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2017: A year of extremes

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:

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U.S. climate report forecasts shrinking snowpacks
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WRF's new Blueprint for One Water guides agencies
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How the S.F. Bay Area is building regional resiliency
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California's record fire season sparks hunt for solutions
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N.J. first to set limits on cancer-causing PFOA in drinking water
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How an unregulated chemical entered North Carolina’s drinking water
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U.S. Water Alliance report: Building the One Water Movement
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U.S.-Canadian agency outlines Great Lakes challenges
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U.S., Mexico sign historic Colorado River deal
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Podcast: Ideas to keep water fresh in the public's mind
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Portland plans to sell natural gas produced from waste
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California orders closer look at 93 dams after Oroville crisis
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2017's hurricane season is over. Why was it so bad?
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2017 State of the Demand for Design-Build Delivery
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U.S. Water Alliance releases water management database
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In pursuit of progress toward a resilient California Delta
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Value of Water Campaign report: Nation has a lot to learn from Milwaukee
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Rural Colorado at risk as Ogallala water levels drop
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Arizona raises a glass as 30 breweries agree to use reclaimed water
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California taps it, too: Fantastic beer brewed in San Diego
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Oregon carves a path for water transfers in the West
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World Health Organization releases potable reuse guidance
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NACWA paper highlights the promise of the digital utility
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Research targets PFOA threat to America's drinking water

 

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