If 2017 could be summed up in one word, it'd be extreme. From one end of the weather spectrum to the other, Mother Nature demonstrated the depth of her power with one of the most devastating storm and fire seasons in recorded history.
A series of atmospheric rivers and other major storm events brought an end to the West’s historic drought. Hurricanes Maria, Harvey and Irma swept through the Atlantic and Gulf, cutting a path of wind- and water-driven destruction that depopulated an island; destroyed Puerto Rico’s already fragile water and power system; dropped 27 trillion gallons of water in Texas and Louisiana; and damaged a Superfund site, as well as water utilities and power plants. Months later, these hard-hit areas are still reeling from the fallout.
After the floods in the East came the fires in the West. The sustained drought left plenty of land tinder-dry, whipping wildfires into a fast frenzy that burned neighborhoods from Sonoma to Santa Barbara.
Things not found in nature also topped 2017, such as manmade chemicals in the water supply like GenX and PFOA, which prompted New Jersey to be the first state to regulate it. Fights over nature, such as water rights, also made headlines. The U.S. and Canada have outlined their challenges managing the Great Lakes.
2017 had plenty of good news, too. Flint finally has a long-term water contract. Oregon is leading the way for water transfers. The craft beer craze has tapped into purified, recycled water. The One Water movement is catching on across the country. The U.S. and Mexico inked a deal on the Colorado River. And Brown and Caldwell premiered its first podcast.
Here's a look at the stories and studies that made news in 2017: