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.
Three U.S. states with anticipated water supply deficits in the coming decades reached milestones in July in their deliberations on how to meet the demands of cities, farmers, and industries. … A few plans have already been published. California, for example, released its five-year update in January.
Modesto is feeling the effects of the drought, with the Modesto Irrigation District reducing the amount of water it sends to the city by 43 percent, which is the same reduction MID has imposed on its other water users.
“California could save more water than what its cities use in a year by ramping up its conservation and recycling programs and storing rainwater instead of letting it run off into the Pacific Ocean, according to a report released Tuesday.”
“The Bureau of Reclamation today [June 6] announced its selection of six projects across California to receive a total of $1.8 million in CALFED Water Use Efficiency grants for Fiscal Year 2014. Combined with local cost-share contributions, more than $11.7 million in water management improvement projects will be implemented during the next 24 months.”
From the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA):
“The California Roundtable on Water and Food Supply (CRWFS), in ‘From Crisis to Connectivity: Renewed Thinking About Managing California’s Water & Food Supply,’ outlines a framework for reconnecting competing groups of water users and managing the state’s water resources with emphasis on simultaneous benefits.”
From the California WaterBlog, from the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences in a post by Sarah Null:
“In California, we ask water managers to do the near-impossible task of managing rivers for both environmental and economic objectives, which are often at odds. Where we have repeatedly failed to stem or reverse environmental problems, environmental regulation can drive water management.”
“The first USGS streamgage in the country is turning 125 years old, and the U.S. Geological Survey, along with many partner agencies, is commemorating the event on Tuesday, April 22, with a celebration at the Embudo streamgage near Espanola.
From the PPIC [Public Policy Institute of California] Viewpoints Blog, in a post by Linda Strean:
“The drought has focused attention on water supply and highlights the crucial role of funding in supporting our water system, said Ellen Hanak, PPIC senior fellow, at a half-day conference PPIC hosted last week at the Sacramento Convention Center.
From the Northern California Water Association (NCWA) blog, in a post by NCWA Chair Bryce Lundberg:
“Despite recent rainfall in March, there will be significant surface water cutbacks in the Sacramento Valley during the third consecutive year of drought. Reduced water use by farms and wildlife refuges will directly impact wildlife habitat, rural communities and our economy.”
“Modesto’s auditor spent about six months reviewing the Public Works Department’s water and wastewater divisions, including interviewing more than 40 managers, supervisors and rank-and-file city employees.”
From the San Francisco Chronicle, in a commentary by Tim Palmer:
“One peril of being human is that we often respond poorly to crises. Because we now face one of the worst droughts in California history, the stage is set to flirt with error on a scale as colossal as the crisis itself.”
From The Fresno Bee, in a commentary by former California Secretary of State Bill Jones:
“In California, managing water resources requires managing volatility. We know we’re going to have wet cycles, and we know we’re going to have droughts. The challenge is preparing ourselves for those inevitable events. Our forefathers did a great job in this respect.
“Fifty years ago, President Kennedy and Gov. Edward “Pat” Brown flew over my farm on their way to dedicate the San Luis Dam.