What Could Be the Next Big Thing in Infrastructure?

Photo by Marta L. Weismann

Infrastructure is a key component of how our water is supplied. Just think of the water treatment and distribution systems that deliver clean water to your tap and usher away dirty wastewater. To get the water into those distributions systems, we use canals and pipelines that move water from one place to another on a larger scale—e.g. the Colorado River Aqueduct, which moves water from the Colorado River to the Metropolitan Water District service area in Southern California. Also, desalination and reclamation plants are used to address water supply and water quality needs. Continue reading

Negotiations on the Colorado River Part I: Despite Low Drought Figures, Colorado River Basin States Must Remain Vigilant

What is missing from the map of the United States right now? Well in general, drought is missing. According to a recent US Drought Monitor, the contiguous United States had the lowest reading of overall drought in the 17 year history of the weekly service. For the week of May 2nd, only 4.98% of the contiguous US had some form of drought. According to the USA Today, the lowest prior reading for the US was 7.7% of the US in drought, set in July 2010. It also compares favorably to a record high of 65.5% of the US in some form of drought set in September 2012. Continue reading

What Does It Mean that Lower Basin Has Been Called the “Most Endangered River”?

On April 11th, the conservation group American Rivers released America’s Most Endangered Rivers 2017, this year’s installment of its trademark report that focuses and prioritizes the group’s advocacy work for the next year. Topping this year’s list is the Lower Basin of the Colorado River.

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With Full Reservoirs and a Deep Snowpack, Why did the Central Valley Project Initially Hesitate to Deliver 100% Entitlement to each Contractor?

Looking at the current reservoir conditions from the California Data Exchange Center, it is clear to see that the conditions in California are much different than from a year ago. Nine of the state’s major reservoirs that serve both the Central Valley and State Water Projects have over 100% of their historic averages for this date. The state’s two largest reservoirs, Lake Shasta and Lake Oroville are at 96% and 84% full respectively. The San Francisco Chronicle published a series of before and after photos of reservoirs in the state to show the stunning change in hydrologic conditions in just one year. For example, in August 2016, the San Luis Reservoir outside of Los Banos was at 10% of capacity. Fast forward to today, and the reservoir is completely full. The much-improved hydrologic conditions prompted Governor Jerry Brown on April 7th to issue an executive order that lifts the drought emergency in all California counties except Kings, Tulare, Fresno and Tuolumne. The drought emergency he rescinded had been in place since April 25, 2014. Continue reading