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Supreme Court Hears Clean Water Act Loophole Case

Supreme Court Hears Clean Water Act Loophole Case

Yesterday the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case about whether the Clean Water Act requires a permit for pollution from “point sources” — pipes and drainage ditches — that flows into a river or the ocean via another medium like groundwater or a wetland that is not covered by the statute. 

Why This Matters:  The stakes are high for both sides. The water treatment plant argues that it did not discharge directly into a navigable water — the ocean or a river — so it can’t be held responsible under the Act — a technicality, but one that they say protects many facilities like theirs from the high cost of treating discharges like these, as well as excusing homeowners whose septic tanks might leak.  Environmental groups on the other side say that if a polluter is allowed to discharge into another medium like groundwater and the pollution then ends up in a navigable water, it will create a huge loophole in the Act.

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We’re Depleting Our Groundwater Faster Than Ever and What This Means

We’re Depleting Our Groundwater Faster Than Ever and What This Means

Water that’s stored in aquifers makes up the majority of accessible freshwater on Earth–it’s literally the lifeline for humans as 70% of groundwater use worldwide is used for agriculture. But, as Science News explained, “surface waters — rivers and streams — rely on groundwater, too. When people pump too much too quickly, natural waterways begin […]

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A Fourth of the World’s Population Faces Severe Water Shortages

A Fourth of the World’s Population Faces Severe Water Shortages

According to a newly released report from the World Resources Institute’s Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas, a quarter of the world’s population across 17 countries are living in regions of extremely high water stress. The reasons behind the water crises go deeper than previously thought as new WRI hydrological models found that water withdrawals globally have more […]

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New Study Find Water Underwater

New Study Find Water Underwater

Using high tech equipment usually employed to find oil and gas resources under the seabed, researchers have found another precious natural resource — a huge freshwater aquifer stretching from the coast of Massachusetts to New Jersey.  The brackish (somewhat salty) water, according to the study, which was published in “Scientific Reports,” would need to be desalinized before consumption, but it would not require the energy-intensive process currently undertaken in some countries around the world.

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Groundwater Supplies Are Depleted And at Risk From Fracking

Groundwater Supplies Are Depleted And at Risk From Fracking

The Revelator, a publication of the Center for Biological Diversity, reported on a new study that found that “fresh” groundwater is 50% less plentiful in several key U.S. regions than scientists previously believed.  Therefore, digging deeper to find groundwater that is drinkable (not too salty or contaminated) is an increasingly infeasible answer to water shortages across the country.

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