On the calendar today …
- FREE WEBINAR: Seawater Intrusion Control in Orange County – Do We Need Another Barrier? from 10am to 11am. Orange County Water District has been investigating the nature and extent of seawater intrusion in the Sunset Gap area beneath the Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach. Southern California has four seawater intrusion barriers (two in Orange County) where water is injected via wells to create a high-pressure ridge underground that prevents seawater from moving inland and contaminating valuable groundwater. This webinar will highlight how OCWD has combated seawater intrusion in the Orange County Groundwater Basin for decades and take a deep dive into how it was discovered in Sunset Gap, what our investigation has shown, and potential barrier concepts based on groundwater modeling. Click here to register.
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In California water news today …
California battering by high winds and heavy snow to persist
“Heavy snow and high winds will sweep Northern California through Tuesday, threatening to bring more power outages and road closures to the storm-battered state. While more than 2 feet (0.6 meters) of wind-driven snow has fallen across the Sierra Nevada, heavy rain has washed down through lower elevations around Sacramento and Modesto, said Craig Shoemaker, a National Weather Service meteorologist. Sacramento’s Executive Airport received 2.51 inches on Monday — a record for that date –and Stockton and Modesto also had daily highs that has caused some nuisance flooding. ... ” Read more from Bloomberg here: California battering by high winds and heavy snow to persist
Snow pummels Lake Tahoe, with several more feet expected to fall this week
“The atmospheric river that has doused the Bay Area since Sunday night has also dumped 1-2 feet of snow across the Sierra, blanketing bare peaks around Lake Tahoe with much-needed snow while prompting highway alerts and an avalanche warning. After an exceptionally dry and unseasonably warm November in the mountains, which prompted ski areas to delay their opening dates into December, the greater Tahoe region is being pummeled. … ” Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: Snow pummels Lake Tahoe, with several more feet expected to fall this week
SEE ALSO: Atmospheric river soaks Bay Area, brings massive snowstorm to the Sierra Nevada, from the San Jose Mercury News
State’s early zero water for ag projection could have far reaching implications
“Storms hammering California this week will likely bump up the state’s Dec. 1 projection of zero water for agricultural contractors. But questions about how and why the Department of Water Resources made that projection – and what it means for the future – have left an unsettled wake among San Joaquin Valley agricultural water districts that rely on supplies from the State Water Project. Water managers are wondering if this is, essentially, an unraveling of the “Monterey agreement.” ... ” Read more from SJV Water here: State’s early zero water for ag projection could have far reaching implications
Are California’s cities conserving enough water?
“As California’s latest fast-moving drought accelerated earlier this year, California governor Gavin Newsom called on residents to participate in a 15% voluntary reduction in water use in July. Unfortunately, Californians haven’t yet achieved the savings he requested. In September, for instance, statewide water use in cities and towns fell just 3.9% compared with the same month last year, and overall savings between July and October were just 5.6%. Some recent encouraging news showed the beginning of a shift, with water savings in October reaching 13%. Still, there’s been some concern that residents are backsliding around water conservation, especially compared with the last major drought, when average savings ultimately reached nearly 25%. But the data show a more nuanced picture, which may be useful to examine more closely as California confronts a possible third year of drought. … ” Read more from the PPIC here: Are California’s cities conserving enough water?
Newsom can’t get Californians to cut their water use. His family is doing far better
“Gov. Gavin Newsom has had a tough time convincing Californians to conserve water during the drought. He’s done a lot better with his own family. Compared to a year ago, the Newsoms have reduced water usage on their spacious Fair Oaks home by 33% from late June to early November, according to records released by the governor’s office Tuesday. By contrast, urban Californians as a whole have reduced consumption by 5.7% since Newsom issued a call for 15% voluntary conservation, the State Water Resources Control Board said Monday. … ” Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: Newsom can’t get Californians to cut their water use. His family is doing far better
A dry 2021 in California prompts water conservation response
“This year has been critically dry and hot for California, resulting in déjà vu as the federal and state governments reinstituted drought conservation measures not seen since former California Governor Jerry Brown declared an end to the last drought in 2017. This blog post summarizes the key federal and state actions that have been taken to address California’s drought over the past year, along with potential implications for 2022. Pursuant to Section 759.5(a) of Title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations, the US Secretary of Agriculture is authorized to designate certain drought-stricken counties as disaster areas. On March 5, 2021, US Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack issued a letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom, designating 50 of California’s 58 counties as “primary natural disaster areas due to a recent drought.” In his letter, Secretary Vilsack explained that a “Secretarial disaster designation makes farm operations in primary counties and those counties contiguous to such primary counties eligible to be considered for certain assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met.” FSA assistance includes emergency loans. ... ” Read more from Latham & Watkins here: A dry 2021 in California prompts water conservation response
CW3E releases update to California watershed precipitation forecasts
“The Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes at the UCSD/Scripps Institution of Oceanography has updated its popular watershed precipitation forecasts as part of its interactive “Decision Support Tools” page. These forecasts focus on quantifying and illustrating the 10-day precipitation forecasts averaged for the 126 Hydrologic Unit Code 8 (HUC-8) watersheds in California from four numerical weather prediction models. These models include the deterministic and ensemble models of the National Centers for Environmental Prediction Global Forecast System and the European Centre for Medium-Ranged Weather Forecasts model. … ” Read more from the Center for Western Weather & Water Extremes here: CW3E releases update to California watershed precipitation forecasts
Innovative management for Central Valley native fish
“Historically, the entire Central Valley of California was a floodplain. In winter and spring, storm runoff and snowmelt would spill over riverbanks, creating vast biologically productive wetlands where aquatic life flourished. This incredible productivity supported a huge fishery in the Central Valley, where we once had one of the largest runs of Chinook in the world. However, as modern day California was developed, the Central Valley’s waterways were re-engineered and channelized to control the floods and divert water for human uses. Today, only 5% of Central Valley floodplains remain intact and three of the four native Chinook salmon runs are listed as threatened or endangered. In essence, levees are starving salmon and smelt populations. … ” Read more from Cal Trout here: Innovative management for Central Valley native fish
‘Engineering in Action’ program highlights water equity issues
“As part of its commitment to increase equity and diversity in engineering and computer science, the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering hosted the latest installment of its “Engineering in Action” series, which addresses issues of inclusion and fairness in engineering and science. The engineering school collaborated with the UCLA chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) to host the Nov. 9 webinar focused on water equity. Attended by more than 200 people from around the world, the virtual event addressed issues of equity and justice in access to clean water in Los Angeles. … ” Read more from UCLA Samueli School of Engineering here: ‘Engineering in Action’ program highlights water equity issues
Fires, landslides, lack of snow: the ski industry girds for battle
“About 122 ski areas in the United States sit on national forest land — or about 60 percent of all downhill skiing capacity in the country — so fiery threats are nothing new to them. Two New Mexican resorts, Pajarito Mountain Ski Area and Ski Apache, suffered damage in separate wildfires about a decade ago. But the sport, along with ice fishing, pond hockey and scuba diving near a coral reef, could be something of an indicator species for the acute challenges climate change poses to the $788 billion outdoor industry and its legions of enthusiasts. With an estimated 15 million people going to Tahoe annually, the region and the thrashing it endured last summer serve as perhaps the starkest, most visible billboard yet of what lies ahead for ski areas caught in a crisis that knows no season. ... ” Read the full story at the New York Times here: Fires, landslides, lack of snow: the ski industry girds for battle
Winter without snow is coming
“Across the Central Rockies, it’s been an unseasonably warm, dry year. Denver smashed the record for its latest first measurable winter snow. Colorado ski resorts delayed opening because temperatures were too high to even produce fake snow. And Salt Lake City was entirely snowless through November, for only the second time since 1976. These snowless scenarios, while still an exception, are set to become much more common as early as 2040, according to a paper published in Nature Reviews Earth and Environment. Drawing from years of snowpack observations, the researchers project that in 35 to 60 years, the Mountain West will be nearly snowless for years at a time if worldwide greenhouse gas emissions are not rapidly reduced. This could impact everything from wildfires to drinking water. The purpose of the study was twofold. … ” Continue reading at High Country News here: Winter without snow is coming
How can Calif. protect its water supply from wildfire?
“It’s intuitive that wildfires can affect ecosystems, harm wildlife, and contaminate streams and rivers. But wildfires can also have complex, severe, and direct effects on our water supply and infrastructure—effects that have only become clear in recent years. Scientists and policymakers must integrate insights and experience from many disciplines and sectors to understand and address the consequences. In September, 23 scholars and practitioners with a diversity of water and fire expertise came together to answer a critical question: How can California proactively protect its water supply from fires? Their findings, combined with the insights of the author team, form the basis of a new scoping report, released by the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources’ California Institute for Water Resources and the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation. … ” Read more from the Western Farm Press here: How can Calif. protect its water supply from wildfire?
California’s wildfires are changing. So will the forests themselves.
“What we’ve learned about wildfires – their behavior, fuels, chosen paths – has changed as dramatically as the technology used to study them. As a result, the way we fight them is changing too. After 4.4 million acres were scorched last year in California, and another 2.5 million as of November 2021, the state and country are poised to fight fires far differently by spending billions to prevent them, rather than suppress them. California is setting aside $1 billion this year for fire efforts focused on clearing forests of potential fuel like dry vegetation and plans to spend at least $200 million annually for the next six years. Nationally, lawmakers have proposed billions to do the same across the country. … Modern technology is helping build the healthy forests of the future. Able to do more than ever, it’s observing, even predicting, fire behavior and helping determine which species of tree may endure climate change and the threat of wildfire better than others. … ” Read more from ESRI here: California’s wildfires are changing. So will the forests themselves.
Want to limit carbon and curb wildfire? Create a market for small trees
“Clearing California’s forests of dense overgrowth is a critical first step for curbing catastrophic wildfire in the state. But forest restoration—whether through prescribed burning or thinning—comes at a high price: Not only are these treatments costly, but cutting down or burning vegetation can release stored carbon dioxide, accelerating the impacts of climate change. A new analysis by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, provides a roadmap for how the state can effectively reduce wildfire risk through forest thinning while continuing to limit its carbon emissions. … ” Read more from PhysOrg here: Want to limit carbon and curb wildfire? Create a market for small trees
LAO Report: An initial review of the Regional Forest and Fire Capacity Program
“In recent years, as wildfires have increased in severity and damage, the Legislature has shown growing interest in state support of wildfire prevention efforts, including regional planning for forest health activities. The Regional Forest and Fire Capacity program (RFFC)—created in 2018—provides non‑competitive block grants to state conservancies, resource conservation districts, and other entities to facilitate regional coordination for forest health and wildfire resilience. These grants are intended to support regional planning, project development, demonstration projects, and community outreach. To implement these activities, grant recipients coordinate with and distribute funds to partnering entities within their regions. We prepared this report to provide an early review of RFFC’s implementation. We begin by providing background on the purpose and intent of RFFC, as well as how RFFC is funded. Next, we discuss both the promise and key limitations of the program. We conclude by recommending short‑ and long‑term steps the Legislature could take to improve RFFC outcomes and oversight to better ensure that the program successfully achieves state objectives. … ” Read more from the LAO here: LAO Report: An initial review of the Regional Forest and Fire Capacity Program
Today’s featured article …
BLOG ROUND-UP: Reading the dry tea leaves during drought; A ridiculous premise; California’s wild weather, wet or dry, is nothing new; Another drought year, another TUCP; and more …
Click here to read the blog round up.
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In regional water news and commentary today …
Third Appellate District recognizes unique regional resources at Lake Tahoe in finding Olympic Valley Resort EIR flawed
“In September 2021, the Third District Court of Appeal in Sierra Watch v. Placer County reversed a judgement upholding Placer County’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for a resort development project in the Olympic (formerly Squaw) Valley area. In the published portion of the opinion, the court found errors in the EIR’s description of the environmental setting and related water and air quality impact analyses, as well as in the EIR’s analysis and mitigation for construction noise impacts. The proposed resort project is located within the Olympic Valley area, the site of the 1960 winter Olympics, a few miles northwest of Lake Tahoe. The proposed project includes two components to be built over 25 years. First, an 85-acre parcel called the Village, which would include lodging units, commercial space, and parking. Second, an 8.8-acre parcel called the East Parcel, which would primarily encompass employee housing. … ” Read more from Downey Brand here: Third Appellate District recognizes unique regional resources at Lake Tahoe in finding Olympic Valley Resort EIR flawed
Let it snow? Redding could see flakes falling Wednesday morning
“The series of winter storms moving through the North State could mean snow for Redding later this week. “There is some potential. In fact, we do have it in our forecast that we’re going to see some accumulation of snow,” said Eric Kurth, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Sacramento. The best chance for snow on the valley floor will be early Wednesday morning. “We are going to be closely monitoring this. It really depends on the timing of when the snow levels are coming down and how quickly they come down after it starts precipitating,” Kurth said. … ” Read more from the Redding Record Searchlight here: Let it snow? Redding could see flakes falling Wednesday morning
Bucks Lake receives protection through conservation easement
“After a six-year process, Bucks Lake now has protection via a conservation easement courtesy of the Feather River Land Trust. The lake is a PG&E-run reservoir in Plumas County that has historically been used recreationally. A conservation easement grants the site protection from land development while still allowing for the public to access the body of water. A press release issued Friday by the land trust said the final papers were turned in Nov. 23 at the Plumas County Recorder’s Office at which point the conservation easement was official. … ” Read more from the Chico Enterprise-Record here: Bucks Lake receives protection through conservation easement
How does this winter storm compare to October bomb cyclone that drenched Sacramento?
“This week’s winter storm in Sacramento comes just two months after a bomb cyclone-atmospheric river combo broke records and took the title of ”100-year storm.” And while the October storm dropped significant amounts of water in just a day and a half, this week’s storm — which started over the weekend and is expected to last into Thursday — will spread precipitation over several days. Here’s how the two Sacramento winter storms compare, including storm characteristics, precipitation totals and safety concerns … ” Read more from the Sacramento Bee here: How does this winter storm compare to October bomb cyclone that drenched Sacramento?
Powerful storm fills Marin County reservoirs, creeks
“As the powerful atmospheric river roared through the North Bay on Monday, filling up reservoirs and creeks, water officials noted more is needed to emerge from the severe drought. For anyone who tried to get outside while the rain stopped in Marin, it was very easy to get caught in the next round. “I mean, it was sunny earlier on,” said cyclist Matt Smith. “I didn’t expect it to turn quite like this.” The wind and rain came roaring back over Mount Tam on Monday afternoon. … ” Read more from CBS San Francisco here: Powerful storm fills Marin County reservoirs, creeks
The Bay is rising. Newark residents wonder why the city plans to develop its shoreline
“Newark Vice Mayor Mike Bucci sat behind a wood-paneled council dais, a sinking feeling growing in his gut as he scribbled notes. The council was discussing Sanctuary West, a nearly three-decade-old plan from Mountain View-based The Sobrato Organization to bring badly needed housing to the city. Newark — a Bay Area enclave of fewer than 50,000 people — is located on the east side of the Dumbarton Bridge near Fremont in Alameda County, a place that has struggled mightily to build new housing even as costs have skyrocketed. Sanctuary West could help by adding hundreds of new tract homes, but the project is controversial because they would be built within a federal flood zone along fragile wetlands on the city’s western shore. Climate models show this area underwater in just a few decades as warming temperatures push bay water higher. ... ” Read more from KQED here: The Bay is rising. Newark residents wonder why the city plans to develop its shoreline
Big swell sending 25-foot waves to San Francisco Bay Area beaches
“Big swell generated by storms and winds in the Pacific Ocean is delivering monster waves to San Francisco Bay Area beaches, leading the National Weather Service to issue the warning, “Never turn your back to the ocean.” The weather service issued a high surf advisory in effect through 10 a.m. Wednesday warning of large breaking waves up to 20 to 25 feet. The advisory is for the coastal North Bay, including Point Reyes National Seashore, the San Francisco peninsula coast, San Francisco, Monterey Bay and the Big Sur coast. … ” Read more from SF Gate here: Big swell sending 25-foot waves to San Francisco Bay Area beaches
Atmospheric river lashes S.F. Bay Area, flooding roads and threatening landslides in wildfire-scarred areas
“A storm hammered the Bay Area on Monday, flooding streets, shutting down highways, triggering mudslides and evacuation warnings and toppling scaffolding at a building in San Mateo. In Hillsborough, firefighters rescued a resident after waters rushed into a property. In San Mateo, scaffolding at a building on El Camino Real came crashing down as high winds whipped the area and officials closed off a two-block area near 5th Avenue. … ” Read more from the San Francisco Chronicle here: Atmospheric river lashes S.F. Bay Area, flooding roads and threatening landslides in wildfire-scarred areas
EBMUD: Storm brings much-needed rain but reservoirs remain far from capacity
“Rain across the East Bay on Monday created flooding in some cities, but the water collected over the weekend also helped to fill up regional reservoirs. They are still far from capacity because of the drought. “We are better off I would say than last year but it is really too soon to tell,” East Bay Municipal Utility District spokesperson Andera Pook said. “EBMUD is already pulling our supplemental water supplies because this year, as we all know has been a dry year,” said Pook. ... ” Read more from CBS San Francisco here: EBMUD: Storm brings much-needed rain but reservoirs remain far from capacity
After $14 million in damage, how a redwood park is rebounding from last year’s devastating wildfires in the Santa Cruz Mountains
“It’s not as famous as Big Basin Redwoods State Park, its hallowed neighbor to the south. It doesn’t draw nearly as many visitors or feature as many ancient redwoods. But Butano State Park, a 4,700-acre landscape of steep shady canyons, rippling streams and impressive coast redwood trees located in southern San Mateo County near Pescadero, has a loyal following among Bay Area campers, hikers and nature lovers. Both parks were hit by the devastating CZU Lightning Complex Fire last year, but Butano, often in Big Basin’s shadow, is bouncing back faster. … ” Read more from the San Jose Mercury News here: After $14 million in damage, how a redwood park is rebounding from last year’s devastating wildfires in the Santa Cruz Mountains
SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY
Manteca: Final outreach meeting on dry levee Thursday
“The final public outreach for a dry levee that has the potential to alter the character of rural areas south of Manteca in order to protect existing and future city development from a 200-year flood takes place on Thursday. The San Joaquin Area Flood Control Agency is staging the meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 16, at the Manteca Transit Center, 220 Moffat Boulevard. The project consultant will present their findings regarding the final alignment during the meeting. Community input is being sought on the proposed alignment. ... ” Read more from the Manteca Bulletin here: Manteca: Final outreach meeting on dry levee Thursday
Is this Fresno storm a drought buster for Valley, mountains? Here’s what experts say
“While this week’s winter storm in central California is certainly welcome, it’s just a typical winter storm and won’t be a drought buster, according to state water officials and meteorologists. Since California and the San Joaquin Valley have had a few dry years in terms of the water year, the current storm does have a few benefits to the region, said Jeanine Jones, interstate water resources manager for the California Department of Water Resources. … ” Read more from the Fresno Bee here: Is this Fresno storm a drought buster for Valley, mountains? Here’s what experts say
Soaking storm setting sights on Southern California
“A storm already responsible for travel-snarling snow in the mountains and drenching rain in the lower elevations much of the Pacific Coast states this past weekend will focus its onslaught on the Southwest and Southern California, in particular, into Tuesday night. The storm currently bringing rain and snow to the West Coast, and perhaps another that follows next week, will likely be the most disruptive in terms of creating travel concerns and producing the greatest risk of mudslides. But the overall pattern is good news for drought concerns as storms line up like a parade over the northern Pacific Ocean, AccuWeather meteorologists say. … ” Read more from AccuWeather here: Soaking storm setting sights on Southern California
Southern California spared major fires as storms end an unprecedented season
“The storms pounding California this week are expected to bring an end to a wildfire season that shocked fire crews with its unprecedented, climate-change-driven behavior. For the first time ever, wildfires burned from one side of the Sierra Nevada to the other, destroying multiple towns including the Gold Rush-era community of Greenville and the mountain hamlet of Grizzly Flats. Yet even despite that destruction, this fire season is poised to end with just three deaths — a circumstance that authorities attribute partly to the public’s willingness to heed precautionary evacuation orders and heightened awareness of the threat of wildfire. … ” Read more from the LA Times here: Southern California spared major fires as storms end an unprecedented season
Will Poseidon’s Huntington Beach desal plant take state money away from low-income housing?
“The Poseidon Water company has asked for $1.1 billion from a pool of state money to help finance a controversial desalination plant proposed for Huntington Beach. It’s a prospect which critics argue could take those limited state dollars away from other projects that also qualify for the money but need it more. Like low-income housing. The state’s housing shortage is estimated to number in the millions of units. Meanwhile, Poseidon’s project proposal could reach its final state regulatory hurdle toward getting approved, in March. ... ” Read more from the Voice of the OC here: Will Poseidon’s Huntington Beach desal plant take state money away from low-income housing?
Salton Sea Habitat Restoration Project touted
“An ongoing species conservation habitat project at the Salton Sea’s southwestern shore is serving as a reminder that the sea’s restoration remains a key priority for Gov. Gavin Newsom. So, too, is a tour that dozens of state, federal and local stakeholders took of the project site where the New River enters the Salton Sea several miles west of Westmorland on Friday, Dec. 10. Among those present was California Natural Resources Agency Secretary Wade Crowfoot, who said the tour was an acknowledgement of the ambitious Salton Sea Management Program’s progress and the overall work that remains to be done. “For a very long time there’s been a lot of talk about getting projects in the sea to try to stabilize the situation down here, and this is the first sign of visible progress,” he said. “If we do what we’re supposed to be doing, you’ll see other projects breaking ground here over the next few years.” … ” Read more from the Holtville Tribune here: Salton Sea Habitat Restoration Project touted
Port of San Diego installing more than 300 “reef balls” to help protect South Bay from rising sea levels
“The Port of San Diego, in partnership with the California State Coastal Conservancy and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, has begun installation of the South Bay Native Oyster Living Shoreline Project adjacent to the Chula Vista Wildlife Refuge. This project has been years in the making and is the latest of several Port projects to protect the shoreline from impacts related to rising sea levels and to increase the biodiversity of San Diego Bay by creating new marine habitats. … ” Read more from The Coronado Times here: Port of San Diego installing more than 300 “reef balls” to help protect South Bay from rising sea levels
Along the Colorado River …
Environmentalists say Upper Colorado River Basin states are overusing water
“Environmental groups claim Utah and two other upper basin states — Colorado and New Mexico — are overusing their share of water from the Colorado River. The Utah Rivers Council released a report Monday saying the Colorado River’s flows have dropped about 20% since 2000. The report outlines that the hydrology of the river hasn’t stopped the three states from pursuing large water projects. These projects impact millions of people in the seven basin states, Native American tribes and Mexico who rely on the river, according to Jen Pelz, the Wild Rivers program director at WildEarth Guardians. “Any additional diversions from the Colorado River at this point will fundamentally harm not only the overall health of the people, the cultures and ecosystems, but all of the current water users,” Pelz said. ... ” Read more from KUER here: Environmentalists say Upper Colorado River Basin states are overusing water
Utah may be overusing its Colorado River allotment. That could lead to unprecedented cuts in water use
“Over the last 20 years, the water flow in the Colorado River has declined by roughly 20%. But some states in the river’s basin, including Utah, haven’t adjusted to the dwindling supply. And if it doesn’t make adjustments, Mexico and other states in the Lower Colorado River Basin could demand the Beehive State scale back its water use. That’s according to a new report from the Utah Rivers Council that argues Utah is currently using more water than it’s allowed to under the Colorado River Compact, an agreement among states dating back to 1922 that essentially divvies up the water in the river. … ” Read more from Deseret News here: Utah may be overusing its Colorado River allotment. That could lead to unprecedented cuts in water use
Water conservationists urge a ‘one river’ mindset over Colorado River water deficit
“As Upper Basin states like Utah continue to overuse their water rights to the Colorado River, the impacts continue downstream and could result in future cuts to its current water users, a coalition of water conservationists said Monday. A coalition of water and conservation activists from Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico held a press conference outlining a recent report from the Utah Rivers Council regarding the overuse of the river and worsening impacts of the deficit. The conference was held ahead of the Colorado River Water Users Association conference next week in Las Vegas, where questions of allocation and overuse will likely be discussed. … ” Read more from KSL here: Water conservationists urge a ‘one river’ mindset over Colorado River water deficit
Tribes seek to secure their water rights as Colorado River dries
“Historically excluded from Colorado River negotiations, tribes are demanding to be included in policy discussions on how the water is managed. Ahead of a conference of the Colorado River Water Users Association in Las Vegas, a group of conservationists and tribal leaders held a press conference on the overuse of water within the Colorado River Basin Monday. “There’s a wide range of people who are a part of this but what weight does each individual state have when they come to the table? What weight does each tribe have?” said Timothy Williams, Chairman of the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe. “I don’t see any tribe at that signing table, yet our water is being used.” … ” Read more from the Nevada Current here: Tribes seek to secure their water rights as Colorado River dries
Amid drought, one tribe seeks to offer water for lease, another moves to conserve more
“As Arizona tribal leaders prepare to take a greater role in a regional forum on Colorado River issues, a new bill to allow at least one tribe to lease water is making its way through Congress, while another tribe tries to forestall further cuts to water delivery. The tribes are increasingly concerned that a persistent drought, worsened by a 20-year-long period of hotter and drier conditions in the Southwest, has already led to the federal government’s first-ever shortage declaration for Arizona water users. One tribe is worried that it may be asked to reduce its own water deliveries. Jason Hauter of the law firm Akin Gump, which represents the Gila River Indian Community, said the only sure way to deal with increasingly dire conditions on the Colorado River is to reduce demand. But there’s another facet to the tribe’s desire to conserve water, he said. ... ” Read more from Arizona Central here: Amid drought, one tribe seeks to offer water for lease, another moves to conserve more
Commentary: Hundreds of homes near Scottsdale could have no running water. It’s a warning to us all
Columnist Joanna Allhands writes, “You can picture the headline now, and it’s not a good one: Hundreds of homes lack running water near one of Arizona’s wealthiest cities. Homes with no wells or connections to a formal water system have been allowed to proliferate in Rio Verde Foothills, a 20 square-mile strip of county land northeast of Scottsdale. For now, they rely on water trucked in from Scottsdale. But that will soon change. The city has decided to stop water-hauling services to non-residents in 2023, leaving potentially hundreds in Rio Verde high and dry if they cannot secure another water source before then. How could this happen? ... ” Read more from Arizona Central here: Hundreds of homes near Scottsdale could have no running water. It’s a warning to us all
Audubon: Amid a drought crisis, inspiration from our work in Western water for birds and people
“This year, dry conditions across the West were the worst they have been in recorded history—lowest levels at Lake Mead, Great Salt Lake, and diminishing flows across the Colorado River and Rio Grande basins. And the superlatives are not hyperbolic. Extreme. Exceptional. Unprecedented. Catastrophic. Record-breaking. There’s no doubt that the conditions have been terrible—and rivers, lakes, and wetlands and the birds and wildlife that depend on them are suffering as a result. But even in the midst of these dire circumstances, Audubon and our partners were able to create hope for a brighter future. … ” Read more from Audubon here: Audubon: Amid a drought crisis, inspiration from our work in Western water for birds and people
Colorado wants to keep investors from flipping water rights. Let the speculation begin.
“Want to understand water speculation in Colorado? Let’s say you’re in line at a pizza shop. Hear us out. There’s a big sign at the pizza counter saying, “Limited quantities due to climate change. Buy only what you can eat.” But the guy in front of you buys five pizzas for $20 each. He starts reselling them by the slice for $5 a piece. The store owner says, “You can’t do that here.” The pizza glutton walks away, saying, “Fine. I’ll put them in the freezer and I’ll eat it all later.” Do you believe him? And if you don’t believe him, what are you going to do about it? That kind of speculation on water purely for profit is supposed to be illegal already in Colorado. But under current law, there’s no way of telling what’s in the water buyer’s heart. The buyer can say they’ll keep using the water for farming or for city drinking water or for a gold medal fly fishing stream. … ” Read more from the Colorado Sun here: Colorado wants to keep investors from flipping water rights. Let the speculation begin.
Mining company will pay $1.6 million in Gold King Mine spill lawsuit
“A Denver mining company will pay the state of Colorado $1.6 million in a settlement connected to the 2015 Gold King Mine spill, which infamously turned the Animas River a sickly hue of orange. The settlement, announced Monday, resolves a lawsuit by the state against the Sunnyside Gold Corp. The company does not own the closed Gold King Mine near Silverton but did oversee the construction of barriers, known as bulkheads, below the mine. A federal investigation found these bulkheads caused a build-up of water. When contractors with the Environmental Protection Agency accidentally triggered the spill, about three million gallons of toxic, stored water spilled into a tributary of the Animas River, fouling waterways not only in Colorado but also New Mexico, Utah and the Navajo Nation. … ” Read more from Colorado Public Radio here: Mining company will pay $1.6 million in Gold King Mine spill lawsuit
Also on Maven’s Notebook today …
YOUR INPUT WANTED: Draft Conservation Strategy Available for Public Review
YOUR INPUT WANTED: Release of DRAFT 2022 IRWM Grant Program Guidelines and Proposal Solicitation Package