Water shortages key environmental challenge of century, NASA warns

Water shortages are likely to be the key environmental challenge of this century, scientists from NASA have warned, as new data has revealed a drying-out of swaths of the globe between the tropics and the high latitudes, with 19 hotspots where water depletion has been dramatic.

Areas in northern and eastern India, the Middle East, California and Australia are among the hotspots where overuse of water resources has caused a … [more…]

Miami Will Be Underwater Soon. Its Drinking Water Could Go First

photo: a rock lake on the edge of Miami-Dade County, Florida

A rock lake at the edge of Miami-Dade County. PHOTOGRAPHER: ANASTASIA SAMOYLOVA FOR BLOOMBERG BUSINESSWEEK

The city has another serious water problem.

One morning in June, Douglas Yoder climbed into a white government SUV on the edge of Miami and headed northwest, away from the glittering coastline and into the maze of water infrastructure that makes this city possible. He drove past drainage canals that sever backyards and industrial lots, … [more…]

Plan for Colorado River draws on Blue Mesa, Flaming Gorge reservoirs

photo: low water level in reservoir. Plan to slow creeping Colorado River crisis could drain more water from Blue Mesa, Flaming Gorge reservoirs

Historic proposal to create a conservation bank of water in Lake Powell fed by reservoirs in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and New Mexico would protect the withering Powell and requires approval of eight states and the federal government

Nearly two decades into a pervasive drought that has more to do with a warming climate than precipitation, the seven states that rely on the Colorado River are nearing completion of a seven-year … [more…]

“Wild, Wonderful” West Virginia’s Decapitated Mountains and Deformed Fish

photo: mountaintop removal by coal mining industry in "Wild, Wonderful" West Virginia - possible cause of deformed fish in the area

Photo credit: Mandel Ngan Getty Images

A scientist documents the poisoning of the state’s waters by the coal industry

I spot a mountain peak covered in dense forest, then another and another. But then, where I expect to see yet another forested mountaintop, I see instead a stunted plateau—a mountain whose once distinct peak has been chopped off, flattened and denuded of vegetation.

My eyes continue to scan the distance … [more…]

Microplastics are getting into mosquitoes, contaminating new food chains

photo: fresh water can breed mosquitoes. Microplastics are getting into mosquitoes and contaminating new food chains

Photo: Mosquitoes leave the water and take microplastics with them. Shaun Wilkinson/Shutterstock

There is no doubt that plastic pollution in oceans is a growing worldwide problem. The internet is full of images of seabirds and other marine animals entangled in plastic waste, and animals starve because their guts are blocked with plastic bags.

But the problem goes much deeper than this. Much plastic pollution is in the form of microplastics, … [more…]