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 "depletion" ...

  • The Journal by KLC: Ogallala Aquifer

    This 7,000-word story by investigative reporter Karen Dillon outlines why it's so difficult for farmers, state officials and local governments to slow the depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer, a vital economic resource for western Kansas. It is based on water-use data acquired through a state open records request. The information helps illustrate the scale of aquifer's depletion and who is most responsible. The Journal is the first publication to our knowledge that has used public records to detail the 150 largest users of the aquifer's groundwater over the past 13 years. This list serves an important public interest since groundwater belongs to the people of Kansas under state law.
  • The Global Crisis of Vanishing Groundwater

    The historic agreement reached in Paris in December that will curb carbon emissions is heartening, but oil isn’t the only resource being pumped out of the ground at an alarming rate—with catastrophic consequences for the planet. In an eye-opening series for USA Today, The Desert Sun of Palm Springs, CA, and other Gannett newspapers, Pulitzer Center grantees Ian James and Steve Elfers investigate the consequences of groundwater depletion, an overlooked global crisis. “Groundwater is disappearing beneath cornfields in Kansas, rice paddies in India, asparagus farms in Peru and orange groves in Morocco,” writes Ian. “As these critical water reserves are pumped beyond their limits, the threats are mounting for people who depend on aquifers to supply agriculture, sustain economies and provide drinking water. In some areas, fields have already turned to dust and farmers are struggling.” Climate change will only exacerbate the crisis, yet few seem to be taking this existential threat seriously. “Even as satellite measurements have revealed the problem’s severity on a global scale, many regions have failed to adequately address the problem,” says Ian. “Aquifers largely remain unmanaged and unregulated, and water that seeped underground over tens of thousands of years is being gradually used up.”
  • Aquifer at Risk

    In the series “Aquifer at Risk,” The Desert Sun revealed significant declines in groundwater levels in the Palm Springs area and exposed how water agencies in the California desert haven’t adequately addressed the problem of falling water tables. Through an analysis of water agencies’ records, the newspaper found that the aquifer’s levels have plummeted over the years despite imported flows of water – a situation that poses serious long-term risks for an area that has sold itself as a desert oasis for tourists and retirees. The series examined the causes and impacts of groundwater depletion in California, and pinpointed groundwater pumping by golf courses as a major contributor to the problem in the Coachella Valley. The series prompted the area’s largest water district to make a major policy shift, led to the formation of a golf water conservation task force, and magnified concerns that California’s approach to managing groundwater has serious flaws.
  • Running Dry

    Veteran journalist Jacques Leslie makes a case that at the current rate of population growth and natural resource depletion, civilization will soon exhaust its reservoirs of freshwater in lakes,basins, and underground aquifers.
  • Where the Land Meets the Sea

    Coastal habitat is disintegrating at a rate unprecedented in recorded history. The onslaught includes: pollution from industrial and household wastes and agricultural run-off; massive fish kills caused by oil spills and the cooling-water intakes of electrical plants; diversions of freshwater from dams; global warming and ozone layer depletion.
  • East Bay Water Under Fire

    San Francisco Daily Journal reports on the efforts of an ad hoc group organizing to save the viability of a river in the Sierra Madre mountains of California from mine waste runoff, water and fish depletion from damming of the river; a utility owns the land with the mine and is responsible for the dams, which are diverting the river and killing the fish, Sept. 28 and 29, 1992.
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    San Francisco Examiner Image gives overview of the environmental crisis facing the planet as a result of CFCs and the depletion of the ozone layer; looks at efforts to find a way to "repair" the damage and how this dependence on high-tech science for a solution to a problem caused by high-tech science is dangerous, June 7, 1992.
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    Sacramento (Calif.) Bee series details the destruction of the natural grandeur of the Sierra Madre Mountains by forest deforestation, air pollution, soil erosion, wildlife depletion, and unchecked growth and development, June 9 - 13, 1991.
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    Houston Chronicle examines the depletion of tropical forests; looks at how tropical forests affect world climate, environment and economics; also looks at Houston's link to the forests, including hospitals using medicines made from forest products and Houston businesses that own large tracts of land in Belize, June 1988.
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    The Sciences reports on the depletion of the Oglalla and other aquifers under the Great Plains; over-dependence on irrigation threatens to return the nation's breadbasket into another Dust Bowl, 1989.