Topic: Nevada



As adjacent Western states, California and Nevada share similar issues related to drought and limited water resources. Both states are participants in the 1922 Colorado River Compact and the 2003 and 2007 Quantification Settlement Agreements to allocate Colorado River deliveries. Also, about two-thirds of Lake Tahoe lies in California and one-third in Nevada, and the two states have formed a compact to work together on environmental goals for the lake.

Aquafornia news CNN News Wire

The West’s historic drought in 3 maps

More than 94 percent of the West is in drought this week, according to the US Drought Monitor, with six states entirely in drought status: California, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, and Montana. Parts of the West saw record-setting rainfall that brought some slight relief to the region, but most areas remain dry. Against the backdrop of climate change-fueled drought, wildfires have charred nearly 6 million acres of vegetation across the region. Fire experts say that dry and windy conditions create a prime environment for wildfires to spark and spread.

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Aquafornia news Salt Lake Tribune

Utah’s water outlook slightly improved, but West remains in grip of long-term drought

Utah’s drought-induced water crisis has softened somewhat after a string of monsoons, but the state’s water supplies are far from safe, with reservoirs across the state falling below 40% full, state officials told lawmakers Tuesday. Only a massive snowpack this winter can assure adequate supplies going into next year, and even then, Utah’s water future remains uncertain in the face of long-term drought and climate change. In July the entire state was in extreme or exceptional drought and Utah’s two largest lakes hit their lowest levels ever.

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Aquafornia news Roll Call

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: In response to Western drought, a flood of legislation

Las Vegas visitors can still snap selfies with the mermaids swimming among tropical fish in the Silverton Casino’s massive aquarium and gaze at the colorful dancing water displays of the iconic Bellagio fountains — for now. But southern Nevada and much of the American West are struggling to cope with a worsening drought that has strained municipal water supplies, agricultural operations and wildlife populations.

Aquafornia news Nature Climate Change

Opinion: Climate change and the future of western US water governance

Water management in the western United States is rooted in an adversarial system that is highly sensitive to climate change. Reforms are needed to ensure water management is efficient, resilient and equitable moving forward.
-Written by Dylan R. Hedden-Nicely, Associate Professor of Law and Director, Native American Law Program, University of Idaho College of Law.

Aquafornia news KNAU Arizona Public Radio

Deeper droughts possible in Southwest, scientists warn

The Colorado River Basin is enduring two decades of drought, and water shortages are on the horizon. But scientists say this isn’t the worst-case scenario. The region has undergone longer, deeper droughts in the past. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke with paleoclimatologist Matt Lachniet of the University of Nevada-Las Vegas about how knowing the past can help us plan for a warmer, drier future.

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Aquafornia news The Washington Post

Opinion: Lakes Powell and Mead may never recover

This whole reservoir system along the Colorado River Basin was designed to get us through the drought years. Why isn’t it working? A glimpse into the history of the system, how it was designed and the impacts of climate change sheds light on why it was destined to fail — and why it may never recover.

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Aquafornia news The Verge

Google sets new water goals as droughts worsen

With drought sucking the Western US dry, Google announced new plans to protect vital water resources. Google guzzles up water to cool its data centers, three of which are in the drought-stricken West. To offset its thirst, the company said that by 2030, it wants to replenish 120 percent of the water it consumes. … The company has faced pushback from communities near its data center in South Carolina and a new one to be built in Arizona. 

Aquafornia news NOAA Climate Program Office

Study: Dry future likely unavoidable for Southwest, but reducing greenhouse gases can still help

For the past two decades, the southwestern United States has been desiccated by one of the most severe long-term droughts—or ‘megadroughts’—of the last 1,200 years. And now, scientists say the risk of similar extreme megadroughts and severe single-year droughts will increase in the future as Earth’s temperature continues to rise, according to a new study in Earth’s Future sponsored by CPO’s Modeling, Analysis, Predictions, and Projections (MAPP) program and led by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS).

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Aquafornia news El Paso Matters

Western rivers and the binational climate challenge

Both the Rio Grande and Colorado rivers shrunk in 2021, another bad water year in a two-decade megadrought brought on by a warming Western United States.  Demands on the rivers — from growing cities, agriculture, wildlife and international treaties — are hitting the reality of a reduced supply of water in both rivers. In August, federal officials declared the first-ever shortage on the Colorado River lower basin, triggering a plan to reduce water usage in several states and Mexico.

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Aquafornia news Colorado Mesa University

New research: New report on interstate water compact lessons for Colorado

As a headwaters state, Colorado has many interstate compacts that set rules for how the state must share the rivers that originate within its borders with downstream states. On several of these rivers, water users have had to modify their water use to meet compact requirements. That day may be coming for the Colorado River.  A new report explores what Colorado River water users can learn from experiences with compact administration on other rivers.

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Aquafornia news Chamber Business News

Colorado River water users enter new phase of stewardship in face of long-anticipated cuts

For the first time in history, the federal government has declared a water shortage on the Colorado River, which serves as a lifeline to more than 40 million people in western states like Arizona and California.  States that are used to receiving substantial amounts of water from the river are going to be receiving considerable cuts in water availability. The river has served as a source of affordable hydraulic power and provides water for irrigation systems to countless farms in the region.

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Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

La Niña responsible for megadroughts in North and South America, study finds

La Niña, the climate event that causes water to be colder than normal in the eastern Pacific, has now been shown by new research released Monday to be responsible for simultaneous megadroughts in the North and South American Southwest over the past 1,000 years.  Megadroughts are extended periods of drought that last at least 20 years. In a study published in the journal Nature, researchers found that these megadroughts occurred simultaneously in the North American and South American Southwest “regularly” and often during a La Niña event.

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Aquafornia news Colorado Sun

San Luis Valley water: Drought, climate change and diversion plans

They all remember when the San Luis Valley brimmed with water. South of San Luis, Ronda Lobato raced the rising floodwaters in San Francisco Creek every spring to fill sandbags that protected her grandparents’ farm.  North of Center, potato farmer Sheldon Rockey faced so much spring mud that he had to learn to extract his stuck tractor.  Outside Monte Vista, Tyler Mitchell needed only a hand shovel on the family farm near Monte Vista to reach shallow underground flows in the Valley’s once-abundant water table.

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Aquafornia news GreenBiz

The Colorado River Basin: What’s wrong and what’s needed to make it right

On Aug. 16, the U.S. federal government declared a Colorado River water shortage for the first time. This unprecedented action was triggered by the precipitous drop in Lake Mead’s water level: It’s at 1,067 feet above sea level, or about 35 percent full. …. The economic impacts to the states that tap water from the Colorado River are significant, with no relief in sight.

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Aquafornia news YES! Magazine

The Colorado River runs again

In late spring, Antonia Torres González’ tears rolled freely at the rare sight before her: the Colorado River flowed again in what is usually a parched delta. Torres González, a member of the Cucapá tribe who grew up in the river delta, couldn’t help but relive memories of childhood romps in the once-lush waterway in northwestern Mexico. … On May 1, 2021, the river once again flowed in its delta thanks to an agreement between the United States and Mexico dubbed Minute 323.

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Aquafornia news 12-News Phoenix

Is Arizona’s drought over?

It’s been a wet monsoon season. Sky Harbor has seen 3.35 inches of rain so far, which far surpasses the 2020 “non-soon.” So is the long drought in the Southwest over? Not by a long shot, experts say.

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Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Opinion: In Southern Nevada’s endless water crisis, we’re well past the time to be lawn gone

The front lawn came with the house we moved into a couple years ago. The patch of Bermudagrass was smaller than an average putting green and easy to mow. The splash of deep green was cute as far as that goes, but it was out of place on a street that had largely made the transition to colored rock and water-smart landscaping. Beyond the postcard aesthetics, it made zero sense to continue to water a lawn in the desert. Setting aside the politics of climate change and our arid land with its endless water crisis — a basic definition of “desert” — there were no children at home to play on it. 
-Written by John L. Smith, an author and Nevada Independent columnist. 

Aquafornia news Congressional Research Service

Report: Management of the Colorado River: water allocations, drought, and the federal role

The Colorado River Basin covers more than 246,000 square miles in seven U.S. states (Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and California) and Mexico. Pursuant to federal law, the Bureau of Reclamation (part of the Department of the Interior) manages much of the basin’s water supplies. Colorado River water is used primarily for agricultural irrigation and municipal and industrial (M&I) uses; it is also important for hydropower production, fish and wildlife, and recreational uses. 

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

UN climate change report is no surprise to Indigenous peoples

Prickly pear cactuses used by Indigenous peoples to make the popular Mexican and Southwestern nopales are shriveling in an increasingly hot and dry southern Sonoran Desert. Ancestral lands along the California coast may soon be underwater, rendering them worthless to many Native peoples, including the Salinan, Chumash, Tongva and Ajechemem, even as other lands burn in ever-larger wildfires. Some salmon species teeter on the brink of extinction due to drought and diverted water, while elsewhere, people and homes are swept away on a brown tsunami-like wave of floodwaters.

Aquafornia news National Groundwater Association

NGWA stresses need for increased funding for aquifer recharge and water reuse projects in western United States

In the wake of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR) declaring a federal water shortage of the Colorado River Basin, NGWA is again stressing the need for increased funding for aquifer recharge and water reuse projects in the western United States. On August 16, the USBR declared its first-ever water shortage of the Colorado River Basin, which will trigger a smaller amount of water distributed from Lake Mead and cuts to individual state water allocations.

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Aquafornia news The New York Times

New water cuts are coming in the West

In this summer of wildfires, heat waves and drought, there was another bit of bad environmental news out of the West this week. Federal officials declared a water shortage at Lake Mead, the huge reservoir on the Colorado River near Las Vegas, setting off sharp cuts in water to Arizona farmers next year…. The declaration, and the mandatory supply cuts, had long been expected. What is less certain is how much the reductions will help. Will more cuts be necessary, and, if so, when?

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Aquafornia news Ensia

Could desalination play a role in the Colorado River Basin’s future?

In North America, the countries that share the Colorado River Delta are experiencing a similar reality as their own diplomatic relationship is shaped by cross-border water exchanges. And like Israel and Jordan, the U.S. and Mexico are now considering the role desalination might play in sharing this vital resource. … Establishing a desalination facility jointly operated by the U.S. and Mexico could help “bolster resilience in the Colorado River Basin,” according to the Binational Study of Water Desalination Opportunities in the Sea of Cortez.

Aquafornia news KLAS

I-Team: Top water users in the Las Vegas valley revealed

The I-Team has learned a federal water shortage declaration on the Colorado River is expected on Monday. That would trigger some mandatory cutbacks. Lake Mead, where we get 90% of our water, is at record low levels right now. Valley residents are urged to conserve water. Now, the I-Team is taking a look at residents who are considered to use the most.

Aquafornia news Politico

Drought forces first water cuts on the Colorado River. They’re just the beginning

A two-decade-long megadrought along the Colorado River is pushing seven Western states and parts of Mexico into a formal shortage declaration, forcing water delivery cuts to the Southwest that are just the beginning of the pain climate change promises to bring to the region. Climate scientists and water managers have long seen this declaration coming, but what’s alarming them is the speed with which the hot and dry conditions over the past four years have shrunk the river’s two main reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, to levels not seen since they were first filled.

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Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

Opinion: Combating drought and promoting sustainability in Southern Nevada

Everyone in the West knows that we’re living through a historic, two-decade drought. The climate crisis is making droughts worse, putting pressure on all of us to use the water we have more wisely. When I was elected, I knew confronting water issues would be one of my top priorities. I’m doing everything I can in the U.S. Senate to help my hometown and all Western communities address drought and water shortages.
-Written by U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, a Democrat who has represented Nevada in the Senate since 2017.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Colorado River shortage will bring water cuts for Arizona farmers

The federal government on Monday declared a first-ever water shortage on the Colorado River, announcing mandatory cutbacks next year that will bring major challenges for Arizona farmers and reduce the water allotments of Nevada and Mexico. The declaration of a shortage by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has been anticipated for months and was triggered by the spiraling decline of Lake Mead, which stores water used by Arizona, Nevada, California and Mexico.

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Aquafornia news Las Vegas Review-Journal

New plan slows Lake Mead decline by paying farms not to plant crops

Officials in Lower Colorado River Basin states want to slow the decline of Lake Mead’s water levels over the next few years by paying Southern California farmers not to plant crops. It’s not a plan that Bill Hasencamp, manager of Colorado River resources for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, considers a “drought buster,” but it will reduce lake level decline by up to 3 feet over the next three years, he said.

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Aquafornia news CleanTechnica

Opinion: Can water megaprojects save the US desert West? (part 2)

In part one of this article, I covered the American West’s water problems, as well as some of the ways they have been solved with big engineering projects so far. Now, with climate change and growth both pushing the limits of water supplies, people are asking for even bigger projects, like a pipeline from the Mississippi River to somewhere in the Colorado River’s basin. Let’s talk about those ideas, even bigger ones, and why none of them might be a good idea.
-Written by Jennifer Sensiba, a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. 

Aquafornia news USA Today

Lake Powell water levels hit record lows, forcing off some houseboats

A thick, white band of newly exposed rock face stretches high above boaters’ heads at Lake Powell, creating a sharp contrast against the famous red desert terrain as their vessels weave through tight canyons that were once underwater. It’s a stark reminder of how far the water level has fallen at the massive reservoir on the Utah-Arizona border. Last year, it was more than 50 feet (15 meters) higher. The level at the popular destination for houseboat vacations is at a historic low amid a  megadrought engulfing the U.S. West.

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Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation selects Jacklynn Gould as Lower Colorado Basin regional director

Bureau of Reclamation Deputy Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton today named Jacklynn (Jaci) L. Gould as regional director for the Lower Colorado Basin Region. Gould has more than 29 years of experience with Reclamation. … As regional director, Gould will lead over 800 employees in the region, which encompasses the last 700 miles of the Colorado River to the Mexican border, southern Nevada, southern California, and most of Arizona. She will oversee hydropower operations and maintenance for 15 facilities … 

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation selects Jack Worsley to oversee Lahontan Basin Area Office

The Bureau of Reclamation’s California Great-Basin Region announces the selection of Jack Worsley as the Lahontan Basin Area Office Manager. The area office administers Reclamation activities over a large portion of the Great Basin, including the watersheds of Lake Tahoe, the Truckee and Carson rivers, and much of northern Nevada. The office oversees the operations of the Newlands Project, one of Reclamation’s first projects, and the facilities that regulate Lake Tahoe and the Truckee River.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

The Arizona drought is among the worst in the country

Across the U.S. West, shifting climate patterns are wreaking havoc. An early start to fire season is scorching rural Oregon and parts of Northern California. Record temperatures have led to deaths of hundreds of residents of Seattle and Portland, Ore. Lake Mead, the massive Colorado River reservoir outside Las Vegas, is at its lowest point since its 1935 federal construction, threatening water supplies to Arizona, Southern California, Nevada and Mexico. In Arizona, 99% of the land is undergoing years-long drought that has accelerated. Large swaths of the region are now in extreme distress and the picture may well get worse…

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Aquafornia news AccuWeather

Why has western heat been so intense? 5 reasons

No other region in the country is warming faster than the western United States when it comes to increasing daytime highs, a trend that became apparent with the unprecedented and record-shattering heat wave that took over the Pacific Northwest earlier this summer. Heat has been building all across the west this year. In June, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Nevada and California all had record heat statewide. Salt Lake City had its warmest June in 74 years of records with an average temperature of 80.2 F, which is 8.6 degrees Fahrenheit above normal.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Drought in the American Southwest threatens iconic plants

Today, in Episode 3 of Drought Week, we take a journey through the American Southwest to Las Vegas, down to Arizona’s Sonoran Desert and through California’s Mojave Desert. We speak to a social scientist, a folklorist and a politician about their efforts to understand the plants and animals affected by this historic drought. We’ll focus on three iconic plants: Joshua trees. Saguaro cactuses. And, well, lawn grass.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Feds will prop up Lake Powell as it hits record low elevation

With water levels falling rapidly at Lake Powell on the Arizona-Utah border, federal officials are taking what could be the first of several steps to prop it up. This month the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation started a six-month effort to raise the lake around 3 feet by the end of 2021 by releasing 181,000 acre feet of water from three upstream reservoirs. It comes as the lake just Sunday fell below its lowest level on record.

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Aquafornia news Sierra Club Magazine

Could Las Vegas’s grass removal policies alter the western US drought-scape?

Earlier this year, the Nevada legislature made turf removal a requirement in cases where grass exists for purely aesthetic purposes. The legislation, pushed by the water authority and signed by Governor Steve Sisolak, requires the removal of all decorative, or “nonfunctional,” turf in Las Vegas by 2026. Under this law, residents can keep their lawns, and parks can keep their fields. But that turf decorating medians and buildings must be converted to less water-intensive vegetation. Irrigating grass in the desert heat demands a lot of water. 

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion: Will the Drought Contingency Plan be enough to save Lake Mead? Maybe – for now

When the current drought began in 2000, the three Lower Basin states that take water from the lake (Arizona, California and Nevada) suddenly awakened to the problem. After several years of difficult negotiations, they agreed on a Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) that, with previously agreed cuts, would bring the lake into balance.  Hoping the drought would lift before too long, the DCP negotiators agreed to spread the cuts over coming years in response to changing lake levels. However, as the drought continues and intensifies, the Drought Contingency Plan is looking more like a Drought Certainty Plan.
-Written by former Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt.

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Aquafornia news The New York Times

Flooding in Arizona as monsoon brings heavy rainfall

Monsoon season in the Southwestern United States is providing relief to parts of the region that are desperate for any kind of precipitation, but life-threatening flash floods and lightning are also part of the deal. On Thursday night, a downpour in Phoenix and Scottsdale, Ariz., brought heavy rain, lightning and National Weather Service cellphone alerts of “a dangerous and life-threatening situation.” … [T]his year has already seen a dramatic difference — a 200 percent increase in precipitation over the last two months in parts of the Southwest.

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Aquafornia news KDVR - Denver

Secretary of Interior arrives in Colorado to address worsening drought and wildfire conditions

The Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland, will visit Denver to address the worsening drought and wildfire conditions. The biggest area of concern is the deep drought on the western slope. Haaland will be in Grand Junction Friday talking about wildland fire preparedness and response. On Saturday, Haaland will be in Ridgeway discussing Colorado’s outdoor recreation economy.

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Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Michael Norris named as Bureau of Reclamation’s Yuma Area Manager

The Bureau of Reclamation announced the selection of Michael Norris as the Area Manager of its Lower Colorado Basin Region Yuma Area Office. He has served as the Deputy Area Manager for seven years. In his new capacity, Norris is responsible for delivery of Colorado River water to the Yuma area and Mexico, groundwater and salinity management, resource management, engineering and construction.

Aquafornia news Martin & McCoy and Culp & Kelly, LLP

News release: New report analyzes ten strategies and solutions for building climate resilience in the Colorado River basin

A new report issued today by seven environmental non-profit organizations examines ten strategies to bolster climate resilience and mitigate the impact of climate change in the Colorado River Basin, which is currently grappling with a historic megadrought. A crucial source of water for over 40 million people, the Colorado River is facing severe declines in stream flows and a looming federal shortage declaration as a result of a decades-long drought and increasing temperatures.

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Aquafornia news KCRW

New film: ‘Where There Once Was Water’ – How the driest places are finding innovative ways to conserve

Through her new documentary, “Where There Once Was Water,” Brittany App introduces innovative ways to conserve water, restore ecosystems, and reconsider our relationship with the natural world. The film follows her venturing through California and the Southwest in search of people practicing wise water management.

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Aquafornia news Public Policy Institute of California

Blog: Cultivating optimism as drought cripples the Colorado River

A historic drought has desiccated much of the American West, bringing reservoir levels to record lows and stoking fears of catastrophic wildfires across the region. We spoke with two members of the Water Policy Center research network and experts on the Colorado River: Dr. Bonnie Colby of the University of Arizona (she’s also a member of the Colorado River Research Group) and John Fleck of the University of New Mexico. Prepare to be surprised: we encountered some delightful optimism in this wide-ranging conversation.

Aquafornia news Salt Lake Tribune

Extreme actions underway to ensure Glen Canyon Dam can continue to generate power

The growing crisis on the Colorado River came into sharper focus last week when the Bureau of Reclamation began emergency releases from Flaming Gorge Reservoir to shore up Lake Powell’s declining levels, now at historic lows. The move will bolster Powell’s level by 3 feet in hopes of preventing it from dropping to a point where Glen Canyon Dam would not be able to generate electrical power, according to the agency’s Upper Colorado regional director Wayne Pullan.

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Aquafornia news CBS San Francisco

Megadrought poses ‘existential’ crisis in California and the West

The American West was once seen as a place of endless possibilities: grand vistas, bountiful resources and cities that somehow grew out of deserts. Now, manifest destiny has become a manifest emergency. A scorching drought made worse by climate change is draining reservoirs at an alarming pace, fueling massive wildfires and deadly heat waves and withering one of the most important agricultural economies in the country.

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Aquafornia news Colorado Public Radio

Colorado’s monsoon season is struggling to bring relief to rivers, ranchers and wildfires as the climate warms

The North American monsoon has returned to Colorado, and the rain has brought some much-needed relief to some of the driest parts of the state — after multiple back-to-back years of almost no summer rain. … Gov. Jared Polis has recently declared a drought emergency for the region and the rest of western Colorado. … The seasonal moisture from the tropics creates afternoon cloud cover that protects … drought-stricken creeks from baking in the sun. The rain helps lower the risk for wildfires. The timing of the monsoon is vital to Colorado’s ecosystem, which evolved on its schedule.

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Aquafornia news Fox 5 Las Vegas

UNLV study: Residential water use jumped more than a billion gallons during stay at home order

A study from UNLV shows some interesting results about how much water people used during Governor Steve Sisolak’s stay at home order in March 2020. Researchers at UNLV wanted to know the impact staying at home had on water use. Researchers looked at water bills from Henderson before the stay at home order and several months after the order was in place. The study found usage at home soared, outpacing pre-pandemic usage at homes, businesses and schools.

Aquafornia news CNN

Arizona weather: Monsoon rains to hit drought-stricken region

The punishing heat wave continues in much of the West. However, for some in places in the Southwest including Arizona, the long-awaited monsoon will bring milder temperatures and rainfall. It may just arrive a little bit too fast, raising flash flooding concerns in the area. … Rainfall amounts of anywhere from a half inch to 1 inch are possible, said the National Weather Service in Phoenix. Upper-end amounts of 2 to 4 inches aren’t out of the question.

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Aquafornia news University of Nevada, Las Vegas

New research: Why remote work might worsen Southwest water woes

As concerns flare over record-low water levels at Lake Mead, a new UNLV study shows that COVID-19 pandemic stay-at-home orders — and a subsequent societal shift to remote work — may be exacerbating the problem. The study, recently published in the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, found that Las Vegas Valley residential water use soared during the pandemic, outpacing even combined pre-pandemic usage across Southern Nevada’s three main property types (residential, commercial, and schools). 

Aquafornia news The Denver Channel

‘The lifeline of the West’: The Colorado River’s 1,400-mile journey, explained

The Colorado River makes an impressive 1,400-mile journey from Colorado, all the way to the U.S.-Mexico border. It starts as snowpack in Rocky Mountain National Park in Northern Colorado and makes its way westward to Utah. The Utah portion of the river course starts on the Colorado Plateau before heading to Moab, where the water sweeps by Arches and Canyonlands national parks – both amazing landscapes eroded into canyons and mesas by the Colorado and Green rivers.

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Aquafornia news Newsweek

Tribes struggle for water in Colorado River basin as drought sears the West

With the west in extreme drought, Lake Mead, fed by the Colorado River and formed by the Hoover Dam, reached historic lows in June. The water level continues to fall, continuing a trend that began more than 20 years ago. The Federal government is expected to declare a water shortage in the lower basin of the Colorado River by 2022 at the latest, which will trigger mandatory water cuts in Arizona and Nevada. These cuts will particularly impact farmers. But they are likely to hit indigenous communities particularly hard … 

Aquafornia news Fox 5 Vegas

Scientists welcome caddisfly swarms along Colorado River in Laughlin

Caddisfly swarms along the Colorado River in Laughlin are annoying most residents, but scientists see them as an opportunity. Dr. Michael Cavallaro, entomologist and pest abatement manager for Bullhead City, is working on a project to find a permanent solution to the swarms, which have become a nuisance for residents and businesses. He thinks the residents should feel honored, since caddisflies swarm only in healthy ecosystems with high-quality, clean water. 

Aquafornia news The Guardian

Severe drought threatens Hoover dam reservoir – and water for US west

[S]ince 2000, scientists say the river’s flow has dwindled by 20% compared to the previous century’s average. This year is the second driest on record, with the flow into Lake Mead just a quarter of what would be considered normal. … In June, the level of Lake Mead plunged below 1,075ft, a point that will trigger, for the first time, federally mandated cuts in water allocations next year. The Bureau of Reclamation expects this historic low to spiral further …

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Aquafornia news Foreign Policy

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: The American west’s climate hellscape is just a preview

For the past few weeks, the American West has been confronting a hellish climate nightmare of scorching heat waves, a severe drought, and raging wildfires. And it’s not just the West—or even the United States. In typically chilly Siberia, ground temperatures reached a blistering 118 degrees Fahrenheit. The Middle East has been gripped by a searing heat wave and a drought that has especially hammered Syria. In late June, a small Canadian village was almost completely consumed by wildfire. China is also bracing for another year of extreme weather… 

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday Top of the Scroll: Lake Mead, crucial water source in West, tips toward crisis

[A]fter years of an unrelenting drought that has quickly accelerated amid record temperatures and lower snowpack melt, [Lake Mead] is set to mark another, more dire turning point. Next month, the federal government expects to declare its first-ever shortage on the lake,  triggering cuts to water delivered to Arizona, Nevada and Mexico on Jan. 1. If the lake, currently at 1,068 feet, drops 28 more feet by next year, the spigot of water to California will start to tighten in 2023.

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Aquafornia news KUNC

After decades of warming and drying, the Colorado River struggles to water the West

The Colorado River is tapped out. Another dry year has left the waterway that supplies 40 million people in the Southwest parched. A prolonged 21-year warming and drying trend is pushing the nation’s two largest reservoirs to record lows. For the first time this summer, the federal government will declare a shortage. Climate change is exacerbating the current drought. Warming temperatures are upending how the water cycle functions in the Southwest. The 1,450-mile long river acts as a drinking water supply, a hydroelectric power generator, and an irrigator of crop fields across seven Western states and two in Mexico.

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Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Tonya Hart named Reclamation’s regional engineer for the southwest

The Bureau of Reclamation Tuesday announced the selection of Tonya Hart as the Regional Engineer of the Lower Colorado Basin Region. In this capacity, she oversees and provides direction for the Region’s engineering activities in Arizona, Southern Nevada and Southern California. Additionally, she oversees the operations and maintenance of Reclamation’s Boulder City campus. Hart most recently served as a Supervisory Civil Engineer in the Geotechnical Services Division of Reclamation’s Technical Service Center (TSC) located in Denver, Colorado. 

Aquafornia news KNAU Arizona Public Radio

USFWS proposes downlisting razorback sucker

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to downgrade a Colorado River fish, the razorback sucker, from “endangered” to “threatened.” The razorback sucker was listed as endangered in 1991 due to habitat loss and predation by introduced exotic species. Wildlife officials say the population has recovered to tens of thousands of fish in the Green, San Juan, and Colorado rivers, meeting the criteria for downlisting. However, the Fish and Wildlife Service acknowledges many razorback suckers born in the wild do not reach adulthood.

Aquafornia news WIRED

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: A massive water recycling proposal could help ease drought

Lake Mead, which provides water for 25 million people in the American West, has shrunk to 36 percent of its capacity. One rural California community has run out of water entirely after its well broke in early June. Fields are sitting fallow, as farmers sell their water allotments instead of growing crops, putting the nation’s food supply in peril. As the West withers under extreme drought, legislators in the US House of Representatives have introduced HR 4099, a bill that would direct the Secretary of the Interior to create a program to fund $750 million worth of water recycling projects in the 17 western states through the year 2027.

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Aquafornia news CNN Politics

Western governors make bipartisan plea as states battle record heat and drought

A pair of governors on Sunday called on the federal government for help and pushed for solutions as their states grapple with recording-breaking temperatures, drought and wildfires that officials have said is being driven by climate change. … The bipartisan plea follows a meeting last week between President Joe Biden and other Western governors during which he announced new federal response plans to help address the wildfire threats and extreme heat being driven by climate change. They include extending seasonal hiring, adding “surge capacity” by training and equipping additional personnel, and adding fire detection resources. 

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Aquafornia news ABC 15

Data centers consume millions of gallons of Arizona water daily

Massive buildings are sprouting from our desert landscapes, their footprints normally more than a million square feet. The structures are filled with computer servers processing and storing huge amounts of data. … Duff is the only city council member to vote no on a recently approved $800 million data center – rumored to be for Facebook – after discovering the facility would eventually use 1.75 million gallons of water every day for cooling their rows of servers once fully operational. This as state reservoirs like Lake Mead and rivers like the Colorado are so low that federal restrictions are likely to be triggered on Arizona’s water allocation as early as next year.

Aquafornia news The Conversation

Blog: ‘Megadrought’ along border strains US-Mexico water relations

The United States and Mexico are tussling over their dwindling shared water supplies after years of unprecedented heat and insufficient rainfall. Sustained drought on the middle-lower Rio Grande since the mid-1990s means less Mexican water flows to the U.S. The Colorado River Basin, which supplies seven U.S. states and two Mexican states, is also at record low levels. A 1944 treaty between the U.S. and Mexico governs water relations between the two neighbors. 

Aquafornia news The Associated Press

Tribe becomes key water player with drought aid to Arizona

For thousands of years, an Arizona tribe relied on the Colorado River’s natural flooding patterns to farm….Now, gravity sends the river water from the north end of the Colorado River Indian Tribes reservation through 19th century canals to sustain alfalfa, cotton, wheat, onions and potatoes, mainly by flooding the fields. Some of those fields haven’t been producing lately as the tribe contributes water to prop up Lake Mead to help weather a historic drought in the American West…. As Arizona faces mandatory cuts next year in its Colorado River supply, the tribes see themselves as major players in the future of water.

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Aquafornia news CBS San Francisco

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Warming climate, low Sierra snowpack, evaporating runoff extend California drought

Skiers and snowboarders pray for snow so they can shred the slopes. Climatologists and hydrologists have an entirely different and more critical reason to cross their fingers for the “white gold.” The West’s historic drought has many impacts, including water shortages, more severe wildfire seasons and unprecedented heat waves, to name a few. Intense droughts are a result of many factors, one of which scientists have recently begun to analyze with more scrutiny: snow drought.

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Aquafornia news Science

The Colorado River is shrinking. Hard choices lie ahead, this scientist warns

As a warming climate reduces the river’s flow, [Utah State University scientist Jack] Schmidt, 70, is making what could be his most important push to shape the fate of his beloved waterway. He and his colleagues are working to inject a dose of scientific reality into public debate over water resources that, the team says, is too often clouded by wishful or outdated thinking. The biggest delusion: that there will be enough water in a drier future to satisfy all the demands from cities, farmers, power producers, and others, while still protecting sensitive ecosystems and endangered species.

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Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

As climate change turns up the heat in Las Vegas, water managers try to wring new savings to stretch supply

Las Vegas, known for its searing summertime heat and glitzy casino fountains, is projected to get even hotter in the coming years as climate change intensifies. As temperatures rise, possibly as much as 10 degrees by end of the century, according to some models, water demand for the desert community is expected to spike. That is not good news in a fast-growing region that depends largely on a limited supply of water from an already drought-stressed Colorado River.

As Climate Change Turns Up The Heat in Las Vegas, Water Managers Try to Wring New Savings to Stretch Supply
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: Rising temperatures are expected to drive up water demand as historic drought in the Colorado River Basin imperils Southern Nevada’s key water source

Las Vegas has reduced its water consumption even as its population has increased. Las Vegas, known for its searing summertime heat and glitzy casino fountains, is projected to get even hotter in the coming years as climate change intensifies. As temperatures rise, possibly as much as 10 degrees by end of the century, according to some models, water demand for the desert community is expected to spike. That is not good news in a fast-growing region that depends largely on a limited supply of water from an already drought-stressed Colorado River.

Aquafornia news High Plains Public Radio

Another dry year on the Colorado River could force states, feds back to negotiating table

Colorado River water managers could be pulled back to the negotiating table as soon as next year to keep its biggest reservoirs from declining further. The 2019 Drought Contingency Plan was meant to give the U.S. and Mexican states that depend on the river a roadmap to manage water shortages. That plan requires the river’s biggest reservoir, Lake Mead, to drop to unprecedented levels before conservation among all the lower basin states — Arizona, Nevada and California — becomes mandatory. California isn’t required to conserve water in the reservoir until it drops to an elevation of 1,045 feet above sea level.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Opinion: Can California start taking droughts seriously, please?

Drought may be the sneakiest of natural disasters. Although human history teems with people engulfed by abrupt aridity — the Akkadians of four millenniums ago, the Maya in the ninth and 10th centuries A.D., the Great Plains farmers of the 1930s — even today drought is a poorly appreciated phenomenon. … The American West is once again facing drought, one of the worst on record. Across a vast region encompassing nine states and home to nearly 60 million people, the earth is being wrung dry. 
-Written by Farhad Manjoo, NY Times opinion columnist.

Aquafornia news NPR

Heat wave unleashes record-high temps from California to Great Plains

It might be tempting to shrug at the scorching weather across large swaths of the West. This just in: It gets hot in the summer. But this record-setting heat wave’s remarkable power, size and unusually early appearance is giving meteorologists and climate experts yet more cause for concern about the routinization of extreme weather in an era of climate change. These sprawling, persistent high-pressure zones popularly called “heat domes” are relatively common in later summer months. This current system is different.

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Aquafornia news Colorado Public Radio

If Lake Powell’s water levels keep falling, a multi-state reservoir release may be needed

Lake Powell’s water level is the lowest it’s been in decades, and the latest 24-month projections from the Arizona and Utah reservoir show that it’s likely to drop even further — below a critical threshold of 3,525 feet by next year. A 20-year megadrought and a hotter climate has contributed to shrinking water supplies in the Colorado River. If Lake Powell’s levels continue to dwindle, it could set off litigation between the seven states and the 40 million people that all rely on the Colorado River.

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Aquafornia news ABC News

Las Vegas weighs tying growth to conservation amid drought

Record-breaking heat and historic drought in the U.S. West are doing little to discourage cities from planning to welcome millions of new residents in the decades ahead. From Phoenix to Boise, officials are preparing for a future both with more people and less water, seeking to balance growth and conservation. Development is constrained by the fact that 46% of the 11-state Western region is federal land, managed by agencies like the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management that are tasked with maintaining it for future generations.

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Aquafornia news Vox

2021 wildfire forecasts for the western US: heat, drought, uncertainty

Summer has not officially started yet, but wildfire season has already arrived in the US. Now an intense heat wave coupled with extreme drought is threatening to make things worse. Large wildfires have already burned 981,000 acres this year to date, more than the 766,000 acres burned by the same time last year, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. In Arizona, more than 208,000 acres have burned, sending smoke into Colorado.

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Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Reclamation names Carly Jerla to lead effort for updated Colorado River operating guidelines

The Bureau of Reclamation announced that Carly Jerla will lead the Department of the Interior’s efforts, as a senior water resources program manager, to develop updated operating rules for Colorado River reservoirs. The Colorado River sustains ecosystems and economies across the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. A number of operating rules and agreements within the United States and with the Republic of Mexico expire at the end of 2025.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

Climate change batters the West before summer even begins

A heat dome is baking Arizona and Nevada, … At Lake Mead, which supplies water for 25 million people in three southwestern states and Mexico, water levels have plunged to their lowest point since the reservoir was filled in the 1930s. In California, farmers are abandoning their thirstiest crops to save others, and communities are debating whether to ration tap water….And it’s not even summer yet.

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Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun News

Editorial: Grounded leadership needed in region brimming with water tensions

As the Southwest prepares for what’s forecast to be another mercilessly hot and dry summer, tensions over water scarcity are rising like the mercury. Farmers are facing bleak growing seasons and the possibility of farm failures in several areas due to cutbacks in water allocations for irrigation, creating friction between the ag community and cities on the dwindling water supply in the region. Rural communities in Nevada and elsewhere, already wary of incursions by urban areas into their water supplies, are on high alert as the water crisis deepens.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion: Shocking water news in Arizona, Tucson should lead to more action

The problem, as always, is that water keeps flowing from the tap. Every other indicator is telling us we should be in red alert right now about Arizona’s climate and water situation. But when we turn the valve, even on these blazing days, drinkable water flows. It’s a luxury in this season and this place. And it makes it easy to turn away from the news. But we shouldn’t. 
-Written by Tim Steller.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Some Arizona golf courses oppose a state plan for cutting water use

Managers of some Arizona golf courses are fighting a plan that would cut water use at a time when the state is being forced to confront shrinking water supplies. A group representing golf courses has been pushing back against a proposal by state officials that would reduce overall water use on courses, instead offering a plan that would entail less conservation. Opposition to the state’s proposal for golf courses has emerged over the past several months, aired in sometimes-tense virtual meetings …

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday Top of the Scroll: California heat wave heightens drought and fire fears

With a worsening drought gripping the West and wildfire season looming, California is bracing for the most severe heat wave of the year — one that promises to tax the state’s power supplies while also offering a grim preview of challenging months to come. The heat wave will bring triple-digit temperatures to the valleys and inland regions of Southern California as well as many parts of the rest of the state, heightening fire risks. It comes as parts of Northern and Central California are turning to water restrictions as the drought rapidly alters the landscape.

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Aquafornia news NBC News

The West is the driest it’s been in 1,200 years – raising questions about a livable future

Water is increasingly scarce in the Western U.S. — where 72 percent of the region is in “severe” drought, 26 percent is in exceptional drought, and populations are booming. Insufficient monsoon rains last summer and low snowpacks over the winter left states like Arizona, Utah and Nevada without the typical amount of water they need, and forecasts for the rainy summer season don’t show promise. … The past two decades have been the driest or the second driest in the last 1,200 years in the West, posing existential questions about how to secure a livable future in the region.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Lake Mead declines to new low as Colorado River crisis deepens

Lake Mead has declined to its lowest level since the reservoir was filled in the 1930s following the construction of Hoover Dam, marking a new milestone for the water-starved Colorado River in a downward spiral that shows no sign of letting up. The reservoir near Las Vegas holds water for cities, farms and tribal lands in Arizona, Nevada, California and Mexico. Years of unrelenting drought and temperatures pushed higher by climate change are shrinking the flow into the lake, contributing to the large mismatch between the demands for water and the Colorado’s diminishing supply.

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Aquafornia news CNN

Hoover Dam and Lake Mead to reach lowest levels in decades as drought grips the region

A crippling drought in the western US is dropping the water level at Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam to a historically low level, putting pressure on the region’s drinking water supply and the dam’s electric capacity. By Thursday, Lake Mead’s water level is expected to sink to the lowest it’s been since it began filling during construction of the Hoover Dam, according to Bureau of Reclamation spokeswoman Patricia Aaron.

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Aquafornia news Nevada Independent

With new law, Las Vegas water agency bets on ‘aggressive municipal water conservation measure’ to remove decorative turf, conserve Colorado River supply

With Lake Mead approaching critically-low levels, the Southern Nevada Water Authority recently turned to the Legislature to double-down on its existing strategy for using less water: turf removal. … [Southern Nevada Water Authority general manager John] Entsminger, in a recent interview, said the prohibition would result in significant water savings. The removal of an estimated 3,900 acres of decorative turf could save roughly 9.3 billion gallons of water annually — about 10 percent of the state’s entire Colorado River allotment.

Aquafornia news KRQE News 13

As drought grips western U.S. cuts to water supply expected

A punishing drought is gripping much of the western U.S. Scientists are calling it a “mega-drought” brought on by climate change. It’s taking a dramatic toll on the Colorado River system that provides water to 40 million people in seven states. For more than eight decades, the Hoover Dam has relied on water from Nevada’s Lake Mead to cover up its backside. But now at age 85 it finds itself uncomfortably exposed. Much of the water the dam is supposed to be holding back is gone.

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Aquafornia news Lake County News

Why upcoming storms may do more harm than good in West

Storms from the Pacific set to swing into the rain-starved West Coast this week may end up turning detrimental, AccuWeather forecasters say, by whipping up gusty winds and heightening the risk of lightning-induced wildfires. With over 87% of the Western states in moderate to exceptional drought, the news of Pacific storms poised to sweep onshore may sound good on the surface. However, the pattern will be a double-edged sword. Each storm is expected to arrive with “very limited moisture,” according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski. 

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Aquafornia news The Guardian

Las Vegas’s new strategy for tackling drought – banning ‘useless grass’

In Sin City, one thing that will soon become unforgivable is useless grass. A new Nevada law will outlaw about 40% of the grass in the Las Vegas area in an effort to conserve water amid a drought that is drying up the region’s primary water source: the Colorado River. Other cities and states around the US have enacted temporary bans on lawns that must be watered, but legislation signed Friday by the state’s governor, Steve Sisolak, makes Nevada the first in the nation to enact a permanent ban on certain categories of grass.

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Aquafornia news CBS News

“Mega-drought” takes dramatic toll on Colorado River system that provides water to 40 million people 

Drought is taking a dramatic toll on the Colorado River system that provides water to 40 million people in seven states – and may force the federal government to make a drastic and historic decision. For more than eight decades, the iconic Hoover Dam has relied on water from Nevada’s Lake Mead to cover up its backside. But now, at age 85, it finds itself uncomfortably exposed. Much of the water the dam is supposed to be holding back is gone.

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Aquafornia news Cronkite News

Drought in Arizona worst in 126 years

Arizona and other Western states just lived through the driest year in more than a century, with no drought relief in sight in the near future, experts told a House panel last week. The period from April 2020 to March 2021 was the driest in the last 126 years for Arizona and other Western states, witnesses said. It capped a two-decade stretch that was the driest in more than 100 years that records have been kept – and one of the driest in the past 1,200 years based on paleohydrology evidence, one official said.

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Aquafornia news SF Gate

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: The numbers California’s drought manager wants you to see

With California’s rivers running low after two consecutive dry winters, state officials and local water agencies have pumped out a steady stream of drought declarations and calls for water conservation in recent weeks. It’s clear the Golden State is in a drought and it could escalate to a crisis, but, you may be wondering, just how bad is it?

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Aquafornia news PBS

2021 could be one of the driest years in a millennium, and there’s no relief in sight

Nearly half of the country — from the Pacific coast to the Great Plains and upper Midwest — is experiencing moderate to exceptional drought conditions. That’s expected to get worse throughout the summer. … UCLA climatologist Park Williams: “This drought is far from over. 2021 is shaping up to potentially be the driest of all of the drought years in the last century, and definitely one of the driest of the last millennium.”

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Aquafornia news Idaho Falls Post Register

Opinion: When will major push to desalinate water in American Southwest begin?

As reality plays out, I continue to read how the drought in the American West is causing levels in Lake’s Mead and Powell to plummet. I also continue to see no action or accountability to take bold action to resolve the issue as uncontrolled development continues in the greater Phoenix and Las Vegas areas. … There are 17 desalination plants operating in California and the one in Carlsbad — the Claude Bud Lewis Desalination Plant — is the largest in the U.S. 
-Written by R.B. Provencher, a former manager for the U.S. Department of Energy and retired in Idaho Falls.

Aquafornia news Sierra Nevada Ally

Nevada resolution to protect swamp cedars reverberates across Indian Country

Assembly Joint Resolution 4 passed both houses of the Nevada Legislature. The resolution now urges Congress and the President to protect certain land containing swamp cedar trees in Spring Valley, Nevada by designating the site a national monument or expanding the Great Basin National Park to include the area. 

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion: Mississippi River pipeline won’t save Arizona. But these ideas might

Every time I write about water, I get a similar email from different folks. It argues that if we can build pipelines to move oil, we should be able to capture and pipe enough floodwater from the Mississippi, the Missouri, the Snake or (insert your river here) to resolve shortages on the Colorado River. I appreciate the big thinking. But I wish we could move past this idea. Because we’ve studied this before, in multiple iterations. Each solution has been projected to cost multiple billions of dollars. Most would not produce enough water to fix our problems. And trust me, someone’s going to fight several hundred miles of pipe being laid across their land to make this happen. 
-Written by Joanna Allhands, an Arizona Republic columnist.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

Editorial: With plan to quench its thirst for vanity, Utah thumbs its nose at dry neighbors

On the federal government’s drought map, the hardest-hit areas — the driest of the dry — are shaded in crimson red. Looking at the current map, the coloring makes it appear that someone plunged a knife into Southern Nevada, and blood flowed to portions of California, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and even Texas. One glance at this map and any reasonable person would understand that the region needs to take its water conservation efforts up several notches.

Aquafornia news Desert Research Institute

New research: Does cold wildfire smoke contribute to water repellent soils in burned areas?

After a wildfire, soils in burned areas often become water repellent, leading to increased erosion and flooding after rainfall events – a phenomenon that many scientists have attributed to smoke and heat-induced changes in soil chemistry. But this post-fire water repellency may also be caused by wildfire smoke in the absence of heat, according to a new paper from the Desert Research Institute (DRI) in Nevada.

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Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Congress seeks long-term solutions for drought crippling Western US

A crippling drought — largely connected to climate change — is gripping the Western United States, affecting over 70 million people and around 40% of the U.S.  … Farmers, scientists, tribal officials, foresters and other groups affected by the worsening drought testified at a House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Oceans and Wildlife hearing on Tuesday, asking lawmakers for both short-term relief and long-term solutions from the worsening conditions.

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Aquafornia news Cronkite News - Arizona PBS

Arizona’s current historic drought may be ‘baseline for the future’

Arizona and other Western states just lived through the driest year in more than a century, with no drought relief in sight in the near future, experts told a House panel Tuesday. The period from last April to this March was the driest in the last 126 years for Arizona and other Western states, witnesses said. It caps a two-decade stretch that was the driest in more than 100 years that records have been kept – and one of the driest in the past 1,200 years based on paleohydrology evidence, one official said.

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Aquafornia news KJZZ

Bureau of Reclamation has already studied Mississippi pipeline

The Arizona Legislature wants to look into the feasibility of pumping water from the Mississippi River to Arizona. But the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has already studied the idea, and weighed in on the project in 2012. The agency studied factors such as cost, legal issues, power use and the amount of time the project would take. A report estimated the project could cost up to $14 billion; the timetable was around 30 years. 

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Aquafornia news Sierra Nevada Ally

Opinion: Is the non-functional turf ban coming to northern Nevada

The 2021 legislative session is an anomaly. Notwithstanding COVID, the bad water bills died early and the good ones pressed on. That is not the norm. But it appears that more folks are beginning to believe these are not normal times.  Indeed, this year is different. Long-time foes are singing kumbaya in praise of AB356.  The legislation, which passed both chambers, saves 10 billion gallons of water annually in Southern Nevada –– defending the dwindling supply of Colorado River water by mandating the removal of all non-functional turf by 2027 in Southern Nevada.
-Written by Kyle Roerink, executive director of the Great Basin Water Network.  

Aquafornia news Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Overnight releases will be reduced from Davis Dam as part of ongoing collaborative effort to decrease nuisance caddisfly population

Beginning next week, the Bureau of Reclamation plans to reduce overnight releases from Davis Dam on selected dates in an attempt to decrease the local caddisfly population – following a request from the cities of Laughlin, Nevada and Bullhead City, Arizona. The reduced flows along the river reach below Davis Dam will help with an ongoing pest abatement study being conducted by the downstream communities to combat this nuisance species that negatively impacts businesses and visitors to the area.

Aquafornia news Arizona News

Arizona Legislature proposes pumping Mississippi River water to help with drought

Arizona’s drought has lawmakers looking into drawing water from the Mississippi River to be used here in the desert. “This kind of project would be looking 20 years down the road,” said Republican Rep. Tim Dunn from Yuma. Dunn sponsored House Concurrent Memorial 2004, which got bipartisan support in the Arizona legislature, and urges Congress to study a plan for a pipeline that would take water out of the Mississippi River near Davenport, Iowa. 

Aquafornia news ABC 15

Arizona’s continuing population growth puts pressure on water supply

Millions of people are betting on Arizona. They’re buying homes, starting businesses, and families. The future of how we use our water resources may dictate the future of their success. … That question was addressed four decades earlier with the Groundwater Management Act of 1980. The idea was the law would ensure when water was taken out, just as much was put back in, creating what they called a safe yield goal by 2025. Unfortunately, a new study released by ASU researchers with the Kyl Center shows the law is not living up to its promise as deep, thousands of years old aquifers continue to be over-pumped.

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Aquafornia news KJZZ

Arizona lawmakers float idea of piping water from the Mississippi

The drought has some members of the Arizona Legislature wondering if the state should look for a new source of water: the Mississippi River. Conservationists wonder if lawmakers should try a different approach. As Arizona braces for a drought contingency plan to kick in, the Legislature has floated the idea of damming the Mississippi and piping the water here. The idea received overwhelming support among lawmakers, though it is unclear if the project is viable. Sandy Bahr, with the Sierra Club, told KJZZ’s The Show last month the state needs to adjust its thinking about water, especially in times of drought.

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Aquafornia news Law Week Colorado

9th Circuit rebukes U.S. on Native interests in Colorado River rights

A federal appeals court has rebuked the U.S. government for failing to properly consider the interest of Native American nations in developing allocation guidelines for the Colorado River Basin’s waters and ordered it to prioritize obligations assumed when it signed a treaty with the Navajo Nation in 1868. The April 28 ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals may boost Native American negotiating clout as the basin’s states ponder how to address impacts of ongoing drought in the region.

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

La Niña weather pattern relaxes, bringing global implications

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced on Thursday that a key weather feature that affects global temperature and precipitation has shifted into a “neutral,” or average, state. La Niña, one of the factors behind last year’s extremely active Atlantic hurricane season and a contributor to below-average rainfall in the South and Southwest, has faded away….In California, any drought relief associated with the end of La Niña won’t come during the dry season that runs well into next fall.

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Aquafornia news Cronkite News - Arizona PBS

Researchers spelunk the Grand Canyon to document its beautiful, confounding springs

Ben Tobin has questions about the Grand Canyon’s caves. The University of Kentucky geologist started learning about caves as a young man, in part because his mother was a geologist, and a childhood fascination grew over time. … When he was in college, an internship in Arkansas doing cave tours got him hooked, and eventually his work brought him out West, to Grand Canyon National Park. Tobin specializes in what’s known as karst hydrology. These are underground systems made up of soluble rock such as limestone. To Tobin, caves are like another world, with blind animals, fossils and archeological finds. 

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Last chance to register for next week’s Lower Colorado River Tour

Only one week remains to register for our May 20 virtual Lower Colorado River Tour where you can hear directly from experts offering a range of perspectives on the most contested and meticulously managed river in the United States. Practically every drop of water in the Colorado River is already allocated, but pressure on the hard-working river continues to grow from myriad sources — increasing population, declining habitat and climate change.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

California’s unusually dry winter could be the new normal, according to decades of data

As Californians can tell by the already beige hills, the early fire weather warnings and the dusty umbrellas sitting deep inside closets, it’s been drier than usual this winter. And according to decades worth of precipitation data, that’s the new normal. What’s considered “normal” for baseline rainfall amounts is determined by a 30-year average that gets recalculated every decade. The latest recalculation, according to Jan Null, a forecaster who runs Golden Gate Weather Services, “show a noticeably drier state” through 2020 compared to the previous “normal” calculation covering 1981 through 2010. 

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Aquafornia news Nevada Independent

Microplastics are everywhere. A Nevada researcher wants to know how they spread.

Tiny specks of degraded plastics have been documented in the snowpack around Lake Tahoe — and in the lake itself. They have been found in the Las Vegas Wash. The phenomenon is not unique to Nevada. Microplastics, the end product of our plastic consumption, have been found in ecosystems across the world, even in remote areas. Microplastics are small — less than 5 millimeters — but they are not uniform. They can have different shapes and vary in size. Microplastics from clothing can appear as synthetic fibers, whereas degraded plastic from bags or water bottles might take on a different composition.

Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

Extremely dry conditions spill across the American West

Spring is generally a time of renewal for the watersheds of the western United States. Warmed by the lengthening days, the region’s towering mountain ranges shed their mantle of snow, releasing freshets of water into welcoming streams and reservoirs. This year, though, the cycle is in disarray. Outside of the Olympic and Cascade ranges of Washington state, winter snows were subpar. The spring melt has been a dud. From the Klamath to the Colorado and Rio Grande, watersheds are under stress once again, and water managers face difficult tradeoffs between farms, fisheries, and at-home uses. 

Aquafornia news Havasu News

Arizona looks to Mississippi River to soothe water shortage

Arizona legislators are looking eastward to ease the impact of a two-decade drought in the Colorado River Basin. According to Arizona Rep. Tim Dunn, who represents the area of Yuma, the Legislature is asking Congress to fund a technological and feasibility study for diverting floodwater from the Mississippi River to replenish the Colorado River. Whether that comes in the form of a diversion dam or pipeline, Dunn says the plan would benefit both the Midwestern and Southwestern United States.

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Aquafornia news Mongabay

Humanity’s challenge of the century: Conserving Earth’s freshwater systems

Many dryland cities like Los Angeles, Cairo and Tehran have already outstripped natural water recharge, but are expected to continue growing, resulting in a deepening arid urban water crisis. … The situations in arid and semi-arid cities like Phoenix, Arizona; Bamako, Mali; or Dubai, UAE, differ in their particulars, but rhyme in their impending disastrous trajectory. These, and other arid-region cities, are approaching the edge of an ecological cliff: dependent on sustaining growth, which itself requires a growth in water supplied by faraway and finite sources, and delivered by aging infrastructure. But water in dryland regions is getting scarcer and supplies more unpredictable. 

Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

Don’t expect Miracle May this month on the Colorado River

The Colorado River Basin appears to be out of miracles this spring. Five years after a “Miracle May” of record rainfall staved off what had appeared to be the river’s first imminent shortage in water deliveries, the hope for another in 2021 “is fading quickly,” says the Colorado Basin River Forecast Center’s latest report, released Thursday. That’s one more piece of bad news for the Central Arizona Project. A first-time shortage is now likely to slash deliveries of river water to Central Arizona farmers starting in 2022 but won’t affect drinking water supplies for Tucson, Phoenix and other cities, or for tribes and industries that get CAP water.

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Aquafornia news The Conversation

Wildfires are contaminating drinking water systems, and it’s more widespread than people realize

More than 58,000 fires scorched the United States last year, and 2021 is on track to be even drier. What many people don’t realize is that these wildfires can do lasting damage beyond the reach of the flames – they can contaminate entire drinking water systems with carcinogens that last for months after the blaze. … Since 2017, multiple fires have impacted drinking water systems … including the CZU Lightning Complex, Camp and Tubbs fires in California. Thousands of private wells have been affected too.

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Aquafornia news Colorado Basin River Forecast Center

Report: Colorado basin river forecast

Early May water supply volume forecasts are below to much below normal throughout the Colorado River Basin and Great Basin. Upper Colorado River Basin water supply forecasts range between 15-75% of the 1981-2010 historical April-July average. Great Basin water supply forecasts are 10-70% of average. … Many April-July volume forecasts fall in the bottom (driest) five on record….The Lake Powell inflow forecast is 2.0 MAF (28% of average), a 17% decrease from April….

Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Hear experts address impact of two-decade drought on Lower Colorado River Tour

Hear directly from a range of experts offering a variety of perspectives on our May 20 virtual Lower Colorado River Tour as they put into context the 20-plus year drought on what is the most contested and meticulously managed river in the United States. Among the experts featured are farmers, tribal representatives, and managers from wildlife agencies, water districts, the Bureau of Reclamation and others who will discuss drought impacts, habitat projects, farming and restoration efforts at the Salton Sea.

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Wednesday Top of the Scroll: ‘New normal’ for U.S. climate is officially hotter – and experts see trouble for California

The official “new normal” for the U.S. climate is warmer than ever before — and the changes are ominous for California, experts say. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Tuesday released its new climate averages, based on the 30-year period from 1991 to 2020. The averages, known as “climate normals,” are updated every 10 years, and they show most of the country, including California, heating up. “The influence of long-term global warming is obvious,” the NOAA said in announcing the updates to its averages. 

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Aquafornia news Grist

Western tribes already lacked water access. Now there’s a megadrought.

In 2021, access to running water and clean drinking water is a given for most Americans. The Census Bureau has even considered dropping a question on plumbing access from the U.S. census questionnaire. But many of the nation’s tribes still lack running water, access to clean water, and even flushing toilets. Native American households are 19 times more likely than white households to lack indoor plumbing, according to the U.S. Water Alliance, and more likely to lack piped water services than any other racial group. That problem is at an inflection point for the Navajo Nation and 29 other tribes in the Colorado River Basin, which stretches from the Rocky Mountains to Mexico.

Aquafornia news White Mountain Independent

Drought intensifies forcing rationing of Colorado River water

The US Bureau of Reclamation last week warned water users to brace for a 500,000 acre-foot cut in water from the Colorado River as a historic drought continues to tighten its grip on the Southwest. The cutback comes on top of a 200,000 acre-foot reduction Arizona water users agreed to last year in an effort to put off this day of reckoning. The Central Arizona Project provides more than a third of the state’s water. The reductions will mostly impact farmers. The sparse snowpack this winter soaked into the ground during the hot, dry spring — producing little runoff.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Public Media

New report looks into water insecurity in tribal lands across Colorado River Basin

A recent report looked into why Indigenous communities within the Colorado River Basin are struggling to get clean, reliable running water. A household in tribal lands is 19 times more likely than a white household to not have indoor plumbing, and during the pandemic this had catastrophic effects on some Indigenous communities. According a 2019 report outlining the action plan for closing the water access gap throughout the United States, “race is the strongest predictor of water and sanitation access,” and it’s Indigenous people who face this problem most.

Aquafornia news Arizona Central

Arizona preparing for cutbacks on Colorado River water amid drought

With the Colorado River’s largest reservoir just 38% full and declining toward the threshold of a first-ever shortage, Arizona water officials convened an online meeting this week to outline how the state will deal with water cutbacks, saying the reductions will be “painful” but plans are in place to lessen the blow for affected farmers next year. Lake Mead’s decline is expected to trigger substantial reductions in water deliveries in 2022 for Arizona, Nevada and Mexico. The largest of those cuts will affect Arizona, slashing its Colorado River supplies by 512,000 acre-feet, about a fifth of its total entitlement.

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Aquafornia news E&E News

Water wonk with Hill, Interior chops to lead Army Corps

President Biden’s pick this week to oversee the Army’s vast natural resources operation would bring to the job decades of water experience at the Interior Department and on Capitol Hill. The president tapped Michael Connor to be the Department of Defense’s assistant secretary of the Army for civil works, which oversees the Army Corps of Engineers and its huge network of dams and other projects. Connor would play a major role in some of the most controversial projects facing the Biden administration in the environmental arena, including the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, as well as Clean Water Act permitting.

Aquafornia news

Cuts to CAP water called “planned pain”

In a note of consolation for the pain some Arizona water users will feel if Central Arizona Project supplies are cut next year, state water leaders said Thursday: It will be planned pain. Federal officials have said it’s likely Lake Mead at the Nevada border will be low enough at the end of 2021 to trigger the first major cutback in CAP deliveries to the Arizona’s parched midsection. Arizona will lose 512,000 acre-feet of its CAP supply — almost one-third of the $4 billion project’s total supply, according to a 2019 drought contingency plan. 

Aquafornia news Pahrump Valley Times

Legislature approves Southern Nevada non-residential turf removal proposal

The Nevada Assembly voted Thursday to approve a non-residential turf removal proposal brought by Southern Nevada water regulators, who say it will save the water-shy Las Vegas Valley 12 billion gallons of water per year. With little debate from lawmakers, the Assembly voted 30-12 on Assembly Bill 356, sending the proposal to the Senate. Four Republicans — Glen Leavitt, R-Boulder City, Heidi Kasama, R-Las Vegas, Melissa Hardy, R-Henderson, and Jill Tolles, R-Reno — crossed party lines to vote with the 26 Democrats.

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Navajo Nation wins revival of Colorado River water rights suit

The Navajo Nation can pursue its lawsuit seeking to force the federal government to secure water from the Colorado River for the reservation, the Ninth Circuit said Wednesday, reversing a lower court’s dismissal of the tribe’s breach of trust claim. The tribe doesn’t seek a judge’s determination of its rights to the river, which the Interior Department says would fall under the Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction, according to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Instead, the tribe seeks an order for Interior to determine the extent to which it needs water, to develop a plan to secure… 

Aquafornia news The Associated Press

Arizona positioned to take on cuts in Colorado River supply

Water officials in Arizona say they are prepared to lose about one-fifth of the water the state gets from the Colorado River in what could be the first federally declared shortage in the river that supplies millions of people in the U.S. West and Mexico. Arizona stands to lose more than any other state in the Colorado River basin that also takes in parts of Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Nevada and California. That’s because Arizona agreed long ago to be the first in line for cuts in exchange for federal funding for a canal system to deliver the water to Arizona’s major metropolitan areas.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Opinion: Water, drought, California and the West

In what may become an iconic image for drought-stricken California, Gov. Gavin Newsom stood on the parched bed of Lake Mendocino on April 21 to announce an emergency declaration for Sonoma and Mendocino counties. … [T]he reservoir was at a historically low 43% of capacity, the harbinger of what could be a devastating drought cycle not only for the Northern California counties that fell within his drought declaration, but for most of the state — indeed, the American West. 
-Written by Michael Hiltzik, a Los Angeles Times columnist.

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Aquafornia news Arizona Capitol Times

Cutbacks in water for central AZ farmers expected

Arizona may be facing its first official declaration of water shortage next year, a move that would trigger water cutbacks of 512,000 acre-feet — almost 20% of Arizona’s Colorado River entitlement — affecting mainly agricultural users.  The 24-Month Study on the Colorado River system, released this month by the Bureau of Reclamation, projects that in June water levels in Lake Mead will fall below 1,075 feet for the first time, which would put the state in a Tier 1 shortage.

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Aquafornia news Aspen Journalism

New dust-on-snow monitoring technology coming to Steamboat lab, expanding a growing snowpack data network

The first automated dust-on-snow monitoring technology in the mountains of Northwest Colorado is expected to be installed this fall to study the impact of dust from arid landscapes on downwind mountain ecosystems in the state and in Utah. McKenzie Skiles, who is a hydrologist and a University of Utah assistant professor, will use close to $10,000 from a National Science Foundation grant to purchase four pyranometers, which measure solar radiation landing on, and reflected by, snow.

Aquafornia news KMTR

The fight for water around the Colorado River basin

The Colorado River cuts through the Grand Canyon, providing water for about 40 million people and 5 and a half million acres of farmland. To some, the water is as valuable as oil. In 1922, the seven U.S. states through which the river flows signed onto the Colorado River Compact, a water-sharing agreement that divvies up the river’s annual flow. The water must be shared equally between Upper Basin states: Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico; and the Lower Basin: California, Arizona and Nevada. There’s been infighting ever since.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Colorado River shortage looms amid scant snow and shrinking flows

The water level of Lake Mead, the country’s largest reservoir, has dropped more than 130 feet since the beginning of 2000, when the lake’s surface lapped at the spillway gates on Hoover Dam. Twenty-one years later, with the Colorado River consistently yielding less water as the climate has grown warmer and drier, the reservoir near Las Vegas sits at just 39% of capacity. … The river’s reservoirs are shrinking as the Southwest endures an especially severe bout of dryness within a two-decade drought intensified by climate change, one of the driest periods in centuries that shows no sign of letting up.

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Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

White House steps up efforts to address prolonged drought in West

The Biden administration has launched a working group focused on addressing drought conditions in the West as the region continues to suffer from a long period of water scarcity. The group, which will be co-chaired by the departments of the Interior and Agriculture, will work with state, local and tribal governments on community needs in weathering drought, according to a news release from the Interior Department.

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Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Learn about infrastructure and environmental restoration during Lower Colorado River Tour

Visit key infrastructure and environmental restoration sites along the lower Colorado River during our online tour May 20 of the iconic river as it weaves through the Lower Basin states of California, Nevada and Arizona. Our Lower Colorado River Tour starts at Hoover Dam near Las Vegas and stops at major agricultural regions, tourist destinations and key wildlife areas such as the Salton Sea and a wildlife refuge in Yuma, Ariz. resulting from a tribal-city partnership.

Aquafornia news Vox

This stunning timelapse shows the megadrought’s toll on the West’s largest reservoir

Just how bad is the drought in the Western US? The shrinking of Lake Mead, the country’s largest reservoir, is a troubling indicator. The massive man-made lake, which straddles the border of Arizona and Nevada, is now only at 39 percent of its full capacity, down from 44 percent in April 2020. That’s equivalent to a 10-foot drop in the water level, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Reclamation. Which means mandatory restrictions on the amount of water surrounding states draw from Lake Mead could be triggered in the next few months.

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Aquafornia news Capital & Main

The good news about climate change: there’s still hope

More than 20 years ago, aquatic ecologist Michael Bogan interned with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife in Bishop, east of the Sierra Nevadas. It was 1998, a wet year for California, and the idea of studying water in the desert lodged in his brain. Desert streams are approachable subjects, especially compared to, say, a massive and murky system like the Mississippi River, says Bogan, now a professor at the University of Arizona’s School of Natural Resources and the Environment: … For Bogan, studying those small systems over the past two decades has meant witnessing their decline.

Aquafornia news Nevada Current

Drought, demands on groundwater making water law even more contentious

Water law adjudication, already a complicated field, will only become more so because of the climate crisis, extended droughts, and increasing demand for groundwater in Nevada, the Supreme Court was told last week. The court Friday held its first meeting for the newly created commission to study the adjudication of water law cases. Members of the commission range from ranchers to conservationists to mining industry representatives and scientists. 

Aquafornia news San Francisco Chronicle

Tuesday Top of the Scroll: Marin to be first big Bay Area water agency to push ahead with water restrictions

As drought conditions worsen across Northern California, the Marin Municipal Water District is about to become the Bay Area’s first major water agency to make the leap to mandatory water restrictions. The utility is expected to adopt a plan Tuesday that would require nearly 200,000 residents of southern and central Marin County to limit outdoor watering to one day a week as well as to stop washing their cars, refilling their swimming pools and power-washing their homes, among other things. Offenders could face fines of up to $250…

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Aquafornia news Jfleck at Inkstain

Blog: The April 2021 24-month study was a shocker, but is it too optimistic?

The release of last week’s Bureau of Reclamation 24-month study felt like very bad news for the Colorado River (See Tony Davis for details.). But a careful reading of the numbers, and an understanding of the process through which they are developed, suggests things are likely even worse than the top-line numbers in the study. The problem: the assumptions underlying the study do not fully capture the climate-change driven aridification of the Colorado River Basin.

Aquafornia news KUNC

With first-ever Colorado River shortage almost certain, states stare down mandatory cutbacks

The Colorado River’s biggest reservoirs are likely to drop to historically low levels later this year, prompting mandatory conservation by some of the river’s heaviest users. The latest Bureau of Reclamation reservoir projections, which take into account river flows in a given year, show a likelihood that Lake Mead on the Arizona-Nevada stateline will dip below the critical threshold of 1,075 feet in elevation in May and remain below that level for the foreseeable future. A first-ever official shortage declaration from the Department of the Interior is almost certain later this year.

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Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Monday Top of the Scroll: Is California suffering a decades-long megadrought?

California has entered another drought. But depending on who you ask, the last one may have never really ended. Some researchers believe the region is actually more than two decades into an emerging “megadrought” — a hydrological event that is on par with the worst dry spells of the past millennium. Except this time, they say, human-caused climate change is driving its severity — and will make it that much harder to climb back out of.

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Aquafornia news Truthout

Blog: The Southwest offers blueprints for the future of wastewater reuse

No country is immune from water scarcity issues — not even the world’s wealthiest country, the United States. The southwestern states, in particular, have faced frequent and ongoing droughts over the past two decades, and traditional water supplies are failing. … Our existing water supplies must go further, and the technology exists to make this happen — by turning wastewater into drinking water. 

Aquafornia news Havasu News

Southern California leans on more Colorado River water to combat record dry season

Southern California, like most of the West, is in the middle of a record dry season. To combat it and keep the metropolitan area well-watered, they’re relying more heavily on the Colorado River, with water pumped directly from the south end of Lake Havasu. Last Wednesday, the Metropolitan Water District began pumping from Lake Havasu at full capacity for the first time in years, drawing water from the Whitsett Intake Pumping Plant located just north of the Parker Dam. The eight-pump flow is equivalent to about 3,000 acre feet of water being pumped per day, according to MWD Manager of Colorado River Resources Bill Hasencamp.

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Aquafornia news U.S. Department of the Interior

News release: White House announces several nominations to Interior leadership, including Tanya Trujillo as Assistant Secretary for Water and Science

The White House announced the intent to nominate several officials to serve at the Department of the Interior, including Tanya Trujillo as Assistant Secretary for Water and Science. Trujillo is a water lawyer with more than 20 years of experience working on complex natural resources management issues and interstate and transboundary water agreements. She most recently worked as a project director with the Colorado River Sustainability Campaign. Before then, she served as the Executive Director of the Colorado River Board of California.

Aquafornia news Voice of San Diego

Controversial project is becoming a pipeline in the sand for local water agencies

The San Diego County Water Authority is no stranger to conflict – virtually all of its dealings over the past decade have been shaped by its feud with the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Now that feud is fueling fights within the agency itself.

Aquafornia news Arizona Public Media

Podcast: Updating the status for water from the Colorado River

The Colorado River is one of the most highly developed surface water systems in the world, but demand for the river’s water continues to exceed supply. University of Arizona geosciences professor Connie Woodhouse discusses the impact of a warming climate on the Colorado River. She is the featured speaker for the annual College of Science lecture series April 15. Connie Woodhouse spoke with Leslie Tolbert, Regent’s professor emerita in Neuroscience at the University of Arizona.

Aquafornia news KOLD News 13

Extreme conditions now sparking drought contingency plan for first time

Extreme drought conditions throughout the West are lowering levels in the crucial water reservoir, Lake Mead. Scars of long years of low precipitation are hard to go unnoticed at Lake Mead, and the hot, dry summers have been felt for the last several years in Arizona. 2020 was especially dry, with little monsoon. Now, the West is in uncharted territory. Lake Mead is projected to drop by several feet this year, from elevation 1,083 to about 1,068, according to officials with the Central Arizona Project. The lake is hovering around 39 percent of its full capacity.

Aquafornia news New Mexico In Depth

A century of federal indifference left generations of Navajo homes without running water

[T]he 800 to 900 people in Tohatchi, and another 600 to 800 in Mexican Springs, eight miles to the west, all depend on a single well and single pump. If the pump running it fails, or if the water level in it drops — both issues that have troubled nearby Gallup this year — water will cut out for the homes, the head-start center, the schools, the clinic, the senior center, five churches, and the convenience store and gas station. … [T]he Navajo Nation has waited more than a century for pipes and water treatment plants that would bring drinking water to all of its people while watching nearby off-reservation cities and farms grow, swallowing up water from the Colorado River Basin that the tribe has a claim to.

Aquafornia news KTLA

Las Vegas pushes to become first to ban ornamental grass in water conservation move

A desert city built on a reputation for excess and indulgence wants to become a model for restraint and conservation with a first-in-the-nation policy banning grass that nobody walks on. Las Vegas-area water officials have spent two decades trying to get people to replace thirsty greenery with desert plants, and now they’re asking the Nevada Legislature to outlaw roughly 40% of the turf that’s left. The Southern Nevada Water Authority estimates there are almost 8 square miles (21 square kilometers) of “nonfunctional turf” in the metro area — grass that no one ever walks on or otherwise uses in street medians, housing developments and office parks.

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Aquafornia news ABC10 

California slips further into drought status

The state is slipping further into more serious levels of drought as it enters the second year for dry conditions and the records the third driest rainy season on record. The US Drought Monitor has downgraded areas in far Northern California, the Central Coast, and Southern California to reflect recent drought data. The top level “Exceptional” (D4) drought remains at 5% in the Owens Valley and Mohave Desert. Extreme (D3) drought now covers 35% of the state, an increase from 32% last week. Most of the direct impacts from various stages of more severe drought impact agriculture and grazing areas. Many areas have only seen 50% of normal rain or less. Areas that receive snow have seen well below average snowpack levels.

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Aquafornia news Inside Climate News

In the West, signs in the snow warn that a 20-year drought will persist and intensify

Lack of monsoon rainfall last summer and spotty snowfall this winter combined to worsen the Western drought dramatically in the past year, and spring snowmelt won’t bring much relief. Critical April 1 measurements of snow accumulations from mountain ranges across the region show that most streams and rivers will once again flow well below average levels this year, stressing ecosystems and farms and depleting key reservoirs that are already at dangerously low levels.  As the climate warms, it’s likely that drought conditions will worsen and persist across much of the West. Dry spells between downpours and blizzards are getting longer, and snowpack in the mountains is starting to melt during winter, new research shows. 

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Aquafornia news BBC News

The water fight over the shrinking Colorado River

Scientists have been predicting for years that the Colorado River would continue to deplete due to global warming and increased water demands, but according to new studies it’s looking worse than they thought. That worries rancher Marsha Daughenbaugh, 68, of Steamboat Springs, who relies on the water from the Colorado River to grow feed for her cattle. … Recent reports show that the river’s water flows were down 20% in 2000 and by 2050 that number is estimated to more than double.

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Aquafornia news Associated Press

Study: Climate change has made rainstorms more erratic, droughts much longer in U.S. West

Rainstorms grew more erratic and droughts much longer across most of the U.S. West over the past half-century as climate change warmed the planet, according to a sweeping government study released Tuesday that concludes the situation is worsening. The most dramatic changes were recorded in the desert Southwest, where the average dry period between rainstorms grew from about 30 days in the 1970s to 45 days between storms now, said Joel Biederman, a research hydrologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Southwest Watershed Research Center in Tucson, Arizona.

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Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Explore California’s water basics & the lifeblood of the Southwest during upcoming virtual events

Our two-day Water 101 Workshop begins on Earth Day, when you can gain a deeper understanding of California’s most precious natural resource. One of our most popular events, the once-a-year workshop will be held as an engaging online event on the afternoons of Thursday, April 22 and Friday, April 23. California’s water basics will be covered by some of the state’s leading policy and legal experts, including the history, geography, legal and political facets of water in the state, as well a look at hot topics and current issues of concern.

Aquafornia news Havasu News

Colorado River Indian Tribes will get $209K to stop water loss from irrigation canals

The Colorado River Indian Tribes will receive $209,000 for irrigation canal projects, Congressman Paul Gosar announced Tuesday. The federal funds were awarded by the U.S. Department of the Interior to help CRIT pay for canal lining. The project is intended to help stop water seepage from the canal. CRIT relies on the Colorado River as its primary source of water, and water conserved with help the Tribes meet existing demand during times of drought, Gosar said. The project will line nearly 4,000 feet of the earthen canal with a membrane covered in sprayed concrete. The stretch of canal has been identified as having the most significant seepage rate of all 232 miles of canals in the Colorado River Irrigation Project, according to the Bureau of Reclamation.

Aquafornia news The Associated Press

Vegas water agency asks lawmakers to ban ornamental grass

Las Vegas water officials want state lawmakers to require the removal of thirsty grass landscaping that isn’t used for recreation. Southern Nevada Water Authority lobbyist Andy Belanger told lawmakers Monday that climate change and growth in the Las Vegas area would require communities to take more significant measures to conserve water. The agency estimates that more than 5,000 acres of “nonfunctional turf” — grass not used for recreational activities like golf, youth sports or dog-walking — is spread throughout the region.

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Aquafornia news University of Colorado Boulder

New research: Increased winter snowmelt threatens western water resources

More snow is melting during winter across the West, a concerning trend that could impact everything from ski conditions to fire danger and agriculture, according to a new CU Boulder analysis of 40 years of data. Researchers found that since the late 1970s, winter’s boundary with spring has been slowly disappearing, with one-third of 1,065 snow measurement stations from the Mexican border to the Alaskan Arctic recording increasing winter snowmelt…. Their new findings, published in Nature Climate Change, have important implications for water resource planning…

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

As Colorado River drought deepens, Arizona prepares for water cutbacks

Unrelenting drought and years of rising temperatures due to climate change are pushing the long-overallocated Colorado River into new territory, setting the stage for the largest mandatory water cutbacks to date. Lake Mead, the biggest reservoir on the river, has declined dramatically over the past two decades and now stands at just 40% of its full capacity. This summer, it’s projected to fall to the lowest levels since it was filled in the 1930s following the construction of Hoover Dam. The reservoir near Las Vegas is approaching a threshold that is expected to trigger a first-ever shortage declaration by the federal government for next year, leading to substantial cuts in water deliveries to Arizona, Nevada and Mexico.

Aquafornia news The Associated Press

Nevada farmers and conservationists balk at “water banking,” an idea also being weighed in Colorado

Rural water users are panicking over a proposal to create a market for the sale and purchase of water rights in Nevada, unconvinced by arguments that the concept would encourage conservation. Lawmakers on Monday weighed whether so-called “water banking” would be preferable to prevailing water law doctrines that govern surface and groundwater rights disputes in the driest state in the U.S. A legislative hearing about two proposals to allow water rights holders to sell their entitlements pitted state water bureaucrats against a coalition of farmers, conservationists and rural officials. 

Aquafornia news The Daily Beast

The next time you’re out West, you might see clouds on steroids

The idea of cloud seeding and weather modification has been around since 1940. There were federally funded programs in the 1960s—one named Project Skywater that ultimately had mixed results. In the 1970s and 1980s, the US government began experimenting on how weather modification could be used as a war tool. But outside of ski resorts like Vail, where the technology is used to help increase snow during snowstorms, interest in cloud seeding largely dropped off. … According to the North American Weather Modification Council, there are currently several projects being run in California, Wyoming, Colorado, Texas, Utah, among other states with a project here or there.

Aquafornia news The Weather Network

Another California drought in 2021 is possible, along with more wildfires

It was in 2016 that the state of California declared a four-year drought had finally come to an end. Now, in 2021, it could be entering another very dry season. It is in the winter season that folks on the West Coast welcome dreary days packed with cloud and rain. California usually sees the most rain and snow in the month of February. This year, however, was different: It was quite dry all of the winter season, and we can blame La Niña for this pattern. … Thirty per cent of California’s water supply comes from the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada mountain ranges and only 57 per cent of normal precipitation has fallen this season. This, coupled with lower than average snowpack for 2020 as well, could spell trouble down the road when it comes to water supply.

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Aquafornia news Colorado Public Radio

Colorado’s snowpack was almost normal this winter, but it may not be enough water for the year

The blizzard that dumped snow along the Front Range in March helped Colorado nearly reach its average snowpack for the winter, federal data shows. But last year’s historically dry weather means that streams are likely to run lower than normal, potentially restricting the amount of water some consumers can use, experts said… Areas east of the Continental Divide had above average snowpack, but the Colorado River Basin on the west was below average….

Aquafornia news Colorado Politics

Judge tosses challenge from environmental groups to halt Denver Water reservoir expansion

A federal judge has thrown out a legal action from multiple environmental organizations seeking to halt the expansion of a key Denver Water storage facility, citing no legal authority to address the challenge. … The expansion of Gross Reservoir in Boulder County is intended to provide additional water storage and safeguard against future shortfalls during droughts. The utility currently serves customers in Denver, Jefferson, Arapahoe, Douglas and Adams counties. In July 2020, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission gave its approval for the design and construction of the reservoir’s expansion. The project would add 77,000 acre-feet of water storage and 131 feet to the dam’s height for the utility’s “North System” of water delivery.

Aquafornia news The Associated Press

Agencies: Arizona farmers should expect less water in 2022

State officials are putting farmers in south-central Arizona on notice that the continuing drought means a “substantial cut” in deliveries of Colorado River water is expected next year. A joint statement issued Friday by the state Department of Water Resources and the Central Arizona Project said an expected shortage declaration “will result in a substantial cut to Arizona’s share of the river, with reductions falling largely to central Arizona agricultural users.” The Central Arizona Project is an aqueduct system that delivers Colorado River water to users in central Arizona and southern Arizona, including farmers, cities and tribes.

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Aquafornia news KAWC

When water is scarce, some researchers go underground to find out why

When it comes to water in the West, a lot of it is visible. Snow stacks up high in the mountains then eventually melts and flows down into valleys. It’s easy to see how heavy rains and rushing rivers translate into an abundance of available water. But another important factor of water availability is much harder to see. Beneath the surface, the amount of moisture held in the ground can play a big role in how much water makes it down to rivers and reservoirs – and eventually into the pipes that feed homes and businesses. Elise Osenga is a community science manager for the Aspen Global Change Institute – a nonprofit focused on expanding scientific understanding of climate change. 

Aquafornia news Western Slope Now

2020 Drought: One of the worst in Colorado history

Local water providers say the current drought is one of the worst in Colorado history. Mesa County ranges from extreme drought to exceptional drought in areas and it doesn’t appear to be improving anytime soon. Below average spring runoff is anticipated by local water providers as watersheds are working to be replenished after last year’s drought. … The wildfires in the Colorado River basin last summer have scarred significant portions of the Colorado River which may result in debris, ash, and dense mud flowing into the Colorado River watershed, which will impact water quality for many water entities in Mesa County.

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Aquafornia news KUNC

Colorado River tribes aim to establish ‘one unified voice’ in policy talks

The Fort Yuma-Quechan Indian Tribe is situated at a nexus in the Colorado River Basin. That’s true in a geographic sense. The tribe’s reservation overlays the Arizona-California border near Yuma, Arizona. The two states are heavily reliant on water from the Colorado River. The reservation also abuts the U.S.-Mexico border where the river flows into Mexico for use in cities and on farms. One of the river’s largest irrigation projects, the All-American Canal, was dug through the tribe’s land, and flows from the reservation’s northeastern boundary to its far southwestern corner, on its way to irrigate crops in California’s Imperial Valley. The confluence of the Colorado River and one of its historically important tributaries, the Gila River, is nearby.

Aquafornia news GoBankingRates

Blog: 6 alarming facts about America’s water industry

About 40 million Americans in the West and Southwest rely on the Colorado River for drinking water, as do the region’s massive agriculture and recreation industries. Water has been the most valuable commodity in the West since the time of the pioneers. It became a source of modern political power when the water of the Colorado River was divvied up among seven Western States in the 1920s — the Jack Nicholson movie “Chinatown” dramatized California’s legendary water battles. Today, a rapidly shrinking Colorado River is forced to support relentless development in California and across the West — very thirsty development.

Aquafornia news Water Education Colorado

Despite blizzard, Colorado’s critical mountain snowpack shrinks

Despite the recent history-making blizzard on Colorado’s Front Range, statewide snowpack sits at 92 percent of average as of March 19, down from 105 percent of average at the end of February, according to the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Just two river basins, the Arkansas and the Rio Grande, are registering above average at 101 percent and 106 percent respectively. Among the driest are the Gunnison Basin, at 86 percent of average, and the San Juan/Dolores, at 83 percent, both in the southwestern part of the state.

Aquafornia news The Salt Lake Tribune

Utah is a leader in cloud seeding and could prove as a model for boosting a drought-stricken West’s water supplies

Utah’s winter sports industry may claim the greatest snow on Earth, but for skiers and water watchers alike, there is hardly ever enough powder. For nearly 50 years, the second-driest state in the nation has been giving natural winter storms an engineered boost to help deepen its snowpack through a program largely funded by state taxpayers, local governments and water conservancy districts. More recently, the states that rely on water from the lower Colorado River — California, Arizona and Nevada — have been paying for additional cloud seeding in Utah.

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Aquafornia news Science News

Simple structures can help streams survive wildfires and drought

Many of the wetlands in the western United States have disappeared since the 1700s. California has lost an astonishing 90 percent of its wetlands, which includes streamsides, wet meadows and ponds. In Nevada, Idaho and Colorado, more than 50 percent of wetlands have vanished. Precious wet habitats now make up just 2 percent of the arid West — and those remaining wet places are struggling. Nearly half of U.S. streams are in poor condition, unable to fully sustain wildlife and people, says Jeremy Maestas, a sagebrush ecosystem specialist with the NRCS who organized that workshop on Wilde’s ranch in 2016. As communities in the American West face increasing water shortages, more frequent and larger wildfires and unpredictable floods, restoring ailing waterways is becoming a necessity.

Aquafornia news Cornell Chronicle

New research: Study exposes global ripple effects of regional water scarcity

Water scarcity is often understood as a problem for regions experiencing drought, but a new study from Cornell and Tufts universities finds that not only can localized water shortages impact the global economy, but changes in global demand send positive and negative ripple effects to water basins across the globe. … [I]n the lower Colorado River basin, the worst economic outcomes arise from limited groundwater availability and high population growth, but that high population growth can also prove beneficial under some climatic scenarios. 

Aquafornia news Arizona PBS

Tribal leaders ask for more funding, less meddling for water projects

Arizona tribal officials told a Senate committee Wednesday that the federal government can help address a crisis with water infrastructure on their lands through more funding, and less meddling. Navajo Department of Water Resources Director Jason John and Colorado River Indian Tribes Chairwoman Amelia Flores made the comments during a Senate Indian Affairs Committee hearing on water infrastructure for Native communities. Leaders of Oregon and Alaska tribes also testified at the hearing. 

Aquafornia news The Daily Sentinel

Water outlook a concern for endangered fish

Meager anticipated snowmelt runoff is expected to mean another challenging year for maintaining even below-optimal levels of flows in the Colorado River downstream of the Palisade area for the benefit of endangered fish. … What’s referred to as the 15-Mile Reach of the river between the Palisade area and the Gunnison River confluence is of particular concern for the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program, which focuses on four endangered fish. The stretch is primarily used by two of the fish — the razorback sucker and Colorado pikeminnow. But it’s also used by a third, the bonytail. And a fourth, the humpback chub, which favors downstream stretches such as Westwater Canyon, indirectly benefits from efforts to bolster flows in the 15-Mile Reach.

Aquafornia news Fox 13 Salt Lake City

Romney and the looming Colorado River clash

One of the most critical negotiations for Utah’s future is coming at a time when Utah’s delegations in Washington D.C. may be less influential than every other party at the table. The Colorado River Compact, hammered out in 1922 with few amendments over the years, expires in 2026. Every other state in the compact other than Utah has a majority Democratic or split delegation in Washington. Those states? Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California. 

Aquafornia news KUER

A Colorado River showdown is looming. Let the posturing begin

A showdown is looming on the Colorado River. The river’s existing management guidelines are set to expire in 2026. The states that draw water from it are about to undertake a new round of negotiations over the river’s future, while it’s facing worsening dry conditions due in part to rising temperatures. That means everyone with an interest in the river’s future — tribes, environmentalists, developers, business groups, recreation advocates — is hoping a new round of talks will bring certainty to existing water supplies and demands.

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Aquafornia news The Guardian

Make it rain: US states embrace ‘cloud seeding’ to try to conquer drought

With three-quarters of the US west gripped by a seemingly ceaseless drought, several states are increasingly embracing a drastic intervention – the modification of the weather to spur more rainfall. … Cloud seeding experiments have taken place since the 1940s but until recently there was little certainty the method had any positive impact. But research last year managed to pinpoint snowfall that “unambiguously” came from cloud seeding … Others are now looking to join in, including the “four corners” states – Utah, Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico – that have been ravaged by the most extreme version of the latest drought. 

Aquafornia news Bloomberg Green

Monday Top of the Scroll: Drought is the U.S. West’s next big climate disaster

Much of the U.S. West is facing the driest spring in seven years, setting up a climate disaster that could strangle agriculture, fuel deadly wildfires and even hurt power production. Across 11 western states, drought has captured about 75% of the land, and covers more than 44% of the contiguous U.S., the U.S. Drought Monitor said.  While drought isn’t new to the West, where millions of people live, grow crops and raise livestock in desert conditions that require massive amounts of water, global warming is exacerbating the problem — shrinking snowpack in the Rocky Mountains and extending the fire season on the West Coast.

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Aquafornia news Associated Press

Feds want to fix canal, but Nevada town lives off the leaks

A Nevada town founded a century ago by pioneers lured to the West by the promise of free land and cheap water in the desert is trying to block the U.S. government from renovating a 115-year-old earthen irrigation canal with a plan that would eliminate leaking water that local residents long have used to fill their own domestic wells. A federal judge denied the town of Fernley’s bid last year to delay plans to line parts of the Truckee Canal with concrete to make it safer after it burst and flooded nearly 600 homes in 2008.

Aquafornia news Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Projects throughout the Western United States receive $42.4 million in grants from Reclamation to conserve and use water more efficiently

The Bureau of Reclamation is awarding $42.4 million in grants to 55 projects throughout 13 states. These projects will improve the water reliability for these communities by using water more efficiently and power efficiency improvements that water supply reliability and generate more hydropower…. In California, near the Arizona border, the Bard Water District will receive $1.1 million to complete a canal lining and piping project. The project is expected to result in annual water savings of 701 acre-feet, which will remain in the Colorado River system for other uses.  

Aquafornia news Boating Industry

California offers grants for quagga and zebra mussel prevention

The Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) will be accepting grant applications for quagga and zebra mussel infestation prevention programs from March 22 through April 30, 2021. All applications must be received by 5 p.m. on Friday, April 30, 2021. … California water body authorities have recognized the westward spread of mussel infestation via the Colorado River System and the potential harm to state waterways should lakes and reservoirs become invaded. To help prevent California waterways from infestation, DBW provides grants to entities that own or manage any aspect of water in a reservoir that is open for public recreation and is mussel-free.

Aquafornia news The Salt Lake Tribune

Utah governor declares a state of emergency because of drought

After a record dry summer and fall — and with winter snowpack currently at 70% of normal levels — Utah Gov. Spencer Cox signed an emergency order Wednesday declaring a state of emergency due to drought conditions. The move comes after a recommendation from the state’s Drought Review and Reporting Committee and opens the door for drought-affected communities and agricultural producers to potentially access state or federal emergency funds and resources, according to a news release. Cox said Wednesday that state leaders have been “monitoring drought conditions carefully and had hoped to see significant improvement from winter storms.”

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Aquafornia news The Telegraph

Scrapped Vegas pipeline plan looms amid swamp cedar debate

The shadow of a controversial plan to pipe groundwater from rural Nevada to Las Vegas looms as state lawmakers weigh two proposals to protect groves of swamp cedar trees considered sacred on Monday. Until last year when the Southern Nevada Water Authority decided to “indefinitely defer” its pursuit of permits, the trees were caught in the crossfire of fights over development and conservation.

Aquafornia news E&E News

Geoengineering: 8 states are tweaking the weather (and it might not work)

Western water managers are contending with the growing threat of shortages. Flow has dwindled on major water systems like the Rio Grande and the Colorado River, which each supply water to millions of people. With temperatures steadily rising, cloud seeding poses one attractive solution.

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Aquafornia news EurekAlert!

New research: Geomorphologists map fine sediment in Colorado River to improve sandbar management

Grain by grain, sandbars are ecologically important to the Colorado River system for humans and wildlife, say scientists. How sand, silt and clay move along and become deposited within the river corridor in the Grand Canyon National Park, downstream from Glen Canyon Dam, has become an important question to a number of government agencies as well as to Native American tribes. The answer impacts the entire Colorado River ecosystem and will help scientists better understand how the Colorado River system works.

Aquafornia news Colorado Public Radio

All that snow should help with Colorado’s drought, but it’s still not enough for some parts of the state

As Colorado digs out from the recent blizzard, each heavy shovel full of snow proves the storm brought plenty of moisture. But is it enough to free the state from its drought conditions? Russ Schumacher, the Colorado state climatologist, said the answer largely depends on location. … Colorado’s drought conditions had improved ahead of the storm. After record dry weather over the summer and fall, snowpack levels had inched toward normal throughout the winter, but western Colorado continued to miss out on the snowfall. 

Aquafornia news Charlotte Observer

Water flow change at Grand Canyon to reveal riverbed

The water flow in the Grand Canyon is temporarily changing and it could reveal some surprises, geologists said. The U.S. Geological Survey said Sunday that an 11-day “spring disturbance” flow will start Monday and will drop water levels in parts of the Grand Canyon. … While dam maintenance may not seem exciting, the drop in water could reveal parts of the Colorado riverbed that hasn’t been seen in decades, USGS said. It could also impact in the Colorado River ecosystem. The change in water levels will also mimic what the Colorado River was like before the dam was built, USGS said.

Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Sun

Reduced water flow prepped at Lake Powell

Scientists and boatmen with the United States Geological Survey are preparing for a busy week on the Colorado River as engineers at Glen Canyon Dam prepare to reduce the water flowing out of Lake Powell substantially. In order to conduct maintenance on the concrete apron downstream of the dam, engineers will be limiting the water that runs through the dam’s turbines starting Monday and continuing through the rest of the week.

Aquafornia news Colorado Sun

Blog: Colorado’s latest proposal to divert water from the Western Slope is a complex, disputed set of pipes

Sometime in the middle of next year, if Northern Water gets its way, the bulldozers will start piling earth and rock 25 stories high to plug this dry basin southwest of Loveland forever.  Four miles to the south, they’ll build another dam to keep their newly-made bathtub from leaking out the back toward Lyons. Drill crews will bore a massive pipeline through the hogback making up the east edge of the bathtub, in order to feed Carter Lake a few hundred yards to the east. They’ll move a power line. Help build a surrounding open space park. Upgrade a sewage plant in Fraser. Four years later, they’ll close dam gates reinforced to hold back 29 billion gallons of life-giving water.

Aquafornia news Vox

Drought in California – Why 77 percent of the Western US is abnormally dry

The Western US is in the midst of yet another dangerous dry spell. The drought has been building over the past year, and since November, a greater stretch of the West has been in the most severe category of drought than at any time in the 20 years that the National Drought Mitigation Center has been keeping records. … Ryan Jensen saw the impacts of California’s last major drought firsthand while working for the Community Water Center in the San Joaquin Valley. When residential wells ran dry, students had to shower in their school locker rooms. To keep toilets running, some rural households relied on hoses slung over fences from their neighbors.

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Aquafornia news Water Education Foundation

Announcement: Save the date for our virtual lower Colorado River tour on May 20

Mark your calendars now for our virtual Lower Colorado River Tour on May 20 to learn about the important role the river’s water plays in the three Lower Basin states of Nevada, Arizona and California, and how it helps to sustain their cities, wildlife areas and farms. Registration is coming soon! This virtual journey will cover a stretch of the Colorado River from Hoover Dam and its reservoir Lake Mead, the nation’s tallest concrete dam and largest reservoir respectively, down to the U.S./Mexico border and up to the Salton Sea.

Aquafornia news Arizona Capitol Times

Opinion: Congress has opportunity to protect Grand Canyon region

The Grand Canyon Protection Act was recently introduced by U.S. Rep. Raύl Grijalva and passed in the House and has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Kyrsten Sinema. The bills will permanently protect about 1 million acres of public lands surrounding Grand Canyon from the harmful and lasting damage of new uranium mining. … This legislation is critical to stopping the threats that mining poses to water quality and quantity, unique habitats and wildlife pathways, and to sacred places. 
-Written by Sandy Bahr, director for Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter, and Amber Wilson Reimondo, Energy Program director with Grand Canyon Trust.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Thursday Top of the Scroll: Western states chart diverging paths as water shortages loom

As persistent drought and climate change threaten the Colorado River, several states that rely on the water acknowledge they likely won’t get what they were promised a century ago. But not Utah. Republican lawmakers approved an entity that could push for more of Utah’s share of water as seven Western states prepare to negotiate how to sustain a river serving 40 million people. Critics say the legislation, which the governor still must sign, could strengthen Utah’s effort to complete a billion-dollar pipeline from a dwindling reservoir that’s a key indicator of the river’s health.

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