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Sinema’s Last-Minute Push on Democrats’ Climate Bill Added $4 Billion to Combat Western Drought

When Sen. Joe Manchin III and Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer landed a surprise agreement on a healthcare, climate and tax bill last month, all but one Senate Democrat accepted the deal rather than risk collapse with further negotiation.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, the inscrutable Arizona Democrat who has at times voted against her party’s demands, staked her vote on two changes. Most attention focused on her push to eliminate a proposed tax on wealthy investors.

Will Lake Mead’s Plummeting Water Levels Leave San Diego High and Dry?

San Diegans get more than half their water from the Colorado River. So why haven’t local leaders rung alarm bells as Lake Mead has shrunk to record-low levels?

Seven Stats That Explain the West’s Epic Drought

It’s difficult to capture the scale of the drought facing the western U.S., the worst the region has seen in 1,200 years.

The dry period began around 2000 and shows no signs of slowing down, with tens of millions Americans facing shrinking reservoirs and potential power outages amid extreme heat. The most-affected area stretches from Texas to Oregon.

Senators Add $4 Billion for Colorado River Drought Relief Into Inflation Reduction Act

The massive climate and healthcare package that passed Sunday in the Senate includes $4 billion to help shore up the rapidly dwindling Colorado River and its massive reservoirs.

California officials who are pushing to meet an August deadline for huge water savings in Lake Mead and Lake Powell praised the bill’s passage.

UN Warns Two Largest US Water Reservoirs at ‘Dangerously Low Levels’

The United Nations warned on Tuesday that the two biggest water reservoirs in the United States have dwindled to “dangerously low levels” due to the impacts of climate change.

The situation has become so severe that these reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, are on the verge of reaching “dead pool status” — the point at which water levels drop so low that downstream flow ceases, according to the U.N. Environment Program.

Arizona’s Cities May See ‘Huge’ Water Cutbacks Soon. Here’s What That Means for Valley Residents

This month will be a moment of truth for Arizona cities.

The Federal Bureau of Reclamation is scheduled to release its “24-month study” that announces how much water Lake Powell and Lake Mead will release in 2023.

Meanwhile, seven western states must also present a plan to dramatically cut 2-4 million acre-feet of water. According to federal records, that amounts to as much as 25% of water allocated to the states.

Opinion: A Water Crisis is Here, the West Must Act Aggressively, Collectively

A billboard in St. George urges residents to use less water — “Utah is in a drought.”

Other nearby billboards in Washington County advertise one of the largest outdoor swimming pools in the world and a soon-to-arrive luxury surfing community with three artificial lakes.

It certainly doesn’t feel like this arid city – hosting the nearby headwaters for two important tributaries to the Colorado River — is in a drought.

Drought Driving Tough Talks on Water Cuts

Nevada and two of its neighboring southwestern states are still working on ways to drastically cut water use from the Colorado River as a deadline set by the federal government to address the worsening conditions along the river quickly approaches.

John Entsminger, general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, said his organization is still at the table with the other so-called lower basin states of California and Arizona as they work to respond to a call from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to propose unprecedented cuts in water use along the river in order to protect critical power and water delivery infrastructure at lakes Mead and Powell.

Opinion: Saving the Colorado River Requires Cooperation From All Parties in West

These days, when we talk about water, we aren’t talking about “drought” — we’re talking about a new and enduring climate scenario. Despite fluke flooding like the Las Vegas Valley experienced Thursday night, we must act accordingly.

There is simply not enough water in the West to sustain the level of water consumption we currently demand. And there likely won’t be. Ever.

Rain Helps Lake Mead Rise — 3 Inches

With monsoon rains four out of the last five days in the Las Vegas area, there is at least one plus — Lake Mead has risen 3 inches.

At 7 p.m. Sunday the top of the lake was 1,040.99 feet above sea level at Hoover Dam. Five days ago, July 26, the lake measured at 1,040.75 feet.