• 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.

  • PerspectiveDesalination is booming as cities run out of water

    It’s been a long time coming for desalination—desal for short. For decades, we have been told it would one day turn oceans of salt water into fresh and quench the world’s thirst. But progress has been slow. Jim Robbins writes in Wired that that is now changing, as desalination is coming into play in many places around the world. Several factors are converging to bring new plants on line. Population has boomed in many water-stressed places, including parts of China, India, South Africa, and the United States, especially in Arizona and California. In addition, drought—some of it driven by a changing climate—is occurring in many regions that not that long ago thought their supplies were ample.

  • Water securityMelting of Himalayan glaciers has doubled in recent years

    Almost one billion people depend on melt-water from Himalayan glaciers for the water they need, but global warming has dramatically increased the pace of glacier melting. A new analysis, spanning forty years of satellite observations across India, China, Nepal and Bhutan, indicates that glaciers have been losing the equivalent of more than a vertical foot and half of ice each year since 2000 — double the amount of melting that took place from 1975 to 2000.

  • Water securityWith floods and droughts increasing, communities take a new look at storing water underground

    By Erica Gies

    Groundwater recharging – that is, actively moving water underground, a practice known as managed aquifer recharge (MAR) — is the latest wave in water security. There are about 1,200 managed aquifer recharge projects in 62 countries. MAR can be used to restore depleted aquifers, rehabilitate ecosystems and cleanse polluted water. But there are challenges as well.

  • Water safetyThe U.S. drinking water supply is mostly safe, but that’s not good enough

    By Joan Rose

    Most Americans take clean drinking water for granted as a convenience of modern life. The United States has one of the world’s safest drinking water supplies, but new challenges constantly emerge. As a scientist specializing in water quality, I believe water providers and regulators can’t afford to be complacent.

  • Water safetyAntibiotics found in some of the world's rivers exceed “safe” levels

    Concentrations of antibiotics found in some of the world’s rivers exceed “safe” levels by up to 300 times, the first ever global study has discovered. Researchers looked for 14 commonly used antibiotics in rivers in 72 countries across six continents and found antibiotics at 65 percent of the sites monitored.

  • Water safetyCoal-fired power plants may affect your drinking water

    When you get a drink of water from your fridge or sink, do you think about where that water came from? A new study takes a national look at whether coal-fired power plants are unintentionally affecting drinking water treatment plants.

  • 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.