Forests are key to combating world’s looming water crisis, says new GFEP report

photo: clouded forests in Vietnam. Forests are key to combating world’s looming water crisis, says new GFEP report

Rain clouds hover over a forest in Yen Bai, Vietnam. Photo by Rob Finlayson/ICRAF

The world is facing a growing water crisis: already, 40 percent of the world’s population are affected by water scarcity, and climate change threatens to increase the frequency of both floods and droughts in vulnerable areas around the world.

A new report released recently at the United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in New

[more…]

Preparing for climate change: California’s huge investment in water storage

photo: dry California's new water storage plans. To prepare for climate change, California is making a huge investment in water storage

On Tuesday, the California Water Commission completed a groundbreaking process to make the state’s largest investment in water storage in a generation. With the commission’s action, eight diverse projects around the state are in line to receive nearly $2.7 billion from Proposition 1, approved by voters in 2014.

These projects – including $816 million for the Sites reservoir north of Sacramento – could add 4.3 million acre-feet of new water … [more…]

Warming drives spread of toxic algae in US, researchers say

photo: algal bloom? Warming drives spread of toxic algae in US, researchers say

SALEM, Oregon — The words blasted to cellphones around Oregon’s capital city were ominous:

“Civil emergency. prepare for action.” Within half an hour, a second official alert clarified the subject wasn’t impending violence but toxins from an algae bloom detected in Salem’s water supply.

Across the U.S., reservoirs that supply drinking water and lakes used for recreation are experiencing similar events with growing frequency. The trend represents another impact of … [more…]

Severe Global Water Cycle Shifts Due to Abrupt Climate Change

photo: Paul Beckwith - Severe Global Water Cycle Shifts from Abrupt Climate Change

Freshwater availability for drinking is being disrupted around Earth. Same for irrigation water relied upon to grow many crops. Soils are drying out and groundwater is being depleted much faster than it can be recharged. Alpine glacier water storage in snow and ice is collapsing, and extreme droughts in some places and torrential rains with floods in other places is accelerating [1], [2].

I discuss Terrestrial Water Storage ( TWS … [more…]

We can see how humans have altered Earth’s water resources

We can now see how humans have altered Earth’s water resources

For millennia, humans have harnessed rivers, built dams, and dug wells to quench our growing civilization. Now, for the first time, we have a picture of what all those generations have wrought on our blue planet’s most defining resource.

Newly analyzed data from groundwater-detecting satellites “reveals a clear human fingerprint on the global water cycle,” according to a study out Wednesday in the journal Nature. It’s the kind of … [more…]