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.

Carrying the lumber down the plank walkway

Construction in the Swamp

Despite the miserable weather and ongoing rain, we constructed a wooden structure to hold the GPS receivers, solar panels and other electronic equipment between the three wells. We worked out how and where to mount the antennas and had parts made to accomplish it. Although I had to leave before it was completed, the team persevered through the storm and now we will be monitoring ground subsidence and sediment compaction in the Mississippi Delta.

by |August 16, 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
This map shows the amount of water stored in underground aquifers in the continental U.S for the year 2014. The baseline is the average water stored between the years 1948-2009. Source: NASA.

Bridging the Gap Between Science and Policy for Water Security

To tackle the challenge of how to effectively educate important stakeholders about ground water in the United States, 11 graduate students from the Earth Institute and School of International and Public Affairs MPA in Environmental Science and Policy program were asked to recommend a strategy to improve scientific literacy among policymakers and investors.

by |July 8, 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
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