No longer a ‘boys club’: in the world of water, women are increasingly claiming center stage — @WaterEdFdn

Brenda Burman photo credit Wikimedia.

From the Water Education Foundation (Gary Pitzer).:

Western Water Notebook: since late 2017, women have taken leading roles at Reclamation, DWR, Metropolitan Water District and other key water agencies.

The 1992 election to the United States Senate was famously coined the “Year of the Woman” for the record number of women elected to the upper chamber.

In the water world, 2018 has been a similar banner year, with noteworthy appointments of women to top leadership posts in California — Karla Nemeth at the California Department of Water Resources and Gloria Gray at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

On the national level, Jayne Harkins was appointed in September to lead the U.S. Section of the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC) for the United States and Mexico. And in July, Amy Haas was named executive director of the Upper Colorado River Commission, the first woman to hold that title in its 70-year history. They followed Brenda Burman’s appointment in late 2017 to become the first female commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation in its 116-year history.

Women have had their hands in water issues for a long time, but their presence has been spotlighted by those key appointments and the understanding that in what’s traditionally been a male-dominated field, women are seizing the opportunity to contribute to the discussion and have their voices heard.

“Since 2001, when I arrived in California, I’ve met so many great women doing impactful work at the local, state and national levels, both in agencies and in the nonprofit and business sectors,” said Ellen Hanak, director of the Public Policy Institute of California’s Water Policy Center. “What’s really striking now is how many women are in leadership positions — a trend I hope to see continue.”

Women engaged in water policy issues say their work is a tribute to those who entered the field previously.

“There is a trend of more women going into the field of water policy/law because of a sustained effort by women who have pioneered going into this field to reach back and pull more women with them,” said Kim Delfino, California program director with Defenders of Wildlife and former California Water Commission member. “I think that the trajectory has been always pointed toward an increase in women coming into this field. It is now more noticeable because the numbers have finally added up to a more substantial showing. Further, social media makes it easier to communicate and show the numbers of women in the field of water.”

Click through for the great photo gallery timeline highlighting women in water.

Rural Jobs: A Big Reason Midwest Should Love Clean Energy — Inside #Climate News

From Inside Climate News (Dan Gearino):

From wind power maintenance to energy efficiency upgrades, clean energy job opportunities outnumber fossil fuel work in much of the rural Midwest.

A new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council shows the extent to which clean energy is contributing jobs to the rural economies of 12 Midwestern states. It also reflects what the rural Midwest stands to lose from Trump administration actions that harm clean energy, such as its recent call to eliminate subsidies for renewable energy, its tariffs on solar energy equipment, and its plan to weaken the Obama-era Clean Power Plan.

The authors say the numbers underscore the need in the Midwest for government policies that are supportive of clean energy instead.

In 2017, the latest data in the report, clean energy employed about 158,000 people in the rural Midwest, according to NRDC. While a larger number of clean energy jobs overall were in urban areas, the rural clean energy jobs stand out for making up a bigger percentage of the overall rural economy…

Fossil fuel industries have faded as major employers in most of the rural Midwest, despite a history in some states closely tied to coal, oil and natural gas production, the report shows. Ten of the 12 states have more rural clean energy jobs than rural fossil fuel jobs. The exceptions are North Dakota, which has the Bakken oil field, and Kansas, where the numbers are close…

In 2017, the Midwest added 31 gigawatts of wind and solar power plants, 24 gigawatts of which are located in rural areas, according to government data cited by NRDC. For some perspective, the country’s largest coal-fired power plants are 2 or 3 gigawatts each. A growing number of cities, including Cleveland and Cincinnati, have committed to transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy, and much of that power will likely be produced in rural areas.

#ColoradoRiver: @CAPArizona signals support for lower basin #Drought Contingency Plan #COriver #aridification

Colorado River Basin. Graphic credit: Water Education Colorado

From ArizonaCentral.com (Ian James):

Board members of the Central Arizona Water Conservation District passed a motion saying they support “key provisions” of the plan, which they’re calling Arizona’s implementation plan for the proposed three-state Drought Contingency Plan.

There are still some details yet to be worked out.

In the motion, the board members said they recognize “the need for additional discussions to address remaining issues.”

But the vote appears to indicate that the main players in Arizona’s long and difficult negotiations are pretty much on the same page about what an agreement would look like. And with this vote behind them, Arizona water officials will now have the framework of a state plan in hand as they join other water managers from across the West in Las Vegas next week for the annual Colorado River Water Users Association conference, where federal officials have said they hope to wrap up a Drought Contingency Plan.

The plan still will have to be approved by Arizona’s Legislature in January once some additional details have been ironed out.

Those details include ensuring what the CAP board described in its motion as “certainty” for two groups of water users known as the ag pool and the developer pool. That phrase referred in part to securing funding to help Pinal County farmers pay for new wells and infrastructure to start pumping more groundwater to make up for cuts in Colorado River water.

#GreenhouseGas Emissions Accelerate Like a ‘Speeding Freight Train’ in 2018 — The New York Times #ActOnClimate

Rush hour on Interstate 25 near Alameda. Screen shot The Denver Post March 9, 2017.

From The New York Times (Kendra Pierre-Louis):

Scientists described the quickening rate of carbon dioxide emissions in stark terms, comparing it to a “speeding freight train” and laying part of the blame on an unexpected surge in the appetite for oil as people around the world not only buy more cars but also drive them farther than in the past — more than offsetting any gains from the spread of electric vehicles.

“We’ve seen oil use go up five years in a row,” said Rob Jackson, a professor of earth system science at Stanford and an author of one of two studies published Wednesday. “That’s really surprising.”

Worldwide, carbon emissions are expected to increase by 2.7 percent in 2018, according to the new research, which was published by the Global Carbon Project, a group of 100 scientists from more than 50 academic and research institutions and one of the few organizations to comprehensively examine global emissions numbers. Emissions rose 1.6 percent last year, the researchers said, ending a three-year plateau.

Worldwide, carbon emissions are expected to increase by 2.7 percent in 2018, according to the new research, which was published by the Global Carbon Project, a group of 100 scientists from more than 50 academic and research institutions and one of the few organizations to comprehensively examine global emissions numbers. Emissions rose 1.6 percent last year, the researchers said, ending a three-year plateau.

#ArkansasRiver: Southeastern District approves $22.3 million budget

Fryingpan-Arkansas Project via the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District

Here’s the release from the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District (Chris Woodka):

Southeastern District approves $22.3 million budget

The Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District Board of Directors Thursday approved a $22.3 million budget for 2019 that includes payments for the Fryingpan-Arkansas Project, support for the Arkansas Valley Conduit and the anticipated opening of a hydroelectric generation plant at Pueblo Dam.

Most of the budget comprises pass-through payments to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

Fry-Ark Project costs total $8 million, which includes $1.46 million for repayment and $6.54 million for operation and maintenance. An amendment to the repayment contract this year established a fixed rate of repayment, and a maintenance fund for the project. The project includes Pueblo Dam, Twin Lakes, Turquoise Lake and a Western Slope collection system that brings water from the Colorado River basin into the Arkansas River basin.

Fountain Valley Authority payments total $5.36 million. The Fountain Valley Authority includes Colorado Springs, Fountain, Security, Widefield and Stratmoor Hills. Its water supply comes from Pueblo Dam through a pipeline constructed in the 1980s.

The District also will pay $272,382 on behalf of participants in the Excess Capacity Master Contract at Pueblo Reservoir. The contract was established in 2016 to allow participants to store water in the reservoir when space is available.

The budget projects $350,000 for spending in support of the Arkansas Valley Conduit. Reclamation has $6.8 million available for AVC-related activities as well.

The $20.3 million hydroelectric plant at Pueblo Dam is expected to come online in early 2019. The plant is nearing completion and was financed with a $17.3 million loan from the Colorado Water Conservation Board, and a $3 million loan from the District’s Enterprise Fund. Power will be sold to the city of Fountain and Fort Carson through Colorado Springs Utilities. Revenues are expected to total $900,000 in 2019.

The District mill levy for the coming year will by 0.944 mills, which is not substantially different from previous years. The District covers parts of nine counties from the Arkansas River headwaters to the Kansas state line.

#Drought news: Improved depiction for W. #Colorado

Click here to go to the US Drought Monitor website. Here’s an excerpt:

Summary

During the U.S. Drought Monitor week ending on December 4, 2018, a powerful storm system impacted much of the continental United States. The storm delivered heavy rain and mountain snow to the West, snow and wind to parts of the Plains and upper Midwest, and severe weather and tornadoes to the mid-Mississippi valley and Southeast coast. The precipitation with this storm brought improvements to drought areas in parts of the Sierra Nevada and Central Valley and helped to relieve long-term deficits in parts of the Intermountain West and Plains. With the exception of the Florida Peninsula, all remaining drought areas east of the Mississippi River have been eliminated. Degradations this week were limited to an expansion of abnormally dry conditions in Texas…

High Plains

Moderate to heavy precipitation from this weekend’s storm, in the forms of rain and wind driven snow, fell roughly from the western reaches of the Dakotas to the northern half of Kansas. The precipitation allowed for the removal of moderate drought in east-central Kansas. While last week’s snowfall in the Dakotas was near normal for this time of year, long-term precipitation deficits have shown recovery, resulting in the removal of moderate drought in South Dakota and reductions in North Dakota. Moderate drought and abnormal dryness remain in those areas still experiencing low groundwater levels, soil moisture shortages, and long-term precipitation deficits…

West

Widespread rain and snow fell across the region over the past week. Heavy snowfall in the Sierra Nevada and precipitation in the Central Valley led to improvements in these areas. These changes were made in coordination with local experts and supported by improvements in a number of indicators, including precipitation indices, snow water equivalent, and soil moisture. The drought depiction in northern California was changed to “SL” as signals for drought are now apparent in both short and long term data. Recent precipitation in the Intermountain West improved current snowpack and long-term precipitation deficits, resulting in widespread improvements to long-term drought conditions in Utah, Colorado, and northeast Arizona…

South

Rainfall from this weekend’s storm affected parts of eastern Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Louisiana, which allowed for a slight reduction in moderate drought in northeast Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas. Other than this moderate drought area, no other changes to drought were made, and the region remained drought free with the exception of the Texas Panhandle and northeast Oklahoma…

Looking Ahead

Over the next week, cold air is expected to remain entrenched across parts of the central and eastern United States. One storm system is forecast to traverse the southern US from late this week through the weekend. With ample amounts of moisture available, the National Weather Service quantitative precipitation forecast calls for moderate to heavy precipitation in the form of rain, snow, and some areas of a wintry mix from parts of the Southern Plains eastward into the Southeast. Elsewhere, another storm system is expected to move in from the Pacific early next week, bringing additional precipitation to the west coast states. In between these two storm systems, a ridge in the jet stream will deliver dry conditions to the Plains and Midwest.

US Drought Monitor Change Map November 27 compared to December 4, 2018.