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California's Pricey Drought Problem: Sinking Land

As more groundwater is pumped, the danger grows

(Newser) - A canal that delivers vital water supplies from Northern California to Southern California is sinking in places. So are stretches of a riverbed undergoing historic restoration. On farms, well casings pop up like mushrooms as the ground around them drops. Four years of drought and heavy reliance on pumping of... More »

Droughts Could Be Even Worse for Trees Than We Thought

And the effects can last for years, study says

(Newser) - The ability of Earth's forests to stand up to droughts may be worse than previously believed. The Washington Post reports that many current scientific models assume trees recover immediately following a drought. But Princeton's William Anderegg demonstrated droughts actually have "legacy effects" on trees in a study... More »

Drought Drops Key Calif. Lake Near 'Dead Zone'

Folsom Lake is less than 15% full with little relief in the forecast

(Newser) - It was already one of the most iconic visuals of California's historic drought, and things have only gotten worse. Gizmodo reports few people—even in California—were aware of the severity of the ongoing drought when it was officially declared in 2012. That changed in 2014 when before and... More »

Study: We're Using Our Groundwater Too Quickly

Only a small fraction is renewable within a lifetime

(Newser) - "We're using our groundwater resources too fast—faster than they're being renewed," Dr. Tom Gleeson says in a University of Victoria press release . Gleeson, along with fellow researchers, published the most accurate map of Earth's groundwater supply to date on Monday in Nature Geoscience. The... More »

Hungry Bears Invade Calif. Town

Drought has forced them down from the mountains

(Newser) - Black bears driven from the mountains by drought have invaded a town outside of California's Sequoia National Park in search of food. A record number of bears are seeking acorns in the tiny town of Three Rivers, home to an eclectic mix of park employees, ranchers, and hippies and... More »

400-Year-Old Church Emerges in Reservoir

The Temple of Santiago gets a breath of air

(Newser) - Huh, this wasn't there last year—a 16th-century church emerging from the waters of a Mexican reservoir. But it actually makes sense, because drought has caused the water level to fall 82 feet in the Nezahualcoyotl reservoir, revealing a church that was flooded during construction of a dam nearly... More »

California Lawmaker Considers Buying Alaska's Water

'An opportunity to think outside the box'

(Newser) - Apparently taking a cue from Captain James. T. Kirk himself, one California politician is looking into the possibility of shipping 9 billion gallons of water from Alaska to the increasingly dry state, USA Today reports. Rep. Janice Hahn held an exploratory meeting last week with Terry Trapp, the CEO of... More »

California's Drought: Listen, and You Can Hear It

Researcher finds that sounds of wildlife have dropped over the years

(Newser) - It's easy to look around the West and see startling signs of the region's drought. Trickier, but perhaps just as startling, is to hear signs of that same drought. Researcher Bernie Krause has made it possible thanks to decades of recordings at California's Sugarloaf Ridge State Park,... More »

Mountains Reveal Worst Water News in 500 Years

Study says the snowmelt has hit a dismal low

(Newser) - As if California doesn't have enough water problems . Now scientists say the Sierra Nevada snowpack—which gives the state nearly a third of its surface water—is at a shocking 500-year low, the Guardian reports. That means California, now in its fourth year of drought, can't rely as... More »

We Can't Eat America's No. 1 Crop

We grow three times more grass than even corn

(Newser) - Corn might be the United States' No. 1 food crop, but it doesn't hold a candle to the amount of grass being grown by accidental farmers around the country. In a look at America's "most useless crop," io9 surfaces decade-old research from NASA's Earth Observatory... More »

Lake Mead Gives Up Its Ghosts as Drought Worsens

Tourism is up at shrinking lake in Nevada

(Newser) - The drought in the West is hurting Nevada's Lake Mead in the most obvious sense—it's shrinking fast. But that problem comes with an upside: Tourism is up as the water recedes and reveals what lies beneath, reports CBS News . The big draw is the ghost town of... More »

Cost of Tom Selleck's Alleged Water-Swiping: $21,685.55

Selleck, water district didn't agree on everything, but settlement reached

(Newser) - The settlement deal in Tom Selleck's very own Watergate was finalized last night, with the actor agreeing to cough up $21,685.55—the cost of the PI hired by California's Calleguas Municipal Water District to investigate Selleck's alleged water-pilfering from the district, the AP reports. The... More »

Tom Selleck Reaches Deal in Water War

Details are confidential until water district's board approves

(Newser) - The water war is apparently over: Calleguas Municipal Water District says it has reached a tentative agreement with Tom Selleck after accusing the actor of stealing water from Ventura County to use on his 60-acre estate and avocado farm in Hidden Valley, Calif., amid a drought. The details of the... More »

Tom Selleck Accused of Stealing Water in Drought

Actor allegedly had truck fill up at hydrant in California

(Newser) - Brace yourself for lots of Magnum PI jokes today: Tom Selleck has been accused of stealing water amid California's drought to keep his sprawling estate and avocado farm well-watered. The Calleguas Municipal Water District, with help from a real private investigator, accuses Selleck of sending a water truck to... More »

North Korea Claims 'Worst Drought in 100 Years'

State news agency says 30% of rice paddy fields are drying up

(Newser) - Failed lobster breeders should be the least of Kim Jong Un's worries. North Korea says it's battling "the worst drought in 100 years" after recording its lowest rainfall in 30 years last year as well as low levels in May, per the AP . State news agency... More »

Another Bad Milestone for California's Drought

Farmers with century-old rights told to stop pumping water

(Newser) - California's drought is now hitting farmers with water rights going back more than a century. The state today told those with rights dating to 1903 to stop pumping water from rivers and streams, reports the San Francisco Chronicle . Those with rights acquired later already had been ordered to cut... More »

Calif.'s New Rage: Fake Grass

As drought rages on, it begins to make more sense

(Newser) - From the same drought that brought the nation lawn-painting comes yet another fad in faux greenery: Fake lawns, nicknamed "frass," are gaining popularity in parched California, which is cracking down on water use. With live grass requiring 55 gallons of water a year per square foot, and with... More »

Islands Appearing in the Southwest—Ominously

Lake Powell and Lake Mead are in rough shape

(Newser) - New islands are being born along the border of Arizona and Utah. That's an ominous thing, reports the Guardian in a look at Lake Powell, the country's second-biggest reservoir. Due to dwindling snow falls in the Rockies—which has spurred a crisis for the Colorado River, which feeds... More »

California Farmers Make Historic Water Concession

Some with rights going back a century agree to 25% cuts amid drought

(Newser) - Another sign of the severity of California's drought: Farmers who hold some of the oldest and thus strongest water rights in the state have agreed to voluntarily cut their water use by 25% this season. The move by the farmers in the delta of the Sacramento and San Joaquin... More »

California's New Class Warfare: Drought Shaming

Snitching on water wasters goes viral as green lawns separate haves, have-nots

(Newser) - As California enters its fourth year of drought, with fines that the Los Angeles Times reports could range up to $10,000 for water wasting, citizens are taking to social media to not only rat on their neighbors but call out the state's wealthiest, some of whose magnificently manicured... More »

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