With drought entering a second decade and reservoirs continuing to shrink, seven Southwestern U.S. states that depend on the overtaxed Colorado River for crop irrigation and drinking water had been expected to ink a crucial share-the-pain contingency plan by the end of 2018. They’re not going to make it — at least not in time for upcoming meetings in Las Vegas involving representatives from Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming and the U.S. government, officials say.
A trio of tiny salamanders could stand in the way of a massive $1.4 billion project to raise the height of Shasta Dam. An environmental organization has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, asking a judge to force the federal agency to make a determination on whether three salamander species living around Lake Shasta should be protected under the Endangered Species Act.
The Bureau of Reclamation has released for public review the draft Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report for the proposed Mendota Pool Group 20-year groundwater exchange program. Under the proposed action, Reclamation would execute a series of exchange agreements with the MPG over a 20-year period. The water exchange would allow MPG farmers to deliver groundwater to the Mendota Pool in exchange for Central Valley Project water delivered via the San Luis Canal for use on approximately 42,316 acres of historically irrigated MPG lands in Westlands.
Note: Deputy Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation David Palumbo toured the Klamath Basin during his first visit to the area a couple weeks ago. Palumbo was unavailable for an in-person interview but responded to questions from an H&N reporter via email.
The Bureau of Reclamation and the California Department of Water Resources have scheduled a negotiation session with seven Cross Valley Contractors on long-term conveyance contracts for the delivery of federal Central Valley Project water conveyed through state-owned facilities.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Reclamation will hold a public Open House on Thursday, July 31, 2014, to present and solicit comments on the Central Valley Project Improvement Act Annual Work Plans for Fiscal Year 2015.
Lake Mead, the reservoir created by Hoover Dam, is anticipated this week to reach its lowest water level since the lake’s initial filling in the 1930s. The Bureau of Reclamation’s Boulder Canyon Operations Office is projecting the elevation to drop to 1,081.75 feet above sea level during the week of July 7 and to continue to drop, reaching approximately 1,080 feet in November of this year.
For the first time in the more than half a century that the federal government had been diverting Sierra Nevada water to farmers, there would be no deliveries to most Central Valley irrigation districts. In the third year of drought, there wasn’t enough water to go around.
Late-hour motorists on Interstate 5 should expect long delays between Cottage Grove and Sutherlin tonight while an oversize load carrying a massive [Folsom] dam gate is transported through the area, the state Department of Transportation said Tuesday. …
“The Bureau of Reclamation has scheduled a meeting to update the public on the current status of the ongoing Cost Allocation Study for the Central Valley Project. The focus of the meeting will be to discuss the methodology on calculating the economic benefits for irrigation and municipal and industrial water supply.”
“Addressing the Western Governors’ Association today [June 9], Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced that the Bureau of Reclamation will make $17.8 million in water and energy efficiency grants available to 36 projects in the western United States and will provide $1.8 million for three river basin studies—for a total of $19.6 million in Federal funding.”
“The Bureau of Reclamation today [June 6] announced its selection of six projects across California to receive a total of $1.8 million in CALFED Water Use Efficiency grants for Fiscal Year 2014. Combined with local cost-share contributions, more than $11.7 million in water management improvement projects will be implemented during the next 24 months.”
From the California Department of Water Resources (DWR):
“Located next to San Luis Reservoir along Highway 152 in Merced County, the [Romero Visitors] center features exhibits of the area’s history, dam construction and State Water Project construction and operations.”