I [Ted Cooke, general manager, Central Arizona Project] am here to tell a story of seeking balance – balance between using and conserving water. The Colorado River Basin is divided into an Upper Basin and a Lower Basin. Each Basin has been allocated exactly the same amount of water and there is a U.S. treaty obligation to deliver water to Mexico. There are rules that govern how the Upper Basin is to deliver water to the Lower Basin each year to meet these allocations.
The Salton Sea, California’s largest inland body of water and an important stop on the Pacific Flyway, is struggling ecologically and shrinking as water is transferred from surrounding desert farms to San Diego County. On our Lower Colorado River Tour, April 11-13, we will visit this fragile ecosystem that harbors 400 bird species and hear from several stakeholders working to address challenges facing the sea …
According to the National Water and Climate Center’s forecast for the Rio Grande Basin, the water supply outlook for spring and summer remains “dire.” … And conditions on the Colorado River, which feeds Lake Mead, don’t look good this year. The March forecast for the Colorado River Basin remains “well below average.”
The Salton Sea’s accelerating decline comes at the same time that water scarcity in the entire Colorado River Basin is fueling negotiations over the river’s future — and how much water agencies, cities and farmers will have to cut back if the southwest’s 18-year drought continues. Those negotiations are part of a process to create a new agreement called the Drought Contingency Plan.
Laura Paskus [New Mexico Political Report] on an encounter with Jennifer Pitt in the Colorado River Delta: Walking through the cottonwood forest, Pitt says this landscape was destroyed before anyone figured out what to do about it. When the Colorado River started running dry in the mid-20th century, there weren’t yet environmental laws to temper or stop destructive operations or policies.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said Monday he plans to have reviewed by month’s end a stack of about 400 claims filed mostly by residents of Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and the Navajo Nation over damages they sustained during the 2015 Gold King Mine disaster.
As part of ongoing work to improve California’s preparedness for dry conditions and better adapt to climate change, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) has released results of a study examining Southern California tree-ring data, and the centuries-long story the tree-rings reveal. … Today’s [March 12] report provides local water managers a centuries-long record of precipitation and streamflow in Southern California’s primary local water resources, and the Colorado River.
Not if, but when. That’s the future of water desalination plants in Arizona, according to the head of the state’s water department. They are controversial and expensive, but Arizona’s current leadership views desalinated water – or “desal” – as key to the state’s long-term water plans. Arizona sits atop an estimated 600 million acre-feet of brackish water.
U.S. scientists studying the effects of uranium mining around the Grand Canyon say they are lacking information on whether the radioactive element is hurting plants, animals and a water source for more than 30 million people. And they would not get to fully gather it if President Donald Trump’s 2019 budget proposal is approved.
Most people see the Grand Canyon from the rim, thousands of feet above where the Colorado River winds through it for almost 300 miles. But to travel it afloat a raft is to experience the wondrous majesty of the canyon and the river itself while gaining perspective about geology, natural beauty and the passage of time.
When Colorado River District officials caught wind of investment companies recently buying western Colorado ranches with ample senior water rights, including one north of Fruita, it got their attention. The district, which includes Mesa County and 14 other counties and focuses on the protection, conservation, use and development of Colorado River water in western Colorado, long has been concerned about protecting the region’s agricultural sector.
Colorado River Basin Managers are working on what they call a “Drought Contingency Plan” to reduce water use, but that’s probably a bad name to describe what’s going on, as the members of the Colorado River Research Group explain in a new white paper (pdf):
A binational summit brought together “water leaders” from New Mexico, other U.S. border states and Mexico to share innovative solutions for managing scarce water resources in the Southwest. … One panel highlighted the historic Minute 323 agreement as a global model for managing shared watersheds.
On our three-day journey along the Colorado River, April 11-13, you will learn about one of the largest and most managed rivers in the nation and go deep inside Hoover Dam, one of the nation’s most iconic structures. The Bureau of Reclamation takes us on a special “hard-hat tour” of the dam. You’ll pass through elevators and doors that are closed to the public as managers give you an inside look at its operations.
Off-road vehicle users would have more legal access to areas around Lake Powell but could also be required to purchase a permit and abide by new seasonal beach closures under a set of regulations being considered at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
If you live in Utah, chances are good that you’re getting a sweet deal on water for your lawn and landscaping. In fact, you might be paying next to nothing for it, at least compared to nearly everywhere else in the West.
This issue of Western Water discusses the challenges facing the Colorado River Basin resulting from persistent drought, climate change and an overallocated river, and how water managers and others are trying to face the future.