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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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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 ó including a growing population and a changing climate ó its flows are projected to decline over the next several decades —

February 15, 2018 — Restrictions wonít 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. CAPís hit, Clark said, is about 349,000 acre-feet of water —

February 09, 2018 — Historically dry winter means Lake Mead may be closer to shortfall than people think — Lake Mead shortfall as soon as 2019? donít write it off a Q&A with the ADWR director about potential consequences of an historically low snowpack in the rockies —

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 —

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 —

February 05, 2018 — The Trouble with Cadiz — Cadiz Inc.ís 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.ís 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 —

February 02, 2018 — Lettuce Saves The Colorado River — Water levels are up this winter at Lake Mead, a gauge for the Colorado Riverís ability to supply 30 million people with water, thanks partly to a surprising hero: lettuce. Farmersí switching to lettuce, which uses less water because itís 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. Thatís 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 —

(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 youíre hoping to understand Utahís drive to build the massive Lake Powell pipeline and what it might cost you, donít start with the stateís 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 projectís opponents, government regulators, and even some of the people who wrote the documents —

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) —

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 canít 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. Itís called the Lake Powell Pipeline, and last month the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission accepted Utahís licensing application to drain water from the reservoir. The federal agencyís 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 stateís most expensive infrastructure projects —    [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 Riverís forecast bleak — The first forecast for the Colorado River is in, and the outlook for the coming year is bleak. The National Weather Serviceís 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. Thatís 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. Thereís still plenty of time for conditions to improve. The river basin tends to accumulate much of its snowpack in January, February and March —

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 —

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 —

January 12, 2017 — Dream killingí 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 engineerís order as a dream killer — PV

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? —

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 ó 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 —

(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 stateís 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 —

January 06, 2018 — Dry winter forecast appears more likely —

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 Serviceís 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. Thatís 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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