With the Colorado River crisis deepening and the warming
climate continuing to rob streams and rivers of their flows,
talk in Colorado has resumed about how to limit growing water
demand statewide for residential use. A new report commissioned
by the Common Sense Institute and written by Colorado water
veterans Jennifer Gimbel and Eric Kuhn, cites the need for
broader conservation measures such as removing non-functional
turf in new development, among other things. … “We have
to do more with less,” said Kuhn. He cited projected statewide
population growth of 1.6 to 1.8 million new residents by 2050,
most along the Front Range, but also the probability that the
warming climate will make less water available, particularly
from the Colorado River.
Facing the worst Western drought in 1,200 years, San Francisco
is the first city in the nation to mandate onsite water reuse
for new buildings above 100,000 gross square feet.
The crucial word here is “onsite.” In contrast to a typical
building, where wastewater flows from the building into a
network of underground pipes to the city’s centralized
treatment plant, each building with onsite water reuse contains
a small wastewater treatment system. This system purifies
wastewater and directs it toward non-potable applications
including toilet flushing, irrigation, laundry, and cooling
towers. By using recycled water for non-potable purposes,
buildings with onsite water reuse reduce their potable water
use by up to 95% In residential high-rises, this can translate
to millions of gallons of water — and hundreds of thousands of
dollars – saved per year.
The seven states that depend on the Colorado River have missed
a Jan. 31 federal deadline for reaching a regionwide consensus
on how to sharply reduce water use, raising the likelihood of
more friction as the West grapples with how to take less
supplies from the shrinking river. In a bid to sway the process
after contentious negotiations reached an impasse, six of the
seven states gave the federal government a last-minute proposal
outlining possible water cuts to help prevent reservoirs from
falling to dangerously low levels, presenting a unified front
while leaving out California, which uses the single largest
share of the river. The six states — Arizona, Colorado, Nevada,
New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming — called their proposal a
“consensus-based modeling alternative” that could serve as a
framework for negotiating a solution.
Competing priorities, outsized demands and the federal
government’s retreat from a threatened deadline stymied a deal
last summer on how to drastically reduce water use from the
parched Colorado River, emails obtained by The Associated Press
show. … Reclamation wanted the seven U.S. states that rely on
the river to decide how to cut 2 million to 4 million acre-feet
of water — or up to roughly one-third — on top of already
anticipated reductions. … California says it’s a partner
willing to sacrifice, but other states see it as a reluctant
participant clinging to a water priority system where it ranks
near the top. Arizona and Nevada have long felt they’re
unfairly forced to bear the brunt of cuts because of a water
rights system developed long ago, a simmering frustration that
reared its head during talks.
Golf courses. Ponds. Acres of grass. Cascading waterfalls.
Displays of water extravagance zip past each day when Sendy
Hernández Orellana Barrows drives to work. She said these views
seem like landscapes that have undergone “plastic surgery,”
transforming large parts of the Coachella Valley’s desert into
scenes of unnatural lushness. From La Quinta to Palm Springs,
the area’s gated communities, resorts and golf courses have
long been promoted with palm-studded images of green grass,
swimming pools and artificial lakes. The entrepreneurs and
boosters who decades ago built the Coachella Valley’s
reputation as a playground destination saw the appeal of
developments awash in water, made possible by wells drawing on
the aquifer and a steady stream of Colorado River water.
Researchers from the University of Arizona are working on
groundwater and agricultural research that could help
sustainable farming practices in central Arizona. The project,
funded with a $10 million grant from the U.S. Department of
Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and
led by the University of California, Davis, integrates over two
dozen experts from institutions in Arizona, California and New
Mexico. … As a megadrought drains the Colorado River
reservoirs and water cuts are enacted, farmers across the
Southwest are turning to groundwater to sustain their
operations. This has caused unprecedented overdraft in aquifers
in the Central Valley of California, central Arizona and the
Lower Rio Grande basin in New Mexico, according to project
Over the course of the next seven years, an average 35,000
housing units will be built each year in Colorado. If past
trends persist, around 70% of those housing units will be
single-family homes. From Fort Collins to Colorado Springs,
it’s likely that Coloradans will see more single-family
suburban developments popping up — and with them, lawns.
Conventional grass lawns ornament the vast majority of American
homes, covering three times as much surface area as irrigated
cornfields in the United States. Although lawns are often
purely aesthetic, sometimes they are chosen for their
durability; lawns hold up against cleats, dogs and kids. …
But there are far too many cropped, green lawns that are
neglected until a weed sprouts up or it’s time to mow. Too many
lawns exist just for the sake of being maintained. -Written by Sammy Herdman, a campaign associate
for Environment Colorado.
In a major sign that California’s drought conditions are easing
after a series of huge storms earlier this month, state water
officials on Thursday increased the amount of water that cities
and farms will receive this summer from the State Water
Project, a series of dams, canals and pumps that provides water
to 27 million people from the Bay Area to San Diego. The
increased water deliveries — six times the amount promised
on Dec. 1 — are made possible by rapidly filling reservoirs and
a huge Sierra Nevada snowpack and likely will mean that many
communities will ease or lift summer water restrictions if the
wet weather continues through the spring.
Bakersfield and the Kern River Valley made the list of Cal
Water’s top water-saving districts for December 2022.
California Water Service, Cal Water, said customers surpassed
the state’s conservation target of 15% in December 2022, saving
16.5% company-wide over December 2020. In a release it said,
“This is the eighth month in a row Cal Water customers reduced
their water use, with 11 districts saving more than 15%.” The
11 Cal Water districts that surpassed 15% in water-use
reductions are …
Arizona needs tens of thousands of new housing units to meet
demand, but first, developers will need to find enough water.
The state’s water woes have been on full display this month as
it lost 21% of its Colorado River supply to cuts, homes outside
Scottsdale, Arizona, had their water cut off by the city, and a
recently released model found planned housing units for more
than 800,000 people west of Phoenix will have to find new water
sources. Arizona is one of the fastest-growing states and short
100,000 housing units, a state Department of Housing report
released last year found, but depending on where they’re
located, some homes will be more easily built than others.
Good news: roses can be a part of your
water-efficient landscape. Lorence Oki, UC Cooperative
Extension environmental horticulture specialist in the UC Davis
Department of Plant Sciences, identified rose cultivars that
remain aesthetically pleasing with little water.
Oki is the principal investigator of the Climate-Ready
Landscape Plants project, which may be the largest irrigation
trial in the western U.S., and the UC Plant Landscape
Irrigation Trials (UCLPIT), the California component of
that project. These projects evaluate landscape plants under
varying irrigation levels to determine their optimal
performance in regions requiring supplemental summer water.
Record snowfall has come to Arizona. It hasn’t even melted yet,
and already there’s an extra 100,000 acre-feet of water in Salt
River Project’s reservoirs since Jan. 1. Meanwhile, snowpack
across the Colorado River basin is well above normal, and while
it’s still too early to know how runoff will shape up, some
researchers have begun to raise their expectations for a better
year. So, we can ease up, right? Maybe we won’t need to stop
using nearly as much water this year, as predicted, to keep
Lake Mead and Lake Powell on life support? … The feds
told the seven Colorado River basin states last summer that
they needed to stop using at least 2 million
acre-feet of water this year. … But state delegates
are back at it again, hoping to reach some sort of voluntary
deal by the end of this month. -Written by Arizona Republic columnist Joanna
Utah’s Washington County is one of the fastest growing areas in
the country, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, made possible
by the Virgin River which supplies the region and its
multiplying suburbs with water. But drought and population
growth have long plagued the river, and the mayor of Ivins, a
small, bedroom community of nearby St. George, did not mince
words when addressing constituents this month. … Hart’s
message came in the wake of an upscale community near
Scottsdale, Arizona, having its water shut off on New Year’s
Day. Similar to the St. George area, the fast-growing
Scottsdale community received its drinking water from Arizona’s
allotment of the Colorado River, and the shutoffs were in
part due to shortages in the river’s basin, according to
a memo sent to residents of the Rio Verde Foothills
Concerns over the Colorado River have led the everyday Arizonan
to think about water in ways they haven’t before. As a result,
much has been made as of late about growing “thirsty crops” in
Arizona’s desert climate. It doesn’t take long to find an
opinion or editorial about how farming alfalfa is the
embodiment of everything that is wrong with the water system in
Arizona. This rhetoric needs to stop. Here’s why. When you hear
that agriculture uses nearly three-fourths of Arizona’s water,
it is easy to draw the conclusion that the best way to save
water for growing urban populations is to take it from the
largest user. In reality, though, that water is already being
consumed by that urban population each and every time they sit
down for a meal. -Written by Chelsea McGuire, the Arizona Farm
Bureau Government Relations Director.
Standing under a shady tree drooping with pomegranates late
last year, Brad Simmons, a retired metal fabricator who has
lived in Healdsburg, California, for 57 years, showed off his
backyard orchard. … Of course, the small grove requires
plenty of water — an increasingly scarce resource in a state
that continues grappling with a historic drought despite recent
torrential rains. Yet Simmons, like many of his fellow 12,000
residents, has managed to keep much of this wine country
community north of San Francisco looking verdant while slashing
the city’s water use in half since 2020. Healdsburg benefits
from an invaluable resource that keeps gardens, trees, and
vineyards irrigated: free, non-potable water produced by its
Joe McCue thought he had found a desert paradise when he bought
one of the new stucco houses sprouting in the granite foothills
of Rio Verde, Arizona. There were good schools, mountain views
and cactus-spangled hiking trails out the back door. Then the
water got cut off. Earlier this month, the community’s longtime
water supplier, the neighboring city of Scottsdale, turned off
the tap for Rio Verde Foothills, blaming a grinding drought
that is threatening the future of the West. Scottsdale said it
had to focus on conserving water for its own residents, and
could no longer sell water to roughly 500 to 700 homes — or
around 1,000 people.
California may be flooding, but the multiyear drought is far
from over. It only makes sense that the city of Bakersfield has
its eye on reducing water use over the long term on city-owned
properties and streetscaping along Bakersfield’s busy avenues
and major traffic arteries. It’s why the city has begun taking
advantage of incentives offered by California Water Service Co.
that have the potential to return hundreds of thousands of
dollars to city coffers, while saving millions of gallons of
water annually. CalWater has established a program for
customers, both big and small, that incentivizes turf
replacement with drought-tolerant landscaping, sometimes called
xeriscape. The program reimburses CalWater’s account holders up
to $3 for each square foot of turf removed.
When Kitty Bolte looked at her yard at the start of
California’s powerful winter storms, she saw more than half a
foot of standing water behind her house. At first Bolte, a
horticulturalist by trade, contemplated pumping it out onto the
street. But with the historic rains coming in the midst of a
historic drought, that seemed oddly wasteful. So instead, she
and her boyfriend decided to save it. They found a neighbor
selling IBC totes – large 330-gallon plastic containers
surrounded by wire – on Craigslist, and filled them up using an
inexpensive Home Depot pump. They also dragged some spare
garbage cans outside to sit under the downpour, gathering 800
gallons in all. … One inch of rain on a 1,000 sq ft roof
can result in 600 gallons of water – enough to water
a 4 by 8 ft food garden for 30 weeks. In her cisterns,
Dougherty collects much more – 2,000 gallons at a time that are
stored in large plastic vessels that can be closed off.
Even in the middle of a cool and wet winter in the Coachella
Valley and California in general, officials of the Coachella
Valley Water District have a blunt message for the desert’s
golf course industry: Take the ongoing drought seriously,
because changes could be coming to water availability sooner
rather than later. … Golf course superintendents and
general managers from throughout the desert listened to
presentations on advances in drought-tolerant grasses and
technological advances that can help save water on the desert’s
120 courses. But Cheng and Pete Nelson, a director of the CVWD,
made the more important presentation on the state of the
Colorado basin and how water from the Colorado River can no
longer be counted on as a long-term solution to irrigation
needs for golf courses or agriculture in the desert.
Vendors at the Ocean Beach farmers market are singing rain’s
praises after a series of storms that have passed through San
Diego. … While farmers say the rain makes their
fruits and vegetables pop, they say it also helps them
save money and the environment. … Pasqual said the
farm he works for could save a couple grand from being able to
turn off the irrigation system. … As California
has suffered through a devastating multi-year drought,
giving irrigation systems a vacation after the rain is a
critical part of much-needed conservation, according to the San
Diego County Water Authority.
Adán Ortega, Jr. took the helm today of Metropolitan Water
District’s Board of Directors as the 20th chair and first
Latino to lead the board in the district’s 95-year
history. In addition to his installation, Ortega welcomed
three new directors who took their seats to represent the
Calleguas, Central Basin and Eastern municipal water districts
on the 38-member board. Ortega, who has represented the city of
San Fernando on the board since March 2021, took his oath of
office in a boardroom filled with family, elected officials,
community leaders, mentors and friends.
In October 2022, water agencies in Southern California with
Colorado River water rights announced plans to reduce water
diversions. The agencies offered voluntary conservation of
400,000 acre-feet per year through 2026. This annual total is
nearly 10% of the state’s total annual usage rights for the
Colorado River. The cutbacks help prepare for long-term
implications of climate change for the river’s management,
which are starting to be acknowledged. In urban Southern
California, an important aspect of this need is reducing
imported water reliance through investments in local water
resources. … What would happen if Southern California
lost access to Colorado River water for an extended period?
The Los Angeles River roared to life this week as a series of
powerful storms moved through the Southland. In Long Beach, 3
feet of water shut down the 710 Freeway in both directions,
while flooding in the San Fernando Valley forced the closure of
the Sepulveda Basin. It was by all accounts a washout, but
despite heaps of water pouring into the area, drought-weary Los
Angeles won’t be able to save even half of it. The region’s
system of engineered waterways is designed to whisk L.A.’s
stormwater out to sea — a strategy intended to reduce flooding
that nonetheless sacrifices countless precious gallons.
One Valley community is adjusting to a new reality now that
they are without access to a familiar water source. “Really
concerned and worried. In fact, I’m happy I have a pool because
every time it rains at least I can siphon that,” says Dee
Thomas, Rio Verde Foothills resident. Just days into the new
year, residents in the Rio Verde Foothills community are
getting creative with how they conserve and use water. “We use
it mostly for showering. For, you know, washing clothes, the
bathroom,” says Thomas. On January 1st, the City of Scottsdale
stopped providing the ability for water to be purchased and
hauled outside city limits as part of their drought management
plan. In a memo, Scottsdale says they have been generous and
accommodating for years, but the city cannot be responsible for
the water needs of a separate community, especially given its
unlimited and unregulated growth.
Water supplies are shrinking throughout the Southwest, from the
Rocky Mountains to California, with the flow of the Colorado
River declining and groundwater levels dropping in many areas.
The mounting strains on the region’s water supplies are
bringing new questions about the unrestrained growth of
sprawling suburbs.[Kathleen] Ferris, a researcher at Arizona
State University’s Kyl Center for Water Policy, is convinced
that growth is surpassing the water limits in parts of Arizona,
and she worries that the development boom is on a collision
course with the aridification of the Southwest and the finite
supply of groundwater that can be pumped from desert aquifers.
Two things on California’s wish list — more water and more
power — may come soon with a first-in-the-nation plan to cover
irrigation canals with solar panels. The project, which aims to
save water by reducing evaporation from canals while generating
renewable energy, is small, encompassing nearly two miles of
waterways in the Central Valley. The hope, though, is to
showcase the simple but largely untested concept so that it
catches on with agricultural and urban water suppliers across
the state, and beyond.
When the Colorado River Compact was
signed 100 years ago, the negotiators for seven Western states
bet that the river they were dividing would have ample water to
meet everyone’s needs – even those not seated around the table.
A century later, it’s clear the water they bet on is not there.
More than two decades of drought, lake evaporation and overuse of
water have nearly drained the river’s two anchor reservoirs, Lake
Powell on the Arizona-Utah border and Lake Mead near Las Vegas.
Climate change is rendering the basin drier, shrinking spring
runoff that’s vital for river flows, farms, tribes and cities
across the basin – and essential for refilling reservoirs.
The states that endorsed the Colorado River Compact in 1922 – and
the tribes and nation of Mexico that were excluded from the table
– are now straining to find, and perhaps more importantly accept,
solutions on a river that may offer just half of the water that
the Compact assumed would be available. And not only are
solutions not coming easily, the relationships essential for
compromise are getting more frayed.
Momentum is building for a unique
interstate deal that aims to transform wastewater from Southern
California homes and business into relief for the stressed
Colorado River. The collaborative effort to add resiliency to a
river suffering from overuse, drought and climate change is being
shaped across state lines by some of the West’s largest water
Las Vegas, known for its searing summertime heat and glitzy casino fountains, is projected to get even hotter in the coming years as climate change intensifies. As temperatures rise, possibly as much as 10 degrees by end of the century, according to some models, water demand for the desert community is expected to spike. That is not good news in a fast-growing region that depends largely on a limited supply of water from an already drought-stressed Colorado River.
When you oversee the largest
supplier of treated water in the United States, you tend to think
Jeff Kightlinger, general manager of the Metropolitan Water
District of Southern California for the last 15 years, has
focused on diversifying his agency’s water supply and building
security through investment. That means looking beyond MWD’s
borders to ensure the reliable delivery of water to two-thirds of
Californians have been doing an
reducing their indoor water use, helping the state survive
the most recent drought when water districts were required to
meet conservation targets. With more droughts inevitable,
Californians are likely to face even greater calls to save water
in the future.
Even as stakeholders in the Colorado River Basin celebrate the recent completion of an unprecedented drought plan intended to stave off a crashing Lake Mead, there is little time to rest. An even larger hurdle lies ahead as they prepare to hammer out the next set of rules that could vastly reshape the river’s future.
Set to expire in 2026, the current guidelines for water deliveries and shortage sharing, launched in 2007 amid a multiyear drought, were designed to prevent disputes that could provoke conflict.
One of California Gov. Gavin
Newsom’s first actions after taking office was to appoint Wade
Crowfoot as Natural Resources Agency secretary. Then, within
weeks, the governor laid out an ambitious water agenda that
Crowfoot, 45, is now charged with executing.
That agenda includes the governor’s desire for a “fresh approach”
on water, scaling back the conveyance plan in the Sacramento-San
Joaquin Delta and calling for more water recycling, expanded
floodplains in the Central Valley and more groundwater recharge.
Groundwater helped make Kern County
the king of California agricultural production, with a $7 billion
annual array of crops that help feed the nation. That success has
come at a price, however. Decades of unchecked groundwater
pumping in the county and elsewhere across the state have left
some aquifers severely depleted. Now, the county’s water managers
have less than a year left to devise a plan that manages and
protects groundwater for the long term, yet ensures that Kern
County’s economy can continue to thrive, even with less water.
Although Santa Monica may be the most aggressive Southern California water provider to wean itself from imported supplies, it is hardly the only one looking to remake its water portfolio.
In Los Angeles, a city of about 4 million people, efforts are underway to dramatically slash purchases of imported water while boosting the amount from recycling, stormwater capture, groundwater cleanup and conservation. Mayor Eric Garcetti in 2014 announced a plan to reduce the city’s purchase of imported water from Metropolitan Water District by one-half by 2025 and to provide one-half of the city’s supply from local sources by 2035. (The city considers its Eastern Sierra supplies as imported water.)
Imported water from the Sierra
Nevada and the Colorado River built Southern California. Yet as
drought, climate change and environmental concerns render those
supplies increasingly at risk, the Southland’s cities have ramped
up their efforts to rely more on local sources and less on
Far and away the most ambitious goal has been set by the city of
Santa Monica, which in 2014 embarked on a course to be virtually
water independent through local sources by 2023. In the 1990s,
Santa Monica was completely dependent on imported water. Now, it
derives more than 70 percent of its water locally.
In the universe of California water, Tim Quinn is a professor emeritus. Quinn has seen — and been a key player in — a lot of major California water issues since he began his water career 40 years ago as a young economist with the Rand Corporation, then later as deputy general manager with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and finally as executive director of the Association of California Water Agencies. In December, the 66-year-old will retire from ACWA.
People in California and the
Southwest are getting stingier with water, a story that’s told by
For years, water use has generally been described in terms of
acre-foot per a certain number of households, keying off the
image of an acre-foot as a football field a foot deep in water.
The long-time rule of thumb: One acre-foot of water would supply
the indoor and outdoor needs of two typical urban households for
Amy Haas recently became the first non-engineer and the first woman to serve as executive director of the Upper Colorado River Commission in its 70-year history, putting her smack in the center of a host of daunting challenges facing the Upper Colorado River Basin.
Yet those challenges will be quite familiar to Haas, an attorney who for the past year has served as deputy director and general counsel of the commission. (She replaced longtime Executive Director Don Ostler). She has a long history of working within interstate Colorado River governance, including representing New Mexico as its Upper Colorado River commissioner and playing a central role in the negotiation of the recently signed U.S.-Mexico agreement known as Minute 323.
Nowhere is the domino effect in
Western water policy played out more than on the Colorado River,
and specifically when it involves the Lower Basin states of
California, Nevada and Arizona. We are seeing that play out now
as the three states strive to forge a Drought Contingency Plan.
Yet that plan can’t be finalized until Arizona finds a unifying
voice between its major water players, an effort you can read
more about in the latest in-depth article of Western Water.
Even then, there are some issues to resolve just within
It’s high-stakes time in Arizona. The state that depends on the
Colorado River to help supply its cities and farms — and is
first in line to absorb a shortage — is seeking a unified plan
for water supply management to join its Lower Basin neighbors,
California and Nevada, in a coordinated plan to preserve water
levels in Lake Mead before
they run too low.
If the lake’s elevation falls below 1,075 feet above sea level,
the secretary of the Interior would declare a shortage and
Arizona’s deliveries of Colorado River water would be reduced by
320,000 acre-feet. Arizona says that’s enough to serve about 1
million households in one year.
As California embarks on its unprecedented mission to harness groundwater pumping, the Arizona desert may provide one guide that local managers can look to as they seek to arrest years of overdraft.
Groundwater is stressed by a demand that often outpaces natural and artificial recharge. In California, awareness of groundwater’s importance resulted in the landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act in 2014 that aims to have the most severely depleted basins in a state of balance in about 20 years.
California voters may experience a sense of déjà vu this year when they are asked twice in the same year to consider water bonds — one in June, the other headed to the November ballot.
Both tackle a variety of water issues, from helping disadvantaged communities get clean drinking water to making flood management improvements. But they avoid more controversial proposals, such as new surface storage, and they propose to do some very different things to appeal to different constituencies.
The message is oft-repeated that
water must be conserved and used as wisely as possible.
The California Water Code calls water use efficiency “the
efficient management of water resources for beneficial uses,
preventing waste, or accomplishing additional benefits with the
same amount of water.”
From the Greek “xeros” and Middle Dutch “scap,”
xeriscape was coined
in 1978 and literally translates to “dry scene.”
Xeriscaping, by extension, is making an environment which can
tolerate dryness. This involves installing drought-resistant and
slow-growing plants to reduce water use.
Irrigation is the artificial supply
of water to grow crops or plants. Obtained from either surface or groundwater, it optimizes
agricultural production when the amount of rain and where it
falls is insufficient. Different irrigation
systems are not necessarily mutually exclusive, but in
practical use are often combined. Much of the agriculture in
California and the West relies on irrigation.
This card includes information about the Colorado River, who uses
the river, how the river’s water is divided and other pertinent
facts about this vital resource for the Southwest. Beautifully
illustrated with color photographs.
For over a century, the Klamath River Basin along the Oregon and
California border has faced complex water management disputes. As
relayed in this 2012, 60-minute public television documentary
narrated by actress Frances Fisher, the water interests range
from the Tribes near the river, to energy producer PacifiCorp,
farmers, municipalities, commercial fishermen, environmentalists
– all bearing legitimate arguments for how to manage the water.
After years of fighting, a groundbreaking compromise may soon
settle the battles with two epic agreements that hold the promise
of peace and fish for the watershed. View an excerpt from the
This 30-minute documentary-style DVD on the history and current
state of the San Joaquin River Restoration Program includes an
overview of the geography and history of the river, historical
and current water delivery and uses, the genesis and timeline of
the 1988 lawsuit, how the settlement was reached and what was
This 25-minute documentary-style DVD, developed in partnership
with the California Department of Water Resources, provides an
excellent overview of climate change and how it is already
affecting California. The DVD also explains what scientists
anticipate in the future related to sea level rise and
precipitation/runoff changes and explores the efforts that are
underway to plan and adapt to climate.
Many Californians don’t realize that when they turn on the
faucet, the water that flows out could come from a source close
to home or one hundreds of miles away. Most people take their
water for granted; not thinking about the elaborate systems and
testing that go into delivering clean, plentiful water to
households throughout the state. Where drinking water comes from,
how it’s treated, and what people can do to protect its quality
are highlighted in this 2007 PBS documentary narrated by actress
A 30-minute version of the 2007 PBS documentary Drinking Water:
Quenching the Public Thirst. This DVD is ideal for showing at
community forums and speaking engagements to help the public
understand the complex issues surrounding the elaborate systems
and testing that go into delivering clean, plentiful water to
households throughout the state.
Water truly has shaped California into the great state it is
today. And if it is water that made California great, it’s the
fight over – and with – water that also makes it so critically
important. In efforts to remap California’s circulatory system,
there have been some critical events that had a profound impact
on California’s water history. These turning points not only
forced a re-evaluation of water, but continue to impact the lives
of every Californian. This 2005 PBS documentary offers a
historical and current look at the major water issues that shaped
the state we know today. Includes a 12-page viewer’s guide with
background information, historic timeline and a teacher’s lesson.
A companion to the Truckee River Basin Map poster, this 24×36
inch poster, suitable for framing, explores the Carson River, and
its link to the Truckee River. The map includes Lahontan Dam and
Reservoir, the Carson Sink, and the farming areas in the basin.
Map text discusses the region’s hydrology and geography, the
Newlands Project, land and water use within the basin and
wetlands. Development of the map was funded by a grant from the
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Mid-Pacific Region, Lahontan Basin
This 24×36 inch poster, suitable for framing, illustrates the
water resources available for Nevada cities, agriculture and the
environment. It features natural and manmade water resources
throughout the state, including the Truckee and Carson rivers,
Lake Tahoe, Pyramid Lake and the course of the Colorado River
that forms the state’s eastern boundary.
Water as a renewable resource is depicted in this 18×24 inch
poster. Water is renewed again and again by the natural
hydrologic cycle where water evaporates, transpires from plants,
rises to form clouds, and returns to the earth as precipitation.
Excellent for elementary school classroom use.
The 24-page Layperson’s Guide to Integrated Regional Water
Management (IRWM) is an in-depth, easy-to-understand publication
that provides background information on the principles of IRWM,
its funding history and how it differs from the traditional water
Water conservation has become a way of life throughout the West
with a growing recognition that the supply of water is not
Drought is the most common motivator of increased water
conservation but the gradual drying of the West as a result of
climate change means the amount of fresh water available for
drinking, irrigation, industry and other uses must be used as
efficiently as possible.
This printed issue of Western Water features a
roundtable discussion with Anthony Saracino, a water resources
consultant; Martha Davis, executive manager of policy development
with the Inland Empire Utilities Agency and senior policy advisor
to the Delta Stewardship Council; Stuart Leavenworth, editorial
page editor of The Sacramento Bee and Ellen Hanak, co-director of
research and senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of
This printed issue of Western Water examines the
financing of water infrastructure, both at the local level and
from the statewide perspective, and some of the factors that
influence how people receive their water, the price they pay for
it and how much they might have to pay in the future.
This printed copy of Western Water examines California’s drought
– its impact on water users in the urban and agricultural sector
and the steps being taken to prepare for another dry year should
Perhaps no other issue has rocketed to prominence in such a short
time as climate change. A decade ago, discussion about greenhouse
gas (GHG) emissions and the connection to warming temperatures
was but a fraction of the attention now given to the issue. From
the United Nations to local communities, people are talking about
climate change – its characteristics and what steps need to be
taken to mitigate and adapt to the anticipated impacts.
This issue of Western Water examines the continuing practice of
smart water use in the urban sector and its many facets, from
improved consumer appliances to improved agency planning to the
improvements in water recycling and desalination. Many in the
water community say conserving water is not merely a response to
drought conditions, but a permanent ethic in an era in which
every drop of water is a valuable commodity not to be wasted.
Drawn from a special stakeholder symposium held in September 1999
in Keystone, Colorado, this issue explores how we got to where we
are today on the Colorado River; an era in which the traditional
water development of the past has given way to a more
collaborative approach that tries to protect the environment
while stretching available water supplies.
This issue updates progress on crafting and implementing
California’s 4.4 plan to reduce its use of Colorado River water
by 800,000 acre-feet. The state has used as much as 5.2 million
acre-feet of Colorado River water annually, but under pressure
from Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt and the other six states
that share this resource, California’s Colorado River parties
have been trying to close the gap between demand and supply.