RACE IS ON TO FEED A WARMING WORLD...

Jun 24, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   By Tim Radford / Climate News Network  VIA TRUTHDIG     Millions throughout Africa depend on maize, but new crop varieties can barely keep pace with the warming climate. (Kate Holt / AusAID via Wikimedia Commons) This piece first appeared at Climate News Network. LONDON—It can take up to 30 years to improve a crop variety, test it and persuade farmers to adopt it. That means the speed of climate change in Africa could make a new variety of maize useless even before the first harvest, according to new research. But two separate studies that address the challenge of food security in a rapidly warming world suggest that the answers may lie not just in future weather but in today’s soils. One says that better soil data can be used to predict...

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EUROPE’S PRECIOUS BEECH FORESTS COULD SUCCUMB TO DROUGHT...

Jun 22, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   By Kieran Cooke / Climate News Network   VIA TRUTHDIG     A beech woods near Morganstown in South Wales, where tree growth rates are still affected by a drought 50 years ago. (Ben Salter via Flickr) This piece first appeared at Climate News Network. LONDON—Sunlight angling its way through the light green leaves of lines of beech trees is one of the most haunting features of the European spring. But new research shows that beech forests across Europe are vulnerable to changes in climate—in particular, to the effects of prolonged dry spells. At most risk of sudden and widespread reduced growth are beech forests in the south of the UK, an area where the species is at its most profuse. Scientists from the University of Stirling in Scotland report in Global Change...

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AFRICAN WOMEN ARE BREAKING THEIR BACKS TO GET WATER FOR THEIR FAMILIES...

Jun 5, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Energy and Environment By Darryl Fears A woman gathers water from a dam for use at her home in Qunu, South Africa. (Schalk van Zuydam/AP) Four years after the United Nations announced that it cut the number of people without access to cleaner water by half, getting to that water is still a major hardship for much of sub-Saharan Africa, a new analysis shows. More than two-thirds of the region’s population reported that they leave home to collect water and haul it as far as two football fields, and that backbreaking work falls mostly on women and children in 24 countries carrying buckets that weigh as much as 40 pounds each. The result, says the analysis released Wednesday and published in the journal PLOS One, is “fatigue, musculoskeletal damage and early degenerative bone...

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HOW THE WATER CRISIS IN THE WEST RENEWED THE DEBATE ABOUT THE EFFECTIVENESS OF DAMS...

May 26, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   By Abrahm Lustgarten / ProPublica   VIA TRUTHDIG     Glen Canyon Dam is located in Page, Arizona. (Jacqueline Poggi / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) This piece originally ran on ProPublica. Wedged between Arizona and Utah, less than 20 miles up river from the Grand Canyon, a soaring concrete wall nearly the height of two football fields blocks the flow of the Colorado River. There, at Glen Canyon Dam, the river is turned back on itself, drowning more than 200 miles of plasma-red gorges and replacing the Colorado’s free-spirited rapids with an immense lake of flat, still water called Lake Powell, the nation’s second largest reserve. When Glen Canyon Dam was built — in the middle of the last century — giant dams were championed as a silver bullet promising to elevate the American...

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THERE ARE NO WORDS TO DESCRIBE HOW BAD IT IS: INDIA ENDURES SEVERE HEATWAVE – VIDEO...

May 23, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   India  THE GUARDIAN AP via THE GUARDIAN Residents of India’s north-western cities struggle to cope as record temperatures hit the country. Temperatures climbed to 45C on Friday in the city of Ujjain while the city of Phalodi reported temperatures of 51C. Local governments have set up free water stations for residents and visitors but one man in Ujjain says the tanks are running out rapidly because of the high demand for water Indians demand government action after temperatures hit 51C...

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UNPLUGGING THE COLORADO RIVER

May 23, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] The Glen Canyon Dam, on the Arizona-Utah border, as seen in the documentary “DamNation.” The efficiency of the dam has dwindled. Credit Ben Knight/Patagonia Could the end be near for one of the West’s biggest dams? By ABRAHM LUSTGARTEN CLIMATE PROGRESS/NYTIMES WEDGED between Arizona and Utah, less than 20 miles upriver from the Grand Canyon, a soaring concrete wall nearly the height of two football fields blocks the flow of the Colorado River. There, at Glen Canyon Dam, the river is turned back on itself, drowning more than 200 miles of plasma-red gorges and replacing the Colorado’s free-spirited rapids with an immense lake of flat, still water called Lake Powell, the nation’s second-largest reserve. When Glen Canyon Dam was built in the middle of the last century, giant dam projects promised to elevate...

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THE BIG ISSUE CALIFORNIANS ARE NOT HEARING ABOUT THIS ELECTION YEAR...

May 20, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] By Bill Boyarsky  TRUTHDIG   An aerial view of downtown Malibu, Calif., and surrounding neighborhoods. (Doc Searls/CC BY-SA 2.0) California’s size and complexity make it easy to hide some of the real forces shaping the state this election year. Sure, California is deep blue, with Democrats in control of all offices. But don’t be misled. The most powerful force in the state—business—isn’t hung up on party labels. No matter what the color of California on the electoral map, there’s green to be made by business in shaping the laws of the Golden State. The difference between the surface show of politics and what goes on in the backrooms has always intrigued me. Although I enjoy covering the glamour of big campaigns, I know the real story is often found among the lobbyists and...

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INSIDE THE LOOMING DISASTER OF THE SALTON SEA...

May 20, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Climate by Alejandro Davila Fragoso CLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: Alejandro Davila Fragoso Dead tilapia lines the shores of the Salton Sea, California’s largest lake. Located in Imperial County, the manmade Salton Sea is drying up fast, threatening the fate of fish, migratory bird species and even public health as exposed playa will create dust bowls, harming an area known for high asthma rates and high levels of air pollution.   BOMBAY BEACH, CALIFORNIA — The lake is drying up, uncounted dead fish line the shore, and the desert town is losing people. It could be the plot of a post-apocalyptic movie set in the future, but this is actually happening here and it has been going on for years. It wasn’t always like this, of course. There was a time when this town was...

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WHY THERE’S A SEARING ETHIOPIAN DROUGHT WITHOUT AN EPIC ETHIOPIAN FAMINE...

May 15, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] governance By Andrew C. Revkin Photo Cattle are led in search of water in Ethiopia’s Oromia region.Credit Nancy McNally / Catholic Relief Services I hope you’ll read “Is the Era of Great Famine Over,” an Op-Ed article by Alex de Waal, the executive director of the World Peace Foundation at Tufts University, which has a program tracking famine trends. Filing from Ethiopia, which is in the midst of a potent drought but — for a change — not a calamitous famine, de Waal made these core points:  How did Ethiopia go from being the world’s symbol of mass famines to fending off starvation? Thanks partly to some good fortune, but mostly to peace, greater transparency and prudent planning. Ethiopia’s success in averting another disaster is confirmation that famine is elective because, at its...

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WORLD BANK: THE WAY CLIMATE CHANGE IS REALLY GOING TO HURT US IS THROUGH WATER...

May 4, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Energy and Environment By Chris Mooney The dried-up riverbank of the Ganges is seen from a bridge in Allahabad, India, on May 3. Much of India is reeling from a heat wave and severe drought conditions that have decimated crops, killed livestock and left at least 330 million Indians without enough water for their daily needs. (Rajesh Kumar Singh/AP) This story has been updated. As India, the world’s second-most populous country, reels from an intense drought, the World Bank has released a new report finding that perhaps the most severe impact of a changing climate could be the effect on water supplies. The most startling finding? The report suggests that by 2050, an inadequate supply of water could knock down economic growth in some parts of the world a figure as high as...

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THE SOUTHWEST’S ONLY FREE-FLOWING RIVER COULD BE SUCKED DRY BY HOME BUILDERS AND REPUBLICANS...

May 1, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] By Mother Mags   San Pedro River, holding on … For the most part Arizona hasn’t experienced severe drought conditions like we’ve seen in California and Nevada. One reason is U.S. Senator Carl Hayden, the longest serving member of Congress (1927-1969) and a principal architect of western water policy. The unassuming but powerful Arizona Democrat engineered more water for his home state than it probably deserved, given Arizona’s tiny population at the time. Hayden’s great legacy is the Central Arizona Project, a 336-mile complex of dams, canals, pumps and pipes that brings Colorado River water to Phoenix and Tucson—the most expensive water system the U.S. ever built. Another reason for Arizona’s relatively stable water situation is that some forward-thinking legislative leaders, including Republicans like Burton Barr and Stan Turley, recognized the potential water disaster facing the fast-growing state, and in 1980 the legislature passed the Groundwater Management Act, which Gov....

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DROUGHTS ARE GIVING TREES “HEART ATTACKS”...

Apr 29, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   By Tim Radford / Climate News Network  VIA TRUTHDIG     Around 12 million trees have perished in California in the last year. (NoIdentity via Flickr) This piece first appeared at Climate News Network. LONDON—Scientists in the US have identified the factors that make a tree more likely to perish in a drought, after conducting an exhaustive examination of 33 separate scientific studies of tree mortality involving 475 species and 760,000 individual trees. The answer they come up with is that the deciding factor is how efficiently trees draw water from the ground to their leaf tips. This is not a surprising conclusion, but scientists don’t trust the obvious: they like to check these things. And William Anderegg, assistant professor of biology at the University of Utah, and colleagues report in the Proceedings of...

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FRACKING’S TOTAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT IS STAGGERING, REPORT FINDS...

Apr 14, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Samantha Page CLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File A new report details the sheer amount of fracking in the United States.   The body of evidence is growing that fracking is not only bad for the global climate, it is also dangerous for local communities. And affected communities are growing in number. A new report, released Thursday, details the sheer amount of water contamination, air pollution, climate impacts, and chemical use in fracking in the United States. “For the past decade, fracking has been a nightmare for our drinking water, our open spaces, and our climate,” Rachel Richardson, a co-author of the paper from Environment America, told ThinkProgress. Fracking, a form of extraction that injects large volumes of chemical-laced water into shale, releasing pockets of oil and gas, has been on...

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WHEN BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO GOOD SCIENCE JOURNALS...

Apr 11, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Climate by Joe Romm CLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: Shutterstock   A deeply flawed new study tries to challenge the basic scientific understanding that “wet areas are likely to get wetter and dry areas drier in a warmer world.” This Nature article has been justifiably criticized for both its methodology and for ignoring a vast literature that contradicts it. “It is sad for the science,” when “papers like this gets published and get attention,” according to Kevin Trenberth, a leading expert on how climate change impacts the hydrological cycle. “This paper does some useful things but … the extrapolations, model evaluations and conclusions are not justified!” Let’s start with the basic science — and the basic reason I’m surprised this article made it through peer review and got published in Nature. The study “Northern Hemisphere...

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CLIMATE CHANGE IS SUCKING THE COLORADO RIVER DRY...

Apr 4, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Shutterstock By John Upton GRIST Cross-posted from ClimateCentral Even as the number of Americans relying on the Colorado River for household water swells to about 40 million, global warming appears to be taking a chunk out of the flows that feed their reservoirs. Winter storms over the Rocky Mountains provide much of the water that courses down the heavily tapped waterway, which spills through deep gorges of the Southwest and into Mexico. ow water levels in late 2014 at Lake Powell, which is a Colorado River water reservoir built along the border of Utah and Arizona.Low water levels in late 2014 at Lake Powell, which is a Colorado River water reservoir built along the border of Utah and Arizona.Jessica Mercer But flows in recent decades have been lighter than would have been expected...

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THIS SCI-FI NOVEL’S POST-APOCALYPTIC FUTURE COULD BECOME A REALITY ALL TOO SOON...

Mar 23, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Ari Phillips CLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: flickr/ Vibin JK   Our future selves are all characters in New York Times best-selling author Paolo Bacigalupi’s penetrating and environmentally driven sci-fi novel, The Water Knife, published by Knopf in May and an Amazon Best Book of June 2015. Note to future selves: don’t move to Phoenix. Why not? In the future Phoenix is even hotter, drier, and dustier than it already is. Also it is overrun by migrants from Texas — a state that has been left out to dry, literally, after prayers for rain fell on deaf ears — and hordes of others from across the West hoping to make it to the land of plenty, California, or of at least some, Nevada. Known as “Merry Perrys” after former-governor Rick Perry and his happy-go-lucky...

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IF YOU CATCH AND USE RAINWATER IN COLORADO, YOU ARE A CRIMINAL...

Mar 22, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Nicole Gentile – Guest Contributor  CLIMATE PROGRESS CREDIT: shutterstock   In a state where recreational marijuana was legalized two years ago and extreme weather has caused serious concerns, one mundane drought-fighting tool remains illegal: using rain barrels to catch rainwater from roofs for use in gardens. Despite the fact that the American West is facing serious water shortages — Lake Mead, for example, is at its lowest recorded levels since the 1930s — recent proposals to legalize rain barrels in Colorado have been stalled or defeated. But this could soon change. A bill to legalize rain barrels is making its way through the Colorado state legislature, which would allow homeowners to possess two 55-gallon rain barrels to be used to collect and store rainwater for use in gardens and yards. The bill...

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Why Southern California’s New Cloud Seeding Project Is Putting Conspiracy Theorists into a Frenzy...

Mar 22, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   Environment Five years into a crippling drought, Los Angeles County is trying to make it rain. Skeptics believe something much more nefarious is going on. By Reynard Loki / AlterNet   Lightning storm over city in purple light Photo Credit: Vasin Lee/Shutterstock California got a brief respite from its historic drought, thanks to a recent wave of storms that swept across the West Coast, filling reservoirs and replenishing snowpack. Grateful residents don’t just have El Niño to thank: Part of the rainfall was, in fact, man-made. But there are some who believe that something more sinister may be afoot. Mother Nature gets a boost from science Now suffering through its fifth year of a crippling drought, the Golden State was done waiting for Mother Nature to do her thing, so officials and...

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THE WORST DROUGHT IN 900 YEARS HELPED SPARK SYRIA’S CIVIL WAR...

Mar 7, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] CLIMATE PROGRESS   Migrants in Mytilene, island of Lesbos, Greece, on February 24, 2016. Image: Markus Heine/NurPhoto/Sipa USA By Andrew Freedman  MASHABLE The drought that played a role in triggering the catastrophic Syrian Civil War was the worst such climate event in at least the past 900 years, according to a new study published this week. The study bolsters the conclusions from other research that found that because of human-made global warming, the drought was made three times more likely to occur, and that it was one of a number of factors that led to the outbreak of hostilities in 2011. The new study examined tree-ring records showing the annual precipitation history from recent years back to the year 1100, across an area stretching from southern Europe to northern Africa to the Levant...

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Carbon Dioxide Levels Reach Highest Point in 15 Million Years...

Mar 5, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Sea levels (and temperatures) are also the highest they’ve been in years. By Dahr Jamail / Truthout   Chemical factory with smoke stack Photo Credit: Nickolay Khoroshkov Recently, a Norwegian Coast Guard icebreaker ship took an interesting trip into the Arctic. The ship found no ice to break, despite the fact that it was the dead of winter and barely 800 miles from the North Pole. Indeed, record-low levels of Arctic sea ice are becoming normal. The ice is disappearing before our very eyes.  Satellite data now shows we are witnessing a very rapid acceleration in global sea level rise. In the last six years, oceans have risen by five millimeters per year, which is a rate not seen since the ending of the last Ice Age – and it is accelerating. One of the...

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CLIMATE CHANGE HELPED TRIGGER ANCIENT ANGKOR’S FALL...

Mar 5, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   By Kieran Cooke / Climate News Network  VIA TRUTHDIG   A temple site at the ancient city of Angkor overrun by jungle. (Kieran Cooke / Climate News Network) This piece first appeared at Climate News Network. ANGKOR, Cambodia—At its peak, the ancient city of Angkor —with its innumerable temples and its complex system of canals and fortifications—was the largest pre-industrial city in the world, centre of a vast empire and home to three-quarters of a million people. Then, over a period of just a few decades in the early 14th century, the site was abandoned, its temples left to be eaten up by the jungle, and its hundreds of kilometres of water channels blocked by tons of sand and earth. Wars between the Khmer—builders of Angkor between the 9th and 13th centuries—and neighbouring...

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EMISSIONS COULD MAKE EARTH UNINHABITABLE!...

Feb 28, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   By Tim Radford / Climate News Network  VIA TRUTHDIG     Baked earth caused by the severe water shortage in Senegal, West Africa. (United Nations via Flickr) LONDON—Greenhouse gases could tip the Earth—or at least a planet like Earth, orbiting a star very like the Sun—into a runaway greenhouse effect, according to new research. The new hothouse planet would become increasingly steamy, and then start to lose its oceans to interplanetary space. Over time, it would become completely dry, stay at a temperature at least 60°C hotter than it is now, and remain completely uninhabitable, even if greenhouse gas levels could be reduced. Max Popp, postdoctoral researcher in climate instabilities at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Germany, has been playing with models of clouds, sunlight, carbon dioxide and oceans for a...

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BETTER WATER USE CAN CUT GLOBAL FOOD GAP...

Feb 17, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] By Paul Brown / Climate News Network  VIA TRUTHDIG     An irrigation system on a pumpkin patch in a semi-arid area of New Mexico. (Daniel Schwen via Wikimedia Commons) This Creative Commons-licensed piece first appeared at Climate News Network. LONDON—Although growing human numbers, climate change and other crises threaten the world‘s ability to feed itself, researchers believe that if we used water more sensibly that would go a long way towards closing the global food gap. Politicians and experts have simply underestimated what better water use can do to save millions of people from starvation, they say. For the first time, scientists have assessed the global potential for growing more food with the same amount of water. They found that production could rise by 40%, simply by optimising rain use and careful irrigation....

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GREENS BASH HEADS OVER HOW TO DEAL WITH WILDFIRES...

Jan 19, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Shutterstock By Katie Herzog GRIST There’s little doubt that wildfires are getting bigger, badder, and more damaging across the globe, but the question of how to deal with them is dividing environmentalists. According to most calculations, 2015 was a record-setting year for wildfires in the U.S. By the end, more than 10 million acres had burned across the country. Many of these were in the Western states, where hellish, otherworldly burns took over in normally temperate states like Washington and Alaska. In Boise, Idaho, a 100-foot-tall “firenado” sprouted from a blaze. California alone experienced more than 6,300 wildfires. The U.S. Forest Service recently named last year’s fire season as the worst in history. But this, according to some environmentalists, was a mistake — and one that’s only going to make the problem worse. The response to wildfires is generally to fight them: 1,200...

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THE SEVEN CHARTS YOU NEED TO FATHOM CALIFORNIA’S WATER PROSPECTS...

Jan 14, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Shutterstock By Nathanael Johnson   GRIST It’s finally raining in California — just when we’d begun to think that it would never rain again. But the state is deep in water debt. Traditionally, California has depended on snowmelt for about a third of its water. The recent storms have gotten California’s snowpack up to slightly above average for this time of year, but it’s going to take a lot more than that to refill reservoirs. First the good news: Snow! Compare the current snowpack (above) to this time last year. Why are we seeing more snow? Well, it got colder and wetter. Last year, average minimum temperature in the Sierra Nevada mountains was 32.1 degrees, which meant it just wasn’t cold enough to snow in most places. “Temperatures are getting warmer every year,” said Doug Carlson, an information officer...

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HERE’S WHAT A YEAR OF GREEN ADVICE BOILS DOWN TO...

Dec 31, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] Grist / Shutterstock Auld Lang Sign-off By Ask Umbra Dearest Readers, The champagne is chilling. The ball is hoisted and in position for a midnight drop. The shiny hats and noisemakers are lined up, ready to party. But before we get too busy ringing in 2016, I always like to look back on the year that was. In my role as mistress of the Ask Umbra inbox, I get a unique peek into the concerns, fears, and everyday hassles that fill your lives, dear readers. And in looking back over your letters, I can begin to see some themes emerge. Here’s what consumed you most in 2015 — from major water woes in California to just where we should be peeing. 2015: When drought questions showed no sign of drying up If one...

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SOUTH AFRICAN INSURANCE COMPANY BACKS TREE-PLANTING EFFORT TO REDUCE EFFECTS OF DROUGHT...

Dec 27, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] Insurance companies are typically a fairly passive partner in disaster, showing up only when things have gone horribly wrong. The largest agricultural insurer in South Africa has broken the mold by backing a massive effort to slow the effects of drought, which threatens farmlands in the small country. Planting millions of trees has helped to reduce land degradation and ward off desertification, and the initiative could even lead to increased water supplies in communities that have lived under water restrictions for nearly a decade.  Rather than sit idly by and watch farmers lose untold acreage of croplands, Santam is working to actively reduce drought risk for its customers by funding Living Lands, an international nonprofit that has been active in South Africa since 2008. Working with government agencies, community organizations, and individual farmers,...

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INTERVIEW WITH CHRISTINE TEN EYCK ON THE BEAUTY OF DROUGHT...

Dec 19, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] THE DIRT by Jared Green Christine Ten Eyck, FASLA, is founder and principal of Ten Eyck Landscape Architects, Inc. Her firm of 12 has won numerous national ASLA awards. Interview conducted at the ASLA 2015 Annual Meeting in Chicago. Texas seems to be just coming out of a severe four-year drought. What has the drought taught Texas about water management? The drought has taught Texas they don’t have enough water for all the people and for growing agriculture. Texas wants to attract more people and industry. But if you attract more people, you’ve got to have water. Texas’s solution is to fund more infrastructure projects that bring water to the people — the Texas Rainy Day Fund, which has $2 billion for water management projects. They will give low interest rate loans to...

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CHINA’S “SPONGE CITIES” USE SMART INFRASTRUCTURE TO PREVENT MASSIVE WATER ISSUES...

Dec 16, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] Shutterstock By Kate Yoder   GRIST Of China’s many green fascinations (Exhibit A: Sproutcore), here’s one that seems like it’s actually going to change the country for the better: “sponge cities.” Nope, a sponge city isn’t a metropolis built from retired dishwashing sponges. Nor is it Bikini Bottom, that underwater hometown of one SpongeBob SquarePants. It’s a city built around the urban design concept of managing water in a ecologically sensible way. China’s natural ponds, rivers, and wetlands have been overwritten by a system of dams, levees, and tunnels that often can’t withstand the forces of nature. As a result of rapid urbanization and a whole lot of impermeable concrete (China used more cement from 2011 through 2013 than the U.S. did during the entire 20th century), the country is seeing more floods — and more serious ones — more...

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RECORD HEAT PUTS AUSTRALIA AT RISK OF INTENSE FIRE SEASON...

Nov 21, 2015 Posted by

[Translate] By MICHELLE INNIS  NYTIMES Photo A fire east of Esperance in Western Australia this week. A prolonged fire season could strain the largely volunteer firefighting forces in Australia and destroy crops, livestock and farms. Credit Department of Fire and Emergency/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images   SYDNEY, Australia — A fire that raged this week across hundreds of thousands of acres of grasslands and about-to-be harvested wheat crops, killing a farmer and three workers, points to a dangerous summer ahead in Australia, scientists and weather watchers say. From Our Advertisers The fire, in the south of Western Australia, began last weekend after lightning struck about 12 miles north of the township of Esperance. It was flaring six days later after burning through 580 square miles of farmland, fanned by temperatures above 100 degrees and...

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