Topic: Water Education


Burning lemon trees in Yuma could mean water for Valley

Excerpt: Smoke rising from groves of lemon trees offers one dramatic visual clue to Arizona's increasingly complex water future: Groves here are going fallow, for a price, to test how much moisture farmers could spare for urban development.

Excerpt: But if the state continues to grow while, as government scientists predict, climate change continues to shrink the Colorado River, something has to give. Some of this region's farms are likely to prime the pump for profit.

Excerpt: The groundwater district is coming for a new dip into the river at exactly the time that other users fear the competition. Cities, including Phoenix, Mesa and Tempe, in the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association use CAP water directly instead of as an aquifer recharge.

"There's a lot of competition. There are shortages on the river that we're trying to deal with," association Executive Director Kathleen Ferris said.

"There is continuing concern within (the municipal suppliers) that this paradigm of allowing growth to proceed before water is in hand is not sustainable."

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.

These maps of water use show why the Western US is in trouble

Excerpt: The American West has been wrestling with drought for the past 15 years. California is now facing its worst dry spell in at least a century. So, not surprisingly, the question of how best to manage America's scarce freshwater supplies is coming up more frequently.

Excerpt: To that end, the Hamilton Project recently published a helpful primer, "Nine Economic Facts about Water in the United States." The whole thing's worth reading, but four maps and charts in particular stuck out. For starters, some of the driest states in the West actually have some of the highest rates of household water use:

Excerpt: The report notes that some cities, like Phoenix and Los Angeles, have begun to reform their pricing schemes so that heavier water users get charged more.

But this is hardly universal. In most parts of the United States, the price of water doesn't reflect the infrastructure costs of delivering that water or the environmental damage that excessive water withdrawals can cause. As long as that's the case, there are few market incentives to conserve or allocate water more efficiently.

El Niño forecast is up in the air for Southern California

Excerpt: While a mild-to-moderate El Niño weather pattern is widely expected to develop in the fall, forecast models have "projected many different outcomes," said Eric Boldt, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Excerpt: El Niño winters in Southwest California have been historically wet, which would be a welcome reprieve for a region parched by a prolonged drought.

Nearly 60% of the state is experiencing "exceptional" drought conditions, the harshest on a five-level scale as measured by U.S. Drought Monitor.

Wait Until the Aquifers Are Drained

Excerpt: Aquifers provide us freshwater that makes up for surface water lost from drought-depleted lakes, rivers, and reservoirs. We are drawing down these hidden, mostly nonrenewable groundwater supplies at unsustainable rates in the western United States and in several dry regions globally, threatening our future.

Excerpt: Managing and conserving groundwater supplies becomes an urgent challenge as drought depletes our surface supplies. Because groundwater is a common resource—available to anyone with well—drilling equipment-cooperation and collaboration will be crucial as we try to protect this shrinking line of defense against a future of water scarcity.

Epic Drought in West Is Literally Moving Mountains

Excerpt: Climate change is driving the Greenland Ice Sheet to melt, which is contributing to sea level rise. But imagine that the same amount of water melting from Greenland each year is being lost in California and the rest of the West because of the epic drought there.

Excerpt: In fact, some parts of California’s mountains have been uplifted as much as 15 millimeters (about 0.6 inches) in the past 18 months because the massive amount of water lost in the drought is no longer weighing down the land, causing it to rise a bit like an uncoiled spring, a new study shows.

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.

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.

The Hardest Working River in the West

Excerpt: The majestic Colorado River cuts a 1,450-mile path through the American West before drying up well short of its natural finish line at the Gulf of California. Reservoirs once filled to the brim from the river and its tributaries are at historic lows due to an unprecedented drought and growing human demands.

Excerpt: Proven Solutions, Progress We Can See Federal, state and local officials can help make most these changes today, and start reaping many benefits within a year or two. A few solutions will require longer-term collaboration among governments and users, sometimes a rarity in today’s national political and economic climates.

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.

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.”

No news is better news than good water news

Excerpt: Our View: Rising water levels at Lake Powell and a wise court ruling improve Arizona's water outlook.

Excerpt: Good water news in drought-stricken Arizona has been rare as rainfall in June.

But when it does arrive, it comes by the bucketful.

Perhaps the best water-related news so far this year is that the Rocky Mountain winter snowpack melting and flowing into the upper basin of the Colorado River is dramatically improving the water level of Lake Powell, the second-largest man-made reservoir in the U.S.

Excerpt: Still, the rise in water level, combined with rosier expectations for 2015, is a huge improvement over predictions as recent as last August, when the conservation services predicted at least two more years of declining levels.

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.”

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.

A Comparison of Water Rates

Excerpt: A first of its kind survey of residential water use and prices in 30 metropolitan regions in the United States has found that some cities in rain-scarce regions have the lowest residential water rates and the highest level of water use. A family of four using 100 gallons per person each day will pay on average $34.29 a month in Phoenix compared to $65.47 for the same amount in Boston.

Excerpt: “The reason why rates are so low in the Great Lakes region is proximity to abundant water,” said Nick Schroeck, executive director of the Great Lakes Environmental Law Center in Detroit. “Moving water takes an extraordinary amount of energy. Energy costs are higher in arid regions where water has to be brought from far away. For us, you look at the larger cities, and they are right on one of the lakes. It’s easy to get water to the population centers.”

Excerpt: “Water use is generally not publicized much outside of droughts,” said Drew Beckwith, a water specialist with Western Resource Advocates. “Water sort of has a technical side that often doesn’t get communicated well to the public.”

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!

Arizona hopes snow-making experiment leads to water

Excerpt: As a pair of storms moved over the mountains of southeastern Wyoming last week, a set of propane-fueled machines was poised to shoot silver iodide particles into the clouds, hoping to goad them into producing more snow.

Excerpt: Over the past eight years, the Central Arizona Project, the agency that operates the canal that directs Colorado River water into the state, has spent $798,600 to fund small-scale cloud-seeding operations in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming, which received a blast of spring snow over the weekend.

Excerpt: Cullom was tasked with looking into the science behind it. He was initially skeptical, but he became a convert after looking into the research.

He persuaded CAP executives and the board to spend the money. The Southern Nevada Water Authority is also helping pay for the effort.

"The equipment is inexpensive," Cullom said. "Let's see if it works."

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.

Lake Mead is shrinking

Excerpt: "This was all underwater," said Pat Mulroy, the general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority. "I mean boats were everywhere. There was a who

Excerpt: "It's a pretty critical point," Mulroy said. "The rate at which our weather patterns are changing is so dramatic that our ability to adapt to it is really crippled."

Excerpt: Despite its wasteful reputation, Las Vegas actually reuses 93 percent of its water. It's paid homeowners $200 million to rip up their thirsty lawns. The city added 400,000 people last decade but cut its water use by 33 percent.

Colorado River Drought Forces a Painful Reckoning for States

Excerpt: The sinuous Colorado River and its slew of man-made reservoirs from the Rockies to southern Arizona are being sapped by 14 years of drought nearly unrivaled in 1,250 years.

Excerpt: But many experts believe the current drought is only the harbinger of a new, drier era in which the Colorado’s flow will be substantially and permanently diminished.

Excerpt: These new realities are forcing a profound reassessment of how the 1,450-mile Colorado, the Southwest’s only major river, can continue to slake the thirst of one of the nation’s fastest-growing regions. Agriculture, from California’s Imperial Valley to Wyoming’s cattle herds, soaks up about three-quarters of its water, and produces 15 percent of the nation’s food. But 40 million people also depend on the river and its tributaries, and their numbers are rising rapidly.

Finding and Fixing Hidden Leaks

Excerpt: You know you have a leak when your faucet drips, but do you know how to find a hidden leak? Finding and fixing leaks can save as much as 11,000 gallons of wasted water per year and more than 10 percent on water bills.

Excerpt: If you suspect you have a phantom water waster in your home, follow these tips to find the culprit. But first, make sure no water is being used inside or outside of your home.

Excerpt: If you are not able to find the leak, you may want to consider contacting a professional plumber to locate and fix the leak. If you find a simple leak like your toilet flapper or kitchen faucet, you may want to fix the problem yourself.

How 10 Western Cities Are Dealing with Water Scarcity

Excerpt: This summer, much of the American West is in drought. And climate change in the American West is expected to bring longer droughts, increased wildfire risk, and diminished water supplies. The region is also one of the fastest-growing in the nation.

Excerpt: As the region looks at a future of growing population and shrinking supplies, many cities are trying to adapt. We decided to take a look at ten of them, including several in Texas.

Excerpt: A few caveats: many of the cities listed here share similar water conservation programs, such as outdoor watering restrictions or pricing systems that charge heavy water users more per gallon. And the programs described here do not reflect all the water programs that exist in each city.

Arizona Explained: Parker Dam almost started war

Excerpt: Water rights have long been a contentious issue in the Southwest, especially the water within the region’s greatest river, the mighty Colorado.

Excerpt: In 1922, the six other states drained by the river or its major tributaries — New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and California — signed the Colorado River Compact, an agreement that spelled out how much water each state could draw from the river.

Arizona refused to sign.

Excerpt: The national press had a field day, mocking Arizona for its preposterous politics.

Imagine that.

But the Supreme Court ruled that because the dam had not been properly authorized, California and the Bureau of Reclamation were, in fact, acting illegally.

Who holds the key to fresh water abundance?

Excerpt: Fresh water. The planet has only so much to meet the needs of a growing world population. And global warming throws more uncertainty into the mix by increasing chances of extreme weather, such as more intense droughts in some places.
Dry spells, such as the devastating drought that gripped much of the United States last year, come with economic costs in the developed world and deadly consequences in poorer countries.

Excerpt: "The assumption that our demand for water has to go up with population and economy is a false assumption," Gleick said.

In reality, it is unlikely the United States could have found the water it needed if water withdrawals had continued to grow, he said.

Excerpt: Although current changes are the result of human activity, climate change itself isn’t a new phenomenon. Lall said that in the past, nature has shown great variability, at least as large as anything projected for the future. Knowledge of this history can provide a place to start with regard to adaptation, he said.

"We have to deal with variability," Gleick said. "But climate change may also impose unexpected problems that our past experience isn't sufficient to deal with."

Global warming to shift timing of North American monsoon

Excerpt: SUMMIT COUNTY —Global warming result in a significant shift of the North American monsoon, with less rain during the early part of the season, in June and July, and more rain later in the summer and early autumn. The trend toward a later start to summer precipitation has already started, but will become more pronounced — and easier to distinguish from the background “noise” of natural variability — during the next few decades, according to researchers with NASA and Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

Excerpt: The research lends support to the idea of worsening drought conditions across the southwestern and southern plains, with a trend toward drying soils and less available moisture for evapotranspiration beginning early in the spring, in March and into April. During the heart of the monsoon, in June and July, those drying trends move north and east into Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.

Documentary: A Dry Season

Excerpt: 2012 has been the warmest year on record in the United States and the driest since 1988. Nearly two-thirds of the country was in drought as of October. The extreme weather has hit some of the nation's most fertile farmland. As the world's largest corn and soybean exporter, the impacts have been global. Prices for these crops have set new records on international markets, raising the cost of feeding livestock in particular. In this program, we take a look at how this historic drought has affected farmers in the U.S., and how new developments in agriculture - and some old ideas - could soften the impact of future droughts.

Excerpt: Please visit: to view.


WaterSense, a partnership program by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, seeks to protect the future of our nation's water supply by offering people a simple way to use less water with water-efficient products, new homes, and services.
Water Use It Wisely
The Water - Use It Wisely campaign was launched in 1999 to promote an ongoing water conservation ethic among Arizona's rapidly growing population.
Water of the United States
As we face record consumption, uncertain supplies, and growing demands for protection against flooding and contamination, continued study and thoughtful management of this critical resource is essential for maintaining the welfare of our "Blue Planet".
Water Education for Teachers
Arizona Project WET (APW) has grown to be Arizona’s leading water education program for teachers and students at all grade levels. APW receives grant funds from federal, state, city, and public and private companies to deliver research-based, quality professional development workshops for teachers. This funding makes educational curricula and resources that meet the Arizona State Academic Standards available to teachers at no cost to them.
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.
Mohave County Local Drought Impact Group
The LDIG’s tasks are to monitor the current level and impacts of the ongoing drought in Mohave County to provide information to local jurisdictions and the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR); establish a public outreach program on drought impacts and preparedness; and identify and recommend mitigation measures for implementation by jurisdictions, businesses, and individual families during various levels of drought.
Managing Water in the West
Established in 1902, the Bureau of Reclamation is best known for the dams, powerplants, and canals it constructed in the 17 western states. These water projects led to homesteading and promoted the economic development of the West. Reclamation has constructed more than 600 dams and reservoirs including Hoover Dam on the Colorado River and Grand Coulee on the Columbia River.
Central Arizona Project
In 1946, the Central Arizona Project Association was formed to educate Arizonans about the need for CAP and to lobby Congress to authorize its construction. It took the next 22 years to do so, and in 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a bill approving construction of CAP. The bill provided for the Bureau of Reclamation of the Department of the Interior to fund and construct CAP and for another entity to repay the federal government for certain costs of construction when the system was complete.
Arizona NEMO Main Page
The goal of NEMO is to educate land use decision makers to make choices and take actions that will lessen nonpoint source pollution and protect natural resources. This will be accomplished by non-regulatory, research-based education using geospatial information and other advanced technologies for outreach, education, analysis and research.
Arizona Department of Water Resources
In 1980, the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) was created to secure long-term dependable water supplies for Arizona's communities.