Click here to read the executive summary.
From The World Bank:
Water scarcity, exacerbated by climate change, could cost some regions up to 6% of their GDP, spur migration, and spark conflict. The combined effects of growing populations, rising incomes, and expanding cities will see demand for water rising exponentially, while supply becomes more erratic and uncertain.
Unless action is taken soon, water will become scarce in regions where it is currently abundant – such as Central Africa and East Asia – and scarcity will greatly worsen in regions where water is already in short supply – such as the Middle East and the Sahel in Africa. These regions could see their growth rates decline by as much as 6% of GDP by 2050 due to water-related impacts on agriculture, health, and incomes.
Water insecurity could multiply the risk of conflict. Food price spikes caused by droughts can inflame latent conflicts and drive migration. Where economic growth is impacted by rainfall, episodes of droughts and floods have generated waves of migration and spikes in violence within countries. The negative impacts of climate change on water could be neutralized with better policy decisions, with some regions standing to improve their growth rates by up to 6% with better water resource management. Improved water stewardship pays high economic dividends. When governments respond to water shortages by boosting efficiency and allocating even 25% of water to more highly-valued uses, such as more efficient agricultural practices, losses decline dramatically and for some regions may even vanish. In the world’s extremely dry regions, more far-reaching policies are needed to avoid inefficient water use. Stronger policies and reforms are needed to cope with deepening climate stresses.
Policies and investments that can help lead countries to more water secure and climate-resilient economies include:
Better planning for water resource allocation Adoption of incentives to increase water efficiency, and Investments in infrastructure for more secure water supplies and availability.
From Forbes.com (Ethan Siegel). Click through and read the whole article. Here’s an excerpt:
Modeling the Earth’s climate is one of the most daunting, complicated tasks out there. If only we were more like the Moon, things would be easy. The Moon has no atmosphere, no oceans, no icecaps, no seasons, and no complicated flora and fauna to get in the way of simple radiative physics. No wonder it’s so challenging to model! In fact, if you google “climate models wrong”, eight of the first ten results showcase failure. But headlines are never as reliable as going to the scientific source itself, and the ultimate source, in this case, is the first accurate climate model ever: by Syukuro Manabe and Richard T. Wetherald. 50 years after their groundbreaking 1967 paper, the science can be robustly evaluated, and they got almost everything exactly right.
If there were no atmosphere on Earth, calculating the climate would be easy. The Sun emits radiation, the Earth absorbs some of the incident radiation and reflects the rest, then the Earth re-radiates away that energy. Temperatures would be easily calculable based on albedo (i.e., reflectivity), the angle of the surface to the Sun, the length/duration of the day, and the efficiency of how it re-radiates that energy. If we were to strip the atmosphere away entirely, our planet’s typical temperature would be 255 Kelvin (-18 °C / 0 °F), which is most definitely colder than what we observe. In fact, it’s about 33 °C (59 °F) colder than what we see, and what we need to account for that difference is an accurate climate model.
The number one contributor, by far, to this difference? The atmosphere. This “blanket-like” effect of the gases in our atmosphere was first discovered nearly two centuries ago by Joseph Fourier and worked out in detail by Svante Arrhenius in 1896. Each of the gases present has some amount of absorptive effects in the infrared portion of the spectrum, which is the portion where Earth re-radiates most of its energy. Nitrogen and oxygen are terrible absorbers, but good ones include water vapor, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone and carbon dioxide. When we add (or take away) more of those gases from our planet’s atmosphere, it’s like thickening (or thinning) the blanket that the planet wears. This, too, was worked out by Arrhenius over 100 years ago.
But a true climate model is more complex, because there’s more at play than just the atmosphere. The oceans ensure that the amount of water vapor (and cloud cover, which impacts temperature significantly) change dependent on conditions, and if you tinker with one component of the atmosphere — like carbon dioxide, for instance — it impacts the concentrations of other components. Scientists refer to this general process as feedback, and it’s one of the largest uncertainties in climate modeling.
The big advance of Manabe and Wetherald’s work was to model not just the feedbacks but the interrelationships between the different components that contribute to the Earth’s temperature. As the atmospheric contents change, so do both the absolute and relative humidity, which impacts cloud cover, water vapor content and cycling/convection of the atmosphere. What they found is that if you start with a stable initial state — roughly what Earth experienced for thousands of years prior to the start of the industrial revolution — you can tinker with one component (like CO2) and model how everything else evolves.
From The Cortez Journal (Jim Mimiaga):
The Montezuma Valley Irrigation Co. on Tuesday retreated from its boating ban at Narraguinnep Reservoir and agreed to allow some hand-launched, non-motorized watercraft.
The revised ban still includes motorized and trailered boats, including jet skis. Such watercraft can carry water from infected lakes in the engines, bilges and ballasts, according to the MVIC.
The specific list of nine non-motorized boats that are allowed on the lake include kayaks, canoes, rafts, belly boats, windsurfer boards, sailboards, float tubes, inner tubes and paddle boards.
“The board is in agreement on allowing those crafts,” Gerald Koppenhafer, president of the MVIC board, said on Tuesday.
Totten Lake, which is owned by the Dolores Water Conservancy District, also recently banned boating, but is also expected to allow the specific list of non-motorized boats, general manager Mike Preston said on Tuesday.
“The intention of our board is to be consistent with MVI and allow the exempted watercraft,” he said…
The boating ban triggered an outcry from the boating community, and generated complaints to the Montezuma county commission. Dozens of comments for and against the policy were posted on The Journal’s Facebook page.
McPhee Reservoir allows all types of boating, but trailered and motorized watercraft can only enter the lake through two boat inspection stations at the McPhee boat ramp and the House Creek boat ramp. The list of nine, hand-launched boats can launch from anywhere. Funding is available for boat inspection stations at McPhee but not other area lakes.
Irrigation companies and lake managers are trying to prevent the invasive mussel from entering Colorado waterways. Once a lake becomes contaminated with the mussels, they cannot be eliminated and cause damage to irrigation infrastructure, including dams, municipal systems and power plants. Mitigating a mussel contamination year-to-year also dramatically increases operation costs.
A decision is pending on how to prevent a mussel contamination at Groundhog Reservoir, which also is owned by MVIC.
From The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel (Dennis Webb):
Cleanup is continuing and Chevron and authorities are looking into the cause of a pipeline leak outside the Rangely area in which more than 4,800 gallons of oil spilled into a dry drainage.
The leak was discovered March 5 by Chevron personnel in a drainage leading to Stinking Water Creek, and the line was shut off following the discovery.
Two ducks, two other birds and three mice died as a result of the spill.
The incident occurred on Bureau of Land Management land. BLM spokesman David Boyd said the spill initially was estimated at 1,200 barrels, or more than 50,000 gallons. But Erika Conner, spokeperson for Chevron Pipe Line Co., says early reports included recovered barrels of oil combined with snowmelt.
Boyd said the spill involved a 6-inch-diameter oil gathering pipeline.
Todd Hartman, a spokesman for the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, said the oil traveled about 30 feet to an unnamed drainage, then flowed to another drainage, covering about two miles altogether in heavily vegetated terrain.
It stopped at a stormwater siphon about 1.5 miles west of Stinking Water Creek, he said.
He said the failed section of pipe has been sent off for analysis.
Richard Mylott, a spokesman for the Environmental Protection Agency, said that Chevron “had previously installed berms and siphon dams in the unnamed draw as a prevention/preparedness measure for any spills.”
“… Cleanup is ongoing. Crews have vacuumed oil from behind the siphon dam and are currently removing contaminated soils, flushing oil from pockets and steep ditches,” he said.
Both Mylott and Conner said no water was impacted by the spill.
Conner also said there were no public health concerns.</blockquote
In early April, the Division of Water Resources (“DWR”) and the Colorado Water Conservation Board (“CWCB”) will jointly hold four informational meetings and solicit public input related to the implementation of House Bill 16-1228, known as the Agricultural Water Protection Water Right Bill. This legislation, enacted in 2016, allows water users, if they choose, to change an irrigation water right through the water court to an “Agricultural Water Protection Water Right.” The change allows a portion of the water right to be put to a new beneficial use through a substitute water supply plan (“SWSP”) approved by the State Engineer, while a portion of the original water right must continue to be used for agricultural purposes. The legislation directed the CWCB to develop Criteria and Guidelines to address provisions in the bill and directed the State Engineer to promulgate rules that would guide the approval of a SWSP.
The meetings will be held at the following times and locations:
- Monday, April 3, 3 – 6 p.m., Island Grove Regional Park, Events Center Conference Room A, 501 N 14th Ave, Greeley, CO 80631
- Tuesday, April 4, 3 – 6 p.m., Otero Junior College Student Center Banquet Room, 1802 Colorado Ave, La Junta, CO 81050
- Wednesday, April 5, 3 – 6 p.m., Sterling Public Library Community Room, 420 N 5th St, Sterling, CO 80751
- Thursday, April 6, 3 – 6 p.m., Upper Arkansas Water Conservancy District Board Room, 339 E Rainbow Blvd # 101, Salida, CO 81201
The agenda for each meeting will be the same: description of House Bill 16-1228; discussion of the draft SWSP Rules; and discussion of the draft Criteria and Guidelines for the Agricultural Water Protection Program. Please visit the DWR website for more information on the legislation, public meetings, and process for providing feedback. The CWCB’s draft Criteria and Guidelines and the State Engineer’s draft Rules related to the implementation of House Bill 16-1228 are also available on the website, and the public is encouraged to review these drafts before the meetings.
Please use this link to RSVP to a particular meeting location by March 30 if you plan to attend.
From The Sterling Journal-Advocate (Jeff Rice):
The Colorado Water Conservation Board and the Colorado Division of Water Resources will hold a series information and input meetings on the new Agricultural Water Protection Water Right law.
There will be a meeting in Sterling April 4 from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Sterling Public Library.
Correction: The meeting is April 5th.
The new law, which was sponsored by both Rep. Jon Becker, R-Fort Morgan, and Sen. Jerry Sonnenberg, R-Sterling, installs safeguards in the event that irrigators want to change part of their water right to a new beneficial use.
Under Colorado water law, an irrigator who wants to lease part of his water to another end-user must go through a state water court process to get what is called a “decree change.” A key to the decree change is making sure the irrigator maintains the return flow that would have resulted from using the water for irrigation. Return flow is water that has been used to irrigate a crop and either runs off or seeps down into the river aquifer to be used by irrigators downstream.
Because water leases tend to be temporary, they are called “alternative transfer methods” because they are an alternative to buying the irrigated land outright and drying up the farmland, a practice called “buy and dry.”
Previously, the irrigator had to have a specified end user for the ATM. If a change in the end user was desired, the irrigator had to go back to water court and repeat the decree change process.
Under the new law, an irrigator will be able to change the end-user by submitting a substitute water supply plan to the state engineer’s office. The SWSP will have to include an explanation of how the irrigator will maintain his return flow obligation. The irrigator will still have to have a conservation program in place through a local agency such as a water conservancy district or irrigation district.
Joe Frank, manager of the Lower South Platte Water Conservancy District, said the new law is an improvement over a similar measure that was introduced a year before.
“Before, there was some fear that (water transfers) could lead to speculation, and that’s just not something we want to see,” Frank said. “(SB 16-1228) allows some flexibility, but reins in on the speculation piece so you can’t change all of your water right.”
He said that while such alternative transfer methods are becoming more common, they aren’t ideal as a solution to the water shortage.
“We don’t want to make this the end-all solution to the gap (in water supply) because it is still drying up some ag, but it isn’t a permanent dry-up,” Frank said. “The good part is you don’t have to keep going back to change your end-user.”
More Coyote Gulch coverage of HB16-1228 here.