water matters

Water Matters, the blog of the Columbia Water Center, focuses on the assessment, understanding and resolution of the potentially global crisis of freshwater scarcity.

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
Emergency retaining ponds constructed by the EPA following a spill at the abandoned Gold King Mine in Colorado. A court has ordered the EPA to write new rules requiring mining companies to provide financial assurance they will pay for environmental damage. Photo: EPA

New Rules to Hold Mining Industry Accountable for Cleanups

A federal court has ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to ensure that mining companies provide financial assurance that they can pay for any harm to the environment from their operations.

by |May 31, 2016
Sign protesting the development of the Tia Maria mine in the south of Peru. Thousands of protesters have marched against the mine's approval, with police clashes leading to several deaths over the years. Photo: Madison Condon

Project Calculates the Cost of Social Conflict

The Columbia Water Center is undertaking a three-year project to quantitatively assess mining-related water and environmental risks and their financial implications.

by |April 18, 2016
Chuquicamata, located in the north of Chile, is the largest open pit copper mine in the world by excavated volume. Photo: Madison Condon

When Environmental Oversight Takes a Back Seat

The government of Peru faces significant pressure to encourage growth and investment in the mining sector, but this has also put pressure on the government’s ability to properly assess environmental impacts.

by |April 15, 2016
The State Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. Photo: roamandshoot

Californians Are Ready for Recycled Water

Water reuse is a proven technology that can produce a drought-proof sustainable water supply. Yet historically, there has been some reluctance to adopt it here in the United States. Xylem commissioned a poll to try to better understand perceptions about recycled water in drought-stricken California. And the findings were eye-opening.

by |March 18, 2016
CWC video 2016

Watch: Building Solutions for Water Challenges

From aging and leaky pipes to pollution and shrinking aquifers, America’s water infrastructure faces a growing set of challenges. A new video describes how the America’s Water Initiative, a program based at the Columbia Water Center, is trying to address those issues.

by |March 8, 2016
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Flint Crisis Opens Door on Water Problems Around U.S.

Experts from the Columbia Water Center, the Earth Institute and affiliates talk about the municipal water crisis in Flint, Mich., the nature of the crisis and what it means for America’s Water.

by |February 15, 2016
Urban

India Steps Up on Climate Change

As a nation still in its developing phase, with 1.25 billion citizens and counting, India can’t afford to forego even part of its industrial progress. But we also cannot go on developing without taking into account the emissions produced by industries that are major contributors to global warming.

by |December 3, 2015
Flooding in Pakistan. "It is no secret that the poor in any country, and the poorer countries, are the most adversely affected by the present and future climate." Photo source: Think Progress

Climate Through A Different Lens: Poverty, Inequality, Sustainability

Technology has brought us low-cost global communication, and also enabled a global economy. It has also brought us closer and further from each other. We now know more about other cultures. We also see the differences, and sharpen our sense of inequities. Perhaps, this, rather than a control of greenhouse gases, needs to be the primary conversation.

by |November 16, 2015
1862 Flooding in California

With El Niño, Be Careful What You Wish for

In Southern California, a strong El Niño usually signals rain. Given that California is now in the throes of a severe drought, it seems like that should be a good thing, even if it comes with risk of floods. But the reality of climate is more complex and counter-intuitive than it first appears.

by |November 16, 2015