#Colorado tells the #ColoradoRiver Lower Basin states to cut #water use to meet federal demand to conserve — The #ColoradoSprings Gazette #COriver #aridification

The confluence of the Colorado and Little Colorado rivers in the Grand Canyon, shown here in a September 2020 aerial photo from Ecoflight, represents an area where the humpback chub has rebounded in the last decade. That progress is now threatened by declining water levels in Lake Powell, which could lead to non-native smallmouth bass becoming established in the canyon. CREDIT: JANE PARGITER/ECOFLIGHT

Click the link to read the article on The Colorado Springs Gazette website (Mary Shinn). Here’s an excerpt:

Colorado has no plans to make additional cuts to water use next year to meet the Bureau of Reclamation’s demand to conserve millions of acre-feet of water, a step needed to preserve power production in Lake Powell and Lake Mead. Instead, Colorado officials insist that other states should do the cutting.

“I think that at this point, we stand ready to hear what the Lower Basin has in mind,” said Amy Ostdiek, a section chief with the Colorado Water Conservation Board.

Ostdiek told The Gazette the Upper Basin states — Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming and Utah — dramatically reduced their water use in 2021 because of drought conditions. Specifically, they cut 1 million acre-feet in use in 2021 compared with 2020, bringing it down to 3.5 million acre-feet. But, at the same time, total water use in the Lower Basin has not been cut enough to preserve levels in the lakes, said Ostdiek, who is chief of the Interstate, Federal, and Water Information Section. She said water users in Colorado cut their consumption to meet the obligations of the 1922 river compact that governs use between the seven states and Mexico, who all share the river.

“The most impactful thing we can do is live within the means of the river,” she said.

Map of the Colorado River drainage basin, created using USGS data. By Shannon1 Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0

Freedom in the west, but not for women — Writers on the range

Click the link to read the article on the Writers on the range website (Rebecca Johnson):

I moved to Wyoming a few years ago for its outdoor recreation, but I also liked the state’s history of championing equal rights for women. As early as 1869, it codified women’s voting rights, 50 years before the 19th Amendment did the same thing. Western women in the 19th century quickly proved their mettle, helping to build communities in rugged and isolated landscapes.

But now, sadly, Wyoming has agreed to subjugate women. In March, Wyoming’s governor signed a “trigger bill” that would ban abortions in the state five days after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade, which it did June 24.

Around the West, other states including Idaho, Utah, North Dakota, South Dakota and Oklahoma also passed bills restricting women’s reproductive health soon after the Supreme Court acted. Texas had a tough law that banned virtually all abortions since 2021, although their new law, set to take effect in the next month, introduces even harsher measures — a near-total ban, even after incest and rape.

Fortunately, some Western states recognize the needs of women, and are already being sought out by women seeking abortions who are blocked at home. Colorado passed an act in March giving anyone pregnant the “fundamental right to continue the pregnancy… or to have an abortion.”

Three coastal states, California, Washington and Oregon, said they would be havens for women seeking abortions. In addition, Oregon allotted $15 million to help cover abortion costs even for non-residents.

Corporations are also becoming allies. Apple, Citi, and Yelp adjusted their corporate policies in Texas to include travel for abortions as part of health insurance packages. Lyft and Uber have promised to pay legal fees if their drivers are charged with the crime of “assisting” abortion patients.

Ironically, when Covid-19 was rampant, I often heard Westerners express a common sentiment about getting vaccinated, or not: “It’s my body and my choice.” I almost laughed, as that’s the cry of women who want the choice of becoming a mother, or not.

Before the Supreme Court decision was announced, I began talking to people about their views on access to abortion, and as you would expect, reactions were mixed, though no one I spoke to for this opinion agreed to be quoted by name due to privacy concerns. At a block party, a 22-year-old Jackson man, who self-identified as Hispanic, said he thought of abortion as “one of the worst sins.” Then he surprised me by adding, “But a woman should be able to make that decision.”

At a pizza joint, a fourth-generation Jackson resident I’ve gotten to know, said, “I don’t think the government should have a say about your individual body… The government should be building roads. We don’t believe in big government.”

An Indigenous man in his late 20s said, “Humans should be able to make choices for their own human bodies. Otherwise, we’re going back to slavery.”

Still, I get the sense that many well-intentioned men, trying to be supportive of the women around them, are opting to step back and let women fight this battle. This reticence has started to feel like men are saying, “Not my body, not my problem.” Perhaps our state legislators recognize this reluctance to get involved, thus freeing them to vote against women’s rights.

Sometimes an abortion is unwanted but necessary for a woman’s health. Sometimes an abortion is wanted but will now be illegal. I think whatever a woman decides must be her decision, not a ruling from the out-of-touch Supreme Court or from a male-dominated state legislature.

Five years ago, a friend was forced to travel to a Wyoming clinic to get an abortion after a doctor in Idaho told her that abortion was “wrong.” She was angry, and later when she told her father, he said he was proud of her for “sticking up for herself.”

“It was the best money I’ve ever spent,” my friend told me later. “I wouldn’t be half the person I hope to be without making that decision.”

Men retain control over their bodies, but in too many parts of this country, women no longer can. Deciding whether to bear a child is perhaps the biggest decision in any woman’s life. Controlling and criminalizing a woman’s choice is a tragic mistake.

Rebecca (Bex) Johnson is a contributor to Writers on the Range, http://writersontherange.org, an independent nonprofit dedicated to spurring lively conversation about the West. She works and writes in Jackson, Wyoming.

Multi-Purpose Storage Account Created in John Martin Reservoir — Colorado Division of Water Resources @DWR_CO

This view is from the top of John Martin Dam facing west over the body of the reservoir. The content of the reservoir in this picture was approximately 45,000 acre-feet (March 2014). By Jaywm – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=37682336

Here’s the release from the Colorado Division of Water Resources:

The Arkansas River Compact Administration (ARCA) passed a resolution on July 1, 2022 establishing a 20,000-acre feet multi-purpose storage account in John Martin Reservoir. This new account is intended to benefit water users in Colorado and Kansas and promote commonly held interests not directly related to the Kansas-Colorado Arkansas River Compact such as water quality improvements.

This is a pilot project to determine how a multi-purpose storage account could operate, document benefits, and determine if there are any adverse impacts from such an account. The account will be operated in accordance with an operating plan agreed to by the states and will terminate on March 31, 2028, unless extended by ARCA. This account is in addition to other accounts that are present in John Martin Reservoir.

The need for a multi-purpose storage account was recognized by municipalities, well augmentation and surface irrigation improvement replacement groups, water conservancy districts, and other water users within the Arkansas River Basin in Colorado. The concept of a multi-purpose account was brought to ARCA in 2013. The Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District with funding support from the Colorado Water Conservation Board helped further develop this account for the states to consider. Kansas and Colorado worked through issues and negotiated for much of the past decade to agree upon establishing this account in John Martin Reservoir as a pilot project through March 2028.

ARCA administers provisions of the Compact, including operations of the John Martin Reservoir. Colorado has three representatives who serve on ARCA: Rebecca Mitchell, director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board; Lane Malone, Holly, Colorado; and Scott Brazil, Vineland, Colorado. Kansas has three representatives who serve on ARCA: Earl Lewis, chief engineer of the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s Division of Water Resources; Randy Hayzlett, Lakin, Kansas; and Troy Dumler, Garden City, Kansas. Jim Rizzuto, Swink, Colorado, serves as the federal chair.

Find more information about ARCA at http://www.co-ks-arkansasrivercompactadmin.org.

The latest briefing is hot off the presses from Western #Water Assessment

Click the link to read the briefing on the Western Water Assessment website:

July 6, 2022 – CO, UT, WY
The region experienced a wide range of precipitation conditions during June. An atmospheric river and rapid snowmelt in northwest Wyoming produced record floods in Montana, early onset of the North American Monsoon caused much-above average precipitation in southern Colorado and Utah and much of Utah and Wyoming saw less than 1” of rainfall. Snow entirely melted out during June; melt was nearly ten days early in Colorado and Utah. Regional drought coverage decreased to 81% during June. Drought was completely removed in northern Wyoming and improvements to drought conditions occurred in southern Colorado, southern and eastern Utah and the Upper Snake River Basin. There is a 50-60% probability that mild La Niña conditions will persist through winter.

June precipitation was dominated by an early surge of monsoonal moisture in the southern portion of the region and an atmospheric river-type event in northwestern Wyoming. Southern Colorado and southeastern Utah received 200-800% of normal June precipitation due to the formation of the North American Monsoon. Monsoonal precipitation also produced above average precipitation in the Uinta Mountains of Utah. A strong atmospheric river event produced 2-5” of rain in northwestern Wyoming during early June; the combination of heavy rainfall and snowmelt caused extreme flooding in Yellowstone National Park and southwestern Montana. June precipitation was less than 50% of average in most of Utah and Wyoming with large areas of both states receiving less than 1” of rain.

Regional temperatures were slightly above normal during June for most of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. June temperatures were slightly below normal in northwestern Wyoming. Daily maximum temperatures were up to 8 degrees above normal in northeastern Colorado during June.

Snowpack completely melted out at all snotel sites in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. Averaged across all snotel sites, snow melted out 10 days earlier than average in Colorado and 9 days early in Utah. In Wyoming, snow melted out 2 days later than average.

Record-high flows were observed on the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone, Gardner, Lamar and Yellowstone Rivers after an atmospheric river combined with rapid snowmelt. Record-low flows were observed on the Escalante, Sevier and Weber Rivers in Utah and the Purgatoire River in southeastern Colorado. Regional streamflow volume forecasts for July 1st were not published at the time of this briefing. Check back early next week for July streamflow forecast information.

Drought continues in the Intermountain West, but the coverage of drought decreased from 92% on June 1st to 81% on July 1st. Moisture from the early June atmospheric river in Wyoming caused the complete removal of drought conditions in northern and central Wyoming and the removal of D3 drought conditions from the Upper Snake River Basin. Above average precipitation from monsoonal moisture led to the removal of D4 drought in southern Utah and D3 drought in southern Colorado and central to eastern Utah. In northeastern Colorado, D3 drought was removed from Washington County, but emerged to the north in Weld, Logan and Sedgwick Counties. Drought continues to impact Utah most severely with 82% of the state in extreme (D3) drought conditions.

La Niña conditions continue in the eastern Pacific Ocean with sea surface temperatures 0.5 to 1.5 degrees Celsius below normal. La Niña influenced weather patterns during the first half of June with above normal precipitation and cooler temperatures in Wyoming and drier, warmer conditions to the south. There is a 55-65% probability of La Niña conditions continuing through mid-winter 2023. The average of sea surface temperature models project that ocean temperatures remain at least 0.5 degrees Celsius below normal through late-winter 2023.

The NOAA precipitation outlook for July suggests there is an increased probability of above average precipitation for southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah and an increased probability for below average precipitation in northwestern Utah. The seasonal precipitation outlook for July – August predicts an increased probability of above average precipitation for southern Utah, suggesting that a stronger than average monsoon continues, and below average precipitation for much of Colorado and Wyoming. There is up to a 70% probability of above average temperatures for the entire region; Utah and western Colorado are most likely to see high temperatures.

Significant June weather event. Major flooding in Yellowstone National Park (YNP). From June 12-13, a warm atmospheric river-type storm dumped 2-4” of rain in northwestern Wyoming. Snowpack was much-above average in YNP during June and heavy rainfall combined with an estimated 5.5” of snowmelt to produce record-high flows on the Gardner, Lamar, Yellowstone and Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone Rivers. The Yellowstone River (Corwin Springs, MT) peaked at 49,400 cfs on June 14th, shattering the previous record of 32,200 cfs in 1996. Extensive damage was caused by flooding on the Gardner and Yellowstone Rivers in southwestern Montana and along Rock Creek in Red Lodge, MT. The Gardner River peaked at 2,980 cfs, 40% higher than the previous maximum flow, destroying several sections of the road from the North Entrance of Yellowstone to Mammoth Hot Springs. Yellowstone National Park was completely closed for 9 days and the North and Northeast Entrances are expected to remain closed until at least fall 2022…

Aspinall Unit operations update: #BlueMesa at 47% of capacity #GunnisonRiver #ColoradoRiver #COriver #aridification

From email from Reclamation (Erik Knight):

Click the image for a larger view.

#California deepens #water cuts to cope with #drought, hitting thousands of farms — The Los Angeles Times

Map of the Sacramento River drainage basin. The historically connected Goose Lake drainage basin is shown in orange. Made using USGS National Map and NASA SRTM data. By Shannon1 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=79326436

Click the link to read the article on The Los Angeles Times website (Ian James and Sean Greene). Here’s an excerpt:

The order, which took effect Thursday, puts a hold on about 5,800 water rights across the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers’ watersheds, reflecting the severity of California’s extreme drought. Together with a similar order in June, the State Water Resources Control Board has now curtailed 9,842 water rights this year in the Sacramento and San Joaquin watersheds, more than half of the nearly 16,700 existing rights…The number of water rights that fall under this year’s orders is slightly less than the 10,200 curtailed in 2021. But the latest cuts have come earlier in the summer, affecting many farmers at the peak of their growing season, when they typically irrigate more.

Map of the San Joaquin River basin in central California, United States, made using public domain USGS National Map data. By Shannon1 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=63080408

#FortCollins staff give preview of new 1041 regulations for #water, highway projects — The Fort Collins Coloradoan

Mammatus clouds, associated with strong convection, grace a sunset over Fort Collins, Colorado, home of the NOAA Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere at Colorado State University. Photo credit: Steve Miller/CIRA

Click the link to read the article on the Fort Collins Coloradoan website (Jacy Marmaduke). Here’s an excerpt:

Earlier this year, council decided to create 1041 regulations specifically for new major water or sewer systems and new highways or interchanges. They placed a moratorium on review of those kinds of projects until Dec. 31, but that moratorium applies only to projects that would cross through city parks or natural areas…

The proposed review process is a tiered system where the intensity of the review would depend on the impacts of the project. The draft regulations contain a long list of impact categories that staff would use to decide a route of review for the project. To name a few impact categories: local infrastructure or services such as roads, housing or stormwater management; recreational opportunities; visual quality; air quality, surface water or groundwater; wildlife; riparian areas or wetlands; and noise, dust or odors. The draft regulations also include impact categories specific to water or highway projects, such as impacts to natural resources or the productivity of agricultural lands for water projects and impacts to local traffic for highway projects. If staff find that a project isn’t likely to create any significant adverse impacts, the city could issue a “finding of no significant impacts” (FONSI) and waive the permit requirement. Projects going through the FONSI route could still be subject to other types of city review, and staff’s decision could be appealed to the Planning and Zoning Commission. The commission’s decision could then be appealed to City Council.

The other two review types would be “full permit” and “administrative permit.” The full permit process would be reserved for projects that would probably create multiple types of significant impacts or require eminent domain. The administrative permit process would be reserved for projects that would probably create significant impacts in just one category and not require eminent domain. The main difference between a full permit and an administrative permit is who makes the decision. For a full permit, staff would review the application and City Council would make the final, unappealable decision on the permit. For an administrative permit, the city’s director of community, development and neighborhood services (currently Paul Sizemore) would decide whether to issue the permit. That decision could be appealed to the Planning and Zoning Commission, whose decision could be appealed to council.

#The Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD) is continuing to provide water for #Chama — The #PagosaSprings Sun #SanJuanRiver #ColoradoRiver #COriver #aridification

Chama Train Depot. By Milan Suvajac – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=40166802
CC BY-SA 4.0

Click the link to read the article on the Pagosa Springs Sun website (Josh Pike). Here’s an excerpt:

The Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD) is continuing to provide water to Chama, N.M., with that community continuing to deal with a water shortage. PAWSD Manager Justin Ramsey reported Wednesday the district will continue to provide water through July 10. Ramsey elaborated on PAWSD’s involvement in providing water for Chama in a June 30 press release.

The release states, “Due to a pipeline break and operator issues the community of Chama New Mexico is suffering a severe water issue. The state of New Mexico has declared a state of emergency due to this predicament. The Chama community has asked for our help to provide some relief to this dire situation. The Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD) has agreed to provide Chama with temporary emergency water.

“This may appear imprudent on PAWSD’s part due to our own drought concerns. However, PAWSD has developed a plan allowing 6,000 gallon tanker trucks to use uptown fill stations with water coming from our San Juan Water Treatment Plant to transport up to 150,000 gallons per day to Chama. Using these fill stations and water from the San Juan Water Treatment Plant has the lowest impact on our water reserves.

Rivers and drought

Stream flow for the San Juan River on July 6 at approximately 9 a.m. was 328 cubic feet per second (cfs), according to the U.S. Geological Service (USGS) National Water Dashboard. This is down from a nighttime peak of 499 cfs at 3 a.m. on July6. Over the night, due to heavy rains, the flow rose from 239 cfs at 7 p.m. on July 5 to the peak early in the morning of July 6. Flows are down from last week’s reading of 402 cfs at 9 a.m. on June 29.

Colorado Drought Monitor map July 5, 2022.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) reports that 100 percent of the county is experiencing drought…

The NIDIS also provides an evaporative demand (EDDI) forecast, an experimental tool for predicting drought conditions through measuring atmospheric evaporative demand or the “thirst of the atmosphere.” The forecast for the area indicates that in the next two weeks, the majority of Archuleta County will be experiencing extreme wet conditions, while the four-week forecast shows the county will be experiencing a mix of extreme wet and severe wet conditions.

Enjoy a moment of river light on rock and bird song. #ColoradoRiver #rivers #birds #ColoradoRiverborealis #breathe — @Abby_RiverH2O