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Stressed Colorado River Keeps California Desert Farms Alive

When Don Cox was looking for a reliable place to build a family farm in the 1950s, he settled on California’s Imperial Valley.

The desert region had high priority water rights, meaning its access to water was hard for anyone to take away.

“He had it on his mind that water rights were very, very important,” said his grandson, Thomas Cox, who now farms in the Valley.

100 Years After Compact, Colorado River Nearing Crisis Point

The intensifying crisis facing the Colorado River amounts to what is fundamentally a math problem.

The 40 million people who depend on the river to fill up a glass of water at the dinner table or wash their clothes or grow food across millions of acres use significantly more each year than actually flows through the banks of the Colorado.

In fact, first sliced up 100 years ago in a document known as the Colorado River Compact, the calculation of who gets what amount of that water may never have been balanced.

‘Clairvoyant’ 2012 Climate Report Warned of Extreme Weather

Record high temperatures in urban Europe as heat waves bake the planet more often. Devastating floods, some in poorer unprepared areas. Increasing destruction from hurricanes. Drought and famine in poorer parts of Africa as dry spells worsen across the globe. Wild weather worldwide getting stronger and more frequent, resulting “in unprecedented extremes.”

Rains, Mudslides Prompt Southern California Evacuations

Thousands of residents were under evacuation and shelter-in-place orders early Tuesday after heavy rains unleashed mudslides in a mountain area east of Los Angeles that burned two years ago, sending boulders and other debris across roads.

Firefighters went street by street in the community of Forest Falls Monday night to make sure no residents were trapped. Eric Sherwin, spokesperson for the San Bernardino County Fire Department, said crews hadn’t found anyone who needed to be rescued and no one was reported missing. Crews would canvas the neighborhoods again and begin cleanup efforts after sunrise, he said.

Weather Whiplash: Summer Lurches From Drought to Flood

Parts of northern Texas, mired in a drought labeled as extreme and exceptional, are flooding under torrential rain. In a drought.

Sound familiar? It should. The Dallas region is just the latest drought-suffering-but-flooded locale during a summer of extreme weather whiplash, likely goosed by human-caused climate change, scientists say. Parts of the world are lurching from drought to deluge.

NM City, Victim of Government Burn, Now Faces Water Shortage

In the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, buzzing chainsaws interrupt the serenity. Crews are hustling to remove charred trees and other debris that have been washing down the mountainsides in the wake of the largest wildfire in New Mexico’s recorded history, choking rivers and streams.

Heavy equipment operators are moving boulders dislodged by the daily torrential summer rains that have followed the flames.

Leaking California Oil Pipe’s Safeguards Not Fully Working

The ruptured offshore pipeline that spilled tens of thousands of gallons of crude oil off the Southern California coast this fall did not have a fully functioning leak detection system at the time, according to a report obtained by The Associated Press.

The report was compiled by pipeline operator, Beta Offshore, a subsidiary of Houston-based Amplify Energy, and filed with federal regulators. It reveals Amplify is investigating whether personnel or control room issues contributed to the accident but does not explain what was wrong with the detection system.

America’s Dams Are Aging. Is It Time To Take Them Down?

After three major dams collapsed in the 1970s, leaving a total of 175 people dead, safety precautions, inspections and regulations were put in place. But a two-year investigation by The Associated Press found that at least 1,680 dams in the country are currently a risk for the communities living below the deteriorating structures.

The news outlet reported that hundreds of dams were in “poor or unsatisfactory condition.”

Bill to Blunt Trump Environment Policy Vetoed in California

Engaged in environmental battles with the Trump administration on multiple fronts, California Gov. Gavin Newsom angered some allies on Friday by vetoing a bill aimed at blunting federal rollbacks of clean air and endangered species regulations in the state.

The bill would have made it easier for state regulators to counter the Trump administration’s efforts to change enforcement of the federal Endangered Species Act and other environmental pillars — at least in California.

Arizona, Nevada Cuts To Colorado River Water Negligible

Arizona and Nevada will face their first-ever cuts in Colorado River water next year, but the changes aren’t expected to be overly burdensome for either state. The water is delivered through Lake Mead, one of the largest manmade reservoirs in the country that straddles the Arizona-Nevada border. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said Thursday that Lake Mead barely will fall below 1,090 feet (332 meters) on Jan. 1, triggering cuts for the junior users in the river’s lower basin, at 1,089.4 (332 meters) above sea level. For Arizona, that means less water for underground storage, recharging aquifers and for agricultural use. About 7% of its 2.8 million acre-feet, or 192,000 acre-feet, will be left behind Lake Mead.