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Just as economists have linked hotter temperatures to declining crop yields, they have also linked them to more disease, more crime, more suicides and other effects on people’s health and well-being.

The $3.5 trillion price tag President Joe Biden proposed for his climate-heavy Build Back Better Act might seem enormous - but by zeroing in on that number, public debate has skipped right over the economic ramifications of climate change, which promise to be historically disruptive - and enormously expensive. Read more»

Lake Mead, the nation’s largest freshwater reservoir, has been losing water because of epochal drought since 2000.

One of the country’s most important sources of fresh water is in peril, the latest victim of the accelerating climate crisis and a growing population that, even as the drought worsened over recent decades, ranked among the fastest-growing places in the country. Read more»

Old pump jacks lazily move up and down under the hot Central Valley sun in the Kern River Oil Field outside of Bakersfield, California.

A little-known program under federal environment law is being used to permit oil and gas companies to inject waste into the state’s aquifers, even as the thirst for groundwater grows. Read more»

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which manages Lake Mead and distributes Colorado River waters, predicts the reservoir — now 37 percent full — will reach a new record low in 2017, part of a steady decline that began more than a decade ago.

A single relatively wet winter has led California officials to relax in a way some water experts fear is reckless. Read more»

Water trickles out of the Glen Canyon Dam into Glen Canyon in a scene from 'Damnation,' a documentary film directed by Ben Knight and Travis Rommel.

The water crisis in the West has renewed debate about the effectiveness of major dams, with some pushing for the enormous Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River to be decommissioned Read more»

The state’s cities need water. Its farmers have it. Could leasing rights to it solve the crisis responsibly? Read more» 2

If water levels drop enough at Lake Mead, the federal government will declare a shortage and Nevada and Arizona will face dramatic cuts in supply.

Despite decades of accepted science, California and Arizona are still counting and regulate groundwater and surface water as if they were entirely separate. Damage from the West’s increasing reliance on underground supplies is proliferating, with groundwater levels in some places being drawn down so quickly that the earth above them is collapsing. Read more» 1

A parched vineyard in Napa Valley.

What does California's drought mean for the seven states that share water supplies from the Colorado River? Read more» 1

The Navajo Generating Station in Page, Arizona.

Arizona's Navajo Generating Station, the West's largest power plant, is consuming 22,000 tons of coal and emitting 44,000 tons of carbon dioxide each day, in large part to deliver Arizona’s water. Read more»

A vestige of 139-year-old water law pushes ranchers to use as much water as they possibly can, even during a drought. “Use it or lose it” clauses are common in state laws throughout the Colorado River basin and give the farmers, ranchers and governments holding water rights a powerful incentive to use more water than they need. Read more»

Growing cotton in the desert has always been a challenge. But for many farmers, it is a proud tradition and a cherished way of life.

The government's damaging choice to back cotton in the desert. Read more» 1

After years of delays and debate, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo decides risks outweigh rewards. Read more»

U.S. environmental regulators have long assumed that reservoirs located thousands of feet underground will be too expensive to tap. As a result, American scientists and policy-makers often exempt these deep aquifers from clean water protections and allow energy and mining companies to inject pollutants directly into them. Read more»

Wyoming uranium mine threatens drinking water

Underground vast reservoirs hold billions of gallons of water suitable for drinking, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Yet every day injection wells pump more than 200,000 gallons of toxic and radioactive waste from uranium mining into local aquifers. Read more»

Workers install a jackhammer bit on a drilling rig while putting in a water well in Spicewood, Texas in February 2012.

Federal officials have given energy and mining companies permission to pollute aquifers in more than 1,500 places across the country, releasing toxic material into underground reservoirs that help supply more than half of the nation's drinking water. Read more»

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