This Week in Water™ airs on community and public radio stations nationwide and is available on podcast networks. Want environmental news delivered to your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter.
The federal government has proposed steps to address low water levels on the Colorado River. Last summer, the Bureau of Reclamation said usage would need to be cut by as much as 30 percent after the two large reservoirs on the river—Lakes Powell and Mead—dropped to historic lows. However, the seven states in the basin have yet to reach an agreement.
Lake Powell Utah, (May 2007) | Credit: PRA
Last week, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, suffered a rainstorm that dropped 25 inches of water in seven hours, breaking the previous daily record by more than ten inches. Government data show heavy rainfalls have increased by nearly 30 percent in the Southeast over the past 50 years.
The LOCA2 data estimate how often a “once-in-a-century” day of rain or snow will hit in different climate change scenarios between now and 2100. Colors on the maps show how frequently researchers expect such an extreme precipitation event to occur, with the darkest brown indicating every 30 to 40 years. | Credit: Dave Pierce/Scripps Institution of Oceanography
From swimming pools to lush landscapes, the lavish lifestyles of the wealthy require a lot of water—and according to a new study, they do so at the expense of the poor. New research led by Uppsala University found high water use by the elite to irrigate gardens, wash cars, or fill pools are driving urban water crises around the globe—at least as much as climate change or population growth.
The locations of some of the direst urban water crises over the past two decades, as reported from several media | Figure created with Matlab R2022b
Phytoplankton—microscopic ocean organisms—are climate superstars for the amount of carbon dioxide they sequester from the atmosphere through photosynthesis. To grow, all that phytoplankton need is sunlight, CO2, and a few nutrients in the water including nitrogen, phosphorus, and iron. Most iron in the ocean drifts from dust on land, but not much ends up in the Southern Ocean, so any amount of the element found there needs to be recycled.
Iron recycling in the Southern Ocean | Credit: Oleg Belyaev/Institute of Marine Sciences of Andalusia (ICMAN)