KQED Radio Staff
Science and Environment Reporter
Lauren covers environment and science as a reporter with QUEST - KQED's multiplatform science and environmental series. As part of her day job, she has scaled Sierra Nevada peaks, hunted for newts in the rain, and desperately tried to get her sea legs - all in pursuit of good radio. Originally from the Bay Area, Lauren attended Cornell University and has a background in environmental policy. Before joining KQED, she cruised bunny slopes as a ski instructor in Tahoe, California and ate croissants in France as a travel writer for Frommer's. Her work has appeared on Marketplace, Living on Earth, and NPR's Morning Edition and All Things Considered.
Stories (151 archives)
As reservoir levels dwindle, many regions are pumping water from underground. On the Central Coast, that's causing ocean water to pollute underground aquifers. The seawater is making groundwater unusable for crops like strawberries.
Opponents of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, have pushed for a statewide moratorium on the controversial oil production technique. But those efforts haven't gotten far, so now, activists are taking the fight to the local level. KQED Science reporter Lauren Sommer tells us about several California counties where voters will decide the future of fracking in November
The drought is putting a lot of California's farmers in crisis this year. But for those who have water, it can be a windfall. Prices for water are soaring, and some growers are pumping out their groundwater and selling it. Some call it "groundwater mining" -- and fights are breaking out over concerns that it might threaten California's already stressed aquifers.
If desperate times call for desperate measures, then California's severe drought is sure to inspire some unusual efforts. Water districts in the San Joaquin Valley are proposing something that's never been tried before during a drought: they want to reverse the state's plumbing by running the California Aqueduct backwards.
The state's historic drought means many Central Valley farmers are still struggling to keep their crops alive while reservoirs and wells run dry. We find out how farmers in Bakersfield are getting extra water from an unlikely source: the oil industry.