April 2, 2024

Average is Awesome: California Happy With Latest Snowpack Survey

After years of swinging extremes, state snowpack is at rare average of 110%, setting up good water savings account for year ahead.

April 1, 2024

Improving Seasonal Water Predictions Using a Machine-Learning River Forecast System

A WWAO collaboration has published a new paper on how to use next-generation satellite snow data to improve seasonal water supply forecasts using machine learning.

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March 28, 2024

California Mountains Face Weather Whiplash

Last month’s massive snowstorm in the Sierra Nevada followed a dry start to winter. Such extremes in precipitation may become the norm.

March 25, 2024

Field-Scale Crop Water Consumption Points to Potential Water Savings in Agriculture

Using remote-sensing data and machine learning, a team from NASA and beyond finds that switching to lower-intensity crops can reduce water consumption in California’s Central Valley by 93%, but this requires adopting uncommon crop types.

March 22, 2024

Snowstorm Coats the Rockies

A potent storm pushed snowpack levels above normal across Colorado.

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March 21, 2024

World Water Day: Water for Peace

This year’s theme, “Water for Peace,” encourages the world to focus not only on the conflicts, but also on how water can be at the center of peacebuilding.

March 20, 2024

US, Germany Partnering on Mission to Track Earth’s Water Movement

The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment-Continuity mission will extend a decades-long record of following shifting water masses using gravity measurements.

March 18, 2024

What’s Worse Than a Flood? A Debris Flow

While flood flows are dominated by water, debris flows are a slurry of a lot of things, including boulders. 

March 6, 2024

California Water Department Completes First Phase of Innovative Groundwater Mapping Program

State-of-the-art helicopter-based technology and local coordination improve management of our underground water supply.

February 29, 2024

U.S. Cities Could Be Capturing Billions of Gallons of Rain a Day

With better infrastructure and “spongy” green spaces, urban areas have made progress but should be soaking up way more free stormwater.

January 24, 2024

Groundwater Levels Around the World Are Dropping Quickly, Often at Accelerating Rates

Rapid declines are most common in aquifers under croplands in drier regions, including California, the most extensive analysis of groundwater trends so far shows.

January 16, 2024

Preparing for Wet Years in the Face of Climate Change

A commentary discusses the need to accelerate California's planning for the wet years that are bound to happen.

January 9, 2024

Looking Back at 2023’s Volatile California Water Year

The driest three-year period on record gave way to a series of atmospheric rivers early in the year that pummeled the state.

January 2, 2024

First Snow Survey of Season Finds Below-Average Conditions for California

With above-average reservoir levels, El Niño, and a dry start to the water year, California is preparing for flood or dry conditions in the months ahead.

December 11, 2023

Addressing Groundwater Overdraft in the Sacramento Valley

Though the Sacramento Valley has relatively abundant surface-water supplies, groundwater is also key for many of its communities and farms.

November 15, 2023

Lake Powell Rebounds but Drought Remains

A wet winter in western states provided a short-term reprieve to the decades-long drought in the reservoir.

November 7, 2023

Measuring Groundwater Overdraft in the Sacramento Valley

Much recent attention towards groundwater sustainability has focused on the heavily overdrafted San Joaquin Valley. However, the Sacramento Valley also needs to bring its groundwater basins into balance and avoid significant undesirable results of pumping.

October 26, 2023

Can Proposed Desalination Plant Solve Arizona’s Water Problems?

A recent 23-year-and-counting megadrought on the overallocated Colorado River has led to significant cutbacks for Arizona and junior water rights holders. Could a desalination plant help?

February 8, 2023

Drought Mainly to Blame For Uptick in California Tree Deaths

About 36 million dead trees were recorded in California last year, a dramatic increase from previous years. A report by the U.S. Forest Service explains the die-offs are the result of drought, insects and disease.

January 27, 2023

Shrinking Lake Abert

Image of the day: As the lake in southern Oregon dries up, the remaining water is becoming too salty to support key food sources for birds.

January 25, 2023

Atmospheric Rivers Take Chunk Out of Drought

Nine atmospheric rivers dropped feet of rain and snow across California and the West Coast from late December to mid-January. The deluge caused deaths, landslides and flooding, but improved the drought situation across a large chunk of the western United States.

December 22, 2022

Why Is the Colorado River Drying Up?

There is no historic precedent for today's conditions in the Colorado River. The most severe drought for around 1200 years, climate change and rising temperatures are making it hard to predict the river's future.

December 15, 2022

El Niño Varies More Intensely Now Than in Past Millennium

Researchers have found evidence that El Niño is getting stronger in living and fossilized Galápagos corals.

December 13, 2022

How Water Cycles Can Help Prevent Disastrous Floods and Drought

To prevent devastating droughts and floods, humanity can tune in to natural solutions to repair water cycles disrupted by human development.

December 8, 2022

La Niña Times Three

Three consecutive years of La Niña conditions in the eastern Pacific Ocean make it a rare “triple dip” event.

October 12, 2022

Boost in Drought Mitigation Funding from Inflation Reduction Act

The U.S. Department of the Interior has announced new funding to protect the sustainability of the Colorado River System. $4 billion will be focused on water management and conservation efforts in the Colorado River Basin and other areas experiencing similar levels of drought.

August 24, 2022

Lake Powell Still Shrinking

The second largest reservoir in the United States now stands at its lowest level since it was filled in the mid-1960s.

August 23, 2022

Rio Grande Runs Dry, Then Wet

Residents of Albuquerque saw a dry riverbed for the first time since 1983.

August 13, 2022

More Evidence of California's Extreme Weather Trend

New research shows the risk of hazardous weather is increasing in the Southwest U.S. More hot, dry winds, less rainfall and greater numbers of winter wildfires are the result.

August 12, 2022

The Great Shrinking Lake

In summer 2022, water levels in the Great Salt Lake dropped to new record lows. Increased water diversions and climate change are responsible.

August 5, 2022

Building Resilience as The Colorado River Dwindles

Policymakers, industry and conservation players, and tribal members explore paths to a sustainable future for the millions who rely on the “lifeblood of the American West.”

July 29, 2022

Tracking Deluge And Drought Through Soil Moisture

The changing state of U.S. soils has big implications for farmers and crop production. Our Crop-CASMA soil moisture tool shows how soil has changed over the past year in the U.S. from soaked to dry.

July 22, 2022

Nasa Images Show a Withering Lake Mead

Water in Lake Mead - the U.S.' largest reservoir - is at its lowest level since 1937 when the reservoir was filled for the first time. At just 27% capacity, NASA images offer a stark illustration of climate change and a long-term drought that may be the worst in the U.S. West in 12 centuries.

June 28, 2022

Rare ‘Triple’ La Niña Climate Event Looks Likely

La Niña may be sticking around, unusually, for a third year running. This ‘triple dip’ event — lasting three years in a row — has happened only twice since 1950. It could mean more drought in the southern U.S. and become more regular as the planet warms.

June 27, 2022

U.S. Megadrought is Worst For Over 1,000 Years

Vast swathes of the western U.S. are currently being affected by a megadrought, which started in 2000 and is almost in its 23rd year. Recent research suggests this ranks as the driest 22-year period in southwestern North America since at least 800 C.E.

June 24, 2022

California’s Largest Reservoirs Are Critically Low

Images from Lake Oroville and Lake Shasta compiled by the state show ‘a shocking drop in water levels’ compared to years past. California, like much of the U.S. West can expect a searing, dry summer ahead.

May 11, 2021

California Expands Drought Emergency to Large Swath of State

After one of the warmest, driest springs on record, most of the American west is in extensive drought. Amid acute water shortages in northern and central California, a drought emergency has been expanded to a large swath of the state.

April 22, 2021

Using Floodwater to Weather Droughts

Floodwaters aren't what most would consider a blessing. But they could help remedy California’s increasingly parched groundwater systems, according to a new study.

April 9, 2021

Climate Change Devastates Housing Security

In 2020, there were 22 billion-dollar U.S. climate disasters - floods, storms, droughts, heatwaves. One third of U.S. homes are at high risk from natural disaster, with many homeowners bearing the brunt of costly repairs.

April 5, 2021

WWAO Passes Baton to U.S. Dept. of Agriculture

We have liftoff! NASA WWAO's new Soil Moisture Data System is operational and has been handed off to its partner, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as the project comes to a close.

December 13, 2020

Connecting The Drops - Nikki Tulley, Navajo Nation

Nikki Tulley is a member of the Navajo Nation working with WWAO on its Navajo Drought Project. She explains why she's on a mission to help her community protect its most vital resource: water.

December 11, 2020

WWAO Passes The Baton to The Navajo

We have liftoff! NASA WWAO's new Drought Severity Tool is operational and has been handed off to its tribal partner, the Navajo Nation, as the project comes to a close.

December 9, 2020

NASA-Navajo Drought Tool User Guide Launched

WWAO's Navajo Nation Drought Tool User Guide is now live. This marks a milestone in the transition of our Navajo Drought Project from research to decision makers, and is key to building capacity within the Navajo community to use the tool. 

July 20, 2020

Carrying Water For The Community

Water is critical for the arid, underserved Navajo Nation. Carlee McClellan, Navajo hydrologist, is working with WWAO to deliver a space-based solution for monitoring water availability. 

April 19, 2020

Tracking Water For The Navajo

A new web tool designed by WWAO scientists could help the Navajo Nation anticipate and respond to drought. The latest maps give insight into the moderate to severe drought conditions affecting much of the area.

March 31, 2020

Seeking Relief From Drought, Navajo Turn to NASA

On the Navajo Nation, access to drinking water is limited. Over 40 percent of homes lack running water. The community is hit by frequent, pervasive drought. WWAO is developing a new drought tool that, with the help of satellite data, will enable Navajo water managers to hone in on drought severity and better manage the water they have.

November 28, 2023

Better Ways to Promote Urban Water Conservation

Reducing water use in cities and suburbs is key for helping communities get through droughts. The Public Policy Institute of California discusses how to optimize urban water conservation.

January 25, 2023

Whiplash weather: Learning From California’s Deadly Storms

How can communities better prepare for the dramatic swings between flood and drought that the western U.S. is experiencing?

November 3, 2022

Reaching New Levels in Groundwater Monitoring

As regions around the world face record-breaking droughts, scientists are using seismology to track groundwater levels, showing that well-managed pumping strategies have a big impact.

July 20, 2021

NASA Images Hone in on California’s Severe Drought

California’s reservoirs are rapidly drying up and the water level in Shasta Lake — the largest reservoir in the state — has dipped to about 35% of its capacity. The L.A. Times spoke to WWAO about how the drought looks from space.

July 7, 2021

NASA Strengthens Our Resilience to Drought

In the face of severe west-U.S. drought, NASA has launched a new page highlighting its eyes on the drought, which are helping track and monitor the ongoing drought, predict how much water will be available, and improve how we use the water we have.

June 18, 2021

California Reservoirs Reflect Deepening Drought

Four years after California emerged from a severe multi-year drought, the state’s precipitation and lake levels are among their worst since the 1970s. The deepening drought is seen in satellite images of the state’s two largest reservoirs.

June 15, 2021

Western Soils And Plants Are Parched

For the second year in a row, drought has overtaken much of the U.S. from the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Coast. Our Crop-CASMA soil moisture data portal, jointly developed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, reflects the dry times.

January 14, 2021

2020 Was Warmest Year on Record

2020 was a rough year for planet Earth, and NASA found it was the hottest on record. Our warming planet fanned the flames of extreme wildfires, drought and hurricanes.

December 14, 2020

The Drying U.S. West

A serious drought has flared up across half of the United States, with about a third of the country suffering from extreme or exceptional drought. This familiar story has been playing out for the past two decades.