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In The News — Water Grab News — 2019

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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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December 31, 2019 — Nevada NewsMakers — Today's guest is: Kyle Roerink, Executive Director, Great Basin Water Network - GBWN —

December 23, 2019 — OPINION: To Sprawl or not to sprawl, that’s the dilemma — By Chris Giunchigliani —

December 19, 2019 — Water authority looks at investment in Southern California water reuse project —in exchange for Colorado River water — The Southern Nevada Water Authority has expressed interest in helping finance a wastewater reuse project being pursued by Southern California’s municipal wholesale water provider. The goal: To free up Colorado River water. The concept looks something like this . . .

December 16, 2019 — Equity, climate on the table at Colorado River conference as new negotiations loom for Southwest water managers — After years of deliberations over how to cut back water use on the Colorado River, Southwest water managers clicked pause on a new round of negotiations — likely to be even more challenging — during a conference in Las Vegas last week. Sort of —

December 10, 2019 — Water cutbacks set to begin under deal designed to ‘buy down risk’ on Colorado River — Arizona, Nevada and Mexico will start taking less water from the Colorado River in January as a hard-fought set of agreements kicks in to reduce the risk of reservoirs falling to critically low levels. The two U.S. states agreed to leave a portion of their water allotments in Lake Mead under a deal with California called the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan, or DCP, which the states’ representatives signed at Hoover Dam in May —

December 09, 2019 — Las Vegas groundwater management a success, but overpumping issues loom — When John Hiatt moved to southwest Las Vegas in 1976, the water level for his domestic well was 115 feet below the surface. A decade and a half later, it dropped to 140 feet. Until 1971, groundwater below the earth’s surface was the only source of water in the Las Vegas Valley, Southern Nevada Water Authority spokesperson Bronson Mack said. By the 1970s, population growth and rampant overpumping of the Las Vegas aquifer forced changes to water management, including a transition away from widespread groundwater use to the current reliance on water from the Colorado River — Las Vegas Sun [ Print PDF]

November 18, 2019 — Nevada hits point of 'critical mass' on issue of water scarcity, state director of natural resources says — Nevada's director of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources said Nevada has already reached the point of "critical mass" or the breaking point when it comes to the problem of water scarcity . . . Yet Crowell questioned if the proposed pipeline to bring water from rural Eastern Nevada to the Las Vegas Valley is the best solution for Southern Nevada's water scarcity —

November 13, 2019 — Water fight continues in eastern Nevada, western Utah with church-owned ranch in the middle — SALT LAKE CITY — Attorneys for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Millard and Juab counties were in a Nevada court Tuesday and Wednesday arguing that a monitoring plan for a proposed groundwater pumping project is insufficient to protect water resources in eastern Nevada and western Utah. The plan by the Southern Nevada Water Authority is also opposed by the Great Basin Water Network and the Goshute, Duckwater and Ely tribes. According to the network, the project’s first phase aims to siphon at least 58 billion gallons of water annually away from the Great Basin via a 300-mile pipeline to Las Vegas . . . Kyle Roerink, executive director of the Great Basin Water Network, said a number of natural resources would be in peril if the groundwater pumping project becomes a reality. “The (water authority) is asking for an exemption from the laws of Nevada, the laws of nature, the laws of economics, and the laws of morality,” Roerink said. “This project is a mirage where a few powerful interests will see some short-term gains while the rest of Nevada — rural and urban — suffers in the long run” —

November 12, 2019 — [OPINION] As fight over proposed Las Vegas pipeline persists, remember Owens Valley — Any visitor to the small border town of Baker, Nevada will likely come across a phrase that references the Eastern Sierra: Remember the Owens Valley. The famed California valley is a victim of William Mulholland’s Los Angeles Aqueduct –– a project made famous by its rapacious desertification of Owens Lake and surrounding areas. That damage, which continues to cost Californians millions of dollars per year for mitigation, explains why many Nevadans hope we learn an important lesson from our neighbor to the west — [Print PDF]

November 12, 2019 — Water Hearing Set to Begin NOV. 12 — The Great Basin Water Network, White Pine County, tribes the LDS Church and Utah officials will be back in court continuing the fight to stop the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s pumping and piping proposal that would forever harm places like Spring and Snake Valleys. The hearing will begin on Nov. 12, at 8:30 a.m. at the White Pine County Courthouse located at 801 Clark Street. Executive Director Kyle Roernik with the Great Basin Water Network said, “If you can make the time, please come to the downtown courthouse, to stand alongside these folks in opposition to the project.” The hearing is believed to be over a two-day period, commencing on Nov. 13. — [Print PDF]

November 07, 2019 —Here's why native people are fighting to save these sacred, Nevada trees There's a stand of trees in Nevada's Spring Valley that are sacred to native people. They're worried a water pipeline to Las Vegas would destroy them —

November 07, 2019 — Bill language should not allow water grab — A growing number of public and private entities are joining a concerted effort to make sure a bill pending before Congress does not inadvertently create a means for Clark County to tap rural groundwater, though Clark County officials protest that is not the intent of the proposal.According to Great Basin Water Network (GBWN) — a coalition of conservationists, rural officials, tribes and agricultural interests — there are fears . . .

October 30, 2019 —[LETTER: Kyle Roerink is executive director of the Great Basin Water Network - GBWN] Clark County development plan built on stealing rural water — The Review Journal’s Oct. 25 editorial, “Clark County Commission’s lands plan needed for economic growth,” had no mention of how the Las Vegas Valley will be able to sustain its water supply for — [Print PDF]

October 25, 2019 — IS MASSIVE WATER GRAB REALLY DEAD? — October marks the 30th year of what some have labeled “the ongoing fight to stop one of the largest-ever water grabs in the history of the nation.” As stated in a recent press release by the Great Basin Water Network, in Oct.1989, the Las Vegas Valley Water District applied to take more than 260 billion gallons of water annually from the Great Basin, focusing most of it on eastern Nevada, southern Idaho and western Utah’s Pleistocene-era aquifers. This spans a section of the U.S. larger than the New England region, an area of 71,998.8 square miles [4,608,000 acres] encompassing the states of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut —

October 24, 2019 — Colorado River Basin story map highlights importance of managing water below the ground — The Colorado River is a water workhorse for seven western states, supplying drinking water to 40 million people. But it’s not the region’s only important source of water . . . a strong understanding of groundwater availability and use across the Colorado River Basin is more critical than ever to managing the system-wide supply and demand balance and long-term planning, especially as the climate becomes increasingly arid . . .

October 22, 2019 — The World Can Make More Water From the Sea, but at What Cost? — UWAL, Saudi Arabia — Desalinated seawater is the lifeblood of Saudi Arabia, nowhere more so than at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, an international research center that rose from the dry, empty desert a decade ago —

October 18, 2019 — WATER FIGHT REACHES 30 YEAR MARK — A special White Pine County Commission and Ely City Council meeting was held last Wednesday to discuss White Pine County’s continuous efforts to protect the water as well as the land. The battle began in 1989 and has continued on for decades, making this year the 30 year mark of this water war with Southern Nevada Water Authority. The war? SNWA’s plans for a pipeline that would travel from White Pine County to Clark County as an additional water resource for Las Vegas if approved. Several local residents stood up and spoke out about the proposed pipeline . . .

October 05, 2019 — October marks ongoing 30 year water war — [By Kyle Roernik Special to The Ely Times] This month marks the 30th anniversary of the ongoing fight to stop one of the largest-ever water grabs in the history of the nation. In October 1989, the Las Vegas Valley Water District applied to take more than 260 billion gallons of water annually throughout the Great Basin – with much of the focus on Eastern Nevada and Western Utah’s Pleistocene-era aquifers. The plan was simple: Have the State Engineer grant the applications for water, get Congress to carve-out a Right of Way on federal land, pump the water and deliver it to Las Vegas via a 300-mile, $15.5 billion pipeline (2011 dollars) — The Ely Times [Print PDF]

September 26, 2019 — In major move, Utah pulls most hydropower out of Lake Powell pipeline — Utah’s proposed Lake Powell pipeline will cost less to build and be easier to permit under a decision announced Wednesday to cut major hydropower components from the controversial project that would move 86,000 acre-feet of Colorado River water to St. George –

September 23, 2019 — Las Vegas water use has dropped, but its affluent residents remain copious consumers — Total and per-capita water use in Southern Nevada has declined over the last decade, even as the region’s population has increased by 14%. But water use among the biggest water users — some of the valley’s wealthiest, most prominent residents — has held steady. . . “The water authority has done a very, very effective job as it relates to their water smart landscape rebate program, but they can’t force people to do it,” said Kyle Roerink, executive director of the Great Basin Water Network. But that doesn’t change the fact that Nevada is the driest state in the country. Despite gains this winter due to heavy snowfall, Lake Mead water levels have been dropping since at least 1999. “It’s going to be incumbent upon individuals to realize that they live in the desert and that there isn’t an infinite supply of water for them to use wantonly,” Roerink said. September 15, 2019 — Study: Inadequate Groundwater for Current and Potential Demands in Basin Targeted by Las Vegas Springs, creeks, and wetlands on the Nevada-Utah border are at risk in “worst-case” pumping scenario, U.S. Geological Survey finds. — There is not enough water to support important wetlands and springs in a semi-arid desert ecosystem that straddles the Nevada-Utah border if all permitted and proposed groundwater rights are put to use, according to a U.S. Geological Survey study of the Snake Valley. There also may not be enough groundwater to satisfy the desires of the Las Vegas area, whose water agencies have eyed the valley for decades as a potential supply source — [Download/read USGS Report]   [Audio File 4.5- min]

August 27, 2019 — Environmental groups argue lands bill will exempt Las Vegas pipeline from judicial review; water authority disagrees — Environmental groups are raising concerns over a provision in draft legislation they believe could exempt the Las Vegas pipeline — a proposal to pump eastern Nevada groundwater about 300 miles to Southern Nevada — from further litigation and federal environmental review. — (More Coverage)

August 23, 2019 — [Commentary — By Kyle Roerink] Delegation must not carry SNWA’s water for Las Vegas pipeline — Officials at the Southern Nevada Water Authority want the state’s congressional delegation to do their dirty work for them. A legislative proposal that serves as a federal wish list for Clark County–– including the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) –– has provisions which would partially enable and authorize the long-contested Las Vegas water grab pipeline. The proposal –– as outlined in a discussion draft put forward by Clark County –– circumvents bedrock environmental laws in order to pave the way for the 300-mile pumping and piping project to siphon 58 billion gallons of water annually from Eastern Nevada in perpetuity —
Support Document: Letter from GBWN to Senator Catherine Cortez Masto — RE: Pipeline Provisions (Sections 802(a) and 804) in Clark County Lands Bill [PDF]

August 17, 2019— First-ever mandatory water cutbacks will kick in next year along the Colorado River — Arizona, Nevada and Mexico will be required to take less water from the Colorado River for the first time next year under a set of agreements that aim to keep enough water in Lake Mead to reduce the risk of a crash. The federal Bureau of Reclamation activated the mandatory reductions in water deliveries on Thursday when it released projections showing that as of Jan. 1, the level of Lake Mead will sit just below a threshold that triggers the cuts — USA Today July 18, 2019 — SNWA unanimously votes to extend quarter-cent sales tax — The Southern Nevada Water Authority Board of Directors voted unanimously Thursday to ask the Clark County Commission to make permanent a quarter-cent sales tax that has collected $1.5 billion dollars since 1999. A letter of approval will be drafted and sent to the Clark County Commission with the caveat that none of the funds from the tax be used on the controversial SNWA proposed 300-mile pipeline that would send 58 billion gallons of water from Eastern Nevada to Las Vegas annually. “This sales tax is critical not only for the water authority but for the water and wastewater system across Clark County,” said Southern Nevada Water Authority General Manager John Entsminger — [Related Information from GBWN]

June 27, 2019 — Desalination is booming as cities run out of water — Some 30 miles north of San Diego, along the Pacific Coast, sits the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad Desalination Plant, the largest effort to turn salt water into fresh water in North America. ach day 100 million gallons of seawater are pushed through . . .

June 23, 2019 — New agreement cuts water usage further if Colorado River levels keep dropping — The American West has never been particularly wet, but it’s getting even drier. The Colorado River is low. Lake Mead is low. Lake Powell is low. The white ring along the sides of giant mountain-lined reservoirs continues to grow. Since 2000, the West—including Nevada—has been in a serious drought, and affected states are scrambling to adapt. A recent agreement between Western states—initially proposed and approved by their U.S. senators and signed into law by President Donald Trump—will attempt to tackle the dearth of water in the Colorado River by instituting further water-use restrictions. The Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan . . . Las Vegas Sun

June 20, 2019 — Feds Can’t Duck Claims of Shoddy Review for Desert Water Pipeline — LOS ANGELES (CN) – A federal judge indicated Thursday he will advance conservation groups’ claims that a proposed 43-mile groundwater pipeline in a Southern California desert was approved abruptly and without proper environmental review by a federal agency. The Cadiz groundwater pipeline project would move nearly 45 million gallons of water daily for 50 years from an underground aquifer in the Mojave Desert and to cities across Southern California. The Center for Biological Diversity and Center for Food Safety accuse Cadiz of trying to evade federal laws . . .

June 19, 2019 — Groundwater pumping has significantly reduced US stream flows — Groundwater pumping in the last century has contributed as much as 50 percent to stream flow declines in some U.S. rivers, according to new research led by a University of Arizona hydrologist —

June 17, 2019 — Good Year for Snow Could Delay Colorado River Water Emergency — An above average winter for snowfall in the Rockies could mean a reprieve for an upcoming water shortage declaration among the Colorado River basin states — knau.or

June 13, 2019 — Utah Presses Forward With Pipeline Plans Despite Colorado River Basin Constraints — The drive behind a massive water development project in southwestern Utah, the Lake Powell Pipeline, shows no signs of slowing even after the Colorado River Basin states signed a new agreement this spring that could potentially force more conservation or cutbacks —

May 30, 2019 — Beware of changing state water law — A controversial bill that would have drastically changed state water law apparently has been scuttled for this session of the Legislature. Gov. Steve Sisolak said no consensus on the bill could be reached by the time the session ends this week and state water regulators should put together a panel to study the matter prior to the next session, according to The Nevada Independent. Opponents of Assembly Bill 30 said it would have eroded the foundation of our current water law that protects senior water rights holders and the environment as well . . . “We are pleased at AB30’s demise and committed to working with all stakeholders on policy,” Roerink said. “But we will never compromise on the pipeline or any nefarious attempts to undermine the law. No part of the state should be viewed as a water colony or sacrificial lamb for another part of Nevada.”

May 24, 2019 — Governor's office pulls controversial water bill as talks turn to an interim working group — After weeks of tense negotiations punctuated by moments where compromise seemed possible, Gov. Steve Sisolak’s office decided to pull a controversial water bill that opponents had argued would bolster the Las Vegas pipeline. The decision was made after “there [did] not appear to be anything approaching consensus,” according to an email from Sisolak’s senior policy advisor —

May 24, 2019 — Measure feared to boost LV water grab dies in Carson City — Opponents of the great Las Vegas rural “water grab” are celebrating the legislative death of Assembly Bill 30, a measure they say would have provided fertile ground for a power play by the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA), the agency suing for the right to take water from rural Nevada. The bill would have allowed the State Engineer to resort to a so-called 3M plan — Mitigation, Management and Monitoring — in cases where applications for water rights fail to avoid conflicts to the State Engineer’s satisfaction —

May 24, 2019 — Water grab or sound policy? Proposed water legislation creates tempest in Carson City — CARSON CITY — Proposed legislation tackling water rights has environmental activists concerned about the specter of a north-to-south pipeline. Assembly Bill 30 would allow the state engineer’s office to create monitoring, management and mitigation plans — referred to as 3M plans — to deal with conflicts that would arise when an application for water use is in conflict with senior water rights holders. Environmentalists and a Republican lawmaker spoke Thursday outside the Legislative Building, slamming the bill as a water rights grab and precursor to a long-discussed project to pump water from the relatively wetter Northern Nevada to the Las Vegas area. Kyle Roerink, executive director of the Great Basin Water Network, spoke bluntly. “A vote for AB30 is a vote for the pipeline,” he said. — Las Vegas Sun [Print PDF]

May 22, 2019 — OPINION: AB 30 threatens Nevada's National Parks and public lands— Pipeline projects across the nation threaten our public lands and natural resources. Unfortunately, Nevada is not immune to the danger. While some states are battling over energy pipelines, Nevada’s problematic pipeline would instead carry groundwater extracted from the ancient aquifers surrounding Great Basin National Park. In short, a bill currently before the Nevada State Senate (Assembly Bill 30) enables a pipeline proposal that would irreparably damage Great Basin National Park’s water dependent ecosystems where pronghorn, bighorn sheep, mule deer, desert tortoises and countless other creatures call home — Reno Gazette Journal [Print PDF]

May 21, 2019 — Officials celebrate Colorado River drought deal at Hoover Dam — Top water officials from across the Southwest gathered at the Hoover Dam on Monday to celebrate the completion of emergency drought plans for the Colorado River. From an observation deck overlooking the dam, federal regulators and representatives of the seven states that share the river signed the last of the legal documents needed to enact the so-called Drought Contingency Plans —

May 16, 2019 — As legislators weigh changes to water law, litigation and the pipeline loom — All of the water lawyers showed up this week. Some of the developments this week in the ongoing debate over Nevada’s water law were to be expected. Others came as a surprise. Everyone from Southern Nevada Water Authority to environmental groups were caught off guard on Tuesday when Sen. Melanie Scheible, who chairs the Senate Natural Resource Committee, called a surprise work session on Assembly Bill 30, a contentious water bill aimed at resolving conflicts between water users and often viewed as a proxy battle over the water authority’s proposed pipeline —

April 27, 2019 — The Las Vegas rural water grab and endangered species — Review-Journal reporter Henry Brean’s April 13 story, “Rare frog finds home at Springs Preserve in Las Vegas,” portends what the future could look like for the Southern Nevada Water Authority.

It is admirable that water authority officials are working to save rare and imperiled species. But why are they simultaneously pursuing a pipeline project that would cause the decline or extinction of dozens of endemic aquatic species in Eastern Nevada — By Patrick Donnelly, director of the Center for Biological Diversity —— [This letter was posted on the Las Vegas Review Journal's website]

April 25, 2019 — Utilities tighten valves under Colorado River drought plan — One water rights attorney views the recently approved Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan as an opportunity for the municipal bond market. "Now that the agreement’s been signed, everybody’s looking at augmentation,” said Paul Orme, a water rights specialist at the Arizona law firm Salmon Lewis & Weldon who served on a steering committee for the state. “I can certainly see a role for municipal finance in that.” —

April 25, 2019 — A look back at the specifics of a wild, wet and snowy winter in California and the Southwest — Following a pretty dry 2017-18 season, the storms came back with a frenzy this season across the Southwest, helping to propel many places to above-average precipitation

April 17, 2019 — IID sues to halt Colorado River drought plan signed by Trump, says officials ignored Salton Sea— It's not over yet. The Imperial Irrigation District has sued to halt a sweeping Colorado River drought plan that was signed in to law by President Trump on Tuesday. Officials with the sprawling, sparsely populated rural water district in southeastern California say the Salton Sea was wrongly left out of the plan. IID holds among the oldest and largest rights to water from the river

April 15, 2019 — Environmentalists, lawmakers find compromise on pipeline bill — CARSON CITY — Environmental groups have dropped their opposition to a bill they had originally blasted as a way for the state to green-light a controversial plan to pipe water from eastern Nevada to Las Vegas after the bill was amended last week —

April 14, 2019 — High snowpack leaves Nevada drought free with a short-term water supply boost, as rivers continue to face structural issues — When snowpack in the eastern Sierra runs off into the Truckee River each spring, it hits several reservoirs before winding through Reno and flowing into Pyramid Lake. During the past couple of months, so much snow fell on the Truckee Basin — about 185 percent of normal for this time of the year — that more water will enter the reservoirs than there is space to store it — thenevadaindependent

April 08, 2019 — Study aims to better measure evaporation at Lake Powell — Las Vegas: Researchers are working to better measure how much water is lost to evaporation at the nation’s two largest reservoirs as part of effort they say could lead to new water management strategies. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the Desert Research Institute have teamed up to study evaporation at Lake Powell, building upon ongoing research at Lake Mead, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported last week

April 08, 2019 — Congress approves seven-state Colorado River deal addressing drought conditions — The House and Senate both approved a seven-state agreement Monday night designed to reduce use of water from the parched Colorado River by drought-stricken Western states. Sponsored by House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) and Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), the bill gives approval to a deal that was crafted through years of negotiations and designed to manage a limited water supply in the dry but rapidly growing West. It passed by voice vote in both chambers. The Colorado River is a water source for some 40 million people in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming —

April 04, 2019 — The problems with taking water from Eastern Nevada The Southern Nevada Water Authority wants to take billions of gallons of water that doesn’t exist from Eastern Nevada via a pipeline that would cost ratepayers $15 billion. Doing so would devastate wildlife and the people who live there. That’s according to Kyle Roerink, executive director of the Great Basin Water Network, which opposes the pipeline.

“Southern Nevada should [obtain water] legally,” Roerink said while filming Nevada Politics Today. “They shouldn’t steal water from Eastern Nevada and decimate the face of Eastern Nevada as we know it, along with a national park, national wildlife refuges, and the heritage of our ranching and farming culture” —

March 28, 2019 — Here's how Utah's snowpack plays into the Colorado River drought plan —

March 25, 2019 — Congress: Approve the Colorado River Plan as a model for climate resilience — After years of hard work and difficult negotiations, a historic seven-state agreement to conserve Colorado River water is facing its last hurdle: Congress. In the coming days, Congress will begin committee hearings on unusually concise, 139-word legislation that would allow the secretary of the interior to implement the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan, or DCP —

March 19, 2019 — Nevada, Colorado River states sign letter agreeing to Drought Contingency Plan, despite opposition from river's largest user — After years of talks and disputes, the seven states in the Colorado River Basin came together on Tuesday to back a Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) to use less water during shortages. Negotiators for the seven states sent the plan to Congress, which would have to enact legislation to implement the plan, and met a key deadline imposed by federal water managers —

March 18, 2019 — High Snowpack Could Temporarily Stave Off Colorado River Water Shortage — High snowpack in the southern Rocky Mountains this winter will likely stave off a shortage declaration in the Colorado River watershed in 2020, relieving pressure on water managers attempting to navigate future scarcity. New data from U.S. Bureau of Reclamation models show a lessened risk of a key Colorado River reservoir dropping far enough to trigger a first-ever shortage declaration. Snowpack in the Upper Colorado River Basin is at 138 percent of the long-term median, a level not seen in mid-March since 1997 —

March 01, 2019 — At Legislature, pushback from groups over water measures — The first big water fight has broken out at the Legislature. A pair of bills that would essentially increase the power of the state engineer in various forms of water conflicts — such as between senior and junior rights holders or groundwater and surface water users — drew concerns from opponents that the bills would give too much power to the engineer, while state officials said the changes are necessary for water management in the state — Las Vegas Sun [More Coverage — — and —]

February 28, 2019 — Opponents, legislators raise questions that bills could enable Las Vegas pipeline, depart from Western water law — An Assembly committee heard two water bills Wednesday amid criticism from a varied group of water users who worry that the legislation could undermine the historic application of Western water law and enable large-scale projects, including the controversial Las Vegas pipeline. The Southern Nevada Water Authority, which is pushing the project, testified neutral on the bill —

February 26, 2019 — OPINION: Don't change water laws to benefit the few — By Abby Johnson: A small but powerful cluster wants big changes to Nevada water law this legislative session. A hearing this week will shine a light on the dangerous proposals pitching “modernizations” and “fixes” for an old system known as prior appropriation. Sounds harmless, right? Don’t let the friendly language fool you —

January 31, 2019 — Arizona Joins Colorado River Drought Plan, a Move That Could Help Protect California Drinking Water — Arizona will join a drought plan for the Colorado River, narrowly meeting a federal deadline that threatened to blow up a compromise years in the making for the seven states that draw water from the constrained river. The Arizona House and Senate overwhelmingly supported the legislation and Gov. Doug Ducey promptly signed it, delivering the final puzzle piece needed to avoid potentially more severe cutbacks imposed by the federal government — AP

January 30, 2019 [Opinion] Tough Times Along the Colorado River — In the face of a prolonged drought, the federal government could step in and reduce water use in the Southwest — NY

January 27, 2019 — The Colorado River equation, the drought plan and why things have stopped adding up — he National Park Service is preparing for the worst. In November, the federal agency released its plan for how to operate Lake Mead marinas and launch ramps if the elevation of the Colorado River reservoir — the poster-child for prolonged drought in the Southwest — continues to decline because of overuse and climate change. To the passerby visiting Lake Mead, it has been clear for some time that things on the Colorado River are not working the way they were intended to. Signs warn of closures to boat launches. Underwater ghost towns are now visible because of low lake levels. From the top of the Hoover Dam, visitors see a bathtub ring, a chalk-colored display of how far the waterline has dropped —

January 27, 2019 — [Salt Lake] Tribune editorial: If we build Powell pipeline, will the water come? — The Colorado River is not meeting its obligations. Its Lake Powell bank account is in danger of running dry. A 97-year-old agreement demands that the river deliver 5.2 trillion gallons of water to seven states and Mexico each year. That isn’t happening, and now — in the age of climate change — the chance of ever meeting that demand is fading —

January 20, 2019 — COMMENTARY: Gov. Steve Sisolak has an opportunity on state water policy — The 2018 election cycle was unlike any other for water politics in Nevada. The top candidates for governor wisely denounced the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s plan to build a 300-mile, $15.5 billion pipeline to siphon 58 billion gallons of water annually from the heart of the Great Basin in rural eastern Nevada to Las Vegas. The announcements — from Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak and his opponent, Republican Adam Laxalt — signified a watershed moment in Nevada politics — By Kyle Roerink, Executive Director, Great Basin Water Network — Las Vegas Review Journal

January 20, 2019 — Lake Powell could become a ‘dead pool’ as climate change, political wars and unabated growth drain its waters — Ever since the Colorado River began filling Utah’s Glen Canyon and its countless side canyons in 1963, conservationists have been calling for emptying the lake that now supports a recreation economy and power generation. Climate change, unbridled development and Western water politics are conspiring to gradually grant this wish —

Lake Mead / Image via Shutterstock January 14, 2019 — Things Are Getting Crazy on the Colorado River — The Colorado River may not look like it, but it’s one of the world’s largest banks. The river is not only the source of much of the American West’s economic productivity – San Diego, Phoenix and Denver would hardly exist without it – but its water is now the central commodity in a complex accounting system used by major farmers and entire states —

January 11, 2019 — Nevada’s state engineer retires, leaving court battles to successor — For a guy with a vague job title, State Engineer Jason King has been involved in some pretty important decisions for Nevada. During his eight years as the state’s top water regulator, he banned new residential wells in Pahrump, blocked water development for the long-stalled Coyote Springs master-planned community and twice ruled on controversial plans to pipe groundwater to Las Vegas from eastern Nevada — Las Vegas Review Journal

2019 — Former Titus Aide Hired To Fight Las Vegas Water Pipeline Plan — The Great Basin Water Network has hired a former aide to Rep. Dina Titus to help lead its fight against Las Vegas’ efforts to tap rural Nevada groundwater. The Reno-based environmental group recently named Kyle Roerink as its executive director, and he becomes the organization’s first paid staffer. Roerink said he plans to spend 2019 making the public and lawmakers aware of the dollar and environmental costs of the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s planned pipeline from eastern Nevada to Las Vegas — [11.27]

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