• Water securityNext-generation water harvester delivers fresh water from air

    Last October, researchers headed down to the Arizona desert, plopped their newest prototype water harvester into the backyard of a tract home and started sucking water out of the air without any power other than sunlight. The successful field test of their larger, next-generation harvester proved what the team had predicted earlier in 2017: that the water harvester can extract drinkable water every day/night cycle at very low humidity and at low cost, making it ideal for people living in arid, water-starved areas of the world.

  • Water securityWill London run out of water?

    By Edoardo Borgomeo

    The U.K.’s Environment Agency warns in a new report that England could suffer major water shortages by 2030 and that London is particularly at risk. The BBC agrees, placing London on its recent list of 11 cities most likely to run out of drinking water along with the likes of Cape Town, where an ongoing water crisis has caused social and economic disruption. There are limits to what can be achieved just by fixing leaky pipes or getting people to water their lawns less often. Though such measures are useful, they will not safeguard London’s water supplies against the more extreme combinations of growth and climate change.

  • Water securityAmerica’s water infrastructure is failing -- but we could start fixing it

    By Sarah Fecht

    America’s water is under threat from many sides. It faces pollution problems, outdated infrastructure, rising costs, and unprecedented droughts and rainfall patterns as the climate changes. For decades, the U.S. has been a leader in water management. Now we’re falling behind; in the latest infrastructure report card, dams, drinking water and wastewater all received D ratings. Experts offer solutions.

  • Water securityAs drought returns, experts say Texas cities aren't conserving enough water

    By Paul Cobler

    Three years after one of the worst droughts in Wichita Falls history, life is returning to normal. But as Texas creeps back into a drought, water experts say residents in the city and around the state can do more to conserve water and prepare for the next shortage, which is always on the horizon.

  • Water securityGaza now has a toxic ‘biosphere of war’ that no one can escape

    By Mark Zeitoun and Ghassan Abu Sitta

    The water of Gaza highlights a toxic situation that is spiraling out of control. A combination of repeated Israeli attacks and the sealing of its borders by Israel and Egypt, have left the territory unable to process its water or waste. Every drop of water swallowed in Gaza, like every toilet flushed or antibiotic imbibed, returns to the environment in a degraded state. The result is what has been termed a toxic ecology or “biosphere of war,” of which the noxious water cycle is just one part. People may evade bombs or sniper fire, but there is no escape from the biosphere.

  • Water securityNew technology removes phosphorus from manure

    Excess phosphorus, primarily in runoff from land application of manure, accounts for about 66 percent of impaired conditions of U.S. rivers and has created large areas of eutrophication — dead zones — in the Chesapeake Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, where aquatic life cannot survive. Nutrient pollution is one of America’s most widespread, costly and challenging environmental problems. Researchers have developed an innovation that could have a huge impact on water quality problems in the United States, a system capable of removing almost all phosphorus from stored livestock manure.

  • Water securityWater crisis spurring protests in Iran

    A lack of water has been spurring protests in Iran against the regime since the beginning of the year, Reuters reported Thursday. The water crisis have taken place mostly in Isfahan, located in central Iran, and, the Khuzestan province in the west, which is largely inhabited by non-Persian Arabs who call the region Ahwaz.

  • Water securityIn field tests, device harvests water from desert air

    By David L. Chandler

    It seems like getting something for nothing, but you really can get drinkable water right out of the driest of desert air. Even in the most arid places on Earth, there is some moisture in the air, and a practical way to extract that moisture could be a key to survival in such bone-dry locations. Now, researchers at MIT have proved that such an extraction system can work.

  • Water securityThe effects of climate change on California watersheds

    California relies on the Sierra Nevada snowpack for a significant portion of its water needs, yet scientists understand very little about how future changes in snowpack volume and timing will influence surface water and groundwater. Now researchers are developing an advanced hydrologic model to study how climate change might affect California watersheds.

  • Water securityL.A. could achieve independence from imported water

    During the height of the California drought that began in late 2011, Los Angeles imported 89 percent of its water from more than 200 miles away — an energy-intensive process. After a yearlong reprieve, Southern California is again under severe water scarcity conditions: Only 2 1/2 inches of rain have fallen in Los Angeles during the past twelve months. This time around, could Los Angeles shift its dependence from imported water to local water? A new report says the city could, eventually — if it does a better job of capturing local stormwater, increases the use of recycled water, cleans up groundwater and steps up conservation measures.

  • Water securitySouth Africa can avoid a national water crisis

    Even if South Africa uses less water and applies all of government’s existing plans, the country will still face a water crisis in the next twenty years. Solutions are within reach – but turning things around will take significant financial investment and political will. A new study sets out aggressive measures to offset guaranteed water shortages in the future.

  • Food securityEngineering crops to conserve water, resist drought

    Agriculture already monopolizes 90 percent of global freshwater—yet production still needs to dramatically increase to feed and fuel this century’s growing population. For the first time, scientists have improved how a crop uses water by 25 percent without compromising yield by altering the expression of one gene that is found in all plants.

  • Arsenic detectionLow-cost arsenic sensor could save lives

    Worldwide, 140 million people drink water containing unsafe levels of arsenic, according to the World Health Organization. Short-term exposure causes skin lesions, skin cancer and damage to the cognitive development of children, while long-term exposure leads to fatal internal cancers. A new low-cost, easy-to-use sensor which can test drinking water for arsenic in just one minute.

  • Water securityRunning out of water: Cape Town, the U.S., and drought

    The recent news that Cape Town, South Africa—a modern city of nearly 4 million residents (plus over 1.5 million tourists yearly)—was on the brink of running out of water, the taps about to run dry, put water back into the headlines. After years of drought in several American states, could this happen closer to home? “The current crisis in Cape Town will almost inevitably repeat itself elsewhere,” says an expert. “Because of geography, many cities in the United States and the world are highly or entirely reliant on local precipitation. In California, for example, most of the Central Coast, including Monterey and Santa Cruz, currently depend on local rainfall. Given climate change, moreover, droughts in the arid regions of the world are likely to become more frequent and more severe. Warmer temperatures, moreover, will raise evapotranspiration rates—increasing agricultural water needs and the amount of stored water lost to evaporation.”

  • Water securityCape Town water crisis highlights a worldwide problem

    The water supply is running dry in Cape Town, South Africa. The city’s reservoirs are shrinking as a three-year drought wears on. If it doesn’t rain soon, the drought could bring South Africa’s second most populous city to its knees. Cape Town residents are adapting as best they can. They are skipping showers and finding new ways to conserve and reuse their meager allowance of 50 liters (13 gallons) per person per day. That allowance may soon be cut in half, too. As soon as April or May, Cape Town could reach “Day Zero,” when the city will shut off the taps in homes and businesses. Residents will need to line up at collection stations to gather their water rations. Only hospitals, schools, and other essential services would still receive piped water. If things continue on in this way, Cape Town is in danger of becoming the world’s first major city to run entirely out of water. How can this happen in a city of four million residents? And what other cities may be at risk?