Columbia Water Center

Severe flooding occurred during the 2011 monsoon season in Thailand, resulting in more than 800 deaths and 14 million people affected, mostly in the northern region and the greater Bangkok metro area.

Project Uses Satellites for Rapid Assessment of Flood Response Costs

Overall global losses from natural disasters such as floods, landslides or earthquakes amount to about $300 billion annually. A rapid and early response is key to immediately address the loss of human life, property, infrastructure and business activity.

by |May 22, 2017
Photo: Archives of the International Allies Against Mining in El Salvador

Does El Salvador’s Metal Mining Ban Suggest a Global Trend?

A number of national and local governments are tightening environmental regulations and shutting down specific mining projects, or in some cases the entire industry, due to environmental risks, including those related to water use and pollution.

by |May 2, 2017
With 9 million residents, Mexico City has a huge water demand but many problems providing enough for all of its citizens. Photo: tourist-destinations.com

To Ease Mexico City’s Water Woes, Look up, Study Suggests

For Mexico City’s biggest businesses and its poorest neighborhoods, rainwater harvesting could help address an enormous water crisis plaguing the city, a recent Columbia Water Center study found.

by |May 1, 2017
M Ho snip

Michelle Ho: In a Land of Plenty, Big Water Problems

Michelle Ho grew up in Australia, the driest inhabited continent, with an appreciation for the value of having a clean glass of water to drink. Now, she conducts research for the Columbia Water Center on America’s water systems.

by |May 1, 2017
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