The growing leadership of women in water. The Colorado River’s persistent drought and efforts to sign off on a plan to avert worse shortfalls of water from the river. And in California’s Central Valley, promising solutions to vexing water resource challenges.
These were among the topics that Western Water news explored in 2018.
We’re already planning a full slate of stories for 2019. You can sign up here to be alerted when new stories are published. In the meantime, take a look at what we dove into in 2018:
Amy Haas recently became the first non-engineer and the first woman to serve as executive director of the Upper Colorado River Commission in its 70-year history, putting her smack in the center of a host of daunting challenges facing the Upper Colorado River Basin.
Yet those challenges will be quite familiar to Haas, an attorney who for the past year has served as deputy director and general counsel of the commission. (She replaced longtime Executive Director Don Ostler). She has a long history of working within interstate Colorado River governance, including representing New Mexico as its Upper Colorado River commissioner and playing a central role in the negotiation of the recently signed U.S.-Mexico agreement known as Minute 323.
With nary a word, the Senate on Thursday night passed a California drought-relief bill that sets up serious negotiations with the House over water storage, river protection, irrigation deliveries and more.
“The Colorado River System Conservation Program, as the fund is known, will be seeded with $2 million each from the Southern Nevada Water Authority, Central Arizona Water Conservation District, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and Denver Water.
“Livermore became the East Bay’s first city to raise water rates in response to ongoing drought conditions and shortages when the City Council voted unanimously Monday to enact the third stage of the city’s conservation plan.”
“California water agencies plan to sell the first $200 million in bonds toward a $25 billion project to bolster supplies for about 25 million people as the worst drought in a century threatens farms and cities.”
“People who have ditched their lawns in favor of water-sparing landscapes reel off the benefits with hardly a pause. Lower water bills. More wildlife. Less maintenance. And not least, a feeling of satisfaction.”
“Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed a sweeping new emergency drought proclamation, cutting red tape for a variety of government functions to help water agencies find new supplies, and to press the public to use water carefully.”
“With every part of California suffering from the drought, Gov. Jerry Brown issued a new executive order on Friday in an attempt to provide some relief from the persistent dry conditions across the state.”
“The rain that’s fallen in fulsome fits and spattering starts this spring has punched enough of a dent in the drought that state officials now say just three towns and rural areas are in danger of running out of water — a sharp dip from the 17 that were facing Dust Bowl disaster in January.”
“Like many fieldworkers in Mendota, a rural community 35 miles west of Fresno dubbed the Cantaloupe Center of the World, [Jose Pineda] Rivas finds his seasonal job of more than two decades at risk of disappearing because of the statewide drought.”
“California’s drought is imperiling tricolored blackbirds, large trees and native fish, with some of the affected species already on the state’s endangered list and others likely headed there because of rapidly declining numbers, scientists say.”