Posted on | August 1, 2010 | 6 Comments
During a recent discussion of water at the Aspen Institute’s Environment Forum in Colorado, former Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt told a packed house: “The American Southwest is not one of those regions where there is water scarcity. It’s hard to believe, given all the hyping in the national and local and regional press.”
The audience and his copanelists–Sandra Postel, director of the Global Water Policy Project and freshwater fellow for the National Geographic Society, and Pat Mulroy, general manager of Southern Nevada Water Authority (overseeing Las Vegas water)–were taken aback by these statements, writes Jonathan Waterman in the first of a series of Colorado River notes in National Geographic.
Throughout the Southwest, and particularly in a region that I know, the Colorado River Basin, the so called “water buffalos” (those who line their pockets with virtual water) commonly talk about this river as though it has not run dry. If only because the water continues to irrigate 2,000,000 acres of agriculture, run 336 miles into Phoenix and Tucson, 224 miles to Los Angeles, or under the Rockies toward Denver through no less than 12 tunnels. Click here to continue reading Waterman in National Geographic.
Meanwhile, the level of Lake Mead, the main storage reservoir on the Colorado, continues its inexorable drop. At the close of July it was 1,086.97 feet, the lowest that it has been for that month since Mead was filled in the 1930s. Click here for a full set of historical elevations from the federal Bureau of Reclamation.
Sunday’s normal news round-up, “The week that was,” will return next week. Watch Monday for the return of the California legislature and its vote on whether or not to leave the state’s $11bn water bond on the November ballot. On Monday, the Pacific Institute will be releasing an analysis of what the bond would accomplish. Click here for more information. For a full round-up of California water news, go to Aquafornia, the newsfeed of the Water Education Foundation, or to UC Berkeley’s On Water. For San Diego water news, try Groksurf’s San Diego. Or, for all things fresh water, do check in with WaterWired.