December 27, 2012 |
A study released last week by the Bureau of Reclamation confirms what everyone already knows: We are sucking more water out of the Colorado River Basin than nature is putting in. Like draining a savings account, water users in the seven basin states (Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California) and Mexico have been drawing down Lake Powell and Lake Mead by about a million more acre-feet of water than rain and snowmelt provide each year. According to the bureau, users' plans for yet more pipelines combined with the effects of global warming, will push the annual deficit as high as 8 million acre-feet by 2060, a cataclysmic shortfall.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 13, 2012 |
Water demand in the Colorado River Basin will greatly outstrip supply in coming decades as a result of drought, climate change and population growth, according to a broad-ranging federal study. It projects that by 2060, river supplies will fall short of demand by about 3.2 million acre-feet - more than five times the amount of water annually consumed by Los Angeles. "This study should serve as a call to action," U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Wednesday as he released a report that predicted a drier future for the seven states that depend on the Colorado for irrigation and drinking supplies.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 20, 2012 |
SAN DIEGO - After years of sporadic negotiations, U.S. and Mexican officials Tuesday are set to sign a major agreement aimed at improving binational cooperation over the Colorado River. Under the five-year deal, regional water agencies in Southern California, Arizona and Nevada will purchase a total of nearly 100,000 acre-feet of water from Mexico's share of the Colorado River - enough to cover the needs of 200,000 families for a year. In exchange, Mexico will receive $10 million to repair damage done to its irrigation canals by the magnitude 7.2 earthquake that struck the Mexicali Valley in 2010.
March 25, 2012 |
River deltas are among the most biologically productive ecosystems on Earth, and for millions of years the delta of the Colorado River was no exception. After a 1,450-mile journey from its headwaters in the Rocky Mountains south into Mexico, the Colorado sustained verdant marshes teeming with life before emptying into the aquatic Eden of the upper Gulf of California. In 1922, the great naturalist Aldo Leopold canoed through the delta, which he described as "a milk and honey wilderness" and a land of "a hundred green lagoons.
March 18, 2012 |
Out in the desert, the wind never quits. Over its howling one day recently, Roy Howard strained to make himself heard as he explained why its usual accompaniment, the rush of water and the rumble of enormous industrial pumps, had fallen silent. We were at the Metropolitan Water District's Julian Hinds Pumping Plant, situated at the edge of Joshua Tree National Park and about 20 miles north of the Salton Sea. Hinds is one of five pumping plants on the Colorado River Aqueduct. And it's the last point on the 242-mile journey of Colorado River water from Lake Havasu on the California-Arizona border where pumping is needed.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 19, 2011 |
Over the last five years, the Salton Sea's shoreline has been steadily receding into the desert, creating a "bathtub ring" of exposed lake bed around the 360-square-mile body of murky water that straddles Imperial and Riverside counties. Once, it was one of the most productive fisheries and wildlife habitats in the state, but the shrinking Salton Sea has hit hard times. Along with imperiling the fish that live in the hyper-saline water and the migratory birds that stop along their annual journey, the shrinkage exposes a pesticide-laden lake bed that could contribute to the dust storms that have given the region some of the dirtiest air in California.