80 million plastic balls to prevent Los Angeles reservoirs from becoming carcinogenic


The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is buying 80 million 4-inch black polyethylene balls to cover the surfaces of three Los Angeles reservoirs that serve 4 million residents. At a cost of 33 cents each, the hollow spheres are designed to block sunlight from turning bromide and chlorine in the water into bromate, a suspected carcinogen.

Photos of the ball manufacturing equipment at XavierC in Glendora, California.

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What happens when wells run dry in California's drought?

Filmmaker Katherine Espejo has been documenting how the increasingly grim drought is affecting her home town in Central California, focusing on parts of East Porterville, where some wells have begun running dry. Read the rest

Tom Selleck accused of stealing water from fire hydrant


Tom Selleck, best known as Magnum P.I., has apparently settled, at least tentatively, with the Ventura County water district after the actor was accused of stealing water from a fire hydrant and trucking it to their 60-acre ranch. Read the rest

California nudist resort owners charged with water theft from creek


Police charged Glyn Stout, 77, and Lori Kay Stout, 53, owners of Lupin Lodge, a nudist resort in the Santa Cruz Mountains, with diverting water from a creek to keep their water tank and pool filled during the drought. Read the rest

California drought: State orders historic water cuts for farmers

Fresno-Clovis Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility is seen next to farm fields in Fresno [Reuters]
“The state is reaching back more than a century in the hierarchy of California water rights,” reports the Los Angeles Times.

California is sinking as it sucks remaining water out of underground aquifers


Nearly everyone in the US depends on food crops grown in California, so farmers must continue to pull what little water remains in underground aquifers. This is causing the state to actually sink. It's been sinking for decades, but the problem is getting worse. Reveal News writes, "Last summer, scientists recorded the worst sinking in at least 50 years. This summer, all-time records are expected across the state as thousands of miles of land in the Central Valley and elsewhere sink."

As a result, the "sinking is starting to destroy bridges, crack irrigation canals and twist highways across the state, according to the U.S. Geological Survey."

Joseph Poland of the U.S. Geological Survey used a utility pole to document where a farmer would have been standing in 1925, 1955 and where Poland was then standing in 1977 after land in the San Joaquin Valley had sunk nearly 30 feet. Credit: U.S. Geological Survey

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The California drought looks worse from space: shocking NASA satellite images of a drying West

Images recently released by NASA' twin GRACE satellites show an ever-worsening situation.

California drought photos: Before and OMG WTF

Overlapping images of the drought in California, with an adjustable before-and-after slider. Read the rest

Commodity market prediction takes the Internet by storm

Good news! There is not an unavoidable bacon shortage looming in our future. Bad news! What was actually being predicted was really an increase in meat prices across the board. Droughts have completely decimated this year's corn crop, and as corn is the stuff we usually feed our meat, it's going to cost more to raise a pig (or a cow, or a chicken) next year. Key takeaways: There will still be meat, it's just going to be more spendy next year, and also don't trust the British when they offer you "bacon" because they actually mean Canadian bacon, which is different (and inferior). Read the rest

Dried riverbed reveals stolen architecture, unexploded artillery shells

When Sweden invaded Poland in the 17th century, the Swedes made off with pieces of marble lintels, columns, and other architectural details from the Polish royal palace.

Hundreds of years later, Nazis invaded Poland, carrying with them deadly, modern weaponry and a system of violent repression aimed at the country's Jewish population.

Now, thanks to a severe summer drought, evidence of both these invasions is turning up in Warsaw, beached on the dried riverbed of the Vistula.

Low rainfall over the past few months has brought the Vistula, Poland's longest river, to its lowest level since regular records began 200 years ago.Navigation along the river has already been affected and officials say if water levels do not recover soon, power stations in Warsaw that use river water for cooling may be forced to close down.

Unexploded World War Two ordnance was found on the river bed in one part of the city at the weekend. Kowalski said on the stretch of river bed he had been studying, a few pieces of Jewish matzevah, or gravestones, had been discovered.

Read more about what lies at the bottom of the Vistula at Yahoo News Read the rest