Projected water shortages spur more conservation and collaboration
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Federal agencies say they will try to offer leadership, technical expertise and — perhaps most importantly — money, as southwestern states grapple with what could be significant water shortages in the Colorado River Basin during the coming decades.
At a major water powwow in California this week, all the major stakeholders in the Colorado River Basin said they’re ready to work together to find a long-term, systematic solution to the potential long-term imbalance between the Colorado River’s future supply and projected demands.
‘Warmer temperatures linked to human-caused climate change areplaying a role in drying out the region’
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Even just the small amount of global warming measured to-date has pushed climatic growing conditions to extremes, according to a new report from University of Arizona researchers.
“Our concern is that vegetation will experience even more extreme growing conditions as anticipated further warming exacerbates the impacts of future droughts,” said Jeremy Weiss, a senior research with UA’s department of geosciences. “We know the climate in the Southwest is getting warmer, but we wanted to investigate how the higher temperatures might interact with the highly variable precipitation typical of the region.”
Feds release public input on far-reaching supply and demand study
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY— Any way you slice it, the Colorado River simply can’t provide enough water on a regular basis to meet all the demands, ranging from municipal use to agriculture and sustaining healthy ecosystems for endangered native fish and non-native species important for recreation.
There may be water years — like 2010-2011 — when there’s an apparent surplus, at least for a short time, but that water goes into storage, primarily in Lake Powell, to buffer against future shortages. Even with last year’s bounty, Lake Powell didn’t come close to filling. While water managers may dream about a series of wet years, the reality is that in the long term, use of the river’s water will continue to exceed.
Current dry spell matches some of the most severe conditions on record
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — With Colorado River flows at Lees Ferry during the past 10 years registering the lowest levels ever in the historic record, University of Arizona researchers say the Southwest could already be in the midst of a major dry spell comparable to the 12th century drought that drove the Anasazi from the Four Corners region.
Their conclusion is based on a review of previous studies that document the region’s past temperatures and droughts.
“Major 20th century droughts pale in comparison to droughts documented in paleoclimatic records over the past two millennia,” the researchers wrote.
By figuring out when and for how long drought and warm temperatures coincided in the past, the team identified plausible worst-case scenarios for the future. Such scenarios can help water and other resource managers plan for the future, the team wrote. Continue reading “Tracking drought in the Southwest”→