From The Arizona Republic (Ian James):
…in a new report, scientists say the situation is just as worrisome upstream at Lake Powell.
The declines there during the past 18 years, they say, also reflect the Colorado River’s worsening “structural deficit.”
The 10 scientists, who make up the Colorado River Research Group, said even though the four Upper Basin states — Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming — haven’t been using all the water they’re legally entitled to, Lake Powell has declined due to extra water releases into Mead.
Those releases, they said, are “the only thing that has kept Lake Mead from dropping into shortage conditions.”
“I want people to know that what’s going on at Lake Mead is very, very closely tied to what’s going on Lake Powell,” said Doug Kenney, the group’s chair and a professor at the University of Colorado. “We’re draining Lake Powell to prop it up.”
The scientists titled their report “It’s Hard to Fill a Bathtub When the Drain is Wide Open.”
The Colorado River basin, which stretches from Wyoming to Mexico, has been drying out during what scientists say is one of the driest 19-year periods in the past 1,200 years. The river has long been over-allocated, with the demands of farms and cities exceeding the available water supply, and the strains are being compounded by growing population, drought and climate change…
The scientists suggested that Lake Powell could bounce back better in wet years if “new operational rules” are developed…
“Better options might be found by thinking outside of this familiar framework. Lakes Mead and Powell, after all, are essentially one giant reservoir,” the group said. “Managing — and thinking — of these facilities as two distinct reservoirs, one for the benefit of the Upper Basin and one for the Lower, now seems outdated.”
From CNBC (Diane Olick):
A new Harvard study claims climate change is altering home values both on the coast and inland, coining the term, “climate gentrification.” “Higher elevation properties are essentially worth more now, and increasingly will be worth more in the future,” according to Harvard’s Jesse Keenan. Universities, climate research groups, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have made dire predictions of sea-level rise in Miami.
A modern glass home sits on the edge of the water in Miami Beach. The ground-level master suite has a soaking tub that looks out to the ocean, and the bedroom’s glass doors allow the owner to roll out of the sheets and onto the yacht. It is listed for sale at $25 million.
Another Miami home sits on a garbage-strewn street in Little Haiti, about five miles inland. Its owner can walk out the front door and see a dead chicken in the street. It is listed for sale at $559,000, but some experts claim it is a better investment than $25 million mansion.
The mansion, while highly desirable and exquisitely appointed, is paradise at a price, because rising tides and increasingly extreme storms may already be lowering its value. On the other hand, the home in Little Haiti, which sits on high ground with little risk of flooding, is appreciating at a fast clip. It has nearly doubled in value in just the past two years, according to Zillow…
The study tracked the values of more than 100,000 single-family homes across Miami going back 45 years…
“What we found is that the higher elevation properties are essentially worth more now, and increasingly will be worth more in the future,” Keenan said. “Populations, including speculative real estate investment will densify in these high elevation areas.”
Universities, climate research groups and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have made dire predictions about sea-level rise in Miami — the ocean overtaking vast swaths of real estate over the coming decades. So-called “nuisance” flooding, when king tides come in on sunny days, is already common in some neighborhoods.
From Tony Haigh (via Twitter):
One of the most intriguing aspects of the U.S. Drought Monitor is the network of observers across the country who contribute data and information each week to help identify the location and intensity of drought. @DroughtCenter @DroughtGov Learn more at http://drought.unl.edu/Publications/News.aspx?id=329