The Next Great California Water War Is Starting Underground, in the Mojave Desert

Minerals, Nuts, and the Navy Are at the Center of a Novel Fight Over Groundwater, and Its Governance

Can California regions regulate groundwater without destroying their businesses and communities?

That’s the question being posed as regions and localities implement the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), the historic 2014 state law that brought regulation to California’s diminishing groundwater supplies.

Groundwater is the water buried in aquifers, the underground spaces between rocks, soils, and sand. Layers of aquifers are called groundwater basins. California has hundreds of them, and we could not live without them. Eighty-five percent of Californians depend on groundwater, which constitutes roughly 40 percent of California’s water supply (and …

Californians Need a New Political Party That Can Keep Us Afloat | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Californians Need a New Political Party That Can Keep Us Afloat

Forget Democrats and Republicans. Real Change Requires Fresh Ideology

I got one of those calls again—they come every six months or so—from a Silicon Valley hotshot who wants to use his brain and his wealth to fix what ails …

From Bakersfield, You Can See Forever | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

From Bakersfield, You Can See Forever

A Panoramic View From a Kern County Park Shows the Convergence of California's Past, Present, and Future

From the tunnel view of Yosemite Valley to just about any glimpse of the Golden Gate, California is famous for its extraordinary vistas. But if you’re looking for the state’s …

How Crop Circles Saved the Great Plains

In the 1940s, Farmer Frank Zybach Invented Center Pivot Irrigation and Brought the Dust Bowl Back to Life

If you live in the Great Plains, sooner or later you’ll get a question about those “crop circles” that can be observed from airplane windows during flights over the region. …

The Ancient Maya Cosmology of Conservation

In Their Worldview, Humans Were Not Superior to Nature. They Were But One Element Needed to Maintain Universal Balance.

In the middle of the jungle in central Belize excavating an ancient Maya water temple, I’m at the edge of a sacred pool, praying to Chahk, the Maya rain god, …

L.A. Is Drowning in Its Own Water Pretensions

Civic Leaders' Fantastical Claims of Water Self-Sufficiency May Endanger Southern California's Real Water Supplies

This time, “Chinatown” is fooling itself.

Los Angeles has a long history of water deceptions, a point made famously by Roman Polanski’s 1974 neo-noir film. But the massive self-sabotage of the …