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Touton Confirmed as Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation

Camille Touton of Nevada was confirmed by the Senate on Thursday to be commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation, which oversees water management of the Colorado River in Western states. Democratic and Republican senators approved President Joe Biden’s nominee on a voice vote.

Biden Pursues Reversal of Rules for Water Projects

The struggle over management of water supplied through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta continues as the Biden administration seeks a reversal of rules put in place by agencies under the Trump administration.

Last week, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation sent a letter to federal fisheries agencies and announced it is reinitiating consultation of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service 2019 biological opinions related to the coordinated, long-term operation of the Central Valley Project and State Water Project.

The two water projects are California’s primary water-delivery systems that guide pumping of water through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, sending water south to tens of millions of people and to millions of acres of farmland.

Opinion: How to Make Your Voice Heard on the Future of the Threatened Salton Sea

The 22-year-long drought in the Colorado River Basin is growing more severe. The levels of Lake Mead and Lake Powell are lower than they have ever been. The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has ordered mandatory cutbacks of water deliveries in 2022 with more cuts predicted in the following two years.

Experts are acknowledging that the river has changed fundamentally: “No doubt climate change is real. We’re seeing it on the Colorado River every day,” as an official quoted in an Aug. 17 Desert Sun article said.

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.

Historic ‘Level 1’ Shortage Declared for Lake Mead, Though San Diego Still Has Reliable Supply

Federal officials on Monday issued the first-ever “Level 1” shortage declaration for the massive reservoir of Lake Mead on the Colorado River, triggering major water cuts for Arizona, Nevada and Mexico.

The cuts for water users downstream from Hoover Dam will begin in October, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said in a statement.

First-Ever Water Shortage on the Colorado River Will Bring Cuts for Arizona Farmers

The federal government on Monday declared a first-ever water shortage on the Colorado River, announcing mandatory cutbacks next year that will bring major challenges for Arizona farmers and reduce the water allotments of Nevada and Mexico.

The declaration of a shortage by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has been anticipated for months and was triggered by the spiraling decline of Lake Mead, which stores water used by Arizona, Nevada, California and Mexico.

Gary Croucher-Board Chair-San Diego County Water Authority-Primary

Historic ‘Level 1’ Shortage Declared for Lake Mead, Though San Diego Still Has Reliable Supply

Federal officials on Monday issued the first “Level 1” shortage declaration for the massive reservoir of Lake Mead on the Colorado River, triggering major water cuts for Arizona, Nevada and Mexico.

The cuts for water users downstream from Hoover Dam will begin in October, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said in a statement.

“Today’s announcement of a Level 1 Shortage Condition at Lake Mead underscores the value of the collaborative agreements we have in place with the seven basin states, tribes, water users and Mexico in the management of water in the Colorado River Basin,” said Reclamation Deputy Commissioner Camille Touton.

But she warned that other reservoirs were short as well and “we have not eliminated the potential for continued decline of these critically important reservoirs” during what has become a historic drought.

Total Colorado River system storage is currently at 40% of capacity, down from 49% at this time last year.

Read the complete story from the Times of San Diego: https://bit.ly/3AOLUaE

Historic ‘Level 1’ Shortage Declared for Lake Mead, Though San Diego Still Has Reliable Supply

Federal officials on Monday issued the first-ever “Level 1” shortage declaration for the massive reservoir of Lake Mead on the Colorado River, triggering major water cuts for Arizona, Nevada and Mexico.

The cuts for water users downstream from Hoover Dam will begin in October, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said in a statement.

“Today’s announcement of a Level 1 Shortage Condition at Lake Mead underscores the value of the collaborative agreements we have in place with the seven basin states, tribes, water users and Mexico in the management of water in the Colorado River Basin,” said Reclamation Deputy Commissioner Camille Touton.

California Water District Pays Millions Over ‘Unauthorized Diversion’ From Federal Canals

An obscure farm-irrigation agency in the San Joaquin Valley, the Panoche Water District has been struggling with a monumental scandal the past three years, with top officials under criminal indictment for embezzling public funds and illegally dumping toxic waste.

It turns out the district has also been allegedly taking water from the federal government.

Earlier this year Panoche agreed to pay the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation nearly $7.5 million to compensate for “unauthorized diversion of water” from two federal canals, according to a settlement agreement obtained by The Bee.

Dramatic Photos From NASA Highlight Severity of California’s Drought

As the West descends deeper into drought, climate and water experts are growing increasingly alarmed by California’s severely shriveling reservoirs.

On Monday, Shasta Lake — the largest reservoir in the state — held a scant 1.57 million acre-feet of water, according to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, or about 35% of its capacity.

A series of satellite images captured by NASA show just how dramatically the water level has fallen.