Valuing Conservation in the Context of Climate Change

In the twentieth century, flooding caused more deaths and property damage in the United States than any other natural disaster. Most climate models predict that flooding will worsen in the future, a prospect that is leading a growing number of communities to explore the use of natural areas as protection against extreme events. These areas […]

Using Satellites to Understand Drought

A recent article in The Atlantic Cities highlighted a research paper published in Science by Jay Famiglietti, a professor of Earth System Science at the University of California, and Matt Rodell, Chief of the Hydrological Sciences Laboratory at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.  Famiglietti and Rodell use data from a new generation of Earth observing […]

Unconventional Fuel Production and Water Resources

Crude oil and natural gas production from unconventional reservoirs is experiencing accelerated growth in North America, much of which is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. This shift in the energy industry has been accompanied by rising concerns over its potential impact on water resources. Developing these fuels is thought to require more water […]

Making Flood Insurance Affordable

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) found itself floundering in debt after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast, sparking a legislative push to overhaul it. The result was a risk-based pricing plan under the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, signed by the president last July after passing with wide bipartisan support. But recently, questions about […]

Water Smart—Dollar Smart

Each year, the US government spends billions of dollars to build, maintain, and manage water infrastructure and water resources. Federal principles directing how the US Army Corps of Engineers and other agencies assess, plan, and invest in flood control, water storage, navigation infrastructure, and other water resources date back to 1983. The realities of science, […]

Polar Interpretations of a Study of Shale Gas Development and Surface Water

On Monday, my colleagues, Sheila Olmstead, Jhih-Shyang Shih, Ziyan Chu, Alan Krupnick and I published a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences testing for evidence of impacts to surface water quality from shale gas development across four different pathways.  We used more than a decade of data from over 20,000 surface […]

Does Eco-Certification Pay? Costa Rica’s Blue Flag Program

RFF Senior Fellow Allen Blackman and his colleagues present some of the first evidence that eco-certification programs in developing countries can have positive impacts for both the economy and environment. To read this piece in its entirety, click here.

RFF Feature: Tax Incentives for Developing Sewage Treatment Capacity in China

RFF’s Anthony Liu and coauthor Junjie Zhang examine the uneven development of sewage treatment plants throughout China and explore the relationship between tax incentives and investments in such infrastructure. To read the piece in its entirety, click here.

Fracking and Aquifers: One Study, Dueling Headlines

Recently, a study by Nathaniel Warner and others (most at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment) addressed the natural flow of briny water deep underground to shallow aquifers far overhead. Some commenters saw this study as evidence that shale gas development can damage drinking water aquifers. reported “Confirmed: Fracking can Pollute“. But others saw […]

Managing Water: Governance Innovations to Enhance Coordination

Water management and governance is one of the most challenging issues we face in the 21st century—both nationally and internationally. Political jurisdictions, state and local boundaries, and public agency mandates were not developed with watersheds in mind. One example is the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (or ACF) River Basin, which flows through Georgia, Alabama, and Florida before draining […]