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Southwest States Facing Tough Choices About Water As Colorado River Diminishes

Southwest states facing tough choices about water as Colorado River diminishes

This past week, California declared a statewide drought emergency. It follows the first-ever federal shortage declaration on the Colorado River, triggering cuts to water supplies in the Southwest. The Colorado is the lifeblood of the region. It waters some of the country's fastest-growing cities, nourishes some of our most fertile fields and powers $1.4 trillion in annual economic activity. The river runs more than 1,400 miles, from headwaters in the Rockies to its delta in northern Mexico where it ends…

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Water Seed Grant Initiative Webinar Summarizes Project Progress

Water Seed Grant Initiative webinar summarizes project progress

In 2020, seven multidisciplinary teams were chosen as recipients of the fiscal year 2020-2021 Water Seed Grant Initiative, “Research, Engineering and Extension: Creation and Deployment of Water-Use Efficient Technology Platforms.” The teams were selected by Texas A&M AgriLife Research, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES). Through the initiative, the three Texas A&M University System agencies have provided $1,136,627 in funding for the grants for 20 months across fiscal years 2020 and 2021, administered by Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI).  …

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Already, 18 Weather Disasters Costing At Least $1 Billion Each Have Hit The U.S. This Year

Already, 18 weather disasters costing at least $1 billion each have hit the U.S. this year

This year is on pace to be one of the most active and costliest years for disasters in the United States. Through the first nine months of 2021, the U.S. has endured 18 separate weather and climate disasters that have cost at least $1 billion, according to the latest report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Centers for Environmental Information. Read more from Kerrin Jeromin with the Washington Post here.

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Climate Change Is Making Texas Hotter, Threatening Public Health, Water Supply And The State’s Infrastructure

Climate change is making Texas hotter, threatening public health, water supply and the state’s infrastructure

Climate change has made the Texas heat worse, with less relief as nighttime temperatures warm, a report from the state’s climatologist published Thursday found. Climate data also show that the state is experiencing extreme rainfall — especially in eastern Texas — bigger storm surges as seas rise along the Gulf Coast and more flooding from hurricanes strengthened by a warming ocean, the report says. Those trends are expected to accelerate in the next 15 years, according to the report, which…

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Water Reuse Is Helping Meet Needs. But We Can Do Better.

Water reuse is helping meet needs. But we can do better.

With the state’s population soaring, water resources limited and the climate getting warmer, water reuse is a growing but still underutilized solution to ensure that Texas has clean, abundant water supplies long into the future. The state’s latest water plan projects that direct non-potable water reuse could yield as much as 180,000 acre-feet of water – enough to fill nearly 90,000 Olympic-sized pools – every year by 2030. Austin’s 100-year water plan estimates that nearly a third of the city’s future water supplies could be achieved with water reuse.   Read more from Sharlene Leurig and Jennifer Walker with the Austin…

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Colorado River Forecasts Not A ‘crystal Ball’

Colorado River forecasts not a ‘crystal ball’

Every month the Bureau of Reclamation attempts to peer two years into the future of the Colorado River and its reservoirs. Reclamation’s 24-month study is a staple forecasting product for the federal agency that manages a chain of dams in the watershed, including those that control lakes Mead and Powell, the country’s largest reservoirs — and currently two of its most consequential. The reservoirs are a key source of drinking water for about 40 million people, plus they store water…

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40 Million People Rely On The Colorado River. It’s Drying Up Fast.

40 million people rely on the Colorado River. It’s drying up fast.

On a 110-degree day several years ago, surrounded by piles of sand and rock in the desert outside Las Vegas, I stepped into a yellow cage large enough to fit three standing adults and was lowered 600 feet through a black hole into the ground. There, at the bottom, amid pooling water and dripping rock, was an enormous machine driving a cone-shaped drill bit into the earth. The machine was carving a cavernous, three-mile tunnel beneath the bottom of the…

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Droughts Push More People To Migrate Than Floods

Droughts push more people to migrate than floods

After a year of extreme weather, people in the drylands of northern California and the hurricane-drenched bayous of southern Louisiana are brooding on the same question: should we leave? New global research suggests that one of these “water shock” scenarios is more likely to result in migration. World Bank researchers found that people are five times as likely to move following drought conditions as they are after floods or periods of excess water.   Read more from Brett Walton with…

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First-ever Water Shortage Declared For Lake Mead, The Country’s Largest Reservoir

First-ever water shortage declared for Lake Mead, the country’s largest reservoir

Federal officials have declared a shortage in Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the country that serves tens of millions of residents in the West and northern Mexico, amid a historic decades long  "megadrought" in the region. The Bureau of Reclamation announced the first-ever water shortage for the lower Colorado River basin on Monday, which will prompt a reduction in water releases to Arizona, Nevada and Mexico in 2022 to make sure there is enough water in the reservoir to…

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The Well Fixer’s Warning

The well fixer’s warning

The well fixer and I were standing at the edge of an almond orchard in the exhausted middle of California. It was late July, and so many wells on the farms of Madera County were coming up dry that he was running out of parts to fix them. In this latest round of western drought, desperate voices were calling him at six in the morning and again at midnight. They were puzzled why their pumps were coughing up sand, the…

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