Taxonomy term


Travertine buildup reflects ancient Rome's water usage

By the third century, Rome had 11 aqueducts — engineered rivers enclosed by masonry — that supplied water to more than a million people in the metropolis, as well as to the city’s many extravagant public baths and fountains. But just how much water was being sourced from distant rivers, lakes and mountain springs has long been a mystery. Now, scientists are putting some impressive numbers to ancient Rome’s water usage based on a study of travertine deposits that built up over time in the Anio Novus aqueduct as freshwater flowed through it to the city.
08 Nov 2015

Northern Cyprus' "Peace Water" Pipeline

With its semi-arid climate and growing population, Cyprus suffers from the highest level of water stress in Europe and is ranked in the top five most water-stressed countries in the world, according to the World Resources Institute. Demand in the larger southern Republic of Cyprus is predicted to increase to 314 million cubic meters per year by 2020, up from 266 million cubic meters in 2004.
04 Nov 2015

Flaring our way out of a water crisis

The production of oil and gas consumes and produces vast amounts of freshwater and wastewater, respectively, and burns tons of natural gas, emitting potent greenhouse gases and wasting a potential energy source. However, with some clever engineering, we could solve all three of these environmental concerns at once.

31 Oct 2015

Declining U.S. water use a challenge for models

Americans are using less water today than they have at any time since 1970, according to a report by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), which has tracked water use since 1950 and issues reports every five years. 
27 Sep 2015

A pair of moons with underground oceans

Jupiter and Saturn are both gas giants boasting multiple moons. Now, two separate studies have identified another similarity: Each appears to have a moon with hidden underground oceans.
02 Aug 2015

Geologic Column: Jack and Jill: The sequel

As the extreme drought in California persists into another year, EARTH’s regular commentator returns with some thoughts on the proposed solutions, and the wisdom of going “up the hill” to fetch your water.

27 Jun 2015

Exoplanets could have long-lived oceans

At last count, the Kepler spacecraft had identified more than 1,000 confirmed exoplanets in the Milky Way Galaxy. Some of these bodies orbit their parent stars in the so-called habitable zone, where liquid water, and thus, life, could survive. But scientists say favorable surface temperatures may not be enough to foster life. Exoplanets also need to generate and maintain liquid water at the surface, raising the question: Do exoplanets have stable oceans?

12 Jun 2015

Iraq's biggest dam on unsure footing

Much of Iraq’s national power grid, as well as its irrigation and municipal water supplies, depend on Mosul Dam, a large earthen structure on the Tigris River about 70 kilometers upstream from Mosul, Iraq’s third-largest city. However, the dam, constructed in the 1980s, was built upon a geologically weak foundation, raising worries about its safety.
04 Jun 2015

Comet water unlike Earth's

Scientists have long suspected that much of the water that fills our planet’s oceans may have come from asteroids or comets that collided with the early Earth. Now, recently reported data from the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission, which landed its Philae probe on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko in November, appears to favor an asteroid origin story for Earth’s water.

10 May 2015

Wedge approach proposed to lower water stress

Roughly 30 percent of the global population — or about 2.2 billion people — lives in water-stressed parts of the world, where high freshwater withdrawals endanger ecosystems, agriculture and drinking-water supplies. If current population and water usage trends persist, this fraction could rise to about one-half by the century’s end. In a recent study, researchers — taking a page from the climate-change mitigation literature — have proposed a “wedge” approach to address global water stress, laying out how various tactics could ease the growing problem.

22 Apr 2015