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Water Reuse Is Helping Meet Needs. But We Can Do Better.

Water reuse is helping meet needs. But we can do better.

With the state’s population soaring, water resources limited and the climate getting warmer, water reuse is a growing but still underutilized solution to ensure that Texas has clean, abundant water supplies long into the future. The state’s latest water plan projects that direct non-potable water reuse could yield as much as 180,000 acre-feet of water – enough to fill nearly 90,000 Olympic-sized pools – every year by 2030. Austin’s 100-year water plan estimates that nearly a third of the city’s future water supplies could be achieved with water reuse.   Read more from Sharlene Leurig and Jennifer Walker with the Austin…

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Colorado River Forecasts Not A ‘crystal Ball’

Colorado River forecasts not a ‘crystal ball’

Every month the Bureau of Reclamation attempts to peer two years into the future of the Colorado River and its reservoirs. Reclamation’s 24-month study is a staple forecasting product for the federal agency that manages a chain of dams in the watershed, including those that control lakes Mead and Powell, the country’s largest reservoirs — and currently two of its most consequential. The reservoirs are a key source of drinking water for about 40 million people, plus they store water…

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40 Million People Rely On The Colorado River. It’s Drying Up Fast.

40 million people rely on the Colorado River. It’s drying up fast.

On a 110-degree day several years ago, surrounded by piles of sand and rock in the desert outside Las Vegas, I stepped into a yellow cage large enough to fit three standing adults and was lowered 600 feet through a black hole into the ground. There, at the bottom, amid pooling water and dripping rock, was an enormous machine driving a cone-shaped drill bit into the earth. The machine was carving a cavernous, three-mile tunnel beneath the bottom of the…

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Droughts Push More People To Migrate Than Floods

Droughts push more people to migrate than floods

After a year of extreme weather, people in the drylands of northern California and the hurricane-drenched bayous of southern Louisiana are brooding on the same question: should we leave? New global research suggests that one of these “water shock” scenarios is more likely to result in migration. World Bank researchers found that people are five times as likely to move following drought conditions as they are after floods or periods of excess water.   Read more from Brett Walton with…

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First-ever Water Shortage Declared For Lake Mead, The Country’s Largest Reservoir

First-ever water shortage declared for Lake Mead, the country’s largest reservoir

Federal officials have declared a shortage in Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the country that serves tens of millions of residents in the West and northern Mexico, amid a historic decades long  "megadrought" in the region. The Bureau of Reclamation announced the first-ever water shortage for the lower Colorado River basin on Monday, which will prompt a reduction in water releases to Arizona, Nevada and Mexico in 2022 to make sure there is enough water in the reservoir to…

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The Well Fixer’s Warning

The well fixer’s warning

The well fixer and I were standing at the edge of an almond orchard in the exhausted middle of California. It was late July, and so many wells on the farms of Madera County were coming up dry that he was running out of parts to fix them. In this latest round of western drought, desperate voices were calling him at six in the morning and again at midnight. They were puzzled why their pumps were coughing up sand, the…

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‘Nonfunctional’ Grass To Be Banned In Las Vegas Valley

‘Nonfunctional’ grass to be banned in Las Vegas Valley

The days for much of the water-thirsty grass in the drought-stricken Las Vegas Valley are numbered. Nearly one-third of all of the grass in Southern Nevada will need to be removed by the end of 2026 under a new bill signed into law by Gov. Steve Sisolak Friday, a significant conservation effort that comes as the state is facing its first federal water shortage amid declining Lake Mead levels and a two-decades-long drought that has shown no signs of ending.…

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Climate Change Is Intensifying The Water Cycle, New IPCC Report Finds

Climate change is intensifying the water cycle, new IPCC report finds

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of the world’s leading climate scientists, released its sixth climate assessment on Monday. The 1,300-page paper is the most comprehensive, up-to-date report yet on the physical science of climate change, synthesizing the findings of thousands of recent publications. The report paints an alarming picture of the future of fresh water. It concludes that man-made contributions to a warming planet are far-reaching.   Read more about the IPCC report from Laura Gersony with…

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San Antonio Built A Pipeline To Rural Central Texas To Increase Its Water Supply. Now Local Landowners Say Their Wells Are Running Dry.

San Antonio built a pipeline to rural Central Texas to increase its water supply. Now local landowners say their wells are running dry.

When the water finally arrived, San Antonio’s leadership could relax. The roughly 150-mile long water pipeline to the northeast guaranteed the city’s economic future and freed residents from the stress of droughts. “We have water security for decades to come,” said Robert Puente, president and CEO of the San Antonio Water System. Puente called the project, which came online in April 2020, the "biggest achievement in our lifetimes" to secure water for the city. The pipeline helped conserve the sensitive…

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Drought, The Everything Disaster

Drought, the everything disaster

It develops in stages, a story that builds upon itself. A few cloudless days. Then a rain-free week. Soon a hot, dry month. Now the hills are brown and the crops need watering — the first signs of drought. The intensely dry conditions that have settled over the American West and Upper Midwest this year are well past the brown hills stage. Nearly 89 percent of nine western states are in some form of drought, and more than a quarter…

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