• Water security

    With global demand for clean water increasing, there is a continuing need to improve the performance of water treatment processes. A new process for water filtration using carbon dioxide consumes one thousand times less energy than conventional methods, scientific research published this week has shown.

  • Water security

    A new study of the impacts that increasing water scarcity and drought may have on the European Union’s (EU) economy finds that around 38 percent of the EU’s water demand lies outside its borders because many of the goods consumed by its citizens or used by its businesses are produced abroad. “The highest risk that the European meat and dairy sector will face due to climate change and weather extremes lies outside its borders. This is because it is highly dependent on soybean imports from locations that are vulnerable to water scarcity and drought,” says one expert.

  • Water security

    Affluent neighborhoods with lawns — and occasionally swimming pools — use up to ten times more water than neighborhoods with higher density housing with less landscaping, according to a new study. The study points to the water-saving benefits of high-density neighborhoods such as more use of hardscaping, non-vegetative landscapes, as well as native plants in landscapes, which use less water than lawns.

  • Water security

    In the 1800s, cowboys, ranchers, and miners quarreled over water in the American Southwest, over where to find it, and who could use it. Today, desert communities throughout the Southwest are still putting water availability at the top of their municipal agendas. one area stands out from the rest: the upper Santa Cruz Basin in Arizona has shown a remarkable capacity to store water. What causes the higher water availability in this area?

  • Water security

    Peak runoff in streams and rivers of the western United States is strongly influenced by melting of accumulated mountain snowpack. A significant decline in this resource has a direct connection to streamflow, with substantial economic and societal impacts. An international team of scientists has found that up to 20 percent loss in the annual maximum amount of water contained in the western United States’ mountain snowpack in the last three decades is due to human influence.

  • Water security

    Researchers have created a membrane that removes viruses from treated wastewater and makes it safe for drinking. The new ultrafiltration method does not rely on chlorine, the commonly used chemical to purify water, which can cause contamination.

  • Water security

    Researchers say that by 2050, almost half of the world’s population will live in countries with a chronic water shortage. In African drylands, it is not a water shortage problem, but an inability to capture water for food and other uses. Israeli scientists help villagers in Ethiopia, Zambia, and Uganda to identify water sources and test water quality – and also better capture and use water which is available.

  • Water security

    The amount of groundwater in Africa is estimated to be over 100 time’s greater than annual renewable freshwater sources in the region. Around one million hand pumps supply groundwater to people in rural Africa. Groundwater is used by around 200 million rural Africans every day because it is a widely available, reliable, and safe source of drinking water. Yet according to a new research paper, although groundwater is critical to Africa’s growth and development, there is currently too little data to effectively manage this critical resource.

  • Risky water

    Potentially explosive methane gas leaking from energy wells may travel extensively through groundwater and pose a safety risk, according to a new study. Researchers found the gas is highly mobile in groundwater, travelling far beyond the shale wells where it is drilled and changing the water chemistry. It will also escape into the atmosphere as a powerful greenhouse gas.

  • Water security

    A new study argues that Israel’s Jordan River may be a useful case study for the challenges facing stream restoration initiatives around the world. The Jordan River has been ravaged by unbridled population growth and defunct sewage treatment plants, and the river now has only 3 percent of its original flow. “No river enjoys better PR and has worse environmental conditions than the Jordan River,” says a researcher.

  • Water security

    Wheat, rice, sugar, cotton and maize are among the essential internationally traded crops in the global economy. To produce these crops, many countries rely on irrigated agriculture that accounts for about 70 percent of global freshwater withdrawals, according to the United Nations Water program. One freshwater source is underground aquifers, some of which replenish so slowly that they are essentially a non-renewable resource.

  • Water security

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week awarded a $100 million grant to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to fund drinking water infrastructure upgrades in Flint, Michigan. The funding, provided by the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act of 2016, or WIIN, enables Flint to accelerate and expand its work to replace lead service lines and make other critical infrastructure improvements.

  • Water security

    More than half the world’s population lives within 37 miles (60 kilometers) of the coast, and three-quarters of all large cities are located in coastal areas. Many coastal communities rely on groundwater to satisfy their drinking and farming water needs. But removing too much of that groundwater can change the fluid pressure of underground aquifers, drawing seawater into coastal aquifers and corrupting water supplies. Saltwater intrusion is often irreversible. Researchers have transformed pulses of electrical current sent 1,000 feet underground into a picture of where seawater has infiltrated freshwater aquifers along the Monterey Bay coastline.

  • Water security

    Chemists have found a way to use sunlight to purify wastewater rapidly and cheaply, and to make self-cleaning materials for buildings. The technology uses modified titanium dioxide as a photocatalyst that works with sunlight, unlike other leading water purification products on the market that need ultraviolet light.

  • Water security

    President Trump issued an executive order 28 February directing federal agencies to revise the Clean Water Rule, a major regulation published by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers in 2015. Framers and ranchers are particularly worried that the Clean Water Rule could expand federal regulations that impact their private property rights. However, regulatory agencies and the regulated community need to know the limits of the Clean Water Act’s reach so they can take appropriate measures to protect water resources. If the rule is scrapped, we still will need to know which water bodies require protection under the law. If the Trump administration withdraws or weakens the Clean Water Rule, it is likely to leave regulators interpreting case by case whether tributaries and adjacent waters are covered, as they have been doing since 2006, and land and water owners guessing about what they can do with their resources. So in the end, repealing the rule won’t answer the underlying question: how far upstream federal protection extends.

  • Infrastructure

    Since the 1920s, excessive pumping of groundwater at thousands of wells in California’s San Joaquin Valley has caused land in sections of the valley to subside, or sink, by as much as 28 feet (8.5 meters). This subsidence is exacerbated during droughts, when farmers rely heavily on groundwater to sustain one of the most productive agricultural regions in the nation. Long-term subsidence is a serious and challenging concern for California’s water managers, putting state and federal aqueducts, levees, bridges, and roads at risk of damage. Already, land subsidence has damaged thousands of public and private groundwater wells throughout the San Joaquin Valley. Furthermore, the subsidence can permanently reduce the storage capacity of underground aquifers, threatening future water supplies.

  • Water security

    As the world warms, mountain snowpack will not only melt earlier, it will also melt more slowly, according to a new study by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). The counterintuitive finding could have widespread implications for water supplies, ecosystem health, and flood risk.

  • Water security

    Warming in the twenty-first century reduced Colorado River flows by at least 0.5 million acre-feet, about the amount of water used by two million people for one year. From 2000 to 2014, the river’s flows declined to only 81 percent of the twentieth-century average, a reduction of about 2.9 million acre-feet of water per year. One acre-foot of water will serve a family of four for one year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. From one-sixth to one-half of the twenty-first-century reduction in flow can be attributed to the higher temperatures since 2000. As temperature continues to increase with climate change, Colorado River flows will continue to decline.

  • Water security

    More than one-sixth of the world’s population relies on seasonal snow for water. In the western U.S., nearly three-quarters of the annual streamflow that provides the water supply arrives as spring and summer melt from the mountain snow packs. Right now, predictions of streamflow can vary widely due to limited ground measurement sites. This is one of the reasons scientists and resource managers are interested in a comprehensive view from space of what they call snow-water equivalent — the amount of liquid water contained in snow cover. Scientists use snow-water equivalent to estimate the amount of water that will melt into mountain streams, rivers and reservoirs.

  • Water security

    Arsenic-contaminated drinking water impacts millions of people worldwide. Groundwater contamination is primarily caused by microbes that convert one form of arsenic into another form that can infiltrate groundwater. Researchers developed a genetic tool that makes it easier to identify which microbial species have the arsenic-converting genes.