#Snowpack looking good in most of #Colorado after big storm (February 28, 2023) — OutThereColorado.com

Colorado snowpack basin-filled map February 27, 2023 via the NRCS.

Click the link to read the article on the OutThereColorado.com website (Spencer McKee). Here’s an excerpt:

According to the USDA, statewide snowpack is currently at 124 percent of the to-date median. The largest gap between the current snowpack and the 30-year to-date norm is found in the western half of the state, particularly in the northwest and southwest corners. The southwest corner, home to Durango and much of the San Juan mountain region, is at 141 percent of the to-date median, with the northwest corner, home to Steamboat Springs, at 136 percent of the to-date median. The Gunnison river basin is also quite a bit about the to-date median, at 139 percent. The only part of the state lagging behind the 30-year to-date median is the Arkansas river basin, which includes Colorado Springs and Pueblo. It’s a 79 percent of the to-date median.

West snowpack basin-filled map February 27, 2023 via the NRCS.

#California Wants to Keep (Most of) the #ColoradoRiver for Itself — John Fleck via The New York Times #COriver #aridification

Lake Mead shipwreck. Photo credit: John Fleck

Click the link to read the guest column on The New York Times website (John Fleck). Here’s an excerpt:

Last month, six of the seven proposed a sweeping plan to share the burden and bring the river’s supply and demand into balance. But California, the river’s largest water user, refuses to play fair. As climate change shrinks the river, California argues, it’s Arizona that should take the biggest cuts. If the water in Lake Mead dips below 1,025 feet above sea level, California’s proposal would cut Arizona’s allocation in half, but California’s share, which is already larger, would be cut only 17 percent. That would mean central Arizona’s cities, farms and Native American communities would suffer, while California’s farmers in the large desert agricultural empire of the Imperial Valley — by far the region’s largest agricultural water user — would receive more water from Lake Mead than the entire state of Arizona…

California justifies this imbalance with an outdated interpretation of the river’s allocation laws, but it’s really just an excuse to hoard resources on behalf of the farmers who raise alfalfa, the valley’s most dominant crop, and the cows that eat it. Alfalfa and other animal feed crops are grown across the West, and other regions must decide whether to continue this use of water in an ongoing drought. But nowhere are the stakes as high as in California…

Photo credit: Kim Bartlett via the Center for Biological Diversity

Many Native American communities in Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and California that were left out when the water subsidies were handed out in the 20th century deserve a much bigger share of the river than they have received. California’s intransigence is making it harder to meet that legal and moral challenge. The fish, birds and vegetation of the Colorado River also need water to survive. Collaboration among all seven basin states has, over the last decade, returned a modest supply to once-dry stretches of the river’s bed. California’s intransigence makes that harder, too…

If we approach the challenge with a sense of fairness and shared sacrifice it will be possible to save the West that we know and love. But this can only happen if California joins in, rather than trying to hoard the water for itself.

American White Pelican and Double-crested Cormorants at Bill Williams Wildlife Refuge in Arizona. Photo: Gary Moore/Audubon Photography Awards

Opinion: #California and its neighbors are at an impasse over the #ColoradoRiver. Here’s a way forward — Eric Kuhn in the Los Angeles Times @R_EricKuhn #COriver #aridification

What would this view look like if the Colorado River became Colorado Creek? | Nankoweep Straight on the Grand Canyon | Photo by Sinjin Eberle

Click the link to read the guest column on The Los Angeles Times website (Eric Kuhn). Here’s an excerpt:

What’s missing is a water-sharing agreement among the Lower Basin states. In contrast to the Upper Basin states — Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming — the Lower Basin states never decided how to divvy up their part of the river.

A U.S. senator put it this way: The trouble is that there is not enough water in the river available to the Lower Basin to satisfy the demands of the Lower Basin states, particularly … Arizona and California. Somehow, somewhere, the issues must be settled.” Those were the words of California’s William Fife Knowland at the beginning of Senate committee hearings on the Colorado River 75 years ago…

The Upper Basin states completed that task in 1948. To deal with uncertainties in the water supply and the obligation to the Lower Basin states, the Upper Basin compact allocates water by share of what’s available. My home state of Colorado, for example, can consume 51.75% of the water available for use in the Upper Basin. If more water is available, Colorado can use more; if there is less, Colorado must use less. The Upper Basin compact did much more than that. It also includes provisions for assessing system reservoir evaporation and an interstate agency to administer the subcompact…

So what should California do? I believe the state has only two alternatives: Engage in another round of contentious and unpredictable litigation or, preferably, encourage its fellow Lower Basin states to get their house in order by finally negotiating their own subcompact. California, Arizona, Nevada and the tribal communities of the Lower Basin are in a position to take advantage of what has worked for the Upper Basin. A Lower Basin subcompact could allocate water based on how much is available, not what we thought we had decades ago. It could also include provisions for assessing evaporation and a commission to administer the deal. And it could encourage the cooperative banking, water recycling and agricultural efficiency projects that the Lower Basin desperately needs to meet future demand. To be successful, the negotiators for all parties would have to check their historical grievances at the door, make difficult compromises and be open to new and innovative solutions. Given that Arizona and California couldn’t agree on water use before, why is such a deal possible now? The answer is that no better option exists. This is the only way for California and its neighbors to control their own water destiny.

#EagleRiver Watershed Council #Water #Conservation Study

Map of the Eagle River drainage basin in Colorado, USA. Made using USGS data. By Shannon1 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=69310517

Click the link to access the survey for the study:

As we keep seeing the lack of Western Water in the news, it’s time to start taking action to reduce outdoor water use. Eagle River Watershed Council is developing an outdoor water conservation program along with Eagle County Conservation District and we need your help. Through this survey, we will learn how our community wants to interact with programming and how we can help you make a measurable change in outdoor water use. Please take a few minutes to think about your outdoor water usage and take this survey. Those who take this survey will be entered into a drawing for a YETI Hopper soft cooler.

Click the link below to begin.

Eagle River Watershed Council Water Conservation Study

We encourage you to take the survey right now as it will be available for a limited time only.

Thanks again for your participation!

Your friends at the Eagle River Watershed Council!