Even in a ‘Megadrought,’ Some Eye New or Expanded Colorado River Dams

Even as a persistent drought strangles the Colorado River and threatens the viability of giant reservoirs and dams erected decades ago, Western states and local governments are eyeing more projects to tap the flow of the 1,450-mile river and its tributaries.

Whether those potential new reservoirs or other diversions would further tax an already overwhelmed system, or actually help states and municipalities adapt to a changing climate while making better use of their dwindling supplies, is a point of contention between environmentalists and water managers.

Punishing Bay Area Drought Prompts Calls for Major Water Rethink

Each morning for months, Amelia Morán Ceja has peered out her window, searching Sonoma’s wine country for dark clouds or the residue of rain on the leaves of her grapevines.

Her searching has proved futile, and now she’s worried as California faces its third consecutive summer with drought.

The dry conditions threaten her thirsty vines at Ceja Vineyards and elevate the risk from fire and heat waves. The triple threat is a “perfect storm during harvest,” she said.