July 3, 2022

Arizona’s Water Supply Peril

Due to the first-ever formal federal water shortage declaration issued in August 2021, Colorado River deliveries to Arizona this year are cut more severely than in any state. Arizona will lose 170 billion gallons. That’s a third of the water that is transported each year in the Central Arizona Project, and 8% of the state’s annual water consumption. More losses are projected. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation warns that Colorado River flows will continue to drop. …

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Wells Run Dry For Thousands of Arizona Families

PHOENIX — Three weeks into a trip to Arizona to report on the state’s magnifying water-scarce condition I’m becoming more expert in a contemporary American story that pits a state’s unyielding capitalist model of growth against Mother Earth’s power to change the rules of the game. In its basic boundaries what’s happening here is a story of a state’s interest in coming to terms with the immensity of the water supply challenge it faces, its …

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Michigan’s Annual Groundwater Use For Agriculture is 187 Billion Gallons

NOTTAWA, MI – In early July, a breeze slipped over a treeline of tall maples and stirred shoulder-high stalks of corn on Larry Walton’s 500-acre farm. It was an encouraging sound, like whispered words of stability, security, and profit. But how long can that last?   At age 60, Walton was raised on his family’s farm here in St. Joseph County, along Michigan’s border with Indiana. The agriculture that he and some 850 other county farmers …

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Report Cites Progress, Impediments to Universal Access to Clean Water, Safe Sanitation, and Hygiene

My first months of 2021 were consumed with reporting and writing a three-part Circle of Blue project on global trends in water, sanitation, and hygiene. Our collaborator was the Wilson Center, the D.C. think tank that has been one of of our partners since 2010 in reporting the Global Choke Point chapters in China and India. As I noted in WASH Within Reach, as a Circle of Blue correspondent in Africa, Asia, and Latin America …

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Kusile and Medupi, Conceived in Resource-Rich 20th Century, Struggle in Water-Scarce 21st

EMALAHLENI, South Africa – Not far from Johannesburg, set amid the corn and sunflower fields of the Highveld in Mpumalanga province, stand two unusually thick and tall candy-striped smokestacks, dozens of stout concrete support columns, and the tangled steel superstructure of the unfinished 4,800-megawatt Kusile coal-fired power station. About 370 kilometers (230 miles) northwest, spread across a stretch of dry scrubland in Limpopo province, is the construction site for Kusile’s unfinished twin, the 4,800-megawatt Medupi …

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Challenged By Drought, Fire, Earthquake, and Flood, California Departs On New Path

OROVILLE, CA — Until visitors peer over the crest of 770-foot Oroville Dam, which stores the cold Sierra waters of the Feather River and is the tallest dam in the United States, it’s hard to tell a drought grips Butte County, or any of the other neighboring Central Valley counties in this part of northern California. The dirt-lined transport canals are filled to the top with water that slakes the thirst of thousands of hectares …

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U.S. Ports Modernize While Water Supply and Quality Deteriorate

SAVANNAH, Ga. — There’s not much about water infrastructure that gets America’s lawmakers excited these days unless it’s a big coastal port. The New York/New Jersey port, with a big assist from the federal government, is spending $1.3 billion to lift the 84-year-old Bayonne Bridge high enough to allow a new generation of super-sized cargo vessels to pass underneath. Charleston, S.C., with state and federal support, is spending $2 billion to deepen the harbor and …

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Meghalaya Documentary — “Broken Landscape” — Premieres At Big Sky Film Festival

Sean Peoples, a filmmaker with the Wilson Center, arrived today in Missoula, Montana to attend tomorrow’s premiere of “Broken Landscape” at the Big Sky Documentary Film Festival. The 13-minute documentary, which Sean co-produced with Michael Miller, explores the aftermath of the unexpected court-ordered shutdown of one of the word’s most lawless and dangerous coal fields, in Meghalaya, India. Judges have already recognized “Broken Landscape” as one of the ten best documentaries among the 125 films …

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Algae Blooms, A New Visitor, Ruin Sleeping Bear Dunes Shoreline

EMPIRE, Michigan — It’s winter in Northwest Michigan, the coldest and deepest season of ice and snow in years. It’s possible that the severe winter will produce the conditions necessary to curb the newest noxious and unsightly threat to the region’s waters: the algae blooms overtaking northern Lake Michigan and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The blooms not only illustrate the presence of rising levels of nutrients in the water. They also are evidence of …

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Qatar Challenges The Way of the Desert

DOHA, Qatar — Seventy-five years ago all of Qatar, a nation of sand and Arabian (Persian) Gulf shoreline roughly the size of Connecticut, was home to 25,000 residents. Fishing was an economic mainstay. So was spending weeks at sea diving for pearls. Doha, the capital city, was a seaside village. Qatar today is a nation of nearly 2 million people and Doha, its capital and a city swelled by hydrocarbon wealth and Arab ambition, is …

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