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In The News — Water Grab News — 2018

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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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October 10, 2018 — Utah just experienced its driest year since scientists have kept records — Since official weather records have been kept, Utah has never experienced a year with as little precipitation as it did in 2018 and only one previous year registered higher average temperatures — sltrib.com

October 10, 2018 — Western states release proposed agreements for drought-stricken Colorado River — States that rely on the shrinking supply of water from the Colorado River have released drafts of a set of agreements intended to prevent reservoirs on the river from falling to perilously low levels. The documents lay out a framework for cuts in water deliveries to prop up the levels of the river’s two biggest reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell. The agreements include proposed drought-contingency plans for the Upper Basin states — Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming – as well as the Lower Basin states – Arizona, Nevada and California — azcentral.com

October 09, 2018 — California, 6 Other States Agree to Colorado River Management Plan Amid Unprecedented Drought — Seven Southwestern U.S. states that depend on the overtaxed Colorado River have reached landmark agreements on how to manage the waterway amid an unprecedented drought, including a commitment by California to bear part of the burden before it is legally required to do so, officials said Tuesday — ktla.com

October 09, 2018 — I-Team: Ex-water district employee pleads guilty to mail fraud and tax evasion — www.lasvegasnow.com

October 09, 2018 — PRESS RELEASE: Without Glen Canyon Dam Removal, Today’s Announced ‘Drought Contingency Plan’ is a Lost Cause — savethecolorado.org

October 08, 2018 — In Colorado, Water Bosses Begin to Accept Climate Change Impacts — VAIL, COLORADO – The phrase “climate change” did not appear on the agenda of a recent three-day meeting of the Colorado Water Congress, but the topic was often front and center at the conference, as it increasingly is at water meetings around the state and the region — newsdeeply.com

October 05, 2018 — The country’s cheapest water is in the West’s driest cities — By charging more for nonessential gallons, cities could keep water affordable for everyone — hcn.org

September 30, 2018 — Arizona officials look to reach Colorado River drought deal — Progress is being made in talks toward a set of agreements for cities, farmers and tribes to share in Colorado River water cutbacks, according to Arizona water officials. The Arizona Republic reports that the state water officials also want to join in a larger proposed deal to prevent Lake Mead from dropping even further. Arizona water managers have been leading a series of biweekly meetings since July to work out details of the proposed drought-contingency plan — sacbee.com

September 28, 2018 — Native American Group to Run Across Nevada in Water Protest — LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Members of Nevada's Native American communities are planning to run nearly 300 miles next week to call for more sustainable water management in the state. The Nevada state engineer denied a permit in August for a controversial pipeline plan decades in the making, to pump groundwater hundreds of miles from eastern Nevada to Las Vegas. The Southern Nevada Water Authority says it will appeal the decision — publicnewsservice.org

September 25, 2018 — [Salt Lake] Tribune editorial: As flow gets low and permits get slow, will Lake Powell pipeline still go? — By the time the Lake Powell pipeline is built, will there be enough water to put in it? In a split decision, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled last week that its oversight of any pipeline project would be limited to the hydroelectric dams that may be built along the pipeline route — sltrib.com

September 21, 2018 —[Editorial] In our opinion: Should Las Vegas pump water it doesn't own? — Desert News

September 21, 2018 — Carson City – Today on the radio edition of the Nevada Capital News, we chat with a conversation with Great Basin Water Network spokesperson Howard Watts about the petition for judicial review filed yesterday in Nevada’s Seventh Judicial District Court in Ely. The petition, led by White Pine County and Great Basin Water Network, appeals the Nevada State Engineer’s August 17 Ruling on the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s water rights applications for the pipeline — knvc.org

September 20, 2018 — Federal agency declines to handle all permitting for Lake Powell Pipeline — The federal agency that had been handling the permitting process for the Lake Powell Pipeline announced Thursday it doesn't have jurisdiction to handle the entire project on its own. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission submitted an order indicating it would only consider permitting for the hydroelectric facilities proposed for the project, and not the remaining 89 miles of connecting water delivery pipelines, although it would continue as the lead agency in charge of environmental analysis. Environmental organizations, taxpayer watchdog groups and others opposed to the project celebrated the decision, arguing it could potentially set back the permitting process and require better scrutiny of the project plans

September 19, 2018 — Appeals pour in over ruling against Las Vegas pipe water plan — The appeals are piling up over a recent state decision blocking the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s plans to pipe groundwater from Eastern Nevada. Four days after water authority board members approved a court challenge of State Engineer Jason King’s Aug. 17 ruling, opponents of the controversial pipeline project launched an appeal of their own targeting a specific part of last month’s decision — Las Vegas Review Journal [More Informtion]

September 18, 2018 — Pipeline opponents to SNWA: See you in court — Less than a week after the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) board voted unanimouslyto appeal a recent ruling by the state engineer that denied the authority water rights for its groundwater pumping and pipeline project, opponents are taking the matter back to court. Monday, a broad coalition of 59 organizations and individuals opposed to the SNWA project filed a petition for judicial review in Nevada’s Seventh Judicial District Court in Ely. Nevada State Engineer Jason King previously denied SNWA’s water rights applications before appealing his own decision, claiming his office was prevented from granting the water authority’s permits due to constraints by previous court requirements – nevadacurrent.com [More Informtion]

September 18, 2018 — Utah groups want to tank Nevada's groundwater pumping plan — SALT LAKE CITY — A broad coalition of groups say a judge should tank a mitigation and monitoring plan associated with Nevada's efforts to pump groundwater in the arid desert next to Utah. A petition, led by Nevada's White Pine County and the Great Basin Water Network, was filed Monday in Nevada's 7th District Court objecting to the "3M" plan approved in State Engineer Jason King's August ruling — www.ksl.com

September 14, 2018 — Can We Operate the Colorado River Differently Amid Climate Change? — THE COLORADO RIVER watershed faces increasing challenges from chronic water shortage. And it appears increasingly likely this is a new permanent condition, not an episodic drought. As a result, the many reservoirs built in the watershed – large and small – may have to be operated differently to optimize new precipitation patterns and snowmelt routines. That is a complicated problem, because they are all operated by different entities, with different water demands and unique environmental and flood-control concerns. But if the 40 million people who depend on the Colorado River are to continue thriving, something’s got to be done. Jack Schmidt, a professor of watershed sciences at Utah State University, is about to start a large new research project . . . newsdeeply.com

September 13, 2018 — I-Team: SNWA head back to court to keep multi-billion dollar water siphoning project alive — LAS VEGAS - Southern Nevada water agencies are headed back to court to fight to keep a multi-billion dollar water project alive. During a special meeting Thursday, Southern Nevada Water Authority board members voted to appeal a recent decision by the state engineer which temporarily slammed the door on a controversial plan to siphon groundwater from rural Nevada — lasvegasnow.com [More Coverage — thenevadaindependent.com] [Read/Download — SNWA's Petition For Judicial Review]

September 13, 2018 — Crisis at Lake Powell Looms Large as Long-Term Drought Reaches Upstream — newsdeeply.com

September 11, 2018 — Utah copes with drying streams, dying animals as drought tightens its grip — with no relief in sight — sltrib.com

September 11, 2018 — Southerner Sisolak comes out against Vegas plan to import rural water — Gubernatorial contender Steve Sisolak has come out against a plan pushed for decades by Southern Nevada interests to pump water from the rural counties to accommodate Las Vegas needs. Sisolak, a Democrat, took the position while answering water policy questions that The Nevada Independent posed to both candidates for governor.

The campaign for Republican gubernatorial candidate Adam Laxalt, who currently serves as the state’s attorney general, did not reply to the questions about water. The Nevada Independent sent numerous emails to a spokesman and two top campaign operatives in the last two weeks thenevadaindependent.com

September 10, 2018 — Southern Nevada Water Authority expected to appeal pipeline plan ruling — It looks like the Southern Nevada Water Authority won’t be taking no for an answer. The authority board will hold a rare special meeting Thursday to launch an appeal of the most recent state ruling against the agency’s plans to pipe groundwater to Las Vegas from across eastern Nevada — Las Vegas Review Journal



September 07, 2018 — 'It's more of the same:' As warming trend continues in Nevada, Las Vegas breaks record for summer temperature — For the third year in a row, Las Vegas posted record summer temperatures, a trend that climate scientists expect to continue into the future with implications for public health, energy use and water supply in the most arid state — thenevadaindependent.com

September 06, 2018 — Grab is dead in the water — A recent crucial regulatory decision favored the good guys in Nevada’s interminable water wars. State Engineer Jason King ruled against the plan by the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) to import groundwater through a 300-mile pipeline in Eastern Nevada to feed the rapacious thirst of Las Vegas. King’s decision to deny all water rights applications for the water grab was hailed as a tremendous victory for the odd folks coalition of activists, a coalition featuring progressive conservationists, conservative ranchers and farmers, tribal leaders and their members, rural county commissioners and people of all political stripes who recreate in the pristine desert and range of Eastern Nevada, who have worked since 1989 to thwart the water thieves — newsreview.com

September 04, 218 — Colorado River Flows Drop By 15 Percent Over Last 100 Years — kunc.org

August 2018 — Water Grab Opponents Declare Victory — Nevada State Engineer Rejects SNWA’s Water Applications — GBWN

August 29, 2018 — [Editorial — Nevada Appeal] Abby Johnson: Las Vegas Water Grab not dead yet — What about the water? Today, one in five of Nevada's 256 water basins are overappropriated, meaning that there are more water rights approved than there is water available. Earlier this month, opponents of the Southern Nevada groundwater development project — known as the Las Vegas Water Grab — celebrated an unprecedented victory. After 12 years of hearings and legal appeals, the State Engineer finally denied Southern Nevada Water Authority's water applications in four key valleys in eastern Nevada . . . The Nevada Appeal Print PDF

August 29, 2018 — IndyMatters: SNWA chief talks Colorado River, pipeline, need for changes to Nevada water law — The leader of Las Vegas’s powerful water authority said the time has come for the Legislature to make changes to Nevada water law, an idea that will likely get pushback from many water users, during a 50-minute interview on The Nevada Independent’s podcast, IndyMatters. In the wide-ranging interview, John Entsminger, general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, addressed concerns over a Colorado River shortage and the agency’s continued push for a pipeline project to pump large amounts of groundwater from Eastern Nevada to Las Vegas — thenevadaindependent.com

August 28, 2018 — At water-starved Lake Mead and Lake Powell, 'the crisis is already real,' scientists say — With Lake Mead dropping to levels that could trigger water cutbacks in less than two years, there's been a lot of talk lately about negotiating a deal to keep the reservoir from falling even further. But in a new report, scientists say the situation is just as worrisome upstream at Lake Powell. The declines there during the past 18 years, they say, also reflect the Colorado River's worsening "structural deficit." — azcentral.com

August 27, 2018 — Water authority ups bounty for removing grass — Las Vegas Sun

August 24, 2018 — [Editorial — BY THOMAS MITCHELL] We suggest an ally in the fight against the water grab — The three-decade legal wrangle over whether Clark County will ever be allowed to tap groundwater from White Pine, Lincoln and Nye counties has reached another milestone, but may be far from over. Jason King, state engineer for the Nevada Division of Water Resources (NDWR), issued a 111-page ruling denying the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) request for water permits . . . We suggest that the opponents seek to form a partnership in their fight against this water grab with another party who would be damaged by this project — the SNWA’s customers — elynews.com
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August 24, 2018 —
Coalition declares victory over pipeline proposal — A broad coalition of Nevadans committed to protecting the state’s water resources are declaring victory in their opposition to the SNWA groundwater pipeline. They applaud a ruling by the Nevada State Engineer denying all water rights applications for the project — elynews.com

Nevada State Engineer Jason King August 23, 2018 — The Las Vegas pipeline is dead. The Las Vegas pipeline is alive — Even when the Las Vegas pipeline is dead, the Las Vegas pipeline is alive. On Friday last week, Nevada’s top water regulator dropped a 111-page ruling widely interpreted as the final blow to Las Vegas’ vexed campaign to pump groundwater from Eastern Nevada and pipe it to the state’s growing urban center — the country’s driest city — about 250 miles away. The ruling denied the Southern Nevada Water Authority the right to pump billions of gallons of water from rural Nevada aquifers, transport it down south and connect it to Las Vegas taps — thenevadaindependent.com

August 17, 2018 — Water Grab Opponents Declare Victory — Nevada State Engineer Rejects SNWA’s Water Applications — GBWN

Howard Watts August 17, 2018 — Conservationists hail ruling against “water grab” — A ruling Friday could mark the end of a three-decade fight over the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) plan to pump groundwater from eastern Nevada aquifers to Las Vegas, according to critics of the “water grab.” But the state engineer promised that water permit denials issued by the Nevada Division of Water Resources (NDWR) Friday will be appealed. “In my opinion, it is a death knell for the proposed project,” said Howard Watts, a spokesman for the Great Basin Water Network. “I think that it is unlikely that SNWA will prevail in an appeal,” said Watts, a Las Vegas Democrat who is running for the Nevada Assembly — nevadacurrent.com

August 17, 2018 — I-Team: State engineer rules against SNWA rural water pipeline — lasvegasnow.com

August 17, 2018 — Nevada Water Chief Rejects Big Vegas Pipeline Pumping Plan — LAS VEGAS — Long-fought plans for Las Vegas to pump and pipe drinking water from arid valleys just west of the Utah state line were dealt a severe blow Friday with a ruling from Nevada's top state water official — By The Associated Press

August 17, 2018 — Nevada's top water regulator denies SNWA permits, will appeal the methodology of own decision — Ruling in a closely-watched case, Nevada’s top water regulator denied the Southern Nevada Water Authority permits for a controversial project to pump groundwater 250 miles from Eastern Nevada to Las Vegas Friday afternoon. But the decision is far from finalized and will likely go before a judge — thenevadaindependent.com

August 16, 2018 — There's Colorado River Water For Now, But Shortages Loom For Lake Mead — A vital reservoir on the Colorado River will be able to meet the demands of Mexico and the U.S. Southwest for the next 13 months, but a looming shortage could trigger cutbacks as soon as the beginning of 2020, officials said Wednesday. A forecast from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation echoes previous warnings that a nearly 20-year trend toward a drier regional climate coupled with rising demand could drain so much water from the Lake Mead reservoir that cutbacks would be mandatory — cpr.org

April 16, 2018 — Desalination Plant In Santa Barbara Now Supplying 30% Of City's Needs; Hosting Public Tours — kclu.org

August 16, 2018 — Federal officials predict shortage for Lake Mead in 2020, adding more pressure on states for drought plan — Thirty miles outside of Las Vegas, Lake Mead holds back Colorado River water for tribes, farms and growing cities across the Southwest. The reservoir, impounded by the Hoover Dam, is one of the most visible symbols of drought in the West. In nearly two decades of drought, the storage bank for the regional economy — and Las Vegas’ primary water supply — has dropped so many feet that there is a white chalky “bathtub ring,” a stark imprint of where the water line used to be. Now the reservoir is teetering at the edge of shortage — thenevadaindependent.com

August 16, 2018 — Vital US reservoir OK for now, but shortages are looming — DENVER (AP) — A vital reservoir on the Colorado River will be able to meet the demands of Mexico and the U.S. Southwest for the next 13 months, but a looming shortage could trigger cutbacks as soon as the end of 2019, officials said Wednesday. A forecast from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation echoes previous warnings that a nearly 20-year trend toward a drier regional climate coupled with rising demand could drain so much water from the Lake Mead reservoir that cutbacks would be mandatory — apnews.com

August 15, 2018 — Why One Arizona County Could Upend the Southwest’s Drought Plan — New federal estimates suggest serious water shortages on the Colorado River are closer than thought. While Arizona water users try to cooperate on a conservation fix, one group of farmers stands in the way of a compromise — newsdeeply.com

August 14, 2018 — Utah's Big Water Grab . . . To keep the water flowing, the state plans to dip a six-foot-diameter straw into Lake Powell—a reservoir of the Colorado River 140 miles to the east—then suck the water 2,000 vertical feet through five pumping stations and six hydroelectric plants, crossing the Paria River and what used to be Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument — outsideonline.com

August 10, 2018 — New leader takes over as the Upper Colorado River Commission grapples with less water and a drier climate — Amy Haas recently became the first non-engineer and the first woman to serve as executive director of the Upper Colorado River Commission in its 70-year history, putting her smack in the center of a host of daunting challenges facing the Upper Colorado River Basin — watereducation.org

Undated but likely from 2010 — Power Point Presentation (24 Slides –5.8 MB)
POTENTIAL IMPACTS OF NEVADA GROUNDWATER DIVERSIONS TO REGIONAL SPRING RESTORATION or…
How to Fuel Growth in Las Vegas by Burning Regional Biodiversity
By Jack E. Williams, Trout Unlimited, James E. Deacon, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Cindy Deacon Williams, National Center for Conservation Science and Policy, and Austin E. Williams, University of Oregon School of Law

August 13, 2018 — In effort to address drought, Dept. of Agriculture funds water conservation projects for farmers, ranchers — In Diamond Valley, where hundreds of pivoting sprinklers feed alfalfa fields every summer, water is king — and it’s under threat. Years of drought and a history of lax regulation has fueled uncertainty about how long some farmers and ranchers will be able to pump water from the ground. “We are the poster-child for a declining water table,” said Ken Benson, who runs cattle and grows alfalfa at Haystax West, his operation in Diamond Valley, outside the town of Eureka — thenevadaindependent.com

August 06, 2018 — After nearly two decades of drought, state engineer tackles excess water rights and faces a backlash in the courts — The signs of water scarcity are evident around Lake Mead. During nearly two decades of drought, the reservoir that holds back most of Southern Nevada’s water supply has dropped to record lows. But this is not a story about Lake Mead. The country’s largest reservoir, filled by the Colorado River and held back by the Hoover Dam, might be the state’s most visible sign of aridity, yet for many Nevadans, it’s what you can’t see that’s far scarier

August 04, 2018 — NM water boss dismisses Augustin Plains Ranch water application as ‘speculative’ — When Carol Pittman heard that New Mexico’s top water official denied a company’s application to pump groundwater from below the valley where she lives, she was thrilled. “What could be better?” she said. “That project would have just destroyed the place” — nmpoliticalreport.com August 03, 2018 — Indigenous communities, groundwater opportunities — Summary: Instead of managing fresh water as one integrated resource, laws frequently treat groundwater separately from more visible, monitored, and managed surface waters. One under-recognized consequence of such legal fragmentation has been uncertainty about whether water rights for indigenous communities, which have been addressed in many countries to varying degrees for surface waters, apply to groundwater . . . . sciencemag.org



August 03, 2018 — Construction starts on 12-mile pipeline to pump water to Apex — Water is expected to start flowing through part of Apex Industrial Park by late 2020 after more than two decades of efforts to jump-start development on this sprawling chunk of vacant land in North Las Vegas — RJ.com

July 30, 2018 — Utahns Move Toward Water Conservation While Keeping An Eye On Lake Powell Pipeline . . . Utah's also pushing forward with a plan to tap more water from the Colorado River to serve two counties in the southwestern corner of the state. And that raises at question: Does Utah really need so much water? — kunm.org

July 27, 2018 — Regulatory hurdles await Los Angeles utility proposal to store Nevada solar with the Hoover Dam — For months, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) has been pitching a $3 billion project to store solar power at the Hoover Dam, an ambitious infrastructure to support waning Colorado River hydropower, but one that will likely face significant regulatory hurdles. About six months ago, LADWP presented the concept, first reported by The New York Times on Tuesday, to groups across the Southwest that receive power from Hoover Dam, including the Colorado River Commission of Nevada, which manages the states hydropower contracts on the river — thenevadaindependent.com

July 24, 2018 — Water engineer talks to Moapa Valley residents about supply strain — evada’s top water regulator hosted a public meeting in Moapa on Tuesday to discuss the future of several rural Clark County groundwater basins he believes are seriously over-appropriated — RJ.com

July 24, 2018 — Hoover Dam was a public works project likened to the pyramids. Now, after channeling a river, what if it could tap the power of the sun and wind? — NYtimes.com

July 19, 2018 —The Water Wars of Arizona — Early one morning in July 2014, Lori Paup awoke in her new home in the Sulphur Springs Valley of Arizona and began unpacking boxes of clothes, hanging photographs and prepping the day’s home-schooling lessons for her two teenage children — NYtimes.com

July 11, 2018 — This Patch of Water Can Predict Southwest Drought — Researchers are starting to shy away from using the word “drought” to describe the miserable precipitation the American Southwest has seen in recent years. Instead, we should think of the dry conditions as the new normal. And in a future with less water, predicting just how little rain or snowfall to expect is increasingly important. That’s why scientists are so worked up about a patch of water off the coast of New Zealand — www.outsideonline.com

June 29, 2018 — A water district wants a golf course to pay more. The golf course goes to court. In the middle of the dispute: Lake Mead — traddling the border with Utah on a strip of arid land about 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas, golf courses dot the Virgin Valley and its largest town — Mesquite. The golf courses are made possible by the fact that the valley, despite dry desert conditions, can tap into the Virgin River — thenevadaindependent.com [Related Story]

June 25, 2018 — Colorado River Water Managers Can Imagine The Future And It Doesn’t Look Pretty — Fear can be a powerful motivator. The mention of one plausible future scenario along the Colorado River is enough to make some water managers in the West break into a sweat — kunc.org 4:31

June 22, 2018 — Suit filed after water official blocks Coyote Springs construction — Nevada’s top water regulator is blocking construction of the master-planned community at Coyote Springs because he says there isn’t enough water to support the project — reviewjournal.com

June 21, 2018 — Utahns need to be paying much more for water — deseretnews.com

June 20, 2018 — Arizona Reboots Drought Talks While Rest Of Colorado River Basin Watches — Water leaders in Arizona are again trying to get to “yes” on a deal that deals with drought. This would help prepare the state for future cuts to its water supply if – and likely, when – Lake Mead drops below specific levels. A renewed effort to achieve an agreement comes after a year of anxiety and gridlock over the future of the Colorado River — kjzz.org

June 18, 2018 — Colorado River reservoirs expected to be less than half full by Sept. 30 — GREELEY, Colo. – Reservoirs along the Colorado River are projected to be less than half full by summer’s end, potentially marking a historic low mark for the river system that supplies water to seven U.S. states and Mexico. Forecasters with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation expect the river’s reservoirs – Lakes Mead and Powell among them – to be at a combined 48 percent of capacity by the end of September. That would be one of the lowest points ever for the combined water storage — cronkitenews.azpbs.org

June 16, 2018 — Agency says it can supply water if Las Vegas footprint expands — The Southern Nevada Water Authority says it has more than enough water to supply new homes and businesses that could be built one day on thousands of acres of federal land just outside the Las Vegas Valley. The challenge will be getting the water there and making sure it is used — and reused — as efficiently as possible, said water authority chief John Entsminger — reviewjournal.com

June 15, 2018 — My Turn: Lake Powell Pipeline: Unaffordable, unreliable, unnecessary — The recent presentation in Kanab by Paul Van Dam, retired Utah Attorney General, and Lisa Rutherford demonstrated that the proposed Lake Powell Pipeline is unaffordable, unreliable, and unnecessary. If it is built, this multibillion dollar water project would serve Washington and Kane Counties, what is now only 5% of the population of Utah — thespectrum.com

June 08, 2018 — Indigenous people stepping up their opposition to ‘water grab’ — Indigenous people are gearing up to fight the next round in a long battle against Southern Nevada’s thirst for other people’s water. Members of several tribes, including the Navajo and the Southern Shoshoni, met in Las Vegas this week to discuss how to step up their opposition to the massive groundwater pumping and piping project that the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) has spent nearly three decades trying to develop — nevadacurrent.com

May 30, 2018 — How the Colorado River's future could hinge on a little-known California election — A few thousand votes in California's Imperial Valley could have major consequences for millions of people who depend on water from the Colorado River — desertsun.com

May 27, 2018 — 9th Circuit ruling on Walker Lake puts far-reaching water rights issue before Nevada Supreme Court — In 1902, a rancher by the name of Henry Miller — known as the “Cattle King of the West” — brought a lawsuit against Thomas B. Rickey, a Nevada farmer, through his Miller & Lux land company. The issue was water rights on the Walker River, and the fight between the rival ranchers set up more than a century of litigation over a waterway that originates at the edge of Yosemite National Park in California and flows through Nevada to its terminus, Walker Lake — thenevadaindependent.com

May 26, 2018 — 6 things to know about dire challenges to our Colorado River water lifeline — A bruising battle between the Central Arizona Project and many states and water users has revitalized the push for a stillborn plan to prepare for more drought on the Colorado River — tucson.com

May 25, 2018 — PRESSER: BuRec and Walton Family Endorse Massive Fontenelle Dam Expansion; Save The Colorado Will Fight It — the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation sent out a press release saying it would help move forward the biggest proposed new diversion of water out of the entire Colorado River system — savethecolorado.org

May 23, 2018 —Time for action' to avert Colorado River crisis, federal official says — The Colorado River has for years been locked in a pattern of chronic overuse, with much more water doled out to cities and farmlands than what’s flowing into its reservoirs. The river basin, which stretches from Wyoming to Mexico, has been drying out during what scientists say is one of the driest 19-year periods in the past 1,200 years — desertsun.com

May 10, 2018 —We need action,’ federal official tells Colorado River states — The head the federal agency that oversees the Colorado River has a message for state water managers: The outlook is bleak, so quit squabbling and get back to work. In a pointed message Wednesday, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman said drought and low flows continue on the Colorado with no end in sight, so it’s up to those who rely on the river to stave off a coming crisis. “We need action and we need it now — Las Vegas Review Journal

May 09, 2018 — God Said to Make the Desert Bloom, and Mormons Are Using Biblical Amounts of Water to Do It — Utah is one of the driest states in the country, but you couldn’t tell by how much water its residents are using. The average American uses between 80 and 100 gallons a day. In Utah, each individual consumes approximately 248 gallons of water a day — motherjones.com

May 09, 2018 — Another dry year in the Colorado River Basin increases the need for additional state and federal actions — WASHINGTON - 2018 has brought record-low snowpack levels to many locations in the Colorado River Basin, making this the driest 19-year period on record. With the depressed snowpack and warming conditions, experts indicate that runoff from the Rocky Mountains into Lake Powell this spring will yield only 42 percent of the long-term average — usbr.gov

May 02, 2018 — The water war that will decide the fate of 1 in 8 Americans — Lake Mead is the country’s biggest reservoir of water. Think of it as the savings account for the entire Southwest. Right now, that savings account is nearly overdrawn. For generations, we’ve been using too much of the Colorado River, the 300-foot-wide ribbon of water that carved the Grand Canyon, supplies Lake Mead, and serves as the main water source for much of the American West — grist.org

April 30, 2018 — Big Challenges for Colorado River States That Want to Conserve Water — IN EARLY APRIL, federal forecasters came out with a sobering but not surprising prediction for many Colorado River water users after a grim snowpack across much of the Colorado River basin this winter. They projected that as the snow melted and entered the Colorado River system, much less water would flow into Lake Powell this spring than is normal. The forecast expects inflows to be about 46 percent of average, one of the lowest runoffs on record — newsdeeply.com

April 26, 2018 — Colorado River water to Apex: City partners with developer for 12-mile pipeline, will test water authority's reuse policies — In a significant step toward bringing companies to the Apex Industrial Park, the City of North Las Vegas approved an agreement to build a 12-mile pipeline in partnership with two limited-liability corporations managed by developer Weston Adams. Economic development officials hope the new pipeline makes the park an attractive site for multiple industries, from manufacturing to distribution centers, following decades of false starts in conveying water to the arid land — thenevadaindependent.com

April 19, 2018 — Arizona agency’s actions over Lake Mead ignite water fight — A top official from the Southern Nevada Water Authority is calling on states that rely on the Colorado River to resolve their differences before a growing dispute derails decades of cooperation on the river — Las Vegas Review Journal [More coverage — tucson.com

April 17, 2018 — Desalination in Las Vegas? Faraway Ocean Could Aid Future Water Needs — SIN CITY HAS never been a place that thinks small. So it should come as no surprise that Las Vegas – about 300 miles from the Pacific Ocean – is pondering seawater desalination to meet its long-term water demand — newsdeeply.com

April 17, 2018 — 10 questions about the 11 proposals to save the Salton Sea — Less than fifteen miles from where Beyonce took the stage at the Coachella Music Festival, the Salton Sea is in crisis. As evaporation causes the sea's shoreline to recede, more of the toxic chemical matter previously embedded in the water is being exposed and swept up into the atmosphere by desert winds — desertsun.com

April 16, 2018 — Toilet to Tap' Water Surprisingly Good, Study Finds — /wvxu.org

April 15, 2018 — A look inside new pump station under construction at Lake Mead — Las Vegas Review Journal

April 10, 2018 —Southern California water agency backs 2 Delta tunnels in breakthrough vote — After a decade of planning and debate, the controversial Delta tunnels project got a huge cash infusion Tuesday and took a giant step toward becoming reality. In a historic decision, the wealthy Metropolitan Water District of Southern California voted to take a majority stake in the $16.7 billion twin-tunnels project, a plan championed by Gov. Jerry Brown as a way of protecting the water supply for more than 25 million Southern California and Bay Area residents — sacbee.com

April 04, 2018Colorado River’s retreat begins in the Rocky Mountains [4:04] — azcentral.com

April 04, 2018 — After dry winter, Colorado River forecasters look for 6th-driest runoff year— Colorado River forecasters say the Southwest should brace for the sixth-driest runoff season into Lake Powell since the government erected Glen Canyon Dam there 55 years ago — azcentral.com

March 29, 2018 — Lake Mead Shortage Averted - For Now — The drought has not been friendly to Lake Mead. Dry winters in the Rockies have reduced snow melts into the Colorado River, which impacts the level of Lake Mead. Still – federal water managers say we’ve managed to skirt an official shortage declaration for a while longer. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation says the lake remains about two feet above the emergency “trigger” line. So how much longer can the lake sustain without forcing southern Nevada and Arizona to take major cuts to their allotment of river water? — knpr.org  10:41

March 21, 2018 — Little-Known California Lawsuit Complicates Drought Plan for Lake Mead States that share Colorado River water are negotiating a Drought Contingency Plan, but a recent lawsuit in California’s Imperial Irrigation District, a main player in the talks, is making things harder — newsdeeply.com

March 19, 2018 — Worsening dry spell won’t tip Lake Mead into shortage – yet — An already dry winter for the Colorado River has gotten worse in recent weeks, but it won’t be enough to send Lake Mead to a record low — at least not right away. Despite worsening conditions in the mountains that feed the Colorado, forecasters still expect the reservoir east of Las Vegas to contain just enough water by the end of the year to avoid a first-ever federal shortage declaration — Las Vegas Review Journal

March 19, 2018 — As Weather Warms, What's The State Of Our River? — . . . the Bureau of Reclamation, the federal agency in charge of Hoover Dam, says if nothing else changes and if states don't conserve even more water, then that shortage level is very much a reality in 2019. When that shortage level is hit, which the lake is just 13 feet from right now, the Department of the Interior will take over the distribution of the water and Arizona will be the first state to be required to cut back — knpr.org
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March 14, 2018 — Scarce Rocky Mountain Snowpack Deepens Southwest Water Supply Concerns — How bad is 2018 snowpack in the southern Rocky Mountains, you ask? Let me count the ways — kunc.org

March 13, 2018 — Southern Nevada Water Authority eyes Pacific desal for long-term supply — The Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA), Nevada, US, is likely to acquire a stake in a desalination project in California or Mexico as part of its long-term strategy, general manager John Entsminger has said — desalination.biz

March 13, 2018 — How A Dying Lake In California Factors Into The Colorado River’s Future — The biggest lake in California is shrinking. The Salton Sea occupies a hot, desert basin a short drive from the Mexico border and it’s been evaporating for years. From the air the lake is pear-shaped, bordered by an intense concentration of farms growing winter vegetables on its south end, and date palms, citrus and brussels sprouts to the north. It’s sustained by the Colorado River water that passes through these farms as irrigation before flowing into the 350 square mile lake — kunc.org

March 09, 2018 — As water shortages loom, how to keep Western rivers flowing — The drought now gripping the southwestern United States feels scarily familiar. In a recent public opinion survey of western voters, 82 percent listed low river levels as their top concern when it came to water. In five of the last seven years the snowpack in the Upper Colorado River Basin on March 1 has registered below the long-term average. It has been nearly two decades since Lakes Powell and Mead, the giant reservoirs on the Colorado River that supply water to some 40 million people and 5 million acres of farmland, were full — the Hill.com

March 08, 2018 — Questions about dams posed by West’s shrinking snowpack — Lake Mead has become a benchmark for worsening water woes of the West. It was something else in 1936, when completion of Hoover Dam was a happy story of triumph, a display of ingenuity and determination for a nation still mired in the Great Depression. At last, the unpredictable Colorado River was tamed! It’s flood waters were finally harnessed to provide electricity but also water for expanding farms and especially for growing cities, Los Angeles first but in time others, too — /mountaintownnews.net

March 07, 2018 — Las Vegas considering Pacific Coast desalination plant in the future — The population of Southern Nevada and the Las Vegas area could grow to about 3.6 million in 50 years and could spark plans for a desalination plant on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, said John Entsminger, general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority. Southern Nevada now has an estimated population of about 2.1 million, according to the UNLV Center for Business and Economic Research. The population jump to 3.6 million people would be big, but not the biggest in Las Vegas history, Entsminger said recently on Nevada Newsmakers — rgj.com

March 07,2018 — Infighting delays Lake Mead drought plan as water 'bankers' protect control — Lake Mead is unsustainable. The Southwest U.S. needs a plan. On this, everyone agrees. But a fix is hard because water agencies exist to protect their own interests — and while the depth of the reservoir is a piece of that puzzle, so is making sure they get their share of the water. That’s a difficult balance to strike, and it’s led to political tension in Arizona, California and potentially in the U.S. Senate. Nevada is ready to sign off on a drought plan for Lake Mead. But nothing is that easy on the Colorado River — thenevadaindependent.com

March 02, 2018 Study: Snowpack has declined dramatically across US West — PORTLAND, Ore. — Scientists have found dramatically declining snowpack across the American West over the past six decades that will likely cause water shortages in the region that cannot be managed by building new reservoirs, according to a study published Friday — AP

February 18, 2018 — We must act now to protect the future of the Colorado River — The Colorado River is the hardest-working river in the Southwest and an economic engine for the entire country. But it is also a river facing a critical inflection point. Every drop of water that flows down the Colorado is already accounted for and due to a variety of factors — including a growing population and a changing climate — its flows are projected to decline over the next several decades — tucson.com

February 15, 2018 — Restrictions won’t affect all users of Colorado River water — BULLHEAD CITY: As water levels in Lake Powell and Lake Mead drop, the potential for restrictions on water use in 2019 rise, but not for all Colorado River water users. Under the 2007 drought plan guidelines Arizona adopted, Central Arizona Project will take the full hit for whatever that reduction is, said Mark Clark, Mohave Valley Irrigation and Drainage District manager. CAP’s hit, Clark said, is about 349,000 acre-feet of water — mohavedailynews.com

February 09, 2018 — Historically dry winter means Lake Mead may be closer to shortfall than people think — Lake Mead shortfall as soon as 2019? don’t write it off a Q&A with the ADWR director about potential consequences of an historically low snowpack in the rockies — azwater.gov

February 07, 2018 — Every 2.5 minutes, the American West loses a football field worth of natural area to human development. And nearly half of all rivers in the West have been altered by human activities. This project maps a rapidly changing landscape, explores what is being lost, and profiles a new movement for conservation that is gaining ground — disappearingwest.org

February 05, 2018 — 3 big threats to the water you (and Arizona) need to survive — One of the driest winters on record is just one of the things threatening much of Arizona's water supply in Lake Mead — azcentral.com

February 05, 2018 — The Trouble with Cadiz — Cadiz Inc.’s 34,000-acre property is located just south of the old Santa Fe railroad line between one of the last undeveloped stretches of historic Route 66. Here, a string of alphabetically named desert towns of Amboy, Bolo, Cadiz, Danby, Essex, Fenner and others were first established as eastern Mojave railroad water stops. Below Cadiz Inc.’s holdings lies the Fenner Basin, an ancient aquifer estimated to hold between 17 million and 34 million acre-feet of water, slowly replenished by infrequent rainfall events occurring in the surrounding federally protected desert mountain ranges — kcet.org

February 02, 2018 — Lettuce Saves The Colorado River — Water levels are up this winter at Lake Mead, a gauge for the Colorado River’s ability to supply 30 million people with water, thanks partly to a surprising hero: lettuce. Farmers’ switching to lettuce, which uses less water because it’s cultivated only part of the year, from alfalfa, a thirsty year-round crop, helped push the lake to 1,087.6 feet (331.5 meters) above sea level as of Jan. 31. That’s more than 1 foot higher than a year ago and above the benchmark of 1,075 feet, at which point regional water restrictions kick in — bloomberg.com

(Francisco Kjolseth | Tribune file photo) The Colorado River as it winds through southeastern Utah. The Lake Powell Pipeline... January 28, 2018 — Utah spent $33 million on a pipeline application it never finished. The feds approved it anyway — If you’re hoping to understand Utah’s drive to build the massive Lake Powell pipeline and what it might cost you, don’t start with the state’s explanation of it all to the U.S. government. The thousands of pages Utah produced to justify the 140-mile, multibillion-dollar pipeline from Lake Powell to water districts in two southwestern Utah counties are inscrutable to most involved — the project’s opponents, government regulators, and even some of the people who wrote the documents — sltrib.com

January 25, 2018 — Water Battle Continues in Lincoln County — Local Lincoln County cattle operators say there is a lot of fight over water between themselves and sheep grazing operations run by the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) — lccentral.com

The 140-mile Lake Powell Pipeline would pump 77 million gallons of water daily to Washington and Kane counties. January 23, 2017 — Utah is headed into a water battle it can’t win — While states along the Colorado River plan for future shortages, Utah is betting on a big new diversion of water stored behind Glen Canyon Dam. It’s called the Lake Powell Pipeline, and last month the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission accepted Utah’s licensing application to drain water from the reservoir. The federal agency’s acceptance triggers a new environmental analysis and public comment process for what would become the largest new diversion of the Colorado River. Costing billions of dollars, this would also be one of the state’s most expensive infrastructure projects — hcn.org    [by Eric Balken, Eric is a contributor to Writers on the Range, the opinion service of High Country News. He is the executive director of the Glen Canyon Institute in Salt Lake City]

Las Vegas Review-Journal The forecasted flow for the Colorado River, seen near Willow Beach, Arizona, this coming year is bleak, as rain and snowfall in areas that feed the river have fallen below average. January 17, 2017 — Colorado River’s forecast bleak — The first forecast for the Colorado River is in, and the outlook for the coming year is bleak. The National Weather Service’s Colorado Basin River Forecast Center predicts the river will flow at about 54 percent of its average volume during the key runoff period from April to July. That’s when the river usually swells with snowmelt from the Rockies and other ranges, but precipitation so far this winter has been well below normal across the region. The Salt Lake City-based forecast center released a report Jan. 3 showing December snow totals as low as 20 percent of average in some areas. There’s still plenty of time for conditions to improve. The river basin tends to accumulate much of its snowpack in January, February and March — bouldercityreview.com

Lake Powell, seen in this aerial shot taken January 27, 2017, is a reservoir on the Colorado River, straddling the border between Utah and Arizona.Daniel Slim/AFP/Getty Images January 16, 2018 — Plans for Utah Pipeline to Tap Colorado River Hit a Snag — A proposed pipeline would funnel Lake Powell water 140 miles to a growing region of Utah, but opponents question if imported water for the beleaguered Colorado is the best way to meet demand. A CONTROVERSIAL PIPELINE project that would pump Colorado River water to a rapidly growing corner of Utah passed a regulatory goal and also hit a regulatory snag on the same day, prompting the state to ask the federal government to delay further decisions until the snafu is worked out — newsdeeply.com

January 15, 2017 — Snowpack Near Record Lows Spells Trouble for Western Water Supplies — Months of exceptionally warm weather and an early winter snow drought across big swaths of the West have left the snowpack at record-low levels in parts of the Central and Southern Rockies, raising concerns about water shortages and economic damage. Drought spread across large parts of the Western United States this month, and storms that moved across the region in early January made up only a small part of the deficit. Runoff from melting snow is now projected to be less than 50 percent of average in key river basins in the central and southern Rockies — insideclimatenews.org

January 12, 2017 — Dream killing’ water order devastates Pahrump area residents — The Nye County Commission, sitting as the governing board of the town of Pahrump, voted by a narrow margin to forego pursuit of legal action against an order issued by the Nevada state engineer during a special meeting held Wednesday, Jan. 10. The decision sparked outrage among many and even brought some to tears as they blasted the state engineer’s order as a dream killer — PV Times.com

January 09, 2018 — Not much snow is falling in the West. What a grim snowpack means for Nevada's water supply — A year after record winter storms boosted water supplies in Northern Nevada and the Colorado River, which provides Las Vegas with most of its water, officials are watching the weather take a sharp turn in the opposite direction. Snowpack in critical basins for Nevada is far lower than the historical norms, with few storms on the horizon. Nevada water experts cautioned that it was still too early in the season to draw conclusions but acknowledged that it would be hard to climb out of the early-season deficit. So the obvious question is: What does it mean for water supply? — thenevadaindependent.com

A light dusting of snow sits atop the mountains behind a red barn along Highway 285 south of Jefferson on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018. January 06, 2018 — Colorado snowpack worst in more than 30 years in some areas leaving water suppliers on high alert — Colorado mountain snowpack shrunk to record-low levels this week, raising concerns about water supply, and some federal authorities calculated even big late snow – if it falls — may not make up for the lag. Survey crews have measured snow depths in southwestern Colorado at 22 percent of normal, the upper Colorado River Basin at 65 percent of normal and the Arkansas River Basin at 49 percent of normal. National Weather Service meteorologists forecast limited snow through mid-January, though they also see a possibility that ocean-driven atmospheric patterns will shift by March and bring snow — denverpost.com

(Paul Fraughton | Tribune file photo) Glen Canyon Dam, with Lake Powell stretching behind it. Utah officials are seeking a delay in federal review of the proposed Lake Powell Pipeline, while they ask the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to clarify the extent of its jurisdiction over the water project January 06, 2018 — Utah reluctantly asks feds to push pause on the state’s Lake Powell Pipeline — In a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, state officials ask that the massive water project be put on hold until feds clear up who has jurisdiction to approve it — www.sltrib.com

January 06, 2018 — Dry winter forecast appears more likely — truckeeriver.org

January 04, 2018 — Water treatment plant aims to keep chemical out of the Lake Mead — Las Vegas Review Journal

January 03,2018 — Dry start to winter prompts ugly forecast for Colorado River — The first forecast for the Colorado River is in, and the outlook for the coming year is bleak. The National Weather Service’s Colorado Basin River Forecast Center predicts the river will flow at about 54 percent of its average volume during the key runoff period from April to July. That’s when the river usually swells with snowmelt from the Rockies and other ranges, but precipitation so far this winter has been well below normal across the region — Las Vegas Review Journalk [Print PDF]



Go To Water Grab News Archives — 2017



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