As West Evaporates, Experts Plot Ways to Help Businesses Save Water

As models predict another La Niña for the coming winter, which could lead to another dry year, leaders of water agencies and other groups from across California and the western United States met Tuesday to discuss how best to get commerce and industry to use less water.

While residential water use has declined, commercial and industrial users need retrofits, new equipment and new ways of doing business when it comes how much liquid “gold” they consume.

The Colorado River is in Crisis. The Walton Family is Pushing a Solution.

The first-ever official shortage on the Colorado River has intensified a debate over how to provide water for 40 million people across the Southwest and irrigate fields of thirsty crops like wheat, cotton and alfalfa. Few voices outside government are more influential than that of the Walton family, billionaire heirs to the Walmart Inc. fortune, who have long advocated water markets as a key part to solving the region’s woes. But some environmental groups say the Waltons drown out other, nonmarket approaches.

Southwest U.S. Drought, Worst in a Century, Linked by NOAA to Climate Change

Human-caused climate change has intensified the withering drought gripping the Southwestern United States, the region’s most severe on record, with precipitation at the lowest 20-month level documented since 1895, a U.S. government report said on Tuesday.

Over the same period, from January 2020 through August 2021, the region also experienced the third-highest daily average temperatures measured since record-keeping began near the end of the 19th century, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) drought task force

Drought Tests Centuries-Old Water Traditions in New Mexico

At the edge of a sandstone outcropping, Teresa Leger Fernández looks out on the Rio Chama. The river tracks a diverse landscape from the southern edge of the Rocky Mountains through rugged basalt hillsides, layers of volcanic tuff, and the red and yellow cliffs made famous by painter Georgia O’Keeffe.

Drought Haves, Have-Not’s Test How to Share Water in the West

Phil Fine stands in a parched field and watches a harvester gnaw through his carrot seed crop, spitting clouds of dust in its wake. Cracked dirt lines empty irrigation canals, and dust devils and tumbleweeds punctuate a landscape in shades of brown.

Across an invisible line separating Fine’s irrigation district from the next, it’s another world. Automated sprinklers hiss as they douse crops, cattle munch on green grass and water bubbles through verdant farmland.

A 20-Year Megadrought Threatens Hydropower in the West

A 20-year megadrought in the West is threatening hydropower for millions of people, so the federal government is taking emergency action. It’s sending water from other reservoirs to Lake Powell to help keep the power turbines there spinning.

Opinion: A Coachella Valley Date Farmer on What Happens When We Ask Too Much of the Colorado River

Even as she was going blind, my mom, ever the poet, delighted in sitting out among the palms and birds, and enjoying and visualizing the scene, as I irrigated my date gardens in the Coachella Valley.

In her 1997 poem, “Colorado Water,” she wrote:

The palm said, “My clover is cool around my bole, over my hidden roots.
My fronds clatter, crash
like waves in the far off sea.”

Metropolitan Water District, Supplier of Most of Pasadena’s Water, Partners with Other Agencies to Conserve Water in Lake Mead

In response to worsening drought conditions, the board of Southern California’s regional water wholesaler and other water agencies across the Southwest have announced a partnership with the federal government to fund a short-term agricultural land fallowing program in California that will conserve water on a large scale.

The partnership among the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Central Arizona Project, Southern Nevada Water Authority, and the Palo Verde Irrigation District is expected to help conserve up to 180,000 acre-feet of water over the next three years, amounting to about a 3-feet increase in Lake Mead’s water level.

Signs of Drought From Space

As Tracy Schohr goes about her day, water is always on her mind. She’s thinking of it as she rides an all-terrain vehicle around the pasture, looks up hay prices and weather forecasts, and collects data on grazing and invasive weeds for a scientific study.

Schohr is a rancher and farmer in Gridley, California, where her family has raised beef cattle and grown rice for six generations. She also aids in scientific research to study drought and other agricultural issues with the University of California Cooperative Extension.

Opinion: San Diegans Don’t Face the Water Woes Seen in Much of the State. But Conserve Anyways

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s call for all Californians to reduce their water use by 15 percent amid a severe drought across most of the state won’t be met with the same urgency in San Diego County as elsewhere because of a decades-old effort to diversify water supplies here and because of a new court order.

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously declined a legal challenge by Imperial Valley farmers that had the potential to threaten the San Diego County Water Authority’s access to Colorado River supplies. This is why San Diego County is being asked to conserve but is not one of 50 counties in the state subject to Newsom’s stricter drought decrees.