California and Water: Half Environmental Nightmare, Half Remarkable Success Story

California and Water: Half Environmental Nightmare, Half Remarkable Success Story

THE DREAMT LAND
Chasing Water and Dust Across California

By Mark Arax
Reported by J. Steven Young

When delegates to the second International Irrigation Congress convened in Los Angeles in October 1893, pessimism about their mission was not supposed to be on the agenda. The gathering, after all, was meant to encourage reclamation of arid lands throughout the American West, using irrigation to transform an immense wasteland into an agriculturally … [more…]

Water: How farmers meet the challenge of too little, too much

Water: How farmers meet the challenge of too little, too much

Leslie Dyment, at Crow Hill Farm in Cameron.

Farmers have been concerned about water issues for as long as human beings have been growing crops. From the irrigation ditches of the ancient near east, to the flooding of ancient Egypt, the lack of water, or too much of it, has shaped the rhythms of farming life.

As a result, farmers throughout history have developed various strategies related to water.

Some … [more…]

U.S. drinking water supply mostly safe, but that’s not good enough

The US drinking water supply is mostly safe, but that’s not good enough

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.

For example, on May 6 researchers at the nonprofit Environmental Working Group and Northeastern University reported that 43 states have sites where water is contaminated with toxic fluorinated compounds known as PFAS. And many farm workers in California’s Central … [more…]

A new effort to save birds pinpoints in amazing detail where they fly

photo: Pacific Flyway red-bellied woodpecker Central Valley

Photo: A red-bellied woodpecker in the District’s Rock Creek Park. The eBird Project blends birdwatchers’ sightings with satellite photos and data about many species. The combination produces precise digital maps predicting when and where threatened and endangered birds migrate. (Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post)

For years, as California’s Central Valley grew into the nation’s leading agricultural corridor, the region gradually lost almost all of the wetlands that birds, from the tiny … [more…]

Farmers’ protest is a sign water politics is about to go into hyperdrive

Farmers' protest is a sign water politics is about to go into hyperdrive

Photo: The confluence of the Murray and Darling rivers. Farmers believe water is not being allocated fairly according to the government’s own rules. Photograph: Mike Bowers/The Guardian

[h2oIQ editor’s note: we generally focus on North America. However, we are sympathetic to farmers everywhere and note that the issue discussed here could well be on the horizon in the Americas, as well.]

Protesters to drive tractors and trucks into the

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