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Articles on Irrigation

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Dry conditions across the West follow a hot, dry year of record-setting wildfires in 2020. Communities were left with scenes like this, from California’s Creek Fire. Amir Aghakouchak/University of California Irvine

Another dangerous fire season is looming in the Western U.S., and the drought-stricken region is headed for a water crisis

Drought conditions are so bad, fish hatcheries are trucking their salmon to the ocean and ranchers are worried about having enough water for their livestock.
An orchard near Kettleman City in California’s San Joaquin Valley on April 2, 2021. Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Water wells are at risk of going dry in the US and worldwide

The US has one of the highest groundwater use rates in the world. When wells run dry, households may opt to conserve water, find new sources or sell and move.
A center-pivot sprinkler with precision application drop nozzles irrigates cotton in Texas. USDA NRCS/Wikipedia

Farmers are depleting the Ogallala Aquifer because the government pays them to do it

An invisible crisis is brewing in US farm country as the overpumped Ogallala-High Plains Aquifer drains. The key drivers are federal farm subsidies and the tax code.
Murray Darling Junction, Wentworth NSW. Hypervision Creative/Shutterstock

Recovering water for the environment in the Murray-Darling: farm upgrades increase water prices more than buybacks

Marking farms more water-efficient pushes up prices twice as much as buying water back.
Waters from the Herbert River, which runs toward one of northern Australia’s richest agricultural districts, could be redirected under a Bradfield scheme. Patrick White

‘New Bradfield’: rerouting rivers to recapture a pioneering spirit

The ‘New Bradfield’ scheme seeks to revive a nation-building ethos supposedly stifled by bureaucratic inertia. But there are good reasons the scheme never became a reality.
After years of delay, the New Zealand government is pushing ahead on a national plan to clean up the nation’s lakes, rivers and wetlands. from www.shutterstock.com

New Zealand launches plan to revive the health of lakes and rivers

A proposed plan to clean up New Zealand's waterways draws clear limits on the expansion of dairy farming and irrigation, as well as on the use of nitrogen fertiliser in some key areas.
There’s broad support from communities and farmers for proper water audits. John/Flickr

Paddling blind: why we urgently need a water audit

How can Australia's new Inspector General be expected to inspect waterways without a firm grasp of how much water in in them?
The white “bathtub ring” around Arizona’s Lake Mead (shown on May 31, 2018), which indicates falling water levels, is about 140 feet high. AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

Western states buy time with a 7-year Colorado River drought plan, but face a hotter, drier future

Western states adopted a 7-year plan in May 2019 to manage low water levels in the Colorado River. Now they need to look farther ahead and accept that there will be less water far into the future.

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