over the past century, farmers have built a network of more than 1,700 kilometers of levees to protect farmland in the delta from floodwaters; those levees are weak and vulnerable to earthquakes, seasonal floods, and rising waters expected as a result of climate change; the failure of even a fraction of the levees would draw massive amounts of saltwater in from San Francisco Bay, forcing the state to shut off the pumps, cutting off water supplies for many months, and costing the state’s economy billions of dollars

  • California Delta plan released, canal recommendation missing

    Last week the Delta Stewardship Council released the first draft of its proposed plan to resolve safety concerns over California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, one of the state’s most critical pieces of infrastructure; the Delta accounts for 76 percent of the state’s fresh water supply; engineers, residents, and politicians fear that the aging levees along the Delta will break in the event of an earthquake; missing from the initial draft is a recommendation for a peripheral canal, a controversial proposal that has sparked fierce debate; more details will be added to the plan in subsequent drafts after public meetings are held to debate its contents; the final draft of the plan is scheduled to be completed and adopted in November 2011

  • Counterterror laws hobble monitoring of water supplies

    Laws designed to protect the U.S. water supply are making it difficult for communities to maintain proper oversight over water companies and their use of water; the DHS has evidence that al Qaeda was looking to disrupt or contaminate the U.S. water supply; environmentalists who are concerned over water shortages or resource usage are having difficulty obtaining any information; officials admit that the laws are clumsy and are currently reviewing a system to make more data publicly available while protecting sensitive information like the location of wells

  • Nearly half Bhutan's schools lack access to sufficient water

    238 of Bhutan’s 576 schools lack sufficient water supplies; water shortages disrupt education as children must spend time that could be spent learning fetching water from streams; children are also falling sick due to poor hygiene and sanitation as a result of limited access to water; unsafe drinking water is one the second leading cause of death in the world and poses a serious public health risk to these children; water sources in Bhutan are dwindling as glaciers recede making it difficult to provide schools with water

  • New gene could help plants use less water

    A mutant plant gene discovery by researchers at Purdue could lead to major breakthroughs in farming that would allow plants to be grown with less water without compromising growth; the mutant gene GTL1 reduces water loss without sacrificing carbon dioxide intake which usually affects growth negatively; tests show that the mutation reduced water loss by 20 percent; researchers are in the process of determining how this gene can be applied to crops

  • Expert: Czech Republic beginning to run out of water

    The Czech Republic is running low on its underground water supplies, with villages in the north and the south experiencing shortages; nearly 50 percent of Czech residents depend on underground water sources; experts believe that increasingly extreme weather patterns caused by climate change are to blame; long dry months followed by severe storms are causing massive floods and leave the ground less able to absorb water; extreme estimates predict that by 2050, the Czech Republic would not have enough water for its population’s basic needs

  • U.S. water infrastructure in desperate need of repair

    U.S water infrastructure is rapidly aging and causing disease outbreaks, water loss, and property damage; these problems primarily owe to ancient water pipes, many of which have not been repaired or upgraded since they were first installed in the years following the Second World War; some are over eighty years old; on average 700 water mains break a day flooding homes and causing thousands of dollars in property damage; a 2008 salmonella outbreak in Colorado that sickened 250 people was linked to poor water infrastructure; an estimated seven billion gallons of water is lost due to leaky pipes

  • San Diego completes major water pipeline project

    San Diego county has completed the San Vicente pipeline which will provide residents with fresh water in the event of a disruption; San Diego receives 90 percent of its water from distant sources thousands of miles away; the pipeline is part of a larger $1.5 billion project designed to provide San Diego county with water for up to six months if supplies are cut off by a major earthquake or natural disaster; these projects are becoming increasingly important as San Diego’s two primary sources of water, the Colorado River and the San Joaquin-Sacramento river delta begin to dry up

  • Manila reducing water supply in hopes of preventing another water crisis

    Philippine officials hope to divert another crippling water shortage this summer; officials decreased the water supply to Metro Manila and Central Luzon to slow usage and ensure water supplies will last until the rainy season; last year Manila faced a crippling water shortage that left millions with only a few hours of water a day and some villages entirely without water; officials resorted to cloud seeding to alleviate the water crisis with some success

  • Major breakthrough in desalination technology could be game changer

    A new desalination technique could be a significantly cheaper and more energy efficient alternative to aqueducts and dams; Oasys Water has developed ground breaking new membranes and draw solutions that generate fresh water faster, more efficiently, and at lower temperatures than existing desalination methods

  • Igloo-shaped Poo-Gloos eat sewage, clean water

    Inexpensive igloo-shaped, pollution-eating devices nicknamed Poo-Gloos can clean up sewage just as effectively as multimillion-dollar treatment facilities for towns outgrowing their waste-treatment lagoons, according to a new study

  • NSF funds new water sustainability project

    A 45 million grant from the National Science Foundation will allow University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers to turn a comprehensive lens on Madison’s water in all its forms — in the lakes, streets, faucets, ground, and atmosphere; the study will examine the complex links between the water system and factors such as land use, climate change, human activities, development, and ecosystems