Study warns of unsustainable global groundwater use

New research ranks world’s most threatened aquifers

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Key groundwater basins around the world are being depleted at an unsustainable rate. Map courtesy MIT’s Water For All project.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Scientists this week said that many parts of the world are using groundwater at an unsustainable rate, without any clear idea about when the water might run out. The most overburdened aquifers are in the world’s driest areas, which draw heavily on underground water. Climate change and population growth are expected to intensify the problem.

After studying the world’s 37 largest aquifers, the research team said the Arabian Aquifer System, an important water source for more than 60 million people, is the most overstressed in the world. The Indus Basin aquifer of northwestern India and Pakistan is the second-most overstressed, and the Murzuk-Djado Basin in northern Africa is third. Continue reading

Summit County: Dillon Reservoir expected to fill within a week

Denver Water juggling inflow, outflow

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After peaking later than average, the sremaining nowpack in the Blue River Basin is melting fast. Graph courtesy Denver Water.

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Flows in Blue River tributaries like Straight Creek are near their seasonal peak.

*Story corrected at 2 p.m. Dillon Reservoir outflow to the Blue River increased to 1,600 cfs Monday, July 15.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Dillon Reservoir should be full within a week, according to the latest update from Denver Water, which just bumped up the outflow to the Lower Blue to make room for more runoff the next few days.

As of June 15, Denver Water was releasing about 1.600 cubic feet per second from Dillon Reservoir, with about 2,200 cfs flowing in from the Blue River and its tributaries. And Denver Water is expecting more high inflows for the foreseeable future, according to a recent email update:

“A fresh look at the estimated level of snowpack above Dillon Reservoir … tells us there is still eight inches of snow in some places, meaning high flows can be expected for the foreseeable future. The good news is that inflows to Dillon Reservoir – which have ranged from 2,206 to 2,623 over the past several days – appear to be trending downward.” Continue reading

Opinion: Climate, drought and the political Bizarro-land of the House Natural Resources Committee

Right-wingers frame drought as battle between environment and people; Colorado could avoid similar showdown with good planning

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Delta smelt, via USFWS.

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Apparently, the lack of water in California has hindered the ability of some of the state’s elected officials to think straight.

Completely ignoring the facts that California’s precipitation has been well below average for four years in a row, and that the state’s temperatures have running at or near record highs, some Republican congressmen are calling the Golden State’s current dry spell a “man-made drought.” Continue reading

Study: Cultural shift and centralized planning helped Melbourne adapt to Australia’s Millennium Drought

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Australia’s blistering Millennium Drought spurred wholesale changes in water use.

Regional water czar directed coordinated drought response

By Bob Berwyn

FRISCO — Drought-prone cities and regions around the world can look to Melbourne, Australia to get an idea of what it takes to tackle water shortages during extended dry spells — and to prepare for future droughts, which are projected to become more frequent in some regions as global warming intensifies.

As the worst drought in Australia’s history took hold during the late 1990s, the city’s 4.3 million residents were able to cut their daily water use by half, to just 41 gallons per per person, according to a new study. Continue reading

Colorado: Big flows expected in Blue River

Good news for boaters

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Healthy streamflows and good boating in the Blue River Basin. @bberwyn photo.

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Blue River snowpack still growing.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Late-season storms have helped boost snowpack in the Blue River to near last year’s level, promising healthy runoff and flows in Summit County, according to Denver Water.

The effects of the steady barrage of spring storms is already showing up the Lower Blue River, where flows are increasing due to increased releases from Dillon Reservoir, according to Denver Water, which won’t be diverting water through the Roberts Tunnel until mid-July at the earliest. Continue reading

Nevada Supreme Court rejects Las Vegas water grap

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Pipeline dreams stumble at Nevada Supreme Court.

Ruling marks another win for activist network opposing the massive groundwater pumping and pipeline plan

Staff Report

FRISCO — A bid by Las Vegas to drain groundwater from distant valleys took another hit this week, as the Nevada Supreme Court blocked the latest legal maneuver by the Southern Nevada Water Authority and the Nevada State Engineer, who petitioned the court for writs of mandamus.

The ruling is a win for critics of the SNWA pipeline project, including White Pine County, the Great Basin Water Network and local Native American tribes, who say the plan will dry up springs and groundwater needed by local communities, as well as wildlife that relies on scarce sources of water in central and eastern Nevada. Continue reading

Water wrangling in Colorado

Tracking the Colorado water plan update via Twitter …

And who speaks for the critters?

Not much diversity in the CWCB meeting room at this remote semi-rural golf course clubhouse near Sterling. Continue reading

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