Water CIVIL wars ahead! Major water cutbacks loom as shrinking Colorado River nears ‘moment of reckoning’

Major water cutbacks loom as shrinking Colorado River nears ‘moment of reckoning’
Lake Mead behind Hoover Dam – Dramatic drop of water levels on the Colorado River-fed reservoir due to persistent and worsening drought.Picture by Luis Sinco

As the West endures another year of unrelenting drought, the Colorado River’s reservoirs have declined so low that major water cuts will be necessary next year to reduce risks of supplies reaching perilously low levels, a top federal water official said Tuesday.

Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton said during a Senate hearing in Washington that federal officials now believe protecting “critical levels” at the country’s largest reservoirs — Lake Mead and Lake Powell — will require much larger reductions in water deliveries.

A warmer, drier West is what we are seeing today,” Touton told the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. “And the challenges we are seeing today are unlike anything we have seen in our history.

The needed cuts, she said, amount to between 2 million and 4 million acre-feet next year.

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For comparison, California is entitled to 4.4 million acre-feet of Colorado River water per year, while Arizona’s allotment is 2.8 million.

The push for a new emergency deal to cope with the Colorado River’s shrinking flow comes just seven months after officials from California, Arizona and Nevada signed an agreement to take significantly less water out of Lake Mead, and six weeks after the federal government announced it is holding back a large quantity of water in Lake Powell to reduce risks of the reservoir dropping to a point where Glen Canyon Dam would no longer generate electricity.

Despite those efforts and a previous deal among the states to share in the shortages, the two reservoirs stand at or near record-low levels. Lake Mead near Las Vegas has dropped to +28% of its full capacity, while Lake Powell on the Utah-Arizona border is now just 27% full.

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Touton said it’s critical to achieve the additional cutbacks and her agency is in talks with the seven states that depend on the river to develop a plan for the reductions in the next 60 days. She warned that the Bureau of Reclamation has the authority to “act unilaterally to protect the system, and we will protect the system.”

Though Touton didn’t spell out what that could entail, the Interior Department could impose cuts if the states fail to reach an agreement on their own. Touton said her agency is “working with the states and tribes in having this discussion.

We need to see the work. We need to see the action,” Touton said, calling for representatives of the states “to stay at the table until the job is done.

The Colorado River supplies water to nearly 40 million people in cities from Denver to Los Angeles and farmlands from the Rocky Mountains to the U.S.-Mexico border.

The river has long been over-allocated, and its reservoirs have declined dramatically since 2000 during a severe drought that research shows is being intensified by global warming and that some scientists describe as the long-term “aridification” of the Southwest.

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What has been a slow-motion train wreck for 20 years is accelerating, and the moment of reckoning is near,” said John Entsminger, general manager of the Southern Nevada Water Authority, which supplies the Las Vegas area.

He pointed out that Lake Mead’s water level, now at 1,045 feet above sea level, has continued to decline toward critically low levels. Hoover Dam could still release water down to a level of 895 feet, but below that, water would no longer pass through the dam to supply California, Arizona and Mexico — a level known as “dead pool.”

We are 150 feet from 25 million Americans losing access to the Colorado River, and the rate of decline is accelerating,” Entsminger told the senators.

Avoiding “potentially catastrophic conditions,” Entsminger said, will require reductions that many water managers previously considered unattainable.

In talking with representatives of other states, Entsminger said, they all recognize the urgency of the situation and are working to increase conservation efforts.

However, and there’s no way around this, cities alone cannot address this crisis,” Entsminger said.

Entsminger pointed out that roughly 80% of the river’s flow is used for agriculture, and most of that for thirsty crops like alfalfa, which is mainly grown for cattle, both in the U.S. and overseas.

I’m not suggesting that farmers stop farming, but rather that they carefully consider crop selection and make the investments needed to optimize irrigation efficiency,” Entsminger said. “By reducing their use of Colorado River water, agricultural entities are protecting their own interests.

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Last year, the federal government declared a shortage on the Colorado River for the first time, triggering substantial cutbacks in water deliveries to Arizona, Nevada and Mexico. Farmers in parts of Arizona have left some fields dry and unplanted, and have turned to more groundwater pumping.

The cuts have yet to limit supplies for Southern California, but that could change as the reservoirs continue to drop.

The timeline that Touton laid out, to come up with an agreement for water reductions within 60 days, puts the deadline just before the Bureau of Reclamation is scheduled to release its mid-August projections for reservoir levels on the river. Those projections determine the level of the shortage in 2023 and the severity of the required cuts in deliveries.

Let’s get to the table, and let’s figure this out by August,” Touton said. “That’s what we’re working towards.

Exactly how reductions will be achieved has yet to be negotiated. Some previous water-saving arrangements have involved paying growers to temporarily fallow land. Some tribes have also agreed to leave a portion of their water supplies in Lake Mead in exchange for compensation.

Most of the river’s flow begins as snow and rainfall in the Rocky Mountains. But during the severe dry spell over the past 22 years in the Colorado River Basin, hotter temperatures triggered by accumulating greenhouse gases have intensified the dryness across the watershed.

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With warmer temperatures, vegetation has taken up more water, more moisture has evaporated off the landscape, and soils have been baked dry, leaving less runoff flowing in streams and into the river.

The amount of runoff flowing into Lake Powell this spring and summer is estimated to be just 59% of average.

The hearing focused on solutions to extreme drought in the West, but Democratic Senator Martin Heinrich of New Mexico stressed that the dryness is unprecedented and that the word drought doesn’t fully describe the crisis.

Maurice Hall, who leads the Environmental Defense Fund’s water program, said adaptation is critical.

We have in the past tended to view our water management through a lens of stability,” Hall said. “We have to throw all that out and increase our real-time and near real-time monitoring and information processing, and be prepared to make adjustments as we discover how the new climate processes are affecting our water resources.

Patrick O’Toole, president of the Family Farm Alliance, expressed concerns about what could happen if water is taken away from agriculture, including the potential for harming rural communities and food production.

Entsminger said he agrees that the country needs to prioritize food security, but the fact remains that the water supply and demand are out of balance.

We can’t balance the structural deficit by evacuating cities. So we’re going to need to make our ability to grow the same amount of food with less water a priority,” Entsminger said. “Every user in every sector needs to be planning for how they’re going to take care of their share of the pain.

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Some of the senators and water officials also discussed how the federal government could help accelerate infrastructure projects such as building new wastewater recycling plants.

While developing regionwide plans to immediately cut water use next year, the seven states in the Colorado River Basin are also preparing to negotiate new rules for dealing with shortages after 2026, when the current rules are set to expire.

Alongside those negotiations, former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt has called for revamping the 1922 Colorado River Compact, the foundational agreement that divided the river among the states, to adapt to the reduced amount of water that is available in the watershed.

Touton said in her written testimony that the Bureau of Reclamation will issue a notice this month to ask for input on development of new post-2026 rules.

For now, Touton said, she is focusing on securing the additional conservation that’s needed next year in talks with the states. She wrote that these reductions are needed “to protect the Colorado River system infrastructure and the long-term stability of the system.[LA Times]

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  1. In addition to desalination did they ever consider cutting a channel and creating a reservoir so that storm water both salt and fresh could be stored. Yes it would need a pump aerator much like a aquarium.Ledging troughs might also work.Basic set up is much like a one way slanted roof.
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  5. Israel sees over 10,000 new coronavirus cases, highest daily number since April
    Health Ministry reports 168 people in serious condition, a rise of 95% from last week; health officials tell hospitals to prepare for reopening of dedicated COVID-19 wards
    By TOI staff Today, 11:22 am

    Magen David Adom medical team members at a drive-through coronavirus testing site in Tel Aviv, on March 22, 2020 (Flash90)
    Magen David Adom medical team members at a drive-through coronavirus testing site in Tel Aviv, on March 22, 2020 (Flash90)

    Israel on Sunday saw over 10,000 new coronavirus cases diagnosed, the highest number since April 4, according to Health Ministry data released Monday.

    According to the latest figures, 10,202 out of the 29,681 tests conducted on Sunday came back positive, putting the positivity rate at 38.9 percent.

    The ministry also reported that 168 people were in serious condition — a rise of 95% from last week — with 37 of them classified as critical.

    The reproduction number (R) continued to fluctuate, standing at 1.32 as of Monday morning.

    Earlier in the month it stood at 1.52. The R figure is based on rates from ten days earlier, and it measures how many people each coronavirus carrier infects on average, with any number above 1 meaning the spread of COVID-19 is increasing.

    It began to rise above 1 in mid-May, having stayed below that threshold for nearly two months.
    Family members visiting a family member at the coronavirus ward of Ziv Medical Center in the northern city of Safed on February 15, 2022. (David Cohen/Flash90)

    The death toll stood at 10,908 as of Monday morning, including 13 fatalities over the past week.

    While Israel has seen rising infection numbers for a few weeks, an increase in seriously ill patients presents a real concern as the country deals with the spread of the new variant BA.5.

    Health Ministry officials told hospital directors on Monday that they should begin preparations for the reopening of dedicated COVID-19 wards.

    The rise in cases has also led to officials mulling the reintroduction of certain restrictions, with health officials set to discuss a return to mandatory indoor masking and the possibility of authorizing COVID-19 vaccines for infants and preschoolers.

    Israel officially lifted the indoor mask mandate on April 24, scrapping one of the few remaining coronavirus restrictions that were still in place more than two years into the pandemic.
    Travelers wearing protective face masks at Ben Gurion Airport, on August 5, 2021. (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90)

    According to an unnamed Health Ministry official cited by the Kan public broadcaster on Sunday, a decision on renewing the measure will be made next week.

    Since masking rules were first imposed in April 2020 and before they were eased a couple of months ago, Israelis were required to wear face coverings indoors for all but 10 days in June last year, when the mandate was briefly lifted before being swiftly brought back amid burgeoning cases at the time.

    Additionally, officials will also consider authorizing COVID-19 vaccines for the youngest children after US regulators on Friday gave their approval for the first shots for infants and preschoolers.

    According to the Ynet news site, the Health Ministry will discuss the matter at a meeting on Tuesday.

    read more:

    Israel Inside COVID-19 COVID-19 Omicron variant coronavirus coronavirus restrictions BA.5 coronavirus variant
    We told you all fkight Cancellations are done by AI to spread new COVID 22 …. New Lock Down are coming !!!!!! We already are in Gas lock Down!

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    We do not want our beloved country become like Ukraine?

  8. inesh D’Souza: Guys, I’m really happy to welcome to the podcast Daniel Pipes. Dan is an historian. He’s a former official in the U.S. departments of State and the Defense Department. And he’s been a professor. He’s taught at the University of Chicago, he’s taught at Harvard, U.S. Naval War College. And he also runs an organization called the Middle East Forum.

    Now, Dan wrote an article, I believe originally in a magazine called The National Interest about a worldwide movement of Muslims converting to Christianity. An extremely, I think, fascinating topic. I wanted to have Dan come on and talk about it.

    Dan, welcome to the podcast. Of course, we know each other going back several years and you were one of the experts and sources that I interviewed for my first film, the 2016: Obama’s America.

    I find this article extremely fascinating. So let me start by just asking you what got you interested in this topic of Muslims, in a sense, leaving their faith and becoming Christians?
    https://www.danielpipes.org Islam is not religion of peace!
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  9. SHIA Islam in Iran and Ayatollahs are cancer of middle east it is black hole opened up and will be soon closing and never opportunity comes so close…Bomb BOMB Iran and Senator
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    is not going to come even 90 percent Iranian die in Iran….

  10. Thanks Brad from FSS .. You did talk today about Iran o6 Minutes and Israeli attack on Iran… Bravoor Brad June June means dear in Farsi…. Mercy Brad June…

  11. I know far more people who have dropped Islam, where as I do not know any person who has dropped Christianity or any of the other mainstream religions. I myself am not religious but I certainly see Islam going out of the window. It is at the stage now that Christianity was 500 years ago. The only problem is that back then people would put up with it as they knew no different, now the world has changed. People will not put up with tyranny and in a sense that is all Islam is. The Koran is a peaceful scripture, but few Muslims who follow the religion follow the Koran as it is intended. It is rather a case of following the Koran as it suits them.

    A good friend of mine who ditched Islam and become an Atheist has said “Only those with great insecurities now follow Islam, the religion is not crafted for this century or any sane man living in the now.” That is exactly how I feel. I think you get disgruntled young Pakistani or Bangladeshi teenagers following it as if it is a gang. You have young Muslim women following it to their parents but secretly ditching it when they are out of sight. You have more people turning around and saying that the religion is a joke, here is why and all the Muslim world do is try and silence the comments made against them with violence.

    It is this insecurity that my goof friend speaks of that will destroy Islam. No Muslim can ever argue for it without resorting to taking over the world speech. However, it will not take over the world. Slowly but surely it will die out. It refuses to adapt, where as the other religions co-exist within the mainstream. They are not for each other but they do not, on the whole, sort to wipe out each other. It is Islam that rages war and it is war it can never win but bacuase the fight is on too many fronts.

    China or Russia will never support Islam and I know because I have worked in both countries and believe me they are more anti-Islamic than people think. In Britain more people are standing up and saying enough is enough to the demands of “British Muslims”. Also, more Muslims are quite secretly ditching their religion but because of its tyranny do not want to be open about it. Islam is finished and like a cornered snake it lashes out at every comment against it because secretly it knows this, Religion as a whole will slowly fade in the coming century, but Islam will without a doubt be the first to go. It won’t be through no other reason but its inability to accept and co-exist.
    I was afraid saying i am Christian to my Muslim Doctor who had
    look HezBollahi so he asked me i said i am Muslim. But then he did for me etc.. Then now he knows i am Christian he short cut me.. Now is pay back time….. Islam out of Iran Afghanistan and USA …. He messed with wrong person lol…. His ratings will go to hell soon! They are all fake put Hijab to show off USA Canada that they can…. In Arizona 120F they dress black He jab you die lol,,,

  12. Your mormon deep state ask you to covert or die, thats sound fondamentally true.
    Money to all but not your old faithfull abandoned to rot.

  13. World Civil War an World Martial law is in full progress….
    Brad from FSS said Iran attack is coming …. Thanks Brad
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  14. Tehran 3 series is already in process of making in Greece Athens… Tehran2 series was great finally the General who wanted to evaporate little Satan Israel and Great Satan USA exploded in the end with help of Faraz and Tamar … We can not wait for series 3 comes in September 2022 …. We have many sources that we can not and will not elaborate on Iran strike just because it will be suddenly and worst than Ukraine… We only give minimum details of Iran attack without contact is in full progress?WW3 will be from Iran not Russia or Taiwan?
    Imam Mahdi will come when 90 percent of shia Muslims dies in Iran with bloods every where? We ask Iranian Military stand down kill all Mullahs now purify Iran from these cancers of middle east or pay a big price for it destruction of Iran??

  15. Rabindranath Tagore – Let My Country Awake

    Where the mind is without fear and the head held high;
    Where knowledge is free;
    Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
    Where words come out from the depth of truth;
    Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
    Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
    Where the mind is led forward by Thee into ever-widening thought and action;
    Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

    Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)

  16. Crisis after Crisis gas in Kali is 10.50 Cents 8.00 in LAX Orange County is 6.66 so now water is not able to give the need of people any more… War within USA is always luckily due to UK
    want to destroy old USA to own it fully… unless we do not take bait… Oregon is now give drugs to any one who asks… real people needed are being not able get pain med…Are they destroying USA by design like Iran in 1980 brought Khomeini?

  17. Monsoon season is on approach in our area. Fri through weekend. Had some clouds today, looks like we will see rain and T-storms. Hopefully inches of rain. Sometimes we get the spritz, and nothing heavy. Sometimes, sheet rain. Mountain weather is hard to predict. We need some big rain this year. I love big thunderstorms.

    • Yeah, woohoo. Rain from the heavens. Monsoon season is here. I could tell, since I watch my analogue barometer. Humidity jumped too. Pressure fell. Boom thunder and lightning. Orchard will appreciate it.

  18. We could have been building desalination plants along the west coast for the last 50 years instead of filling the desert with bogus “sustainable” solar farms and wind turbines chopping up Eagles. Where were the geniuses at the Bureau of Reclamation then? They were “protecting the system” from competition, not thinking about the people.

    • I’m big on desalinization plants. Problem with left coast is so much big money real estate people would scream. So, they will all die of thirst with brown lawns.
      F ’em.

      • Why do people not realize that moving into a desert which has had century long droughts is not a good ‘idea’?
        There have been droughts WORSE than this one of that area.
        Some lasted over 100 years or more and Society’s died out or moved.
        So don’t anybody who lives there blame this on GLOBAL WARMING!!!
        Live in a Desert die in a Desert!

    • That is what I have been saying for fifty years. I know I have said it to enough people for the government of California to have been made aware of it, but all the government of California is concerned with is violating people’s Rights and promoting violation of God’s Law. And now, it may be too late.

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