In the 1960s California had a serious plan to take water from Alaska

It's so ungodly hot in much of California right now that you can almost hear the sun sucking what's left of our reservoirs dry. But if a group of engineers and politicians would have had their way in 1964, the lower 48 would be swimming in water imported from the far North—all the way from Alaska. » 9/16/14 5:39pm 9/16/14 5:39pm

This Giant "Straw" Will Suck Vegas's Water From the Desert

Las Vegas gets 90 percent of its water from Lake Mead, the lake created by the Hoover Dam about 45 miles away. It's also a lake that's only half full—with water levels that are decreasing every year. Now the city must dig a massive tunnel that will dip deeper into the lake to ensure Las Vegas's water supply doesn't… » 6/12/14 6:40pm 6/12/14 6:40pm

How the Colorado River Finally Reached the Sea Again

This week, for the first time in decades, the Colorado River flowed to its natural end in the Gulf of California. But it was the opposite of a natural event. The artificially engineered "pulse flow" that pushed the waters all the way to the Gulf required an unprecedented collaboration between the U.S. and Mexico,… » 5/20/14 12:20pm 5/20/14 12:20pm

Why Bitcoin Miners Are Moving to Tiny Towns in Washington State

There's not much in rural Washington, but there are lot of dams. And dams mean hydroelectric power. Following the lure of cheap electricity, Bitcoin miners and their power-hungry server farms are making out for sleepy little towns in the Pacific Northwest. » 5/14/14 4:20pm 5/14/14 4:20pm

How to Get a Fish To Cross a Dam

Imagine you're a river herring, maybe about a foot long, swimming merrily upstream when you suddenly hit a giant concrete wall. How do you cross it? Engineers are now designing new fishways disguised as broad, rocky pools that help migrating fish make their way through dammed up rivers. » 5/08/14 3:46pm 5/08/14 3:46pm

Why We Don't Design Our Cities to Withstand 1,000-Year Floods

The floods in Colorado are being described as "Biblical," and for once that word seems to fit. Boulder, for example, usually gets around 15 inches of precipitation annually. This year, that amount has fallen in the ten days since September 9 alone. On September 12, they received nine inches in one day. » 9/19/13 11:00am 9/19/13 11:00am

This Colossal Dam Keeps Russia's Capital City Above Water

When Tsar Peter the Great founded the former Russian capital city of Saint Petersburg more than 300 years ago, he intended it to provide a "window on the Baltic." Turns out, that window was more of a screen door. To protect itself, the city built a dam that took almost 300 years and $3.85 billion to complete. » 9/09/13 2:00pm 9/09/13 2:00pm

How Do You Demolish This Hated Dam? Snip It Down the Middle

California's Matilija Dam is a huge mistake. Over 60 years after its construction, engineers and ecologists are realizing it does more harm than good—a feeling shared by the rogue artists who painted huge, easy instructions as a fix. » 9/19/11 9:00pm 9/19/11 9:00pm