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Shifting water around helped Rome’s rise – and fall. Dan McKay

What did the Romans ever do for us? They left a water warning

As all good Monty Python fans know, water technologies feature large in the legacy of benefits left by Roman civilisation. But while aqueducts, sewers and baths retain an obvious presence in the landscape…
Across California there are plenty of signs of just how dry it’s been, such as here in Topanga Canyon near Los Angeles. wasim muklashy/Flickr via CC BY-NC-SA

California’s severe drought shows why we need to raise the price of water

Last January, California Governor Jerry Brown declared a State of Emergency following projections of severe drought. State bureaucrats and local officials jumped into action and mandated any number of…
Australia won’t be building anything as big as the Gordon Dam any time soon. JJ Harrison/Wikimedia Commons

Dam hard: water storage is a historic headache for Australia

The agricultural green paper released last week proposes 27 new water and irrigation projects, which the government claims will be necessary for Australia’s agricultural expansion. The emphasis is firmly…
The Ord River dam, completed in 1971, formed Australia’s largest artificial lake in the far north west. Graeme Churchard/Flickr

Dams are not the smart way to secure water for agriculture

Some 27 irrigation and dam projects are highlighted in the green paper for agricultural competitiveness released this week by agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce. Six of the projects – five in Tasmania…
Warragamba Dam, supplying drinking water to over four million residents of Sydney.

Axing water overseer could leave regional Australia high and dry

Summer is coming and, with it, dry conditions for many parts of Australia. While it may be difficult to imagine for city dwellers, parts of regional Australia will likely face severe water shortages over…
The once-popular Loch McNess north of Perth has dried up almost completely after a decades-long dry period. ron_n_beth/Flickr

Saving water in a drying climate: lessons from south-west Australia

Since 1970, average rainfall in the south-west of Western Australia has decreased by nearly a fifth, and the science suggests that this is linked to human-caused climate change. Across Australia, CSIRO…
A test mine for the Alpha Coal project in central Queensland, which appears likely to go ahead but with greater groundwater protections. AAP Image/Greenpeace, Andrew Quilty

Alpha Coal ruling breaks new ground for protecting water

This week’s court ruling on the future of the A$6.4 billion Alpha Coal project in Queensland – set to be one of the biggest coal mines in the world – is of major significance for how mining projects are…
One of Saturn’s many moons, Enceladus seems to have a large body of water hiding under its icy crust. NASA

Waterworld? Cassini spots the motion of Enceladus’s ocean

An ocean of water has been found underneath the icy crust of Enceladus, Saturn’s sixth largest moon, according to observations of the Cassini spacecraft published in Science today. This result has come…
Keeping the taps running for all. Steve A Johnson/Flickr

UK is out of step with the rest of the world on access to water

A petition on the human right to water, signed by 1.8m people across Europe, was presented last month in Brussels. The petition called on the European Commission to recognise the UN resolution that water…
No water elsewhere could hit food and consumer good supplies here. John Giles/PA

Believe it or not, Britain’s biggest problem is a water shortage

Following the wettest winter for 250 years, it would seem fair to assume that drought-induced food shortages are unlikely to be a problem for Britain. But in the near future we may find that water is a…
More than half of Australians say they recycle for mostly environmental reasons. Shutterstock/spwidoff

Most Australians overestimate how ‘green’ they really are

Most Australians overestimate how much they are doing for the environment compared to others, and are more concerned about water shortages, pollution and household waste than climate change, a new CSIRO…
If the wells are dry, it doesn’t matter how many hands on the pumps. Kevin Frayer/AP

Water supply will struggle to meet demands of thirstier world

There are already many countries where the scarcity of water affects people’s lives. While water for drinking may be first to come to mind, as agriculture is the largest use of water worldwide water scarcity…

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