Circle of Blue

Circle of Blue Reporting the global freshwater crisis and the intersections with food and energy. Recipient of the Rockefeller Foundation's Centennial Innovation Award 2012 and Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) 2014 award.
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Circle of Blue is the international network of leading journalists, scientists, and communications designers that reports the information necessary to respond to the global freshwater crisis.

Mission: In most cases, the solutions to the global freshwater crisis exist. What is lacking is the information, awareness, and will to respond. Circle of Blue extends awareness into action by summoning humanity's signature strengths—precision of mind and passion of heart—to transform the century's defining challenge into one of its greatest achievements. Circle of Blue approaches the freshwater crisis with three coordinated, interrelated components: 1) front-line journalism and reporting that makes the global freshwater crisis relevant and personal 2) existing and new science and data that is presented in coherent, accessible, and connected forms 3) innovative communications design that is highly visible and easily translated Capturing the human heart through storytelling and the arts, making water issues personal and relevant, providing a hub for data visualization and aggregation, creating opportunities for people to connect and respond to the global freshwater crisis—Circle of Blue applies the best tools of the 21st century to transcend traditional boundaries and raise awareness about water.

The global average temperature in January was the hottest ever measured. Records date to 1880.
02/17/2020
Federal Water Tap, February 17: Planet’s Hottest January Ever Measured, NOAA Finds - Circle of Blue

The global average temperature in January was the hottest ever measured. Records date to 1880.

The Rundown Water legislation introduced in Congress targets microplastic pollution, faulty septic systems, and buckled canals in California. The GAO recommends incorporating climate change planning into federally funded drinking water and sewer projects. The National Weather Service signals higher....

In North Carolina, the Cliffside Sanitary District, which serves around 75 customers, is under state control because of ...
02/14/2020
North Carolina Panel Approves Bailout for Indebted Sewer System - Circle of Blue

In North Carolina, the Cliffside Sanitary District, which serves around 75 customers, is under state control because of financial hardship.

Cliffside Sanitary District, which serves around 75 customers, is under state control because of financial hardship. By Brett Walton, Circle of Blue In response to financial hardships that are plaguing some of its smallest communities, the North Carolina Water Infrastructure Authority, at a February...

Wastewater utilities, whose facilities are a conduit for chemical pollution, object to Democratic proposals in Congress ...
02/13/2020
Who Pays? PFAS Lawsuits, Legislation Raise Question of Pollution Liability - Circle of Blue

Wastewater utilities, whose facilities are a conduit for chemical pollution, object to Democratic proposals in Congress that could hold them liable for the cost of PFAS removal.

Wastewater utilities, whose facilities are a conduit for chemical pollution, object to Democratic proposals in Congress that could hold them liable for the cost of PFAS removal. By Brett Walton, Circle of Blue A potential lawsuit in North Carolina and legislation in Congress have together surfaced a...

Staggering bushfires have raged across the Australian landscape, ravaging both life and livelihoods. Julian Cribb, Austr...
02/10/2020
Speaking of Water - Featuring Australian Author And Science Communicator, Julian Cribb - Circle of Blue

Staggering bushfires have raged across the Australian landscape, ravaging both life and livelihoods. Julian Cribb, Australian author and science communicator, discusses the bigger picture and the vital part that water plays in it.

Eileen: I’m Eileen Wray-McCann for Circle of Blue. This is Speaking of Water, a look into vital water topics that often flow beneath the surface of the daily headlines. My guest today is Australian author and science communicator, Julian Cribb. He’s a prolific and esteemed journalist who recentl...

The Army Corps is sounding an alarm over flood risks in the upper Mississippi River basin. This story and more in the Fe...
02/04/2020
Federal Water Tap, February 3: Early Flood Warnings in the Upper Midwest - Circle of Blue

The Army Corps is sounding an alarm over flood risks in the upper Mississippi River basin. This story and more in the Federal Water Tap, a weekly digest spotting trends in U.S. government water policy.

The Rundown The Army Corps sounds an alarm over flood risks in the upper Mississippi River basin. House Democrats outline a $760 billion infrastructure package that includes some money for water projects. Bernie Sanders introduces bills on PFAS chemicals and a fracking ban. Other water bills advance...

After a lull, conflict in Yemen is flaring again. The uptick in fighting is complicating attempts by health workers to s...
01/31/2020
HotSpots H2O: Dengue, Cholera Remain Concerns in Yemen’s Conflict Zone - Circle of Blue

After a lull, conflict in Yemen is flaring again. The uptick in fighting is complicating attempts by health workers to stem the spread of infectious, waterborne diseases like dengue fever and cholera that have multiplied during years of civil war.

Conflict in Yemen is flaring again. The uptick in fighting is complicating attempts to stem the spread of infectious, waterborne diseases.

Water issues are gaining new prominence in the Democratic presidential race as candidates react to rising public concern...
01/30/2020
As Iowa Caucuses Approach, Where Do Democratic Candidates Stand on Water? - Circle of Blue

Water issues are gaining new prominence in the Democratic presidential race as candidates react to rising public concerns about drinking water pollution, failing infrastructure, and the perceived inability of state and federal governments to fix the problems.

First votes in the 2020 Democratic presidential race come on February 3. By Brett Walton, Circle of Blue Water issues are gaining new prominence in the Democratic presidential race as candidates react to rising public concerns about drinking water pollution, failing infrastructure, and the perceived...

American agriculture is a behemoth, a world-leading industry that exports around $140 billion in farm products each year...
01/23/2020
U.S. Food Trade Increasingly Leans On Unsustainable Groundwater - Circle of Blue

American agriculture is a behemoth, a world-leading industry that exports around $140 billion in farm products each year. It takes water to grow those crops, and an increasing portion of the country’s irrigation water is unsustainably mined from groundwater sources that are being depleted.

Biggest reliance on unsustainable groundwater is in the western states, study finds. By Brett Walton, Circle of Blue American agriculture is a behemoth, a world-leading industry that, while meeting extensive domestic demands, still exports around $140 billion in farm products each year. Soybeans go....

A new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) tool displays where water is – and isn’t – in the Lower 48 states.
01/17/2020
U.S. Water Data, Refreshed Daily - Circle of Blue

A new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) tool displays where water is – and isn’t – in the Lower 48 states.

New U.S. Geological Survey tool displays where water is – and isn’t – in the Lower 48 states.

What happened this year in water? A lot. We review the big stories and long-term trends: terrifying aridity and heat in ...
12/31/2019
The Year in Water, 2019 - Circle of Blue

What happened this year in water? A lot. We review the big stories and long-term trends: terrifying aridity and heat in Australia, historic flooding in the Missouri River basin, financial troubles for rural watersystems in the U.S., alarms over waterpollution, groundwater depletion, and rising temperatures.

Natural hazards strengthen. Governments struggle to cope. It is the Year in Water - 2019

In 11 western states, all flood damages between 1978 and 2017 were reckoned to be $50.8 billion, according to a new stud...
12/09/2019
Atmospheric Rivers, Conveyor Belts of Extreme Moisture, Rack Up Heavy Flood Damages in Western United States - Circle of Blue

In 11 western states, all flood damages between 1978 and 2017 were reckoned to be $50.8 billion, according to a new study. Some 84 percent of the total damages, or $42.6 billion, was attributed to atmospheric rivers. That amounts to about $1.1 billion annually in destroyed homes, roads, and property as a result of these “sky rivers.”

Researchers estimate $1 billion in flood damages annually in last 40 years from atmospheric rivers. By Brett Walton, Circle of Blue Thunderstorms and monsoons, low pressure systems and tropical storm remnants. Rain comes from many sources in the American West, but none is as destructive as an atmosp...

South Africa plans to invest billions of dollars to confront crippling water shortages. This story and more in the lates...
12/04/2019
What's Up With Water – December 2, 2019 - Circle of Blue

South Africa plans to invest billions of dollars to confront crippling water shortages. This story and more in the latest episode of What's Up With Water, Circle of Blue's weekly water podcast.

Eileen Wray-McCannEileen Wray-McCann is a writer, director and narrator who co-founded Circle of Blue. During her 13 years at Interlochen Public Radio, a National Public Radio affiliate in Northern Michigan, Eileen produced and hosted regional and national programming. She’s won Telly Awards for h...

A report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, a federal watchdog agency, found that more than half of Superfund...
12/02/2019
HotSpots H2O: Nearly 1,000 U.S. Superfund Sites Exposed to Climate Risk - Circle of Blue

A report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, a federal watchdog agency, found that more than half of Superfund sites in the United States are at risk from climate change.

A report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, a federal watchdog agency, found that more than half of Superfund sites in the United States are at risk from climate change. The review looked at the National Priorities List, a register of the nation’s most hazardous properties for environme...

More than 10 million people in Afghanistan do not have enough to eat and need humanitarian aid according to the latest a...
11/26/2019
HotSpots H2O: Food Emergency for Millions in Afghanistan - Circle of Blue

More than 10 million people in Afghanistan do not have enough to eat and need humanitarian aid according to the latest alert from an international coalition that analyzes hunger and malnutrition.

More than 10 million people in Afghanistan do not have enough to eat and need humanitarian aid according to the latest alert from an international coalition

The Baltimore City Council, in the face of rising water and sewer rates and public anger over billing errors, approved a...
11/22/2019
Baltimore Council Approves Income-Based Water Bills - Circle of Blue

The Baltimore City Council, in the face of rising water and sewer rates and public anger over billing errors, approved a discount program that ties monthly water bills for its poorest residents to their annual household income.

Mayor is expected to sign measure tying water bills to household earnings. By Brett Walton, Circle of Blue The Baltimore City Council, in the face of rising water and sewer rates and public anger over billing errors, approved a discount program that ties monthly water bills for its poorest residents...

A few minutes after noon on November 18, the largest coal-fired power plant west of the Mississippi River permanently en...
11/21/2019
Navajo Generating Station, a Union of Coal and Water, Shuts Down - Circle of Blue

A few minutes after noon on November 18, the largest coal-fired power plant west of the Mississippi River permanently ended operations, a vivid illustration of the nation’s rapid pivot away from burning coal to produce electricity.

The shutdown of Navajo Generating Station also brought an end to a four-decade bond in Arizona between a coal plant and water-supply infrastructure.

“Climate change is already damaging the health of the world’s children and it is set to shape their future. With busines...
11/15/2019
Climate Change Magnifies Health Risks at Every Stage of Life - Circle of Blue

“Climate change is already damaging the health of the world’s children and it is set to shape their future. With business as usual, a child born today will face threats to health at every stage of life.”

Floods, droughts, and warming temperatures are already increasing illness and disease risk and may pull back previous health gains/

Jakarta is sinking, many neighborhoods are below sea level and battling floods, its groundwater sources are becoming har...
11/14/2019
A Sinking Metropolis - Circle of Blue

Jakarta is sinking, many neighborhoods are below sea level and battling floods, its groundwater sources are becoming harder to reach and more contaminated, and its rivers are fouled with garbage and raw sewage.

A day in the life of Jakarta—a city drowning in water insecurity.

In the United States, California’s electrical utilities are shutting off power to minimize further wildfires. But for ma...
11/11/2019
What's Up With Water – November 11, 2019 Legionnaires' Disease Part II - Circle of Blue

In the United States, California’s electrical utilities are shutting off power to minimize further wildfires. But for many, no power means no water as well. This story and more in the latest episode of What's Up With Water.

Eileen Wray-McCannEileen Wray-McCann is a writer, director and narrator who co-founded Circle of Blue. During her 13 years at Interlochen Public Radio, a National Public Radio affiliate in Northern Michigan, Eileen produced and hosted regional and national programming. She’s won Telly Awards for h...

America’s deadliest waterborne disease is becoming more pronounced. The number of reported cases of legionellosis, an um...
11/07/2019
Legionnaires’ Disease Cases Soar Again, Set New Record - Circle of Blue

America’s deadliest waterborne disease is becoming more pronounced. The number of reported cases of legionellosis, an umbrella term for two illnesses caused by Legionella bacteria, climbed by 33 percent last year, to 9,933 cases, according to data released this week by the CDC.

Reported cases in 2018 increased by 33 percent, according to official federal government data. By Brett Walton, Circle of Blue America’s deadliest waterborne disease is becoming more pronounced. The number of reported cases of legionellosis, an umbrella term for two illnesses caused by Legionella ...

The Supreme Court on Wednesday appeared divided over how to deal with polluted waters that flow indirectly into rivers a...
11/06/2019
Justices wrestle with reach of Clean Water Act

The Supreme Court on Wednesday appeared divided over how to deal with polluted waters that flow indirectly into rivers and oceans that are regulated by the federal government as the justices heard oral arguments in a major case over the Clean Water Act. From The Hill.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday appeared divided over how to deal with polluted waters that flow indirectly into rivers and oceans that are regulated by the federal government, as the justices heard oral arguments in a major case over the Clean Water Act.

What are the challenges and the opportunities that the Salton Sea faces? Michael Cohen, Senior Researcher at the Pacific...
11/06/2019
Speaking of Water: Michael Cohen on the Salton Sea - Circle of Blue

What are the challenges and the opportunities that the Salton Sea faces? Michael Cohen, Senior Researcher at the Pacific Institute, delves into the many challenges for the Salton Sea in the latest episode of Speaking of Water.

In this episode of Speaking of Water, host Eileen Wray-McCann talks with Michael Cohen, a senior researcher at the Pacific Institute, about the Salton Sea.

In Australia, a lawsuit over PFAS contamination will be the largest class action the country has ever seen. This story a...
11/05/2019
What's Up With Water – November 4, 2019 Legionnaire's Disease in the U.S. - Circle of Blue

In Australia, a lawsuit over PFAS contamination will be the largest class action the country has ever seen. This story and more in the latest episode of What's Up With Water, Circle of Blue's weekly water podcast.

Eileen Wray-McCannEileen Wray-McCann is a writer, director and narrator who co-founded Circle of Blue. During her 13 years at Interlochen Public Radio, a National Public Radio affiliate in Northern Michigan, Eileen produced and hosted regional and national programming. She’s won Telly Awards for h...

A new study shows that more than three times as many people than previously thought are currently living in areas at ris...
11/01/2019
Rising Seas Threaten Tens of Millions More People with Inundation, Study Says. Even That May Underestimate the Impact - Circle of Blue

A new study shows that more than three times as many people than previously thought are currently living in areas at risk of being under water during high tide in the second half of the century. That still might be an underestimate of the impact.

The Climate Central study did not account for relative sea-level rise. It assumed that land elevations remained constant. That is not the case.

A state judge on Thursday handed Enbridge Energy a victory in its quest to build a tunnel around its Line 5 oil and gas ...
11/01/2019
Michigan judge rules Enbridge Line 5 construction is constitutional

A state judge on Thursday handed Enbridge Energy a victory in its quest to build a tunnel around its Line 5 oil and gas pipeline in the Straits of Mackinac. From Bridge Magazine.

The victory, which could pave the way for the tunnel plan to proceed, is a setback for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who halted work on the project in March. Attorney General Dana Nessel released a 120-page report and vowed to appeal.

BREAKING: The Keystone pipeline in North Dakota has spilled hundreds of thousands of gallons of crude oil, impacting an ...
10/31/2019
Keystone Pipeline Leaks 383,000 Gallons of Oil in North Dakota

BREAKING: The Keystone pipeline in North Dakota has spilled hundreds of thousands of gallons of crude oil, impacting an estimated half-acre of wetland. From The New York Times.

The spill in the northeastern part of the state, which occurred along a different stretch than the controversial XL pipeline addition, coated an estimated half-acre of wetland, officials said.

The capital of the Philippines is undergoing rotating water shutoffs to conserve supplies in its main reservoir. This st...
10/31/2019
What's Up With Water – October 28, 2019 – Water Proposals On U.S. Ballots - Circle of Blue

The capital of the Philippines is undergoing rotating water shutoffs to conserve supplies in its main reservoir. This story and more in the latest episode of What's Up With Water, Circle of Blue's weekly water podcast.

Eileen Wray-McCannEileen Wray-McCann is a writer, director and narrator who co-founded Circle of Blue. During her 13 years at Interlochen Public Radio, a National Public Radio affiliate in Northern Michigan, Eileen produced and hosted regional and national programming. She’s won Telly Awards for h...

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800 Cottageview Dr Suite 1042, Traverse City, MI 49684
Traverse City, MI
49684

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Who We Are

Fresh water scarcity is disrupting populations, economies, the environment – every aspect of life as we know it.

The effects are profound in health, food and energy and to the very planet itself.

We are witnessing a new crisis threshold, as major cities face total water shutdowns.

There are better ways to manage the water needs of people and planet and for over a decade, Circle of Blue has informed their discovery. Its trusted reporting has enhanced climate agreements, urban policy and citizen activity, and it has inspired collaboration from Davos to Beijing, from Washington to the Vatican.

Circle of Blue unites classic journalism, data literacy and transformative connectivity. Its visionary work across the Great Lakes, U.S., China, Australia, Mexico, India and the Middle East earned the Rockefeller Centennial Innovation Award, one of the nation’s top honors.

Circle of Blue meets the demand for information and collaboration in the challenge of the century: water.

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