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Opinion: Digging Into the Ditches, and Such, Part Seven

The BBC posted an article this week, written by reporter Paige Sutherland and entitled, “The water fight over the shrinking Colorado River”. I guess that officially makes us — the folks dependent upon that same Colorado River — famous.

But does this have to be a “fight”? How about, instead, “The earnest conversation over the shrinking Colorado River”?

The Water Fight Over the Shrinking Colorado River

Scientists have been predicting for years that the Colorado River would continue to deplete due to global warming and increased water demands, but according to new studies it’s looking worse than they thought.

That worries rancher Marsha Daughenbaugh, 68, of Steamboat Springs, who relies on the water from the Colorado River to grow feed for her cattle.

Southwest Braces for Water Cutbacks as Drought Deepens Along the Colorado River

Unrelenting drought and years of rising temperatures due to climate change are pushing the long-overallocated Colorado River into new territory, setting the stage for the largest mandatory water cutbacks to date.

Lake Mead, the biggest reservoir on the river, has declined dramatically over the past two decades and now stands at just 40% of its full capacity. This summer, it’s projected to fall to the lowest levels since it was filled in the 1930s following the construction of Hoover Dam.

Agencies: Arizona Farmers Should Expect Less Water in 2022

State officials are putting farmers in south-central Arizona on notice that the continuing drought means a “substantial cut” in deliveries of Colorado River water is expected next year.

A joint statement issued Friday by the state Department of Water Resources and the Central Arizona Project said an expected shortage declaration “will result in a substantial cut to Arizona’s share of the river, with reductions falling largely to central Arizona agricultural users.”

Imperial Valley Farmer Michael Abatti Hoping to Take IID to the U.S. Supreme Court

The fight between Imperial Valley farmer Michael Abatti and the Imperial Irrigation District over control of the district’s massive allotment of Colorado River water could be headed to the U.S. Supreme Court if Abatti gets his way.

He and his lawyers have announced that they have petitioned the nation’s highest court to take up the litigation that has dragged on since 2013.

Colorado River Tribes Aim to Establish ‘One Unified Voice’ in Policy Talks

The Fort Yuma-Quechan Indian Tribe is situated at a nexus in the Colorado River Basin. That’s true in a geographic sense. The tribe’s reservation overlays the Arizona-California border near Yuma, Arizona. The two states are heavily reliant on water from the Colorado River. The reservation also abuts the U.S.-Mexico border where the river flows into Mexico for use in cities and on farms. One of the river’s largest irrigation projects, the All-American Canal, was dug through the tribe’s land, and flows from the reservation’s northeastern boundary to its far southwestern corner, on its way to irrigate crops in California’s Imperial Valley.

Tucson Official Says City Can Fight Water Cuts Despite Data

Tucson’s top water official has said that the city could withstand a “worst plausible scenario” cut of 50% of its total Colorado River allocation from the Central Arizona Project canal system.

Interim Assistant City Manager Tim Thomure said much of the water that could be cut is not currently under customer use and that the city stores more than one-third of its CAP supply in large basins for emergency use, the Arizona Daily Star reported Saturday.

Aurora and Colorado Springs want More Water. The Proposed Solution — a New Reservoir — Would Have Far-Reaching Impacts

While most people in Colorado live on the Front Range, most of the state’s water is on the West Slope. That’s where the snowpack melts and makes its way into the Colorado River. Much of that water flows to places like Denver through a series of dams, reservoirs, pumps and pipes. Aurora and Colorado Springs want to bring more of that water to their growing cities, which are the state’s largest after Denver. To do that, they want to dam up Homestake Creek in Eagle County south of Minturn and create a reservoir that could supply water for thousands of new homes.

8 States are Tweaking the Weather (and it Might Not Work)

The mountaintops rumble to life unnaturally each year as snow clouds darken the sky across the West.

Open flames burst from the throats of metal chimneys, mounted on squat towers nestled among the peaks. With a low hiss, puffs of particles belch from their mouths into the air, where the wind catches them and whisks them away.

Utah Water Legislation Concerns Colorado River Basin States

Drought has forced several states to rethink how they use the Colorado River, but Utah is trying to figure out how to get more water out of it. Utah’s plan to build a pipeline from Lake Powell to the St. George area has raised eyebrows from the six other Colorado River Basin states. In September, those states wrote a letter reminding Utah of their history of collaboration. It concluded by saying that the pipeline could result in litigation. Utah’s response was to create a new water board.