Hello Friends of the Colorado River!
The big and bad news of this week is that drought, human overuse, and climate change have finally taken their toll on Lake Mead which has dropped to its lowest water level in history. Lake Mead, which is a man-made reservoir behind Hoover Dam that supplies water to Las Vegas, much of Arizona, and all of Southern California, is now just 39% full. The ongoing social and political drama around the falling lake level continues to reverberate throughout the Southwest U.S. and California in newspaper articles, water agencies, and statements by public officials (see here in the Denver Post). This morning, I authored this exclusive column in EcoWatch titled, “Drought Drains Lake Mead to Lowest Level as Nevada Senator Calls for Government Audit.” To the point, folks in Las Vegas are getting mighty concerned about the falling lake which is their sole source of water. What’s equally interesting though is that this Nevada State Senator, Tick Segerblom, is very concerned about the health of the Colorado River. Senator Segerblom states in his press release: “Healthy rivers signal healthy societies, yet Reclamation failed to mention ecological issues in its recent analysis. The Colorado River is a river of national parks, but the river running through them is struggling.” (Please click through here to EcoWatch and read the column.) Stay tuned, and we will keep you apprised of this deteriorating situation.
The extreme drought in California is just plain getting worse every week! And, Californians do not seem to be rising to the occasion to ramp up their water conservation efforts. Check out this video made by the New York Times which discusses how California citizens are not meeting the request of their Governor, Jerry Brown, to decrease their water use by 20%. The Times video states that conservation in California cities has only hit 5% despite the extreme drought and the mandate of Governor Brown.
This California drought is also reverberating throughout the Colorado River basin from the top to the bottom. Check out this TV news video from Utah featuring Zach Frankel from the environmental group, Utah Rivers Council. At the same time that Lake Mead and the Colorado River are stretched beyond the breaking point, State officials in Utah still want to move forward with a massive new diversion out of the river to fuel and subsidize growth in Southwest Utah. Frankel states, “Drought in California means that there will be major scrutiny over new water diversions in states like Utah.” As the drought continues, the tension is rising throughout the Southwest U.S.
And finally a chance for you to take some action to address this ongoing chaos! At the same time that drought has stricken the Colorado River basin, the State of Wyoming is proposing to build more dams and reservoirs on the Green River which flows into the Colorado. Our friends at American Rivers have created this action alert to Wyoming’s Governor, Matt Mead: “As part of Wyoming’s new statewide water strategy, Gov. Matt Mead is considering whether to recommend building two large dams near the headwaters of the Green River at the foot of the Wind River Range. The two dams — one of which would impound 150,000 acre-feet of water on BLM land at Warren Bridge, and the other that would impound 200,000 acre-feet of water further upstream on national forest land — would flood one of Wyoming’s most iconic wild rivers and irreparably harm one of the richest fish and wildlife habitats in the lower 48 states.” Please click through here and tell Governor Mead to stop this nonsense!
Stay tuned for more updates and opportunities for action! Thank you for your support!