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Update: The Decline of Western Snowpack is Real

In water news and events

The federal government runs more than 700 telemetry stations in high-mountain watersheds in 13 Western states. The stations deliver vital data about water supply, which is fed into climate models. Using the data, the models have predicted a decline in Western snowpack and earlier spring melting, which would not only put water supplies at risk but also increase the risk …

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Glaciers Are Retreating. Millions Rely on Their Water

In water news and events

Henry Fountain and Ben C. Solomon of the New York Times went to Kazakhstan to document the effects of climate change on Tuyuksu glacier.  There are approximately 150,000 glaciers that cover about 200,000 square miles of the earth’s surface. Over the last 40 years, they’ve lost the equivalent of a layer of ice 70 feet thick. Some, in places like the Rocky Mountains …

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2019 Will Be a Big Year for Water

In water news and events

Here’s another look ahead at 2019 as told by Water Lover Extraordinaire Tara Lohan. As we’ve discussed before, changes to how the country regulates certain waterways will be a big topic of discussion in 2019 (see the note below about the only public hearing taking place on the changes). Colorado River water allocations are being fought over and will likely …

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Waterkeeper: We Can’t Afford to Lose the Clean Water Act

In water news and events

Waterkeeper reminds us of the bad old days of the early 1970s when waters all around the United States were polluted and harmful to human and ecological health. People got sick because of contaminated water, rivers caught fire and wildlife was devastated. Americans couldn’t tolerate it anymore and pushed Congress to pass the Clean Water Act in 1972. This law …

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The Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan Is Necessary But Insufficient For The West’s Water Challenges

In water news and events

The Colorado River provides water to 40 million people, farms and ecosystems in the West, yet overallocation, ongoing drought and climate change threaten to snip away at the amount of water available. As data shows, the cornerstone of water storage on the river, Lake Mead, dropped one foot in 2018. The states of the Colorado River Compact are embroiled in …

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Droughts in the American West Hinder Fight Against Climate Change.

In water news and events

As droughts hit the American West over the last several years, people often think about parched crops, lower water levels and even a kindling-dry landscape suitable wildfires. One thing that is often overlooked are the impacts droughts have on hydroelectric power plants and their hindrance on greenhouse gas reductions. A recent Stanford University study finds that 10 percent of the …

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Circle of Blue: US Water, 2018 Year-In-Review

In water news and events

As usual, the United States experienced plenty of water issues and concerns in 2018, and the intrepid reporter, Brett Walton from water news organization, Circle of Blue has it covered. For regulators, politicians and other public officials, environmental challenges were apparent, and many of them had to do with water. See below for a snapshot of some 2018 water-related issues …

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New Estimate Finds Less Fresh Groundwater in US Than Previously Assumed

In water news and events

Grant Ferguson and colleagues from the University of Arizona and the University of California, Santa Barbara published a new study in Environmental Research Letters, looking at the depth at which fresh groundwater encounters saltier reserves that are less useful for drinking or irrigation. They demonstrated that fresh groundwater is shallower throughout the country than previously thought and is thus less …

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40 million Americans depend on the Colorado River. It’s drying up.

In water news and events

The Colorado River provides water to 1-in-8 Americans and irrigates 15 percent of the country’s agricultural products. After years of drought and mismanagement, state and federal water managers are meeting with cities, native nations and farms to discuss cutbacks to water allocations. The consequences could be severe. Ninety percent of US-grown winter vegetables are irrigated with Colorado River water and hydropower …