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Wireless sensors and data systems can help farmers use water much more efficiently by monitoring soil conditions. Lance Cheung/USDA via Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Farmers can save water with wireless technologies, but there are challenges – like transmitting data through mud

The Agricultural Internet of Things is making farming more efficient. An information technology expert describes some of the challenges of working with sensors and antennas underground.
The old village of Aceredo, submerged 30 years ago when a hydropower dam flooded the valley, emerged during a drought in northwestern Spain, in February 2022. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

IPCC report: Half the world is facing water scarcity, floods and dirty water — large investments are needed for effective solutions

Water is central to adapting to climate change, but very few of the strategies put in place to respond to water hazards or ensure its availability have been evaluated.
Groundwater is used for irrigation and drinking water, but those wells are rarely more than one kilometre deep. A huge volume of salty water exists as much as 10 kilometres below the Earth’s surface. (Shutterstock)

Groundwater — not ice sheets — is the largest source of water on land and most of it is ancient

Groundwater is the second-largest store of water on Earth. Governments and industry use groundwater reservoirs to store waste, but it may also have environmental functions that haven’t been revealed.
Some of North America’s groundwater is so old, it fell as rain before humans arrived here thousands of years ago. Maria Fuchs via Getty Images

Ancient groundwater: Why the water you’re drinking may be thousands of years old

As surface water diminishes in the Western US, people are drilling deeper wells – and tapping into older groundwater that can take thousands of years to replenish naturally.
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.
Shutterstock

Water injustice runs deep in Australia. Fixing it means handing control to First Nations

First Nations people have almost no say in how water is used in Australia. The Productivity Commission’s latest report does little to address that.
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.

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