Topic: Water Conservation


How Arizona delayed a looming water crisis

Excerpt: With Lake Mead dangerously low, Arizona leaders have forged a remarkable agreement to fend off shortages.

Excerpt: And what a solution it is: an agreement among a variety of Arizona, Nevada and California interests aimed at keeping enough water in Lake Mead to buy time for long-term solutions. It also changes thinking about the Colorado River, making the three states partners rather than competitors jostling for every drop.

Excerpt: And this really is just the first step, the quick patch on the leak. Lake Mead is falling because Arizona, California and Nevada take more than nature can replenish. Long-term solutions require finding more water.

How not to squander Arizona's water legacy

Excerpt: The Salt River Project, the Central Arizona Project and the Groundwater Management Act are all examples of Arizonans recognizing critical needs and creating structures to deliver and manage our water supplies. More recently, the Groundwater Replenishment District and the Arizona Water Bank were formed to create more options for water preservation.

Excerpt: That legacy has enabled us to weather the current prolonged drought far more easily than other Western states, even while preserving agricultural use, holding down municipal water rates, avoiding mandatory rationing and banking water for future needs. As a state, we are currently using about the same amount of water we did in 1960, even as the population has increased nearly fivefold.

Excerpt: The issues of sharing, developing and managing water are at the center of our civilization in the arid Southwest. The Anasazi, the Hohokam and our Hispanic and Anglo forefathers all realized this. The legacy is ours to share, to celebrate and to protect. Let's get on with it.

Tucson eyes expanding rainwater collection rebates

Excerpt: A water conservation program that offers rebates to Tucson homeowners may be expanded despite concerns from a utility company.

The Tucson City Council was expected this week to discuss the possibility of offering more rebates to homeowners who collect rainwater and irrigate their yards

Excerpt: The council will discuss expanding the rebates from homeowners to small businesses and people who carve curb cuts in front of their homes to draw in storm runoff from the street.

The program's supporters say the utility ignores rainwater's benefits, including that it's free and requires no energy to pump it from the ground or uphill from the Colorado River.

The back-and-forth could last until June, when Tucson Water makes recommendations on whether to keep the rebates.

Water Wasters May Face Jail Time

Excerpt: When California water regulators authorized $500 fines for water wasting, the public marveled at how far the state was willing to go to face down the drought.

Excerpt: The crackdown on water wasters is a statewide affair. A measure approved by the State Water Resources Control Board in July imposed "new restrictions on outdoor water use starting Aug. 1 that could result in fines of up to $500 per violation," the San Jose Mercury News reported.

Arizona readying long-term plan on water

Excerpt: Arizona has a long history of meeting the challenges of developing water supplies necessary to live and thrive in this arid land.

Ingenuity, innovation and investment, coupled with widespread, dedicated support from a coalition of water users, elected officials, community, tribal, and business leaders, have provided the resilient, sustainable water portfolio we enjoy the benefit of today.

Excerpt: These systems are under stress. Yields from both the Colorado and our in-state rivers are reduced. We anticipate reductions in allocations to the Central Arizona Project, most likely starting in 2016.

Excerpt: ADWR is continuing collaborative work with interested parties as we chart our future, including joining with the Morrison Institute for Public Policy this fall in a facilitated discussion on strategies and priorities. Resolute and focused leadership will be required to ensure that future generations of Arizonans enjoy economic security supported by resilient, affordable water supplies.

Water in the West: The West gets thirstier as water supplies dwindle

Excerpt: The state of water supplies in the arid West is volatile, and forecasts are grim. Lake Powell and Lake Mead are at alarmingly low levels, while populations across the West are swelling past the capacities of current water supplies.

The Colorado River Basin is facing a battle of sorts as the state works to create a water plan. It’s a battle against time and against competing water needs, both here in Colorado and in lower basin states including Nevada, Arizona and California.

Excerpt: The Colorado River Compact

With climate, population and water resources change upon us, those working toward drafting the state water plan sense that the potential for a Colorado water catastrophe is real.

That catastrophe could come in many forms, but the most feared is a curtailment of the Colorado River Compact of 1922.

Excerpt: When prices are low, people overuse water. But when they’re high, conservation becomes a lot easier and more attractive. And conservation is a big theme in the first draft of the Colorado Basin Implementation Plan, which came out last month and will undergo several more revisions before it’s sent to the state later this year for incorporation into the state water plan.

5 reasons to panic about Arizona's water, and 5 reasons not to

Excerpt: As brown became the new green in drought-stricken California this summer (and as "Drought-Stricken" became that state's unofficial first name), some of the national media took a quick look around and started asking: If the Golden State was shutting down its sprinklers, was the whole West about to dry up and blow away?

Excerpt: It's true, rain in metro Phoenix doesn't do much for the water supply, because there's so little of it that most water is imported from elsewhere. But a lot of that water comes from the Colorado River, which is a source of water for 40 million people in seven states, including Arizona. And the Colorado has seen below-average runoff in all but three years since 2000. Lake Mead has fallen to its lowest level since it started filling in the 1930s.

Excerpt: So yes, Arizona is running out of water — just the way it was when it built the Central Arizona Project, the same way it was when it passed the groundwater-protection laws. It's highly unlikely that anything dramatic will change for most Arizonans in the next six years. There's a lot of water left out there. But only time and people's decisions will tell if it's enough.

Tucson looks at treating wastewater for drinking

Excerpt: Tucson is taking its first tentative dip into the sometimes turbulent waters of recycling treated sewage effluent for drinking.

Excerpt: Tucson Water has produced a detailed long-range plan and an accompanying timetable that calls for building a pilot project to recycle wastewater for potable use as soon as three years from now.

Excerpt: But as effluent’s use for drinking grows around the arid Southwest, it’s a water supply that many local officials say is inevitable, given the region’s ongoing drought and population growth. They see it as the region’s only sustainable, locally generated water supply, particularly given the strains on the Colorado River due to continued drought.

Study Urges Reuse and Conservation

Excerpt: Water conservation and reuse are being urged in a study that makes recommendations about addressing the Colorado River drought, which threatens the future well-being of Arizona and six other Western states.

Excerpt: He says everyone can all help out by trying to use less water in daily life. "People in Arizona can help save water by installing more efficient faucets, toilets, and switching to a desert landscape which requires far less water,” he points out. “We can all do our part and help ensure that we have enough water for the future." Rice adds the last decade of severe drought has left Colorado River levels at the two main storage reservoirs, Lake Mead in Nevada and Lake Powell in Utah, at historically low levels.

Satellites reveal extent of groundwater loss

Excerpt: A 14-year drought in the southwestern United States has drained reservoirs such as Nevada's Lake Mead to record lows. But satellite measurements show that the losses are even greater underground.

Excerpt: The result was more than 50 trillion litres, roughly 1.5 more than the maximum capacity of the United States' largest reservoir, Lake Mead in Nevada and Arizona. “It was way more than we ever thought,” says study co-author Jay Famiglietti, a water-cycle scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California.

Excerpt: Because most irrigation in the Colorado River basin relies on groundwater, agriculture is most likely to suffer as the supply is depleted, the authors say. Rural communities that rely on well water are also at risk, Lund points out, and there are environmental threats, too. Overdrawing groundwater dries up the springs that feed pool ecosystems, stranding endangered species such as the desert pupfish (Cyprinodon macularius).

Colorado River groundwater's depletion poses threat

Excerpt: Seven Western states that rely on the Colorado River Basin for valuable water are drawing more heavily from groundwater supplies than previously believed, a new study finds, the latest indication that a historic drought is threatening the region’s future access to water.

Excerpt: "We were shocked to see how much water was actually depleted underground," Stephanie Castle, a water specialist at the University of California at Irvine and lead author of the report, said in an interview.

Excerpt: But what surprised scientists was how much groundwater had been making up the difference. More than three quarters of the water lost over the past decade came from underground. Groundwater doesn’t replenish as quickly as surface water, which comes from rain and snow, and the heavier-than-expected usage is straining already limited resources.

Water attorney warns of continuing drought

Excerpt: The Yuma area has extraordinary soil and water rights from the Colorado River to produce lush fields of fresh vegetables and other crops that help feed the nation.

But those legal rights to water might not be worth much if the lingering drought in the Southwest continues, warned a leading local water expert.

Excerpt: According to guidelines worked out in 2007, reductions in apportionments will be imposed when Lake Mead falls below 1,075 feet, with Arizona and Nevada sharing in shortages. Mexico also voluntarily agreed in Minute 319 to accept reduced deliveries. There would be no reductions to California.

Excerpt: He suggests a third option: "People get together now and get really serious about keeping water in the lake. We all need to decide where we stand. We can refuse to consider doing anything differently. Or we see what we can do to impact the results."

Arizona Enlists a Beetle in Its Campaign for Water

Excerpt: Farmers, ranchers and the water authorities here are eager to get rid of the tamarisk trees, which are not native to Arizona and which they say suck too much water.

Excerpt: “We view the tamarisk as a pest,” said Joseph Sigg, the government relations director at the Arizona Farm Bureau. “Water is an expensive input, and to the extent that we can lower it, the beetle can help.”

Excerpt: “You cut out tamarisk, plant native species and build a canopy so the tamarisk don’t come back,” said Robert F. Upham, an engineer with the City of Phoenix who has worked on the project. “The idea was to have nature take care of nature.”

Water war bubbling up between California and Arizona

Excerpt: The year was 1934, and Arizona was convinced that the construction of Parker Dam on the lower Colorado River was merely a plot to enable California to steal its water rights.

Excerpt: The issue still is the Colorado River. Overconsumption and climate change have placed the river in long-term decline. It's never provided the bounty that was expected in 1922, when the initial allocations among the seven states of the Colorado River basin were penciled out as part of the landmark Colorado River Compact, which enabled Hoover Dam to be built, and the shortfall is growing.

Excerpt: That proposal has been pushed by the Glen Canyon Institute, a Salt Lake City-based environmental group, but faces hurdles in Utah, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico, where residents fear that draining Lake Powell will only allow California, Arizona and Nevada to deprive them of their legal right to the river's flow.

Arizona Cities Could Face Cutbacks in Water

Excerpt: Arizona could be forced to cut water deliveries to its two largest cities unless states that tap the dwindling Colorado River find ways to reduce water consumption and deal with a crippling drought, officials of the state’s canal network said Tuesday.

The warning comes as the federal Bureau of Reclamation forecasts that Lake Mead, a Colorado River reservoir that is the network’s sole water source, will fall next month to a level not seen since the lake was first filled in 1938.

Excerpt: “We’re dealing with a very serious issue, and people need to pay attention to it,” Sharon Megdal, a University of Arizona water expert and board member of the Central Arizona Project, said in an interview. “The possibility of cutbacks of water deliveries to municipalities is higher than we’ve ever thought it was going to be.”

Excerpt: An end to the drought, followed by a few years of heavy rains, could rescue the states. But many now say that climate change would make that a temporary respite. Most scientists believe global warming will make an already arid region even drier in this century.

“We can’t expect to live on releases from the upper basin anymore,” Mr. McCann said. “The states need to come together and make hard choices so we can stem the decline of Lake Mead.”

Drying up

Excerpt: Water is expensive and is becoming increasingly scarce.

And as growing communities put more stress on the water resources of the American Southwest, costs here are only going up.

Excerpt: Geologist and Water Resources Coordinator Doyle Wilson has a goal to make Lake Havasu City as self-sufficient as possible, and two grant applications have been submitted that could bring the city money to take a meaningful step in that direction.

“We need to lay a good foundation to delay negative impacts to the citizenry,” Wilson said. “We need to avoid high-priced water.”

Excerpt: “It’s not a system that will hold the water forever,” Wilson said. “The idea behind the whole thing is to inject during the winter time and pull it back out during the summer. We won’t lose as much water if we pull it out seasonally.”

Hard decisions for long-term water future?

Excerpt: More than century of planning has brought Arizona to this point, starting with the Salt River Project and decades of arduous negotiations that led to a supply of Colorado River water. So have the landmark Groundwater Management Act of 1980 and a system of banking some of the state's Colorado River allotment in aquifers.

Excerpt: If the Colorado River's flow continues to suffer, the U.S. Department of the Interior could declare a shortage as early as 2017. Under the agreement that established the CAP, Arizona's rights to the Colorado would take a hit before California loses a drop, triggering conservation steps that include reducing delivery to irrigated farms that use the majority of Arizona's water supply.

Excerpt: "When Arizonans can unquestionably turn on the tap and get water without question, we're doing our job," she said. "We don't want our customers to have to think about whether there will be water or not."

As for Prescott, the plans to import water have stalled - some believe because of a ballot measure limiting capital outlay to $40 million-voter-approved pieces, while others say it comes down to agreements with SRP or mitigating impacts on the Verde River, among other challenges.

Gray-water systems catching on in Tucson

Excerpt: Since 2008, Tucson has required plumbing in new homes to allow homeowners to set up gray-water systems to reuse water from bathroom sinks, showers and tubs as well as washing machines to water plants and lawns. Noting that a third of household wastewater typically can be reused as gray water, the city also offers a $1,000 rebate to homeowners installing permanent gray-water systems.

Excerpt: "We need to become much more efficient and creative at how we reuse," he said. "We need to recycle what we have multiple times and do it in the lowest-energy, highest-productive way."

Excerpt: The gray-water system at Reid Park Zoo's Conservation Learning Center complements a catchment system through which rain that hits the roof is used in its toilets, reducing the use of potable water inside by about half. Both systems tie into the zoo's overall conservation efforts, said Vivian VanPeenen, a zoo spokeswoman.

"The practice of conserving water and other natural resources is definitely effective for the zoo and the species we care for," she said.

Price a tool for water conservation in Arizona?

Excerpt: It is a complex calculation, but at the most fundamental level this much is true: The amount of water needed to have a lush, green lawn in Phoenix would yield a substantially higher water bill for a homeowner in Tucson.

Excerpt: As leaders ponder the long-term future of Arizona’s water supply, Hunting and others say that raising water prices, balanced against the fact that people must have water to survive, is an option for encouraging conservation and helping people better appreciate the true value of water.

“Water is heavily subsidized and way too cheap,” said Sandy Bahr, director of the Sierra Club’s Grand Canyon Chapter. “Because of that it is not valued.”

Excerpt: These options would help fill a gap between water supply and demand that Tannler said may not be possible to address through conservation alone.

“Conservation certainly helps, but there may be a limit,” he said.

Michael J. Lacey, director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources, said in order to bridge an anticipated gap in water supply Arizona will need to start making plans that will manifest in the next 30 to 40 years.

“Everyone will be asked to shoulder some of the solution,” he said.

Pay water users to take less

Excerpt: Farmers, cities and power plant operators could soon be paid to cut their use of the Colorado River under a new interstate program aimed at keeping more water in Lake Mead and Lake Powell.

The four largest communities fed by the Colorado plan to pour millions of dollars into a fund to help farmers and industrial operations pay for efficiency improvements and conservation measures to cut their river water use.

Excerpt: The water authority board signed off on the conservation concept — and the $2 million — on April 17. Entsminger hopes to see a final agreement among the agencies and the federal government within a month or so. The first conservation projects could be funded as early as this fall, he said.

Excerpt: “We’re right on the verge of having to extend all of our launch ramps, but we expect to be able to get through this summer,” Vanover said. “It’s important for people to know that no matter what happens there will still be access to Lake Mead.”

Wichita Falls Sees Wastewater Recycling As Solution

Excerpt: Wichita Falls could soon become the first in the country where half of the drinking water comes directly from wastewater.

Excerpt: Mayor Glenn Barham says three years of extreme drought have changed life for 104,000 people living in Wichita Falls, which is about 140 miles northwest of Dallas.

“(There’s) no outside irrigation whatsoever with potable water. Car washes are closed one day a week. If you drain your pool to do maintenance you aren’t allowed to fill it,” he explained.

Excerpt: Nix says the extra treatment will eliminate unwanted minerals and pathogens like cryptosporidium and giardia.

“We just don’t have time to put the water out in a body of water, a wetlands, or lake and allow nature to take its course,” Nix said. “Inside the treatment plant, we speed those processes up so rather than wait several weeks for UV rays from the sun to disinfect or kill bacteria we do it in the plant using chlorine. It takes a matter of minutes to do it instead of weeks.”

Arizona Town Runs Low on Water

Excerpt: 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.

Excerpt: Officials in Williams jumped straight to the most severe restrictions after receiving only about 6 inches of precipitation from October to April — about half of normal levels — and a bleak forecast that doesn't include much rain. City leaders acknowledge the move is extreme but say it's the only way to make the city has enough water to survive.

Excerpt: "We don't have enough water to waste it," said Evans, president of the Northern Arizona Municipal Water Users Association.

In Williams, Moore recently looked out at the reservoirs surrounding town in anticipation of a monsoon season that could help replenish them.

"We know in due time, the lakes will fill back up, the snow will come," he said.

Kingman, Golden Valley use too much water

Excerpt: Water use in Kingman and Golden Valley is outstripping supply, according to hydrologists with the U.S. Geological Survey.

Excerpt: Annual water demand in Golden Valley from the Sacramento Valley Basin exceeded yearly supplies by about 2,400 acre-feet, and annual water demands in Kingman from the Hualapai Basin exceeded yearly supplies by about 5,600 acre-feet, said a USGS report presented to the Mohave County Board of Supervisors Monday.

Excerpt: The onus to resolving the county's water issue rests with the Board of Supervisors, said state Sen. Kelli Ward, R-Lake Havasu City, who attended Monday's meeting.

Excerpt: The board tasked County Supervisor Mike Hendrix to work with the U.S. Geological Survey to determine what that additional study would specifically require, and to present his findings to the board at a later date.

An Innovative Conservation Fund for the Colorado River

Excerpt: The four largest cities that get their drinking water from the Colorado River are gearing up to pilot an innovative conservation scheme that pays farmers, industries and municipalities to reduce their use of the river’s water.

Excerpt: The fund would pay for voluntary reductions in water use – whether by fallowing farm fields, installing more efficient irrigation systems, recycling industrial supplies, or other means– but the savings would benefit the basin as a whole by increasing reservoir storage and thereby mitigating shortages.

Excerpt: By collaboratively creating an incentive for basin-wide conservation, the big four urban water users and the Bureau of Reclamation have an opportunity to bring more resilience and adaptability to the drought-stricken, overtapped Colorado River.

San Joaquin Valley sinking

Excerpt: Now that bounty is threatened by a crisis of geological proportions: The land is sinking – crippling the region’s irrigation and flood control infrastructure and damaging aquifers that are buffers against climate change.

Nature, though, is not to blame. This problem is self-inflicted, driven by the frontier-style exploitation of the last unregulated resource in California: groundwater.

Excerpt: Today’s drama is only the latest chapter in a long-running saga of sinking. Three generations ago, so much groundwater was pumped from aquifers that half the valley sank like a giant pie crust, sagging 28 feet near Mendota and inflicting damage to irrigation canals, pipelines, bridges, roads and other infrastructure.

Excerpt: “Obviously, nobody wants to be regulated any more than we are,” Michael said. “But I think maybe we have to have somebody step in. People are probably going to be upset that I would say something like that. We have to find ways to protect the resource that we have.

“There are all kinds of surface regulations (for water) and you’ve got this Wild West underneath the ground. The chickens are coming home to roost, unfortunately,” Michael said.

Colorado River Water Managers Plan for Persistent Drought

Excerpt: The severe risks of an extended drought in the Colorado River Basin – a shutdown of hydropower generation, functionally empty lakes, and restrictions on water use – are forcing the basin’s seven states to consider unprecedented changes in how they manage a scarce resource.

Excerpt: “We’ve never had to do this before because we never planned for this degree of low water storage,” Don Ostler, executive director of the Upper Colorado River Commission, an administrative body, told Circle of Blue. “We want to plan for extreme hydrology the likes of which we have never seen.”

Excerpt: “We’re certainly having discussions about existing drought and contingency planning for an ongoing sustained drought,” said Colby Pellegrino, who handles Colorado River issues for Southern Nevada Water Authority, the state’s largest water utility. “But we’re not to a point where we can say what those options will be.”

Arizona’s long-term water future

Excerpt: More than century of planning has brought Arizona to this point, starting with the Salt River Project and decades of arduous negotiations that led to a supply of Colorado River water. So have the landmark Groundwater Management Act of 1980 and a system of banking some of the state’s Colorado River allotment in aquifers.

Excerpt: In January, an Arizona Department of Water Resources report pointed to the potential for a long-term imbalance between available water and demands over the next century. It said that Arizona will need to develop additional water supplies over the next 25 to 100 years to keep pace with growth.

Excerpt: “What we need right now is a deeper understanding by policymakers about what our situation is,” he said. “I want someone who will look at the complex solutions, not the short easy ones.”
Pickard, the CAP board president, said this election year will test which politicians are ready to make Arizona’s water future a priority.
“When Arizonans can unquestionably turn on the tap and get water without question, we’re doing our job,” she said. “We don’t want our customers to have to think about whether there will be water or not.”

April is Arizona Water Awareness Month

Excerpt: Ideas, tips, resources and events to help you conserve water and get more info about Arizona's most precious resource, WATER!

Cities committed to wise water use

Excerpt: Potential water shortages have been in the news lately, reminding us desert-dwellers that we need to use water wisely. While others talk about the need to conserve, the cities of the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association walk the walk, implementing comprehensive programs to shrink demand, with plans in place to manage drought and preserve our water supplies for future generations.

Excerpt: Maybe you've heard of Water — Use It Wisely. AMWUA cities developed this program to help our residents to conserve, and more than 400 communities and organizations across North America have adopted it. Our cities also implement 305 management practices to reduce water use, including water rates to encourage conservation, rebates for converting turf to water-efficient landscaping, and water-saving plumbing retrofits for low-income residents.

Wise water use is the key to desert living. The AMWUA cities are committed to the task.

A pulse of life at the mouth of the Colorado

Excerpt: A river bled dry by thirsty cities and farms in two countries will flow once again through northern Mexico later this month in an international experiment in habitat restoration.

Excerpt: Under the watchful eyes of researchers from a bi-national scientific team, the initial flood from Morelos Dam — a mile south of where California, Arizona and Mexico adjoin — will build and then ebb through May 18. The goal is to spur growth along the river channel, which historically harbored native, flood-adapted willow and cottonwood trees.

Excerpt: The 105,000 acre-feet to be released during the pulse represents less than 1 percent of the river’s flow in an average year, but it should be enough to reconnect the Colorado to the sea — temporarily.

If advocates hope to restore the flow for good, they will have to persuade users to consume less and cooperate even more.

Testing Recycled Waste Water Complete

Excerpt: Wichita Falls water users should have recycled waste water coming to their homes and businesses in May.

Excerpt: Today was the last of 40 days of testing required by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to ensure the water is safe to drink.

All preliminary tests show the recycled water is safe to drink. Officials at the Cypress Treatment Plant say so far the project has had very few glitches.

Excerpt: If they say the water is safe, then officials will take 7 and a half million gallons of the water that gets flushed down toilets and washed down drains to the River Road Waste Water Plant, then pump it back to the Cypress Water Treatment Plant. That water will go through 4 treatment process, turning it into 5 million gallons of recycled water, blending it with 5 million gallons of water from Lake Arrowhead and Kickapoo for a total of ten million gallons coming from the treatment plant to faucets.

Arizona's drinking-water needs will force trade-offs

Excerpt: Meeting the drinking-water needs of Arizona’s future population will force residents to live with trade-offs. But as more people move here and are born here, they may not have a choice, state officials say.

Excerpt: Instead of pushing big water projects, the state should look at reducing water demand and seriously consider whether the growth envisioned in the report is achievable, desirable or sustainable, the Sierra Club said.

Excerpt: The water study was not an academic exercise — it was designed to spur action, said Lacey, the state water director. The agency hopes for broader public participation in water issues than anytime since Arizona’s landmark Groundwater Management Act passed in 1980, he said.

Day of reckoning for parched Southwest

Excerpt: When it comes to water in America, this truth is self-evident: We are guzzlers from sea to shining sea. Nowhere, though, are the effects of our thirst as visible and self-destructive as they are in the Southwest, the fastest-growing and driest region of the country, where just one long and lonely river, the Colorado, must slake the needs of seven states.

Excerpt: It's not seriously disputed that the region's water shortfall is large and will become worse, even in the absence of drought. Likewise, it is widely acknowledged that increasingly strict conservation measures will soon become the norm in the region. What is striking, however, is the reluctance of state officials, builders, and others to acknowledge two more truths that the weight of evidence points to: first, that the relentless growth the Southwest has become accustomed to over the last half-century is unsustainable; second, that either in a planned way executed over time to cushion shock or disruptively after more years of whistling past the graveyard, growth of population and industry will slow and stop.

Excerpt: "The Western dream," he says, "is going to come with an asterisk that says 'P.S. Bring your own water.'"

Is the West's dry spell a megadrought?

Excerpt: The drought that has been afflicting most of the Western states for 13 years may be a “megadrought,” and the likelihood is high that this century could see a multidecade dry spell like nothing else seen for 1,000 years, according to research presented at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting last week.

Excerpt: He said that the chances of a widespread multidecade megadrought are high in the worst-case scenario, but he quoted University of Arizona geosciences professor Jonathan Overpeck to characterize the chances of megadrought in less severe scenarios: “It’s extremely non-negligible, the risk of prolonged multidecadal megadrought.”

The bottom line: “The picture looks like we’re going to have to take this seriously,” Ault said.

How not to kill the mighty Colorado River

Excerpt: The challenges in the Colorado River basin are large, but the good news is that cost effective solutions are available and already being tested in different parts of the basin. Implementing these solutions now will be good not only for the region’s iconic Colorado River, but also for the region’s economy.

The reality is this economic engine and lifeline of the West is running out of fuel. The Colorado River literally dries to a trickle before it even reaches the sea. Increasing populations, extended drought and uncertain future weather patterns undermine a secure water future for the region.

Excerpt: A more efficient water future will not only create a more secure water supply, but will also provide a boost to the economy. Farmers can increase productivity and use less water by upgrading aging irrigation systems. And they can reap financial rewards from voluntarily sharing some of their saved water with cities and rivers.

Biggest Water Losses Are Groundwater

Excerpt: During presentations this week at the annual fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union, researchers at the University of California, Irvine, announced that the region’s most visible signs of drought – shrinking reservoirs – are dwarfed by groundwater losses.

Excerpt: From March 2005 to June 2013, the Colorado River Basin lost 5.7 cubic kilometers (4.6 million acre-feet) of water per year, or more than 47 cubic kilometers (38 million acre-feet) over the 100-month study period. The cumulative losses are equal to 1.3 times the storage capacity of Lake Mead, the nation’s largest reservoir. Most of the water losses are attributed to groundwater pumping, mainly for irrigated agriculture.

Excerpt: If the federal government’s river-flow forecast holds true, the lower release from Powell will set up the Lower Basin for a shortage that could be declared as early as 2015 or 2016. Such a declaration is based on how much water is in Lake Mead. Arizona and Nevada would be the only states to endure water restrictions at this first shortage tier. Moreover, water managers in Arizona told Circle of Blue in August that they would weather cuts in water deliveries from the river by pumping more groundwater.

Dry with chance of shortage

Excerpt: There's a better than 50 percent chance of an official water shortage being declared in 2016 for the Lower Colorado River Basin as a result of the drought that has gripped the river's watershed for the last 14 years.

Excerpt: That's if the current trend continues, Daniel Bunk, a hydrologist for the Lower Colorado Region with the the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, told the Colorado River Citizens Forum Wednesday during an update on the status of the Colorado River Basin.

He noted that 2000 to 2013 was the driest 14-year period in more than 100 years of historical record. And based on tree ring studies, it is the fourth or fifth driest period in the past 1,200 years.

Excerpt: If a shortage is declared by the Secretary of the Interior, Arizona would bear by far the biggest impact, according to an agreement in 2007 that established shortage sharing guidelines. Under the guidelines, Arizona, which is allocated 2.8 million acre-feet of Colorado River water a year, would receive 320,000 acre-feet less water. Nevada would receive 13,000 acre-feet less water and Mexico 50,000 acre-feet less. California would not be impacted.

Water summit garners support for water conservation

Excerpt: Population growth, drought and increasing demand are challenging the Colorado River and threatening Western economies and outdoor lifestyles.

"In order to meet those challenges, we have to acknowledge that the current management and current use of the river is unsustainable. We've got to start from that point," said Udall, addressing the first Business of Water Corporate Leaders Summit in Denver, hosted by Protect the Flows, a network of almost 1,000 businesses advocating for protection of the 1,450-mile river.

Excerpt: Every speaker offered concrete strategies for not just protecting water but educating consumers on its value. George Wendt urges the 3,000 people a year who float his OARS rafts down the Colorado River to support conservation. Broomfield's WhiteWave Foods makes sure consumers know its plant-based drinks require 77 percent less water per half gallon than cow milk. MGM Resorts International is fighting to include water conservation in energy-saving metrics that often focus only on reducing carbon impact.

Excerpt: "Conserving the great outdoors is a long-term investment in jobs that can't be outsourced," said Udall, who suggested that a balance between increased conservation and wastewater treatment, expanding storage and recharging groundwater supplies would alleviate pressure on the Colorado River.

7 Ways to Become a Water Conservation Hero

Excerpt: Step 1 – Admit there is a problem
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Water use has been growing at more than the rate twice of population increase in the last century
By 2025, 1 800 million people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world population could be under stress conditions

Excerpt: Step 2 – Educate yourself
One of our favorite regular guests on the Green Divas Radio Show is Jessica Arinella from the What You Can Do video series. She is also a water hero. She has produced several very educational short videos that help us understand not only why, but how to help conserve and create healthier water supplies. Here’s a link to a Green Divas Radio Show featuringJessica Arinella talking about water conservation.
I would also recommend the UN page on water statistics.

Pilot program makes saving water fun

Excerpt: By participating in the Conserve to Enhance pilot program, Mier says she found an easy and fun way to restore the environment.

Excerpt: The program helped her and her housemates get their daily water use down to 30 gallons per person. The average Tucsonan uses between 90 and 100 gallons a day.

She saved $5 a month, which she donated to Conserve to Enhance projects.

The pilot program, which ends this year, kept track of her water savings, sent a monthly newsletter on water-saving tips and offered educational events and workshops.

Water saving may lead to big stink

Excerpt: Sewage systems around the world are plagued by the problem of odour and corrosion due to hydrogen sulfide gas from the anaerobic decomposition of human waste and waste water.

The traditional sewage system relies on masses of water to flush through waste and avoid such problems, but this doesn't always happen.

Excerpt: If everyone installed rainwater tanks, thereby reducing their use of potable water by 40 per cent, Marleni's model found the odour level would increase just a little to 5.1 parts per million, and the associated hydrogen sulfide would knock 6 years off the life of the pipes due to corrosion.

But if everyone shifted to greywater reuse this would give the "worst scenario", says Marleni.

The reuse of waste water from the bathroom and laundry to water the garden and flush toilets would reduce potable water consumption by 70 per cent, resulting in a much greater impact on odour and corrosion.

Excerpt: "There are many problems with sewers and low flows are one of them," says White.

"These are long-standing problems despite water efficiency and it's true that water efficiency could make it worse; but then if it rains you get the opposite problem."

White says decentralised treatment of sewage, using pumped smaller-diameter systems that are well sealed and have storage and better controls on flows and loads will help the problems we face with sewers.

As will reducing the biological and nutrient loads on sewers through what we put in them.

7 Ways To Conserve Water This Thanksgiving

Excerpt: When you think about Thanksgiving, you might envision a turkey dinner, or spending time with your family. However, do you ever think about water conservation?

1) Thaw frozen food in your refrigerator or microwave and not under running water.
2) Rinse vegetables in a sink or basin filled with water. A running faucet uses three to five gallons of water per minute.
3) Do not dump fats, oils or grease from cooking turkey down the drain. It can clog your plumbing system and harm the environment. Weld County’s Household Hazardous Waste program collects cooking oil on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., except on holidays like Thanksgiving. (The Weld County Household Hazardous Waste Facility is located at 1311 N. 17th Avenue in Greeley.)
4) Use your garbage disposal sparingly. A better option is to compost kitchen waste. (The City of Greeley and Weld County have developed a handbook to help people get started composting.)
5) Presoak utensils and dishes in a sink filled with water rather than in running water.
6) Only run full loads in the dishwasher. This shouldn't be too difficult with large family meals, although you may have to run your dishwasher more than once.
7) If you wash your dishes by hand, do not leave the water running for rinsing. If you have two sinks, fill one with soapy water and one with rinse water. If you only have one sink, gather the washed dishes in a dish rack and rinse them with a spray device or a pan full of hot water.

By conserving water, we make a difference

Excerpt: Upon closer examination, right there on the outside of the bag were 15 ways we all can use water more wisely.

One might think these are all common-sense suggestions — and you would be correct. But with San Angelo having less than two years of water remaining, anything and everything each of us can do will make a difference. They include:

Sweep it away. Use a broom, not the water hose, to clean sidewalks and driveways.

Slow the flow. Install a water-saving showerhead.

Excerpt: Nothing earth-shattering in the above recommendations, but collectively they add up to saving not only our water, but also our money.

We all know about the little boy throwing back into the ocean one of several starfish he found on the beach, and telling the inquisitive stranger that it makes a difference at least for that one starfish. Imagine what each of us can do, as individuals and as a caring community, by becoming better stewards of our precious water here in the Concho Valley.

Water management allows delay of tougher restrictions

Excerpt: First, San Antonio has the most effective water conservation program in the nation. We have become so efficient with water use that representatives from cities around the globe have traveled here to learn how we manage customer demand.

Distinct from drought restrictions, which help us manage pumping during a drought, water conservation is a year-round effort that has become a valuable part of our city's culture.

Excerpt: Finally, we take seriously the ramifications of imposing every-other-week watering restrictions on the community. We will always ensure that Stage 3 is imposed only when other alternatives do not exist.

This kind of analysis is continually conducted at SAWS, accounting even for infrastructure maintenance or emergency pump failures when they may arise. So I couldn't object more to assertions in recent headlines that we are gambling on the prospect of rainfall.

Excerpt: A continued commitment to water conservation and investment in new supplies must remain a priority for San Antonio. Thoughtful decisions and successful management will continue to yield benefits in the future.

Water Conservation in Durango

Excerpt: La Plata County saw those same images up close as the Animas River shrunk to near-record lows and crops shriveled in parched fields. Many farmers in the western part of the county faced a summer without irrigation water.

But because of water rights that date back to 1882, Durango’s water kept flowing as usual, pumping an average of 128.5 million gallons per month to our thirsty city. That water keeps taps flowing, washing machines running and lawn sprinklers sputtering.

Excerpt: While water conservation can reduce consumption to a point, a large chunk of the city’s water isn’t reaching paying customers. About 20 percent of the city’s treated water is unaccounted for, stemming from meter inaccuracies, unmetered water and leaking pumps.

Excerpt: “In order to meet the coming infrastructure challenge nationwide we’re going to have recover the appropriate value we place on our water systems,” Kail said. “When we truly understand that value, we’ll be in a much better place to invest in the systems in a way that’s necessary to maintain them at levels we have come to expect.”

UCI researcher urges better use of repurposed water

Excerpt: A recent article by a UC Irvine researcher argues that more of the water that normally runs off into storm drains should be repurposed and used to water plants and flush toilets.

Lead author Stanley Grant said so-called graywater and wastewater from washing dishes or showering, and rainwater that normally runs into storm drains, can be used at times when using water of drinkable quality is not required.

Reusing graywater can reduce a household's water consumption — and its bill — by 50% or more, he said.

Excerpt: Locally, the Mesa Consolidated Water District, which serves Costa Mesa, parts of Newport Beach, John Wayne Airport and the Orange County Fairgrounds, provides rebates for smart irrigation and makes house calls for those interested in saving water around their home, according to Communications Manager Stacy Taylor.

It also boasts one of the highest rates of consumer water conservation in the county, she said.

"As part of the district's mission, [Mesa Water] supports developing local and reliable sources of water, including groundwater treatment, recycled water and conservation," Taylor said. "Becoming more efficient with how we use water today is a key component to maintaining a reliable water supply for tomorrow."

8 Easy Ways to Save Water This Summer

Excerpt: Saving water is particularly important during the summer, when the days are hot and the rainfall sporadic at best. It's even more so this year as much of the country faces an unrelenting drought. If you want to cut your water bills or just do your part to conserve a precious resource, here are a few smart tips to reduce water usage around the house.


Water Conserve
Water conservation information and news
My Water Pledge
My Water Pledge is a friendly competition between cities across the US to see who can be the most “water-wise.” Mayors nationwide will challenge their residents to conserve water energy and other natural resources on behalf of their city through a series of informative, easy-to-use pledges online.