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colorado river drought contingency plan 2019

State water officials signed the deal on Tuesday after years of negotiations, forestalling what would have been the first federally enforced restrictions on the river’s lower basin. Water managers and elected officials across the West called for action to address the nearly two-decade drought and, as conditions worsened, an interstate group came together to do something about it. Let friends in your social network know what you are reading about. A sprinkler head pops up from the ground to water a lawn. That and subsequent agreements have allocated far more water than what flows in the river in an average year, leading to chronic overuse. The water is saved, for now. “Despite the fact that we had a great year here, as far as I’m concerned, it’s a little bit of a respite and we should enjoy it and thank Mother Nature, and get back to work on solving the problem.”, MORE:States sign short-term Colorado River drought plan, but global warming looms over long-term solutions. Bombay Beach, August 18, 2014, the Salton Sea, California. Delmar Butte in Temple Basin, March 18, 2019, near the Arizona/Nevada border. “I think the question is, as warming in this basin continues to diminish the supply, can we continue down this path of collaborative agreements?”, Have a tip to share? If and when a shortage is declared, Arizona's total use of the river would fall by 18%, or more than 500,000 acre-feet during the first year of a declared shortage, which some say could happen as soon as next year. Reductions to Arizona’s Colorado River supply under DCP will begin in 2020. Subscribe to azcentral.com today. Arizona Republic. The Colorado River and its tributaries provide water for about 40 million people and more than 5 million acres of farmland from Wyoming to Southern California. Doug Ducey (right) signs the Drought Contingency Plan on Jan. 31, 2019, in the historic Senate Chamber at the Arizona state Capitol. Beyond that drain, climate change is bringing on a long-term crisis. Colorado River Basin Drought Contingency Plans. To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the Conversation Guidelines and FAQs. The plan that was negotiated provides the growers with a fixed amount of “mitigation water” during the first three years of a shortage, and gives their irrigation districts at least $9 million in state funds to drill new wells and build other infrastructure as they start to rely entirely on groundwater. “Even before the mandatory cuts laid out in the DCP, the states were already recognizing the importance of this,” Fleck said. Scientific research has found that about half the trend of decreasing runoff from 2000-2014 in the Upper Colorado River Basin resulted from unprecedented warming. Reach out to the reporter at andrew.nicla@gannett.com or at (602) 444-3821. The federal Bureau of Reclamation activated the mandatory reductions in water deliveries on Thursday when it released projections showing that as of Jan. 1, the level of Lake Mead will sit just below a threshold that triggers the cuts. Tom Buschatzke (). She applauded the seven states that depend on the river for coming together to finish the set of drought-contingency plans. Follow him on Twitter: @ByIanJames. She said the drought-contingency plan helps the situation by laying out a collective response if the reservoir drops again. But other state water districts said they would cover Imperial’s share of water cuts without requiring that flows to the Salton Sea be reduced. “The Colorado River, and the entire Southwest, has shifted to a new hotter and drier climate, and, equally important, will continue to shift to a hotter and drier climate for several decades after we stop emitting greenhouse gases,” he said in his testimony. Recent binational agreements or "minutes," established in 2012 and 2017, lay out how the U.S. and Mexico will continue to share, conserve and restore the shrinking Colorado River. Seven Western states have agreed on a plan to manage the Colorado River amid a 19-year drought, voluntarily cutting their water use to prevent the federal government from imposing a mandatory squeeze on the supply. Right now, Lake Powell is 37% full and Lake Mead is 41% full, at elevation 1,088, which is above the threshold to trigger the first federal shortage declaration. The Department of the Interior commends the Basin States and key water contractors on this important milestone. During that time, they agreed on a set of shared cutbacks intended to protect most water users from shortages. California water districts have agreed to contribute by taking cuts if the reservoir reaches 1,045 feet. Robert D. Schettler, a spokesman for the Imperial District, called the decision to move forward without its participation “unfortunate,” adding that a pact without the Imperial District “may mean getting it done, but not getting it right.”, The federal government regulates the water, but the states own the rights to it, said Jennifer Pitt, an expert on river issues with the Audubon Society. The 29 Native American tribes with rights to Colorado River water are fighting for inclusion—and collaboration. “No matter what happens, we are as of now in a better position to deal with the future than we were before the DCP was signed.”. The legal framework that divides the Colorado River among seven states and Mexico was established during much wetter times nearly a century ago, starting with the 1922 Colorado River Compact. View or download a flipbook of the magazine here or read articles below. “We all recognize we’re looking at a drier future,” said Tom Buschatzke, director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources. It is anticipated that new rules will be negotiated and put into effect after 2026. It’s creating messes we have to deal with.”. To direct the Secretary of the Interior to execute and carry out agreements concerning Colorado River Drought Contingency Management and Operations, and for other purposes. Imperial balked at signing the deal until $200 million in federal funds are allocated to address environmental issues at the Salton Sea, which is shrinking and exposing a dry lake bed that blows dust into surrounding communities. “We can solve this climate problem. Hotter temperatures have reduced the average flow in streams and increased the amount of water that evaporates in the Colorado River Basin. If you see comments in violation of our community guidelines, please report them. On March 19, 2019, the Governor’s representatives of the seven Colorado River Basin States and key water districts formally submitted Drought Contingency Plans to Congress for immediate implementation. But the heavy winter snows this year brought a reprieve by unleashing above-average runoff, raising Lake Powell’s level by more than 50 feet over the past five months. “The air quality problems in Imperial are significant, and the Salton Sea is a piece of that,” Fleck said. Time: 10:00 AM If federal officials determine in August that Lake Mead is likely to be below 1,090 feet at the start of next year, water deliveries to Arizona would be cut about 6.9 percent, and deliveries to Nevada would be cut 2.7 percent. By the beginning of March, the water level in Lake Mead had dropped to 1,088 feet above sea level. The Drought Contingency Plan Authorization Act was signed into law on April 16, 2019. Lack of river water will lead people to pump more groundwater, which was deposited in the ice ages. The district’s officials have called for the federal government to commit funding to help address a worsening environmental crisis at the Salton Sea, which is shrinking and exposing dry lakebed that sends dust blowing into surrounding communities. As implementation beings, the basin continues to reckon with a future likely to yield less water. 2030. Another big risk is that Lake Mead could eventually drop below 950 feet, when water could no longer turn the dam’s turbines, or even 895 feet, when the lake would reach “deadpool” status and no water could flow out. The water in Lake Mead, the vast reservoir formed by the Hoover Dam that supplies the lower basin, has dropped to levels not seen since the 1960s. Lake Mead and Lake Powell, another reservoir on the river, are essential sources of water for Southern California and Arizona, and sit at less than 40 percent full. And Mexico agreed under a separate accord to start contributing to help prop up Lake Mead, which is now 39 percent full. The Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan Authorization Act easily passed both chambers and now awaits a signature from the president. But Kightlinger, in a statement echoing one by Burman last week, said, "the drought contingency plan is critical to the whole health of the Colorado River and it needs to move forward. “It’s the beginning of a solution and it’s also the beginning of the real problem. The Drought Contingency Plan (DCP), signed in 2019, brings cuts in water use to the lower basin and new water management tools to the upper basin. The river’s reservoirs are now at 55% of total capacity, up from 49% at the same time last year. In a warming world, Dr. Overpeck said, less water in rivers and lakes is inevitable, whatever relief a wet season might bring. Read or Share this story: https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/arizona-environment/2019/05/20/drought-contingency-plan-done-now-what/3477317002/, (Photo: Mark Henle, Mark Henle/The Republic), (Photo: Courtesy of Arizona Department of Water Resources), received above-average snowfall this winter, gets about 40% of its water from the river, expecting to transition almost completely to groundwater, things you can do every day to use less water, Arizona uses less water today than it did more than 60 years ago, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema to vote no on Judge Amy Coney Barrett confirmation, Light snow, chilly temps descend on parts of Arizona, Trump to visit Goodyear, Bullhead City on Wednesday, Police shoot, kill man in north Phoenix in domestic violence case, 14-year-old boy arrested in death of his mother, Sinema, McSally split along party lines on Barrett vote, Your California Privacy Rights/Privacy Policy. But any victory may be short-lived. Lake Mead, the reservoir formed by the Hoover Dam, is at its lowest levels since the 1960s.

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