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Last week, the largest water supplier in the country, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, declared a drought emergency and asked the cities to which it provides water to immediately reduce their usage. If the conditions don’t change, and they likely won’t, there could be mandatory cutbacks or fee increases by spring. The district supplies water to 26 utilities serving close to 20 million people from Los Angeles to San Diego. It gets about half of its water from the Colorado River.
Glen Canyon Dam | Credit: Mark Byzewski / Flickr
While some places on the planet like the Southwest have too little water, some areas like Pakistan, which experienced severe flooding earlier this year, have had too much. The actual numbers of where water is—and where it’s going—mostly come from observations on the ground. But a significantly clearer picture will soon come from the sky.
This illustration shows the SWOT satellite in orbit with sunlight glinting off one array of solar panels, as well as both KaRIn instrument antennas deployed. | Credit: CNES
The Biden administration has moved to list a flower as an endangered species—an action that could make mining lithium in the Nevada desert more difficult. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service took the step after conservation groups filed a petition in 2019 to protect the Tiehm’s buckwheat (Eriogonum tiehmii) including 910 acres of its critical habitat.
Tiehm’s buckwheat (Eriogonum tiehmii) | Credit: Patrick Donnelly, Center for Biological Diversity
Attila the Hun and his marauding hordes have been known throughout history as ferocious nomads who, in the fifth century, triggered the fall of the Roman Empire, as they descended into provinces along the Danube River demanding gold. Up until recently, no one knew exactly where they came from and why, but a new study says some Huns switched from farming and herding to become violent raiders because of drought.
Devínska Kobyla Forest steppe in Slovakia | Credit: Stefan Lefnaer