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Listen to “The Craft of Sustainable Rice Farming”

The Isbell family of Arkansas has spent decades experimenting with new ways to grow rice. In the process, they pioneered American-grown rice for sushi and sake, along with rice-farming techniques that can save water and help slow climate change.

Listen to “The Hydraulic Genius of Shari’ah Law”

You’ve probably never heard the term “acequia,” but it describes one of the oldest methods of irrigation on the planet. Too bad American ranchers have largely ignored it.

Listen to “The New Water Alchemists”

Animals, plants, soil, and air have long collaborated to regulate our climate by stimulating “the water cycle.” They have also helped control natural disasters, like the wildfires in Australia — until we disrupted their partnership. The good news is that there is a clear pathway to reconciliation.

Listen to “The Drought Fighter”

Could a small, controversial farmer in Northern California have found the most effective way to grow food in a warming world? With gross income of more than $100,000 an acre, Paul Kaiser certainly thinks so.

The New Water Alchemists

While annual wildfires and other “natural” disasters mount in Australia, California, and elsewhere, a growing number of researchers and pastoralists around the globe have found remarkable, untapped opportunities to limit these troubles. It turns out that animals, plants, soil, and air have long collaborated to regulate our climate through their water use—until we disrupted their partnership. An environmental author finds a pathway to reconciliation.

By JUDITH D. SCHWARTZ

The Multi-Layered History of Acequias in the West

Acequias arrived with the legendary (or infamous, depending on one’s perspective) expeditions to New Mexico and Colorado led by the best-known conquistadors: Francisco Vásquez de Coronado, Juan de Oñate, and Diego de Vargas—all native-born Spaniards. Less commonly known is the fact that these conquistadors who brought acequias to the southwestern U.S. region were most often…

The California Mirage

The blind spots in the American West’s water systems are in full display in Ventura County, a coastal region of Central California that happens to hold the most lucrative farmland in the state. Equally abundant, and somewhat in progress, are opportunities for enlightenment. Which path will prevail?

By CRAWFORD COATES

Precious Drops

While many people in arid regions of the world struggle just to find water, others in rain-soaked developing countries face a different challenge: getting water that is safe enough to drink. What will it take to turn their precious water clean—so they can stay healthy, and we can stop spending scarce resources on mountains of plastic water bottles?

By HEATHER BOURBEAU

The Long Road To Saving a Watershed

When I first started working in Ventura County as a project manager for California’s State Coastal Conservancy, our biggest concern was the rapid rate at which the area’s farmland was being developed. Los Angeles just over the hill to the south was poised to cover Ventura with the same kind of sprawl that had forever…

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