Drought Spreads to 93 Percent of West — That’s Never Happened

Drought Spreads to 93 Percent of West—That’s Never Happened

Photo: In an aerial view, the San Gabriel River and the exposed lakebed of the San Gabriel Reservoir are seen on June 29, 2021 in the San Gabriel Mountains near Azusa, California. Credit: Mario Tama Getty Images

The western United States is experiencing its worst drought this century, threatening to kill crops, spark wildfires and harm public health as hot and dry conditions are expected to continue this month.

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Solar and wind energy preserve groundwater for drought, agriculture

Solar and wind energy preserve groundwater for drought, agriculture

Using drought-prone California as a case study, a research team shows that increased solar and wind energy can reduce the reliance on hydropower, especially during drought. Credit: Egan Jimenez, Princeton University

Solar and wind farms are popping up around the country to lower carbon emissions, and these renewables also have another important effect: keeping more water in the ground.

A new Princeton University-led study in Nature Communications is among the … [more…]

Stanford study: changing scope of Native American groundwater rights

Aerial photo: California's Coachella Valley

Local water agencies have pumped so much water from aquifers to supply homes, farmland and resorts in the Coachella Valley that the land is sinking. The Agua Caliente Indian Reservation, created in 1876, runs in a checkerboard pattern in the area of Palm Springs. (Image credit: Tim Roberts Photography / Shutterstock)

Stanford researchers map out groundwater at stake in the wake of a court decision that bolsters Native American rights

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Could water utilities transform the way the electric sector did?

photo: aging pipes, infrastructure. Could water utilities transform the way the electric sector did?

A mix of government incentives and regulations revamped the electricity sector. Could a similar approach work for water? Credit: Stocksy/Paul Edmondson

Water utilities nationwide are grappling with aging infrastructure, environmental degradation and climate change.

Existing water systems are also highly centralized and supported by old-fashioned financing models. But what if instead of simply replacing the physical infrastructure and financing mechanisms, the sector reinvented them?

That was the approach California took … [more…]

Share the Wealth: A Cap-And-Trade System of Water Conservation and Resiliency?

Share the Wealth: A Cap-And-Trade System of Water Conservation and Resiliency?

California has struggled with drought for most of the last decade. From 2011–2015, the state experienced the driest four-year stretch in recorded history, leading to unprecedented water restrictions for residents, including a state mandate to reduce water use by 25 percent.

Heavy precipitation last winter relieved much of California, but dry conditions linger. Wildfires raged during the fall and early winter months, ravaging towns and hillsides from Los Angeles to … [more…]