Read the full story at Mother Nature Network.
Fifteen years ago, according to Elizabeth Royte in “Bottlemania,” a Pepsi Cola vice president told investors: “when we are done, tap water will be relegated to showers and washing dishes.” They have pretty much succeeded; bottled water has come from nowhere to be a huge business, with Americans drinking 50 billion bottles of it every year. At the same time, public water fountains have been disappearing. As people have moved to bottled water, municipalities have cut back to save money on expensive maintenance.
Read the full story in AgResearch Magazine.
As water becomes more precious in the Texas High Plains, more farmers are likely to turn to sorghum because it’s more drought tolerant than corn and produces higher yields under moderate to severe drought. With recent droughts and water shortages, many farmers have suffered major losses raising corn. The problem is compounded because the region depends on the Ogallala Aquifer for water, which is being depleted. Many farmers’ wells are pumping less water today than in the past.
Farmers need to know if they will get sufficient yields with sorghum if they use deficit irrigation, which is giving the crop less-than-optimal amounts of water. It’s a critical issue in an area where the growing season has erratic rainfall, widely varying temperatures, and extreme weather (hail, flooding, and lightning). Another issue is whether they should raise early-maturing sorghum varieties, which are planted later and are less vulnerable to drought, or late-maturing varieties that have higher yields when given enough water.
Susan O’Shaughnessy, a research agricultural engineer with the Agricultural Research Service’s Soil and Water Management Research Unit in Bushland, Texas, evaluated yields and the water-use efficiency of early- and late-maturing sorghum varieties produced under four deficit irrigation conditions (80 percent, 55 percent, 30 percent, and 0 percent of full water-replenishment levels). “You could consider the 80-percent replenishment level to be mild deficit irrigation, and the lower replenishment levels to be moderate to extreme deficit irrigation,” O’Shaughnessy says.
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Read/listen to the full story at Great Lakes Echo.
Algae doesn’t have the best reputation. It’s the green scum on your local golf course’s ponds or the toxic bloom that shut down Toledo’s water system last summer. Algae isn’t all bad, though, and one Michigan start-up is using it in some innovative and beneficial ways.
While most people think of algae as a water problem, Algal Scientific actually first got its start designing technology that uses algae to filter wastewater. Current State talks to CEO Geoff Horst, who was was a PhD student in the Fisheries and Wildlife Department at Michigan State University when he started the biotech company.
Read the full story from the USGS.
The amount of water required to hydraulically fracture oil and gas wells varies widely across the country, according to the first national-scale analysis and map of hydraulic fracturing water usage detailed in a new USGS study accepted for publication in Water Resources Research, a journal of the American Geophysical Union. The research found that water volumes for hydraulic fracturing averaged within watersheds across the United States range from as little as 2,600 gallons to as much as 9.7 million gallons per well…
This research was carried out as part of a larger effort by the USGS to understand the resource requirements and potential environmental impacts of unconventional oil and gas development. Prior publications include historical trends in the use of hydraulic fracturing from 1947-2010, as well as the chemistry of produced waters from hydraulically fractured wells.
The report is entitled “Hydraulic fracturing water use variability in the United States and potential environmental implications,” and has been accepted for publication in Water Resources Research. More information about this study and other USGS energy research can be found at the USGS Energy Resources Program.
Read the full story in the Houston Chronicle.
Sin City may look like a lush water-waster as the state endures its fourth year of a severe drought, but casino-resorts say their fountains and greenery are well-crafted illusions.
The vice president of sustainability for MGM Resorts International, Chris Brophy, told a panel of the Nevada Drought Forum on Friday that through a variety of conservation efforts since 2008 the company has saved 2 billion gallons of water, equal to the amount of water that spills over Niagara Falls in four hours.
Read the full story from the Washington Post.
The National Park Service thought it had a good strategy for reining in the discarded water bottles that clog the trash cans and waste stream of the national parks: stop selling disposable bottles and let visitors refill reusable ones with public drinking water.
But Big Water has stepped in to block the parks from banning the plastic pollutants — and the industry found an ally on Capitol Hill to add a little-noticed amendment to a House spending bill that would kill the policy.