Scientists See Silver Lining in Fed’s Efforts at Lake Powell

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced last week that it plans to adjust management protocols for the Colorado River in early 2022 to reduce monthly releases from Lake Powell in an effort to keep the reservoir from dropping farther below 2021′s historic lows.

As of Jan. 6, the nation’s second-largest reservoir — part of a Colorado River system that provides drinking water to approximately 40 million people throughout the West — sat at an elevation of 3,536 feet, the Spectrum reported.

Climate Change Resilience Begins With Water, Say These UC AG Researchers

On the rare days it rains in western Fresno County, the soils in Jeffrey Mitchell’s experimental fields soak up the water like a sponge. “The water disappears within less than a minute, even for four inches of water,” he said, laughing.

Mitchell is a cropping systems specialist with the University of California Cooperative Extension. His quick-absorbing soils keep the rainfall from pooling and overflowing, like it does in many surrounding fields.

High School Photo contest-First Place, Black and White in 2021: Mariah Journigan, Bonita Vista High School, “Shelter In Place.”

Sweetwater Authority Opens 2022 High School Photo Contest

The Sweetwater Authority calls on high school student photographers to enter its 2022 High School Photo Contest. This year’s contest challenges students to creatively photograph the many ways people use water.

The 2022 theme is “Water In Daily Life.” Water supports our daily lives. It flows into our homes, helping to quench our thirst, cook, clean, grow food, and keep us healthy. Students are encouraged to answer this question with their work: What ways do you interact with water?

“The Governing Board is proud to offer this yearly contest as a way to celebrate the importance of our most precious resource – water,” said Sweetwater Authority Board Chair Alejandra Sotelo-Solis. “This contest furthers the Authority’s goal of serving our community through education and outreach.”

2021 Second Place winner, Color: Chula Vista High School sophomore Araceli Romo portrayed her love for watercolor painting in “Watercolor Wonderland.” Photo: Sweetwater Authority

Entrants must be high school students who live in or attend school in the Sweetwater Authority service area. Photos must be taken in 2021 or 2022 within the Sweetwater River Watershed or Sweetwater Authority’s service area boundaries covering National City, Bonita, and western and central Chula Vista.

Photos may be in black and white or color. Entrants can submit up to three photos in each category. Students can edit the photos for minor adjustments only and must retain a natural, realistic appearance.

Judging criteria for the photo competition

The 2021 winner in the Color category was Kayla Rosenberg, a freshman at Hilltop High School. She said her entry “Sunshine Shower” portrayed the family dog’s sense of fun. Photo: Courtesy Sweetwater Authority

In addition, each photo must include a short essay of 50 to 100 words describing how the photo related to the contest theme. Judging will be performed by a panel of Sweetwater Authority staff and community experts. Judging criteria includes creativity, technical quality, adherence to the theme, visual appeal, and the narrative to explain the significance of the photo.

Winners receive cash prizes: $400 for first place, $300 for second place, and $200 for third place. Fifty students submitted entries in last year’s competition – see the winners here.

Deadline for submission is 5 p.m. Friday, March 18. Submission forms are available at Submissions must be emailed to . Photos must be in JPEG form, 10 MB or less, and 300 PPI resolution, sized to 8×10 inches.

(Editor’s note: The Sweetwater Authority is one of the San Diego County Water Authority’s 24 member agencies that deliver water across the metropolitan San Diego region.)

WaterSmart Landscape Makeover Series

December rainfall and cooler temperatures in San Diego County make it the perfect time of year for homeowners to create low-water-use landscaping to fit their needs. The San Diego County Water Authority is offering their 2022 WaterSmart Landscape Makeover Series of free online classes starting Wednesday, February 2.

California Drought: Santa Clara County Residents Exceed Water Conservation Targets

After months of falling short, Santa Clara County residents have finally begun to hit the target when it comes to water conservation — and the threat of higher water bills may have played a role.

Following two record-dry years, the Santa Clara Valley Water District declared a drought emergency in June and asked the county’s 2 million residents to cut water use by 15% from 2019 levels.

Winter Weather Perfect Time for WaterSmart Landscape Makeover Series

December rainfall and cooler temperatures in San Diego County make it the perfect time of year for homeowners to create low-water-use landscaping to fit their needs. The San Diego County Water Authority offers its first 2022 WaterSmart Landscape Makeover Series of free online classes starting Wednesday, February 2. Registration for the four-class series closes on Monday, January 17. Register at There is no fee to participate, but course participation is limited.

Continued Drought Early in a Possibly Wet Year

California’s 2021 calendar year is over, but its 2022 Water Year (which started October 2021) is already three months old and still early in its wet season.  So far this wet season is actually wet.

It is a good time to assess the condition of the present drought and whether it is likely to end with this wet season.  And under such conditions, what are water management activities and policy initiatives we should be doing?

Phoenix Among Those Voluntarily Losing Colorado River Water

The city of Phoenix this week outlined how it will voluntarily contribute water to a regional plan to shore up the country’s largest reservoir that delivers Colorado River water to three states and Mexico.

The river cannot provide seven Western states the water they were promised a century ago because of less snow, warmer temperatures and water lost to evaporation. Water managers repeatedly have had to pivot to develop plans to sustain it for the long-term.

Phoenix, the nation’s fifth-largest city, is among entities in the river’s lower basin that are part of the “500+ Plan” meant to delay further mandatory shortages. All pieces of the plan haven’t been finalized, but farmers and Native American tribes are expected to play a big role.

The Colorado River serves more than 40 million people in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, California, Wyoming, Utah and Mexico. Lake Mead and Lake Powell store the water and are used to gauge the river’s health.

California’s Recent Rains Won’t End Our Stubborn Drought. These Charts Show Why

California just received more precipitation in the last three months of 2021 than it got in the previous year. The mountains are heaped with historic amounts of heavy snow. But the rain had no sooner given way to sun than state regulators issued new rules forbidding water-wasting practices such as hosing down sidewalks and driveways. What’s going on?

Opinion: California Must Stop Burying Its Head in Winter Snow

When it comes to water conservation, California is burying its head in the winter snow.

Future generations will not look kindly at our leaders’ complete failure to strategically address the state’s water shortages, which will only get worse with climate change.

Two years of some of the worst drought conditions in state history haven’t slowed Big Ag’s demands for more water. Meanwhile, urban users aren’t coming close to meeting Gov. Gavin Newsom’s call to voluntarily cut their water use by 15% from 2020 levels.