On the calendar today …
- MEETING: Delta Independent Science Board from 10am to 2pm. Agenda items include a discussion of the Board’s review of the draft EIS for the Delta Conveyance Project and a dicussion of the review of the draft scientific basis report supplement for the voluntary agreements. Click here for the meeting notice.
In California water news today …
State rejects six San Joaquin Valley groundwater plans, which could bring enforcement action
“Six San Joaquin Valley groundwater agencies learned Thursday they could be subject to state enforcement action if they don’t redo plans to bring their aquifers back into balance. In its final determinations, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) said the inadequate plans either didn’t do enough to protect water quality, allowed for too much continued subsidence, set groundwater levels too low or some combination of the above. The plans for the Kern, Kaweah, Chowchilla, Tule, Tulare Lake (Kings County) and Delta-Mendota subbasins were rejectd by DWR and have now been sent to the State Water Resources Control Board for possible enforcement action. … ” Read more from SJV Water.
State rejects local plans for protecting San Joaquin Valley groundwater
“State water officials on Thursday rejected six local groundwater plans for the San Joaquin Valley, where basins providing drinking and irrigation water are severely depleted from decades of intensive pumping by farms. The plans — submitted by local agencies tasked with the job of protecting underground supplies — outline strategies for complying with a state law requiring sustainable groundwater management. The Department of Water Resources deemed the plans inadequate because they “did not appropriately address deficiencies” in how water suppliers aimed to limit overdraft, land subsidence and impacts to drinking water wells. Groundwater depletion has hurt the San Joaquin Valley’s small, rural communities, home to many low-income Latino residents who have been forced to live on bottled water and drill deeper wells, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars. … ” Read more from Cal Matters.
California groundwater management agencies falling behind on conservation goals
“California water authorities say some regional groundwater sustainability plans to control aquifers do not stack up to the state’s legal standards to protect water resources in future droughts. Six of 12 critically overdrafted groundwater basins — which are critical to storing and supplying water — could end up under the state water board’s authority after being found out of compliance with state water management law. The Department of Water Resources and the State Water Resources Control Board oversee all work and accountability on 515 basins under the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. The law emphasizes local control and requires local groundwater sustainability agencies to develop and implement plans that will bring groundwater basins into balanced conditions by 2040. … ” Read more from the Courthouse News Service.
EXPLORE MORE COVERAGE:
- California Advances Groundwater Sustainability with Release of Decisions for Management Plans in Critically Overdrafted Basins, press release from DWR
- Calif. officials OK 40% of Valley groundwater plans, from the San Joaquin Valley Sun
- State water board addresses critical overdraft of 6 California groundwater basins, from Channel 23
- Sustainable Groundwater Management Act Groundwater Sustainability Plan Evaluation Fact Sheet, from DWR and the State Water Board
Statement from Secretary Karen Ross, California Department of Food and Agriculture
“On average, groundwater provides roughly half the water we use as Californians, so implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act is crucial to achieving future water resilience. The Groundwater Sustainability Plan determinations released today demonstrate the extremely complex issues within critically overdrafted basins and the importance of collaboration to secure a future of reliable groundwater supplies. Though more work is needed to address difficult conditions in some of the subbasins, important progress is being made in a part of the state facing the biggest challenges of balancing water availability and demand. Agriculture, communities, and local economies will all benefit from California’s commitment to sustainable groundwater management as we face a hotter, drier future in a changed climate.“
Press release from Community Water Center, Clean Water Action, and the Counsel for Leadership and Accountability
“Today, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) took an important step towards protecting drinking water supplies by rejecting six Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs) in the San Joaquin Valley. With a well drilling backlog of 1,600 dry domestic wells in California — and with households having to wait up to 20 years for relief — failing these plans was not only the right thing to do, but the only option. At the same time, we are disappointed DWR approved other plans that fail to protect drinking water users. … “We are pleased to see that DWR is taking this critical step to reject inadequate groundwater management plans that would have harmed thousands of families across the San Joaquin Valley,” says Ngodoo Atume, Water Policy Analyst for Clean Water Action. “At the same time, we are disheartened by DWR’s approval of some plans that allow domestic and public supply wells to fail as groundwater over pumping continues. More work must be done by the Department to closely track and ensure approved plans continue to engage and protect drinking water users as plans are implemented.” Read the full press release.
MORE STORMS IN THE FORECAST
Little relief from wet weather for Northern California with another storm expected this weekend
“California continues to slip out of drought thanks to the wild amounts of snow and rain that have fallen this winter. According to the latest drought monitor, the Sierra is virtually free of drought. With more on the way and with some of those storms potentially being warm atmospheric river events, flooding has become the concern rather than drought – yet another example of climate whiplash. Less than half of the state is still in drought, compared to almost 85% just last week. Thursday and Friday will be dry but another storm is waiting behind it with heavy snow expected again in the Sierra. … ” Read more from Channel 10.
Warm atmospheric rivers in California forecast could spell trouble for massive snowpack
“Californians are bracing for the arrival of more atmospheric rivers over the coming weeks that could dump rain on the state’s massive snowpack and dramatically increase the risk of flooding. “I would suggest that literally anyone who lives in the flood plains of these rivers, which is millions of people, pay attention to what’s going on and be prepared for floods,” Peter Gleick, climate scientist and founder of the Pacific Institute, told Yahoo News. With snowpack levels already near all-time highs, cold temperatures in the state have begun moderating in recent days, and there is a roughly 20% chance of warmer atmospheric river rains later this month. … ” Read more from Yahoo News.
- Here’s how much rain and snow is heading to Northern California this weekend, from the San Francisco Chronicle
- Emergency declared in the Sierra as heavy snow forces evacuations, road closures, shutters Yosemite, from Capital Public Radio
- California braces for next big snowstorm this weekend. Gov. Newsom declares emergency, from the Sacramento Bee
BUT IS THE DROUGHT OVER???
Is California’s drought really over? Not yet, state water managers say
“California’s wet and snowy winter is paying off. Data released by the U.S. Drought Monitor on Thursday shows roughly half of the Golden State is no longer experiencing drought conditions. But water managers say it’s not time to celebrate yet. The latest survey shows the entire coastline of California, including the major metropolitan areas of Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego are either “abnormally dry” or have no drought classification at all. This is the first time since the fall of 2020 that Los Angeles and San Diego counties have been nearly clear of drought conditions, which unfortunately still persist in Southern California’s desert regions and the northeastern area of the state. … ” Read more from KTLA.
- Parts of California now drought-free after back-to-back storms drench state, report shows, from ABC 7
- Parts Of California Out Of Drought—But Experts Still Warn Drought Conditions Will Remain, from Forbes
- Some Of California Is Free Of Drought, But The Climate Crisis Is Changing What That Means, from the LAist
- Drought monitor spells good news for California, but ‘not out of the woods’ on megadrought, from ABC News
- Drought is now over in more than half of California, including the Bay Area, feds say, from the San Jose Mercury News
- California rainfall totals: Map shows which areas exceeded entire year’s worth of rain, from the SF Chronicle
- Lake Tahoe snowpack levels nearly 200% of normal, from Fox 40
OTHER WATER NEWS …
Plummeting salmon population could trigger closure of fishing season in California waters
“California Chinook salmon populations have fallen to their lowest levels in years, according to new estimates released by state and federal scientists — a decline that could trigger a shutdown of the commercial and recreational fishing season along the coast. “The salmon are struggling,” said Chuck Bonham, director of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. “And we have great concern about their future, knowing we are fully committed to rebuilding them and saving them.” Bonham said the decline is part of a decades-long trend, and the past three years of record drought “only further stressed our salmon populations.” … ” Read more from the LA Times.
Conservation and data offer solutions to western drought over water diversion
“While discussion percolates about major water diversions to deal with western water challenges, conservation strategies for water remain the most effective measure states and river basins have to manage declining resources. That was an analysis from Tony Willardson, executive director of the Western States Water Council, which represents 18 states. The group works on cooperation in areas such as conservation, development and management of water resources. “The mission of the council is basically to ensure the West has an adequate supply of water to meet its present and future needs,” he said. “Those are very diverse. That is not a small task.” … ” Read more from the Progressive Farmer.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers leads the way in natural solutions for coastal flooding
“Last spring, Dr. Todd Bridges and his colleagues were visiting a part of the San Luis National Wildlife Refuge in California, a remote region that encompasses 45,000 acres of rivers, woodlands, wetlands, and grasslands. Over the years, the refuge has experienced flooding many times. Bridges, who heads the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer’s Engineering With Nature initiative, was there to see how the refuge and associated restoration was working as a nature-based solution for flood risk reduction. He was pleased with the results that included the restoration of 7,000 acres of flood plain habitat through a combination of conventional, natural, and nature-based engineering features. Conventional features including levees and pump stations and natural features including the planting of 600,000 native trees. While touring the project, Bridges came across a group of men who traveled several hours to visit the refuge for the first time. He asked them what they thought, and one man said, “It looks prehistoric and heavenly. We’re visiting what we’re losing … it’s painful too.” … ” Continue reading from the Army Corps of Engineers.
Legislative Analyst’s Office Report: The 2023-24 Budget: Department of Water Resources
“This brief analyzes the Governor’s budget proposals for the Department of Water Resources related to flood management and ongoing implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.” Click here for the brief.
In regional water news and commentary today …
Mendocino County CSD Board seeks public comment on emergency water storage project
“At the Mendocino City Community Services District Board of Directors meeting on Monday, February 27, the board received a presentation from GHD regarding an emergency water storage project that MCCSD is pursuing in partnership with the Mendocino Unified School District (MUSD). A hydrological study is available on the MCCSD website under the Infrastructure Projects menu link. MCCSD is asking for public comment by March 10. The project that is being led by the school district would replace two existing tanks on school district property across from the middle school with two larger tanks. A $4.9 million grant is funding the MCCSD portion of the project through the Urban and Multi-benefit Drought Relief Program, administered by the State of California Department of Water Resources (DWR). … ” Read more from the Mendocino Beacon.
Nevada lawmakers reintroduce bill aimed at restoring Lake Tahoe
“Today, U.S. Senator Cortez Masto introduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to extend the authorization of the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act. Senator Cortez Masto mentioned the law has delivered millions in federal funding to Lake Tahoe since it originally passed in 2000, supporting environmental protection and habitat restoration programs across the basin. According to Representative Amodei’s office, the legislation would reauthorize $415 million in funding through September 2034. The legislation is supported by Senators Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and Representatives Mark Amodei (R-Nev.-02), John Garamendi (D-Calif.-03), Dina Titus (D-Nev.- 01), Susie Lee (D-Nev.-03), and Steven Horsford (D-Nev.-04). … ” Read more from Channel 2.
Where does South Lake Tahoe put all the snow it plows? We found it.
“The gargantuan pile of snow sitting at the end of Sierra Boulevard in South Lake Tahoe is enough to fill 10,000 dump trucks. Billy Newman knows that because he and his crew hauled it down Highway 50 themselves. “(This) is all the snow we collect from the inside of the boulevard here,” said Newman told 2 News on Thursday. He’s the CalTrans South Lake Tahoe maintenance supervisor. “We push all the snow to the middle (of the road), and then we haul it to this location where it will sit and melt, and then we’ll clean up in the springtime,” he said. … ” Read more from CBS News.
Winter storm: More wind, snow on way for Interstate 5, Redding, Siskiyou
“Redding’s snow days aren’t over yet. The North State will have to brave another weekend of light snow in the valley, heavier snow in the foothills and mountains along Interstate 5. A winter storm arrives over the North State on Saturday, according to the National Weather Service. The good news is this storm is slightly weaker than the one that hit the North State earlier this week, said meteorologist Chelsea Peters with the weather service’s Sacramento branch. Redding and the surrounding valley could get up to an inch of rain over the weekend, turning into a dusting of snow late Sunday evening and early Monday. … ” Read more from the Redding Record Searchlight.
More Sacramento River salmon recovery projects underway in the Sacramento Valley
“Several projects are being constructed this winter in the Redding area to promote recovery of Chinook salmon by providing additional spawning and rearing habitat. The projects are implemented through a collaboration of Sacramento River Settlement Contractors, conservation organizations and state and federal agencies. These efforts are part of the comprehensive Sacramento Valley Salmon Recovery Program and help to implement the National Marine Fisheries Service’s Recovery Plan for the Sacramento River, the California Natural Resources Agency’s Sacramento Valley Salmon Resiliency Strategy and Healthy Rivers California (Voluntary agreements). … ” Read more from the Northern California Water Association.
A nasty salmon-killing tire chemical is in Bay waterways. Can it be cleaned up?
“When Heidi Petty began cleaning up Rodeo Creek nearly two decades ago, she pulled seventeen shopping carts out of the waterway, which runs from western Contra Costa County into San Pablo Bay. Since then, she has extracted mattresses, chairs, fake Christmas trees, a golf club, and a wig. But despite her efforts to clean up this creek-turned-dumping-ground, one particularly noxious type of trash keeps coming: tires. Parts of this urban watershed contain a mess of whole tires, mired in the mud like a monstrous serpent. “There seems to be a pretty solid theme of using creeks as a disposal for highly toxic things,” says Petty, the watershed program manager at the Contra Costa Resource Conservation District. “And tires are hard to get rid of.” Trouble is, they’re not just eyesores but likely fish-killers. As tires break down, they release a cocktail of chemicals that leach into the water in creeks all over the Bay Area—which in turn empty into the broader San Francisco Bay. … ” Continue reading at Bay Nature.
Brentwood: Water in the city declared non-toxic
“Anyone looking for a sequel to the Oscar-nominated film ‘Erin Brockovich’ needed only to tune into the Feb. 28 meeting of the Brentwood City Council to watch the city’s presentation on chromium-6, a water contaminant that has been linked to cancer. The presentation, which said the city’s water meets state safety standards, was given by Miki Tsubota, the director of Public Works, for the city at the request of council members after citizens expressed their concern late last year. “Last year, there was some public concern specifically about chromium-6 in our water,” Tsubota said. “We had our staff go out, do a grab sample and send it out for testing. Chromium-6 levels in our surface water were ‘no detect’ and from our wells range from 4 to about 7 parts per billion (ppb).” … ” Read more from The Press.
Exploring solutions for the Salinas Valley’s water needs
“David Schmalz here, thinking about water. More specifically, I’m thinking about the water supply in the northern Salinas Valley, which has long been in a critical state of overdraft. In last week’s issue of the Weekly, I wrote a story about how seawater intrusion continues to worsen in the northern part of the valley, which is a result of that overdraft. In natural conditions, without any pumping, the water in the aquifers moves downward, toward the Monterey Bay, but when over-pumping occurs, that pressure differential reverses as groundwater levels decline—seawater starts to intrude inland into the aquifers, eventually reaching a point of salinity to where it can’t be used to irrigate crops. It’s a problem that was first detected locally in 1944, and has only gotten worse in the years since. And it’s created a time bomb: many coastal growers have drilled wells into the “deep aquifer,” which is at least 900 feet deep and contains water believed to be at least 20,000 years old, or even 30,000. Suffice to say, that water is not recharging anytime soon. … ” Read more from Monterey Weekly.
State approves Paso Robles groundwater plan, with pumping limits and monitoring
“Water-pumping limits and monitoring are coming to some areas of the Paso Robles Groundwater Basin after the state approved a plan that aims to re-balance use in the critically overdrafted region. On Thursday, the California Department of Water Resources signed off on the Paso Robles groundwater sustainability plan, along with several others across the state. The basin is the lifeblood of the region, providing water to grow wine industry’s grapes and sustain rural homeowners. “This has been a huge lift for the all the GSAs in the basin,” San Luis Obispo County Director of Groundwater Sustainability Blaine Reely said in a prepared statement. “We now have the green light to move forward aggressively to bring the Paso Basin into a sustainable condition.” … ” Read more from the San Luis Obispo Tribune.
SEE ALSO: State gives seal of approval for SLO County groundwater sustainability plan for Paso Basin, from KSBY
SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY
Water experts explain what large snowpack levels mean for the Valley
“Record-breaking atmospheric rivers hit the state in January, and while that may cause some to rejoice and believe the drought is over, experts at the California Water Institute caution farmers and other water stakeholders about the impact of the storms. Charles Hillyer, associate vice president for the California Water Institute, said surface water and groundwater can be seen as the state’s checking and savings account, respectively. The checking account is where water is withdrawn first, and when that gets too low, we dip into the savings account. How much money goes into that checking account depends largely on how much snow falls in the mountains, he said. … ” Read more from the California Water Institute.
Westlands Water District receives recommendation for approval to advance groundwater storage and sustainability efforts
“Today, the Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced the recommendation of approval for the Westside Subbasin Groundwater Sustainability Plan (Westside GSP). Westlands Water District (District) is proud to have a plan for management of groundwater that provides a detailed blueprint for achieving long-term groundwater sustainability in the heart of the San Joaquin Valley’s prime farmland while avoiding undesirable impacts to the Westside Subbasin and to infrastructure critical to California. “We are grateful that DWR staff believe the District has taken sufficient actions to address the deficiencies DWR previously identified, and are now preparing to recommend approval,” said Jeff Fortune, president of Westlands’ Board of Directors. … ” Read more from Westlands Water District.
Tulare County Groundwater Sustainability Plans deemed inadequate – aquifer risks being taken over by the state
“The Department of Water Resources (DWR) today, March 2, announced their decision on the groundwater sustainability plans for 12 critically overdrafted groundwater basins in Central California. Of the 12 basins, DWR declared that six did not submit plans that demonstrate they will reach sustainability by 2040. Two of those basins are in Tulare County and cover a majority of its aquifer. The only basin recommended for approval was Kings Basin which covers mostly Fresno County and only a small part of Tulare County. If Tulare County GSAs can’t come up with a workable plan to achieve sustainability, the management of Tulare County’s ground water might be taken over by the state. The two sub-basins that did not win DWR approval are the Kaweah sub-basin and the Tule sub-basin. … ” Read more from the Valley Voice.
Ridgecrest: Water District adopts new structure for water rates and charges
“The Indian Wells Valley Water District adopted a new, two-tier structure for water rates at a public hearing on February 27. The new rate structure comes into effect in March. The Water District approved the new rate structure by a vote of 4-1, with the one opposing vote coming from board member Stan Rajtora. Before the vote, Rajtora had expressed concerns about the Finance Committee not having time to review and approve a water sales and services manual associated with the proposal, as well as concerns about the price of the fixed fee to run the Water District costs. These were concerns other board members questioned or stated could be addressed later. … ” Read more from the Ridgecrest Independent.
Sinkholes crop up across Southern California after winter storms battered the region
“Sinkholes have cropped up across Southern California after days of rain and snow pummeled the state. A large sinkhole in front of Santa Paula High School in Ventura County emerged on 6th Street, resulting in an unoccupied car falling inside Wednesday, the Ventura County Fire Department wrote on Twitter. The incident was stabilized and no injuries were reported, the Fire Department said. The scene was turned over to the Santa Paula Police Department. … Sinkholes have also emerged in other parts of Southern California. … ” Read more from the LA Times.
Winter storms have greatly improved drought conditions in San Diego County and across California
“Just three months ago, almost all of California was in drought, including at extreme and exceptional levels — the highest levels possible. Warnings went out from state water officials to expect only a fraction of requested water allocations. Then came the storms, one after the other. Nine atmospheric rivers pummeled California between late December and mid-January, and we’ve had plenty of precipitation since then. So, how has all that rain and snow affected the more than 20 reservoirs in San Diego County? We asked San Diego County Water Authority Water Resources Specialist Efren Lopez, who reminded us of the main purpose of reservoirs. … ” Read more from KPBS.
Commentary: San Diego’s economy will benefit from restoring and growing Mission Bay’s wetlands
Richard Norris, a distinguished professor of paleobiology at Scripps Institution of Oceanography; Sean Reese, a graduate student at UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy; and Beverly Scharnhorst, a graduate student at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, write, “We should restore San Diego’s marshes to put money in our pockets. For the past five years, the city of San Diego Planning Department, campers, golfers and environmental advocates have been in a debate regarding wetland restoration efforts in northern Mission Bay. The planning process has been trying to balance recreational and environmental interests to create a park that can best serve the diverse interests of San Diego’s residents and visitors. Of course, for some people, marshes are simply “birds and bugs.” It turns out, however, that they are much more valuable than most of us might have guessed. … ” Read more from the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Tijuana River sewage may be contaminating air along Southern California coast: study
“Chronic coastal contamination from the Tijuana River can end up in the atmosphere as “sea spray aerosol” — spreading far beyond the San Diego County beaches where it has long polluted the water, a new study has found. For decades, storms occurring along the U.S.-Mexico border have been diverting sewage through the Tijuana River and into the ocean in south Imperial Beach, according to a study published on Thursday in Environmental Science & Technology. But researchers have now determined that sewage-polluted coastal waters can transfer to the atmosphere as aerosol — generated “by breaking waves and bursting bubbles.” And while the level of threat to human health remains uncertain, this so-called “sea spray aerosol” contains bacteria, viruses and chemical compounds. … ” Read more from The Hill.
Along the Colorado River …
In dry West, farmers balk at idling land to save water
“Tom Brundy, an alfalfa grower in California’s Imperial Valley, thinks farmers reliant on the shrinking Colorado River can do more to save water and use it more efficiently. That’s why he’s installed water sensors and monitors to prevent waste on nearly two-thirds of his 3,000 acres. But one practice that’s off-limits for Brundy is fallowing — leaving fields unplanted to spare the water that would otherwise irrigate crops. It would save plenty of water, Brundy said, but threatens both farmers and rural communities economically. “It’s not very productive because you just don’t farm,” Brundy said. Many Western farmers feel the same, even as a growing sense is emerging that some fallowing will have to be part of the solution to the increasingly desperate drought in the West, where the Colorado River serves 40 million people. “Given the volume of water that is used by agriculture in the Colorado River system, you can’t stabilize the system without reductions in agriculture,” said Tom Buschatzke, director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources. “That’s just math.” … ” Read more from the Associated Press.
Nevada, a leader on Colorado River cuts, has two aces in the hole
“When the Secretary of Interior set January 31 as a deadline for the seven Colorado River Basin states to come up with a plan to cut between 2-4 million acre-feet of water, the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) stepped up to the plate as the leader of the pack. And that’s because Nevada—and we’re really talking about the Las Vegas Valley—plays by house rules, and it has two aces in the hole. Of the seven states on the Colorado River, Nevada has the smallest allocation: 300,000 acre-feet out of 16.5 million acre-feet (maf). That’s only 1.8 percent. Yet, with that supply, SNWA supplies 90% of the water needed for 2 million residents and millions more tourists each year. How do they do it? … ” Read more from the Holtville Tribune.
Nevada: Shutting off water: Bill gives SNWA power to cut supply for Las Vegas valley residents who use too much
“Sweeping powers to limit residential water use are part of legislation introduced last week in Carson City. As Lake Mead continues to shrink and the ominous “bathtub ring” just gets bigger, the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) could get the authority to limit how much water residents can use. It’s one of many powers proposed under Assembly Bill 220 (AB220). The formal legalese in the bottom half of the 2,723-word “digest” of AB220 says: “Section 27 of this bill authorizes the Board of Directors of the Authority to restrict the use of water by a single-family residence to not more than 0.5 acre-feet of water during any year in which a shortage on the Colorado River has been declared by the Federal Government.” … ” Read more from KLAS.
Nevada: Breaking down water levels affecting the Las Vegas valley
“The outlook for Lake Mead water levels as March begins gives reason for hope and reason for despair. Hope comes with above-average snowpacks in Colorado and Utah, and despair comes with a projected drop in water levels that will leave Lake Mead lower than it’s been since it initially filled in the 1930s. The last time Lake Mead was as low as it is now was last year, before that it was in 1937. Lake Powell to the northeast is at its lowest point since it first filled in the late 1960s. Even further upriver, the Flaming Gorge Reservoir in Colorado is showing another steep decline this year. And south of all this, at Lake Mohave and Lake Havasu, all is well. It’s this system of dams and reservoirs that has helped to supply the southwest with reliable water for more than 85 years. Now, at the beginning of March, millions of people are watching and waiting nervously to see what will happen to water supplies as spring approaches, builders keep building and farmers prepare their fields for a busy growing season. … ” Read more from KLAS.
Arizona Governor Hobbs says Mayes can’t simply end a Saudi water deal
“While running for attorney general, Democrat Kris Mayes vowed to undo a state land lease that provides free groundwater to a Saudi Arabian alfalfa grower. Gov. Katie Hobbs now says that’s easier said than done. On Sept. 19, Mayes told 12News she was planning imminent action on the Saudi water deal, which uses land in La Paz County to grow alfalfa that’s then shipped to the Middle East. But on Tuesday, Hobbs said nothing was in the works. “It’s a very complex issue, and not something that the AG has the authority to, frankly, do on her own,” Hobbs told reporters. “It’s a complicated lease that we can’t just end.” … ” Read more from KJZZ.
Arizona: Salt River Project opens Bartlett Dam floodgates to make room for spring snowmelt
“As drought-busting winter storms continue to pile up snow, Salt River Project on Thursday began releasing water from Bartlett Dam down the Verde River toward metro Phoenix. The dam, roughly 15 miles east of Carefree, holds back a Verde River that is poised to receive an unusually bountiful supply of snowmelt from Arizona’s high country. SRP officials expect the Verde’s reservoirs to fill soon, and to overfill if not partially drained first. “We’ve got to make room on the Verde,” spokesperson Patty Garcia-Likens said. … ” Read more from the Arizona Republic.
Despite outstanding water year, Lake Powell still struggles
“While much has been made about the massive snowpack building in the mountains above Utah’s most populated areas, there are still concerns over the Colorado River that feeds into Lake Powell. The vast Colorado River system flows through Utah, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico, and its water is what what the majority of Utahns rely on. Lake Powell water levels are the upper Colorado River’s benchmark and it’s lower than it’s ever been at 3,521 feet. Another 31 more feet and the Glen Canyon Dam may stop generating power. … ” Read more from Fox 13.