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Image by Joseph Fulgham from Pixabay

A tangle of rules to protect America’s water is falling short

The Times asked all 50 states how they police the use of valuable groundwater. Their answers reveal why the country is draining and damaging its aquifers so rapidly.
fracking water aquifer energy
Big Stock Photo

Fracking for oil and gas is devouring American groundwater

Hiroko Tabuchi and Blacki Migliozzi share a New York Times analysis showing that increasingly complex oil and gas wells now require astonishing volumes of water to fracture the bedrock and release fossil fuels, threatening America’s fragile aquifers.

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Extreme rain and drought is happening more often

Extreme rain and drought is happening more often, new research shows

Using 20 years of satellite observations, researchers identified periods of extreme wetness and dryness, and found they were becoming larger, more frequent and more severe.
california aquifer depletion & replenishment
Scott Hess/Flickr

Parched California misses a chance to store more rain underground

Torrential rains could have helped to replenish depleted aquifers, but some say state bureaucracy, designed to distribute water fairly, has stood in the way.
California small water capture projects

In a drought, California is watching water wash out to sea

Heavy storms have flooded parts of California, but the state has been unable to capture billions of gallons of water that are flowing unchecked into the ocean. Los Angeles is embarking on an ambitious new program to change that.
Floods show California’s climate dilemma
Jessica Merz/Flickr

Floods show California’s climate dilemma: Fight the water, or pull back?

As global warming brings more intense rainfall, experts say the state needs to give rivers more room to flood safely. But the obstacles are enormous.
french drought climate water

French police guard water as seasonal drought intensifies

New reservoirs designed to supply French farms with water in increasingly arid growing seasons have attracted opposition from environmentalists.