The growing leadership of women in water. The Colorado River’s persistent drought and efforts to sign off on a plan to avert worse shortfalls of water from the river. And in California’s Central Valley, promising solutions to vexing water resource challenges.
These were among the topics that Western Water news explored in 2018.
We’re already planning a full slate of stories for 2019. You can sign up here to be alerted when new stories are published. In the meantime, take a look at what we dove into in 2018:
Amy Haas recently became the first non-engineer and the first woman to serve as executive director of the Upper Colorado River Commission in its 70-year history, putting her smack in the center of a host of daunting challenges facing the Upper Colorado River Basin.
Yet those challenges will be quite familiar to Haas, an attorney who for the past year has served as deputy director and general counsel of the commission. (She replaced longtime Executive Director Don Ostler). She has a long history of working within interstate Colorado River governance, including representing New Mexico as its Upper Colorado River commissioner and playing a central role in the negotiation of the recently signed U.S.-Mexico agreement known as Minute 323.
With nary a word, the Senate on Thursday night passed a
California drought-relief bill that sets up serious
negotiations with the House over water storage, river
protection, irrigation deliveries and more.
River System Conservation Program, as the fund is known, will be
seeded with $2 million each from the Southern Nevada Water
Authority, Central Arizona Water Conservation District, the
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and Denver
“Livermore became the East Bay’s first city to raise water rates
in response to ongoing drought conditions and shortages when the
City Council voted unanimously Monday to enact the third stage of
the city’s conservation plan.”
“California water agencies plan to sell the first $200 million in
bonds toward a $25 billion project to bolster supplies for about
25 million people as the worst drought in a century threatens
farms and cities.”
“People who have ditched their lawns in favor of water-sparing
landscapes reel off the benefits with hardly a pause. Lower
water bills. More wildlife. Less maintenance. And not least, a
feeling of satisfaction.”
“Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed a sweeping new emergency
drought proclamation, cutting red tape for a variety of
government functions to help water agencies find new supplies,
and to press the public to use water carefully.”
“With every part of California suffering from the drought, Gov.
Jerry Brown issued a new executive order on Friday in an attempt
to provide some relief from the persistent dry conditions across
“The rain that’s fallen in fulsome fits and spattering starts
this spring has punched enough of a dent in the drought that
state officials now say just three towns and rural areas are in
danger of running out of water — a sharp dip from the 17 that
were facing Dust Bowl disaster in January.”
“Like many fieldworkers in Mendota, a rural community 35 miles
west of Fresno dubbed the Cantaloupe Center of the World, [Jose
Pineda] Rivas finds his seasonal job of more than two decades at
risk of disappearing because of the statewide drought.”
“California’s drought is imperiling tricolored blackbirds, large
trees and native fish, with some of the affected species already
on the state’s endangered list and others likely headed there
because of rapidly declining numbers, scientists say.”