water

ST. JOHN, Kansas — Water — who gets to use it, when and how — sparks fights all over the world.

The latest battleground is in south-central Kansas, near the federally operated Quivira National Wildlife Refuge.

In its simplest form, it’s a clash between the refuge, which isn’t getting its legal share of water, and the local farmers who may be forced to cut back on how much water they use on their crops.

For many people, turning on the tap or flushing the toilet is something we take for granted. But a report released Monday, called "Closing the Water Access Gap in the United States," shows that more than 2 million Americans live without these conveniences and that Native Americans are more likely to have trouble accessing water than any other group.

In A Revived Arizona River, A Wildlife Oasis Is Remade

Nov 12, 2019

Much of the Santa Cruz River is a dry, desert wash, only flowing after heavy monsoon rains. As Tucson Water hydrologist Dick Thompson and I walk along the river south of Starr Pass Boulevard, he points out how brown the vegetation looks.

Paul Hudson/Creative Commons by 2.0 / https://www.flickr.com/photos/pahudson/6872786713

The Environmental Working Group's Tap Water Database has been released to spotlight dangerous levels of contamination.

According to the database, contaminants above health guidelines or legal limits were found in all five High Plains states - Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and Nebraska - between 2012 and 2017. 

Music is blaring and grills are firing up at a parking lot awash in navy blue and orange outside Empower Field at Mile High Stadium in Denver.

Todd Endicott of Lafayette stands outside an ambulance turned Broncos fan-mobile. He outfitted this orange and blue rig for tailgates. It’s plastered in life-size stickers of players, and the football team’s logos, vintage and new. 

Groundwater pumping is causing rivers and small streams throughout the country to decline, according to a new study from researchers at the Colorado School of Mines and the University of Arizona.

In the science fiction movie Water World, the big problem in the future is too much water... and a lack of land. The problem in western Kansas is just the opposite: not enough water to go around. Commentator Rex Buchanan tells us about the controversial way two communities out west are tackling their own water woes.  

In 2007, years into a record-breaking drought throughout the southwestern U.S., officials along the Colorado River finally came to an agreement on how they’d deal with future water shortages -- and then quietly hoped that wet weather would return.

But it didn’t.

Every High Plains gardener knows that moisture maintenance can be a trying task in the unpredictable weather patterns of our region--and that's as true for our wild winters as it is for the sweltering heat of summer.

Native American Perspectives on Water

Feb 22, 2017
Frank Henderson / Metropolitan Museum Collection

Denise Low’s grandfather of Delaware Indian heritage was among the dislocated Eastern Natives who settled on the Kansas Plains of the 19th Century.  As one might guess, history and heritage both are important to her story as they are for many Native American poets and writers.

Today, Denise, a former Kansas Poet Laureate and a valued friend to the Radio Readers Book Club, explores shares the thoughts of some of her colleagues around the topic of water.

In the near desert Great Plains, waterways define the land for Native peoples.

Water - Dividing or Connecting

Feb 17, 2017
CONNY BOGAARD, Holcomb KS

The Milagro Bean Field War by John Nichols is a story about Mexican farmers reclaiming their lost rights and their lost lands from the hands of evil land developers. The story starts with one individual and his rebellious act to tap into an irrigation system to start a bean field to sustain him and his family. This simple act, of course, is not without consequences. Seeing the farmer and his bean field inspires the neighbors to also stand up against the developers and take back what is theirs. It is a wonderful story about people coming together to fight injustice, as well as the power of one individual to inspire change. 

The story reminds me of a small village in Honduras that I visited on a mission trip not long ago. Our goal was to build a water system to provide clean running water to every household in the village. The problem these villagers had was not the absence of water, or even the loss of their land, but simply the lack of resources because they were poor.  After years of lobbying with their government these people had given up hope that their situation would ever improve. Until one individual saw an opportunity.

www.waterwaste.com

A Texas teenager has developed an invention that could help fight water contamination. According to The Guardian, Perry Alagappan has developed a new filtering device which could provide a cheap and easy way to way to purify water.

Hauling water like pioneers in Rooks County

Jul 28, 2014
Tim Unruh / Salina Journal

Even though it’s 2014, for Jerry and Diane McReynolds they live like it’s the 1800s.  The McReynolds’ domestic well in Rooks County, Kansas, went dry in October 2013.   The couple are members of Rural Water District No. 3, but service is not reliable, especially during the day reported Tim Unruh for the Salina Journal.

Kevin Welch / amarillo.com

Life requires water. In Texas the surface water, owned by the state, is drying or dried up, and everyone from farmers to politicians are looking underground to make up the state’s growing water deficit according to the Texas Tribune.  

Caleb Bryant Miller/The Texas Tribune

Tuesday, Texas votes on Proposition 6, a measure that aims to solve the state's water shortage by creating a fund for water development projects. The legislation would draw $2 billion in funds from the state's Rainy Day Fund.

Politicians including Governor Rick Perry support Proposition 6, calling the measure important in meeting the state's water needs. Some lawmakers are critical of the measure, saying it would give too much power to a three-member board overseeing spending.

Doing More With Less Water

Aug 20, 2013
Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

The future of agriculture across the Great Plains hinges on water. Without it, nothing can grow.

Climate models and population growth paint a pretty bleak picture for water availability a few decades from now. If farmers want to stay in business, they have to figure out how to do more with less. Enter: super efficient irrigation systems.

Lifeblood for rural communities: federal funds

Jun 12, 2013
Bill Wheelhouse/Harvest Public Media.

As Congress fiddles with major farm legislation, there’s a portion of it that gets very little attention. Some say it is a difference-maker for job creation in small rural communities and provides a boost those towns need. Harvest Public Media’s Bill Wheelhouse reports.

In the small town of Staunton, Ill., the new $9 million water plant is a welcome addition. After all, when the 80-year-old facility it replaces seized up last year, the community’s 5,000 residents were without water for five days. 

Growing urban areas adjoining the High Plains are becoming major customers for the region's water. What was once considered a production input is now the final harvest in southeast Colorado.