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In The News — Water Grab News — 2019

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In The News — Below are press stories about the ongoing drought in the west; press stories also cover the Southern Nevada Water Authority's "water grab" in Nevada and Utah; and other "mega" water projects that threaten the Great Basin.
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March 19, 2019 — Nevada, Colorado River states sign letter agreeing to Drought Contingency Plan, despite opposition from river's largest user — After years of talks and disputes, the seven states in the Colorado River Basin came together on Tuesday to back a Drought Contingency Plan (DCP) to use less water during shortages. Negotiators for the seven states sent the plan to Congress, which would have to enact legislation to implement the plan, and met a key deadline imposed by federal water managers — thenevadaindependent.com

March 18, 2019 — High Snowpack Could Temporarily Stave Off Colorado River Water Shortage — High snowpack in the southern Rocky Mountains this winter will likely stave off a shortage declaration in the Colorado River watershed in 2020, relieving pressure on water managers attempting to navigate future scarcity. New data from U.S. Bureau of Reclamation models show a lessened risk of a key Colorado River reservoir dropping far enough to trigger a first-ever shortage declaration. Snowpack in the Upper Colorado River Basin is at 138 percent of the long-term median, a level not seen in mid-March since 1997 — www.kunc.org

March 01, 2019 — At Legislature, pushback from groups over water measures — The first big water fight has broken out at the Legislature. A pair of bills that would essentially increase the power of the state engineer in various forms of water conflicts — such as between senior and junior rights holders or groundwater and surface water users — drew concerns from opponents that the bills would give too much power to the engineer, while state officials said the changes are necessary for water management in the state — Las Vegas Sun [More Coverage — RJ.com — and — RGJ.com]

February 28, 2019 — Opponents, legislators raise questions that bills could enable Las Vegas pipeline, depart from Western water law — An Assembly committee heard two water bills Wednesday amid criticism from a varied group of water users who worry that the legislation could undermine the historic application of Western water law and enable large-scale projects, including the controversial Las Vegas pipeline. The Southern Nevada Water Authority, which is pushing the project, testified neutral on the bill — thenevadaindependent.com

February 26, 2019 — OPINION: Don't change water laws to benefit the few — By Abby Johnson: A small but powerful cluster wants big changes to Nevada water law this legislative session. A hearing this week will shine a light on the dangerous proposals pitching “modernizations” and “fixes” for an old system known as prior appropriation. Sounds harmless, right? Don’t let the friendly language fool you — thenevadaindependent.com

January 31, 2019 — Arizona Joins Colorado River Drought Plan, a Move That Could Help Protect California Drinking Water — Arizona will join a drought plan for the Colorado River, narrowly meeting a federal deadline that threatened to blow up a compromise years in the making for the seven states that draw water from the constrained river. The Arizona House and Senate overwhelmingly supported the legislation and Gov. Doug Ducey promptly signed it, delivering the final puzzle piece needed to avoid potentially more severe cutbacks imposed by the federal government — AP

January 30, 2019 [Opinion] Tough Times Along the Colorado River — In the face of a prolonged drought, the federal government could step in and reduce water use in the Southwest — NY Times.com

January 27, 2019 — The Colorado River equation, the drought plan and why things have stopped adding up — he National Park Service is preparing for the worst. In November, the federal agency released its plan for how to operate Lake Mead marinas and launch ramps if the elevation of the Colorado River reservoir — the poster-child for prolonged drought in the Southwest — continues to decline because of overuse and climate change. To the passerby visiting Lake Mead, it has been clear for some time that things on the Colorado River are not working the way they were intended to. Signs warn of closures to boat launches. Underwater ghost towns are now visible because of low lake levels. From the top of the Hoover Dam, visitors see a bathtub ring, a chalk-colored display of how far the waterline has dropped — thenevadaindependent.com

January 27, 2019 — [Salt Lake] Tribune editorial: If we build Powell pipeline, will the water come? — The Colorado River is not meeting its obligations. Its Lake Powell bank account is in danger of running dry. A 97-year-old agreement demands that the river deliver 5.2 trillion gallons of water to seven states and Mexico each year. That isn’t happening, and now — in the age of climate change — the chance of ever meeting that demand is fading — sltrib.com

January 20, 2019 — COMMENTARY: Gov. Steve Sisolak has an opportunity on state water policy — The 2018 election cycle was unlike any other for water politics in Nevada. The top candidates for governor wisely denounced the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s plan to build a 300-mile, $15.5 billion pipeline to siphon 58 billion gallons of water annually from the heart of the Great Basin in rural eastern Nevada to Las Vegas. The announcements — from Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak and his opponent, Republican Adam Laxalt — signified a watershed moment in Nevada politics — By Kyle Roerink, Executive Director, Great Basin Water Network — Las Vegas Review Journal

January 20, 2019 — Lake Powell could become a ‘dead pool’ as climate change, political wars and unabated growth drain its waters — Ever since the Colorado River began filling Utah’s Glen Canyon and its countless side canyons in 1963, conservationists have been calling for emptying the lake that now supports a recreation economy and power generation. Climate change, unbridled development and Western water politics are conspiring to gradually grant this wish — sltrib.com

Lake Mead / Image via Shutterstock January 14, 2019 — Things Are Getting Crazy on the Colorado River — The Colorado River may not look like it, but it’s one of the world’s largest banks. The river is not only the source of much of the American West’s economic productivity – San Diego, Phoenix and Denver would hardly exist without it – but its water is now the central commodity in a complex accounting system used by major farmers and entire states — voiceofsandiego.org

January 11, 2019 — Nevada’s state engineer retires, leaving court battles to successor — For a guy with a vague job title, State Engineer Jason King has been involved in some pretty important decisions for Nevada. During his eight years as the state’s top water regulator, he banned new residential wells in Pahrump, blocked water development for the long-stalled Coyote Springs master-planned community and twice ruled on controversial plans to pipe groundwater to Las Vegas from eastern Nevada — Las Vegas Review Journal

2019 — Former Titus Aide Hired To Fight Las Vegas Water Pipeline Plan — The Great Basin Water Network has hired a former aide to Rep. Dina Titus to help lead its fight against Las Vegas’ efforts to tap rural Nevada groundwater. The Reno-based environmental group recently named Kyle Roerink as its executive director, and he becomes the organization’s first paid staffer. Roerink said he plans to spend 2019 making the public and lawmakers aware of the dollar and environmental costs of the Southern Nevada Water Authority’s planned pipeline from eastern Nevada to Las Vegas — knpr.org [11.27]



Go To Water Grab News Archives — 2018



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