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Colorado River Water Managers Optimistic About Drought Plan as Deadline Looms

Western water managers are optimistic that a deal to buoy the drought-stricken Colorado River can be pieced together in the waning days before a deadline set by the federal government rolls around next week.

The Bureau of Reclamation has given the seven states in the basin until the end of January to propose their own plan for voluntary reductions needed to prevent the river’s two main reservoirs from crashing, or risk the federal government moving forward with its own measures that would most likely result in mandated cuts.

Storms Dumped Snow on California. Will It Bring a Reprieve From the Drought?

Extreme weather hammered California through the first weeks of the year – but also offered a badly needed reprieve. The deep snow dumped on the Sierra Nevada during a series of strong storms left the state with a robust water savings account of sorts.

As the weather warms over the spring and summer months, the melting snow fills rivers, streams and reservoirs long after California’s rainy season has ended. Considered one of its most important reservoirs, the snowpack provides roughly a third of California’s water supply.

Agencies Fast-Track Project to Capture Flood Waters

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) is partnering with the State Water Resources Control Board to fast-track efforts to capture flood waters to recharge groundwater basins. Water captured during extreme wet periods such as the one California is now experiencing will be stored in groundwater basins for use during dry periods.

California Winter Storms Boost Water Allocations for Cities

Weeks of historic rainfall in California won’t be enough to end a severe drought, but it will provide public water agencies serving 27 million people with much more water than the suppliers had been told to expect a month ago, state officials announced Thursday.

The Department of Water Resources said public water agencies will now get 30% of what they had asked for, up from the 5% officials had previously announced in December.

Colorado River States Attempt To Reach Water-Use Plan — Again

The seven states most affected by dwindling Colorado River levels are meeting over the next few days to draft proposals for managing the basin’s water levels, potentially preventing the Interior Department from imposing its own water cuts.

The seven Colorado River Basin states — Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California — have been sparring over who receives the biggest reductions in allocations after Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Touton announced a 2019 deal with the states that hinged on them saving 2 million to 4 million acre-feet of water, as much as a third of the river’s flows, or the federal government would intervene.

The Colorado River is Overused and Shrinking. Inside the Crisis Transforming the Southwest

The Colorado River begins as melting snow, trickling from forested peaks and coursing in streams that gather in the meadows and valleys of the Rocky Mountains.

Like arteries, its major tributaries take shape across Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and New Mexico, coming together in a great river like no other — a river that travels more than 1,400 miles and has defined the rise of the American Southwest over the last century.

Drought Threatens Hydropower Produced by Colorado River

The seven U.S. states along the Colorado River — Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California — are up against yet another deadline to curb their water use amid extreme drought. They have until Tuesday to agree on massive voluntary cuts or the Bureau of Reclamation, a Department of the Interior agency, has said it will impose cuts on them.

The basin states have called the federal government’s bluff before, but whatever happens next week, millions of westerners and their livelihoods will be affected.

Storm Deluge Stirs Hope for Water Supply

California farmers are encouraged by the series of atmospheric river storms that brought near-record rain and snow, filling depleted reservoirs and bolstering the snowpack.

Frost Pauli, vineyard manager for Pauli Ranch in Potter Valley in Mendocino County, said he feels optimistic after three intense years of drought. He said the winter storms “have been excellent for our water supply.”

Why the Snowfall in Colorado Rockies Isn’t Likely to Alleviate the Drought

A string of winter storms that brought heavier than average snow and rain across the west increased snowpack in the Western Rockies to 146 percent of average, a gain that holds the potential to boost reservoir levels in the coming months.

Despite the extra snowpack, experts say it’s too early to tell what things will look like in the spring, and that much more steady precipitation is needed to make any significant dents in the dwindling water supply of the Colorado River.

New Rules Will Expand How Water Can Be Reused in Colorado

Water is already a scarce commodity in the West, but if Colorado keeps growing we are going to need even more. One source could be treating reused drinking water. It’s a scenario water providers and the state are already planning for.