Columbia Water Center

A domestic rainwater harvesting system from Atlantis, an international company that engineers systems to capture rainfall and runoff, and other “green” infrastructure.

An Ancient Tool Holds Promise for Modern Water Problems

The potential effectiveness of harvesting rainwater to bolster water supply and reduce potentially polluting runoff varies greatly from place to place, even within a particular city or neighborhood. Now researchers at the Columbia Water Center have developed a tool to assess the potential of rainwater harvesting throughout the United States.

by |March 22, 2017
Oglala National Grassland, Nebraska. Photo: Brian Kell

Grasslands More Sensitive to Dryness than Rainfall, Study Says

A new study shows that dryness of the atmosphere affects U.S. grassland productivity more than rainfall does. The findings could have important implications for predicting how plants will respond to warming climate conditions.

by |March 9, 2017
A worker walks down the damaged roadway near the Oroville Dam emergency spillway. The California Department of Water Resources continues to examine and repair the erosion with more than 125 construction crews working around the clock. Photo: Brian Baer/ California Department of Water Resources

Oroville Dam Crisis is a Call to Action on U.S. Water Infrastructure

Columbia Water Center director Upmanu Lall suggests that we see the Oroville crisis as a call to action to evaluate and address the challenges facing the nation’s dam infrastructure.

by |February 20, 2017
Antarctica-Fabio_icefront_IMG_4573-copy2

Looking at Climate from All the Angles

The Earth Institute digs into the past, tracks the present and models the future of climate. We explore the broader issues surrounding climate change, seek ways to apply our knowledge to real solutions, and nurture collaboration among faculty and researchers in the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities, law, public health, engineering, architecture and urban planning.

by |December 16, 2016
Photo: Luis LuCheng / flickr

Water Quality Concerns Extend Well Beyond Flint

Researchers at the Columbia Water Center have been analyzing trends in drinking water quality violations. A critical lesson is that water quality violations extend well beyond the problem of lead in Flint’s drinking water.

by |November 2, 2016
Hoover Dam. Photo: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Dammed Funding for U.S. Dams

Across the nation, large-scale water infrastructure such as dams have provided a multitude of services, from electric power and water reservoirs to flood control and containment of pollution. But federal investments in large water infrastructure projects have largely been curtailed over the past few decades.

by |October 12, 2016
Pollution from the Summitville gold mine in Colorado led the federal Environmental Protection Agency to declare the mine, whose owner had declared bankruptcy in 1992, a Superfund cleanup site.

Comments to SEC Encourage Environmental Risk Disclosure

Earlier this summer, the Securities and Exchange Commission proposed changes to their disclosure requirements for publicly listed mining companies. The Columbia Water Center was among those submitting comments on the proposed new rules.

by |October 3, 2016
A memorial to the 29 miners killed in an explosion at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia in April 2010. Photo: https://www.facebook.com/ubbminersmemorial

Rules Would Require More Environmental Risk Disclosure in Mining

The Securities and Exchange Commission has proposed changes to its disclosure requirements for mining companies that could increase the liability potential of companies that fail to accurately disclose environmentally related risks to their investors.

by |August 10, 2016
Bento Rodrigues, destroyed by a flood of chemical-laced water and sludge after a tailings dam collapsed in Brazil in November 2015.

Shareholder Litigation Puts a Spotlight on Environmental Risk

Lawsuits based on corporate misrepresentations to investors are gaining attention from those who want to see companies held more accountable for environmental damage–including risks associated with climate change.

by |July 11, 2016
Worn-out pipes and other infrastructure can add to the risks for water contamination. Photo: @picJim / Flickr / Creative Commons

Presidential Politics: Water Supply and Contamination

The federal government needs to develop and implement a plan to solve problems with our water infrastructure, pollution and growing scarcity. How will the next president act?

by |June 29, 2016