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.
The Santa Cruz City Council on Tuesday will hear a plan to
increase sharply water rates and create a drought-recovery fee
for funding infrastructure projects, stabilizing revenue and
When the San Vicente Dam opened in 1943, engineers were already
thinking about how to make it higher — a vision celebrated
Wednesday by many who came to dedicate a new version of the
venerable structure that’s 117 feet taller than the original.
From the Los Angeles Times, in a commentary by Jon Healey:
As much as Republicans might yearn for deep-blue California to
fall into the deep blue ocean, the GOP-led House Appropriations
Committee agreed this week to provide $5 million to support the
development of an earthquake early warning system that could help
reduce the injuries and damage caused by a big quake.
From the Los Angeles Times, in a column by Patt Morrison:
Lucy Jones is the U.S. Geological Survey seismologist seconded by
Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office to spend a year creating the city’s
first seismic resilience plan. Her grandfather worked for William
Mulholland’s DWP, and her great-great and great grandparents are
buried in a cemetery on the San Andreas fault
Eric Ward went to one of his regular fishing spots near the
Oroville Dam Friday morning, and the scene was far from serene.
… The word from the Department of Water Resources is that
the rubber booms were deployed to capture any hydraulic oil that
spilled into the water when a valve was tested, explained Mark
Anderson, assistant State Water Project deputy director.
Aquafornia’s Water Word of the Week from sister site Aquapedia, the Water Education
Foundation’s vetted, interactive online water encyclopedia, is
According to an excerpt: “Dams have allowed Californians and the
West to harness and control water dating back to the days of
Native Americans. At that time, Native Americans erected simple
dams for catching salmon.
The ever-changing thermal geology of Yellowstone National Park
has created a hot spot that melted an asphalt road and closed
access to popular geysers and other attractions at the height of
tourist season, officials said Thursday.
[Jim] Walker and construction crews building a new 220-foot-high
dam at Calaveras Reservoir in the remote canyons east of Milpitas
have been digging up a prehistoric treasure trove: the teeth of
an extinct hippopotamus-like creature called a Desmostylus,
clams, barnacles and the giant teeth from a 40-foot-long shark –
and what could turn out to be an entire whale skeleton.
A bill to help streamline a project to connect Lake San Antonio
and Lake Nacimiento with an underground pipeline has passed out
of a key state Senate committee. Assembly Bill 155, authored
by Salinas Assemblyman Luis Alejo, cleared the Local Government
and Finance Committee with bipartisan support, Alejo’s office
said Wednesday in a news release.
Bureau of Reclamation Acting Commissioner Lowell Pimley announced
that Reclamation will provide $1.29 million to nine projects for
Title XVI Water Reclamation and Reuse Feasibility Studies. These
nine projects are located in California, Colorado, New Mexico and