The Coachella Valley Water District has overhauled and modernized its IT infrastructure, as part of a $16 million capital improvement plan that will improve data management, simplify payments and boost conservation.
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey steered away from the term “climate change” in order to garner political support for the state’s Colorado River drought plan, he indicated Friday in an interview with a Pima Community College newspaper. In that interview, he also avoided making any connection between climate change and the “drier future” (his preferred phrase) that Arizona faces. His omission bordered on a denial of the established links between the two.
Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis of the Gila River Indian Community said in a statement Thursday that a decision by House Speaker Rusty Bowers to move forward with a contentious water bill threatens the community’s plan to support the drought agreement. The Gila River Indian Community’s involvement is key because it’s entitled to about a fourth of the Colorado River water that passes through the Central Arizona Project’s canal.
The strategy of turning to groundwater pumping will test the limits of Arizona’s regulatory system for its desert aquifers, which targets some areas for pumping restrictions and leaves others with looser rules or no regulation at all. In Pinal County, which falls under these groundwater rules, the return to a total reliance on wells reflects a major turning point and raises the possibility that this part of Arizona could again sink into a pattern of falling groundwater levels — just as it did decades ago, before the arrival of Colorado River water.
It’s all up to the Imperial Irrigation District. The fate of a seven-state plan to address dwindling Colorado River water supply now appears to rest squarely with the sprawling southeastern California water district. Its neighbor to the north, the Coachella Valley Water District, voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve interstate agreements that would conserve water for use by 40 million people and vast swaths of agricultural lands.
Arizona and California aren’t done finishing a plan that would establish how states in the Colorado River Basin will ensure water for millions of people in the Southwest, said the head of the agency running the negotiations. … One challenge comes from the Imperial Irrigation District, a water utility that serves the Imperial Valley in southeastern California. It hasn’t signed California’s plan because it wants $200 million to restore the vanishing Salton Sea, the state’s largest lake.
A notice published recently in the Federal Register is not sitting well with Imperial Irrigation District. That notice, submitted by the Department of Interior through the Bureau of Reclamation and published on Feb. 1, calls recommendations from the governors of the seven Colorado River Basin state for protective actions the Department of Interior should take in the absence of a completed drought contingency plan.
A major deadline just passed without unanimous agreement among Western states over the future of the Colorado River, so the federal government is one step closer to stepping in on the dwindling river that provides water for 1-in-8 Americans. The path forward has become murkier for the drought-stricken region now in its 19th year of low water levels after a January 31 deadline failed to garner signed agreements from Arizona and California.
Did the goalposts just move on us? … Media reports suggest that Reclamation is lumping Arizona with California, which clearly did not meet the deadline, in its reasoning for taking an action that we had all hoped to avoid. It’s easy to feel betrayed by that, to conclude that Arizona was asked to move mountains and then when we did, we were told it still wasn’t good enough.
Desert Hot Springs — the only city to opt out of the Coachella Valley Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan when it first circulated eight years ago — and the Mission Springs Water District are now in the process of joining the environmental effort.
“The U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday weighed in to support the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians in its lawsuit against two water districts, backing the tribe’s claims that the local agencies are infringing upon its rights by over-pumping groundwater from the Coachella Valley’s aquifer.”
“A ban on single-use plastic shopping bags was approved Thursday, but the City Council left open the idea of lifting at least part of a requirement for all retailers to include a separate 10-cent charge for each paper bag given to customers, a move favored by many high-end El Paseo merchants.”
“The largest public water agencies in the Coachella Valley have begun withholding information about how much water is pumped from wells by businesses including farms, golf courses, housing developments and resorts.”
“In the 1950s, Palm Springs was promoted as ‘America’s desert oasis’ in a film that displayed lush gardens, golf courses and tourists splashing in swimming pools. The image helped make the area a vacation destination.
“But in creating the image, Palm Springs became one of California’s biggest per-capita water users.”
“The transfer of water from the Imperial Irrigation District to San Diego and the Coachella Valley has netted the IID nearly $85 million over a 10-year period, and is expected to net the district more than $2.7 billion from 2009 through 2047, according to IID projections.”
“Wide-ranging discussions about water use on farms and golf courses, wastewater recycling and how to encourage conservation emerged as the Coachella Valley Water District and the Desert Water Agency led a tour of water infrastructure Thursday focusing on management of the area’s groundwater.
“The water agencies offered the tour to participants in Thursday’s symposium in Palm Springs focusing on drought and water scarcity.”
“Oscar-winning filmmaker Jessica Yu joined dozens of water managers and local, state and federal officials at Sunnylands on Wednesday for the opening reception of a two-day symposium focusing on drought and water scarcity in the West.
“Yu introduced her film, ‘Last Call at the Oasis,’ which documents the increasing scarcity of water in many parts of the world.”
“Hydrologist Brian Thomas has pored over decades of groundwater data from water agencies in the Coachella Valley, and he says the declines in much of the aquifer highlight a need for the area to find ways to cut back on water use.
“Thomas, a postdoctoral scholar at the UC Center for Hydrologic Modeling at UC Irvine, is one in a list of water scientists and experts who will attend a symposium in Palm Springs on Thursday focusing on drought and water scarcity in the West.”