This year, the conflict is more intense than before, with a faction of far-right activists threatening to use force to take control of the irrigation gates that determine how much water stays in the lake and how much goes to farm fields. The lake, about a hundred miles around, received little snow melt and is shallow enough to walk across in places. Later this summer, as in past years, it is likely to be too hot and toxic for the c’waam and another variety of federally protected suckerfish, the koptu, to spawn and survive.
Two species of the bottom-feeding sucker fish that inhabit the Upper Klamath Lake and nearby rivers are struggling to survive after a century of water management in the Klamath Basin has all but drained the wetlands ecosystem where these fish once thrived.“Historically, these fish were really incredibly abundant — we’re talking tens of millions of individuals,” said Alex Gonyaw, senior fisheries biologist for Klamath Tribes. The tribes once relied heavily on the fish for subsistence and income. Now, the suckers are on the brink of extinction. During the past century, wetlands surrounding Upper Klamath Lake were converted to farmland, while waters from the basin were allocated to irrigators. The lake currently is used to store snowmelt water in the spring and that can be released to farmers during the summer months. But with the wetlands gone, algae in the lake blooms and dies off each year in a cycle that makes the water too toxic for the juvenile fish to survive.
Low water in the Colorado River’s largest reservoir triggered the first-ever federal declaration of a shortage on Monday, a bleak marker of the effects of climate change in the drought-stricken American West and the imperiled future of a critical water source for 40 million people in seven states.
Smart said money would be better spent buying land and conservation easements from farmers to reduce water usage and reduce nutrients from fertilizer. “Whenever we try to re-engineer natural systems instead of just protecting them it is way more expensive and it typically doesn’t work,” Smart said. “They are looking for an incredibly complex engineering answer to a very simple environmental question. It seems like there’s got to be a better use of time for the district than dreaming up pipe dreams.” This is a ridiculous idea - it would pollute the purest remaining water source we have!-tr*
California water officials have moved to stop Nestlé from siphoning millions of gallons of water out of California’s San Bernardino forest, which it bottles and sells as Arrowhead brand water, as drought conditions worsen across the state.
...more pollutants seep into the water as it travels further into the city, and Loblolly Park is a perfect example. Oil from cars, discarded trash, and animal waste from the roads, businesses, and apartments surrounding the park are swept up in the surface runoff. The runoff flows into the creek and contaminates the water.
San Diego formally launched Friday the largest infrastructure project in city history, a sewage recycling system that will boost local water independence in the face of more severe droughts caused by climate change. Dubbed “Pure Water,” the multibillion-dollar project is the culmination of a lengthy process featuring thorny lawsuits, complex labor deals and an aggressive public education campaign to fight the derogatory early nickname “toilet to tap.” “Pure Water is a legacy project that promises to deliver a reliable source of clean water to our region for decades to come — that’s why I advocated for $50 million in this year’s state budget,” state Senator Toni Atkins said at Gloria’s Friday news conference. “With worsening drought conditions in our state, this project is needed now more than ever.”
Millions of people in the US are drinking water that fails to meet federal health standards, including by violating limits for dangerous contaminants. Latinos are disproportionately exposed, according to the Guardian’s review of more than 140,000 public water systems across the US and county-level demographic data.
With climate change and long-term drought continuing to take a toll on the Colorado River, the federal government on Monday for the first time declared a water shortage at Lake Mead, one of the river’s main reservoirs. The declaration triggers cuts in water supply that, for now, mostly will affect Arizona farmers. Beginning next year they will be cut off from much of the water they have relied on for decades. Much smaller reductions are mandated for Nevada and for Mexico across the southern border. But larger cuts, affecting far more of the 40 million people in the West who rely on the river for at least part of their water supply, are likely in coming years as a warming climate continues to reduce how much water flows into the Colorado from rain and melting snow.
Problems at a Los Angeles sewage treatment plant that caused a massive spill into Santa Monica Bay last month have severely reduced the region’s water recycling ability, forcing officials to divert millions of gallons of clean drinking water at a time of worsening drought conditions, The Times has learned. Even as California Gov. Gavin Newsom urges a voluntary 15% reduction in water usage, the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant‘s inability to fully treat sewage has forced local officials to divert drinking water to uses normally served by recycled water. Among those is an effort to protect coastal aquifers from seawater contamination, as well as the irrigation of parks, cemeteries and golf courses across southwest Los Angeles County.
Floating in the bottom of the Grand Canyon last spring, I was traveling back in time in more ways than one. In a narrow section, where the Colorado River runs deep and quiet, Vishnu schist offers a window onto the world as it was here 1.7 billion years ago, give or take a couple of hundred million years. Little about the redrock walls seems different from when I first marveled at the scenery as I rafted past many years ago. But for the water that carries travelers through the national park, the changes have been dramatic even though they’ve occurred over just 31 years and barely amount to a tick in geologic time. It used to be that the big problem was managing so much water on the Colorado.
“We know what the issue is, we know what the health effects are, we know how to deal with it,” he added. “It really comes down to political will."
As an extreme drought grips California, making water increasingly scarce, thieves are making off with billions of gallons of the precious resource, tapping into fire hydrants, rivers, and even small family homes and farms. State and local officials say water theft is a long running-issue, but the intensifying drought has driven the thefts to record levels as reservoirs dry up and bandits make off with stolen water, often to cultivate the growth of illegal marijuana crops. As officials move to crack down on the thieves, the drought -- which now covers every corner of the state -- threatens to create long-term impacts as climate change exacerbates the hot and dry conditions, creating a vicious feedback loop that becomes harder to break. "All of California has to get used to this concept of water scarcity," West said.
Utah’s Governor Spencer Cox has asked his constituents to pray for rain, as if that’s leadership. Neither is in the forecast.
Waters of the U.S. (United States, 21 min). Directed by Remi Escudié. The current administration is rolling back crucial protections for streams and wetlands across the country in a direct assault on the Clean Water Act. This incredibly beautiful film tells the story of the rivers, streams, and wetlands of Alabama to illustrate the dangers of the proposed regulation. By doing so, it shows the economic benefits, ecological health, and cultural way of life that hang in the balance. The director hails from Miami, Florida, with a strong passion for environmental advocacy. With a degree in Editing, Writing & Media from Florida State University and a background in environmental journalism, he intends to make documentaries to inspire protection wildlife and our natural resources.
Gov. Gavin Newsom is asking Californians to voluntarily cut back on water consumption by 15% compared with last year as drought conditions worsen and temperatures continue to rise across the western United States. The governor on Thursday also expanded his regional drought state of emergency to apply to 50 California counties, or roughly 42% of the state’s population. If achieved, a voluntary 15% water reduction statewide would save roughly 850,000 acre-feet of water, which is enough to supply 1.7 million households for a year, according to the governor’s office.
As California endures an increasingly brutal second year of drought, state water regulators are considering an emergency order that would bar thousands of Central Valley farmers from using stream and river water to irrigate their crops. On Friday, the State Water Resources Control Board released a draft “emergency curtailment” order for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta watershed. The measure, which was first reported by the Sacramento Bee, would bar some water rights holders from diverting surface water for agricultural and other purposes. The proposed regulation underscores just how dire matters have become as drought squeezes the American West.“It says that this drought is really severe,” said Erik Ekdahl, deputy director of the state water board’s Division of Water Rights. The water board will consider the order’s approval on Aug. 3. If approved, it would go into effect about two weeks later at the earliest, Ekdahl added.
Once people are unable to secure mortgages and insurance for soaked homes, the Keys will cease to be a livable place long before it’s fully underwater, according to Harold Wanless, a geographer at the University of Miami. “People don’t have a concept of what sea level rise will do to them. They just can’t conceive it,” he said.
About two-thirds of drinking water in the United States originates in forests. And when wildfires affect watersheds, cities can face a different kind of impact, long after the flames are out.
"Testing by The Guardian and Consumer Reports found high levels of potentially harmful PFAS in Pittsboro, North Carolina, and regulators have struggled to keep pace."
The contamination presents an “extremely troubling” health threat in the nation’s largest estuary, said Scott Faber, EWG’s senior vice president for government affairs.
L'eau Est La Vie (Water Is Life): From Standing Rock to the Swamp (United States, 25 min). Directed by Sam Vinal. On the banks of Louisiana, fierce Indigenous women are ready to fight—to stop the corporate blacksnake and preserve their way of life. They are risking everything to protect Mother Earth from the predatory fossil fuel companies that seek to poison it. The film follows water protector Cherri Foytlin in the swamps of Louisiana as she leads us on a no-nonsense journey of indigenous resistance to the Bayou Bridge Pipeline (BBP), which is an extension of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). The pipelines are part of an ongoing legacy of colonization and slow genocide. At the heart of the struggle is a battle between people and profit.
The scale of disappearing ice is so large that the losses on Tuesday alone created enough meltwater to drownthe entire US state of Florida in two inches, or 5cm, of water. Ice that melts away in Greenland flows as water into the ocean, where it adds to the ongoing increase in global sea level caused by human-induced climate change.
But we never had a rethink of our system of water rights, and how much of our limited water we should be spending on agriculture versus leaving in the natural ecosystem.
The satellite images are stark, and their ramifications run deep, experts said — from dead lawns and fallow fields to ecological peril and worsening wildfires. Some said they probably represent a new normal for a Golden State gone brown.The lake’s water level probably will keep dwindling, said John Yarbrough, the Department of Water Resources’ assistant deputy director of the State Water Project.Yarbrough said California typically receives the majority of its annual precipitation between early December and the end of March, so the situation is unlikely to improve for several months, if not longer.“This lack of stored water as a result of the West-wide drought has multiple cascading impacts,” he said, “including dramatically less water for our farms and communities, more stress on our electricity grid and increased wildfire risk.”
A historic drought across the U.S. West is taking a heavy toll on California's $6 billion almond industry, which produces roughly 80% of the world's almonds. More growers are expected to abandon their orchards as water becomes scarce and expensive. Almonds are California's top agricultural export. The industry ships about 70% of its almonds overseas, fueled by strong demand in India, East Asia and Europe, according to the board. "All of this increase in almonds and this increase in water demand, it's been done at a time when there's virtually no increase in water supply," said David Goldhamer, a water management specialist at the University of California, Davis. "The water embodied in the production of those almonds is being exported out of this country."
During the coronavirus pandemic, the real estate market in their 1,750-person city boomed as remote workers flocked in from the West Coast and second homeowners staked weekend ranches. But those newcomers need water — water that is vanishing as a megadrought dries up reservoirs and rivers across the West. So this spring, Oakley, about an hour’s drive east of Salt Lake City, imposed a construction moratorium on new homes that would connect to the town’s water system. It is one of the first towns in the United States to purposely stall growth for want of water in a new era of megadroughts. But it could be a harbinger of things to come in a hotter, drier West.“These towns are canaries in the coal mine,” said Paul D. Brooks, a professor of hydrology at the University of Utah. “They can’t count to go to the tap and turn on the water. Climate change is coming home to roost right now, and it’s hitting us hard.”
After spending 22 years and $100 million navigating a thicket of state regulations and environmentalists' challenges, Poseidon Water is down to one major regulatory hurdle - the California Coastal Commission. The company feels confident enough to talk of breaking ground by the end of next year on the $1.4 billion plant that would produce some 50 million gallons of drinking water daily. Andrea Leon-Grossmann, director of climate action for the ocean conservation group Azul, says better alternatives include conservation, repairing leaky pipes, capturing storm water runoff and committing to more recycled water.
The streams near the trail pass through wetlands, which play a vital role in filtering out pollution from the water. Despite the sanitary start, the creek collects pollutants as it leaves the wetlands and flows further into the city. Runoff carrying chemicals, animal waste, and even trash seep into the creek as it travels, and these pollutants eventually end up in the aquifer, which Gainesville relies on for its drinking water.
Twenty minutes outside of Visalia, amidst the seemingly endless rows of citrus trees, Yolanda Cuevas packs enchiladas with shredded chicken for her husband Benjamin, their adult daughters and two teenaged grandchildren in her modest single-story home. Their house is the first one off the main drag, one of 83 lining the two crumbling roads that comprise the tiny town of Tooleville. Yolanda must wash the tomatoes for the salsa first in the sink and then again with a splash of clean water from a 5-gallon jug. The process is arduous, and though she’s resigned to do it, she’s not happy about it. Along with Tooleville’s several hundred other residents, Yolanda’s family has survived on bi-weekly delivery of water to their homes for the past12 years. It’s an annoyance for the family, and it’s expensive for the State of California, which has been paying for the replacement water since the discovery of Chromium-6 (the same chemical featured in Erin Brokovich) in the water.
Estremera said the district is investing heavily in water recycling and conservation, as well as planning new reservoirs — such as the potential $2.5-billion Pacheco Reservoir, which would hold 140,000 acre-feet of water, surpassing by half the volume of Anderson Reservoir. While San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo announced his opposition to the reservoir, saying it was too expensive, Estremera said the region needs every option. “You can’t create more water,” he said. “You need to conserve, preserve and recycle.”
“It is my sense that most Floridians would live with the risk of water to preserve their lifestyle,” said Cynthia Barnett, a Gainesville-based environmental journalist who has published books about rain and the fate of the oceans. “This idea of working with water rather than always fighting against it is really the lesson of Florida history. If Florida history has taught us one thing, it’s that hardscaping this water that defines us will bring hardships to future generations.”
Thirst – Daaham (India-subtitled, 4 min). Water Award Directed by Siva Nageswara Rao – Water is a precious resource which humanity should use responsibly. Our relationship with Nature should always be guided by reciprocity. Nature protects us all and we in turn should protect natural resources and be sympathetic to the needs of fellow human beings.
Drops and Stardust (Japan, 1 min). Directed by Atobe Hiroshi. Director’s notes: “I found two words 'spontaneously' and 'simultaneously' alongside one another in a vocabulary notebook and thought it seemed to be wonderful that the meanings of the two words conjoined. I embody the idea by using a turntable with a running mirror under the photo panel, and it could imply how I and others relate across the media symbolism. Consequently water turns into the starry night, like howling dreams come true. Water drops turning to the starry night.”
As drought worsens, there are few, if any, protections in place for California’s depleted groundwater. The new law gave local agencies at least 26 years — until 2040 — to stop the impacts of over-pumping. During the height of the state’s last drought, thousands of Californians in the Central Valley ran out of water as their wells went dry. So much water was pumped from underground, mostly by growers, that the earth collapsed, sinking up to two feet per year in parts of the San Joaquin Valley. Alarmed, the California Legislature in 2014 enacted a package of new laws that aimed to stop the over-pumping. But seven years later, little has changed for Californians relying on drinking water wells: Depletion of their groundwater continues. Pumping is largely unrestricted, and there are few, if any, protections in place.
Experts believe that one reason for the deaths is that the Indian River Lagoon, a 156-mile estuary along Florida’s Atlantic coast in whose warm waters manatees forage every year, has lost tens of thousands of acres of sea grass. Water quality has worsened for years because of runoff from fertilizers, sewage and septic leaks, increasing algae blooms that kill the sea grass, said Jaclyn Lopez, Florida director for the Center for Biological Diversity.
The measure will require the replacement of about 6 square miles (16 square kilometers) of grass in the metro Las Vegas area. By ripping it out, water officials estimate the region can conserve 10% of its total available Colorado River water supply and save about 11 gallons (41 liters) per person per day in a region with a population of about 2.3 million.
As the drought deepens, a number of small-scale farmers in California have found themselves in a similar position: scraping the barrel. Earlier this year, we reported that farmers in the state are coping with the drought by fallowing land, transitioning to less thirsty crops, and trucking in water. Since then, California Governor Gavin Newsom has expanded the emergency drought declaration to include more counties, as surface water has been curtailed and groundwater levels have dropped, but the state has yet to include relief earmarked for small farmers in the budget.
Hundreds of thousands of young salmon are dying in Northern California’s Klamath River as low water levels brought about by drought allow a parasite to thrive, devastating a Native American tribe whose diet and traditions are tied to the fish. And wildlife officials said the Sacramento River is facing a “near-complete loss” of young Chinook salmon due to abnormally warm water.
"The Florida Spring Council and Santa Fe River have filed a legal challenge against the approval of the Seven Springs Consumptive Use Permit that allows the extraction of around one million gallons of water per day near Ginnie Springs for Nestle’s bottling operations."
The string of U.S. floods comes about a month after catastrophic flooding in Germany and Belgium, which left a trail of destruction and killed nearly 200 people. Megadroughts and megafloods might seem like opposites, but they are in fact two sides of the same deadly coin. As human greenhouse gas emissions drive up global temperatures, the world can expect both extreme events to become more frequent and severe, warned a recent landmark report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.“There’s increasing evidence for an overintensification of the water cycle,” said Alex Ruane, a NASA scientist and a lead author of the IPCC report’s chapter on regional impacts. “Water is moving through the climate system faster than it used to. That means it is being evaporated into the air faster, it’s being moved around, and it’s raining down harder when it does rain. All of these things are actually connected to the same factor, which is that warmer air has a tendency to hold more moisture.”
With a worsening drought gripping the West and wildfire season looming, California is bracing for the most severe heat wave of the year — one that promises to tax the state’s power supplies while also offering a grim preview of challenging months to come. The heat wave will bring triple-digit temperatures to the valleys and inland regions of Southern California as well as many parts of the rest of the state, heightening fire risks. It comes as parts of Northern and Central California are turning to water restrictions as the drought rapidly alters the landscape.
An oil pipeline fire in the Gulf of Mexico was reportedly brought under control and extinguished after a hellish scene of massive flames erupting directly from roiling waters Friday. The blaze west of the Yucatan Peninsula broke out at an underwater pipeline that connects to a platform operated by Mexican state oil firm Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) at its flagship Ku Maloob Zaap oil development in the southern gulf, Reuters reported.The national company attributed the blaze, which resembled molten lava on the water, to a gas leak in the 12-inch-diameter pipeline, apparently linked to an electrical storm, according to Reuters.“The turbomachinery of Ku Maloob Zaap’s active production facilities were affected by an electrical storm and heavy rains,” stated an incident report shared by one of Reuters’ sources.The operation was reportedly pumping out 726,000 barrels a day of crude at the moment of the incident.
This is the moment a house fell into the sea in the resort town of Mar del Tuyú in Argentina. The footage, captured by a neighbour on 28 July, shows waves crashing against the property as part of it breaks away and falls into the water.
The years of steady and predictable water flow are over, and there is no sign of them coming back in our lifetimes. This is it. We have to build, and grow, and legislate, and consume for the world as it is, not as we may remember it.
"A dusky dolphin jumps out of water in Kaikoura bay in Kaikoura peninsula, South Island, New Zealand. Kaikoura is recognised as one of the best places in the world to regularly encounter wild dolphins in their natural environment."
Green Acre Park is an important stop along the creek’s journey and another example of how a community exists side by side with the natural resources that sustain it. For the residents that live near the park, and for the city of Gainesville as a whole, the protection and preservation of Hogtown Creek is vital to ensuring that future generations will have clean drinking water for years to come.
“The more we see these extreme events, piled on top of each other, and not just in the western US but globally, the more I think the reality of climate change becomes inescapable. And it feels absolutely overwhelming and sad. We are going to have less water, increased wildfires and more extreme heatwaves. But it’s also motivating. We need to continue to push for urgent action on climate change.”
In Napa Valley, the lush heartland of America’s high-end wine industry, climate change is spelling calamity. Not outwardly: On the main road running through the small town of St. Helena, tourists still stream into wineries with exquisitely appointed tasting rooms. But drive off the main road, and the vineyards that made this valley famous — where the mix of soil, temperature patterns and rainfall used to be just right — are now surrounded by burned-out landscapes, dwindling water supplies and increasingly nervous winemakers, bracing for things to get worse.
It has already been a year of unprecedented weather events. Two record-breaking and deadly heat waves in the Western U.S.; record rainfall in Michigan, which overwhelmed Detroit’s aging storm water system; a record-breaking winter storm in Texas, which disabled the state’s power grid; the historic drought gripping nearly the entire western part of the country; and an unusually early start to so-called wildfire season in California — all of these events have been linked to climate change.
But the largest threat is sea level rise. The world’s oceans are already rising because warm water expands and because of melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica, but glaciers are responsible for 21% of sea level rise, more than the ice sheets, the study said. The ice sheets are larger longer term threats for sea level rise.
This is a horror story about a war against nature… the poisons used in agriculture seep into our food, water and air. And all to kill a plant that indigenous communities have relied on for centuries. -tr. The plant is native to the Southwest, and its leaves were once baked and eaten by people among the Cocopah and Pima tribes; the Navajo ground the seeds into meal. But as the pigweed spread eastward, the plants began competing with cotton in the South, emerging as a serious threat to the crops by the mid-1990s.
The report is the first to combine high-resolution maps of climate and environmental impacts with maps of child vulnerability, such as poverty and access to clean water, healthcare and education. “It essentially [shows] the likelihood of a child’s ability to survive climate change,” said Nick Rees, one of the report’s authors.
Microplastics are found in our clothes, cosmetics and cleaning products. One load of laundry can release an average of 700,000 microplastic fibres. Less than a millimetre in length, these fibres make their way into rivers and oceans, where they are eaten by fish and even corals. Because of their tiny size, microplastics are able to pass through filtration systems, making it very difficult to avoid them.
It’s an unprecedented siege that has upended life in the remote desert communities and vast tract developments that overlook Joshua trees and scrub. Authorities say the boom has led to forced labor, violence, water theft and the destruction of fragile desert habitat and wildlife. The presence of desert pot farms appears to have become even more entrenched since last year, when record lightning fires burned through the heart of Northern California’s pot-growing region, destroying farms and tainting surviving plants with wildfire smoke.
At least 881 manatees have died in Florida since January, far exceeding the annual average of 578 deaths between 2015 and 2020. Ground zero for the sudden uptick in deaths is the Indian River Lagoon, a 156-mile-long estuary that serves as a seasonal habitat for thousands of manatees. Decades of water pollution from farming and real estate development has pushed the ecosystem to the brink, causing the manatees to perish from an almost entirely manmade disaster: famine.
The creek bed, altered by decades of agricultural use, had looked like a wildfire risk. It came back to life far faster than anticipated after the beavers began building dams that retained water longer. “It was insane, it was awesome,” said Lynnette Batt, the conservation director of the Placer Land Trust, which owns and maintains the Doty Ravine Preserve. “It went from dry grassland. .. to totally revegetated, trees popping up, willows, wetland plants of all types, different meandering stream channels across about 60 acres of floodplain,” she said.
It finds that virtually every child on the planet is exposed to at least one climate or environmental hazard right now. A staggering 850 million, about a third of all the world’s children, are exposed to four or more climate or environmental hazards, including heat waves, cyclones, air pollution, flooding or water scarcity. A billion children, nearly half the children in the world, live in “extremely high risk” countries, the UNICEF researchers report.This is the world being left to us. But there is still time to change our climate future.
Firefighters battling the many wildfires in the region say the air is so dry that much of the water dropped by aircraft to quell the flames evaporates before it reaches the ground. It comes just weeks after another dangerous heatwave hit North America, in which hundreds of sudden deaths were recorded, many of them suspected of being heat-related.
Elephants continue to be slaughtered for their magnificent tusks, which are highly modified incisor teeth and of much greater utility to elephants than as carved-ivory status symbols displayed on a chess board. But the more serious threat is loss of habitat, and run-ins with people over access to land and water. Elephant biologists argue that the more we understand the elephant mind-set, the greater the odds of keeping elephants alive.