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New Estimate Finds Less Fresh Groundwater in US Than Previously Assumed

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Grant Ferguson and colleagues from the University of Arizona and the University of California, Santa Barbara published a new study in Environmental Research Letters, looking at the depth at which fresh groundwater encounters saltier reserves that are less useful for drinking or irrigation. They demonstrated that fresh groundwater is shallower throughout the country than previously thought and is thus less …

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40 million Americans depend on the Colorado River. It’s drying up.

In water news and events

The Colorado River provides water to 1-in-8 Americans and irrigates 15 percent of the country’s agricultural products. After years of drought and mismanagement, state and federal water managers are meeting with cities, native nations and farms to discuss cutbacks to water allocations. The consequences could be severe. Ninety percent of US-grown winter vegetables are irrigated with Colorado River water and hydropower …

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This is How Much Water It Takes to Produce Energy in the US

In water news and events

A new study published in Environmental Science & Technology presents detailed estimates for water consumption and withdrawals for the US energy system in 2014. According to the authors, this is “the first known estimate of total water consumption and withdrawal by the US energy system.”  The study found that energy-related water consumption accounts for about 10 percent of total and freshwater …

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Clean Water Act Application to Groundwater: Keeping Score

In water news and events

This article reviews the legal cases where courts have examined the question: If a pollutant is discharged into groundwater, and that groundwater is hydrologically connected to a “Water of the United States” (WOTUS) such that the pollutant eventually reaches the WOTUS, does the Clean Water Act (CWA) apply to that discharge? Interestingly, in some cases, the court found that it did and …

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Trump administration poised to strip protections from up to two-thirds of California streams and millions of acres nationwide

In water news and events

The Trump administration is planning to roll back Clean Water Act protections created under the Waters of the United States rule put in place by the Obama administration. The rule affects millions of acres of waterways and wetlands, and in California in particular it includes up to two-thirds of California’s inland streams. The rule angered a lot of farmers and …

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Almond Board Sets Sustainability Goals

In water news and events

Sometimes, one little [big] drought is all it takes… The Almond Board of California – an industry trade group – is trying to improve the image of ‘big almond’ with its recent announcement of the details of their initiative called “Almond Orchard Goals 2025. The industry pledged to cut water use by 20 percent, among other sustainability initiatives. This is …

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How to Sustainably Feed 10 Billion People by 2050, in 21 Charts

In water news and events

In order to feed the 10 billion people expected to inhabit the planet by 2050 without also completely trashing it, several issues will have to be addressed in order to close the food, land and Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions gaps that prevent sustainability. A new report from the World Resources Institute (WRI) has identified 22 solutions that need to be simultaneously …

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US Government’s Climate Change Report Shows Water Security Threatened—Today

In water news and events

Last week the US federal government released the important National Climate Assessment, which stated that human health, life and economies are endangered as reliable clean water for agriculture, urban areas, industry and ecosystems are “increasingly in jeopardy.” Mandated by Congress, the National Climate Assessment is a mammoth and comprehensive report that involves more than 300 scientists, and besides the IPCC, …

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Remember Holiday Meals and Forgo Food Waste

In water news and events

Thanksgiving and other holidays are the perfect time to consider just how egregious food waste is in America. A new study by two Texas A&M researchers focused on how people react to wasted food at organizations like supermarkets, retail stores, cafeterias and restaurants. The study found that people who cared more about the resources needed to produce food cared more …