Current Events

U.S. and Canada Water Wars?

According to a recent Water Online article, the U.S. and Canada could soon be at odds over water. Post Media's Canada.com recently reported: "Canada must prepare for diplomatic water wars with the U.S., as demand on both sides of the border grows for this vital but ultimately limited resource, says Gary Doer, Canadian ambassador to the United States." He said the problem is so pressing that in five years it will make other public debates look "silly." “I think five years from now we will be spending diplomatically a lot of our time and a lot of our work dealing with water,” he said in the report. “There will be pressure on water quality and water quantity.” Canada is rich in water resources--the country controls over 21 percent of the world's supply of fresh water.


Mega-Drought!?

The 15-year drought across most of the Western U.S. is what bioclimatologist Park Williams indicated is notable because "more area in the West has persistently been in drought during the past 15 years than in any other 15-year period since the 1150s and 1160s" — that's more than 850 years ago. 


“Shocking” Groundwater Losses and Drought Causing Land to Rise and Rumble

According to satellite data and a study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters in July, in the last nine years, as a powerful drought held fast and river flows plummeted, the majority of the freshwater losses—nearly 80 percent--in the Colorado River Basin came from water pumped out of aquifers.

Natural Disasters on the Rise

According to a recent report by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the world is nearly five times as disaster-prone as it was in the 1970s. The WMO researchers attributed this to increasing risks brought by climate change. The first decade of the 21st century saw 3,496 natural disasters from floods, storms, droughts, and heat waves.

National Water Policy?

American water policy has long been the subject of scholarly criticisms. The fractured nature of U.S. water policy has been criticized for decades. In an effort to address some of these concerns, countless commissions, councils, and studies have been established and conducted. All have called for new directions in water policy and better planning, evaluation, and coordination. Over the decades, concerns about water supply and development continue to mount. These concerns consistently point to the need to establish a national water commission to assess future water demands, study current management programs, and develop recommendations for a comprehensive strategy. Some researchers view the fragmented nature of water policy as being based on attitudes and perceptions about water in general and that prolonged water shortages and droughts may be a catalyst to change attitudes. In other words, when physical limits of water are reached, the political arena will change. Perhaps the catalyst to change attitudes has arrived.


Colorado Water Plan

In June, each of the basin roundtables submitted their draft implementation plans to the CWCB. The CWCB will review basin plans in July. Then the huge challenge will be to incorporate each of the basin plans all into the larger Colorado Water Plan and provide a draft to Governor Hickenlooper by his imposed deadline of December 2014. In May of this year, the Governor signed legislation (SB115) that instructs the CWCB to have hearings in each basin and for the draft plan to be presented to the Legislature’s interim committee on water resources.


Recreation at Lake Nighthorse

While Lake Nighthorse filled in 2011, it is still not open to the public for recreation. To help address and alleviate growing public concerns and outcries about this, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) provided an update to the public on recreation at Lake Nighthorse on June 18th in Durango. There were approximately 100 in attendance.


Durango’s New Whitewater Park Opens

The Whitewater Park in-stream construction that began November 2, 2013, is finished and opened on April 18th.  Features of the $1 million project include eddies, flow deflectors, and four bank-to-bank drop features that create large rapids, said Scott Shipley, Olympic paddler and designer of Durango’s Whitewater Park.


The Value of McPhee Reservoir and the Dolores River, by Mike Preston

McPhee Reservoir is the centerpiece of the Dolores Project, which expanded irrigation to 28,500 acres of land from Yellow Jacket to Dove Creek and to 7,600 acres of Ute Mountain Ute Farm and Ranch operations. These irrigated lands produce some of the highest-quality dairy hay in the West, along with a variety of other crops, including 640 acres of native seed that is being used to restore BLM lands across the west. The project also provides water to a growing number of smaller vegetable producers.


Drought

As anyone who has heard or seen the news this first quarter of 2014 can tell you, drought topped the list of current event coverage. Allow some of the following headlines to illustrate:

Water shortages: What to expect in the future (February 17, 2014--Arizona Republic)

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