• Water security

    As populations boom and chronic droughts persist, coastal cities like Carlsbad in Southern California have increasingly turned to ocean desalination to supplement a dwindling fresh water supply. Promising design rules for cost-effective desalination rely on just a few ingredients: ionic liquids plus low-cost geothermal or solar heat, or waste heat from machines.

  • Water security

    Earlier this summer, the sixth-largest city in India, Chennai, ran out of water. Water crises are now global. Cape Town, South Africa, narrowly escaped Day Zero last year, but it’s still at risk, as are Sao Paulo and Mexico City. Iraq, Morocco and Spain also face water shortages.What we are seeing in Chennai right now is a devastating illustration of human-driven climate disruption,” says an expert. “It is hard for me to picture a near future where access to clean, fresh water continues in as plentiful a way as it is in most of our country at this moment.”

  • Floods

    Dependable, detailed inundation estimates are vital for emergency managers to have enough situational awareness to quickly get the right resources and information to flood-impacted communities. In 2007, severe flooding in southeastern Kansas put a spotlight on the lack of timely, reliable projections for floodwater spread.

  • Floodwater

    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 security

    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

    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.

  • Perspective

    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 security

    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 security

    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 safety

    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 safety

    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 safety

    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 security

    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.

  • Floods

    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 security

    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 security

    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 security

    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.

  • Superbugs

    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 security

    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 security

    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.