Water

A new water year begins in the West

Oct 12, 2021
Green River in Utah.
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October marks the beginning of a new calendar for those who measure and manage the West’s water. KUNC’s Alex Hager reports much of the West remains in drought at the beginning of the new “water year.”

 

Westwind Air Service / Unsplash

The U.S. senate’s energy subcommittee on water and power held a hearing in Washington DC Wednesday. They heard from water experts from several western states about ongoing drought conditions. 

The U.S. senate’s energy subcommittee on water and power held a hearing in Washington DC Wednesday about ongoing drought conditions. KUNC’s Alex Hager reports, they heard from water experts from several western states. 

Alex Hager


There’s an eerie stillness inside a wildfire burn scar. The ground, once lush with life, is a gray mat of ashy soil. There are no leaves or needles to rustle in the breeze. The trees are little more than blackened toothpicks, reduced to their skeletons. 

Two major California water agencies have settled a lawsuit that once threatened to derail a multi-state agreement to protect the Colorado River.

Many parts of the state have recently experienced flooding. It is important to properly clean and sanitize wet and muddy household furnishings, carpets, clothing and surfaces as quickly as possible to avoid damage and contamination. Consider these tips from the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) for cleanup.

Utah is currently in one of the worst droughts since recording began in the late 1800s. Many reservoirs are at an all-time low, and some are drying up completely. Because of this, a statewide alarm was sounded by the governor asking the public to conserve water. 

Pixabay

Although Utah’s drought makes water a precious resource across the state, water availability varies from city to city, even within the same county.  In Cache County, Hyde Park’s water levels were so low earlier this month that the Mayor Charles Wheeler sent a warning to residents. He pleaded with citizens to reduce residential water use after one of the city's water taks reported low water levels.

Utah State University

All of us—people, fish, and many other creatures—depend on the water in Utah’s rivers. The choices we make about how to develop water resources have big impacts on river habitats. In “Decisions Downstream,” an exhibit at the Natural History Museum of Utah, watershed scientist Sarah Null teams up with artists Chris Peterson and Carsten Meier to explore new ways of seeing river habitats. Critical water decisions are being made in Utah. “Decisions Downstream” highlights the water development tools, trade offs, and alternatives that can guide our choices.

Pixabay

Drought-tolerant landscaping has become a popular option in dry areas to lessen the need for water on people's lawns. Joining me today is Rick Heflebower, USU Extension Horticulturist in Washington County, to talk about this method of drought management.

Ask An Expert: How To Prioritize Home Irrigation During A Drought

May 25, 2021

Due to drought conditions throughout the state, Governor Spencer Cox recently issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency for Utah. To date, 100% of Utah is in the moderate drought category, and 90% of the state is experiencing extreme drought.

Being Efficient While Watering Your Lawn

May 21, 2021

Here are a few tips for you on how to irrigate your lawn more efficiently. 

Beehive Archive: Ancient Farmers And Prehistoric Waterways

May 11, 2021

Water, and how to control it, is an age-old consideration for the people of Utah. Over a thousand years ago, Utah’s earliest agriculturalists were the Fremont and Ancestral Puebloan peoples. Like modern farmers, they faced the problem of how to use Utah’s scarce freshwater to maximize their crops. Their strategies were different, but both groups survived and thrived in Utah’s arid landscape by adapting themselves to the land and its water.  

In 1933, a Tooele mining company called the Bullion Coalition gave away 700 bushels of their famous apples to low income families. But the story of how a mining company came to own a commercial orchard actually began much earlier, with the creation of one of Utah’s largest mine drainage tunnels. 

CAP Cuts Costs, Goes Green To Deliver Water To Arizonans

Apr 23, 2021
CAP

Four out of five Arizonans use water delivered to them across the state through the pumps, canals and reservoirs of the Central Arizona Project. In recent years, the CAP has found a more economical and environmentally friendly way to deliver these critical water supplies.

Keeping Up With Your Lawn During The Drought

Mar 30, 2021

Water levels in Utah have gone down 14% in the past year and when the winter didn’t bring in much snow packs, Gov. Spencer Cox signed a new drought executive order. With warm weather just around the corner, how can we keep our lawns green while still being mindful of water use?

Utah State University

All of us—people, fish, and many other creatures—depend on the water in Utah’s rivers. The choices we make about how to develop water resources have big impacts on river habitats. In “Decisions Downstream,” an exhibit at the Natural History Museum of Utah, watershed scientist Sarah Null teams up with artists Chris Peterson and Carsten Meier to explore new ways of seeing river habitats. Critical water decisions are being made in Utah. “Decisions Downstream” highlights the water development tools, trade offs, and alternatives that can guide our choices.

Luke Runyon/KUNC

Anyone who has hosted a good dinner party knows that the guest list, table setting and topic of conversation play a big role in determining whether the night is a hit or the guests leave angry and unsatisfied. 

Simpson's Historic Plan Includes Key Water Quality Tools

Feb 17, 2021

A $33 billion infrastructure plan for the Northwest developed by Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, continues to shake up the region.

Jud Burkett, The Spectrum & Daily News


Last summer, St. George in Washington County suffered 155 days of drought, the longest since records have been kept. St. George uses a lot of water thanks to its growing population and high per-capita usage. Water managers have been hoping the Lake Powell Pipeline will slake southern Utah’s thirst, but at around 140-miles long and well over a billion dollars, this is an extremely controversial project for a fiscally-conservative state. In April of this year, Kane County opted out, or at least partially.

coyotegulch.blog

Eric Kuhn, retired General Manager of the Colorado River Water Conservancy District, will speak about his new book “Science Be Dammed.” The talk was held in ENGR 201 at 3:30p on Wednesday, October 2.

Amazon

Mark Arax is from a family of Central Valley farmers, a writer with deep ties to the land who has watched the battles over water intensify even as California lurches from drought to flood and back again. In The Dreamt Land, he travels the state to explore the one-of-a-kind distribution system, built in the 1940s, '50s and '60s, that is straining to keep up with California's relentless growth.

Encyclopedia Britannica

John DeVilbiss writes in USU Magazine, "It flashes like a beacon to millions of birds on migratory marathons. It is a sea in the sand that shimmers lavender in one glance and pale turquoise in another. A place you can go for an entire day without seeing a single soul, yet where two million people live within an hour's drive. It is a lake of paradoxes, said historian Dale Morgan, a liquid lie, said Terry Tempest Williams. The salty truth, however, is that the Great Salt Lake, the largest saline lake in the Western hemisphere, is drying up."

Yale Environment 360

A recent article in the online magazine Yale Environment 360 is headlined “The West’s Great River Hits Its Limits: Will the Colorado Run Dry?” And the sub-headline: “As the Southwest faces rapid growth and unrelenting drought, the Colorado River is in crisis, with too many demands on its diminishing flow. Now those who depend on the river must confront the hard reality that their supply of Colorado water may be cut off.”

Yale Environment 360

A recent article in the online magazine Yale Environment 360 is headlined “The West’s Great River Hits Its Limits: Will the Colorado Run Dry?” And the sub-headline: “As the Southwest faces rapid growth and unrelenting drought, the Colorado River is in crisis, with too many demands on its diminishing flow. Now those who depend on the river must confront the hard reality that their supply of Colorado water may be cut off.”

Lake Powell
houseboating.org

  A federal agency's decision to pass on permitting for much of the Lake Powell Pipeline has opponents cheering the move they say will bring increased scrutiny while supporters maintain the project is still on track.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission announced Thursday that it had submitted an order, saying it would only handle permitting for hydroelectric facilities in the 140-mile (225-kilometer) pipeline project.

HarperCollins Publishers

Earl Swift began writing for a living in his teens. In the years since, the Virginia-based journalist has penned seven books and hundreds of major features for newspapers and magazines, and has earned a reputation for fast-moving narrative and scrupulous reporting. His editors have nominated his work for the National Book Award, the National Magazine Award, and six times for a Pulitzer Prize.

NPR

The Colorado River is an essential resource for a surprisingly large part of the United States, and every gallon that flows down it is owned or claimed by someone. David Owen traces all that water from Colorado's headwaters, to its parched terminus, once a verdant wetland but now a million-acre desert. He takes readers on an adventure downriver, along a labyrinth of waterways, reservoirs, power plants, farms, fracking sites, ghost towns, and rv parks, to the spot near the U.S.-Mexico border where the river runs dry.

Blue sky and red desert cliffs above a curved portion of river.
U.S. Geological Survey

  

The commissioner for the Federal Bureau of Reclamation recently called for renewed commitment to drought contingency plans from states using the Colorado River. The region has been in a sustained drought since 2000.

flickr

In May, the city of St. George initiated an ordinance for residents that limits outdoor watering from 8:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. Data from the last 2 months show that most people are watering their lawns between 4:00 and 6:00 a.m. Because of this, there is a large drop in water pressure causing water coverage from sprinklers to be less effective.

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