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Top Federal Water Official Gives States Jan. 31 Deadline To Pass Colorado River Drought Deal

Water leaders throughout the West now have a hard deadline to finish deals that would keep the Colorado River’s biggest reservoirs from dropping to deadpool levels – the point at which water no longer can be released. The nation’s top water official is giving leaders of the seven states that rely on the river until Jan. 31 to finalize a Drought Contingency Plan. The combination of multistate agreements would change how reservoirs are operated and force earlier water cutbacks within the river’s lower basin states of Arizona, California and Nevada as reservoirs drop.

A Larger Issue Looms Over Short-Term Colorado River Plan: Climate Change

With the water level in Lake Mead hovering near a point that would trigger a first-ever official shortage on the Colorado River, representatives of California, Arizona and Nevada are trying to wrap up a plan to prevent the water situation from spiraling into a major crisis. The plan is formally called the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan. But at an annual Colorado River conference this week, many water managers stressed that it’s merely a stopgap plan to get the region through the next several years until 2026.

UC Merced Researchers Assess Western Forests’ Ability To Survive Next Drought

By Lorena Anderson, UC Merced – UC Merced researchers have evidence that California’s forests are especially vulnerable to multi-year droughts because their health depends on water stored several feet below ground. “Each year our forests, grasslands and shrublands depend on water stored underground to survive the dry summers, but during multi-year dry periods there is not enough precipitation in the wet winter season to replenish that supply,” said Joseph Rungee, UC Merced graduate student and lead author on a new paper published in the journal Hydrological Processes.

Federal Officials Say Sewage Spill Stopped At U.S-Mexico Border Friday Morning

While a ruptured pipe in Mexico continues to spill sewage into the Tijuana River, federal officials said that as of Friday morning the effluent was being captured at the border and diverted to a wastewater treatment facility. Over the last few days, efforts to remove sediment and debris from pumps in the Tijuana River helped restart a diversion system that effectively ended the cross-border impacts at 7 a.m., which reportedly started Monday night from a broken pipe that leaked millions of gallons and shuttered South Bay beaches.

Tijuana Sewage Nightmare A Grim ‘Groundhog Day’ For San Diego County

Broken sewage infrastructure in Tijuana early this week sent roughly 7 million gallons a day of sewage into the Tijuana River, leading to beach closures along the south San Diego coast. The cause was a ruptured collector pipe in a part of the sewage system that has already received millions of dollars in upgrades in recent years, according to the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC), a joint U.S.-Mexico agency that oversees binational water issues.

Mark Muir Says Farewell To City Council

The seven-year Encinitas councilman, who was defeated in his bid for a third term in office, is prepared to leave office this week. But after 42 years of public service — 35 as a firefighter and seven with the City Council — Muir, 60, said he isn’t ready to say that service is over. “You never know, there are elections every two to four years,” the former fire chief said. “But I am looking forward to taking a break and challenging myself.”