Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "irrigation" ...

  • Unchecked irrigation threatens to sap Minnesota groundwater

    This project yielded both a radio report and an online story that documented widespread illegal crop irrigation in Minnesota, a normally water-rich state that saw several instances of diminishing groundwater supplies during recent droughts. MPR found compelling evidence that about a third of the more than 1000 irrigation wells drilled in the state between 2008 and 2012 operated illegally without a permit for a time, some of them continuing to operate illegally. They used satellite photographs to show that many of the unpermitted wells were near operating irrigation systems.
  • "Logan Canal Collapse Investigation"

    A massive mudslide that destroyed numerous residential homes and killed a mother and her two children could have been prevented. According to an investigation by The Salt Lake Tribune, the owners of the irrigation canal that collapsed and caused the mudslide neglected to fix existing problems with the waterway, or warn residents of the potential danger. Meanwhile, Logan city received warnings that the canal posed a threat to residents, but did not act upon them.
  • Cape Utilities

    "Property owners in the City of Cape Coral, FL were being asked to pay as much as $40,000 when public utilities (water, sewer, irrigation) lines were installed in front of their homes." The city paid major profits to one contractor, and then overcharged for the utilities and "ignored millions of dollars in savings."
  • Unleash the rivers

    A Time investigation finds that dams built in the 20th century have been responsible for some of the worst environmental tragedies in history. The ongoing devastation of most of the West Coast salmon fisheries south of Canada, the gradual disappearance of coastal Louisiana, and the salting out of millions of hectares through irrigation illustrate only some of the deadly effects. "In ways direct and indirect, playing God with water has had a tendency to bite us back," the magazine reports. The story reveals that even though some states' economies are hopelessly dependent on the manipulation of water, governments have started removing the dams.
  • Our Polluted Runoff

    "Rainfall, snowmelt, or irrigation runoff moves across the land... [It] picks up... residues from the production of food, the manicuring of yards, the construction of roads and buildings... and transports these contaminants to the nearest stream, lake, estuary or aquifer," National Geographic reports. Our water sources are getting more and more polluted, and salvation lies in the hands of the average citizen not corporate polluters.
  • Boone Pickens wants to sell you his water

    Texas Monthly looks at the risk of depleting the Ogallala Aquifer, "a vast underground reservoir that stretches from the High Plains of Texas all the way to the Dakotas" and the "largest single groundwater source in the United States." The story exposes the plan of Boone Pickens, a former "oil tycoon and a feared corporate raider," to pump up water from Ogallala and to sell it to "cities like San Antonio and El Paso that are running out of water." The reporter finds that the dangerous approach of treating water like a marketable commodity results from a Texas law, which allows a property owner to "pump as much as he wishes ... no matter if he dries up his own water and his neighbors' water along with it."
  • The Secret Behind the Sanctions

    A Progressive Magazine investigation reveals that "contrary to the Geneva Convention, the U.S. government intentionally used sanctions against Iraq to degrade the county's water supply after the Gulf War." The story reports on documents of the Defense Intelligence Agency proving "the United States knew the cost that civilian Iraqis, mostly children, would pay, but it went ahead anyway." The article describes multiple death cases, mostly of children, that resulted from the degraded water supply. The author points out that "over the last decade, Washington extended the toll by continuing to withhold approval for Iraq to import the few chemicals and items of equipment it needed in order to clean up its water supply."
  • The River's Edge

    This Westword story focuses on the "heritage of conflict and litigation over water rights ... on the South Platte river." The reporter finds that "as the South Platte flows out of Colorado, the water wars continue." The investigation explores the irrigation problems that farmers face along the river.
  • Trickle-Down Economics

    Westword looks at the growing problem of water resources in Colorado. "Developers who need to find an adequate water supply before their plans can be approved appear willing to pay almost any price."
  • Computer Crash

    InaCom, once the world's largest computer dealer, went into bankruptcy in 2000 and is being investigated by the SEC for possible accounting irregularities. The article analyzes InaCom from its roots in an Omaha irrigation-equipment company to its heyday of $6.9 billion in revenue to its final, chaotic hours.