Arizona Water Issues

 

 

Arizona water issues impact all residents of the state... and surrounding states. Arizona's water supply is of vital importance.

Water not only sustains life, it makes possible an enjoyable quality of life as it sustains the regional economy. The strategic analysis report presented here speaks to these issues.

 

 

U.S., Mexico: The Decline of the Colorado River

 

A ring of bleached sandstone caused by low water levels during a six-year drought surrounds Lake Powell, a Colorado River reservoir near Page, ArizonaDavid McNew/Getty Images

 

Summary

An amendment to a standing water treaty between the United States and Mexico has received publicity over the past six months as an example of progress in water sharing agreements. But the amendment, called Minute 319, is simply a glimpse into ongoing mismanagement of the Colorado River on the U.S. side of the border. Over-allocation of the river's waters 90 years ago combined with increasing populations and economic growth in the river basin have created circumstances in which conservation efforts -- no matter how organized -- could be too little to overcome the projected water deficit that the Colorado River Basin will face in the next 20 years.

Analysis

In 1922, the seven U.S. states in the Colorado River Basin established a compact to distribute the resources of the river. A border between the Upper and Lower basins was defined at Lees Ferry, Ariz. The Upper Basin (Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico) was allocated 9.25 billion cubic meters a year, and the Lower Basin (Arizona, California and Nevada) was allotted 10.45 billion cubic meters. Mexico was allowed an unspecified amount, which in 1944 was defined as 1.85 billion cubic meters a year. The Upper and Lower basins -- managed as separate organizations under the supervision of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation -- divided their allocated water among the states in their jurisdictions. Numerous disputes arose, especially in the Lower Basin, regarding proper division of the water resources. But the use of (and disputes over) the Colorado River began long before these treaties.

Map - Colorado River Basin

As the United States' territory expanded to the west, the Colorado River briefly was considered a portal to the isolated frontier of the southwestern United States, since it was often cheaper to take a longer path via water to transport goods and people in the early 19th century. There was a short-lived effort to develop the Colorado River as the "Mississippi of the West." While places like Yuma, Ariz., became military and trading outposts, the geography and erratic flow of the Colorado made the river ultimately unsuitable for mass transportation. Navigating the river often required maneuvering around exposed sand banks and through shallow waters. The advent of the railroad ended the need for river transport in the region. Shortly thereafter, large and ambitious management projects, including the Hoover Dam, became the river's main purpose.

Irrigation along the river started expanding in the second half of the 19th century, and agriculture still consumes more water from the Colorado than any other sector. Large-scale manipulation of the river began in the early 20th century, and now there are more than 20 major dams along the Colorado River, along with reservoirs such as Lake Powell and Lake Mead, and large canals that bring water to areas of the Imperial and Coachella valleys in southern California for irrigation and municipal supplies. User priority on the Colorado River is determined by the first "useful purposing" of the water. For example, the irrigated agriculture in California has priority over some municipal water supplies for Phoenix, Ariz.

Inadequate Supply and Increasing Demand

When the original total allocation of the river was set in the 1920s, it was far above regional consumption. But it was also more than the river could supply in the long term. The river was divided based on an estimated annual flow of roughly 21 billion cubic meters per year. More recent studies have indicated that the 20th century, and especially the 1920s, was a time of above-normal flows. These studies indicate that the long-term average of flow is closer to 18 billion cubic meters, with yearly flows ranging anywhere from roughly 6 billion cubic meters to nearly 25 billion cubic meters. As utilization has increased, the deficit between flow and allocation has become more apparent.

Total allocations of river resources for the Upper and Lower basins and Mexico plus water lost to evaporation adds up to more than 21 billion cubic meters per year. Currently, the Upper Basin does not use the full portion of its allocation, and large reservoirs along the river can help meet the demand of the Lower Basin. Populations in the region are expected to increase; in some states, the population could double by 2030. A study released at the end of 2012 by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation predicted a possible shortage of 3 billion cubic meters by 2035.

The Colorado River provides water for irrigation of roughly 15 percent of the crops in the United States, including vegetables, fruits, cotton, alfalfa and hay. It also provides municipal water supplies for large cities, such as Phoenix, Tucson, Los Angeles, San Diego and Las Vegas, accounting for more than half of the water supply in many of these areas. Minute 319, signed in November 2012, gives Mexico a small amount of additional water in an attempt to restore the delta region. However, the macroeconomic impact on Mexico is minimal, since agriculture accounts for the majority of the river's use in Mexico but only about 3 percent of the gross domestic product of the Baja Norte province.

There is an imbalance of power along the international border. The United States controls the headwaters of the Colorado River and also has a greater macroeconomic interest in maintaining the supply of water from the river. This can make individual amendments of the 1944 Treaty somewhat misleading. Because of the erratic nature of the river, the treaty effectively promises more water than the river can provide each year. Cooperation in conservation efforts and in finding alternative water sources on the U.S. side of the border, not treaty amendments, will become increasingly important as regional water use increases over the coming decades.

Conservation Efforts Along the Colorado

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation oversees the whole river, but the management of each basin is separate. Additionally, within each basin, there are separate state management agencies and, within each state, separate regional management agencies. Given the number of participants, reaching agreements on the best method of conservation or the best alternative source of water is difficult. There are ongoing efforts at conservation, including lining canals to reduce seepage and programs to limit municipal water use. However, there is no basin-wide coordination. In a 2012 report, the Bureau of Reclamation compiled a list of suggested projects but stopped short of recommending a course of action.

A similar report released in 2008 listed 12 general options including desalinization, vegetation management (elimination of water-intensive or invasive plants), water reuse, reduced use by power plants and joint management through water banking (water is stored either in reservoirs or in underground aquifers to use when needed). Various sources of water imports from other river basins or even icebergs are proposed as options, as is weather modification by seeding clouds in the Upper Basin. Implementation of all these options would result in an extra 5 billion cubic meters of water a year at most, which could erase the predicted deficit. However, this amount is unlikely, as it assumes maximum output from each technique and also assumes the implementation of all proposed methods, many of which are controversial either politically or environmentally and some of which are economically unviable. Additionally, many of the methods would take years to fully implement and produce their maximum capacity. Even then, a more reasonable estimate of conservation capacity would likely be closer to 1 billion-2 billion cubic meters, which would fall short of the projected deficit in 2035.

The Potential for New Disputes

Conflict over water can arise when there are competing interests for limited resources. This is seen throughout the world with rivers that traverse borders in places like Central Asia and North Africa. For the Colorado River, the U.S.-Mexico border is likely less relevant to the competition for the river's resources than the artificial border drawn at Lees Ferry.

Aside from growing populations, increased energy production from unconventional hydrocarbon sources in the Upper Basin has the potential to increase consumption. While this amount will likely be small compared to overall allocations, it emphasizes the value of water to the Upper Basin. Real or perceived threats to the Upper Basin's surplus of water could be seen as threats to economic growth in the region. At the same time, further water shortages could limit the potential for economic growth in the Lower Basin -- a situation that would only be exacerbated by growing populations.

While necessary, conservation efforts and the search for alternative sources likely will not be able to make up for the predicted shortage. Amendments to the original treaty typically have been issued to address symptomatic problems. However, the core problem remains: More water is promised to river users than is available on average. While this problem has not come to a head yet, there may come a time when regional growth overtakes conservation efforts. It is then that renegotiation of the treaty with a more realistic view of the river's volume will become necessary. Any renegotiation will be filled with conflict, but most of that likely will be contained in the United States



"U.S., Mexico: The Decline of the Colorado River is republished with permission of Stratfor."

 

 

Local Business

 

Arizona Water Issues News and Information

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September 11, 2014

Arizona Daily Independent

 

House stops EPA water grab with Overreach Protection Act

 

 

The U.S. House voted on H.R. 5078, the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act, on Tuesday. H.R. 5078 successfully passed the House by a bipartisan vote of 262-152. 

The bill prevents the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers from expanding their regulatory jurisdiction over ponds, streams, and ditches currently regulated by the states

Read more

 

 

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September 10, 2014

ABC News

 

House Votes to Block EPA Water Rules

 

The Republican-controlled House on Tuesday approved a bill to block the Obama administration from implementing a rule that asserts regulatory authority over many of the nation's streams and wetlands — an action that critics call a classic Washington overreach.

The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a rule that it says will clarify which streams and waterways are shielded from development under the Clean Water Act, an issue that remains in dispute even after two U.S. Supreme Court rulings.

Agriculture groups and farm-state politicians call the proposed rule a power grab that would allow the government to dictate what farmers can do on their own land

Read more

 

 

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August 28, 2014

Department of the Interior

 

Interior, USDA Partnership Protects and Restores Important Central Arizona Watershed

 

 

Restoration of C.C. Cragin Reservoir provides next step in Western Watershed Enhancement Partnership

 

PAYSON, AZ – Interior Deputy Secretary Michael Connor and Agriculture Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment Robert Bonnie joined state, local and private partners today to mark the signing of a new joint watershed restoration agreement for C.C. Cragin Reservoir in Central Arizona. The agreement is a pilot project of the Western Watershed Enhancement Partnership, aimed at reducing the risks of costly wildfires and their impact on western watersheds as part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan.

"This agreement reflects our commitment to work with state and local partners in restoring and improving the health and resiliency of priority watersheds in Central Arizona," Deputy Secretary Connor said. "Restoration activities and proactive planning help minimize the impacts of the hotter and longer wildfire seasons on western reservoirs and other critical infrastructure, and help water managers avoid costly repairs in the future."

"USDA and the Obama Administration are working with partners across the country to restore the health of our forests and watersheds across public and private lands," Under Secretary Bonnie said. "Given longer fire seasons and increased fuel loads in our forests, increasing the pace and scale of forest restoration is critical to reducing the threat of catastrophic fire and protecting watersheds."

This new partnership joins the Salt River Project, National Forest Foundation, City of Payson, Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Forest Service in collaborative efforts to assess and implement treatments that protect the municipal water supply and minimize wildfire and flood risks. Potential projects include forest thinning, prescribed fire, tree planting, riparian vegetation improvements, stream, spring and channel restoration and other forest and watershed health improvements on National Forest System lands within the area.

The partners will develop a collaborative five-year action plan specifying the treatment zones and planned restoration and protection activities, as well as accomplishment goals and funding commitments.

Deputy Secretary Connor and Under Secretary Bonnie were joined by Payson Mayor Kenny Evans, Salt River Project Deputy General Manager John Sullivan and National Forest Foundation's Colorado Program Director Marcus Selig.

Since 2002, three large fires have threatened the watersheds that contribute to C.C. Cragin Reservoir, burning more than 10,000 acres. The location of these fires was of great concern due to their potential to quickly progress through a large part of the watersheds. There have been several small fires near C.C. Cragin Reservoir itself, including one last year that burned 40 acres and one this year burning close to ten acres.

The Western Watershed Enhancement Partnership was formally established in July 2013 by Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. Its goal is to restore forest and watershed health, and proactively plan for post-wildfire responses to protect municipal and agricultural water supplies. Flows of sediment, debris and ash into streams and rivers after wildfires can damage water quality and often require costly emergency measures at treatment plants to repair damage to habitat, reservoirs and facilities. Restoration projects aim to maintain reliable, clean and sustainable water supplies in the West by reducing wildfire risk through forest thinning, prescribed fire and other forest health treatments, minimizing post-wildfire erosion and sedimentation and restoring areas that are currently recovering from past wildfires through tree planting and other habitat improvements.

Interior and USDA are working with state and local stakeholders on five additional pilots across the West, including:

● Colorado-Big Thompson Headwaters in Colorado;
● Boise River Reservoir Partnership in Idaho;
● Reclamation Mid-Pacific Region in California;
● Yakima Basin in Washington State; and
● Hungry Horse Reservoir/Flathead River in Montana.

C.C. Cragin Dam and Reservoir, part of the Salt River Project since 2005 when the Arizona Water Settlements Act was implemented, is part of a system of reservoirs in two watersheds encompassing 8.4 million acres. It impounds water from East Clear Creek, a tributary to Clear Creek and the Little Colorado River. Virtually all of the land surrounding the reservoir is owned by the USDA Forest Service. The Reservoir and Dam are owned by Reclamation, but operated by the Salt River Project.

 

 

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August 13, 2014

Bureau of Reclamation

 

2015 Lake Powell Water Release to Lake Mead Will Increase

 

BOULDER CITY, Nev. – Based on the August 24-Month Study, which is the Bureau of Reclamation’s monthly operational study, the water release from Lake Powell to Lake Mead for water year 2015 will be 8.23 million acre-feet (maf). This is an increase from the 2014 release of 7.48 maf, which was the lowest release since Lake Powell filled in the 1960s.

Based on the August 24-Month Study, Lake Mead will operate under normal conditions in calendar year 2015, with water users in the Lower Colorado River Basin and Mexico receiving their full water orders.

The August 24-Month Study projections are used in accordance with the 2007 Colorado River Interim Guidelines for Lower Basin Shortages and Coordinated Operations for Lake Powell and Lake Mead (2007 Interim Guidelines) to determine the amount of water released from Lake Powell to Lake Mead for each water year (October 1 to September 30).

The 2007 Interim Guidelines allow water managers to plan ahead for varying Colorado River reservoir levels, with a greater degree of certainty about annual water deliveries. The 2007 Interim Guidelines also define the reservoir levels that would trigger delivery shortages and specify the reduced delivery amounts in the Lower Colorado River Basin.

The Upper Colorado River Basin runoff in 2014 was 94% of average, compared to only 47% in 2013 and 45% in 2012. Despite this near-average runoff, Lake Mead is currently at elevation 1,080 feet, its lowest elevation since the lake filled in the 1930s, due to the 15-year drought that began in 2000.

Under the 2007 Interim Guidelines, another review of the conditions at Lake Powell and Lake Mead will occur in April 2015. Based on an analysis of those projections in the April 24-Month Study, Lake Powell’s water releases could be increased to 9.0 maf for water year 2015.

Despite a greater release of 8.23 maf from Lake Powell, the elevation of Lake Mead is projected to continue to decrease in 2015. Currently the longer-term projections from Reclamation’s hydrologic models show the first chance of reduced water deliveries in the Lower Basin in 2016. These updated projections will be available later in August.

The August 24-Month Study was published on August 13 and is available on the Reclamation website for the Lower Colorado Region at http://www.usbr.gov/lc/region/g4000/24mo/index.html.

 

 

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July 31, 2014

ADEQ

 

National Association of Clean Water Administrators Elect ADEQ’s Fulton as President for the Next Year

 

 

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June 26, 2014

Arizona Daily Independent

 

Forest Service, Reclamation refuse to attend “Soak Up Water Authority” hearing

 

In the West, water is power, and the Obama administration used its power reject an invitation to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (U.S. Forest Service) and Bureau of Reclamation by the House Natural Resources Subcommittee Water and Power to testify and answer questions regarding newly proposed federal regulations. The Committee held a oversight hearing on “New Federal Schemes to Soak Up Water Authority: Impacts on States, Water Users, Recreation, and Job’s.” 

The hearing examined recent actions by the Obama Administration to turn over longstanding water rights and eliminate multiple land and water uses on and off federal lands. 

The proposed “Waters of the U.S.” regulation and the U.S. Forest Service’s Groundwater Directive are additional measures proposed by the...

Read more

 

 

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June 24, 2014

Arizona Daily Sun

 

Powell pipeline partners balking

 

 

Local government officials are at a turning point in their pipe dream of pumping water from Lake Powell to communities across northern Arizona.

Coconino County and its cities, together with the region’s tribal governments involved in the partnership, must come up with $1.95 million if they want to advance the study enough to know how much the pipeline would cost. All that would be left at that point would be the environmental impact study, which is the most costly portion

Read more

 

 

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June 22, 2014

SoFA Staff

 

Fears of EPA ‘land grab’ create groundswell against water rule

 

An article recently published in The Hill's online edition examines the extensive Congressional opposition to the new rule proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency, known as the “Waters of the United States” rule.

Environmental groups and other Progressive supporters of the proposed new rule are said to be gearing up to advocate for adoption of the rule following the deadline for comments of October 20, 2014.

Advocates and opponents of the proposed rule urge citizens to submit comments.

Excerpt from The Hill article...

Lawmakers are up in arms over an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposal that they fear could give federal officials expansive new powers over private property and farmland.

The EPA is seeking to redefine what bodies of water fall under the agency’s jurisdiction for controlling pollution. The scope of the final Clean Water Act (CWA) rule is of critical importance, as any area covered would require a federal permit for certain activities.

The rule is facing a groundswell of opposition from lawmakers, who fear the EPA is engaged in a “land grab” that could stop farmers and others from building fences, digging ditches or draining ponds.

More than 260 lawmakers, spanning both chambers and parties, have come out against the EPA’s action.

Read more

 

 

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June 15, 2014

Verde Independent

 

Water leaders discuss unmet needs

 

Water experts at northern Arizona's annual Legislative Water Briefing Thursday in Prescott Valley discussed the issues surrounding efforts to provide enough water for residents. Numerous state, tribal, county and municipal officials attended...

 

...Coconino Plateau communities are seriously considering their own Colorado River pipeline, but they don't know how they will pay for the next phase of a detailed Bureau of Reclamation appraisal study, let alone a pipeline. Money for water infrastructure is a major problem across the region, said Coconino County Supervisor Mandy Metzger, chair of the Coconino Plateau Water Advisory Council.

Read more

 

 

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June 14, 2014

SoFA Staff

 

The EPA Extended the Public Comment Period for the Waters of the U.S. Proposed Rule 

 

Congressman Schweikert is greatly concerned about the proposed redefinition of Waters of the U.S. by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The Congressman urges citizens to submit comments on the proposed rule...

Congressman Schweikert Talks EPA Water Rule (Video).

 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) just announced an extension of the public comment period from the original deadline of July 21, 2014 to the new deadline of October 20, 2014. 

In an email to congressional staff, the EPA writes that:

"This extension is in response to numerous requests received by the agencies. The agencies are continuing to meet with representatives of States and local governments, stakeholders, and elected officials during the comment period."

When I look at the southwest and how we manage our water, I see a very different view than what's being portrayed in the current rule. This rule goes beyond the spirit of the Clean Water Act and is an incredible overreach of power.

 

Join the conversation and share your comments using one of the methods listed below:

The proposed rule is identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0880.

Federal e-Rulemaking Portal 

Follow the instructions for making comments

· Email: ow-docket@epa.gov. Include EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0880 in the subject line of the message.

· Mail: Send the original and three copies of comments to: Water Docket, Environmental Protection Agency, Mail Code 2822T, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20460, Attention: Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0880.

Hand Delivery/Courier: Deliver comments to EPA Docket Center, EPA West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20460, Attention Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2011-0880. Such deliveries are accepted only during the Docket's normal hours of operation, which are 8:30 a.m.. to 4:30 p.m.., Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. Special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information. The telephone number for the Water Docket is 202-566-2426.

 

 

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June 13, 2014

Department of the Interior

 

Interior Announces Nearly $20 Million in WaterSMART Funding for Water and Energy Efficiency Projects and River Basin Studies at Western Governors’ Annual Meeting

 

Funding will help communities in West define options for meeting future water demands, conserve water in face of climate change, and increase the use of renewable energy

 

 

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May 29, 2014

Arizona Daily Sun

 

Flagstaff City Council puts off Powell pipeline study

 

Flagstaff City Council is hedging its bets on paying more than $800,000 for its share of a study of a water pipeline from the Colorado River to Flagstaff and the Navajo/Hopi nations. On Tuesday, it put off a decision on continued funding for the study until July.

City Water Resources Manager Erin Young told Council that a lack of federal funding has put the study in limbo.

The pipeline would bring much-needed water to the western half of the Navajo and Hopi nations. Those areas have little water and what water is available is often contaminated by uranium, natural gas and arsenic.

Read more

 

 

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May 16, 2014

Western Governors' Association

 

WGA appeals 'water transfers ruling" that would limit states' rights, add expense to Western water

 

The West would be uninhabitable if not for engineering marvels that bring water from near and far to agricultural and urban areas. But a recent court ruling would create unneeded regulatory hurdles that would make these critical water transfers difficult to accomplish and prohibitively expensive.

That's why the Western Governors’ Association (WGA) and the Western States Water Council are urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to appeal a recent decision by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York that vacated and remanded the “water transfers rule.”

The rule clarifies that water transfers are not subject to National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit requirements under Section 402 of the Clean Water Act (CWA).

A letter sent on May 12 to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, co-signed by WGA Executive Director Jim Ogsbury and WSWC Executive Director Tony Willardson, points out that water transfers historically have not been subject to the NPDES Program and the federal government has deferred to the states’ control of water allocation and administration within their borders. (Download and read the letter.)

The CWA also does not contain a clear statement that it intended the NPDES Program to govern transfers. To the contrary, Section 101(g) expressly states that the CWA will not supersede or abrogate the rights of states to allocate water quantities within their jurisdiction, and that water rights established by state law shall be protected.

"Western states rely on thousands of intrastate and regional transfers to move billions of gallons of water to satisfy domestic, agricultural and industrial needs," said WGA Executive Director Jim Ogsbury. "Requiring NPDES permits for these transfers will be prohibitively expensive and could curtail certain transfers, with little if any water quality benefits."

In addition, the letter notes that such a requirement also will increase the uncertainty that already exists regarding the West’s water supplies by hindering the states’ ability to provide water to their citizens and economies, as well as plan for droughts, extreme events and growing water demands.

Read WGA's report: Water Transfers in the West.

Read WGA's 2014 Policy Resolution on Water Quality.

The ruling in question: Catskill Mountains Chapter of Trout Unlimited, Inc. v. EPA, 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 42535 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 28, 2014)

 

 

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May 15, 2014

Fox News

 

Arizona town near Grand Canyon imposes severe water restrictions amid drought

 

WILLIAMS, Ariz. – In the northern Arizona city of Williams, restaurant patrons don't automatically get a glass of water anymore. Residents caught watering lawns or washing cars with potable water can be fined. Businesses are hauling water from outside town to fill swimming pools, and building permits have been put on hold because there isn't enough water to accommodate development.

Officials in the community about 60 miles from the Grand Canyon's South Rim have clamped down on water use and declared a crisis amid a drought that is quickly drying up nearby reservoirs and forcing the city to pump its only two wells to capacity.

The situation offers a glimpse at how cities across the West are coping with a drought that has left them thirsting...

Read more

 

 

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May 13, 2014

U.S. Geological Survey

 

Modeling Predicts Excessive Nitrate and Arsenic in Southwestern U.S. Aquifers

 

Modeling results from the U.S. Geological Survey indicate that groundwater in basin-fill aquifers (sediment-filled valleys) beneath about 2.4 percent of the area in the southwestern U.S. may equal or exceed the drinking-water standard for nitrate, and groundwater beneath about 43 percent of the area may equal or exceed the standard for arsenic. These aquifers are an important resource, providing about 40 percent of the water used in that region. While several compounds occur in groundwater from these aquifers, nitrate and arsenic are among those most frequently found to exceed drinking-water standards established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for protection of human health.

While public water supplies are treated to ensure that water reaching the tap of households meets federal requirements, there are no such requirements for private supplies. The results highlight the importance of private well owners testing and potentially treating their water. All of the contaminants identified in the aquifers can be reduced or eliminated through a variety of treatments.

"The alluvial basins of the American Southwest can provide a valuable water resource to growing populations who often lack other sources of fresh water," said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. "However, the results of this modeling study raise a cautionary flag for private well owners of the need to test water to ensure its safety and to take action to remediate any contamination that is found."

Areas where nitrate concentrations are predicted to equal or exceed the EPA drinking-water standard (10 milligrams per liter as nitrogen) occur in several basins in central Arizona near Phoenix; the southern part of California’s Central Valley; as well as several basins near Los Angeles along the southern coast; and the San Luis Valley of south-central Colorado.

Much of the area where arsenic concentrations are predicted to equal or exceed the drinking-water standard (10 micrograms per liter) is within several basins in parts of southwestern Arizona, southeastern California, western Nevada, and western Utah. Most of the area with predicted high arsenic concentrations is in sparsely populated rangeland, whereas most of the area with predicted high nitrate concentrations occurs where agricultural or urban communities are located.

The USGS National Water-Quality Assessment Program study, which included parts of Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah, applied a statistical modeling approach that extrapolates nitrate and arsenic occurrence from areas where concentrations are known, to other areas where such data are unavailable. The extrapolation is based on nitrate and arsenic analyses from well-water samples collected from 1980 to 2010, and a wide variety of hydrologic, geologic, climatic, soil, land use, water use, agricultural, and biotic conditions that local-scale geochemical studies have found to be relevant to nitrate or arsenic occurrence in groundwater.

Results from this study are available online.

 

 

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May 11, 2014

azcentral

 

We have more rights than water to fill them

 

Water experts: Solve these water issues now before we have a real problem

 

The economic and social disruption caused by the extreme drought in California has prompted increasing questions about the water future of the West.

In Arizona, water planners continue to analyze future supply and demand. Beginning to think about a problem before it's a big problem can ensure solutions to tackle shortages are in place before they arrive. Because earlier generations of Arizonans foresaw similar crisis and opportunities, the state as a whole has sufficient water supplies to meet current demands.

Read more

 

 

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May 4, 2014

ADI News Services

 

EPA Asked To Withdraw ‘Waters Of The United States’ Definition

 

Arizona congressmen David Schweikert, and Paul Gosar joined House colleagues in a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Department of the Army Secretary John McHugh asking the proposed draft rule defining ‘waters of the United States’ be withdrawn and returned for further analysis, revision.

On March 25, 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) released a proposed rule that would assert Clean Water Act (CWA) jurisdiction over nearly all areas with any hydrologic connection to downstream navigable waters, including man-made conveyances such as ditches. Contrary to claims made by the EPA and USACE, this would directly contradict prior U.S. Supreme Court decisions, which imposed limits on the extent of federal CWA authority.

Although the agencies have maintained that the rule is narrow and clarifies CWA jurisdiction, it in fact aggressively expands federal authority under the CWA while bypassing Congress and creating unnecessary ambiguity, according to critics. Moreover, opponents say the rule is based on incomplete scientific and economic analyses.

Read more

 

 

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May 3, 2014

Climate Central

 

Dam It: Feds Say U.S. Can Double Hydropower

 

The Grand Canyon was once targeted as a major dam site by the federal government, a project eventually scuttled after widespread protest. Nobody is revisiting the idea of a dam there, but a new U.S. Department of Energy report shows that the Grand Canyon and other major gorges and rivers across the U.S. may be ideal for hydropower development.

The DOE study suggests America’s rivers are troves of vast untapped hydropower potential and developing many of them could help combat climate change by using renewable energy to reduce reliance on coal-fired power plants that emit climate-changing greenhouse gases.

Read more

 

 

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April 11, 2014

Phys.org

 

Determining the sustainability of water, agriculture in Arizona

 

Central Arizona has a rich history of agriculture, contributing $9.2 billion toward the state's economy. That water has near-absolute power in determining the region's fate is not an over-reaching assumption. With increasing urban development and an uncertain climate, is this industry doomed or can it be sustained?

Researchers at Arizona State University have been studying the issue, talking to farmers about how to keep their industry on a sustainable path. They argue that a mutually inclusive and ongoing conversation among the agricultural community, urban residents,
water agencies and policymakers is necessary if the region would like to maintain an agrarian footprint in the future.

Read more

 

 

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March 28, 2014

DOI

 

United States and Mexico Celebrate Partnership for Historic Release of Colorado River Water to Delta, Benefitting Both Nations

 

BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO AND YUMA, AZ – Deputy Secretary of the Interior Michael L. Connor and Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Water and Science Anne Castle today joined other senior officials of the United States and Mexico to celebrate a historic first-time intentional release of water—called a “pulse flow”—from Morelos Dam near the U.S.-Mexico border. The water release—which began on March 23, reaches its peak today and will continue until mid-May— is part of a broad package of joint cooperative treaty actions to ensure the Colorado River system is able to continue to meet the needs of both nations.

“The spirit of cooperation and commitment to protect and preserve the Colorado River is exemplary, and these partnerships will inspire future generations to take on and solve complex challenges involving finite resources,” said Deputy Secretary Connor, emphasizing the importance of this experimental flow. “This is the first time in history that water has flowed below Morelos Dam to aid in the long-term restoration of the river, and I want to thank the Mexican and U.S. Sections of the International Boundary and Water Commission, Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation, the Colorado River basin states, and all the U.S. and Mexican organizations involved in making today’s event happen. ”

The United States and Mexico agreed to the water release as a result of joint efforts and investments in water conservation projects in accordance with “Minute 319,” a 2012 bi-national agreement adopted under the 1944 U.S.-Mexico Treaty framework for sharing the Colorado River water. All Lower Colorado River Basin users in theUnited States. and Mexico will continue to receive their full allocations of Colorado River water in 2014.

The pulse flow, which began on Sunday with the lifting of one gate at Morelos Dam, will run for eight weeks. More control gates will open as the dam releases water at varying amounts and speeds toward the delta, its estuary and the Sea of Cortez. A volume of 105,392 acre-feet of water will flow down the river’s channel to help regenerate native cottonwood and willow habitat. The experimental flow also is providing the scientific community the opportunity to gather valuable data from collaborative monitoring activities; these data will inform both countries in developing future management actions regarding water flows in the delta. Scientists from Interior's U.S. Geological Survey are playing a key role measuring the hydrologic and ecosystem response to the pulse flow.

Representatives of federal, state and conservation organizations from the United States and Mexico have worked cooperatively since Minute 319 was signed in 2012 to establish a delivery plan for the timing and amounts of water releases from Hoover Dam for the pulse flow.
“The pulse flow now underway is the first major step in a series of anticipated actions and cooperative measures outlined between our two countries,” said Assistant Secretary Castle. “Today's event celebrates our shared vision to work together as partners to address the resources of the Colorado River and its parched Delta.”

Connor and Castle celebrated with other dignitaries including: Director General for North America from the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ana Luisa Fajer; Director General of Mexico’s National Commission for Water, David Korenfeld; U.S. Commissioner Edward Drusina and Mexico Commissioner Roberto F. Salmon from the International Boundary and Water Commission; Baja California Governor Francisco Vega; as well as representatives from seven U.S. and two Mexican states that use Colorado River water to sustain their agriculture, economies, communities and environment.

“A lot of hard work by various teams from Mexico, the United States, state governments, water districts, and private organizations has gone into making this pilot project a reality, and those partnerships are as historic as this pulse flow,” added Castle. “The results of the eight-week run of pulse flow will yield ground-breaking new science for both countries and help improve our understanding of the river, its delta, and potential restoration opportunities.”

Minute 319 is a five-year agreement approved by both governments for a series of cooperative actions. Key elements include:

Joint investment in water conservation and infrastructure projects that will generate water for the Colorado River Delta and a pilot water exchange program;

Establishing proactive basin operations by applying water delivery reductions or increases to Mexico depending upon Lake Mead reservoir conditions;

Extending humanitarian measures from a 2010 agreement, Minute 318, allowing Mexico to defer delivery of a portion of its Colorado River allotment while it continues to make repairs to earthquake-damaged infrastructure; and

Establishing a program of Intentionally Created Mexican Allocation whereby Mexico could temporarily reduce its order of Colorado River water, allowing that water to be delivered to Mexico in the future.


The Bureau of Reclamation’s Lower Colorado Region will implement many of the projects and programs outlined in the Minute 319 agreement. The Lower Colorado Region serves as the "water master" for the for the most downstream 688 miles of the Colorado River within the United States on behalf of the Secretary of the Interior.

 

 

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March 21, 2014

Senator Jeff Flake

 

Op-ed for The Arizona Republic: It's Time to Talk Water

 

 

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March 18, 2014

Aljazeera

 

Drought-plagued future predicted for Arizona

 

Despite a history of droughts, global climate change will make future droughts worse in US state, says geoscientist.

 

The American southwest is being plagued by drought.

Climate scientists warn drier-than-normal conditions may be here to stay.

In fact, future droughts may be more severe than in the past in Arizona.

Al Jazeera's Rob Reynolds reports from Mesa Grande.

 

 

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March 9, 2014

Tucson News Now

 

Drought worsens in Arizona, rest of Southwest

 

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Tucson hasn't seen any measurable rainfall this year.

Arizona just has not had much rain at all this winter; January is proving to be practically bone dry.

All of that is unusual for us.

Here in Tucson we depend on groundwater and the Central Arizona Project. That's Colorado River water.

However, when you've had drought conditions for more than a decade, something has got to give.

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor map shows that 36 percent of Arizona is in severe drought.

Three months ago it was 14 percent.

Read more

 

 

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February 26, 2014

National Geographic

 

Help Return the Colorado River to the Sea

 

Imagine if one day you couldn’t get home. Your journey stopped short of where you were supposed to be.

That’s the story of the iconic Colorado River, which sculpted the Grand Canyon and today sustains 30 million people, but now stops flowing 90 miles before reaching the sea, its final destination.

With partners, Change the Course is working to restore the Colorado’s flow and revitalize wetlands in its Delta — crucial habitats for numerous species of birds and wildlife.

Read more

 

 

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February 24, 2014

SoFA Staff

 

Report Warns of Looming Water Crisis

 

Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) officials are warning that Arizona should start looking into additional water sources and practices... or face a crisis as soon as 2050.

The report  was prepared by the ADWR at the behest of Governor Brewer predicts water shortfalls of up to 900,000 acre-feet a year by 2050 as the population grows.

The report, Arizona’s Next Century: A Strategic Vision for Water Supply Sustainability, was released two weeks ago and is garnering a lot of attention from state leaders.

The water agency advances several possible solutions, including building a water desalination plant.

 

 

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February 2, 2014

The Week

 

The unprecedented water crisis of the American Southwest

 

 

A prolonged drought has sapped the once-vigorous Colorado River, threatening the water supply of millions

 

Why is the Colorado so important?
It's the lifeline of the arid Southwest. Starting off in the snowy Rocky Mountains of northern Colorado, the 1,450-mile river snakes its way through the Grand Canyon and southwest toward Mexico, supplying water to seven states — California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming. The river and its tributaries provide water for 40 million people in hot, thirsty cities such as Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Diego, and Phoenix, while irrigating 4 million acres of farmland stretching from California's Imperial Valley to Wyoming's cattle herds. But with the Colorado's flow now reduced to a muddy trickle in parts, millions in the Southwest face the grave prospect of acute, permanent water shortages. The river "is a testament of what happens when we ask too much of a limited resource," said PBS filmmaker Peter McBride. "It disappears."

What's causing the problem?
The most immediate cause is 14 years of drought unrivaled in 1,250 years. Low snowpack in the Rocky Mountains has diminished the river at its source, while soaring summer temperatures over 110 degrees have evaporated its waters, depleted its reservoirs, and dried out huge swaths of soil — crippling farmers in the process. "I've got corn plants that are as brown as you could imagine," said Weld County, Colo., farmer Dave Eckhardt last summer, after losing more than 400 acres of his 1,400-acre crop. Colorado's supply crisis has been exacerbated by a demand problem: Millions of Americans have flocked to the Sun Belt to enjoy warmer temperatures, and have dug swimming pools and planted grass lawns that really don't belong in desert climates.

Read more

 

 

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January 29, 2014

Arizona Department of Water Resources

 

Arizona’s Next Century: A Strategic Vision for Water Supply Sustainability

 

The Arizona Department of Water Resources released a report, Arizona’s Next Century: A Strategic Vision for Water Supply Sustainability, that provides a foundation for Arizona’s continued economic prosperity and growth in its next Century. The Strategic Vision assesses current and projected demands and water supplies that have been identified in recent reports and provides potential strategies that will help Arizona meet its future needs. Recent studies have identified the potential for a long-term imbalance between available water supplies and projected water demands over the next 100 years if no action is taken. The Strategic Vision creates the framework for addressing future water supply challenges and helps to secure sufficient and dependable water supplies for Arizona. The Strategic Vision has been prepared at the request of Governor Brewer and is identified as part of her January 13, 2014 “The Four Cornerstones of Reform”, building on Arizona’s past successes to meet our future challenges in water supply sustainability.

“While, the State as a whole is not currently facing an immediate water crisis, Arizona is at a point where it must begin to face future water supply and management challenges,” said Arizona Department of Water Resources Director, Sandy Fabritz-Whitney. “We are at the crossroads of having to decide what actions we will take to face those challenges. Now is the time to begin addressing this challenge. The Strategic Vision for Arizona is a necessary next step in continuing to ensure that Arizona has sufficient and sustainable water supplies.”

Over the next 25 to 100 years, Arizona will need to identify and develop additional water supplies to meet projected growing water demands. While there may be viable local water supplies that have not yet been developed, water supply acquisition and importation will be required for some areas of the State to realize their full growth potential.

“Arizona’s future success depends on how effectively we continue to manage our water resources and develop new water supplies and infrastructure. Our past and present success, while noteworthy and vital to our way of life, cannot sustain Arizona’s economic development forever and we must continue to plan and invest in our water resources” said Director Fabritz-Whitney.

The Arizona Department of Water Resources will begin a statewide outreach tour to present the Strategic Vision and receive input from local stakeholders and other interested parties.

The report and presentation dates are available at: http://www.azwater.gov/AzDWR/Arizonas_Strategic_Vision

 

 

~~~~~ ~~~~~

October 27, 2013

govtrack.us

 

Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013 Passed By House

 

H.R. 3080: Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2013

 

 

~~~~~ ~~~~~

October 18, 2013

The Hill

 

EPA move 'unprecedented'

 

Republican leaders of the House Science Committee are accusing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of rushing a rule to establish broad authority over streams and wetlands.

In a letter to the agency on Friday, Reps. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Chris Stewart (R-Utah) alleged that it is trying to initiate a “sweeping reinterpretation” of its jurisdiction in a potential new rule.

The regulation to expand the EPA’s oversight would give it “unprecedented control over private property across the nation,” they asserted.


Read more

 

 

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August 15, 2013

BLM

 

Bureau of Reclamation Forecasts Lower Water Release from Lake Powell to Lake Mead for 2014

 

SALT LAKE CITY — As part of its ongoing management of Colorado River reservoirs, the Bureau of Reclamation has determined that, based on the best available data projections of Lake Powell and Lake Mead reservoir elevations, under the 2007 Colorado River Interim Guidelines for Lower Basin Shortages and Coordinated Operations for Lake Powell and Lake Mead (2007 Interim Guidelines) a release of 7.48 million acre-feet (maf) from Lake Powell is required in water year 2014 (Oct. 1, 2013 – Sept. 30, 2014).

An annual release of 7.48 maf is the lowest release since the filling of Lake Powell in the 1960s. Lake Mead is projected to decline an additional eight feet during 2014 as a result of the lower Lake Powell annual release; however, Lake Mead will operate under normal conditions in calendar year 2014, with water users in the Lower Colorado River Basin and Mexico receiving their full water orders in accordance with the 2007 Interim Guidelines and the 1944 Treaty with Mexico.

Read more

 

 

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August 15, 2013

azcentral

 

Water fears rise as Lake Powell drops

 

Conservation groups warned Thursday of drastic cutbacks in water releases from Lake Powell into the Lower Colorado River because of drought conditions, but state officials and a Central Arizona Project spokesman sought to downplay alarm over shortages.

The federal Bureau of Reclamation is expected to announce today that Lake Powell has dropped for the first time to a level that would trigger reduced flows into the Grand Canyon and the Lower Colorado River Basin, affecting mainly farmers.

Based on projections, CAP officials said water shortages could hit the Lower Colorado River by 2014 and trigger a 20 percent decrease in CAP water deliveries for Arizona.

Read more

 

 

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July 20, 2013

DOI

 

USDA and Interior Announce Partnership to Protect America’s Water Supply from Increased Wildfire Risk

 

Western Watershed Enhancement Partnership to Support Investments in Building Resilience for Critical Water Resource Infrastructure; Pilot Project Launched in Colorado – Additional Pilots Expected in Arizona, Idaho, California, Washington and Montana

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Vilsack and U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell today announced a federal, local and private partnership that will reduce the risks of wildfire to America’s water supply in western states. The Western Watershed Enhancement Partnership is part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, which outlines a comprehensive approach to reduce carbon pollution and better prepare the United States for the impacts of climate change, including increased risk of wildfires and drought.

Through the Western Watershed Enhancement Partnership, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of the Interior (Interior) will work together with local water users to identify and mitigate risks of wildfire to parts of our nation’s water supply, irrigation and hydroelectric facilities. Flows of sediment, debris and ash into streams and rivers after wildfires can damage water quality and often require millions of dollars to repair damage to habitat, reservoirs and facilities.

USDA’s Forest Service and Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation will kick off the new partnership through a pilot in the Upper Colorado Headwaters and Big Thompson watershed in Northern Colorado. The partnership will include the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District and Colorado State Forest Service and builds off of past agreements between the Forest Service and municipal water suppliers, such as Denver Water’s Forest to Faucets partnership.

Read more

 

 

~~~~~ ~~~~~

July 18, 2013

Arizona Capitol Times

 

Official cites Arizona's water management as model for Colorado River

 

WASHINGTON – The director of the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association told a Senate subcommittee Tuesday that there is no “silver bullet” to the problem of rising demand for water from the Colorado River.

Kathleen Ferris pointed to Arizona’s years of successful water management policies that have kept water use at virtually the same level since 1957, despite an exploding population. But while conservation and reuse are essential, Ferris said other measures need to be taken, such as the augmentation of supplies

Read more

 

 

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July 15, 2013

Phoenix Business Journal

 

Lowering water levels on Colorado River could have big real estate impact in Arizona, other states

 

In most cases, properties in close proximity to river fronts only enhance their values and subsequently the surrounding economies.

But what would happen if the water flow was facing chronic drought and overuse, threatened to be eventually slowed to a trickle?

That’s become a major point of concern for the Colorado River, which federal authorities project faces a 10 to 30 percent reduction in its water by 2050 and was also named the nation’s No. 1 “most endangered” river by advocacy group American Rivers in April.

Read more

 

 

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July 6, 2013

EarthTalk

 

Demand on Colorado River is killing it

 

American Rivers, a leading nonprofit dedicated to the conservation of rivers and riparian corridors across the U.S., recently unveiled its annual list of the nation’s most endangered rivers. The mighty Colorado earned the number one spot, thanks mostly to outdated water management practices in the face of growing demand and persistent drought.

“This year’s America’s Most Endangered Rivers report underscores the problems that arise for communities and the environment when we drain too much water out of rivers,” says American Rivers’ president Bob Irvin. ”The Colorado River...is so over-tapped that it dries up to a trickle before reaching the sea.”

Read more

 

 

~~~~~ ~~~~~

June 29, 2013

The Verde Independent

 

Upper Verde River Coalition considers expanding membership

 

PRESCOTT - The Upper Verde River Watershed Protection Coalition plans to talk today about possibly expanding its membership at a 2 p.m. meeting at Prescott City Hall, 201 S. Cortez Street.

The coalition also is scheduled to talk about its budget and member dues for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

Currently, eligible coalition members are the Yavapai County government and all the municipalities and Indian tribes in the Upper Verde River Basin. Members are Yavapai County, Prescott, Prescott Valley and the Yavapai-Prescott Indian Tribe. Chino Valley is a non-voting member because it's not paying its dues. Dewey-Humboldt quit the group.

Read more

 

Follow up article: Upper Verde Coalition cuts dues, considers expanding

 

 

~~~~~ ~~~~~

June 5, 2013

Business Insider Australia

 

The River That Created The Grand Canyon Is Going Dry

 

 

The Colorado River, which famously carved the Grand Canyon, is beautiful to behold and amazing to raft. Unfortunately, this crucial water source is also slowly going dry.

Average annual rainfall has been falling in the southwest for the last century, while climate change, dam construction, invasive species, and population booms in desert cities like Las Vegas have caused water levels to drop by half in some places.

Twelve years ago, author and anthropologist Wade Davis and his friend Robert F. Kennedy Jr. rafted the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon in part to consider the river’s troubled future and what we stand to lose.

They documented the trip in a gorgeous film called Grand Canyon Adventure: River At Risk.

Davis respects the power of untamed nature, and believes that we can’t afford to lose the connection we have to wild place.

 

 

~~~~~ ~~~~~

May 25, 2013

CBS Denver

 

The Colorado: Challenged By Climate, Population

 

The Colorado River’s winter whisper in the Kawuneeche Valley was becoming a quiet spring roar last week as the stream hinted at the beginnings of the snowmelt’s pell-mell tumble off the mountains.

But not a drop of that snowmelt cascading into the Colorado River will reach the Pacific Ocean. The last time the Colorado River reached its delta at the Sea of Cortez was in 1998.

The Colorado River – the carver of the Grand Canyon and the chaotic stage for river runners in Glenwood, Westwater, Cataract and numerous other canyons – is bridled by urban growth from its headwaters at La Poudre Pass at the Larimer-Grand county border all the way to its dry delta in Mexico.

Read more

 

 

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May 8, 2013

Grand Canyon National Park

 

Translocation of Endangered Humpback Chub to Tributaries of Colorado River in Grand Canyon

 

 

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May 3, 2013

Rocky Mountain Research Station

 

Our Forests in the [Water] Balance

 

 

~~~~~ ~~~~~

April 24, 2013

ADEQ

 

ADEQ Announces $253,326 Water Quality Improvement Grant to Address Polluted Runoff into Oak Creek Canyon

 

PHOENIX (April 24, 2013) The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality announced today that a $253,326 grant has been awarded to the Oak Creek Watershed Council for construction of a restroom near Slide Rock, installing 20 pet waste stations and conducting recreation outreach in Oak Creek Canyon.

The grant is one of four in Arizona this year administered by ADEQs water quality improvement grant program to address polluted runoff from many different sources. Oak Creek , from its headwaters to its confluence with Spring Creek in Oak Creek Canyon , is listed as impaired for E. coli bacteria, a bacterium that is an indicator of fecal pollution.

These funds will help restore water quality in one of the most beautiful and heavily visited tourist areas in the state, ADEQ Director Henry Darwin said. Our program has funded more than 100 projects throughout the state and has had a significant impact on improving the health of our waterways.

The restroom facility will be constructed in the Midgley Bridge area north of Sedona on Highway 89A. More than 400,000 tourists a year access three popular hiking trails from that parking area.

The pet waste stations will be installed throughout the Oak Creek corridor and will accompany an education program designed for middle-school students about protecting the environment from animal waste. The grant money also will fund an Oak Creek ambassadors program, which will be two-person teams trained by the U.S. Forest Service to provide outreach during the most popular tourist months about pollution control.

In addition, the funding will help develop an Oak Creek watershed video and guidebook to explain nonpoint source pollution in the area.

In 2009, ADEQ awarded a $311,603 grant to the Oak Creek Canyon Task Force to identify and clean up sources of E. coli in the Oak Creek watershed.

 

 

~~~~~ ~~~~~

April 23, 2013

ADEQ

 

ADEQ Announces $387,800 Water Quality Improvement Grant to Address Sediment Runoff to Little Colorado River

 

PHOENIX (April 23, 2013) – The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality announced today that a $387,800 grant has been awarded to Pioneer Irrigation Company Inc. of Springerville to construct 6,000 feet of additional piping to help control sedimentation into the Little Colorado River.

The grant is one of four in Arizona this year administered by ADEQ’s water quality improvement grant program (WQIG) to address polluted runoff from many different sources.

The piping project will be in the Big Ditch, a drainage area for the Little Colorado River which has been impacted by heavy erosion. The West Fork of the Little Colorado is currently listed as impaired for turbidity, which means there is a high level of suspended particles in the water.

“These funds will help restore water quality in one of the state’s most important mountain watersheds,” ADEQ Director Henry Darwin said. “Our program has funded more than 100 projects throughout the state and has had a significant impact on improving the health of our waterways.”

The Big Ditch Piping Project will add more than a mile of the 36-inch pipe to an earlier WQIG piping project in the area in 2000, addressing existing erosion issues in areas where the ditch runs parallel to the Little Colorado River . In addition, the grant funding will pay for an evaluation of pollution control in the watershed.

 

 

~~~~~ ~~~~~

April 17, 2013

SoFA Staff

 

Environmental Group Names Colorado River "Most Endangered"

 

 

The environmental activist group American Rivers has proclaimed the top ten "Most Endangered Rivers" in the USA.

Their evaluation states... "Outdated water management is threatening recreation, water supply, and wildlife habitat."

Their website advocates that citizens tell Congress to support additional regulations...

 

Take Action For America's Most Endangered Rivers

Keep the Colorado Flowing
We need to put the Colorado River on the path to recovery. Tell Congress to support critical programs that address water supply sustainability in the Colorado River Basin and across the West.

 

 

~~~~~ ~~~~~

April 9, 2013

USGS

 

Groundwater Pumping May Continue to Reduce the Streamflow of the Verde River, Arizona

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. The streamflow of the Verde Riverone of Arizona's largest streams with year-round flowdeclined from 1910 to 2005 as the result of human stresses, primarily groundwater pumping, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study. The study's findings suggest that streamflow reductions will continue and may increase in the future.

Water demands in the Verde Valley have increased because of the growing population in the area. Water is pumped from the ground and diverted from the Verde River to meet these needs, which has raised concerns about past, present, and future human-induced stresses on water resources.

"The results of the study emphasize our basic understanding of hydrologic systems, which is that when water is removed by being pumped through wells, it is no longer available in other parts of the system," said USGS hydrologist Bradley Garner. "This study is important because it allows us to examine human-caused stresses, namely groundwater pumping, independently from other factors that change over time, such as annual precipitation rates."

Read more

 

 

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February 26, 2013

Rocky Mountain Research Station

 

New report finds Western states most vulnerable to water shortages

 

 

 

Arizona water issues additional resource...  The Arizona Hydrological Society website.

 

 

Arizona Lakes

Arizona Fishing

Grand Canyon National Park

 

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