Opinion: Arizona Has an Ambitious Goal to Save Water – If We Can Pull it Off

Five years from now, if all goes to plan, Arizona will have conserved 5 million acre-feet of water.

That’s enough to fill about 2.5 million Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Or about 70% of what the state is estimated to use in a year, from all sources.

Or a little less than double Arizona’s annual Colorado River allotment (that is, if we were getting our full allocation, which hasn’t happened in a while).

Opinion: Enough Messing Around. Will the Feds Mandate Cuts to Save Lake Mead or Not?

The Gila River Indian Community announced in August that it would no longer leave part of its sizable Colorado River water allocation in Lake Mead, citing lack of progress on a deal to stop it from tanking.

Two months later, the tribe became the first major Arizona player to take the feds up on a new offer to voluntarily leave water in the lake.

What changed?

Gila River Tribe Will Take Offer to Conserve Water, but Yuma Farmers Say it’s Not Enough

The Gila River Indian Community is the first Arizona water rights holder to publicly pursue the federal government’s new offer of compensation to leave Colorado River water in Lake Mead.

Tribal Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis announced the plan on Monday at a gathering of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s water advisory council, which is reviewing ways to spend $4 billion of Inflation Reduction Act funds targeted at Colorado River drought relief, as well as funds approved in an infrastructure funding law.

Don’t Think of Deserts as Wastelands, Researchers Say, But as a Key to Our Climate Future

This story, like many, starts with rejection.

Jose Gruenzweig grew up in the lush, green hills of Switzerland and studied the cold, wet forests of Alaska before settling into his current position as associate professor of Agriculture, Food and Environment at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

At Lake Powell, a ‘Front-Row Seat’ to a Drying Colorado River and an Uncertain Future

At his office whiteboard on this dam town’s desert edge, the water utility manager recited the federal government’s latest measures of the colossal reservoir that lay 4 miles down the road, then scrawled an ominous sketch showing how far it has shrunk.

In his stylized drawing of Lake Powell, the surface lapped just above where he marked his town’s drinking water pipe, bringing the Colorado River drought crisis uncomfortably close to home.

‘There’s Simply Not Enough Water’: Colorado River Cutbacks Ripple Across Arizona

Up and down the Colorado River last week, the state, local and tribal leaders in charge of water supplies for more than 40 million people waited to see if the federal government would impose deeper cuts to river allocations.

The Bureau of Reclamation had given states and tribes an Aug. 15 deadline to find ways to conserve 2 to 4 million more acre-feet of water to stabilize the drought-stricken river and its two largest reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell. Without such a plan, the bureau said, it would act.

Arizona Loses More of its Colorado River Water Allocation Under New Drought Plan

The federal government will impose deeper cuts on the drought-stricken Colorado River, officials said on Tuesday, reducing water deliveries to Arizona by one-fifth starting in January.

The Bureau of Reclamation announced what it called “urgent action” as water levels in the river’s two largest reservoirs continue to drop. Under the steps outlined Tuesday, Arizona will lose 592,000 acre-feet of its river allocation in 2023, which represents 21% of its usual delivery. That’s an increase of 80,000 acre-feet from the 2022 cuts.

Bill Would Block Transfers of Colorado River Water From Rural Areas to Growing Cities

A company’s proposal to take water from farmland along the Colorado River and sell it to a growing Phoenix suburb has provoked a heated debate, and some Arizona legislators are trying to block the deal with a bill that would prohibit the transfer.

The legislation introduced by Rep. Regina Cobb would bar landowners who hold “fourth-priority” water entitlements from transferring Colorado River water away from communities near the river.

States Sign Short-Term Colorado River Drought Plan, But Global Warming Looms Over Long-Term Solutions

The Colorado River just got a boost that’s likely to prevent its depleted reservoirs from bottoming out, at least for the next several years. Representatives of seven Western states and the federal government signed a landmark deal on Monday laying out potential cuts in water deliveries through 2026 to reduce the risks of the river’s reservoirs hitting critically low levels. Yet even as they celebrated the deal’s completion on a terrace overlooking Hoover Dam and drought-stricken Lake Mead, state and federal water officials acknowledged that tougher negotiations lie ahead