“Water is fluid, soft, and yielding. But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft, and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. What is soft is strong.” -Lao-Tzu Across Wyoming’s sea of sagebrush, two cargo vans full of students approach the Wind River […]

In June, a small team of PBT interns set out for the highest point in the Platte Basin watershed. We had big intentions of catching 5-star media to fill in cracks for the Grays Peak scene in the upcoming PBT documentary featuring Mike and Pete’s 55-day, 1,300-mile journey across the watershed. Grays Peak is the highest point in the Platte Basin […]

Climate scientists in Nebraska and Colorado are training Native American water managers how to collect and understand local climate data and make better predictions about their water supply.

During the long weekend of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s fall break, I decided to take a short trip to Rocky Mountain National Park. The park and the surrounding areas have always had a soft spot in my heart. I’ve spent countless days during my summer vacations exploring the alpine tundra and meadows of the park, […]

Lake McConaughy is nearly full. The giant reservoir on the North Platte River has been receiving lots of inflows from heavy snows and continued rainfall in the headwaters in Colorado and Wyoming. Formed by the Kingsley Dam, Lake McConaughy is one of the largest reservoirs on the North Platte River. Built as a hydro-irrigation project […]

Water loss through porous canals and ditches has always been an issue for irrigators, so districts and farmers alike have lined or sealed the waterways to reduce loss. “We can’t afford to lose a whole lot of water out of the canal,” Busch said, but “sealing a canal is a catch-22 because that water that comes out of them canals does replenish our groundwater system.”

In the early 1900s in the arid West, C. W. McConaughy recognized the discontinuity between high river flows in the spring and low flows in the middle of summer, when farmers needed water most. McConaughy, a grain merchant and mayor of Holdrege, Nebraska, developed the idea of supplemental irrigation.

We all know that water flows downhill, seeking its own level, flowing to the sea. Water is a primary force shaping our planet and environment. It will erode rock, move soil, and, in its frozen form as glaciers, sculpt mountains, valleys, and plains. I’ve been traveling upstream on the North Platte River through western Nebraska, […]

A couple weeks ago, Ariana Brocious and I were reporting on sugar beets in the western Nebraska panhandle. We packed several interviews into two days talking with large-scale farmers and small-scale farmers, irrigation district managers and natural resource managers. It’s amazing how much there is to know about water policy and the effects humans have […]

Follow a snowflake from the Colorado Rockies through Wyoming dams and reservoirs to fields in the Nebraska panhandle.