Topic: Nevada

Overview

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 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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Aquafornia news KNAU Arizona Public Radio

Report calls for “radical changes” to Colorado River management

A recent report from Colorado River experts says it’s time for radical new management strategies to safeguard the Southwest’s water supplies. It’s meant to inform discussions on how to renegotiate certain parts of the Law of the River that will expire in 2026. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny spoke about the report with Jack Schmidt, director of the Center for Colorado River Studies at Utah State University.

Aquafornia news The Wall Street Journal

Record drought strains the Southwest

For the first time ever, rancher Jimmie Hughes saw all 15 of the ponds he keeps for his cattle dry up at the same time this year. Now, he and his co-workers are forced to haul tanks of water two hours over dusty, mountain roads to water their 300 cows. … The Southwest is locked in drought again, prompting cutbacks to farms and ranches and putting renewed pressure on urban supplies. Extreme to exceptional drought is afflicting between 57% and 90% of the land in Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Arizona and is shriveling a snowpack that supplies water to 40 million people from Denver to Los Angeles, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor.

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Aquafornia news High Country News

Invasive mussels in aquarium supplies alarm wildlife managers

Zebra mussels — fingernail-sized mollusks named for their striped shells — are benign in their native Black Sea and Caspian Sea ecosystems. But they are disastrous almost everywhere else. Since they were first discovered in the Great Lakes in 1986, these rapid-spawning animals have infested every watershed in the Lower 48 except the Columbia River Basin….The mussel found in [a pet store in] Seattle came from the California distributor….

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion: Colorado River study predicts big cuts. That’s not why it’s intriguing

A new Colorado River study predicts we may need to make even deeper cuts to keep our reservoirs from tanking over the long haul. But the dire conclusions within the study aren’t what make it so intriguing. It’s how the group arrived at them. The Future of the Colorado River project, an effort based out of Utah State University, has produced six white papers to evaluate new approaches to water management along the river. And, most notably, it is using the Colorado River Simulation System (CRSS), the same modeling tool the Bureau of Reclamation uses to develop its long-term water availability forecasts for the basin.
- Written by Joanna Allhands, a columnist for the Arizona Republic.

Aquafornia news Post Independent

Opinion: Colorado River Compact adjustments are needed

When [the Colorado River Compact was] signed in 1922, the Colorado River drainage was divided into two divisions; Upper: Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico, Utah; Lower: Arizona, California, Nevada. At that time, it was felt the total average annual flow was 16.4 million acre feet. As a result, each basin was assigned 50%, or 7.5 million acre feet, with the 1.4 million acre feet surplus allocated to Mexico. … As a result, the Upper Basin is obligated to provide 7.5M acre feet to the Lower Basin, regardless of the actual flow of water in any given year. Obviously, snowpack and the consequent flow is not a constant and years of drought and low flows create a problem for the Upper Basin.
-Written by Bryan Whiting, a columnist for the Glenwood Springs (Colo.) Post Independent. 

Aquafornia news Colorado Springs Gazette

Colorado in Drought — Scientists preparing for ‘chaotic weather’ future

The hot dry conditions that melted strong snowpack early in 2020 and led to severe drought, low river flows and record setting wildfires across the state could be a harbinger of what is to come in Colorado. Climate change is likely to drive “chaotic weather” and greater extremes with hotter droughts and bigger snowstorms that will be harder to predict, said Kenneth Williams, environmental remediation and water resources program lead at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, headquartered in California.

Aquafornia news USA Today

Friday Top of the Scroll: Megadrought worsens in the Western U.S., California

Much of the western U.S. continues to endure a long-term drought, one that threatens the region’s water supplies and agriculture and could worsen wildfires this year. In fact, some scientists are calling the dryness in the West a “megadrought,”  defined as an intense drought that lasts for decades or longer.  Overall, about 90% of the West is now either abnormally dry or in a drought, which is among the highest percentages in the past 20 years, according to this week’s U.S. Drought Monitor.

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Aquafornia news Circle of Blue

The biggest coal power plant in the American West closed. What happens with the Colorado River water it used?

The coal-fired power plant that sat on Navajo Nation land in the northeastern corner of Arizona did not just generate electricity. It also drew water from the Colorado River, an essential input for cooling the plant’s machinery. What happens to that water now that the plant is being decommissioned? Who gets to decide how it is used? In a drying region in which every drop of water is accounted for and parceled out, the stakes are high and the legal claims are unresolved.

Aquafornia news The Desert Review

$44.4 million in MWD overcharges being returned to local water agencies

The San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors in February 2021 announced a plan to distribute a rebate of $44.4 million to its 24 member agencies across the region after receiving a check for that amount from the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to pay legal damages and interest, according to a SDCWA press release.

Aquafornia news Arizona Public Media

In rapidly warming Colorado River Basin, the negotiating table is being set

Anyone who has hosted a good dinner party knows that the guest list, table setting and topic of conversation play a big role in determining whether the night is a hit or the guests leave angry and unsatisfied. That concept is about to get a true test on the Colorado River, where chairs are being pulled up to a negotiating table to start a new round of talks that could define how the river system adapts to a changing climate for the next generation. 

Aquafornia news Lake Powell Chronicle

Blog: Is Lake Powell doomed?

On Feb. 22, 2021, Lake Powell was 127.24 feet below ‘Full Pool’ or, by content, about 38% full. Based on water level elevations, these measurements do not account for years of sediment (clay, silt, and sand) accumulation—the millions of metric tons on the bottom. Geologist James L. Powell said, “The Colorado delivers enough sediment to Lake Powell to fill 1,400 ship cargo containers each day.” In other words, Lake Powell is shrinking toward the middle from top and bottom. The lake is down over 30 feet from one year ago, and estimates suggest it could drop another 50 feet by 2026. The Bureau of Reclamation estimated the lifespan of Glen Canyon Dam at 500–700 years. Other estimates aren’t as optimistic, including some as low as 50 years. 

Aquafornia news KUER

Colorado River Authority bill moves to full Senate, some still concerned about transparency

A Senate committee unanimously approved a bill Thursday to create Utah’s Colorado River Authority, which would be tasked with helping the state renegotiate its share of the river. Originally the bill allowed broad reasons to close meetings and protect records. It’s since been changed twice to come more into compliance with the state’s open meeting and record laws. Critics of the bill said it’s still not enough. Mike O’Brien, an attorney with the Utah Media Coalition, said having a narrower scope for open meetings and records exemptions makes the bill better than when it was first introduced. But he wishes it would follow laws already there.

Aquafornia news Public News Service

Groups call Lake Powell hydropower project unsustainable

Federal regulators have issued a preliminary permit for a pumped-hydropower project using water from Lake Powell, but conservation groups say climate change could make the plan unsustainable. The project would pump water from the lake, drain it downhill to a generator, and send the power to massive batteries for storage. The 2,200-megawatt project would supply cities in Arizona, California and Nevada, over lines previously used by the retired Navajo Generating Station. Gary Wockner, executive director for Save the Colorado, which opposes the plan, said falling water levels will make the Colorado River Basin an unreliable source of water.

Aquafornia news The New Republic

How does a state use 40 percent less water?

Arizona, California, and Nevada will need to cut their use of Colorado River water by nearly 40 percent by 2050. A study by researchers at Utah State University, which the Arizona Daily Star reported this past Sunday, noted that Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming—the Upper Basin states—will have to reduce their usage, as well, though not by as much as those pulling water from the Lower Basin.

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Aquafornia news High Country News

Will the climate crisis tap out the Colorado River?

From California’s perspective, the view upriver is not encouraging. More than half of the upper part of the river basin is in “exceptional drought,” according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, while the Lower Basin is even worse off: More than 60% of it is in the highest drought level. In January, water levels in Lake Powell, the river’s second-largest reservoir, dropped to unprecedented depths, triggering a drought contingency plan for the first time for the Upper Basin states of Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico. Since 2000, the Colorado River Basin has seen a sustained period of less water and hotter days. This is, as climate scientists like to say, the “new normal.”

Aquafornia news Pagosa Daily Post

Editorial: Dragons, unicorns, and Colorado’s water crisis, part six

“Basic climate science reveals that Lake Powell is not a reliable water source for this ill-conceived project.” The reference to ‘basic climate science’ refers to recent computer models that show a drier climate throughout the American Southwest over the next few decades, allegedly due to the continued use of fossil fuels all around the globe. But even without access to clever computer models, we have all seen Lake Powell and Lake Mead — America’s two largest water reservoirs — struggle to remain even half full, as we watch water users extract more water than nature can replace.

Aquafornia news Salt Lake Tribune

Opinion: Utah’s designs on Colorado River water would ignore the facts and evade the law

Utah House Bill 297 is a dangerous spending bill that provides its benefactors with exemptions to conflict-of-interest laws that raises serious moral questions about what is happening at the Utah Legislature. The bill creates another heavily-funded and secretive government agency — the Colorado River Authority — that would receive an initial $9 million, plus $600,000 per year thereafter, in addition to collecting unknown sums of money from other agencies.
-Written by Claire Geddes, a consumer advocate and former director of Utah Legislative Watch.

Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

Colorado River study means it’s time to cut water use now, outside experts say

Less water for the Central Arizona Project — but not zero water. Even more competition between farms and cities for dwindling Colorado River supplies than there is now. More urgency to cut water use rather than wait for seven river basin states to approve new guidelines in 2025 for operating the river’s reservoirs. That’s where Arizona and the Southwest are heading with water, say experts and environmental advocates following publication of a dire new academic study on the Colorado River’s future. The study warned that the river’s Upper and Lower basin states must sustain severe cuts in river water use to keep its reservoir system from collapsing due to lack of water. That’s due to continued warming weather and other symptoms of human-caused climate change, the study said.

Aquafornia news Deseret News

Why Utah lawmakers are worried about having enough water in the future

Utah lawmakers say drought and the dwindling Colorado River make it more important than ever for the state to act now to safeguard its interest in the river. 

Aquafornia news Water Education Colorado

Blog: Colorado Water Plan turns five: Is it working?

In the five years since Colorado’s Water Plan took effect, the state has awarded nearly $500 million in loans and grants for water projects, cities have enacted strict drought plans, communities have written nearly two dozen locally based stream restoration plans, and crews have been hard at work improving irrigation systems and upgrading wastewater treatment plants. But big challenges lie ahead — drought, population growth, accelerating climate change, budget cuts, wildfires and competing demands for water, among others.

Aquafornia news The New Republic

The Colorado River crisis is a national crisis

The Colorado River supports over 40 million people spread across seven southwestern states, 29 tribal nations, and Mexico. It’s responsible for the irrigation of roughly 5.5 million acres of land marked for agricultural use. Local and regional headlines show the river is in crisis. The nation mostly isn’t listening.

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Aquafornia news Las Vegas Review-Journal

Nevada could get some of California’s share of Lake Mead. Here’s how:

A proposed water recycling project in Southern California could result in Nevada getting some of the Golden State’s share of water from the Colorado River. The Southern Nevada Water Authority could invest up to $750 million into the water treatment project. In return for the investment, it could get a share of California’s water in Lake Mead. If built, the project would give the region another tool to protect itself against the ongoing strain of drought conditions on the Colorado River.

Aquafornia news The Salt Lake Tribune

Why hedge funds are eyeing Utah’s shrinking water supply

[T]he president of New York-based hedge fund Water Asset Management … has called water in the United States “a trillion-dollar market opportunity.” The hedge fund invested $300 million in farmland in Colorado, California, Arizona and Nevada as of 2020, including $16.6 million on 2,220 acres of farmland with senior water rights in Colorado’s Grand Valley just upstream from where the Colorado River crosses into Utah.

Aquafornia news Tucson.com

Colorado River outlook darkens dramatically in new study

In the gloomiest long-term forecast yet for the drought-stricken Colorado River, a new study warns that lower river basin states including Arizona may have to slash their take from the river up to 40% by the 2050s to keep reservoirs from falling too low. Such a cut would amount to about twice as much as the three Lower Basin states — Arizona, California and Nevada — agreed to absorb under the drought contingency plan they approved in early 2019. Overall, the study warned that managing the river sustainably will require substantially larger cuts in use by Lower Basin states than currently envisioned, along with curbs on future diversions by Upper Basin states.

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Aquafornia news The San Diego Union-Tribune

Reporter notebook: San Diego’s water war with L.A. is almost a century old

I’ve written in the past about the San Diego County Water Authority’s efforts to divest from its parent agency the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. That includes the bad blood between the two agencies stemming from MWD’s water cutbacks to San Diego in 1991, and how local leaders felt they were mistreated. What I didn’t realize was just how far back the tension goes between San Diego leaders and MWD. All the way back to the Great Depression…

Aquafornia news Mountain Town News

A deep rethink of the Colorado River

Much has been said about a “new normal” in the Colorado River Basin. The phrase describes reduced flows in the 21st century as compared to those during much of the 20th century. Authors of a new study contemplate something beyond, what they call a “new abnormal.” The future, they say, might be far dryer than water managers have been planning for. … In the 133-page report, they identified a wide variety of alternative management ideas, not simple tweaks but “significant modifications or entirely new approaches.” 

Aquafornia news Salt Lake Tribune

Proposed river authority would assert Utah’s claims to the Colorado’s dwindling water

Utah legislative leaders on Thursday unveiled plans for a new $9 million state agency to advance Utah’s claims to the Colorado River in hopes of wrangling more of the river’s diminishing flows, potentially at the expense of six neighboring states that also tap the river. Without any prior public involvement or notice, lawmakers assembled legislation to create a six-member entity called the Colorado River Authority of Utah, charged with implementing “a management plan to ensure that Utah can protect and develop the Colorado River system.”

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Aquafornia news San Diego Union-Tribune

A $5 billion water project could drill through Anza-Borrego park. Is it a pipe dream?

It would be arguably the most ambitious public works project in San Diego history. The envisioned pipeline would carry Colorado River water more than 130 miles from the Imperial Valley — through the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, tunneling under the Cuyamaca Mountains, and passing through the Cleveland National Forest — to eventually connect with a water-treatment plant in San Marcos. An alternative route would run through the desert to the south, boring under Mt. Laguna before emptying into the San Vicente Reservoir in Lakeside. Estimated cost: roughly $5 billion. New water delivered: None.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

Southern Nevada can’t afford to get complacent about water conservation

For years, Southern Nevadans have watched the water level in Lake Mead inch downward and wondered how long we could avoid the federally mandated rationing that kicks in when the lake elevation hits certain thresholds. Now comes a forecast bearing worrisome news. For the second time since 2019, we may be in for a reduction. A study issued last month by the Bureau of Reclamation says the lake level could dip below 1,075 feet by the end of the year.

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Aquafornia news AZ Central

Opinion: If Queen Creek gets more Colorado River now, brace for WW III

Comedian Ron White once joked that we should have two levels of national security warnings: Find a helmet and put on a helmet. If such a system were in place for controversies, Arizona’s water community would now be in the “put on a helmet” stage. Tensions were already high over a proposal to transfer Colorado River water from a farm in La Paz County to Queen Creek. And now that the recommendation has quietly changed, some folks in on-river communities view it as nothing less than the start of World War III. Heaven help us if it is. 
-Written by Joanna Allhands, a columnist for the Arizona Republic

Aquafornia news Utah Public Radio

The Colorado River basin’s worsening dryness in five numbers

Dry conditions are the worst they’ve been in almost 20 years across the Colorado River watershed, which acts as the drinking and irrigation water supply for 40 million people in the American Southwest. As the latest round of federal forecasts for the river’s flow shows, it’s plausible, maybe even likely, that the situation could get much worse this year. Understanding and explaining the depth of the dryness is up to climate scientists throughout the basin. We called several of them and asked for discrete numbers that capture the current state of the Colorado River basin. 

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Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Tensions spark after plan to sell Colorado River water in Arizona

Mayors and county supervisors in towns along the Colorado River were already upset five months ago when the state water agency endorsed an investment company’s plan to take water from farmland near the river and sell it to a growing Phoenix suburb. Now, they’re incensed that the agency, which initially suggested holding back a large portion of the water, changed its stance and will let the company sell most of the water to the town of Queen Creek. Elected leaders in communities along the river say they intend to continue trying to stop the proposed deal, which would need to be approved by the federal Bureau of Reclamation. 

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Law

Colorado River getting saltier sparks calls for federal help

Water suppliers along the drought-stricken Colorado River hope to tackle another tricky issue after the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation installs a new leader: salty water. The river provides water for 40 million people from Colorado to California, and helps irrigate 5.5 million acres of farm and ranchland in the U.S. But all that water also comes with 9 million tons of salt that flow through the system as it heads to Mexico, both due to natural occurrence and runoff, mostly from agriculture. Salt can hurt crop production, corrode drinking water pipes, and cause other damage.

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Aquafornia news Mountain Town News

Are there rivers beyond the Colorado?

Jeff Lukas calls the Colorado the “charismatic megafauna of Western rivers.” This riverine equivalent of grizzly bears, bald eagles, and humpback whales gets lots of attention, including national attention. Some of that attention is deserved. It has the nation’s two largest reservoirs, among the nation’s tallest dams, and many of the most jaw-dropping canyons and eye-riveting national parks in the country. It also has 40 million to 50 million people in Colorado and six other southwestern states, plus Mexico, who depend upon its water, and a history of tensions that have at times verged on the political equivalent of fist-fights.

Aquafornia news California Department of Water Resources

Blog: Water Year 2021 – How are we doing?

We are now past the halfway mark in California’s normally wettest winter months, and the wet season to date has been anything but. Most of the state has received less than half of its average annual precipitation to date. Coming after a very dry Water Year 2020 these conditions are concerning. More precipitation will certainly occur in February and March, but will it be enough to erase the state’s large deficit?  

Aquafornia news The Colorado Sun

Colorado’s ornery, independent water guardians finally agree on one thing: Wall Street can look elsewhere

The calls came in shortly after the story in The New York Times announced Wall Street was on the prowl for “billions in the Colorado’s water.” …  The national story raised hackles across Colorado. It defined agriculture as a “wrong” use of Colorado River water and detailed a growing swarm of investors eager to inject Wall Street’s strategies into the West’s century-old water laws. The idea of private investment in public water has galvanized the state’s factious water guardians. 

Aquafornia news PV Magazine USA

Drought conditions could impact power generation in the West

Ongoing drought in parts of the West could trigger water conservation measures across seven states this year. It would mark the first time that cutbacks outlined in drought contingency plans drafted two years ago have been put in place. Everything from hydroelectric power generation to agricultural production to the bubbling fountains at Las Vegas casinos could be impacted. Impacts on hydro generation could have ripple effects across the Southwest, including solar and energy storage.

Aquafornia news Public News Service

Satellite data, teamwork help chart future of Colorado River basin

The Colorado River is the lifeblood of the American West, but the viability of the massive river basin is being threatened by climate change. To plan future water use in the region — which includes Arizona — the Central Arizona Project is teaming up with NASA and Arizona State University, to evaluate how climate and land-use changes will affect patterns of hydrology. Using state-of-the-art satellite imaging, scientists will measure and evaluate how water flows throughout the basin. 

Aquafornia news UC California Naturalist

Blog: Have you heard the story of Lake Cahuilla?

The building of dams on the Colorado River has forever changed the ebb and flow, flooding, drying and renewal cycle of what was once Lake Cahuilla, changing its character and changing its name to the Salton Sea. Entrepreneurs once thought that the Salton Sea would become a sportsman’s mecca, providing fishing, boating, and waterskiing experiences like no other. There were a few decades where that dream seemed to be true. Then it wasn’t.

Aquafornia news Denver Post

Opinion: Collaboration will protect the Colorado River from drought and speculation alike

Colorado is headwaters to a hardworking river that provides for 40 million people. The importance of the Colorado River to the state and the nation cannot be overstated, and its recent hydrology serves as a reminder that we must continue to find workable solutions that will sustain the river. History shows that we are up to the challenge. As Colorado’s commissioner and lead negotiator on Colorado River issues, it is my job to protect Colorado’s interests in the river.
-Written by Rebecca Mitchell, Colorado’s current Colorado River Commissioner and director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board.  

Aquafornia news Magic Valley

Opinion: Writers on the Range – Who calls the shots on the Colorado River?

If there’s a dominant force in the Colorado River Basin these days, it’s the Walton Family Foundation, flush with close to $5 billion to give away. Run by the heirs of Walmart founder Sam Walton, the foundation donates $25 million a year to nonprofits concerned about the Colorado River. It’s clear the foundation cares deeply about the river in this time of excruciating drought, and some of its money goes to river restoration or more efficient irrigation. Yet its main interest is promoting “demand management,” the water marketing scheme that seeks to add 500,000 acre-feet of water to declining Lake Powell by paying rural farmers to temporarily stop irrigating.

Aquafornia news Desert Research Institute

Blog: What happens when rain falls on desert soils? An updated model provides answers

Several years ago, while studying the environmental impacts of large-scale solar farms in the Nevada desert, Desert Research Institute scientists Yuan Luo, Ph.D. and Markus Berli, Ph.D. became interested in one particular question: how does the presence of thousands of solar panels impact desert hydrology? This question led to more questions. “How do solar panels change the way water hits the ground when it rains?” they asked. “Where does the water go? How much of the rain water  stays in the soil? How deep does it go into the soil?”

Aquafornia news The Spectrum

Opinion: Utah must follow Nevada’s lead on water management

Many in Utah think of Las Vegas as a colony of water waste. Fountains, swimming pools, golf courses and lawns come to mind. While those things exist, they are not as widespread as they once were – nor as profligate. Today, Southern Nevada, with a small share of the Colorado River and limited groundwater, is an emblem of responsible water use. Southern Utah is not. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
-Written by Kyle Roerink, executive director of the Great Basin Water Network.

Aquafornia news Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

News release: Metropolitan Water District, Southern Nevada Water Authority collaborate to explore development of recycled water project

In a bold step toward a new kind of collaboration in the Colorado River Basin, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and Southern Nevada Water Authority are partnering to explore development of a drought-proof water supply that could reduce reliance on the over-stressed river.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

Opinion: Will others follow SNWA’s lead on conservation?

Water conservation isn’t cheap. But it’s not as pricey as 300-mile pipelines and water grabs. Last week, the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s board passed its 2020 Water Resource Plan — a blueprint detailing the water purveyor’s estimates for supply and demand in a world with a declining Colorado River, spiking temperatures and increasing populations.
-Written by Kyle Roerink, executive director of the Great Basin Water Network, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting water resources in the nation’s driest places.

Aquafornia news High Country News

A little fish that’s mighty as a mountain

In early November, the Domestic Names Committee of the U.S. Board of Geographic Names voted unanimously to name a peak in Nevada’s Amargosa Valley, outside of Death Valley National Park, for the endangered Devils Hole and the Ash Meadows Amargosa pupfishes.

Aquafornia news Western Water

Monday Top of the Scroll: Milestone Colorado River management plan mostly worked amid epic drought, review finds

Twenty years ago, the Colorado River’s hydrology began tumbling into a historically bad stretch. … So key players across seven states, including California, came together in 2005 to attack the problem. The result was a set of Interim Guidelines adopted in 2007… Stressing flexibility instead of rigidity, the guidelines stabilized water deliveries in a drought-stressed system and prevented a dreaded shortage declaration by the federal government that would have forced water supply cuts.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Climate change and ‘atmospheric thirst’ to increase fire danger and drought in NV and CA

In a new study published in Earth’s Future…climate change projections show consistent future increases in atmospheric evaporative demand (or the “atmospheric thirst”) over California and Nevada. These changes were largely driven by warmer temperatures, and would likely lead to significant on-the-ground environmental impacts.

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Aquafornia news Casino.org

Will Vegas run out of water?

For a city built in an arid desert basin in Nevada, the USA’s driest state with around 10 inches of rainfall a year, this doesn’t sound too surprising. But the climate emergency and recent droughts have changed the complexion and urgency of the problem.

Aquafornia news Arizona Public Radio

USGS report: Climate change will reduce groundwater in Lower Colorado River Basin

The lower Colorado River Basin, which is primarily in Arizona, is projected to have as much as sixteen percent less groundwater infiltration by midcentury compared to the historical record. That’s because warming temperatures will increase evaporation while rain- and snowfall are expected to remain the same or decrease slightly.

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Aquafornia news Nevada Today

Blog: Researchers quantify carbon changes in Sierra Nevada meadow soils

Meadows in the Sierra Nevada are critical components of watersheds. In addition to supplying water to over 25 million people in California and Nevada, meadows contain large quantities of carbon belowground. … A new study led by researchers at the University of Nevada Reno demonstrates for the first time that meadows throughout the region are both gaining and losing carbon at high rates.

Aquafornia news Deseret News

Why understanding snowpack could help the overworked Colorado River

The U.S. Geological Survey is in the beginning stages of learning more about this river via an expanded and more sophisticated monitoring system that aims to study details about the snowpack that feeds the river basin, droughts and flooding, and how streamflow supports groundwater, or vice versa.

Aquafornia news KUNC

2020 delivers setbacks for some long-planned Western water projects

Proposals to divert water in New Mexico, Nevada and Utah have run up against significant legal, financial and political roadblocks this year. But while environmental groups have cheered the setbacks, it’s still unclear whether these projects have truly hit dead ends or are simply waiting in the wings.

Aquafornia news Northern Nevada Business Weekly

Norwegian company secures financing for industrial-scale salmon farm in rural Nevada

Raising salmon in the desert seems like an unlikely mission, but that is exactly what Norwegian-based West Coast Salmon AS intends to do. The company announced in early October it had secured a first round of financing for a land-based Atlantic salmon farm facility south of Winnemucca near the Humboldt/Pershing County line.

Aquafornia news University of Nevada, Reno

News release: New lab opens in Reno to support agricultural research

Located at the Knudtsen Resource Center at the University of Nevada, Reno, the lab will provide agriculture-focused analytical services to support faculty- and student-led research at the University. The lab is also offering analytical services for a fee to the general public, including property owners and homeowners, who may need to have soil or water samples analyzed.

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Colorado River water supply is predictable owing to long-term ocean memory

A team of scientists at Utah State University has developed a new tool to forecast drought and water flow in the Colorado River several years in advance. Although the river’s headwaters are in landlocked Wyoming and Colorado, water levels are linked to sea surface temperatures in parts of the Pacific and Atlantic oceans and the water’s long-term ocean memory.

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: Happy New Water Year, where’d all that Colorado River water go?

Despite that reduction in flow, total storage behind Glen Canyon and Hoover dams has dropped only 2.6 million acre feet. That is far less than you’d expect from 12 years of 1.2 maf per year flow reductions alone. That kind of a flow reduction should have been enough to nearly empty the reservoirs. Why hasn’t that happened? Because we also have been using less water.

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: Nevada Supreme Court holds that state may not reallocate adjudicated water rights for public trust

On September 17, 2020, the Nevada Supreme Court issued a decision on whether Nevada’s public trust doctrine permits reallocation of water rights previously settled under Nevada’s prior appropriation doctrine. The majority found that the public trust doctrine does not permit such reallocation.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

In correcting misappropriation of water, Nevada must balance legal rights with existing use

In the area that the Moapa Valley Water District serves, water users are facing an uncomfortable future: People are going to have to use less water than they were once promised. Over the last century, state regulators handed out more groundwater rights than there was water available. Today state officials say that only a fraction of those rights can be used, which could mean cuts.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Nevada dam changes give rare trout new life 115 years later

U.S. and tribal officials are celebrating completion of a $34 million fish bypass system at a Nevada dam that will allow a threatened trout species to return to some of its native spawning grounds for the first time in more than a century. Construction of the side channel with fish-friendly screens is a major step toward someday enabling Lahontan cutthroat trout to make the same 100-mile journey — from a desert lake northeast of Reno to Lake Tahoe atop the Sierra — that they did before the dam was built in 1905.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

Editorial: Using Lake Powell to keep lawns green in Utah would be a waste of resources

The recent downgrade in the forecast for the flow of water in the Colorado River should be a death punch to the proposal to build a new pipeline out of Lake Powell. The pipeline was already a major threat to Las Vegas and much of the rest of the Southwest; now the threat risk is heading off the charts.

Aquafornia news The Sierra Nevada Ally

Walker Lake: Legal saga continues with endgame in question

According to river flow data, there is currently almost no water flowing into Walker Lake, a common condition. Today, where the riverbed meets the lake is an ooze of mud. The lake is all but biologically dead. But a decades-old public trust lawsuit made a move forward in its glacial process through federal courts last week, and advocates are hopeful Walker Lake, a cornerstone of the regional economy and ecology, can one day be revived.

Aquafornia news U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

News release: Partnership celebrates restoration of Truckee River fish passage to historical spawning grounds

On Wednesday, the Bureau of Reclamation joined its partners, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Farmers Conservation Alliance, to celebrate the completion of the Derby Dam Fish Screen Project. The infrastructure modernization project at Derby Dam will provide Lahontan Cutthroat Trout access to natural spawning grounds for the first time since 1905.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

This year’s monsoon season in Las Vegas? More like a ‘nonsoon’

The monsoon season — that period from mid-June through September that each year brings rains to the Mojave Desert and other areas of the Southwest from the tropical coast of Mexico — has been a dud this year. Las Vegas is in the middle of a record-breaking stretch without rain, and residents should be prepared for it to stay that way, scientists say.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Review-Journal

Opponents of Colorado River pipeline project view delay as progress

Regional water conservation groups and a Clark County commissioner welcomed a request by Utah officials Thursday to extend the federal environmental review of a controversial plan to divert billions of gallons of water from the Colorado River to southwest Utah.

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Aquafornia news Associated Press

Walker Lake group to take water suit back to federal court

Lawyers representing Mineral County and the Walker Lake Working Group announced this week they intend to take a water rights case with broad implications back to federal appeals court to ask whether Nevada can adjust already allocated water rights to sustain rivers and lakes long-term.

Aquafornia news Utah State University

Blog: How well do we understand numbers in the Colorado River basin?

We analysed data reported by the Bureau of Reclamation and the U. S. Geological Survey that describe the primary inflows to Lake Powell and the Colorado River between Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Mead, as well as the losses from both reservoir and the releases from Hoover Dam. … The significance of the uncertainties we identify can be measured by reminding the reader that the annual consumptive uses by the state of Nevada cannot exceed 300,000 acre feet/year…

Aquafornia news Somach Simmons & Dunn

Blog: Colorado River Basin states request a better forum to resolve concerns with Lake Powell pipeline

In Utah, there is a significant effort underway to build a water delivery pipeline from Lake Powell to transport part of Utah’s Colorado River entitlement to Utah’s St. George area. As the federal environmental review for the proposed Lake Powell Pipeline in Utah continues, Utah’s six fellow Colorado River Basin states weighed in as a group, cautioning that unresolved issues remain.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Nevada Supreme Court ruled against reshuffling water rights to fix environmental issues. Walker Lake advocates still see a path forward

Last week, the Nevada Supreme Court ruled that the state’s fundamental obligation to protect natural resources for future generations did not allow it to reallocate water rights issued under state law. The decision appeared to rule against litigants pushing to restore Walker Lake, where the use of upstream water rights has decreased the amount of water that reaches the lake.

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Aquafornia news High Country News

Killing the Vegas pipeline — Nevada’s attitude toward water is changing

Over the years, these groups united against a single cause: the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s “Groundwater Development Project,” a proposal to pump 58 billion gallons of water a year 300 miles to Las Vegas from the remote rural valleys of Nevada and Utah. … In May, their three decades of resistance to the pipeline ended in victory: The project was terminated.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Nevada Supreme Court says state cannot change water rights for ‘public trust,’ a loss for environmentalists, county

The Nevada Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the state cannot reshuffle existing water rights to prevent environmental damage, despite recognizing a legal principle that requires the government to preserve natural resources for future generations… The Nevada court, in a 4-2 decision, separated itself from the California Supreme Court, which reached the opposite conclusion in a landmark 1980s case.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Where groundwater gives way to warm springs, a fight continues over building a new desert town outside Las Vegas

The housing developer and the powerful water utility, locked into past contracts, are caught in a fight, playing out in hydrologic reports and hearing rooms, over what might seem a simple question: How much water is there? That answer is complicated by how much is at stake — a Colorado River tributary, the survival of an endangered Nevada fish and the future of development in a sweeping area outside Las Vegas.

Aquafornia news Western Water

The Colorado River is awash in data vital to its management, but making sense of it all is a challenge

Dizzying in its scope, detail and complexity, the scientific information on the Basin’s climate and hydrology has been largely scattered in hundreds of studies and reports. Some studies may conflict with others, or at least appear to. That’s problematic for a river that’s a lifeline for 40 million people and more than 4 million acres of irrigated farmland.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

Why some in Nevada see Utah pipeline plan as ‘first salvo in coming water wars’

Lake Powell isn’t in Southern Nevada. Rather, it’s about four hours away by car in southern Utah. But some environmentalists say the water consumption of St. George, Utah, and neighboring communities could have a direct and deleterious impact on the Las Vegas water supply.

Aquafornia news ASU Now

Blog: Arizona State University water policy expert addresses new concerns about state’s precious resource

The cuts are a plan to keep Lake Mead, a reservoir at the Arizona-Nevada boundary, functional. Water levels have precipitously dropped as a result of historic overallocation and a drought that started in 2000. … ASU Now checked in with Sarah Porter of the Kyl Center for Water Policy at the Morrison Institute on how these new developments will impact the Copper State and its residents.

Aquafornia news KJZZ Radio

Colorado River flow now part of caddisfly battle in Bullhead City

The idea was to lower the flows while temperatures were still warm enough to dry out the caddis larvae. That required buy-in from local merchants and the Bureau of Reclamation, local tribes and others. They were able to do it, and on Aug. 27, the first of two flow reductions took place. When the river dropped, people pitched in for a day of river cleanup.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Nevada officials raise concerns about proposed Utah pipeline to tap into more Colorado River water

Nevada officials raised numerous concerns Tuesday about a proposed project to pipe large quantities of Colorado River water roughly 140 miles from Lake Powell to southern Utah… Six of the seven states that use the Colorado River also sent a letter to federal water managers Tuesday asking them to refrain from completing project permitting…

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Aquafornia news California Natural Resources Agency

News release: California/Nevada Tahoe Science Advisory Council elevates efforts to protect and restore Lake Tahoe

Nevada and California joined forces last week at the 24th annual Lake Tahoe Summit to advance the states’ shared priorities to protect and restore Lake Tahoe. … There is a long history of collaboration between Nevada and California to restore and protect the spectacular natural treasure of Lake Tahoe and its surrounding environment. This spirit of collaboration was a pillar of the 24th annual Lake Tahoe Summit

Aquafornia news The Hill

Tribes, green groups sue over Trump rollback of water rights

The new suit, filed Tuesday on behalf of three different tribal groups and the Sierra Club, argues states and tribes have a right to place conditions on federal projects that could degrade waters within their borders or to reject them altogether. “These changes that cut into the tribe’s ability to protect its waters and fish harm us all,” Anthony Sampson, chairman of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe in Nevada, said in a release.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Coyote Springs developer sues state of Nevada for ‘unconstitutional taking’ of water rights

A developer is suing Nevada’s Division of Water Resources after the state again denied plans to construct new homes at Coyote Springs, the latest setback in a decades-long effort to build a sprawling master-planned community about 50 miles north of Las Vegas. Coyote Springs Investment alleges state officials made a series of decisions that amount to an “unconstitutional taking” of the water rights it owns and planned to use.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Nevada residents blast Utah’s Lake Powell pipeline plan

A group of residents in Laughlin, Nev., which sits along the Colorado River, are organizing a campaign to oppose a pipeline that would divert billions of gallons of river water to southwest Utah, reflecting intensifying struggles over water in the U.S. West.

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Aquafornia news Audubon

Blog: Lake Mead and Lower Colorado River to remain in tier Zero shortage for 2021

Above-average temperatures in spring resulted in a paltry 57% runoff, nowhere near enough water to refill the reservoirs that remain half-empty. Based on these conditions, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation recently determined that 2021 will be a “tier zero” year under the Lower Colorado River Basin Drought Contingency Plan, with reduced water deliveries for Arizona, Nevada, and Mexico.

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: Lower Basin use of main stem Colorado River water dropping to levels not seen since 1980s

A friend last week pointed out something remarkable. Arizona, California, and Nevada are forecast this year to use just 6.8 million acre feet of their 7.5 million acre foot allocation of water from the main stem of the Colorado River. And that’s not just a one-off.

Aquafornia news Boulder City Review

Opinion: Utah pipeline plan an affront to Nevada

Nevada and Utah share more than borders. We share the coveted and much-fought-over Colorado River. But it seems as if only one state — Nevada — is doing the difficult work to protect our most valuable resource

Aquafornia news NBC News Reno

Knowing Nevada: The Lahontan cutthroat trout

The snow along the mountains of Nevada’s Great Basin trickle down when the spring turns into summer. This produces a flurry of wildlife and natural resources in our area ponds, rivers, and lakes. … Along the majestic Truckee River, fishermen would collect thousands of trout from the late 1800’s to the 1900’s. Eventually, this would cause the near extinction of our state’s native species, the Lahontan cutthroat trout.

Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

Forecast: Plenty of CAP water for Tucson and AZ for now despite overheated drought

The latest forecast from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, released last week, predicts that by the end of 2020, Lake Mead, which furnishes Central Arizona Project water, will be at 1,085 feet elevation. While that’s 5 feet lower than the lake stood at the end of 2019, it’s still 10 feet higher than the water level that would trigger the first major shortage, slicing more than 520,000 acre feet of water, roughly one-third of the state’s total supply.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Nevada, West face reckoning over water but avoid cuts for now

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation released projections Friday that suggest Lake Powell and Lake Mead will dip 16 feet and 5 feet, respectively, in January from levels recorded a year earlier. Despite the dip, Lake Mead would stay above the threshold that triggers severe water cuts to cities and farms, giving officials throughout the Southwest more time to prepare for the future when the flow will slow.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Monday Top of the Scroll: As Lake Mead remains low, Arizona and Nevada face more water cutbacks

Arizona, Nevada and Mexico will again receive less water from the Colorado River next year under a set of agreements intended to help boost the level of Lake Mead… The federal Bureau of Reclamation released projections Friday showing that Lake Mead, the nation’s largest reservoir, will be at levels next year that continue to trigger moderate cutbacks in the two U.S. states and Mexico.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Friday Top of the Scroll: US West faces reckoning over water but avoids cuts for now

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation is expected to release projections Friday that suggest Lake Powell and Lake Mead will dip slightly in 2021. … Despite the dip, Lake Mead’s levels are expected to stay above the threshold that triggers mandatory water cuts to Arizona and Nevada, giving officials throughout the Southwest more time to prepare for a future when the flow will slow.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Phys.org

Researchers propose climate-smart desert food production model for land and human health

Water-efficient succulents and nitrogen-fixing tree legumes may take five to 12 years to produce their first nutritional harvests. Nevertheless, they can produce more edible biomass over a decade with far less water than that used by conventional annual crops, while sequestering carbon into the soil to mitigate climate change…

Aquafornia news St. George Spectrum

Opinion: Facts show holes in Utah’s Lake Powell pipeline plan

We deserve complete, dependable information and accurate cost data including well-reasoned analysis that demonstrates the need and economic viability of the pipeline. Instead, studies by the Utah Division of Water Resources and the Washington County Water Conservancy District are biased, incomplete and do not fairly consider feasible, much less costly alternatives.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion: Fixing the Colorado River is tough. Good thing Arizona started early

The newly passed Drought Contingency Plan spurred additional conservation and left more water in the lake. An unusually wet year also helped, because it allowed states to fall back on other supplies. But the fundamental problem remains: The river still isn’t producing the amount of water we use in a typical year. We’re still draining the mighty Colorado.

Aquafornia news National Geographic

Can the Colorado River keep on running?

The average annual flow of the Colorado River has decreased 19 percent compared to its 20th century average. Models predict that by 2100, the river flow could fall as much as 55 percent. The Colorado River, and the people it sustains, are in serious trouble.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Opinion: Nevada should challenge Utah’s move for a Lake Powell pipeline

Legal scholars believe that the Lake Powell pipeline would likely violate the 1922 Colorado River Compact as a transfer of upper basin water (WY, UT, CO, NM) for lower basin use (CA, NV, AZ). The lower basin has priority, and the compact arguably prohibits transfers from the upper to lower basin absent explicit congressional authorization

Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

Monday Top of the Scroll: Imperial Irrigation District retains control over Colorado River water in legal tussle with farmer Michael Abatti

The Imperial Irrigation District and farmer Michael Abatti have been locked in a years-long legal battle with as many twists as the river over which it has been fought. The saga might finally come to an end, though, after a California appellate court handed down a ruling on Thursday that found IID is the rightful manager of the portion of the Colorado River guaranteed to the Imperial Valley.

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Aquafornia news The Desert Sun

IID seeks Salton Sea consideration in Colorado River water lawsuit

The Imperial Irrigation District has filed its opening brief in a case against the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California that it launched last year in an attempt to halt the implementation of the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan for the Colorado River. IID wants to see it paused until the Salton Sea is also considered.

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Aquafornia news St. George Spectrum

Lake Powell Pipeline: Officials peppered with questions at first meeting

The public last week had its first opportunity to pepper officials with questions about the Lake Powell Pipeline’s recently-released draft environmental impact statement, a 313-page document from the Bureau of Reclamation examining how the controversial project could impact a myriad of resources in several scenarios.

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Aquafornia news Inside Climate News

Humpback chub ‘alien abductions’ help frame the future of the Colorado River

Researchers in the Grand Canyon now spend weeks at a time, several times a year, monitoring humpback chub, which has become central to an ecosystem science program with implications for millions of westerners who rely on Colorado River water.

Aquafornia news Northern Nevada Business Weekly

Backed by state funds, Nevada water tech startup spins out of DRI in Vegas

In 2013, Nevada was in a dry spell in more ways than one. The aftershocks of the Great Recession lingered, and the state was in the midst of 20 years of drought. In response, the Desert Research Institute branch in Las Vegas, with funding through the Governor’s Office of Economic Development’s Knowledge Fund, launched a startup called WaterStart, which set out to deploy new water technologies and make the Silver State a hub for water innovation.

Aquafornia news Nevada Today

Blog: Plant tissue engineering improves drought and salinity tolerance

After several years of experimentation, scientists have engineered thale cress, or Arabidopsis thaliana, to behave like a succulent, improving water-use efficiency, salinity tolerance and reducing the effects of drought. The tissue succulence engineering method devised for this small flowering plant can be used in other plants to improve drought and salinity tolerance with the goal of moving this approach into food and bioenergy crops.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Nevada mulls EPA reversal of Obama era drinking water rules

The Trump administration has decided a chemical with a notorious legacy in Nevada will not be regulated in drinking water, but state officials say the reversal of the Obama-era policy shouldn’t result in any decline in drinking water standards across the state.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Arizona starts talks on addressing dwindling Colorado River

Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, California, Utah, Wyoming and Nevada have been operating under a set of guidelines approved in 2007. Those guidelines and an overlapping drought contingency plan will expire in 2026. Arizona water officials are gathering Thursday to start talking about what comes next, while other states have had more informal discussions.

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Aquafornia news FishBio

Blog: Recovering lost leviathans: Pyramid Lake Lahontan cutthroat

While these remarkable giants have been only a distant memory in most of their range, recently, fish carrying the ancestral genes of Pyramid Lake Lahontan cutthroat trout migrated to the waters of the Truckee River in 2014 to spawn for the first time in 80 years. The return of these fish … represents the culmination of years of conservation efforts by local, state, and federal agencies, as well as the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe.

Aquafornia news Los Angeles Times

Colorado River water battle comes to a boil in California

There’s a reckoning coming, unless cities and farm districts across the West band together to limit consumption. The coming dealmaking will almost certainly need to involve the river’s largest water user, the Imperial Irrigation District. But at the moment, it’s unclear to what extent the district actually controls the Imperial Valley’s Colorado River water. That was the issue debated in a San Diego courtroom last week

Aquafornia news Courthouse News Service

Nevada water order kills real estate project

Nevada restricted groundwater pumping Tuesday in an area north of Las Vegas, potentially killing a real estate project that threatens an endangered fish clinging to existence in a handful of spring-fed desert pools…

Aquafornia news CarsonNow.org

Nevada State Engineer issues order to ensure sustainable water development in Lower White River flow system

Nevada is in a new era of water management. As the driest state in the nation, responsible and sustainable management of Nevada’s limited water resources is the foremost priority of the Nevada Division of Water Resources. As part of this commitment, Monday the Nevada State Engineer issued Order No. 1309 for one of Nevada’s most important and unique hydrographic basins called the Lower White River Flow System.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Environmentalists see regulatory, funding gaps amid Clean Water Act rollback

Although the Clean Water Act will still protect heavily used waterways in Nevada, including the Colorado River and the Truckee River, it excludes many wetlands and most seasonal streams. As a result, the rule has set off a flurry of legal challenges from environmental groups. And in recent months, several Democrat-led Western states, including Colorado, California and New Mexico, have sued the Trump administration to challenge the final rule. Nevada has not joined those suits.

Aquafornia news Arizona Department of Water Resources

News release: Roberto Salmón, Mexican commissioner, steps down from position with International Boundary Waters Commission

In his time with the commission, which has the responsibility for applying the boundary and water treaties between the United States and Mexico, the two nations have taken huge steps forward in assuring that commitments to the primary binational water agreement in the Southwest – the 1944 Mexico-U.S. Water Treaty – were faithfully upheld.

Aquafornia news Nevada Public Radio

Is this the end of a 30-year fight over a proposed water pipeline?

On May 21, the Southern Nevada Water Authority board of directors voted to indefinitely defer its groundwater development project, which opponents had dubbed the “water grab.”  The unanimous vote brought an end to more than three decades of acrimonious battle with the Great Basin Water Network.

Aquafornia news Pagosa Springs Sun

Opinion: Secretary Babbitt’s river plan doesn’t go far enough

When former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt suggested in a recent opinion piece that a portion of agricultural water rights on the Colorado River should be transferred to urban areas, it no doubt conjured up some strong emotions… But Babbitt’s proposal makes sense and he is right about the need to recognize the mismatch in population between the urbanized West and rural areas where most of the basin’s water is allocated.

Aquafornia news Pagosa Daily Post

Opinion: Concerning the Colorado River

While Imperial Irrigation District has the largest right within California, it was not the Imperial Valley that was responsible for California’s overuse. That was the Metropolitan Water District. We are among the very oldest users on the Colorado River and have built a community, ecology, and way of life here in the desert dependent upon the waters of the Colorado that have sustained us since 1901.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

Las Vegas water use dropped when businesses closed. Now, it’s going back up

Las Vegas water use decreased rapidly starting in mid-March, around the same time that Gov. Steve Sisolak instituted a stay-at-home order and closed most nonessential businesses. But since late April, it has gradually been increasing to more typical levels, Las Vegas Valley Water District data shows.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

In Nevada, investors eye underground water storage as a path to profits

Across the Southwest, investors are banking on water scarcity. They are buying up farms and ranches as states explore new programs that could make it easier to sell and transfer water. … Today a new type of investor has started eyeing water in the basin, less intent on building a new community than on supporting existing ones within one of the nation’s fastest growing states.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

Opinion: Saving the Colorado River doesn’t have to mean hurting farmers

The imbalance on the Colorado River needs to be addressed, and agriculture, as the biggest water user in the basin, needs to be part of a fair solution. But drying up vital food-producing land is a blunt tool. It would damage our local food-supply chains and bring decline to rural communities that have developed around irrigated agriculture.

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: 2020 is a dry year on the Colorado River. What happens next year will be more important

This winter’s decent snowfall has turned into an abysmal runoff on the Colorado River, thanks to the dry soils heading into the winter, along with a warm spring. … Our bigger concern is what happens next year. Are we headed for a multi-year drought?

Aquafornia news Reno Gazette Journal

Southern Nevada Water Authority: Las Vegas water pipeline plan shelved

Citing conservation gains and a third straw to the bottom of Lake Mead, the Southern Nevada Water Authority on Thursday voted to shelve a proposal for a multi-billion pipeline that would have moved water from Northern and Eastern Nevada to Las Vegas. The vote means the pipeline staunchly opposed by rural communities, American Indian tribes and conservationists is dead – or at least going into a long, deep coma.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

Water authority gives up 30-year proposal to pump groundwater to Las Vegas

The Southern Nevada Water Authority voted Thursday to withdraw all pending groundwater importation applications, return a right-of-way associated with groundwater importation plans to the Bureau of Land Management and take other actions to move the multibillion-dollar groundwater development project — sometimes referred to as the water pipeline project — into “indefinite deferred status.”

Aquafornia news Cornell Chronicle

Complex dynamics of water shortages highlighted in study

Cornell engineers have used advanced modeling to simulate more than 1 million potential futures – a technique known as scenario discovery – to assess how stakeholders who rely on the Colorado River might be uniquely affected by changes in climate and demand as a result of management practices and other factors.

Aquafornia news Western Water

Monday Top of the Scroll: Questions simmer about Lake Powell’s future as drought, climate change point to a drier Colorado River Basin

Sprawled across a desert expanse along the Utah-Arizona border, Lake Powell’s nearly 100-foot high bathtub ring etched on its sandstone walls belie the challenges of a major Colorado River reservoir at less than half-full. How those challenges play out as demand grows for the river’s water amid a changing climate is fueling simmering questions about Powell’s future.

Aquafornia news Sustainable Waters

Blog: Let’s refill lakes Mead & Powell now

As of Monday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s forecast for this year’s expected water supplies in the Colorado River is at 59% of average. That’s not good news. If that prediction proves true, this will be one of the driest water years since Lake Powell was constructed nearly 60 years ago.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Opinion – Bruce Babbitt: Here’s how less than 10% of farmland could solve the Colorado River’s water deficit

There is a better, more equitable pathway for reducing the deficit without forcing arbitrary cuts. It involves 3 million acres of irrigated agriculture, mostly alfalfa and forage crops, which consume more than 80% of total water use in the basin. By retiring less than 10% of this irrigated acreage from production, we could eliminate the existing million acre-foot overdraft on the Colorado River..

Aquafornia news The Salt Lake Tribune

Opinion: The tale of two pipelines for desert cities

Nevadans and Utahns won a major economic and environmental victory in mid-April that will help protect air quality along the Wasatch Front and the Great Basin’s fragile water supply –– including Great Salt Lake.

Aquafornia news Nevada Public Radio

Study: Southwest U.S. in midst of megadrought like no other

Southern Nevada has been in a drought for about 20 years. But now, we’re learning this isn’t just drought – it’s a megadrought. That’s a one in 500 years drought.

Aquafornia news University of Nevada, Reno

Blog: Prediction tool shows how forest thinning may increase Sierra Nevada snowpack

The University’s Adrian Harpold recently led a team in developing a modeling tool to focus on the issue of water quantity. The tool predicts how different approaches to thinning the forest impact snowpack accumulation in Lake Tahoe, which controls how much water is available for downstream communities such as Reno.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

Opinion: Las Vegas pipeline outcome offers new opportunity

Rural and urban Nevada can both rest a little easier now that the massive pipeline project is not at the forefront of the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s plans. But there is still plenty of work to do to protect and expand the water supply in Las Vegas while doing the same in rural parts of the state.

Aquafornia news Gardnerville Record Courier

A dam site longer than anticipated

It has been 30 years since the last time a dam was seriously considered on the East Fork [of the Carson River] as a means to reduce flooding and increase water for agriculture and other uses. … The East Fork begins near the base of Sonora Peak in California. The river’s upper gorge was carved out by a 16-mile glacier coming off the 11,500-foot high mountain. It is one of only two major free-flowing rivers in the Eastern Sierra.

Aquafornia news Water Power Magazine

USBR resumes seismic safety project at Boca Dam

The US Bureau of Reclamation is to resume a seismic safety modification project at Boca Dam near Truckee in California today, following its seasonal closure in November 2019, with social distancing guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other COVID-19 precautions to be followed during construction.

Aquafornia news Arizona Public Radio

USBR forecasts “Tier Zero” shortage on Colorado River

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation released projections for the Colorado River’s water supply for the next two years. … Lake Mead is projected to fall into “Tier Zero” conditions for 2021 and 2022. That’s a new designation under the Drought Contingency Plan which requires Arizona, Nevada and Mexico take cuts in their water supply.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Water authority shelves controversial Las Vegas pipeline project

The Southern Nevada Water Authority is ending a decades-long effort to build a controversial 300-mile pipeline to pump rural groundwater from eastern Nevada to Las Vegas. On Thursday afternoon, the water authority confirmed in a statement that it would not appeal a recent court ruling that denied the agency a portion of its water rights.

Aquafornia news Reno Gazette Journal

Tribes protest Nevada mine expansion, groundwater pumping plan

Opponents of the mine expansion in Elko County are worried about phase two of the Long Canyon Mine near Wells that includes a dewatering plan that would pump billions of gallons of water annually from an aquifer deep below the Pequop Range and Goshute Valley.

Aquafornia news The Revelator

Blog: Pandemic shines a light on critical water issues — Will Congress fund solutions?

We know one thing for sure: We need to wash our hands well and often. And for that we need clean, running water. But so far the federal legislative responses to the novel coronavirus crisis have not included financial support for water utilities, most of which are public agencies. And there’s been no federal mandate to prevent water shutoffs for households unable to pay their bills.

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Aquafornia news The New York Times

More drought on tap for Western US amid low river flows

The models show drought is expected to keep its hold over the mountains along the New Mexico-Colorado border that feed the Rio Grande, while California, Nevada and other southwestern states aren’t likely to see a reprieve from dry conditions through June.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Reno Gazette Journal

Opinion: Without the Carson River, Nevada might not be here!

Without the river, there would not have been an Emigrant Trail through this site, gold would not have been discovered in Dayton and who knows when the Comstock Lode would have been discovered and Nevada might not even be Nevada today!

Aquafornia news Pacific Institute

Blog: Corporate water stewardship in the Colorado River Basin

This report, “Scaling Corporate Water Stewardship to Address Water Challenges in the Colorado River Basin,” examines a set of key corporate water stewardship actions and activities, with associated drivers and barriers, to identify how the private sector could help tackle Colorado River water challenges.

Aquafornia news Nevada Public Radio

Audio: The time for this water-saving grain in Nevada is now

Researchers with the University of Nevada, Reno, have been working to evaluate and commercialize crops that use less water. Professor John Cushman and his team think they’ve found an alternative. It’s called teff.

Lower Colorado River Tour 2021
A Virtual Journey - May 20

This event explored the lower Colorado River where virtually every drop of the river is allocated, yet demand is growing from myriad sources — increasing population, declining habitat, drought and climate change.

The 1,450-mile river is a lifeline to 40 million people in the Southwest across seven states and Mexico. How the Lower Basin states – Arizona, California and Nevada – use and manage this water to meet agricultural, urban, environmental and industrial needs was the focus of this tour. 

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

District Court judge reaffirms decision to deny water for Las Vegas pipeline

A District Court judge has once again scuttled the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s plans to obtain and pump rural groundwater about 300 miles from eastern Nevada, prompting one Clark County commissioner to call on the water authority “to look in a different direction.”

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

Opinion: There’s no plan to save the Colorado River

The latest research about the Colorado River is alarming but also predictable: In a warming world, snowmelt has been decreasing while evaporation of reservoirs is increasing. Yet no politician has a plan to save the diminishing Colorado River.

Aquafornia news Grand Junction Sentinel

Nevada town has disappeared and re-emerged over 150 years

As the waters of Lake Mead have risen and fallen over the years, the remains of the village of St. Thomas have reappeared, then disappeared again, only to re-emerge years later. It’s a sort of Brigadoon for the southwestern United States.

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Review-Journal

Water bills might increase in Southern Nevada if $3B plan approved

A $3 billion package of water projects recommended for approval by the Southern Nevada Water Authority this month could raise average residential bills by $10, while providing a boost to the Apex Industrial Park in North Las Vegas.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Nevada Supreme Court hears arguments about the state’s role in protecting water for the ‘public trust’

The Nevada Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in a case weighing how state regulators should consider “public trust” values — the environment or recreation — when the sustainability of lakes or rivers could be harmed by how the state has allocated water rights.

Aquafornia news Reno Gazette Journal

Controversial Walker Lake hydropower proposal wins preliminary permit

A proposal to pump water out of Nevada’s fragile Walker Lake to generate hydropower to sell in California won preliminary approval from federal regulators. On Friday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a preliminary permit and granting priority to file for the proposed Walker Lake Pumped Storage Project.

Aquafornia news The Salt Lake Tribune

Opinion: The dam truth about the Colorado River

If you followed the news about the Colorado River for the last year, you’d think that a political avalanche had swept down from Colorado’s snow-capped peaks and covered the Southwest with a blanket of “collaboration” and “river protection.” I won’t call it fake news, but I will point out errors of omission.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Nevada Supreme Court hears arguments about the state’s role in protecting water for the ‘public trust’

The Nevada Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday in a case weighing how state regulators should consider “public trust” values — the environment or recreation — when the sustainability of lakes or rivers could be harmed by how the state has allocated water rights.

Aquafornia news Inkstain.net

Blog: Robert Moses, the Colorado River, and the tragedy of the anticommons

I have long argued that a robust governance network, both formal and informal, around the management of the Colorado River provides the necessary conditions for managing the problems of the river’s overallocation and the increasingly apparent impacts of climate change. … But as we approach the negotiation of the next set of Colorado River management rules – a process already bubbling in the background – it is not hard to see how my thesis could break down.

Aquafornia news The Weather Channel

Climate change threatens Colorado River and the water supply for 40 million people

Climate change has dramatically decreased natural flow in the Colorado River, jeopardizing the water supply for some 40 million people and millions of acres of farmland, according to new research from the USGS. The decline is expected to continue unless changes are made to alleviate global warming and the impacts of drier, hotter temperatures.

Related articles:

Aquafornia news The Washington Post

Declining snowpack due to climate change has cut the Colorado River’s annual flow by 10 percent, study finds

The Colorado River’s average annual flow has declined by nearly 20 percent compared to the last century, and researchers have identified one of the main culprits: climate change is causing mountain snowpack to disappear, leading to increased evaporation.

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Aquafornia news Bloomberg Environment

Land bureau may exempt plans from environmental review

The Bureau of Land Management may stop studying how its long-term blueprints for millions of acres of public lands would affect the environment, according to a document shared with Bloomberg Environment. … The BLM may propose a land use planning rule that will “remove NEPA requirements from the planning regulations,” referring to the National Environmental Policy Act,

Aquafornia news Smart Water Magazine

Scientists connect 2018’s Four Corners drought directly to human-caused climate change

The 2018 Four Corners drought — centered on the junction between Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico — put the region deep in the red. An abnormally hot spring and summer indicated that climate change was clearly at work, but that was about as much as most people could say… Climate scientists from UC Santa Barbara have now distilled just how strong an effect human-induced warming had on that event.

Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

The Colorado River had a stellar 2019, but this year’s forecasts are below average

Right now, the April-July runoff is supposed to be 82% of average. That compares to 145 % of average in 2019, the second-best runoff season in the past 20 years, says the federal Colorado Basin River Forecast Center. Despite last year’s excellent river flows, most experts also say the Colorado still faces long-term supply issues…

Aquafornia news Cronkite News-Arizona PBS

Teamwork will be key to balancing the overcommitted Colorado River

Along with long-term drought and climate change, the overcommitment of the Colorado River is a big reason why Lake Mead has dropped to historic levels in recent years. Fixing it could be a big problem for Arizona.

Aquafornia news Cronkite News-Arizona PBS

Colorado River overcommitted on water availability

In the early years of the 20th century, leaders across the West had big dreams for growth, all of which were tied to taking water from the Colorado River and moving it across mountains and deserts. In dividing up the river, they assigned more water to users than the system actually produces.

Aquafornia news The New York Times

‘A slow-motion Chernobyl’: How lax laws turned a river into a disaster

The river is a powerful example of Mexico’s failure to protect its environment: A New York Times analysis of 15 years of efforts to clean up the Santiago found that attempts floundered in the face of legal loopholes, deficient funding and a lack of political will.

Aquafornia news Arizona Daily Star

Time to move faster on cutting Colorado River use, conservationist warns

The Lower Basin states of Arizona, California and Nevada need to cut total water use by 18% from their 2000-2018 average to bring Lakes Mead and Powell into a long-term state of balance, says Brian Richter. Richter is president of the nonprofit group Sustainable Waters and a former director and chief scientist for the Nature Conservancy’s Global Water program.

Aquafornia news KUNC

With drought plans finished, water managers pause Colorado River negotiations

In theory, a demand management program would pay users to conserve in the midst of a crisis in order to boost the river’s big reservoirs. How it would work, who would participate and how it would be funded are still unanswered questions. Another concern is how to make the program equitable — so it doesn’t burden one user over another.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

Nevada river commission intervenes in lawsuit over Glen Canyon Dam

The Colorado River Commission of Nevada unanimously voted this week to intervene into a lawsuit between the U.S. Department of the Interior and a group of environmental activists led by the nonprofit Save the Colorado River. The lawsuit alleges the department, in drafting a long-term plan for the Glen Canyon Dam in northern Arizona, did not fully consider the impacts of climate change…

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

Nevada river commission intervenes in lawsuit over Glen Canyon Dam

The Colorado River Commission of Nevada unanimously voted this week to intervene into a lawsuit between the U.S. Department of the Interior and a group of environmental activists led by the nonprofit Save the Colorado River. The lawsuit alleges the department, in drafting a long-term plan for the Glen Canyon Dam in northern Arizona, did not fully consider the impacts of climate change…

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Federal government will review Colorado River rules in 2020

Federal water managers are about to start reexamining a 12-year-old agreement among Western states that laid down rules for dealing with potential water shortages along the Colorado River. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said he asked the Bureau of Reclamation to start the review at the beginning of 2020, rather than by the end of 2020, which is the deadline under the existing agreement.

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Federal government will review Colorado River rules in 2020

Federal water managers are about to start reexamining a 12-year-old agreement among Western states that laid down rules for dealing with potential water shortages along the Colorado River. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said he asked the Bureau of Reclamation to start the review at the beginning of 2020, rather than by the end of 2020, which is the deadline under the existing agreement.

Related article:

Aquafornia news U.S. News & World Report

Friday Top of the Scroll: U.S. water chief praises Colorado River deal, sees challenges

States in the U.S. West that have agreed to begin taking less water next month from the drought-stricken Colorado River got praise and a push for more action Thursday from the nation’s top water official. U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman told federal, state and local water managers that abiding by the promises they made will be crucial to ensuring that more painful cuts aren’t required.

Related article:

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Review-Journal

Conservation key as decades-long drought continues

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman said Wednesday that Nevada has been a national leader in water conservation by reducing demand on the Colorado River and investing in infrastructure over the past two decades. In Las Vegas for the Colorado River Water Users Association’s annual conference, Burman declined to say, however, whether she sees Nevada’s share of the river’s water increasing…

Aquafornia news Arizona Republic

Arizona will soon start getting less water from the Colorado River

Arizona, Nevada and Mexico will start taking less water from the Colorado River in January as a hard-fought set of agreements kicks in to reduce the risk of reservoirs falling to critically low levels. The two U.S. states agreed to leave a portion of their water allotments in Lake Mead under a deal with California called the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan, or DCP…

Aquafornia news Las Vegas Sun

Las Vegas groundwater management a success, but overpumping issues loom

Net groundwater pumping peaked in 1968 at 86,000 acre-feet and started to go down in the 1980s, ’90s and 2000s, according to the state’s 2018 groundwater pumpage inventory for the aquifer. Thanks to the water authority’s efforts to reduce pumping, only 10% of the water used in the valley now comes from groundwater, while the rest comes from Lake Mead, Mack said.

Aquafornia news Grist.org

Politicians knew the inconvenient truth about the Colorado River 100 years ago — and ignored it

As conventional wisdom has it, the states were relying on bad data when they divided up the water. But a new book challenges that narrative. Turn-of-the-century hydrologists actually had a pretty good idea of how much water the river could spare, water experts John Fleck and Eric Kuhn write in Science be Dammed: How Ignoring Inconvenient Science Drained the Colorado River. They make the case that politicians and water managers in the early 1900s ignored evidence about the limits of the river’s resources.

Aquafornia news Associated Press

Arizona tribes oppose plan to dam Colorado River tributary

Native American tribes, environmentalists, state and federal agencies, river rafters and others say they have significant concerns about proposals to dam a Colorado River tributary in northern Arizona for hydropower.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Projects propose new reservoirs, cycling water from Nevada’s desert lakes, with hopes of selling power to LA

During days when solar panels feed more energy into the grid than utilities want to buy, the projects would use the excess power to pump water from Walker Lake or Pyramid Lake into the newly constructed reservoirs. Once there, the water would sit as a giant pool of potential energy. When demand for power increased at night as solar production waned, the water could be released downhill and run through a power plant.

Aquafornia news Reno Gazette Journal

Water scarcity in Nevada hits ‘critical mass’

Nevada’s director of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources said Nevada has already reached the point of “critical mass” or the breaking point when it comes to the problem of water scarcity. … “We are up against that much strain in our water resources across the state,” Director Brad Crowell said.

Aquafornia news KUNC

New analysis spells out serious legal risk to Colorado River water users

Ambiguity exists in the language of the river’s foundational document, the Colorado River Compact. That agreement’s language remains unclear on whether Upper Basin states, where the Colorado River originates, are legally obligated to deliver a certain amount of water over a 10-year period to those in the Lower Basin: Arizona, California, and Nevada.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Water district linked to developer will consider reforms after eminent domain action revealed web of conflicts

After blurring the line between a private and public utility for nearly two decades, the water district that serves the world’s largest industrial park is looking to part ways with a developer. That action comes after The Nevada Independent reported this month that the public water district … is operated by a private entity and governed by three board members who report income from companies connected to Lance Gilman, the face of the industrial park. The board members also reside at Gilman’s brothel, the Mustang Ranch.

Aquafornia news The Nevada Independent

Water authority would pay $30 million to Raiders under proposed decade-long advertising contract for water conservation

The Southern Nevada Water Authority is proposing a 10-year marketing deal with the future Las Vegas Raiders that will pay the NFL franchise more than $30 million in tax dollars over the next decade, enabling the agency to use team logos and place advertising in the $1.9 billion Allegiant Stadium.

Aquafornia news KUNC

New analysis spells out serious legal risk to Colorado River water users

Declining flows could force Southwest water managers to confront long-standing legal uncertainties, and threaten the water security of Upper Basin states of Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico.

Aquafornia news The Revelator

Blog: ‘Science Be Dammed’: Learning from history’s mistake on the Colorado River

The problem in the 1920s was neither the lack of good science nor the inability of decision-makers to understand the basin’s hydrology. … In an era driven by politics of competition for a limited supply of river water and federal dollars, those decision-makers had the opportunity to selectively use the available science as a tool to sell their projects and vision for the river’s future to Congress and the general public.

Aquafornia news KUNR

Audio: What’s in the water?

In this episode, we explore a carcinogen called 1,2,3 Tetracholorpropane, which ended up in the water below California’s Central Valley. … We also hear from John Hadder and Dr. Glenn Miller, with Great Basin Resource Watch, about how some of the groundwater in Nevada became contaminated due to mining operations near Yerington.