In The News — Below are press stories about the ongoing drought in the west; information about the Southern Nevada Water Authority's "water grab" in Nevada and Utah; and other "mega" water projects that threaten the Great Basin.
[Note: Stories open in new browser window]
April 23, 2015 — Savage drought will drive Lake Mead to record low on Sunday — Sunday’s forecast for Lake Mead calls for breezy conditions, with a high in the low 80s and a water level as low as it has been in 78 years. The reservoir east of Las Vegas is expected to reach a new record low this weekend and continue downward another 7 feet through June, as the drought-stricken Colorado River withers from its 12th dry year since 2000 — RJ.com
April 23, 2013 — Officials: Colorado River shortage not 'a crisis' for Az in near term — Arizona’s communities, industries, mines and Native American tribes aren’t likely to be affected during the next five years if federal officials declare a shortage on the Colorado River, officials said Wednesday. While Central Arizona Project rates may rise, deliveries for groundwater replenishment would be eliminated and central Arizona agriculture would take a hit, leaders of a workshop held at the Arizona Department of Water Resources said the state is ready for a shortage on the Colorado — Tucsonsentinel.com
April 23, 2015 — Lessons From Australia’s 17-Year Drought
April 22, 2015 — Colorado River runoff forecast gets a bit bleaker — The latest federal forecast for runoff in the Colorado River Basin is a bit gloomier than the one of just two weeks ago. It predicts April-July runoff into Lake Powell will be 47 percent of normal, compared to 52 percent of normal that was expected in early April. Dry weather in April accounts for much of the decline in forecasted runoff, said Brenda Alcorn, a senior hydrologist for NOAA's Colorado River Basin Forecast Center. NOAA is short for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — Tucson.com
April 22, 2015 — California isn’t the only state with water problems — Western states have been dealing with water problems for a while, but they won't be alone for long. As drought, flooding, and climate change restrict America's water supply, demands from population growth and energy production look set to increase, according to a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office — Yahoo.com
April 21, 2015 — Lake Mead hits near-record low water level — 8NewsNow.com
April 21, 2015 — Jerry Brown calls tiered-water ruling ‘a straitjacket’ for conservation efforts An appellate court Monday struck down a Southern California city’s method of charging water users based on a tiered-rate system, a potential setback to municipalities across a parched state laboring to curtail water consumption under Gov. Jerry Brown’s recent order — SacBee.com
April 21, 2015 — 4 Ways to Beat the California Drought and Save the Colorado River — The epic drought in California is beatable and we can save the Colorado River. All of Southern California—including the massive farm fields in Imperial County, the grapes and golf courses in the Coachella Valley and Palm Springs, and every person from Los Angeles to San Diego—gets most of its water from the Colorado River. The very same drought that has hammered southern California is almost as bad across the entire Southwest U.S.—including in the mountains of Utah, Wyoming and Colorado which are the source of water for the Colorado River that feeds Southern California — Gary Wockner
April 17, 2015 — As Lake Mead Levels Drop, The West Braces For Bigger Drought Impact — The historic four-year drought in California has been grabbing the headlines lately, but there's a much bigger problem facing the West: the now 14-year drought gripping the Colorado River basin. One of the most stunning places to see its impact is at the nation's largest reservoir, Lake Mead, near Las Vegas. At about 40 percent of capacity, it's the lowest it's been since it was built in the 1930s — NPR [ 4 min 34 sec]
April 16, 2015 — Coping With Western Drought With No End In Sight — In the desert, water is more valuable than gold. Drought has been gripping Nevada and the region for years. In California, Governor Jerry Brown recently demanded a 25 percent cut in residential use after the drought reached extreme proportions there. Pat Mulroy formerly of the Southern Nevada Water Authority and currently the senior fellow for climate adaptation and environmental policy at UNLV’s Brookings Mountain West told KNPR’s State of Nevada that Gov. Brown had little choice.“What he did was his only option out there right now,” Mulroy said. Jeffrey Kightlinger agrees. He is the general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern Nevada — KNPR - Nevada
April 15, 2015 — Redistribute California's Water? Not Without A Fight — The state of California is asking a basic question right now that people often fight over: What's a fair way to divide up something that's scarce and valuable? That "something," in this case, is water — NPR [ 4 min 17 sec]
April 14 2015 — Salt Lake City issues water-shortage advisory — Salt Lake City took the first official step Monday to notify its residents of possible water shortages this summer. Mayor Ralph Becker issued a "stage one advisory," the first of five steps in the city's contingency plan for dealing with drought.
. . . Steve Erickson, the Utah Audubon Council's legislative advocate, called the city's advisory "an appropriate move to get people's attention. It's been a grim winter. We're likely to see this get worse so people need to start thinking about how they can conserve water — not just in Salt Lake City but around the state — Salt Lake Tribune
April 14, 2015 — California: Higher water rates on tap as utilities cover losses from drought Planning to save water this year to help with the drought? Don’t expect to save money. Water departments across California, including dozens in the Bay Area, are now looking to raise rates — in many cases by double digits — to shore up revenues as customers use less water during dry times and water sales plummet — SFGate.com
April 14, 2015 — Press Release: Snowpack melts early across the West — WASHINGTON: West-wide snowpack is melting earlier than usual, according to data from the fourth 2015 forecast by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). “Almost all of the West Coast continues to have record low snowpack,” NRCS Hydrologist David Garen said. “March was warm and dry in most of the West; as a result, snow is melting earlier than usual.” — NRCS
April 14, 2015 — OPINION: Making Sense of Water — BERKELEY, Calif. -- Almost every number used to analyze California’s drought can be debated, but this can be safely said: No level of restrictions on residential use can solve the problem. The solution lies with agriculture, which consumes more than its fair share. That doesn’t mean homeowners can’t and shouldn’t cut back — NyTimes.com
April 14, 2015 — A guide to California's water crisis — and why it's so hard to fix — California saw this drought coming. Even if people in the state didn't know it would be this bad — now the worst in recorded history — they've known that dry years are inevitable and had all sorts of ideas for how to deal with them. But for all that planning, California's current drought has been a total disaster. Reservoirs are drying up. Crops are wilting in the fields. For the first time ever, towns and cities will face a mandatory 25 percent cut in their water use — VOX.com
April 14, 2015 —
Climate Change Caused California Drought — The science behind the drought is unquestionable —A lot has been written about the California drought. A lot. Sadly, and a bit surprisingly, very little of it touches on the climate connection. Which is too bad, because there are some obvious (and not-so-obvious) science-based studies that touch on the unfolding disaster – with implications for what the future holds for the most populous state in the United States — usnews.com
April 13, 2015 — Nevada drought: What's being done? — Nevada Appeal
April 13, 2015 — In California, a Wet Era May Be Ending — When Gov. Jerry Brown of California imposed mandatory cutbacks in water use earlier this month in response to a severe drought, he warned that the state was facing an uncertain future. “This is the new normal,” he said, “and we’ll have to learn to cope with it.” The drought, now in its fourth year, is by many measures the worst since the state began keeping records of temperature and precipitation in the 1800s. And with a population now close to 39 million and a thirsty, $50 billion agricultural industry, California has been affected more by this drought than by any previous one — NyTimes.com
April 13, 2015 — One chart sums up the real problem in the California drought— and it isn't almonds — You might've heard that if there's one food you shouldn't be buying in the middle of California's drought, it's almonds.
Compared with many other nuts and veggies, almonds seem particularly wasteful, requiring a whole gallon of water per nut. But what about the foods we eat that aren't nuts or vegetables? I'm talking about meat — BusinessInsider.com
April 12, 2015 — Megascale Desalination: The world’s largest and cheapest reverse-osmosis desalination plant is up and running in Israel. — On a Mediterranean beach 10 miles south of Tel Aviv, Israel, a vast new industrial facility hums around the clock. It is the world’s largest modern seawater desalination plant, providing 20 percent of the water consumed by the country’s households. Built for the Israeli government by Israel Desalination Enterprises, or IDE Technologies, at a cost of around $500 million, it uses a conventional desalination technology called reverse osmosis (RO). Thanks to a series of engineering and materials advances, however, it produces clean water from the sea cheaply and at a scale never before achieved — Technologyreview.com
April 12, 2015 — OPINION: Guest Commentary: Heed California water woes, Colorado — The Denver Post
April 10, 2015 — This is how we avoid climate catastrophe: The simple –yet radical – steps needed to solve California’s water crisis — California’s worsening drought is an environmental disaster, the result of multiple years of below-average rainfall and above-average heat and very likely amplified, experts say, by man-made climate change. But not everyone is suffering the unprecedented deficit equally. Some, you might even go so far as to say, are winning — Salon.com
April 09, 2015 — Crap Detecting and California Water — Aquadoc.typepad.com
April 08, 2015 — Sandoval creates drought panel, says Nevada much better off than California — WASHOE LAKE STATE PARK — Gov. Brian Sandoval stood on the dusty shore of a shrinking lake bed Wednesday to sign an executive order creating a forum to study Nevada’s lingering drought and recommend state policies. Sandoval, joined by state and local government water officials, said the Nevada Drought Forum, comprising water managers and climate experts from around the state, will craft a blueprint on best practices for water use and conservation — RJ.com
Read the Governor's Executive Order
April 05, 2015 — Beneath California Crops, Groundwater Crisis Grows Even as the worst drought in decades ravages California, and its cities face mandatory cuts in water use, millions of pounds of thirsty crops like oranges, tomatoes and almonds continue to stream out of the state and onto the nation’s grocery shelves. But the way that California farmers have pulled off that feat is a case study in the unwise use of natural resources, many experts say. Farmers are drilling wells at a feverish pace and pumping billions of gallons of water from the ground, depleting a resource that was critically endangered even before the drought, now in its fourth year, began — NyTimes.com
April 05, 2015 — Will Turning Seawater Into Drinking Water Help Drought-Hit California? — Last week, Governor Jerry Brown made water conservation mandatory in the drought-stricken state of California. "As Californians, we have to pull together and save water in every way we can," he said. But if the four-year drought continues, conservation alone — at least what's required by the governor's plan — won't fix the problem — NPR
April 05, 2015 — Californians with century-old water rights face restrictions — Thousands of California farms and other businesses have rights to divert water for their needs, including irrigation and for hydroelectric dams. But if dry conditions continue through summer, they will likely face restrictions on taking water — AP
April 05, 2015 — California Drought Tests History of Endless Growth — LOS ANGELES: For more than a century, California has been the state where people flocked for a better life — 164,000 square miles of mountains, farmland and coastline, shimmering with ambition and dreams, money and beauty.
It was the cutting-edge symbol of possibility: Hollywood, Silicon Valley, aerospace, agriculture and vineyards. But now a punishing drought – and the unprecedented measures the state announced last week to compel people to reduce water consumption – is forcing a reconsideration of whether the aspiration of untrammeled growth that has for so long been this state’s driving engine has run against the limits of nature — NyTimes.com
April 01, 2015 — California water mandates won’t affect southern Nevada rules — In the wake of a landmark California water conservation mandate announced Wednesday, Southern Nevada officials said water policies here will not be changed.
California Gov. Jerry Brown, a four-term Democrat, called for a mandatory, statewide 25 percent reduction in water usage for cities and towns. The mandate is the first of its kind in the Golden State and is expected to save nearly 489 billion gallons of water by January 2016 — RJ.com
April 01, 2015 — [And this is NOT an April Fools hoax]: Fraud & Coverup Alleged in Water District — Las Vegas Valley Water District fired 17 senior employees to cover up illegal spending and misrepresentations of its finances, one of the former workers claims in court. Lyndalou Bullard sued the water district in Clark County Court, claiming she is one of 17 senior employees that the water district fired on a pretext. "In truth, they were terminated before they could publicly acknowledge facts they had privately learned to be true," Bullard says in the March 25 complaint — By MIKE HEUER, CourtHouseNewsService.com
March 31, 2015 — TMWA calls for 10% reduction in water use — RENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- Truckee Meadows Water Authority customers are being asked to reduce their water use by at least 10 percent this spring and summer, effective immediately — Mynews4.com
March 31, 2015 — The Water Revolution Is Here — At current usage and population rates, international demand for water in 2030 will outstrip supply by 40 percent. As fresh water supplies dwindle, nations across the globe will face unprecedented, unsettling, and formerly unthinkable choices regarding water, compelled to make difficult decisions about how to allocate the precious resource — EnvironmentalLeader.com