Government-Subsidized Cotton Farms Are Sucking the Colorado River Dry

Not too many drought stories have focused on cotton. As one of the thirstiest crops, it was long abandoned by many farmers in the regions hardest hit by unprecedented water scarcity. Except for one part of Arizona, where cotton blooms defiantly, even today. Because here, the more cotton fails, the more the US pays… » 5/27/15 8:20pm Wednesday 8:20pm

Learning From Australia's Drought Lessons to Avoid a Mad Max Future

The drought is no longer a California problem. The Colorado River, which supplies water to one-eighth of the country’s population, is reporting record low water levels due to overallocation. The US needs a little perspective when it comes to how bad this is going to get. Luckily we have one: Australia. » 5/15/15 12:00pm 5/15/15 12:00pm

Moby Also Has a Plan to Fix California's Water Woes

While most celebs are making headlines in California’s drought for their unnaturally green and fragrant lawns, a few public figures have stepped up to offer real solutions for the state. William Shatner explained his enthusiastic if somewhat unrealistic plot to siphon water from Seattle. Now Moby’s issued his own idea… » 5/13/15 8:05pm 5/13/15 8:05pm

Texas' Decade-Long Megadrought Put on Hold While Texas Floods

Remember a couple of years ago when Texas was in such a deep, seemingly-irreversible drought that experts trumpeted it as the next great megadrought, the likes of which would cause Texas to poof into a pile of dust by the end of the decade? The people currently wading through their living rooms remember. » 5/13/15 7:30pm 5/13/15 7:30pm

Trying to Buy Water Rights Shows How Backwards Our Water Policy Is

Amidst all the dire drought news, you’ve probably been hearing about “water rights,” which are as weirdly abstract as they sound. So what’s the deal with water rights? Can you buy some yourself? When reporter Ryan Bradley sets out to get $500 of water rights in The Adaptors podcast, it gets pretty hairy. » 5/07/15 6:50pm 5/07/15 6:50pm

More Than 12 Million Trees Have Been Killed In California's Drought

If you happen to be flying anywhere in the western third of the US this summer, you’ll see a lot of brown: Dark umber bare mountain peaks, dusty khaki dry river beds, golden beige straw-like grass. Add one more shade to the mix: The reddish specks of trees killed by four years of crippling drought. » 5/07/15 6:05pm 5/07/15 6:05pm

Behold the Stupidest Government Report EVER

The drought in America is historic, affecting more than 30 percent of the United States and 37 percent of the lower 48 states. My friend, John Fleck , who used to write about nukes at the Albuquerque Journal, is the doyen of all things water in the west, and when we met last year in New Mexico, he put the fear of God… » 5/04/15 2:11pm 5/04/15 2:11pm

California's Drought Is Making Its Dying Inland Sea Even More Toxic

Most of the narratives about California’s drought focus on the state’s Central Valley, where the nonexistent snowpack from the Sierras is threatening the economic vitality of the region. But the other, lesser told story is playing out in the southeast corner of the state, where the lack of water is actually poisoning… » 5/01/15 6:20pm 5/01/15 6:20pm

How to Use Instagram to Track Climate Change

In Los Angeles, the transition from spring to summer is heralded by the blooming of jacarandas, a photogenic tree that explodes in bright lavender fireworks and sprinkles flowers across the city like purple rain. But as I Instagrammed my sneakers against the rubbery petals the other week, I had a nagging feeling—this… » 5/01/15 11:00am 5/01/15 11:00am

Starbucks Sells California's Scarce Water to "Help" People Without Water

When you buy a bottle of water at Starbucks, five cents goes towards “improving the lives of people who lack vital resources,” according to the in-house brand named Ethos Water. That may be true, but there’s a catch: The water’s bottled in a part of California where people’s wells are running dry. » 4/29/15 1:20pm 4/29/15 1:20pm

Lake Mead Is Now Lower Than Ever, But Vegas Has a Crazy Survival Plan

Yesterday, the surface of Lake Mead reached its lowest level since it was filled in 1937—1,080 feet above sea level. But engineers were prepared for this: A huge infrastructural project under the lake has been underway since 2008 to ensure that Vegas residents will still be able to get water, even as the drought… » 4/28/15 3:30pm 4/28/15 3:30pm

California Farmers Without Water Are Installing Solar Panels Instead

Due to the unprecedented drought, many of California’s farmers won’t be allocated any water this year, thanks to the way that the state’s water rights work. But what actually happens to the farms that don’t get water? Some of the farmers are ditching produce altogether for a more profitable alternative to… » 4/27/15 6:49pm 4/27/15 6:49pm

The Minority Report Of Famine Prediction Knows Where To Send Aid

On a day spent dodging Periscope unboxings of Apple Watches on the other side of the country, it’s difficult to believe that there’s too little information in the world. But when it comes to life-and-death predictions of agriculture in Africa, our system is woefully inadequate, and the only hope is space. » 4/24/15 5:50pm 4/24/15 5:50pm

William Shatner Is Crowdsourcing Ideas for His Bonkers Drought Plan

Hey, we’ve all got ideas to save California from its cataclysmic drought. Stop fracking! Stop showering! Stop eating! But none of us is William Shatner: Enterprise captain, Priceline spokesperson, Twitter watchdog, and probably, definitely, most certainly not a water expert. This is not preventing him from proposing… » 4/24/15 12:15pm 4/24/15 12:15pm