Hello Friends of the Colorado River!
We have more good news! Yes, the river is in decline and huge challenges are ahead, but people are stepping forward to make a difference!
First, YOUR VOICE MATTERED in Los Angeles!! Recall a few months ago when we ran — and you signed! — the petition to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power requesting that they increase their water conservation and efficiency programs? Well, it
worked and they did! Four weeks ago, I met with Marcie Edwards who is the new General Manager of the LADWP. I was joined in that meeting by Liz Crosson of Los Angeles Waterkeeper and Conner Everts of the Southern California Watershed Alliance. We all had a great discussion about LA’s water supply and conservation work, especially in the context of this historic California drought. Ms. Edwards assured us that LA was trying hard to move forward and change its paradigm. Liz Crosson wrote a nice blog about our meeting, posted here.
Two weeks later with Ms. Edwards by his side, the Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, announced what his team called a “sweeping executive order on water conservation” intended to take strong steps to address the drought. You can read the initial coverage on LA’s CBS news station affiliate here. Even further, Mayor Garcetti’s plan proposes to reduce
the amount of water the city imports by 50% in 10 years. Yes, that’s quite a goal, given that LA imports most of its water from northern California and the Colorado River — in this editorial in the LA Times, the Ed Board even called it an “ambitious goal.” We applaud Mayor Garcetti, GM Marcie Edwards, and their team for making this announcement and for planning to reduce imported water. We also continue to support the development of local water supplies in the Los Angeles area including recycled storm and wastewater, and groundwater cleanup. In addition, we will work with our local environmental colleagues in the Los Angeles area to help make sure the Mayor’s words turn into deeds that can set an example for how all cities in the Colorado River basin can move forward with much more efficient use of water.
Second, we are delighted to announce the formation of a great new coalition to address the threat of new dams/diversions and dirty energy projects throughout the Colorado River basin. Last week, Save The Colorado joined forces with “Colorado River Connected,” a coalition formed especially to fight dirty energy projects in Utah that could take more water out of the Colorado River and pollute water for all of the Colorado River water users downstream. This initial coalition includes Save The Colorado, Glen Canyon Institute, Colorado Riverkeeper, Utah Rivers Council, Waterkeeper Alliance, Sierra Club Utah Chapter, River Network, Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment, and the Los Angeles Waterkeeper. Much of the threat to the headwaters of the Colorado River in Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado is discussed in an excellent new documentary film, “Last Rush For The Wild West.” Created by Jennifer Ekstrom, this film highlights the tar sands threat in Utah, as well as discusses the oil shale and fracking threats in the three states at the headwaters of the Colorado River. Take a look at the trailer for the film here. Jennifer’s film will serve as the introduction to Colorado River Connected as she tours the Southwest U.S. in the coming months. We will keep you in the loop about where to see the film, and about the dam and dirty energy projects that further threaten the Colorado River.
So, are the challenges huge? Yes. But people are stepping forward to address these challenges up and down the Colorado River basin, and Save The Colorado is working hard to be right in the mix helping to fight bad projects, promote good ideas, and spread the word about the amazing resource of the Colorado River.
Stay tuned for more good news and THANK YOU for your support!