Drought

July 12, 2014--Lake Mead watch: At lowest levels since 1937 (High Country News)

For almost two decades, the white band of mineral deposits circling Arizona’s Lake Mead like a bathtub ring, has grown steadily taller, a sign that America’s largest manmade water source is in deep trouble. This week it fell to its lowest level since 1937, when Hoover Dam was completed and the reservoir filled.


July 8, 2014--Lake Mead edges closer to historic low level, raising river concerns (Rocky Mountain PBS)

Lake Mead. The white ring "around the tub" shows how much elevation the surface of the lake has lost. Lake Mead, the vast reservoir behind historic Hoover Dam outside Las Vegas, is flirting with historic low levels. And that doesn’t bode well for any of the seven states (or Mexico) that share Colorado River water.


July 6, 2014--Water transfers: Wrong and wasteful? (Appeal Democrat)

Year after year, Sacramento Valley groundwater is pumped out to replace surface water being sent south. It's been called an amoral practice and an unnecessary strain on a resource that is being depleted. It's said the impacts are being swept under the rug so big business agriculture in the south can stay afloat during the drought.


July 6, 2014--Losing the race to stop Las Vegas from running totally dry (Independent)

As with many things in Sin City, the apparently endless supply of water is an illusion. America's most decadent destination has been engaged in a potentially catastrophic gamble with nature, and now, 14 years into a drought, it is on the verge of losing it all. The crisis stems from Vegas's reliance on Lake Mead, America's largest reservoir, created by the Hoover Dam in 1936.


July 6, 2014--Lake Mead drains to record low as Western drought deepens (Circle of Blue)

Lake Mead — America’s largest reservoir, Las Vegas’ main water source, and an important indicator for water supplies in the Southwest — will fall this week to its lowest level since 1937 when the manmade lake was first being filled, according to forecasts from the federal Bureau of Reclamation.


July 3, 2014--Climate-driven wildfires consume Forest Service budget (Bloomberg)

Wildfires blamed in part on climate change are consuming timber in the U.S. West at such a furious pace that half the Forest Service’s budget is now spent fighting them -- up from 21 percent in 2000. Add in the firefighting of other agencies, as well as state governments, and the bill to taxpayers runs in the billions of dollars each year.


July 3, 2014--Drought disaster for S.W. Colorado (Durango Herald)

Severe drought conditions spurred the U.S. Department of Agriculture to issue disaster designations for 10 counties throughout Southwest Colorado and San Luis Valley, including La Plata, Montezuma and San Juan counties. The designations mean that local farmers and ranchers will be eligible for financial assistance from the Farm Service Agency.


California Could Save Up to 14 Million Acre-Feet of Water

According to a new analysis released by the Pacific Institute and the Natural Resources Defense Council, California could be saving up to 14 million acre-feet of untapped water--providing more than the amount of water used in all of California’s cities in one year--with an aggressive statewide effort to use water-saving practices, reuse water, and capture lost stormwater. “Our current approach to water use is unsustainable, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t enough water to meet our needs,” said Kate Poole, NRDC senior attorney with the water program. “At a time when every drop counts, we need to employ sensible and cost-effective 21st century solutions that will help us reduce uses today while promising new, resilient supplies for cities and farms tomorrow.” “As climate change brings more extreme weather, including droughts, ramping up forward-thinking solutions now will help us be more resilient,” said Peter Gleick (pictured right), president of the Pacific Institute.


Hydropower Production Threatened

According to a February memorandum from the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB), both Lake Powell (of the Upper Colorado Basin) and Lake Mead (of the Lower Colorado Basin) could soon become too low to operate their hydropower plants if conditions don't improve. At the May 14th Southwest Basin Roundtable (SBR) meeting in Cortez, John McClow, Commissioner on the Upper Colorado River Commission, provided an overview of this developing situation on the Colorado River. Water shortages from a persistent drought in the Southwest have left both lakes dangerously low, threatening electric supplies that are relied on by 5.8 million customers.


June 30, 2014--Water stress: No big deal? (Water Online)

What do you want first, the good news or the bad news? A new study of more than 200 global cities published in the journal Global Environmental Change provided both.


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