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In The News — Water Grab News — 2017

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In The News — Below are press stories about the ongoing drought in the west; press stories also cover the Southern Nevada Water Authority's "water grab" in Nevada and Utah; and other "mega" water projects that threaten the Great Basin.
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February 24, 2017 — Hot weather linked to climate change is reducing Colorado River flows, study says — Hot weather related to long-term climate change has been a prime cause of this century's chronic shortfalls in Colorado River flows, a new study says. This is the first study to formally link climate change to the river's declining flows, said the researchers, Jonathan Overpeck of the University of Arizona and Bradley Udall of Colorado State University — By Tony Davis The Arizona Daily Star, Tucson

February 18, 2017 — Wet winter has improved Colorado River basin's water forecast, but the drought endures — California is not the only place in the West confronting startling amounts of rain and snow. Drought conditions have declined substantially across the region in recent weeks, with heavy storms replenishing reservoirs and piling fresh powder on ski resorts. Yet there is one place where the precipitation has been particularly welcome and could be transformative: the Colorado River basin, which provides water to nearly 40 million people across seven states — LA Times

February 17, 2017 — Deep Rockies snowpack likely to forestall Colorado River water shortage — With snow piling up in the mountains that feed the Colorado River, the short-term outlook for Lake Mead has suddenly improved. But new research warns of more trouble ahead — Las Vegas Review Journal

February 15, 2017 — Dam precious resource: Despite drought, precautions in place reduce threat to lake levels — Though the worst drought on record has been plaguing the Colorado River since 2000, the water situation for Boulder City residents may not be as dire as some people believe, according to multiple sources. Daniel Bunk, river operations group manager for the Bureau of Reclamation, Lower Colorado Region, said Lake Powell provides a buffer that has helped curb the amount of water lost each year at Lake Mead, which currently sits at about 1,087 feet, a low it hasn’t seen since 1956, well before the drought began — BoldercityReview.com

Jason King, Nevada State Engineer February 14, 2017 — Water looming as key issue for Nevada Legislature — CARSON CITY: State lawmakers got a crash course Tuesday on Nevada’s complicated water laws as they prepare to consider several bills dealing with the most precious resource in the driest state in the nation. State Engineer Jason King, whose office has proposed four bills this session, said more proposed laws are expected, including one to address Nevada’s long-standing doctrine of “use-it-or-lose it” — Las Vegas Review Journal

February 14, 2017 — The West’s coal giant is going down — The smokestacks of the Navajo Generation Station rise 775 feet from the sere landscape of the Navajo Nation in northern Arizona, just three miles away from the serpentine, stagnant blue wound in sandstone known as Lake Powell — hcn.org [Print PDF]

February 14, 2017 — Why keep the Salton Sea? — In 1905, an engineer gave California a lake. He didn’t do it on purpose; the cuts he made in a canal a few miles into Mexico burst open, releasing the full force of a flooding Colorado River into the Imperial Valley. For two years it filled a pit known as the Salton Sink, in southeastern California, until the government managed to close the breach — hcn.org [Print PDF]

February 10, 2017 — NASA Improves Snowmelt Forecast In Colorado River Basin NASA is keeping track of dust that settles on snow in the Rocky Mountains. The research will help hydrologists improve their predictions for how fast the Colorado River will rise this spring — kjzz.org

February 09, 2017 — San Joaquin Valley continues to sink because of groundwater pumping, NASA says — California’s San Joaquin Valley continues to sink at an alarming rate because of groundwater pumping and irrigation, according to a new study by NASA. Ground levels in some areas have dropped 1 to 2 feet in the last two years, creating deeper and wider “bowls” that continue to threaten the vital network of channels that transport water across Southern California, researchers say — LA Times

February 2017 Vanishing Act: NASA Scientist Jay Famiglietti on Our Changing Water Future [Time 27.55] — conversation with Jay Famiglietti, senior water scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. One of the space agency’s most intriguing ventures is what it learns by turning its view back at Earth. A perspective that—as it turns out—can tell us a lot about our changing planet — NASA

February 06, 2017 — Desalination of aquifers offers drought-weary California new hope — California’s historic drought may be winding down. But water officials across the Golden State are increasingly exploring a hidden but promising way to add to the state’s water supply: removing salt from the billions of gallons of brackish — or distastefully salty — water that lies deep below the Earth’s surface — Mercurynews.com

Tahoe, 2017 -- Photo: (Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Grou February 02,2017 — Sierra Nevada snowpack is biggest in 22 years — and more snow is on the way — After a month of huge blizzards and “atmospheric river” storms, the Sierra Nevada snowpack — source of a third of California’s drinking water — is 177 percent of the historic average, the biggest in more than two decades — Mercurynews.com

A view from the Lake Mead side of the Hoover Damn. (PHOTO: Via Pixabay)February 01, 2017 — Shrinking Lake Mead Water Levels Could Trigger Official Shortage — Water levels in Lake Mead, which stores water for Arizona, California and Nevada, have plunged in recent years. If levels drop below a certain point, they trigger an official shortage. The three states are trying to avoid that. Federal water managers say there is a 50-50 chance water levels in Lake Mead will fall below 1,075 feet above sea level, or about 35 percent capacity for the reservoir. That’s the point at which federal rules will kick in mandating radical cuts in water taken from the lake —azpm.org

January 24, 2017 — NASA measures 'dust on snow' to help manage Colorado River basin water supplies When Michelle Stokes and Stacie Bender look out across the snow-capped mountains of Utah and Colorado, they see more than just a majestic landscape. They see millions of gallons of water that will eventually flow into the Colorado River — —Phys.org

January 21, 2017 — Western drought watchers keep wary eye on Lake Mead level — Arizona would be the first state to feel the effects of Colorado River cutbacks if the water level continues to fall at drought-stricken Lake Mead, an environmental advocacy group says in a new report. The Western Resource Advocates reached its conclusion as the vast reservoir behind Hoover Dam sits at 39 percent of capacity — LasVegasSun

January 20, 2017 — Early snowpack indicates ‘coin flip’ for Lake Mead shortage declaration in 2018 — Snow is piling up in the Rockies and Sierra Nevada, but this year’s first official water forecast for the Colorado River still predicts Lake Mead will shrink enough to trigger a federal shortage declaration in 2018. Federal forecasters expect the lake’s surface to drop by about 9 feet by the end of 2017, which would put it inches below the all-important shortage line of 1,075 feet above sea level. That would force Nevada and Arizona to cut their use of Colorado River water under rules adopted a decade ago — Las Vegas Review Journal

January 20, 2017 — Big unfinished business for Trump: Colorado River deals, the shrinking Salton Sea — Two days before President Donald Trump’s inauguration, outgoing Interior Secretary Sally Jewell laid out a game plan for averting serious water shortages along the Colorado River. Jewell’s 10-page directive underscored the importance of concluding deals this year between California, Arizona and Nevada, as well as between the U.S. and Mexican governments, to share in reduced water deliveries to prevent reservoirs from falling to critical lows — Desertsun.com

January 19, 2017 — Water district board OKs $150M installment on Lake Mead pump station — The Southern Nevada Water Authority board voted unanimously Thursday to throw another $150 million down a hole at Lake Mead. But this is no ordinary hole. When it’s finished in 2020, the authority’s low-lake-level pumping station is expected to keep water flowing to Las Vegas even if the reservoir shrinks to a “dead pool,” the point at which Hoover Dam no longer can release water downstream. For a community that relies on Lake Mead for 90 percent of its water supply, such access is crucial, SNWA officials say — Las Vegas Review Journal

January 19, 2017 —Tools for the wannabe Western weather prognosticator — Weather has taken a turn for the inclement all across the West. In early January, stormy weather crossed the continent from the Pacific Northwest to New England. Then another storm system froze Portland, forcing drivers to abandon hundreds of cars on impassable streets; swirled blizzards through the Sierras; and glazed the Great Plains in ice. Rain has drenched southern Arizona, and winter is not done with the West yet — hcn.org

January 18, 2017 — Former water officials sentenced to prison in $1.3M bribery scheme — LRJ.com



Go To Water Grab News Archives — 2016



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